Excerpts from a dialogue I've been having with someone on HPfGU
I suggested, as I am wont to do, that if Draco ever gets over his Supposed To Be Evil thing, then he and Hermione might make a good match in canon, much in a manner that parallels Darcy & Elizabeth in Pride & Prejudice.
Various people who think Draco is Evil And Unredeemable laughed at me, as they are wont to do, which I can deal with. I make my arguments, they say they don't see it in canon, and eventually they might agree on the tiny tiny issues of Should Crouch As Moody Have Smashed Him From Floor to Ceiling (correct answer: no) and Was He Evil When He Reported Harry For Rulebreaking (correct answer: no).
But one person seems to have become incredibly confused about what I was suggesting, and posted:
**I'm fascinated by the widely divergent interpretations of canon on
this list, although I worry that sometimes fanon is making the water
Erm. In other words, I have become muddied by reading so much fanfic that I now can only see canon through the prism/prison of all the fanfic I've read, when the truth is, (a) I am canon-obsessive with regard to fanfic, such that Lori, Cassie, Eb, Rhysenn and others use me to make sure their fics are canon-compliant, and (b) I;ve actually simply turned by personal take on canon into fanfic.
> I think that any time people use fanfic examples to support their
> opinions of canon, they are mixing apples and oranges. They are
> taking characters that share the same names as JKR's, making them do
> and say things that JKR has never had them do, and then
> extrapolating arguments from this new, artificial construct.
> Am I the only one bothered by this?
And I said...
I'm not sure what you mean bby "using fanfic in this way". I did not use any
fanfic in my original post when I suggested that in a manner that parallels
Pride & Prejudice, Draco might find it in him to overcome the elements of his
attitude and behaviour that would preclude a relationship with Hermione (see
various Draco Redemption threads). I admit that in rereading the books back in
2000, I did look at the narration and events from other perspectives - as the
book is told almost entirely in third person limited and from Harry's
perspective, we rarely know what the other characters are truly thinking, as
we see everything more or less through Harry's eyes.
Canon itself plays with perspective in a fascinating way - on your first read
of Goblet of Fire, for example, the reader likely sees Moody as a good guy
almost all the way through the book - but on a second read, knowing that Moody
is really Barty Crouch, faithful servant of Voldemort, things he does which at
first seemed delightful or at least benign take on a sinister glow - things
like giving the book to Neville (obviously) but also things like his physical
abuse of Draco (slamming him from floor to ceiling, moreso than the
transfiguration) - and while we have a perfectly good explanation of the
former (he wanted Harry to get access to the gillyweed information), the
"obvious" explanation for the latter is somewhat sketchy. That explanation
would be that he wanted to be on Harry's good side by showing himself to be an
enemy of Draco's. But that doesn't really explain it all, to me - it seemed
clear to me that he had a vendetta against Draco as the wealthy, at least
superficially pampered child whose father was a Death Eater who walked free,
and who kept his stature when even Crouch's own father lost face because of
his familial relationship to a "convicted" Death Eater.
My conclusion is borne out by canon at least as well as any conclusion that
Neville is under a memory charm, but I have seen far fewer claims that making
a conclusion like that about Neville is fanon based or stems from reading too
much fanfic or that those who believe such things are getting confused between
things written by JKR's fans, and by her, herself.
I do admit to being troubled when people garble things from canon and fanfic -
I've seen people wonder whether Orla Quirke or Aiden Lynch were fanfic
characters (they're not, they're both in GoF) or be sure that JKR has said in
the english-language versions of the book that Blaise is a girl or a boy, or
state that Ron and Hermione kissed in GoF. It does bother me when people mix
up their fictional "facts".
However, it never bothers me when fanfic causes someone to think about a
character a little differently, or to view a scene from a different
perspective. JKR makes it SO EASY for us to do so, it's almost as if she wants
us to examine certain things from the book from multiple perspectives! Just
look at the debate about the Shrieking Shack Prank! Snape sees it one way,
Sirius another, and Lupin probably a third. Or even look at Sirius' take on
the real Moody, versus what Snape thinks about him - Sirius says that Moody
didn't use unforgivable curses unless he really had to; anyone want to bet
that Snape thinks Moody may be more like the police officer who says he had to
shoot the unarmed suspect because he *thought* said suspect had a weapon? Is
the latter conjecture? Possibly - but it's an entirely canon-based conclusion,
just like a conclusion that Lily and James died young.
I went back today and paged through Wide Sargasso Sea, Jean Rhys' novel which
has been called a literary masterpiece. It's Jane Eyre fanfic - even the
premise behind Rhys' writing of it is the same as many of those of us who
write fanfic have. I found a comment in a literary journal today that said,
"Rhys was always fascinated by Bronte+IBk-s novel +IBM especially the underlying
story that was never told. Who was Mrs. Rochester, that mad woman locked-up in
the attic? What was Rochester+IBk-s terrible secret? In Antoinette, Rhys has
recreated that imprisoned woman, providing a haunting, tragic portrait of the
fine line between love and madness." It also noted that there has been no 19th
century wife more demonized than Mrs Rochester. By creating a "redemption"
scenario for her, has Jean Rhys somehow ruined Jane Eyre for those who've read
her book? Debatable. Is she making Mrs Rochester do and say things that
Charlotte Bronte never intended? Certainly! Is that wrong or ruinous? Not from
my perspective - but then again, I've always loved Rashamon and Rashamon-esque
To give a less "highbrow" example, look at Anne Rice's Interview With a
Vampire and The Vampire Lestat. The former is entirely from Louis'
perspective, the latter from Lestat's - and the cover, to some extent, the
same scenes and acts. We learn when reading Lestat that many things that Louis
assumed about him - his background, his motives - were incorrect, and it's
fascinating to go back and reread the first book, knowing the other point of
view as you do once you've read the second one.
I am convinced that she thinks I am arguing things based on what I've read in fanfic, or what I've written into fanfic. Nothing could be further from the truth. Just
because someone doesn't see an argument as canon-based doesn't mean that it isn't actually just that. We're all reading the same books; none of us is reading them exactly like anyone else.
What is wrong with speculating, anyway?