Last week I read that the final instalment of the Harry Potter is due for saga release later this year.
There have been mutterings that two of the characters are to be killed-off and fears are mounting among fans around the world that Harry, himself, may be for the chop.
I even read somewhere that, should the worst happen, plans have been made to offer grief counselling to those overcome by the loss of their hero.
I don’t pretend to know what JK Rowling has in store for Harry, but I’m pleased to be able to tell you that he will survive and prosper, no matter what her version of events is.
By now you’re probably thinking that I’m in need of a good rest from this column but the fact is that there’s more than one person writing Harry Potter stories.
It’s impossible to know exactly how many people out there are churning out stories about the teenage wizard and his chums, but there could be thousands; and it’s a safe bet that a majority of these authors will let him survive.
Welcome to wonderful world of fan fiction where people all over the world get together in online communities to read and write stories about their favourite characters.
Wikipedia defines fan fiction as unauthorised written work based on previously published works. I was surprised how far back the practice goes with unauthorised sequels of Don Quixote having been published.
Science fiction fanzines, containing fiction written by the fans themselves, were printed and distributed from the 1960s, but it wasn’t until the rise of the internet that everyone could get in on the act.
I had no idea that there was such a thing as fan fiction or websites where devotees could gather, but a search on Google for ‘fan fiction sites’ soon showed just how many of them there are.
The first I visited, www.fanfiction.net, seems to include fiction based on just about any book, movie, television show and game, that you could imagine. Among the listings, for example, was five pages listing fiction based on the work of Alexandre Dumas.
The one-line teaser for the story A Musketeers Day Off read: ‘After a vicious morning task, Duval decides to give the four musketeers a well-deserved day off’. You may be able to resist reading something like that, but I couldn’t.
You can get involved by registering on fanfiction.net and, in a couple of days, you can start uploading your own stories. Another site I found is fictionalley.org and is devoted to Harry Potter.
Its hard to say why fan fiction is so popular but I guess that it has to do with satisfying the creative urge without having to invent characters and situations. That, and the fact that a true fan can never get enough of their heroes.