Last week it was announced that JK Rowling was working on a play called Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, which will tell the “untold part” of the boy wizard’s story. However did you know that this is not the first play to be made about the Wizarding World?
Okay so technically it’s not a play and they are unofficial, but a number of musicals have been made based on the Potter books. Today I am going to tell you about that and many more weird things the Harry Potter fandom have made.
Harry Potter Alliance
The Harry Potter alliance is a non-profit organisation run primarily by Harry Potter fans. It was founded in 2005 by Andrew Slack and the wizard rock band Harry and the Potters to draw attention to human rights violations in Sudan. Since then the organisation’s campaigns have focused on literacy, immigration reform, mental health, body image and climate change.
After the 2010 earthquake the HPA partnered with Partners In Health and other fan communities to create Helping Heal Haiti. With help from the wizard rock community, Maureen Johnson and the Vlogbrothers they raised over $123,000 which allowed Partners in Health to send five planes full of medical supplies to Haiti.
The HPA’s most recent victory is with their Not in Harry’s Name campaign. It was started in the run up to the release of Deathly Hallow’s Part 2, focusing on inhumane working conditions in the chocolate industry. It asked that Harry Potter themed chocolates made by Warner Bros. be fair trade certified. According to their website, an independent report gave Harry Potter chocolate an “F” in human rights. On January 13, 2015, the Washington Post reported that Warner Bros. had committed to ensuring by the end of 2015 that “all Harry Potter chocolate products sold at Warner Bros. outlets and through our licensed partners will be 100-percent UTZ or Fair Trade certified”.
LeakyCon is an annual conference started in 2009 by the Harry Potter fansite The Leaky Cauldron. LeakyCon comes “from the Harry Potter fandom and celebrates everything about it and everything about the pop culture fandoms our community is growing to include” and “is a place where fans can, finally, be their true selves. Where that’s the coolest thing in the world to be.”
LeakyCon has a variety of programming, ranging from lectures about real-world themes and ideas within the Harry Potter books to yoga with Evanna Lynch and panels about Severus Snape. In previous years John and Hank Green have hosted various panels and meetups. LeakyCon also has a special lit track run by Maureen Johnson for authors, wanna-be published authors and enthusiasts.
Fanfiction is a very controversial subject. Some authors discourage fans from writing stories based on their works. Even going as far as asking websites like fanfiction.net to remove all stories based on their works. JK Rowling has a different stance on fanfiction. She has stated that “I find it very flattering that people love the characters that much” however discourages “pornographic or sexually explicit material clearly not meant for kids”.
As of December 2014 there have been 702,000 stories based on the Harry Potter books posted on fanfiction.net. Currently the most reviewed fanfiction with over 25,000 reviews is Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality by Eliezer Yudkowsky. This piece of work asks what could have happened if Petunia Evans married a scientist rather than Vernon Dursley.
Wizard rock was originally created by Joe and Paul DeGeorge with their band Harry and the Potters. They had planned a small concert at a barbeque and though the audience turned up, none of the bands did. To make the best of the opportunity the brothers spent 2 hours writing a number of Harry Potter themed songs while waiting for the bands to show up. They played their first concert as Harry and the Potters for the six people who remained of the audience.
While most mainstream bands have some songs that incorporate literary references, wizard rock bands take their inspiration directly from the Harry Potter universe. With the success of Harry and the Potters other wizard rock bands began to emerge, Draco and the Malfoys as a parody of Harry and the Potters, The Whomping Willows, The Parselmouths and the Ministry of Magic are just a small number of wizard rock bands.
A Very Potter Musical / A Very Potter Sequel
Before Darren Criss became famous in Glee and appeared on Broadway in Hedwig and the Angry Inch and How To Succeed in Business, he wrote the music for and starred in a parody musical based on the Harry Potter books called A Very Potter Musical.
The musical was produced by StarKid Productions and was originally performed at the University of Michigan in 2009. It was based on a number of Potter books and told the story of Harry’s return to Hogwarts, the trials and tribulations of adolescence, his participation in the House Cup Championship, and the return of Lord Voldemort to power. In June of 2009 the entire musical was uploaded to YouTube where it went viral and obtained millions of views.
Team Starkid went on to create more parody musicals including A Very Potter Sequel which picks up where AVPM ended with Voldemort destroyed, and Lucius Malfoy travelling into the past to destroy Harry Potter. In 2012 Team Starkid performed A Very Potter Senior Year at Leakycon, rather than a musical this production took the form of a live stage reading of the script with performances of the songs. This production featured nearly all of the StarKid actors and actresses, including Darren Criss and Evanna Lynch, who played Luna Lovegood in the original film series.
The Harry Potter fandom have created numerous hilarious and awesome things. So many that I couldn’t possibly list them all in one blog post. However I do believe the greatest thing the Harry Potter fandom has created is itself. This fandom, though the Harry Potter series finished 8 years ago, is still expanding, helping others, creating new artwork and fanfictions and finding new things to discuss many many years after the series ended.