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Many faces of Albus Dumbledore in the setting of fan writing : the transformation of readers into “reader-writers”… Fujita, Midori 2014

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 MANY FACES OF ALBUS DUMBLEDORE IN THE SETTING OF FAN WRITING: THE  TRANSFORMATION  OF  READERS  INTO  “READER-WRITERS”  AND THE IMPLICATIONS OF THEIR PRESENCE IN THE AGE OF ONLINE FANDOM   by   Midori Fujita     A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF  THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF   MASTER OF ARTS   in    The Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies    (Children’s  Literature)     THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA (Vancouver)     October 2014     © Midori Fujita, 2014 ii   Abstract This thesis examines the dynamic and changing nature of reader response in the time of online fandom by examining fan reception of, and response to, the character Dumbledore in J.K. Rowling’s  Harry  Potter   series.  Using   the   framework  of   reader   reception   theory established by Wolfgang  Iser,  in  particular  Iser’s  conception  of  textual  indeterminacies,  to  construct  my  critical  framework, this work examines Professor Albus Dumbledore as a case study in order to illuminate and explore how both the text and readers may contribute to the identity formation of a single character. The research examines twenty-one selected Internet-based works of fan writing. These writings are both analytical and imaginative, and compose a selection that illuminates what aspect of Dumbledore’s   characters   inspired   readers’   critical   reflection   and  inspired their creative re-construction of the original story. This thesis further examines what the flourishing presence of Harry Potter fan community tells us about the role technological progress has played and is playing in reshaping the dynamics of reader response. Additionally, this research explores the blurring boundaries between authors and readers in light of the blooming culture of fan fiction writing. The themes that Harry Potter fan writers have addressed imply that subjects of morality, sexuality, failures, amend-making, and questions of individual agency versus societal constraints are important issues with which contemporary readers of Harry Potter stories are drawn to explore. Harry Potter, by virtue of being one of the most fervently read text in the last decade provides a valuable insight what reading and literature may mean to ordinary people in their everyday lives.      iii   Preface This  Master’s  thesis  is  original,  unpublished,  independent  work  by  the  author,  M.  Fujita.     iv   Table of Contents Abstract ........................................................................................................................................... ii Preface............................................................................................................................................ iii Table of Contents ........................................................................................................................... iv List of Tables .................................................................................................................................. v Acknowledgements ........................................................................................................................ vi Dedication ..................................................................................................................................... vii 1. Origin of Research Interest, Rationale and Significance .......................................................... 1 2. Research Statement ................................................................................................................... 3 3. Literature Review...................................................................................................................... 5 3. 1.    Iserʼs  Reader  Response  Theory .......................................................................................... 6 3. 2.  The Rise of Social Media and its Implication to Reader Response Theory ..................... 15 3. 3.  Dumbledore the Philosopher-King ................................................................................... 20 3. 4.    Dumbledore’s  Fall  from  the  Pedestal ............................................................................... 22 3. 5.    Dumbledore’s  Sexuality ................................................................................................... 27 3. 6.  Reader-reception and the Question of Authorial Ownership ........................................... 33 3. 7.  Reader-reception Observed  through  Henry  Jenkins’  Study  on  Fan  Fiction  Writing ....... 35 4. Methodology ........................................................................................................................... 43 4. 1.  Dataset and Analysis ........................................................................................................ 45 4. 2.  Fan Sites Under Discussion .............................................................................................. 47 5. Examination of Selected Analytical Writings by Fans ........................................................... 50 5. 1.  Omnipotent and Benevolent, God-like Dumbledore ........................................................ 52 5. 2.  Dumbledore as a Moral Icon ............................................................................................ 53 5. 3.  Secrets and Lies, Authority and Control—Dumbledore’s  Moral Ambiguity .................. 56 5. 4.  Dumbledore For the Greater Good ................................................................................... 60 5. 5.    Concluding  Thoughts  on  Fans’  Analytical  Writing ......................................................... 65 6. Examination of Selected Creative Writings Posted by Fans .................................................. 67 6. 1.  Dumbledore—A Friend and a Protector .......................................................................... 71 6. 2.  Dumbledore – the Young and the Restless ...................................................................... 74 6. 3.  Dumbledore and the Price of his Love ............................................................................. 76 6. 4.  The Gay Dumbledore ....................................................................................................... 81 6. 5.    Concluding  Thoughts  on  Fans’  Creative  Writing ............................................................ 82 7. Conclusions and Opportunities for Further Studies ................................................................ 85 7.1  Implications of the Study: The Controversy of Authorship and Authority ........................86 7. 2.  Concluding Thoughts ....................................................................................................... 96 Works Cited .................................................................................................................................. 99 Appendix ..................................................................................................................................... 111    v   List of Tables Table 1 .......................................................................................................................................... 52 Table 2. ......................................................................................................................................... 70   vi   Acknowledgements I would like to thank my advisor, Dr. Teresa Dobson, for her inspiration, support, guidance and meticulous editorial suggestions.  I would also like to thank the other member of my committee, Dr. Eric Meyers, for his insight and support. I am also grateful to my primary peer reviewers, PhD candidate Claire Ahn and M.A. candidate Roberta Loo, as well as my copy editors at The Writing Room for their editorial reviews and suggestions.  Special gratitude is owed to my parents; their support throughout my years of education has provided me with courage and opportunity to pursue my academic passion. My final word of thanks is owed to my partner, who asked me the fundamental question that  is  at  the  core  of  this  thesis:  “Why  do  you  study  literature?”   vii   Dedication  I dedicate this work in the memory of my grandfather, Sho-ichiro Baba, a dedicated railway man, an avid reader and passionate mountaineer from Hokkaido, Japan, whose greatest regret in life was not having had the chance to gain a University education.     1 1. Origin of Research Interest, Rationale and Significance  The story of Harry Potter has captured the hearts of many readers worldwide, creating strong emotional connections between the story, the characters, and its readers in the process. Magic  begins  to  flow  into  Harry  Potter’s  ordinary  and  mistreated  life  with  the  arrival  of  a  (single unexpected) letter, and this magic also flowed for millions of readers. As Harry delights in learning all things magical, readers of the book may share in the same great sense of joy, freedom, and exhilaration Harry feels at discovering this strange and fantastical world. The humour and imagination J. K. Rowling employs in creating this magical world give the story a loving and playful quality. In her MA thesis, The Harry Potter Phenomenon and its Implications for Literacy Education,  Jadranka  Novosel  argues  that  the  readers’  love  for  Harry  Potter  has  been  made visible, communicable and shared through the expansion of the Internet and the emergence of online communities such as various Harry Potter fan websites (Novosel 1, 64-65; Grossman n.pag.). Readers do not only enjoy Harry Potter books in the solitary act of reading, but also break out of that isolation and share their love and passion for the story in participatory online spaces.  My initial research focus was to examine morality in the Harry Potter series through Rowling’s   conception   of   love,   which   she   portrays   as   the   most   powerful   force   against   evil.  However, my interest shifted as I began to realise that it was not possible to gauge the impact the books have had on readers without examining readers’   responses to the stories. It was my impression that doing otherwise would be but to form conjectures, it would be an incomplete examination and observation of the phenomenon that is the Harry Potter series. In the realm of the  Internet,  readers’  responses  are  made  visible  to  fellow  readers  and  also have the potential to reach the authors of the original stories. It is safe to observe that social media has markedly   2 changed practices of reception and reader response to literary texts. Thus, Internet-based online fandom and fan writing—both analytical and imaginative—are important fields of research for those who are interested in examining literary reception and the production of reader response. In this thesis, I examine how the Harry Potter series   has   inspired   readers’   imagination   and  compelled them to exercise their creativity as well as their analytical ability in response to the story. During this process of reader response, which   consists   of   readers’   critical   reflection, accompanied by creative or analytical writing, readers now become writers—reader-writers as it were—in response to a story.  Readers employ a number of forms in responding: to point out some apparent forms, they may a) analyse the text critically; b) articulate personal response (e.g., explain what the books and characters have meant to them in their lives; how a certain book has affected them in coping with life, helped them in understanding themselves, and/or given them courage to take on adventures.): or readers may c) respond in a creative way (e.g., short story, video posts, musical compositions). While  my   investigation   of   reader   response   for   this   thesis   is   limited   to   readers’  written response to a text with varying degrees of the above mentioned three principal elements, a number of multimodal responses are evident: video trailers, images, and dramatizations, for example, come to mind. What ordinary (one may call recreational) readers focus on in the text may be different from what academics take up. Ultimately, reader response offers valuable insight into what reading and literature may mean to ordinary people in their everyday lives. By studying what kind of impact a character or a story could have on readers, we are better able to study how books may contribute to the emotional, moral, and critical maturity and growth of an individual.      3 2. Research Statement  This thesis will explore the dynamic and changing nature of reader response in the time of online fandom by examining the fan reception of, and response to, the character Dumbledore in the Harry Potter series.   In  her  article  titled  “Critical  Essay—ʻand the Story Goes On . . . ʼ: Harry   Potter   and   Online   Fan   Fiction,”   Vandana   Saxena   points   out   that   the   decade   in   which  Harry Potter series was published was also a decade in which technological progress changed the way readers could engage  with  a  book.  As  Saxena  argues,  “[t]he  advent  of  the  Internet  has  played  a  major  role  in  reshaping  the  dynamics  of  fandom  and  fan  communities”  (Saxena n.pag.) and, I would add, forever changed the face of reader reception to a literary text.  This thesis will pay particular attention to reader response in three key social media sites where Harry Potter fans post materials: The Leaky Cauldron, Mugglenet, and FanFiction.Net. The Harry Potter series has been selected as the emblematic literary case for this study because the publication of the series spans from 1997 to 2007, a time period which—as Novosel points out—uniquely parallels the timeline of the rise of online fandom within social media environments. While recognising the vast scope of areas that are available for examination for such a topic, for the purpose of this MA thesis, I focus on examinations of fan response to a single character: the all-powerful and benevolent philosopher-king and Headmaster, Professor Dumbledore. Some of the key moments of exchange between Rowling and the readerssuch as Rowling’s   exposé   of   Dumbledore’s   homosexualityhave centred on the character of Dumbledore, whom, Rowling has stated, often represents her authorial voice in the narrative (Mzimba). Thus, an examination of how Dumbledore’s decisions and identity appear at key moments, as well as how these moments could have been negotiated and interpreted between Rowling and readers, or between the text and reader response to it, is a constructive avenue for   4 the exploration of the topic proposed. The framework that I use for this analysis is largely based on a framework of reader reception theory established by Wolfgang Iser, and his theory is closely discussed in the literature review. While   Iser’s   theory   is   used   as   a   basis   for   my  investigation, it is a theory developed before the advent of online fandom. Therefore, I am also interested   to  know  how   Iser’s   theory   could  be  applied   to todays’   readers,  many  of  whom find their voice as readers in the online realm.     5 3. Literature Review My initial research revealed that, while there has been a variety of studies about the Harry Potter books from plethora of angles, there is a gap when it comes to connecting reader response theory to the world of online fandom created by Harry Potter readers. Reader response theory gained prevalence in the 1970s and 1980s and is characterised by its focus on readers as an essential part   of   literature’s   value   (Hawkins   410; Poyas 63). Patricia Harkins, in   “The  Reception of Reader-Response Theory,” states that readers response theorists are characterised by the primary question they ask upon examining literary experience: “what   actually   happens  when  a  person   encounters   a   text?”   (Harkin  410).  Harkins distinguishes reader-response theory from reception theory and defines the two as follows: reader response theory deals with a more general account of what happens when individual readers engage with a text, while reception theorists inquire into how a given text affects readers who fall into specific classes (such as women, working people in a certain area, or people who live in formerly colonialized part of the world) (Harkin 410-1). Harkins points to one of the leading reader-response theorists, Wolfgang Iser,  noting   that  “Iser’s   . . . emphasis on the transactional character of reading [is] particularly popular”   (Harkin   412-3), because it simultaneously allows for both the validity of authorial intention and an act of meaning making on the part of readers, who are working with a text within the textual confines of unknowable authorial intention (Harkin 412-3).  While there are many reader response literary theorists who have approached the subject of reader-text relationship from various angles (e.g., David Bleich, Norman Holland, Stanley Fish), in this thesis, my focus is on   the   theoretical   framework   provided   in   Wolfgang   Iser’s  writings on reader response theory. Iser conceptualises readers to be outside the confines of their historical and societal situations and this universal notion of readers is more suitable for   6 examining responses to Harry Potter books in online fan venues. This is because, in the online settings, it is not   possible   to   determine   with   any   certainty   the   respondents’   identities.  Furthermore,   Iserʼs   conceptualisation   of   gaps   and   indeterminacies   in   a   literary   text   provides a suitable starting point for the examination of fan fiction stories, through which readers endeavour to tell an untold story, challenging the boundaries presented by the original text (Iser, “Interaction”  57;;  Freund  147;;  Alter).   I have selected one of the most enigmatic characters in the Harry Potter books, Professor Dumbledore, as a case study in order to illuminate how both the text and readers may contribute to the identity formation of a singular character. To make the project manageable within the context   of   an   MA   thesis,   I   examine   four   key   attributes   of   Dumbledore’s   character: a) Dumbledore as the all-powerful and benevolent philosopher-king, the Gandalf of the story who offers wise words to conclude each volume (Teare 339-40); b) Dumbledore as a cold and calculating war general who keeps the grand strategy to himself; c) Dumbledore as a man who has been haunted by the ghosts of his past (Rowling, Deathly Hallows); d) Dumbledore as a queer character (Gendler 143). These  unique  aspects  of  Dumbledore’s  character  are  revealed  in  the texts, and also play a significant role in communication between fans, reader-writer and Rowling outside of the books. Sections 3, 4, and 5 examine these four key moments respectively. Notably, the last aspect, Dumbledore as a queer character, has raised turmoil among readers with regards to the rightful place of authorial input post-publication and this issue is discussed in Section 6 of this chapter.  3.1.  Iserʼs  Reader  Response  Theory   Patrocinio Schweickart and Elizabeth Flynn state that reader response theory emerged in the 1970s and 1980s among literary   theorists   who   wanted   to   examine   “the   various   roles   the    7 subjectivity  of  the  reader  play  in  the  production  of  the  meaning  of  the  text”  (3).  Fundamentally,  as Andrew Bennett argues, reader response theorists endeavour to bring light to these two questions:   “[w]ho  makes  meaning?”   (3)   and   “[w]here   is  meaning  made?”   (3).  Vincent   Leitch  states that while a spectrum of theorists can be housed under the roof of reader response criticism, one common argument they share is their criticism of the text-centred investigation of formalist theorists (Leitch 33). Instead, reader response theorists bring our attention to reader-orientated approaches in which texts can be understood as something dynamic and organic where the  convergence  of   texts  and  the  readers’  responses  to   texts  create  meaning  (Leitch 33). Leitch perceives this shift of focus from texts to the dynamic relationship between texts and readers as the shift to understand “[literature   as]   process,   not   product”   (Leitch   36).   Leitch   explains,  “[m]eaning   is   an  event, something that happens not on the page, where we are accustomed to look for it, but in the interaction between the flow of print (or sound) and the actively mediating consciousness of a reader-hearer”  (Leitch  36).  Some reader response theorists are influenced by the philosophy of phenomenology as well as by theorists such as Roman Ingarden, whose ideas later  had  a  strong  influence  on  Iser.  Ingarten  suggests  that  “[t]he  act  of  reading  is  a  concretisation  of the consciousness of the author: like a musical score, it has intention and form, but is only realised  in  the  act  of  performance”  (Green and LeBihan 188). Following this train of thought that takes us away from the text and the author, Keith Green and Jill LeBihan describe the emergence of reader response theory as the death of the author-god (207).  Andrew Bennett presents reading as an escape where readers are able to remove themselves from the world, from here and now (5). Bennett describes the processes of reading as a “dissolution   of   the   borders   of   self,   world   and   book”   (5).  When   engaged   in   the   activity   of  reading, readers may invite unfamiliar thoughts into their minds, thus “discover[ing] an inner   8 world  of  which  we  hitherto  [have]  not  been  conscious’”  (Freund  146).  Furthermore,  Bennett  also  points  out  that  an  individual  reader  is  also  a  “multiple”  reader  at  the  same  time, for upon each re-read, a reader may discover a new perspective and make different meanings of the text (Bennett 4). Kathleen Malu concurs with Bennett on this point that readers construct different meanings and have different experiences each time they re-read a text (77). Malu further emphasises that there  is  “no  one  right  way  to  read  a  text”  (77)  because  “readers  make  connections  to  their  past  experiences  and  create  their  own  meaning  from  the  written  word”  (77).  With  the  shift  of  focus  from texts and authorial intentions to readers and various meanings they make, reader response theorists endeavour to examine what it is exactly that happens when readers engage in the activity of reading. Reader response theorists, for instance, look at readers themselves and how their personal histories and individuality influence and bias their reading as well as how a text allows for different reception from each reader (Schweickart and Flynn 5; Schlaeger 316). An important point here is that reader response theorists, unlike text/author-intent orientated theorists, do not look at the subjectivity of readers as something negative that must be eliminated with care (Schweickart and Flynn 5).  As mentioned above, in this thesis, I rely on Wolfgang Iser’s conception of the reader-text relationship as a key literary theory that is particularly relevant in the examination of Harry Potter books and Harry Potter online fandom. Admittedly, when Iser first developed his reader response theory in the 1970s, readers did not have access to computers and online communities. However,  I  believe  that  Iserʼs  theory  is  quite  relevant  for  the  purpose  of  this  thesis’ investigation because his understanding of literary text as a convergence point of reader-author intercourse is oddly applicable to how online fandom functions today (Iser,   “Reading”   280). Iser conceptualises  a  literary  text  as  “something  like  an  arena  in  which  reader  and author participate   9 in a game of the imagination”  (emphasis  added)  (“Reading”  280).  Social  media  spaces  such  as  Mugglenet may be viewed as arenas in which that game of the imagination is made explicit. Iser points out that, when readers truly engage their creativity and imagination with a literary text, the text becomes their   temporary   reality   (“Reading”   280,   284), allowing readers a chance to experience thoughts and feelings they otherwise might not in their real lives (Schlaeger 320-1). Jurgen Schlaeger  theorises  that  Iser  perceives  literature  as  humanity’s  feeble  attempt  at  desiring  to know the unknowable and articulating matters that are unsayable, an attempt at offering its readers   “the   chance   to   transcend   their   limitedness   .   .   .   [albeit]   in   the   provisionality of fictionalizing” (Schlaeger 320). In other words, Iser sees the true value of a literary text in this coming   together   of   readers’   imagination   with   a   text, with literary texts offering readers an opportunity for transcending the limited experiences and understanding of the self (“Reading”  284-5; Schlaeger 321). Online fandom seems to offer readers a space in which the literary arena is populated not just by the singular reader and author, but by multiple, plural readers and authors. By examining fan activities, particularly fan writings on online fan sites, I endeavour to identify how the participatory culture and community created by fans extend the notion of reading that Iser presents—namely, the notion of the literary text as an arena of imagination.  To put Wolfgang Iser in context of other reader response theorists, I turn to Yangling Shiʼs  “Reviews  of  Wolfgang  Iser  and  His  Reception  Theory,”  in  which  Iser’s  theory  is  examined alongside Romance-scholar Hans Robert Jauss (Shi 982). Unlike the then mainstream studies of literary theory, which focused solely on the authorial intent and the texts, both scholars were concerned  with  bringing  the  literary  theorists’  attention  towards the text-reader relationship (Shi 982). However, while Jauss was concerned with how the historical, cultural, and social background of readers affected their interpretations of the texts, Iser took a more   10 phenomenological approach, showing interest in how an individual makes connections with a text   outside   the   confines   of   one’s   historical   and   cultural   boundaries   (Shi   982).   Criticizing   the  traditional formalist approach, which asserts that textual meaning can be clarified and made known to readers only through vigorous examination of the text and authorial intent, Iser argues that meaning can be actualised through a reader who makes a connection between the text and oneself (Shi 982). Through such re-evaluation of the act of reading by reader response theorists, the traditional approach that understood texts to be the only valid object of examination is displaced by a different method of investigation. This new method is one where an act of reading is taken to be an important focal point of literary investigation (Shi 982). Unlike Jauss who, as noted earlier, is more concerned with situating readers in a historical and cultural background, or Norman Holland, who is concerned with empirically examining a particular  reader’s response to a particular text, Iser imagines readers in a more abstract sense (Shi 983-4). That is, Iser’s readers are predisposed to be affected by a written text even when we consider them outside the confines of their historical and cultural situations because to be affected by literary creations is something intrinsic in human culture (Shi 983-4; Schlaeger 316-7).  Shi notes that Iser draws upon the theory of J. L. Austin and perceives the act of reading as  a  process  in  which  “the  author’s  words  . . . provid[e] instructions to the reader, who [then] acts to  fill  in  the  gaps  and  blanks  inevitably  encountered  in  any  serious  literary  text”  (Shi  984).  These  “gaps,   blanks,   indeterminacies   and   the in-between   status   of   literary   texts”   (Shi   984)   occupy   a  central   place   in   Iser’s   conception   of   reader-text relationship (Shi 984). According to Iser, the literary work is truly meaningful to human life when meaning is created though the collaboration between  a   text  and  readers,  where   the   text   is   the  author’s   imaginative  contribution  and  readers  give their imaginative contribution in a more dynamic and fluid manner through their act of   11 reading (Shi 983). In regard to these textual indeterminacies, Elizabeth Freund brings to our attention that, under   Iserʼs   conceptualisation,   a text neither defends itself   against   a   reader’s  misinterpretations, nor does it present a reader with a clearly defined meaning (Freund 146). Because of this particular quality, readers in  Iserʼs  theory  are enabled to read between the lines, give voice to unwritten parts of the story and fill in the unspoken words for characters (Freund 146). This, of course, is exactly what reader-writers do in the realm of online fandom: we might say they enact the act of reading as described by Iser. In sum, Iser believes the process of meaning-making of a literary text is actualised through an intricate interaction between a text and a   reader,   “a  mutually   restrictive   and  magnifying   interaction   between explicit and the implicit, between   revelation   and   concealment”   (Iser   24).   It should be noted that Iser suggests that the written words of a text impose certain limitations on manifolds of possible interpretations and  thus what is explicitly written prevents the unwritten yet implied meaning of the text from becoming infinite (Iser 51). In short, while hidden gaps within a text inspire readers to bridge those gaps, in what possible ways these gaps can be bridged is controlled to some extent by what texts reveal to readers (Iser 24). Arguably, these constraints texts impose upon readers prevents Iser’s   reader   response   theory   from  becoming   too  all-encompassing and slipping into what one may  call  an  “all  readings  are  correct”  approach  (Freund  146). In   “The  Peripatetic  Reader:  Wolfgang   Iser   and   the  Aesthetics  of  Reception,”  Elizabeth  Freund observes above that, for Iser, the gaps and uncertainties a literary text presents open doors for an interpreting reader to engage their creative imagination and become co-authors of the  literary  work  in  question  (Freund  147).  In  “An  Introduction  to  Reader-Response  Criticism,”  Jane Tompkins likewise suggests   that   Iser   perceives   readers   “as co-creator[s] of the [literary] work”  (xv),  who  in  the  processes  of  reading  supply a part of the story “which  is  not  written  but    12 only   implied   [in  a   text]”   (xv).  As repeated above, Iser maintains that a true value of a literary work is actualised in the process of reader responsein the process of textual possibilities taking one particular shape upon a moment of meaning-making in the hands of a reader (Tompkins xv). Tompkins argues that reader response theorists such as Iser have brought reader response of a literary text into critical prominence; more significantly still, they have successfully established and bestowed value in the process of reading rather than the literary text itself (Tompkins xvi).  With regards to the author-reader relationship, Iser speculates that some writers deliberately leave room for   readers’   imagination—perhaps  as  a  sign  of   respect   for   the  readers’  understanding  (“Interaction”  50).   Iser  uses   the  metaphor  of   two  people   looking  up  at   the  night  sky  making   out   different   images   in   the   same   group   of   stars   (“Interaction”   57). In   Iser’s   own words,   “[t]he   ‘stars’   in   a   literary   text   . . . [are]   fixed;;   the   lines   that   join   them   are   variable”  (“Interaction”   57).   In   other  words,   it   is   in   the hands of individual readers to connect the dots provided by the text in a way that makes sense to them. Iser expands on this point and goes further, asserting that  reading  is  “a  pleasure”  (“Interaction”  51)  when  the  act  of  reading  compels  the readers to employ their imagination and work through the knots of dots and gaps the text provides  (“Interaction”  51). In the later chapters of this thesis, I examine how online venues that are readily accessible for readers as an arena in which they share their literary experiences with fellow readers take the imaginative act of reading further. Markedly, the birth of the participatory culture within the Harry Potter fan community required great collaboration among readers across many borders to connect with each other and share their understandings and passion; in conjunction  with  these  readers’  desire  to  come  together, many of these readers utilise the avenue of online fan sites as a catalyst to become writers of the story they so love.    13 Iser   makes   an   excellent   point   when   he   quotes   Virginia   Woolf’s   observation   on   the  writing   style   of   Jane   Austin   and   how   Austin’s   texts   illuminate   “[t]he   extent   to   which   the  ‘unwritten’  part  of  a  text  stimulates  the  reader’s  creative  participation”  (“Interaction”  51): Jane Austen is thus a mistress of much deeper emotion than appears upon the surface. She stimulates us to supply what is not there. What she offers is, apparently,   a   trifle,   yet   is   composed   of   something   that   expands   in   the   reader’s  mind and endows with the most enduring form of life scenes which are outwardly trivial. . . . The turns and twists of the dialogue keep us on the tenterhooks of suspense. Our attention is half upon the present moment, half upon the future. And when, in the end, [a protagonist] . . . behaves in such a way as to vindicate our highest hopes of her, we are moved as if we had been made witnesses of a matter of the highest importance. Here, indeed, in this unfinished and in the main inferior   story,   are   all   the   elements   of   Jane   Austen’s   greatness.   It   has   the  permanent quality of literature (emphasis added). (Woolf) Drawing  on  Virginia  Woolf’s  observation  of  Jane Austin, Iser explains that when a gap arises from a seemingly trivial dialogue, such a gap inspires readers to fill in the unwritten part (“Interaction”  51).  Iser  states  that, in  such  cases,  readers  are  “drawn  into  the  events  and  made  to  supply what is meant from what is not said [and] [w]hat is said only appears to take on significance as a reference to what is not; it is the implications and not the statements that give shape  and  weight   to   the  meaning”   (“Interaction”  51).  A  literary  work’s   true  value  does not lie solely upon the original literary text itself, nor does it exclusively lie upon the multiple possibilities   of   readers’   creation   (the   interpreted   and   changed   version   of   the   text),   but   it   is  discovered within the process of the former inspiring the  latter  (Iser,  “Interaction”  50).   14 Revisiting the argument that is briefly mentioned above with regards to a relationship between a reader and a text in the moment of reading, reader response theorists such as Iser observe that the extraordinary power of a book lies in how the barriers between a reader and a text fall apart as a reader gets inside the story and the text’s   reality   become   that   of   a   reader  (Freund 137; Iser,   “Reading”   280,   284). Freund argues in her review of Iser’s  works   that   for  reader  response  theorists  such  as  Iser,  a  book  is  an  “inert  object”  (137)  with  “mute  materiality”  (137); a book requires reading consciousness to intervene in order for its actualisation as something more organic and dynamic (Freund 137).   Freund   eloquently   explains   that  when   “a  book  has  entered  the  shelter  of  the  reader’s  innermost  self  and  the  reader  begins  to  play  host  to  this other consciousness, an astonishing intimacy develops in which the barriers between subject and object fall away”  (Freund  137).   In  other  words,  for   Iser,  when  readers  open  themselves  up  and are caught in the midst of a literary text, their own sense of present is overtaken by the immediate experience of the text and for the moment, the text becomes their present (“Interaction”  64).  In  a  sense,  the  fictional  illusion  of  a  story,  however  transient, becomes their mental  reality  during  the  process  of  reading  (“Interaction”  64).  Iser  states,  “something  happens  to  us   [readers]”   (Iser,   “Interaction”   65)   during   a   process of reading, but readers cannot know objectively what transformations they undergo in the course of that process (“Interaction”  64).  Iser points out that, due to our incapacity to carry out an impartial examination from outside of our own consciousness of what happens to us during the course of reading, we often turn to other readers in order to discuss and compare the experiences—especially when a book touches us deeply   (“Interaction”   64).   Such   discussions,   Iser   believes,   bring   aspects   of   a   text   to readers’  consciousness that  would  otherwise  stay  buried  in  their  subconscious  (“Interaction”  64).  In  this  era, online fan sites allow readers to post their responses to a text and receive feedback: here, the   15 process of communication among readers that Iser discusses above is made visible to observers. A field of observation, as it were, is offered for students of reader response theory in the age of the Internet when it is possible for readers to create a participatory community around a particular literary text, where dialogues between readers and even between an author and readers is made possible due to the power of the Internet (Borah 344). 3.2.  The Rise of Social Media and its Implication to Reader Response Theory  Jadranka Novosel rightly notes that fan-produced stories have possibly existed for as long as story-telling itself has existed in a shape of oral narratives (Novosel 56); in a way, the minute a reader or a listener wonders and asks the question what if, vast possibilities of fan-fictions spring into being (Novosel 57-8). Yet, as  Bronwen  Thomas  points  out  in  an  article  titled  “What Is Fanfiction and Why Are People Saying Such Nice Things about It?”,  it  is  only  recently  with  the expansion of the Internet and its immersion within the population that fans have gained the ability to connect with vast communities of people who share the same interests and to receive immediate   feedback   to   their   comments   or   stories   (2).   In   Thomas’s   own   words,   “fanfiction  remained a daily underground and marginalized activity until the advent of digital technologies and   the   [Internet]”   (Thomas   2).   The  most   notable point Thomas makes here is that with the expansion of the Internet, clear boundaries between authors and readers have started to blur and at times are challenged (2). For instance, dialogues between an author and readers through a book’s  official  website have brought a new angle to an investigation of the relationship between a text and readers (Thomas 15-6).  Thomas  calls  for  having  a  closer  look  at  “what  fans  do  with  their   texts”   (Thomas15)   because   such an investigation illuminates what motivates readers to respond to literary texts (Thomas 15-6).  On  readers,  Thomas  notes  that  fans  prefer  “continuity  . . . over   closure”   (10)   in   regards   to   their   favourite   texts;;   in   a   sense,   readers’  participation   in   the    16 creative process, by contributing fan fiction for example, is a way of expressing their desire to keep a literary text  alive  as  long  as  possible  as  an  eternal  “work  in  progress”  (Thomas  9).   The second most influential source for this research is that of Vandana Saxena, who examines how the expansion of online fan activities blurs the strict distinction between an author and a reader (Saxena n.pag.). In many ways, Saxena observes, online fandom, especially fanfiction  sites,  have  “undo[ne]  the  binary  distinction  between  the  writer  and  the  reader”  (Saxena n.pag.). In light of this blurring boundary between readers and writers, Saxena looks at online fandom  as  “a  site  of  defiance,  deviance  and  resistance  where  young  fans  negotiate  through  the  gaps in the official story line and open the text to the demands of individual readership and concerns”   (Saxena n.pag.). For example, readers imagine the past, alternative present, and various futures for different characters and in this “endless  play  of  narratives,  the  source  text  is  constantly deconstructed, its apparatus taken apart and reassembled with new meanings supplied by   the   fans   and   fan   communities”   (Saxena n.pag.). In response to the process of textual deconstruction and re-creation, questions of authorial authority (note the sense of ownership implicit in the root  “author”)  and  the  potentiality  of  readers’  authorship  (creative  liberty),  along  with questions of how these issues have been greatly affected and meaning changed by the spread of technology, have arisen (Saxena n.pag.).  Saxena further observes that the traditional power dynamic between adult authors and child readerswhere control lies in the hands of adult creatorshas been disrupted by the influx of Internet fan space that bridged what used to be a clear-cut divide between adult-authors and child readers (Saxena n.pag.). What Saxena perceives as crucial is how the Internet has created a place for young readers to escape from adult supervision as well as censure from the eyes of others and explore new ways of expressing their concerns, curiosities, and passion (Saxena   17 n.pag.). Saxena draws upon a comment of a fan writer who describes fan sites as a place where reader-writers  can  collectively  agree  to  “suspend  shame”  in  favour  of  exploring  their  potentiality  as a writer and a story-teller outside the restrictions of the conventional publishing world (Saxena n.pag.).   Catherine   Tosenberger   affirms   this   point   and   argues:   “the   identity-bending, pseudonymous nature of online fannish discourse affords fans a certain measure of concealment, which proves especially valuable for young fans who fear the consequences of expressing [for example] non-hetero-normative   desires”   (“Homosexuality”   190). Tosenberger emphasises the dominantly all-encompassing atmosphere of Harry Potter fandom that makes up “a lively, intellectually   stimulating,   and   tolerant   interpretive   community”   (202).   One of the areas of exploration that gained popularity within the fandom is slash fan fiction, in which readers explore and express their interests in romance between same-sex characters such as Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy or Sirius Black and Remus Lupin (Saxena n.pag.). Tosenberger argues that the freedom the online world gives young readers is valuable, especially when they desire to explore the narrative of sexuality because online fan communities are not subjected to the restrictions of limited sensibilities and comfort zones of adult controlled environment such as schools (202). In a way, the digital space enables readers to take control of their own literary experience, by sharing their thoughts on a literary text with other readers in an environment that is tolerant, welcoming, and anonymous (Saxena n.pag.). Therefore, if readers are to venture out as fan writers, the digital spaces of online fan communities provides an environment similar to a work-shop, which enables readers to play and experiment with the story while also allowing them to practice articulating their own story and to receive feedbacks from those who love the same story they do (Saxena n.pag.).    18 In an article  titled  “The  Weird  World  of  Fan  Fiction,”  Alexandra  Alter  echoes  Wolfgang  Iserʼs  words  and  argues  that “[f]ictional  worlds,  while  they  appear  solid,  are  riddled  with  blank  spots   and   unexpected   surfaces   .   .   .   Itʼs   human   nature   to   press   at   the   boundaries   of   stories,   to  scrabble  at  the  edges,  to  want  to  know  what's  going  on  just  out  of  range  of  the  camera”  (Alter). She  points   to   literary  works   such   as  Gregory  Maguireʼs  Wicked, adapted from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz,  Geraldine  Brooksʼs March, the untold story of the father of the March sisters from Louisa  May  Alcottʼs  Little Women, or  even  E.  L.  James’  Fifty Shades of Grey, initially written as a homage to Twilight as  a  fan  fiction  piece  titled  “Master  of  the  Universe,”  and  argues  that  fan  fiction writing has become so prevalent because it gives readers freedom to push the boundaries and limitations of the original story and to take control over their own literary experience, while at the same time, offering an homage to and a critique of the original story (Alter). Bringing the focus of discussion from the general prevalence of online fandom to Harry Potter online fandom, Tosenberger asserts that responses to the Harry Potter books from the online fandom are testaments to the great cultural impact of the literary series as well  as  readers’  deep immersion in the texts (“Oh”  200).  She  argues  that  “[o]nline  Potter  fandom is an invaluable repository   of   the   creative   and   critical   responses   of   the   series’   most   dedicated   and   engaged  readers”  (Tosenberger,  “Oh” 200). On this point, Saxena  eloquently  states  that,  “[t]he  decade  of  publication of the [Harry Potter] series coincides with the rapid emergence of the digital space, the spread of Internet technology and the development of the World Wide Web . . . [a]nd the growing   Potter   fandom   came   to   be   intricately   linked   with   the   emerging   cyber   technologies”  (Saxena n.pag.). Novosel concurs and summarises that the growth of the Harry Potter books’  popularity and readership was greatly advanced by the dramatic expansion of fan-sites into a medium that we know now that paralleled the Harry Potter’s  10-year arc (Novosel 51).    19 Novosel notes that during the publication of The Philosopher’s   Stone, Rowling has managed   to   stir   her   readers’   imaginations   and   encourage further anticipation through her admission that there were seven books in the series, with the final manuscript being held in a safety deposit box (Novosel 51). This disclosure allowed for increased mystery and suspense at each subsequent book release (Novosel 51). Novosel further observes that the Harry Potter books perhaps presented a particularly visible reader reception, because the hiatus between book releases offered added incentives for ardent fans to talk to each other while waiting for the next instalment of the series to be published (51). Both Saxena and Novosel speculate that the progression of the Harry Potter series paralleled the expansion of online fandom in such a way partly because during the course of ten years as the series continued, the presence of the Harry Potter online community provided an easily accessible public space for ardent readers to exchange ideas about the story and compare their own creative works based on Harry Potter books, consequently leading to further growth of online fandom (Saxena n.pag.; Novosel 51).  Furthermore,   Rowling’s   particular   style   of   writing   itself,   which   leaves   enough   textual gaps  to  sustain  readers’  curiosity  and  to  keep  them  wanting  to  explore  the  possible  “behind  the  scene”   stories   to   fill   in   those   gaps,   perhaps contributed to encouraging fan writing (Saxena n.pag.). According to Saxena, there are over 600 million Internet archives that deal with Harry Potter stories from discussion forums to fan-fiction web siteswith fanfiction.net alone containing over 500,000 Harry Potter inspired fanfiction storiesat   the   point   of   Saxena’s  research in 2002 (Saxena n.pag.). The forms of response from the fans range from fan fiction stories, to artwork, to YouTube videos (Novosel 51). To sum up, Harry Potter fan sites have offered  “a  welcoming  environment”  (Novosel  51)  for  readers  to  create  “a  sense  of  community”  (Novosel 53) with fellow readers, people with whom they would never have interacted with, had   20 it not been for their commitment to Harry Potter series (Novosel 53). In short, online fandom has allowed readers to take control of their own literary experiences. 3.3.  Dumbledore the Philosopher-King  In order to conduct a case study of reader response to the Harry Potter stories, the focus of this investigation is centred on the character of Dumbledore. In order to give context to the analysis of writings by reader-writers in later sections, this section first examines the textual analysis of the character of Dumbledore. In an interview, Rowling admits that Dumbledore often represents her authorial voice and Dumbledore is arguably the primary moral voice in the story (Mizimba). Throughout the series, Rowling presents love and compassion as the most powerful magic through the voice of Dumbledore (e.g.  Bassham,  “Love”). By presenting love as magic, Rowling offers readers the possibility of experiencing magic in our real—“Muggle”—world. Rowling portrays Dumbledore as the philosopher-king who binds the moral principle of the story. She has Dumbledore champion as his moral mantra—Dumbledore philosophy—that love is the strongest weapon the good side has against the forces of evil (Rowling, Order 726; Rowling Half-blood 443, 476). I would argue that the Harry Potter series is first and foremost a love story: not a love story in a traditional sense that depicts the romantic love of a couple, but the story strongly upholds the value of love between family members, between teachers and students, and among friends and allies. Such love is often presented as a definitive moral guidance of goodness. For example, Dumbledore’s   faith   in   the   power   of   love   is   strongly  highlighted in the scene where he reveals to Harry the true circumstances of his parents, Lily and James,’   death.   As   a   philosopher-king who concludes the story with his words of wisdom, Dumbledore reiterates to Harry at the end of The  Philosopher’s   Stone that love can bring out “magic   at   its   deepest   and   most   impenetrable”   (Rowling,   Philosopher 311); Dumbledore also   21 reveals   to  Harry   that  when  Lily  Potter   sacrificed  her  own   life   to   save  Harry’s,  her   act   of   self-sacrifice placed an immensely powerful magical protection on Harry, making him untouchable to Voldemort (Rowling, Philosopher 216). Unsurprisingly, given the strong portrayal of Dumbledore as the moral centre of the story, most adult characters in the text are portrayed to have strong respect for and deference towards Dumbledore, and so do the students at Hogwarts who exhibit admiration, respect, and awe towards their Headmaster. It is then quite natural that readers follow suit and look up to Dumbledore to exhibit stellar moral judgements. Julia Pond, for example, observes that to many readers Dumbledore is the voice that speaks of the value of free choice and wisdom of learning from the consequences of making those choices (Pond 193). While Dumbledore seems to take care of the good of all and watch over the magical world as a whole, Rowling places particular emphasis on Dumbledore’s   relationship with Harry.   Harry’s   trust   and   allegiance towards Dumbledore do not waiver until his death at the end of The Half-Blood Prince. Harry’s  strong  and unwavering loyalty towards Dumbledore is arguably an anchor and a guide for readers to place in turn their trust in the character of Dumbledore—his judgments and benevolence. This is significant since as readers’  responses show that they, alongside Harry and his companions, have revered Dumbledore without question until the publication of The Deathly Hallows. In light of such loyalty Harry sustains, Dumbledore, in return, shows great affection towards Harry, which perhaps incites further confidence in readers to strengthen their conviction in Dumbledore’s   benevolence.   In  The Order of Phoenix, Dumbledore confesses that he cares about Harry too much to the point that he may have disregarded the safety of others at the expense  of  Harry’s  safety  and  happiness (Rowling, Order 739):  “I  cared  more  for  your  happiness  than your knowing the truth[, I cared] . . . more for your life than the lives that might be lost if   22 the plan [to swart  Voldemort]  failed”  (Rowling,  Order 739). This desire to protect those who are dear to oneself even at the expense of others may be considered selfish. However, one may also argue that this confession portrays natural feelings of those who love deeply and characterises Dumbledore as an individual who is less lofty, less god-like, and someone more human. Perhaps, it is the trust and affection Dumbledore displays towards Harry that allows readers to uncover the man behind the mask of a Headmaster, the one who is caring yet, keeps his distance from the every-day business of ordinary students. Preliminary examination showed that while Dumbledore is mentioned by many of the reader-writers as a mentor and a father figure for Harry, they demonstrated deeper interests in his character after the publication of The Deathly Hallows. The examination of analytical pieces posted by readers such as Caltheous and Ib4075 support my observation that the   darker   side   of   Dumbledore’s   past, revealed in The Deathly Hallows, stirred a phenomenal amount of discussions among readers. 3.4.    Dumbledore’s  Fall  from  the Pedestal As mentioned above, The Deathly Hallows reveals a shadowy past that has haunted the almighty Dumbledore (Rowling, Deathly 146), and while the revelation of his tragic family history  invites  readers’  sympathy,  Dumbledoreʼs  darker,  sinister, and manipulative side calls for a re-evaluation of his character. Perhaps, in the process of reading The Deathly Hallows, the unfailing trust that readers (alongside Harry) have placed in Dumbledore is questioned, tested, and possibly, for some, broken. For example, on many occasions when faced with a difficult choice,  Dumbledore  seems  to  make  decisions  (such  as  planning  Harry’s  possible  death)  that  put  his morality into question. In fact, it is uncertain whether Rowling intentionally created a narrative that does not reveal  too  much  of  the  workings  of  Dumbledore’s  heart  and  mind  in order to keep his character more mysterious. Either way, this newfound depth of character in The   23 Deathly Hallows provides the opportunity for reader-writers to fill in the gaps, encouraging them to imagine, for example, Dumbledore’s  childhood and his family life, and connect textual facts to these fan fabricated events in order to understand the experiences that shaped the man in the text.  On   Dumbledore’s   moral   ambiguity,   for   example,   Harry discovers in The Deathly Hallows that  Dumbledore’s  unusual  partiality  for  Harry  is  harboured because Dumbledore takes the time to get to know the younger man in order to prepare him as the leader in the approaching war against Voldemort. To increase the mystery surrounding Dumbledore’s  true  feelings  towards  Harry even further, Rowling introduces the character of AberforthDumbledore’s   estranged  brotherwho challenges Harry by pointing out the possibility that he himself is an expendable pawn   in  Albus’   grand  plan   (Rowling,  Deathly 453).  Aberforth   speaks   bitterly   of   his   brother’s  ability   to  manipulate   others:   “I   know  my   brother,   Potter.   He   learned   secrecy   at   our  mother’s  knee. Secrets and lies,  that’s  how  we  grew  up,  and  Albus  . . . he  was  a  natural  (emphasis  added)”  (Rowling, Deathly 453).  Secondly,  Harry  learns  the  bitter  truth  that  Dumbledore’s  “love”  for  him  has not stopped his mentor from keeping some very important truths from him; for example, Dumbledore never reveals to Harry his suspicion that Harry is likely the seventh Horcrux and that he deduces that Harry’s   death may be inevitable in order to bring upon Voldemort ‘s  downfall (Rowling, Deathly 550-2). While it may be his pity that prevents Dumbledore from being forthcoming, due to the fact that he desires not to over-burden Harry and wishes him to be able to embrace life without the knowledge of his impending death, it is also true that Dumbledore does not give Harry the freedom of choice to decide for himself on this matter (Rowling, Deathly 550-2). Although some might argue that Dumbledore’s  assumption  that Harry might  survive  Voldemort’s  killing  curse is correct, I would argue that the possibility  of  Harry’s    24 survival is dependent on a specific chain of event, unfathomable by the majority of readers and characters alike (Rowling, Deathly 591-5).   Therefore,   it   is   natural   that   Dumbledore’s  ruthlessness  in  arranging  his  protégé’s  possible  death causes readers, along with Harry himself, to  call  Dumbledore’s  morality into question (Rowling, Deathly 550-2). In a sense, readers begin to discover that while Rowling presents Dumbledore as the primary conveyer of the message of the importance of love and loyalty, he himself is not necessarily depicted as the one who embodies this ideal. Regarding Dumbledoreʼs   cold   and   sinister   side, Pond observes a master story-teller in Rowling who plants seeds of criticism of her own characters within the text; on the one hand, Rowling sets Dumbledore up as the person who withholds information from others in the name of their own protection, while on the other hand, she simultaneously offers criticism of Dumbledore’s   treatment   of   knowledge   through the re-construction of his character in The Deathly Hallows (Pond 203). Pond observes that Dumbledore reveals only the most necessary information to those who work with him in order to ensure the success of a mission, potentially risking the lives of those around him and preventing them from making fully informed decisions (Pond 192, 203). Echoing the words of Aberforth, Pond perceives a calculating aspect to the relationship between Harry and Dumbledore, as Dumbledore places himself in a position of a mentor to Harry, and with his control of information, manipulates Harry into acting in a manner that fits the master plan (192, 203). Rowling, however, illustrates how  Dumbledore’s  censorship, instead of protecting Harry from the fear and the burden of knowledge, brings a false sense of security, which ultimately hampers his ability to assess the situations correctly (Pond 204). Being deprived of crucial information, Harry finds himself incorrect in his assessment of certain   25 situations as demonstrated most acutely in the tragic calamity at the Department of Mysteries (Pond 204).  The fiasco at the Department of Mysteries is brought about by a series of well-intentioned but misguided actions on the part of Dumbledore, Sirius, and Harry. At the beginning of The Order of Phoenix,  Harry  comes  to  regard  Sirius  as  “a  mixture  of  father  and  brother”  (Rowling,  Order 733)   and   both   Harry   and   Sirius’   mutual   determination   to   protect   each   other   becomes  leverage that Voldemort can exploit to his advantage (Rowling, Goblet 200).  Knowing  that  “the  person Sirius cared most about in the world was [Harry and] . . . that the one person for whom [Harry]  would  go   to  any   lengths   to   rescue  was  Sirius”  (Rowling,  Order 733), Voldemort lures Harry out into the Department of Mysteries by making Harry believe that Sirius is kept captive and tortured there (Rowling, Order 723). Dumbledore is aware of the possibility that Voldemort might plan such an attack had been known to Dumbledore; however, he chooses not to disclose this possibility to Harry (Rowling, Order 708). In fact, Dumbledore himself later acknowledges this error in his judgment: If I had been open with you Harry as I should have been, you would have known a long time ago that Voldemort might try and lure you to the Department of Mysteries and Sirius would not have had to come after you. That blame lies with me, and with me alone. (Rowling, Order 708) While  Dumbledore’s  humility  in  admitting  his  mistake  appears graceful, his secretive nature and almost obsessively controlling demeanour challenges readers to re-evaluate his character, revealing aspects of self-righteousness and manipulation to the point of putting the lives of other in danger.    26 Williams and Kellner compare Dumbledore to Plato and argue that Dumbledore lives in a stormy age in which he becomes witness to the rise of not only one but two dark wizards (Williams  and  Kellner  129).  Dumbledore’s  experience  with   the   rise  and   fall  of  Grindelwald,  a dark wizard  who  was  Dumbledore’s  childhood  friend,  makes Dumbledore acknowledge his own demon—his strong desire for power (Williams and Kellner 129-30, 137-8). After this realisation, Dumbledore chooses to shy away from seeking power in the world of politics himself (although he remains involved in politics as an indirect advisor) and instead follow the path of education (Williams and Kellner 129-30, 137-8). However, critics—while rarerquestion Dumbledore as an educator and criticise the alleged disconnection he has with his students. For example, Holly Blackford notes that Dumbledore   fails   to   address   Tom  Riddle’s   “complicated,  motivated   evil  arising  from  the  deepest  unmet  longings  of  childhood”  (155).  The  question  Blackford  raises  here  is why Dumbledore—a teacher who champions nurture over nature and the importance of individual   choices  over   one’s  origin  or   ancestry—has failed to reach out to Tom Riddle (163, 171).  Blackford  wonders  whether  Tom  Riddle’s  malice  and  cruelty  could  possibly  have  taken  a  different turn if he were given a chance, especially at an earlier stage in his life (170). Blackford continues to contemplate the fact that Dumbledore did not take the time to facilitate a close relationship as he does with Harry, especially considering Dumbledore was concerned about Tom Riddle’s  violent  instincts  (170).  Blackford  further  questions  Hogwarts’  school  system that refused to address the darker elements of child phycology directly, consequently allowing aggressive if not outright threatening social behaviours such as bullying to thrive beyond the confines of a classroom (Blackford 171). Blackford’s  criticism invites us to turn a critical eye towards Dumbledore apparent inaction in the face of this systematic shortcoming within Hogwarts that feeds the overall neglect, or perhaps indifference, on   the   teachers’   part   to the   27 reality of educating Hogwarts students students with the specially trained capability to do real harm if they were to act upon their dark monstrous desires (Blackford 171-72). Likewise, Beth Admiraal and Regan Lance  Reitsma  point  to  Dumbledore’s  apparent  lack  of interest in protecting his students from the mental and physical abuse inflicted by their teachers (121). Admiraal and Reitsma observe how Dumbledore allows a significant degree of bullying either among students or worse still, bullying of students by teachers to go unpunished (or perhaps unnoticed) on school grounds (119, 121); after all, it is arguably his moral obligation as a Headmaster to intervene in order to protect the well being of students under his care (119, 121).   Admiraal   and   Reitsma   also   criticise   Dumbledore’s   conspicuous   absence   in   the   earlier  period  of  Harry’s  life  and  question  Dumbledore’s  rationale  for  leaving  Harry  with  the  Dursleys  as the lack of contact or reassurance that someone is watching over him prevents Harry from attaining a sense of hope for the future (119). An in-depth examination of some of the critical opinion pieces written by readers reveals that readers have struggled to understand these more questionable aspects of  Dumbledoreʼs  character.  3.5.    Dumbledore’s  Sexuality   Tamar Szabo Gendler,   in   the  article   titled  “Is  Dumbledore  Gay?  Who’s  to  say?,”  sheds light on the remarkable public announcements J. K. Rowling made about Dumbledore, a declaration of his homosexuality, which stirred many responses ranging from celebration and support to condemnation and outrage. In an interview conducted in 2007 at Carnegie Hall in New York, when asked by one reader whether Dumbledore—the great champion of the power of love—has ever found love himself, Rowling answered positively, but added a little twist mentioning   that   she   “always   thought  of  Dumbledore   as   gay”   (Gendler   143).   It   is important to note that the announcement   of  Dumbledore’s   sexuality   took   place   after the publication of the   28 seventh book (Novosel 22). By  illustrating  Dumbledore’s  friendship  with  Gellert  Grindelwald  to  have been romantically motivated, what Rowling revealed in the Carnegie Hall interview gave deeper nuance   to   Dumbledore’s   complexity, prompting readers to re-examine   Dumbledore’s  behaviours in a different light (Bassham,   “Choices” 166). In the face of a   sister’s   death   that  ensued his relationship with Grindelwald, the realisation dawns on Dumbledore, Rowling explains, that he completely lost control of his moral compass when he fell in love with Grindelwald and as  a  consequence  of,  Dumbledore  became  “very  distrusting  of  his  judgment  in  matters  of  the  heart  and  decided  to  live  a  celibate  and  scholarly  life”  (Bassham,  “Choices” 166-7).  Gendler notes that  the  reaction  to  Rowling’s  announcement  was  immediate  and  powerful;;  in the first forty-eight hours, almost 3,000 comments were posted on The Leaky Cauldron and over 2,500 posts on Mugglenet, in addition to the news coverage in Time, Newsweek, New York Times and other major newspapers across the world (Gendler 143). Naturally, not all readers were   happy   with   Rowling’s   extra-textual announcement, and the announcement itself stirred discussions amongst readers and academics around the issue of what Tosenberger refers to as the “canonicity”textually impliedof  Dumbledore’s  homosexuality  (Tosenberger,  “Oh” 201). In the centre of this discussion lies a question of authorial control as ordinary readers and academics alike question just how much control an author should have over a text after the story is published and concluded (Tosenberger,  “Oh”  202).  While  some  readers  perceived  Rowling’s  announcement  as   an  author’s  kind  gesture   to  connect  with  her   readers  by  providing  additional facts about the stories and characters, others perceived her announcement as her desire to control the interpretation of the texts, consequently restricting the freedom of readers to imagine the stories outside authorial control (Tosenberger,   “Oh” 202).   Tosenberger   points   to   Rowling’s    29 claim that Dumbledore’s  homosexuality  is apparent in the text and suspects that her confidence (or perhaps political motivation) in this declaration may be attributed to her awareness of popular slash fan-fiction (“Oh”   201).   Slash   fan   fiction   is   “fanfiction   that   concerns   a   romantic   and/or  sexual   relationship   between   characters   of   the   same   gender”   (Tosenberger,   “Oh” 200). In her article   titled  “‘Oh  my  God,   the  Fanfiction!’  Dumbledore’s  Outing  and   the  Online  Harry  Potter Fandom,”   Tosenberger   focuses   her   attention   on   slash romances created around Harry Potter books and observes that some of the slash fan fiction works  are  “thoughtful  and  nuanced”  (200)  in the way they handle of the issue of sexuality and the vulnerability of a person when falling in love (200). Tosenberger notes that slash fan-fiction writers started creating love stories, artwork, and critical essays about the relationship between Dumbledore and Grindelwald immediately after the publication of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,   preceding  Rowling’s  Carnegie  Hall interview by three months (Tosenberger 200). In other words, Rowling’s   announcement validated the slash  fictions  writers’  inklings  that  Dumbledore is gay (Tosenberger 200).  Some slash fan-fiction writers have taken powerful inspiration from Dumbledore’s  coming out and explored his sexuality as well as vulnerability through love stories centred around his character and also by imagining his journey succeeding the fall out of his relationship with Grindelwald to  regain  “dignity  and  integrity  even  in  loneliness”  (Tosenberger,  “Oh” 204). One  such  writer   is  Sahara  Storm,  who  explores  how  Dumbledore’s  passionate   infatuation  with  Grindelwald leads him to lose his moral centre and become blind to the needs of others, causing Dumbledore to fail in his responsibility of taking care of his sister and brother (Westman 197). Other slash fan-fiction writers deviate greatly from the canonical text desiring to offer a happy-ending for Dumbledore, for example, by imagining other lovers in an alternate universe (Tosenberger 204). In a manner, as Tosenberger   argues,  Dumbledore’s   sexuality   has   gained a   30 distinct voice in a world of slash fan-fiction beyond what is explicitly expressed on the pages of a canon text (Tosenberger 204). The emotional trauma Dumbledore carries into his adulthood comes not only from his friendship with Grindelwald but also from his family history. The Deathly Hallows suggests that perhaps these two factors cannot be discussed independently, because Rowling sets it up so that the two are intricately intertwined: for example, the chain of events that places Dumbledore in Godric’s  Hollow  in  charge of his sister leads Dumbledore to meet Grindelwald, which then ends with the accident in which Ariana is killed in the midst of a duel between Albus, Aberforth, and Grindelwald. To cast light on Dumbledore’s   past   relationships with his family members, The Deathly Hallows reveals   that  Dumbledore’s   father  was   sent   to  Azkaban  prison after assaulting three Muggle boys in retaliation for their cruel bullying of Ariana (Rowling, Deathly 21-4, 288-93, 571-9). Ariana was rendered mentally disabled by the bullying and was kept at home under her  mother’s  care  (Rowling,  Deathly 21-4, 288-93, 571-9). After singlehandedly taking care of Ariana  for  years,  Dumbledore’s  mother  was  killed  in  an  accident  when  Ariana  lost  control  of  her  magical ability (Rowling, Deathly 573). Her death caused then young Albus, who was a new graduate from Hogwarts with brilliant prospects, to  give  up  his  plans  and  take  over  his  mother’s  duties of taking care of the unstable Ariana (Rowling, Deathly 573). Looking back upon this time, Dumbledore confesses:  I resented it [the obligation]. . . . I was gifted, I was brilliant, I wanted to escape. I wanted to shine. I wanted glory. . . . Do not misunderstand me . . . I loved them . . . but I was selfish. . . . So that, when my mother died, and I was left the responsibility of a damaged sister and a wayward brother, I returned to my village in anger and bitterness. Trapped and wasted, I thought! (Rowling, Deathly 573)   31 Dumbledore is portrayed here as someone who was aware of his own brilliance and eager to prove his worth in the world with his intelligence and charisma. It is also clear that young Dumbledore viewed family obligations as a burden and he wished for a way out, into the world where he could be someone of importance.  At  this  precise  moment,  when  Dumbledore  is  cooped  up  in  Godric’s  Hollow  in  frustration  and resentment, Rowling has Dumbledore meet Grindelwald. Grindelwald brings a breath of fresh  air  into  Dumbledore’s  dull  and  tedious  life.  While  being  aware of his questionable ethical principles,  Dumbledore  at  first  finds  answers  to  all  his  problems  in  Grindelwald’s  fervour  for  a Wizard revolution against Muggles (Rowling, Deathly 291, 572-4). Grindelwald argues to Dumbledore that in the new society where the wizard kind dominates the Muggles, there would be no need for Ariana to be hidden (Rowling, Deathly 456-7, 571-2). The wording of the letter Dumbledore writes to Grindelwald is indicative of a self-righteous  supremacist:  “we  have  been  given power, and yes, that power gives us the right to rule [over the Muggles], but it also gives us responsibilities over the ruled. . . . And from this it follows that where we meet resistance, we must  use  only  the  force  that  is  necessary  and  no  more”  (Rowling,  Deathly 291). Rowling depicts how   young   Dumbledore   becomes   oblivious   to   the   neglect   of   his   sister’s   care   as   he   becomes  enthralled alongside Grindelwald in their shared obsession for world dominance with the slogan, “for   the   greater   good”   (Rowling,   Deathly 291, 573-77). The ensuing tragedy that ends in Ariana’s   death   suggests   that  Rowling  makes   a   strong   point   against   desires   for   power   that   put  glory before everyday kindness and decency. I would argue that the earlier books do not guide readers to see beyond Dumbledore’s  wit  and outlandishness and it is only with the publication of The Deathly Hallows that readers realise the depth and multi-dimensionality of Dumbledore’s   character.  Yet,   by   uncovering   previously    32 unknown history, revealing his longing for redemption and his humble acknowledgement of his failings, the vulnerability uncovered in The Deathly Hallows makes Dumbledore more exposed to readers’  compassion.  Arguably,  The Deathly Hallows portrays Dumbledore as someone who has learned to live gracefully albeit under the weight of the burden of guilt over his  sister’s  death,  for which Dumbledore blames himself to be responsible (Rowling, Deathly 456-7, 571-2). Furthermore,  Dumbledore’s  possible  romantic  relationship  with  Grindelwald  ties  back  to  the  first  point—Dumbledore’s  faith  in  love.  One  of  the  questions  some  of  the  reader-writers raise is how Dumbledore, who was disappointed in love himself, could have turned to become a champion for the power of love. In the world of Harry Potter, Rowling depicts that love as not only the element that brings people happiness, but also the cause of great pain often provoking terrible consequences regardless   of   a   person’s   good   intentions. Further, Karin Westman makes an excellent point when she observes that while the earlier Harry Potter books portray love as a protective force, The Half-Blood Prince and The Deathly Hallows depict   love’s   power   as   one  that   can   “wound   as   well   as   shield”   (Westman   193).   Westman   argues   that   love’s   destructive  power connects darker characters such as Lucius Malfoy, Barty Crouch Jr. and Bellatrix Lestrange with an ostensibly more benevolent character of Dumbledore, challenging readers to see connections between unlike characters who are equally affected by much darker kind of love (Westman 193).  Echoing critics such as Bassham and Tosenberger, Westman observes   that   love’s  destructive power can be examined in young Dumbledore who loses his moral compass when he becomes   “engrossed   in   all-consuming   passion   and   desire   [for   Grindelwald]”   (Westman   193,  196). Such infatuation, Westman notes, allows young Dumbledore to turn a blind eye to his “family’s  needs  [as  well  as]  . . . the  graver  implications  of  Grindelwald’s  plans”  (Westman  196).    33 Westman  states  that  Rowling’s  story  makes  a  strong  distinction  between  love  that  leads  the  lover  to  “[rise   to]   the  heights  of  absolute  heroism”  (196)  and   love   that   is  more  sinister  and   is   tinged  with obsessive and self-serving desire (Westman 195). Westman further notes that in later books, Harry’s  journey  becomes  that  of  learning  that  love  is  not  a  force  of  good  in  itself  unless  that  love  is accompanied by collective human decency and a strong individual moral compass (Westman 194-5). One   of   the   memorable   points  Westman   makes   here   is   how   obsessive   love   “prevents  sympathy for the others beyond the beloved . . . [and]  in  Rowling’s  series  . . . sympathy is often a catalyst  for  moral  action  and  social  change”  (Westman  197).  While acknowledging the element of infatuation in the fevered behaviours Harry Potter fans display, Westman commends those who turn their obsession towards social good. For example, she points to the Wizard Rock movement that some of the Harry Potter fans set up in order to promote literacy, allowing the fans to turn their arguably self-serving love for Harry Potter books into something more positive—an  “others-serving”  force—that promotes tolerance and social justice (Westman 197). 3.6.  Reader-reception and the Question of Authorial Ownership  As mentioned briefly above, many readers responded   to   the   issue   of   Dumbledore’s  sexuality in various ways. Nonetheless, one of the most interesting responses could be observed among readers who brought up the issue of authorial authority and challenged Rowling and her right to make declarations about her characters after the series was completed (Gendler 144). Some readers argue that after a story is finished, an author has no authority to create new thoughts and realities for the characters and re-define them extra-textually (Gendler 144). Some readers go further to argue  that  Rowling’s  (alleged)  claim  to  her continued authorial ownership, her wish to control characters long after the story had left her hands, shows her disrespect towards  readers’   right   to   their  own  literary  experience  (Gendler  144).  This   idea  of   the  writer’s    34 authority is a perspective that is examined further in the later chapters. Gendler plays  a  devil’s  advocate in her essay and points out that while readers who raise the  issue  of  Rowling’s  authority  make a valid point, few readers criticised Rowling for over-extending her authorial intent when she revealed details not depicted in the text about other characters such as Neville Longbottom or Teddy Lupin (144). Perhaps, it   was   the   controversial   nature   of   the   issue   (Dumbledore’s  homosexuality) instead of the subject of authorial control that upsets some of theses readers (Gendler 144). While a different layer of issues (prejudice against homosexuality, perhaps) may lay at the heart of the heated discussion over  Rowling’s  declaration  of  Dumbledore’s  sexuality,  what is more relevant to this research  on  online  fandom  and  reader  response  is  how  Rowling’s  disclosure (or  confirmation)  of  Dumbledore’s  homosexuality  stirred the issue of “truth in fiction” (Gendler 144). Indeed, Gendler notes that  “for  most  Potter  fans,  Rowling  is  the  patented  owner  and creator of the Potter universe (154) and thus facts revealed by Rowling in her interviews are treated  by  many  fans  as  something  like  an  “oral  appendix”  (152).  Gendler  further observes that Rowling herself appears to endorse (at the least to an extent) the view of those who champion the right of an author and the privilege of authorial intent, pronouncing at one point that “[Dumbledore]   is  my  character   . . . [and] I have the right to say what I say   about  him”   (152,  154). The question raised here is whether facts in a fictional story are determined solely by statements explicitly written by the author within a text. If this is not the case, it is important to question what part readers play in contributing to the creation of meaning in fiction and how textual evidence and authorial intent interact with reader response (Gendler 144, 148). The interesting twist is that due to the growth of the Internet and, with it, fan-sites where millions of readers can communicate with each other, authors are also placed in a position where they have access to the plethora of responses from their readers. This means that, if they wish, authors can   35 respond to readers either in social media spaces or through modification of future manuscripts in a serial publication with a view that incorporates readers’ suggestions and preferences. This was also possible prior to the Internet (e.g., Dickens, for example, considered reader response in the serial publication of his novels, since the nature of such serial publication allowed for reader response before the writing of the next instalment [e.g., Davies 166-9]); however, the scale and speed of communication are vastly different in contemporary media settings.  3.7.  Reader-reception  Observed  through  Henry  Jenkins’  Study  on  Fan  Fiction  Writing   According to Bronwen Thomas, the first wave of theory on fandom was strongly influenced by Marxism; the theory conceptualises fan responses as a subversive act on the part of readers who are marginalized in their alleged power struggle against publishers and writers who exercise control over the literary experiences of readers (Thomas 3, 7). Henry Jenkins, a prominent   theorist   on   fandom   likewise   argues   that,   “[f]andom   is   a   vehicle   for   marginalized  subcultural groups (women, the young, gays, and so on) to pry open space for their cultural concerns within dominant representations . . . [and transform the texts into something] that is more  responsive  to  their  needs,  to  make  it  better  producers  of  personal  meanings  and  pleasures”  (Jenkins 40). Some, however, critique this initial theory of fandom on the grounds that the Marxist conception of readers does not take into consideration the diverse cultural, social, and historical  experiences  of  readers  that  make  each  reader’s  approach  and  engagement  with  a  text  different (Thomas 3). Thomas points out that the current predominant theory of fandom acknowledges subversive forces present within the fan communities, while also acknowledging the mainstream status that fandom has acquired as a primary place where a participatory culture is established (Thomas 9).   36 Jenkins observes that, in the past, many literary theorists and academics associated the notion of fan writings with strong negative connotations. For example, Jenkins points to Michel de Certeau, who regards fan  writers  as  “textual  poachers”  (“Fans”  39) who raid and despoil the creations of others for their own pleasure (“Fans”  39).  Some  critics  perceive  that  “the  culture  of  participation”  (“Fans”  40) that online  fandom  represents  challenges  “the  very  notion  of  literature  as a kind of private property to be controlled by textual producers and their academic interpreters”  (emphases  added)  (Jenkins,  “Fans”  40). Jenkins observes that there is a prevailing stigma purposely created mainly by academics to designate fan-related activities as being “outside  the  mainstream”  (“Fans”  40)  implying  that  it  is  “beneath [the]  dignity”  (“Fans”  40) of academics to warrant serious attention to such fan writings. This stigma, Jenkins points out, “reassure[s]   academic   writers   of   the   validity   of   their   own   interpretations   of   the   . . . content, readings made in conformity with established critical protocols, and free[s] them of any need to come into direct contact with the . . . ‘crazed’   followers   [fans]”   (“Fans”  40). Further, Jenkins suspects that the presence of this stigma has isolated individual readers and audiences from each other and hindered them from sharing their common interests and literacy experiences openly in a non-academic space (“Fans”  40).  Fandom, according to Jenkins, provides culturally and socially marginalized groups, including youth, to appropriate a text as a vessel to express what matters to them (“Fans”  40); fan fiction writing allows these readers to make personal connections and meanings within a text by re-creating and re-imagining the text to make it more responsive to their interests and concerns (Jenkins,  “Fans”  40;;  Jenkins,  “Textual”  3). Furthermore, fans are not simple readers/audiences, but readers who connect with other readers/audiences in order to share their thoughts and ideas (“Fans”   41;;   “Textual”   86); in this process of sharing literary experiences, fandom transforms   37 some   “fan   readers [into]   fan   writers”   (Jenkins, “Fans”   41) and allows them to create a participatory culture of their own (Jenkins, “Fans”  41). The online aspect of fandom allows these reader-writers to reach a broader audience worldwide in the online realm (Jenkins, “Fans”  41). In other words, online fandom has taken many of the fans out of the shadow of subculture and offered them a more mainstream position, in which they can build their own community more openly (Jenkins, “Fans”  41). Jenkins observes that the face of fan fiction writers has changed dramatically in the past ten to fifteen years from being mostly restricted to adult women to expanding to include multitudes of both male and female writers who belong to various age groups (Jenkins, “Convergence” 178-9). Jenkins turns to one of the Harry Potter fan fiction sites, The Sugar Quill, in order to demonstrate how online fandom participants sustain a culture of peer-review as well as that of mutual learning and betterment through positive and constructive workshops (Jenkins, “Convergence”   178-9). Jenkins points to Zsenya, the web-mistress of The Sugar Quill, who states that   the   site’s   online   environment   offers   readers   “an   amazing   way   to   communicate”  (Jenkins, “Convergence” 178);;   Zsenya   stresses   the   point   that   in   an   online   environment   “[t]he  absence of face-to-face [communications] equalises everyone a little bit, so it gives the younger members a chance to talk with adults without perhaps some of the intimidation they might normally   feel   in   talking   to   adults”   (Jenkins, “Convergence” 178). Zsenya further explains that The Sugar Quill offers a support system, a sort of mentorship, to new fan writers by providing them a safe environment where they test their ability, learn and master new skills, and build their confidence through constructive feedback and reviews they receive from their peers (Jenkins, “Convergence”  178-9). Jenkins reports that members of The  Sugar  Quill  “beta  reading”  team, a nontechnical and creative editing team, concur with Zsenya on this point; the team states that   38 their goal as creative editors is to provide an opportunity for new writers to take their story to the next level through several stages of editing process before posting (“Convergence”   179-180). These editors further emphasise that their wish is for all contributing writers to develop confidence, courage, and expertise as writers through peer reviews and the exchanges of constructive criticism (Jenkins, “Convergence” 179-80).  It  is  evident  from  Jenkins’  observation  that fan writing in the online realm is not only a space for readers to share their common interests but also a place of mentorship—a workshop for aspiring writers. As mentioned above, an explosion of Harry Potter online fandom and the high level of participation and commitment such fandom encourages make Harry Potter series a special case for this investigation; Harry Potter readers have embraced the possibilities to create their own stories, which they can publish to their peers through online fandom. (Perhaps encouraged by such reader initiative for writing, teachers use Harry Potter fan writing as a method for promoting literacy in classroom settings [e.g. see Bond, Sharp]). On this point, I turn once again to Henry Jenkins, who is one of the pioneering researchers on online fandom and fan writings. In Convergence Culture—Where Old and New Media Collide, Jenkins points out that online fan communities provide readers, especially young ones, a place to find and assert their own independent voices in a space that is free of adult control (205). As Jenkins eloquently phrases, young  readers  are  “mapping  out  new  strategies  for  negotiating  around  and  through  globalization”  (205), and through their participation in worldwide online fandom, they are finding a way to actualise their imaginative powers and share their creativity within this particular realm (“Convergence”   205). More simply put, young reader-writers find their own audience in the realm  of  online  fandom  and  “connect  with  children  worldwide”  (Jenkins,  “Convergence” 205). Jenkins further observes that Harry Potter online fandom has affected not only young readers   39 worldwide, but it has also invited adult readers, thereby allowing the online fandom to break both national and cultural boundaries as well as generational barriers and hierarchies (Jenkins 205).  Regarding the cross-generational aspect of online fandom, Jenkins suggests that a momentum and passion for online  fandom  are  often  sustained  by  readers’  desires  to  share  their  understandings with and learn from their fellow readers-writers (“Convergence”   177); these desires,  Jenkins  asserts,   are  held  by  readers  no  matter  what   their  “age,  class,   race,  gender,  and educational   level”   (“Convergence”   177). Markedly, Jenkins argues that online fandom offers “powerful   opportunities   for   learning”   (“Convergence”   177) beyond the traditional formal education setting of adult-teachers and child-learners (“Convergence” 177). For example, The Daily Prophet, an online school newspaper for the fictitious Hogwarts, was launched by the then thirteen-year-old Heather Lawyer, who was inspired by news reports regarding how Harry Potter series was encouraging children to read (Jenkins,  “Convergence”  171). Wanting to make her own contribution in support of literacy, Lawyer created The Daily Prophet less than a year after her first reading of Harry   Potter   and   the   Philosopher’s   Stone (Jenkins, “Convergence”  171). The Daily Prophet has grown since then and currently (at  the  time  of  Jenkins’s  research  in  2006) hosts a staff of more than one hundred children worldwide, with Lawyer working as the chief editor of the whole operation (Jenkins, “Convergence”  171).  Jenkins sees Lawyer as a visionary who understood the online realm as a place where children could explore reading and writing outside the confines of adult supervision as well as a place where adults, in turn, could access the articulated thoughts of children (“Convergence”  171-4). Understanding this particular nature of online fandom, Lawyer seized her opportunity to reach out to both children and adults and in the process, attempted to help adults understand how   40 children think and what they care about (Jenkins, “Convergence”   171-4).   In   Lawyer’s   own  words, [The Daily Prophet was launched with the goals of] bringing the world of literature to life. . . . By  creating  an  online  “newspaper”  with  articles  that  lead  the  readers  to  believe  this fanciful world of Harry Potter to be real, this opens the mind [of children] to exploring books, diving into the characters, and analyzing great literature. By developing the mental ability to analyze the written word at a young age, children will find a love for reading unlike any other. By creating this faux world[,] we are learning, creating, and enjoying ourselves in a friendly utopian society. (Heather Lawyer qtd. in Jenkins, “Convergence”  172) Jenkins asserts that the example of The Daily Prophet supports his initial point that online fandom contributes to enriching reading experiences for children (“Convergence  176”); Jenkins suggests further that an exploration of a fictional realm with its rules and limitations leads children to deepen their understanding of the culture and the society in which they live and ultimately of themselves (“Convergence”  176).  Jenkins’s  observation  of  fan  fiction  and  online  fandom  can  be  tied  back  to  Iserʼs  reader  response theory.  For  example,   Iser’s   theory of indeterminacies within texts is quite relevant in discussing some of the popular genres of fan fiction writing, because many fan fiction stories take advantage of textual indeterminacies Iser refers to. For example, some of the genre classifications that Jenkins   applies   include  “Alternative  Points  of  View,”   “I  Wonder   If-s,”   and  “Missing  Moments”  (“Convergence”  181). These genres deal respectively with the following: 1) events that the original texts cover, looked through an alternative point of view other than that of the  protagonist’s;;  2)   imagining an alternative path a significant event mentioned in the original   41 texts could have taken; 3) writing unwritten parts of Harry Potter stories by filling in the gaps left in the original texts (Jenkins, “Convergence”  181). Regarding why fan writers are interested in exploring indeterminacies and gaps left in the original text, one of The Sugar Quill’s editors explains the process of fan fiction writing as follows:  I   don’t   write   fanfic   (sic)   to   “fix”   things,   I   write   it   to   explore   corners   that   [the  original Harry Potter stories]  .   .   .  didn’t  have  the  opportunity  to  peek  into,  or  to  speculate on what might have led up to something, or what could result from some other thing[s].  A  story  that  leaves  these  wonderful  corners  isn’t  a  story  that  needs   fixing,   it’s   a   story   that   invites   exploration.   (emphases   in   original;;   qtd. in Jenkins, “Convergence”  181-2) No matter what route one takes to explore creative possibilities texts offer, comments from this fan fiction writer suggest that fan stories are written both in homage to and in criticism of the original text, or canon, in question (Jenkins,  “Convergence” 181-2;;  “Textual”  86). While some fan fiction websites mandate contributors to remain consistent with the facts Rowling sets up in the texts, other sites have more a liberal understandings of fan fiction, with contributors posting stories with contents that diverting from or even blatantly contradict the facts established in the canon (Jenkins,  “Convergence” 181).  Fan fiction writing inevitably raises the issue of copying and Jenkins suspects that some adults may be concerned with the fact that children engage in the act of copyingas opposed to creating something originalthrough fan fiction writing (“Convergence”  182). Jenkins counters such criticism, however, by noting the historically established practice of apprentice artists learning their craft by copying the works of great masters before they would start developing their own styles and thus began to create their original pieces of art (“Convergence”   182).   42 Jenkins, at the same time, acknowledges grey areas surrounding fan fiction writing that tread on an ambiguous boundary in terms of intellectual property and copyright laws (“Convergence”  189). He maintains   that   it   is  not  clear  whether   fan  fiction  writing,  which  he  coins  as  “amateur  creative  expression”  (Jenkins, “Convergence”  189), falls under the clause of fair-use protections under the current U.S. copyright law (“Convergence”  189). Additionally, Jenkins argues that the laws of society are not current enough to deal with the reality of this culture of participation that has been established within the realm of online fandom (“Convergence”  189). At this point in time, it is safe to surmise is that the issue of what is fair use under the copyright and intellectual property law will certainly continue to be one of the focal points of dialogue between authors and readers when discussing online fandom and fan writing.     43 4. Methodology This thesis follows the path suggested by Vandana Saxena in examining how readers employ writing in response to their acts of reading as a method of critiquing the original text, or perhaps as a method of complementing and extending the text, and readers do so in exploration of their own potentiality as writers (Saxena). More specifically, the points of examination are on 1) how readers’  online postings reveal multiple interpretative potentialities of an original literary text as well as 2) what could be discerned from such postings, specifically with regards to the aspects of the Harry Potter story that resonate with contemporary readers. In order to narrow down the scope of this investigation, the examination of reader postings is restricted to postings that look at the Harry Potter books through the lens of a single character: Professor Dumbledore. There are a plethora of Harry Potter related fan sites and diverse possible avenues for fan creation—be they fan videos, music, podcasts, fan fiction, or fan art—that I can turn to for the investigation of fan responses; however, for the purpose of this Master’s   thesis,   the   focus   is  placed on longer pieces of writing by readers, both analytical and imaginative, submitted to selected fan-sites. While there are a number of fan sites that offer places for readers to submit their writing, this study is limited to samples of writing from two sites for critical writing (Mugglenet and The Leaky Cauldron), and one site for creative writing (FanFiction.net). I selected these sites from a range of candidates because they are fan-driven, offer some degree of an editing  process,  are  easy  to  navigate,  and  include  extensive  fan  submissions.  Rowling’s  own  official Harry Potter websitePottermoreis intentionally excluded from the selection because the focus of this thesis is placed on reader-initiated activities and communications as opposed to   44 writer-driven initiatives. 1  The focus of analysis is on longer submissions rather than, say, dialogic and chat-based forum discussions. Longer written submissions enable readers to express and develop their personal or analytical response, and to offer their own narrative extensions of the story. Finally, the analysis is limited to submissions that include substantive response to the character of Dumbledore.  The particular focus is placed on the examination of how reader-writers attempt to bridge textual indeterminacies. In terms of the nature of submissions, there are two broad genres that I considered: 1) critical or analytical responses rely on textual analysis for interpretations of Dumbledore’s  character;;  2) fan fiction writers imaginatively explore many different potentialities of  Dumbledore’s  character.  In  regards  to  the  latter,  preliminary investigation suggested that some fan writers have used the incident of three Muggle  boys’  taunting  Ariana  (Dumbledore’s  sister),  her resulting mental instability, and her father’s  reaction  and  subsequent  incarceration  as  a  source  of inspiration for narratives about how this trauma may have affected Dumbledore in his childhood. Other fan writers, inspired  by  Rowling’s  extra-textual statement  about  Dumbledore’s  sexuality, endeavour to write love stories, focusing on the romantic relationship between Dumbledore and Grindelwald. Stories created by these fan writers reveal their interpretation of the character as well as how carefully they have analysed the original text in order to fill in some of the textual indeterminacies. Explicit in these narratives may be answers as to the why Harry Potter series is so captivating for many.                                                           1.  For  further  review  of  Rowling’s  Pottermore  site,  one could refer to Savanna Sharp’s  “J.K.  Rowling’s  Innovative  and  Authoritative  Online  Presence”  in  Teaching with Harry Potter: Essays on Classroom Wizardry from Elementary School to College.   45 4.1.  Dataset and Analysis As noted earlier, the investigation of reader writings is limited to the following three sites: The Leaky Cauldron, Mugglenet, and FanFiction.net. Preliminary analysis shows that, at the time of investigation in the spring of 2014, there were more than a few thousand fan fiction stories and a total of eleven pieces of analytical writing with a substantive focus on Dumbledore posted on these three sites. The inclusion criteria for the chosen postings are: 1) either the writer includes Dumbledore as an active character in a fan narrative or Dumbledore is discussed extensively   in   writers’   reflective   analysis;;   and 2) writing pieces are 500 words or more for analytical writing and between 3000 and 8000 words for creative writing. Twenty-one submissions that meet these criteria comprise my data set. All works are published and freely available to read outside of any password-protected communities and therefore it is not necessary to obtain consent from the writers to analyse this set of writings.  The mode of analysis is textual hermeneutics, entailing identification of key issues and recurring themes across the collection of fan writings (e.g.,  Kinsella,  “Hermeneutics  and  Critical  Hermeneutics”).   Kinsella expands on the critical understanding of critical hermeneutics and describes   it   as   a   study   of   “the   art   of   interpretation”   (n.pag.)   often   employed   in   empirical  qualitative research. Kinsella observes that critical hermeneutics directs researchers to approach an act of interpretation   “not   to  develop  a  procedure  of  understanding,  but   rather   to   clarify   the  interpretative conditions   in  which  understanding   takes  place”   (n.pag.).  The  conditions  Kinsella  mentions  include  “the  roles  of  language  and  historicity  in  interpretation”  (n.pag.)  as  well  as  “the  prejudices   individuals  bring   to   the   interpretive   event”   (n.pag.).  Given   these   conditions   and   the subjectivity each interpreter brings to an interpretive event, critical hermeneutics asserts that there can never be one single interpretation that is objective and authoritative (Kinsella n.pag.).   46 Consequently, theorists of critical hermeneutics acknowledge and are reconciled with the limitations of human beings to attain complete understanding of a text (Kinsella n.pag.). They are interested  to  know  what  historical  and  social  conditions  contribute  to  shaping  an  interpreter’s  particular interpretive response (Kinsella n.pag.). From a critical hermeneutic standpoint, therefore,  “the  uniqueness  of  each  [interpreter’s]  vantage  point”  (Kinsella  n.pag.)  is  valued,  and  “interpretation   is   seen   as   an inescapable   feature   of   all   human   efforts   to   understand”   (Kinsella n.pag.) what is unknowable in its entirety.  To   reiterate,   the   study   of   critical   hermeneutics   derives   its   roots   from   “an   area   of  philosophy  that  deals  with  the  theory  and  practice  of  interpretation”  (Philips  and  Brown  1547).  In its practical application, a particular attention is paid towards a transformative as opposed to an informative nature of communication as a recipient of communications interprets what is received (Philips and Brown 1548). A critical hermeneutic approach is often used by scholars of social studies in an examination of organisational communicationsfor example, (1) how a system of shared meanings can be produced and maintained within an organisation among employees at different level of hierarchy or (2) how an advertisement with a marketing purpose is received and interpreted by a consumer (Philips and Brown 1548). Philip and Brown argue that critical hermeneutics directs scholars to approach a given text or communication from both textual and socio-historical perspectives with a strong focus on how these two analyses come together (1554-55). According to Philips and Brown, a critical element of a critical hermeneutic approach is augmented by its attention to power relations and power dynamics within an organisation as well as between creators and receivers of the communication (1554-55). Researchers who employ a critical hermeneutic approach are engaged in an empirical examination of a text or communication in question (Philips and Brown 1548). I incorporate this   47 empirical approach to communications that critical hermeneutics takes, with an understanding that fan writing is a form of communication between a reader and a text (and perhaps, by extension, an author), and within this communication lies power dynamics. Preliminary analysis of both the analytical and creative writing showed and later investigation confirmed that the following issues are important to readers: 1) Dumbledore as God figure; 2)  Dumbledore’s  stance  on  destiny  and  free  will; 3)  Dumbledore’s  early  childhood  and  his relationship with his family; 4)  Dumbledore’s  authority  and  control  over  other  characters; 5) the trauma and a sense of guilt Dumbledore carries over   his   sister’s   death; 6) Dumbledore’s  sexuality; and 7) authorial intervention post-publication. These themes imply that issues of morality, sexuality, subjects of remorse and atonement, as well as questions regarding individual agency versus societal constraints are some of the important issues with which contemporary readers of Harry Potter stories struggle. In order to track the extent at which particular themes are explored by critical versus creative writers, I created an interpretive matrix, which can be found in the Appendix A. One challenge of examining reader response via social media sites is that  it  is  not  possible  to  determine  the  respondents’  gender  or  age  beyond  what  is  reported,  and  what is reported may be part of the given fan writer’s  constructed   Internet   identity. In light of this particular challenge, I have not factored in how particular demographics might correlate with forms of response; rather, I focus on broader themes and issues taken up by readers with a view to understand what they find striking or evocative about the texts and how they interpret these features.  4.2.  Fan Sites Under Discussion Mugglenet was created by Emerson Spartz in 1999, when Spartz was just twelve years old  (Novosel  55).  According  to  the  “About  Us”  section  of  the  website,  the  site  has  team  members    48 who work as managing editors, creative and marketing directors, content supervisors, as well as social media coordinators (Mugglenet). Mugglenet offers a plethora of avenues for readers to participate in fan activities (e.g., podcasts, blog entries, discussion boards, and chat rooms to name a few). Mugglenet covers broader aspects of the Harry Potter phenomena and its attention is not solely on the original books but also includes the movie versions, as well as the author herself. My focus for this investigation is on Mugglenet’s   editorial   section,   “The   Quibbler,”  where readers post their analytical essays. The primary reason for choosing this section is due to the existence of submission guidelines and editorial processes. The submission guidelines dictate that essays submitted must be between 500 and 2,000 words and quotations from the original texts are properly cited.  Another major Harry Potter fan site—The Leaky Cauldron—was launched in July 2000, shortly before the publication of The Goblet of Fire (The Leaky Cauldron,   “Timeline”). According  to  “A  Brief  (Believe  It  Or  Not)  History  of  The  Leaky  Cauldron,”  the  essay  section  for  The   Leaky   Cauldron,   “Scribbulus,”   was   born   out   of   the website’s forumThe Leaky Loungewhen frequent lengthy and in-depth discussions among the fans led the organisers to realise the potential for an editorial section to which readers could submit their longer critical pieces. There are 28 issues from May 2006 to September 2011 and editors of the website are closely involved in the process of choosing and editing the essays submitted by readers (The Leaky   Cauldron,   “Scribbulus”). As with “The   Quibbler”   on   Mugglenet,   “Scribbulus”   has  submission guidelines, which dictate that essays must be at least 1,000 words, and the editorial team offers peer reviews to ensure quality of writing (The Leaky Cauldron,  “Scribbulus”).  While other fan sites, including Mugglenet, have published large numbers of fan fiction stories, I have chosen FanFiction.net for an investigation of fan writing for the purpose of this   49 study. I made this choice because FanFiction.net appeared to offer quite a deep pool of fan fiction stories. Alexandra Alter reported in 2013 that FanFiction.net was the largest fan fiction site on the Internet in 2013 and,  at  the  time  of  Alter’s  article’s  publication,  offered  over  600,000  creative writings based on Harry Potter stories (Alter). Secondly, Fanfiction.net offers by far the least challenges with regards to navigating the website due to the website’s  search engine and filter systems, which allow users to search quite easily for fan fiction stories involving a particular character. In comparison, while Mugglenet allows a straightforward search for stories that fall into particular categoriessuch  as  stories  that  take  place  in  an  “Alternative  Universe,”  stories that explore romantic pairings of characters,   or   stories   with   “Dark/Angsty   (sic)”  elementsthere are limitations when searching for stories related to a particular character.      50 5. Examination of Selected Analytical Writings by Fans In this section, I examine analytical essays posted by fans to the two selected fan sitesspecifically, one from Mugglenet and ten from The Leaky Cauldron. Among the 119 editorial essays published by Mugglenet, there were three that featured Dumbledore at the time of analysis in June 2014. Of those three, two were excluded, one because it was well below the minimum word length stipulated for selection and one because, on closer examination, it turned out that the piece was incorrectly categorised as featuring Dumbledore. Among the 194 stories published in the course of 28 issues of editorial essays by The Leaky Cauldron site between 2006 and 2011, there are 11 essays that feature Dumbledore as the primary focus of analysis. Among the   11,   Gumshoe’s   essay titled “Dumbledore   is   Not   Dead”  was eliminated from the dataset because the focus of the essay turned out to be on the examination of Slughorn rather than Dumbledore. The main focus of this investigation is  to  study  what  aspects  of  Dumbledore’s  character  prompted readers not only to write about Harry Potter but also to publish their creations online. Some   ask   critical   questions   about   Dumbledore’s   character,   rethinking certain previously held perceptions about the character and shedding light on some of the relatively less explored territories regarding his disposition. Some of the key themes analytical reader-writers explore are somewhat different from those addressed by creative reader-writers. In order to illuminate what common threads could be observed among readers’ analytical essays, the following examination is divided into four sections according to the prominent topics and sub-topics that reader-writers examine. The divisions of themes are as follows (see also Table 1 below and Appendix A for details):  1. Dumbledore as an almost omnipotent and benevolent God-like figure.    51 Appearing in essays by birthday twins, Caltheous. 2. Dumbledore  as  an  embodiment  of  the  story’s  morality.  Appearing in essays by Mary Wanguard, Rosamond Bane. (Sub-topic of Wanguard: the value of online fandom as it related to reader response). 3. Dumbledore’s   moral   ambiguityhis propensity for secrecy and lies in order to maintain authority and control. Appearing in essays by Emma; Sly_Like_Slytherin; Riley Leonhardt; Ib4075; TRC07.  4. Dumbledore as a war general working for the greater good.  Appearing in essays by Theowyn; Sarah Putnam Park.  The last point offers an interesting standpoint in examining the character of Dumbledore, for the principle   of   “for the   greater   good”   is   the   very   one   Dumbledore   uses in his youth, alongside Grindelwald, to justify the desire for establishing wizard dominance over Muggles. It is also the principle he renounces after his friendship with Grindelwald results in the death of a sister. Ironically, in his effort to defeat Voldemort, Dumbledore faces the questions of what is necessary for the greater good. He is struck with the dilemma of protecting the peace and freedom of society as a whole, while at the same time striving to protect a few whom he loves. This question becomes a point of contention for Dumbledore when faced with a possibility of having to let go of his determination to protect the life of loved ones in light of what must be done to save those who are persecuted by Voldemort and his minions.      52 Table 1. Details of  fan’s  critical  essays  examined.  Author Word Count Title 1 birthday twins 2547 words The Amazing Invisible Dumbledores. 2 Caltheous  2950 words St.  Dumbledore’s  Feast:  The  Secret  Identity  of  Albus  Dumbledore Revealed. 3 Mary Wanguard 3400 words Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and Me. The Causes of Crying and Squee-ing. 4 Rosamonde Bane 2800 words Love as a Weapon: The Moral Choices at the Heart of Harry Potter. 5 Emma 5146 words Harry Potter and the Distinction Between Good and Evil. 6 Sly_Like_Slytherin 582 words The Dumbledore-Severus Relationship, Was it Really Loyalty Between Them? 7 Riley Leonhardt  2712 words It is Out Choices, Harry, That Show What We Truly Are, Far  More  Than  Our  Abilities’:  Harry  Potter  and  Values. 8 Ib4075 1704 words Albus  Dumbledore:  Saint,  Sinner,  and  Harry’s  True  Father. 9 The  Rotfang  Conspiracy  ’07 6183 words Still Got Your Wand in a Knot?: Wandlore and The Elder Want Examined. 10 Theowyn 4287 words The Life and Lies of Albus Dumbledore. 11 Sarah Putnam Park 3572 words Dumbledorian Ethics: How Albus Dumbledore Combine Utilitarianism and Compassion.    11 stories examined in total  5.1.  Omnipotent and Benevolent, God-like Dumbledore Two of the essay contributors focus their   attention   on  Dumbledore’s   good-heartedness and his apparent invincibility. These writers are birthday twins and Caltheous. Their writings appear to represent a more simplified view of Dumbledore’   character; however, it should be noted that birthday twin’s  opinion piece was posted before the  writer’s   reading  of the seventh book, which informed many of the readers of Dumbledore’s  multifaceted and more intricate identity. A brief review of birthday twins and Caltheous’ writings reveals that regardless of when the   essays   were   written,   Dumbledore’s   goodness   is   an   important   quality   of   his   character.  birthday   twins’   comment   in   “The   Amazing   Invisible   Dumbledores”   summarises the   author’s  respect for the integrity and benevolence of Dumbledore, of which feeling, I suspect, was shared by many of the readers uniformly before the publication of The Deathly Hallows:  “Dumbledore  has always had an omniscient quality, knowing more than [he lets on]”  (birthday   twin n.pag.). The author goes on to speculate the extent of Dumbledore’s   magical   ability   without   delving    53 deeper into the workings of his heart and mind. Yet, it is worth noting that this essay, written before The Deathly Hallows, asserts general reader perception that Dumbledore is someone extraordinary who is capable of achieving the impossible.  In   “St.   Dumbledore’s   Feast:   The   Secret   Identity   of   Albus   Dumbledore   Revealed,”  Caltheous suggests that Dumbledore has a secret identitySanta Clausby using image comparisons from illustrated book covers featuring Dumbledore to portrayals of Dumbledore by actors in film versions. Although the playful and whimsical comparison of Dumbledore to Santa Clause   may   detract   from   the   seriousness   of   Caltheous’   analytical   piece,   this essay justifiably suggests how some readers view Dumbledore as someone who protects and celebrates children, delivering valuable gifts to them in the process, just   like   St.   Nicholas,   “the   patron   saint   of  schoolchildren”  (Caltheous n.pag.). 5.2.  Dumbledore as a Moral Icon  Two of the eleven analytical writers perceive Dumbledore as an embodiment of the story’s  morality,   revealing   the  motif  of  Dumbledore   as   a  God-like figure. For example, in her essay,  “Love  as  a  Weapon:  The  Moral  Choices  at  the  Heart  of  Harry  Potter,”  Rosamonde  Bane  identifies herself as  an  adult  reader  and  observes  that  Harry  Potter  offers  “over  3,000  pages  of  an  increasingly sophisticated and mature saga that deals frankly with matters of war, torture, and death”   (Bane n.pag.). Bane perceives the concept of love that Dumbledore represents as something   with   many   layers,   such   as   “kindness   toward   strangers”   or   “acts   of   self-sacrifice”  (Bane n.pag.). While  awaiting  the  publication  of  the  seventh  book,  Bane  observed,  “[t]here  is  a  time-honored  place  in  children’s  literature  for  fairy  tales,  in which the princess is awakened with a kiss and true love saves the day, . . . [t]he way she [Rowling] has handled the subject thus far suggests that she intends for the Harry Potter books to reflect an intellectually and morally   54 complex understanding of love”   (Bane   n.pag.).   Bane further observes   that   Dumbledore’s  teaching would most likely resonate with readers’  sense of morality as they witness how Harry learns  from  Dumbledore  that  one’s  moral fibre is gauged by choices one makes to do good upon navigating a difficult moral terrain.  Like  Bane,  Mary  Wanguard  perceives  Dumbledore   as   the  chief  emissary  of   the  books’  moral messages. In  “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and Me: The Causes of Crying and Squee-ing,”  Wanguard  states  that  Dumbledore  is  her  favourite  character  and  describes  him  as  her  role model“an   ideal   of   whom   I   thought   when   trying   to   help   my   friends   with   maths   (sic)”  (n.pag.). She also describes how she appreciates and admires Dumbledore’s   knowledge,  humanity, his sense of humour, and his approach of not taking himself too seriously (Wanguard). Wanguard identifies herself as a high school student from Eastern Europe on her way to becoming a university student. Perhaps, Wanguard made such a strong personal connection with Dumbledore because the social and political turmoil that she experienced in her own life brought her attention to the importance of a honourable leader. Reflecting back on her childhood, Wanguard remembers growing up in a country under tremendous pressure to establish newly gained independence from the USSR (Wanguard). While the new system brought many improvements for citizens such as civil and political freedom, Wanguard states, the stress of a capitalist society made many people angry and exhausted by the pressure to become successful and prosperous (Wanguard). Rowling’s  words   regarding how people choose what is easy over what is right appear to resonate with Wanguard’s   own   experience. Connecting the book’s  message with her own life, Wanguard acknowledges that the Harry Potter books have provided the courage and guidance for her to recognise what is immoral in her society, in particular, how   55 easily a person disregards his or her own principles in order to achieve material gain and success in a newly re-organised society (Wanguard). Having firmly established high respect  for  Dumbledore,  Wanguard  admits  she  was  “most  shocked”  when  Dumbledore’s  character  turned  “controversial”  (n.pag.) in The Deathly Hallows. She confesses that the seventh book “shook  [her]  image  of  Dumbledore  so  violently”  (Wanguard n.pag.) that she struggled to reconcile the idealised image of Dumbledore—the mirror of goodness—with what was revealed about him in the last book (Wanguard). Upon some reflection,  Wanguard’s   focus   shifted from   Dumbledore’s   benevolence and moral authority to “his  sadness,  his  loneliness”  (n.pag.) in the knowledge of the mistakes he made and the secrets he kept. Wanguard shares her youthful acknowledgement with regards  to  Dumbledore’s  failings  that perhaps benevolence does not equal perfection and a flawed individual could still try to do some good in the world. What Wanguard indirectly indicates in her essay is how drastically the atmosphere changes when the series progresses to book seven. Alongside Harry, Ron, and Hermione, who leave the protective walls of Hogwarts, the seventh book demands emotional maturity from readers, asking them to likewise leave the safety of childhood and the comforting certainty of a happy ending (Wanguard).  Wanguard makes another illuminating point in her essay with regards to the pre-eminence of online fandom when she explains why she decided to share her stories through this specific   venue.   Wanguard   states:   “I   know   that   I   probably   felt   nothing   too   unique,   nothing  different  from  many  other  readers.  And  yet  I  share  those  feelings  here  and  now  because  I’ve  got  few other places  where   I   can  hope   to  be  understood”   (Wanguard n.pag). Wanguard states that school did not offer spaces for students to share their feelings about their literary experiences and her family members were not keen on discussing literature. Wanguard confesses in her essay, the   56 encounter with online Harry Potter fandom enabled her to share her literary experiences with others for the first time in her young adult life. She describes other participants in the online realm   as   “always   welcoming”   (Wanguard n.pag.), respectful, and ready to invite likeminded readers to join in the discussions (Wanguard). What   can   be   observed   through   Wanguard’s  personal experience is how the inclusiveness and non-hierarchical atmosphere of online fandom can be attractive to young readers   5.3.  Secrets and Lies, Authority and Control—Dumbledore’s  Moral  Ambiguity The   remaining   seven  writers  delve  deeper   into   the   intricacy  of  Dumbledore’s   character  and,  while  acknowledging  his  apparent  benevolence,  examine  Dumbledore’s  actions  in   light  of  his failings revealed in The Deathly Hallows. For example, having the advantage of writing after the publication of The Deathly Hallows, Emma focuses on the moral ambivalence Dumbledore displays. Emma sets out to answer this question: “[Is] Dumbledore a wise loving wizard or [an] unemotionally calculating [one]?” (n.pag.). Emma justifies  Dumbledore’s  actions  in  his  youth—his fervent obsession with the Hallows as well as his darker desire to establish wizard dominance—as   “a   boy’s   mistake   [rather]   than   .   .   .   an   unforgivable   failure”   (Emma n.pag.). However, Emma strongly criticises Dumbledore’s   treatment   of   Snape.   She   argues   that   while  Snape shows unfailing loyalty to Dumbledore, Dumbledore does not return the courtesy by, for example, trusting Snape with vital information even when the lack of knowledge is likely to jeopardise his ability to protect himself (Emma). Emma questions why Dumbledore does not have the decency to warn Snape of the danger the Elder Wand brings, when Dumbledore clearly expects Voldemort to go after Snape as the last possessor of the Elder Wand. Emma infers that while Dumbledore repeatedly emphasises the importance of loyalty and trust in the first six   57 books of the series, the seventh book reveals how Dumbledore himself might have fallen short of living up to his own standard (Emma).  Emma concludes that while some   of   Dumbledore’s   actions   can   be   excused   on   the  grounds   of   keeping   vital   information   safe   from  Voldemort   and   his   supporters,   Dumbledore’s  choice  to  put  Snape’s  life  in  mortal  danger  without  his  consent  reveals  “a  callous  lack  of  caring  for a man who has  shown  him  outstanding  levels  of  loyalty”  (Emma n.pag.). Sly_Like_Slytherin (SLS), who writes in the editorial section of Mugglenet, points likewise to this apparent lack of concern  for  Snape’s  life  on  Dumbledore’s  part  as an indicator of his moral failings. SLS argues that Dumbledore  is  undeserving  of  Snape’s  trust,  because although Snape is often represented as a morally grey character, he exhibits strong moral fibre by upholding the memory of Lily Evans and remaining truly loyal to Dumbledore. SLS asks: if remorse is a cure for a maimed soul according  to  Rowling,  where  in  the  texts  do  we  see  Dumbledore’s  remorse  for  putting  so  many  of his allies and friends in danger (SLS n.pag.)? The following three writers seem to take a similar view to Emma and SLS, all highlighting the  hypocrisy  of  Dumbledore’s   conduct.   In   the essay,   “‘It   Is  Our  Choices,  Harry,  That  Show  What  We  Truly  Are,  Far  More  Than  Our  Abilities’:  Harry  Potter  and  Values,”  Riley  Leonhardt  questions  Dumbledore’s  propensity  for  withholding  valuable information, information without  which  the  individual’s  life  can be jeopardised, from the person in question (Leonhardt). The  first  part  of  the  title  of  Leonhardt’s  essay  is  a  direct  quote  from  Dumbledore  in  The Chamber of Secrets (Rowling, Chamber 245), and the reference is a little ironic because it is the choices Dumbledore makes that are under scrutiny in the essay. It appears that one of the common threads found in fan’s  critical  essays  focusing on the character of Dumbledore is this following point: in the name of the greater good, Dumbledore plays God, manipulating others and keeping   58 the grand plan only to himself. In his secrecy, Dumbledore appears to defy the moral compass he imposes on others, thereby challenging the validity of his principles by his own duplicity.  One other repeated point reader-writers make is Dumbledore’s  predisposition  for  privacy  and reserve, his control of appearance under the façade of wit and eccentricity. A notable exception to the detachment and distance Dumbledore maintains from others is Harry. In the essay,  “Saint,  Sinner,   and  Harry’s  True  Father,”   Ib4075  observes  how  Dumbledore  matures   in  his understanding of himself through his relationship with Harry. Ib4075 perceives the relationship between Harry and Dumbledore as one that is mutually nurturing. For Harry, “Dumbledore’s   concern   .   .   .   becomes   a   healing   part   of   his   growing   up   at  Hogwarts”   (Ib4075 n.pag.), whereas for Dumbledore, Harry becomes more to Dumbledore than just a pawn who fits into his great plan of defeating Voldemort (Ib4075). Ib4075 suspects that as Dumbledore grows to   know   Harry   deeply,   “Harry’s   happiness   becomes   [Dumbledore’s]   chief   concern   [because while]   the   ‘greater   good’   is   nameless   and   faceless   .   .   .   Harry is a real boy who needs his protection  and  yet  has  more  heart  and  soul  than  Dumbledore  ever  imagined”  (Ib4075 n.pag.).  As  Ib4075  maintains,  at   the  outset  of   the  story,   readers  see,   through  Harry’s  eyes,  only  the best side of DumbledoreDumbledore as a man of great wisdom, whose intelligence is supported by his incredible capacity for kindness and compassion (Ib4075). What Ib4075 is interested in examining is not the earlier relationship between Harry and Dumbledore, where Dumbledore is perceived to be Harry’s   great   mentor,   but   their   later   relationship   where  Dumbledore’s   fallibility   and   flaws   are  made  known   to  Harry, and with him, readers (Ib4075). The Deathly Hallows indeed paints a rather sinister picture of Dumbledore as a man who plays a dangerous game,  a  game  in  which  people’s  lives  are  at  stake. For example, certain events imply that Dumbledore is prepared to risk   Harry’s   life without his consent when Dumbledore    59 “gambles   that   he   has   guessed   rightly   how   to   get   Harry   to   that   moment   [of   his   ultimate confrontation   with   Voldemort]”   (Ib4075).   Observing   Dumbledore   to   be   “a   very   shrewd  tactician”  whose  brilliance  is  marked  by  “its  coldness  not  warmth”  (Ib4075  n.pag.), what Ib4075 finds disturbing here is how seemingly easy it is for Dumbledore to risk Harry’s   life.  Nevertheless, Ib4075 argues that Dumbledore succeeds at regaining both Harry and readers’  trust, when he humbly admits his failings to Harry in The Deathly Hallows at the imaginary King’s  Cross   station.   In   Ib4075’s  own  words,   “Dumbledore  disarms us all again, not with his skill   but   with   his   humility   and   humanity”   (Ib4075 n.pag.). Lastly, Ib4075 concludes that the relationship between Dumbledore and Harry parallels that of parent and child, in which parents dream   that   their   child   “will   succeed  where   they   have   failed”   (Ib4075 n.pag.)   and   “the   lessons  they  learned  will  permit   their  children  to  move  forward”  (Ib4075 n.pag.). In light of this view, Ib4075 suggests that while Dumbledore may not have been a saint, he might have done right by Harry. Ib4075 suggests this because the most important message Dumbledore tries to convey to Harry—“the  power  of   love  and  the  consequences  of   life  without   it”  (Ib4075 n.pag.)seems to be embodied by Harry to the point that he has greatly surpassed his mentor (Ib4075). As an example of this, one could refer to how Harry succeeds at uniting the Deathly Hallows acting out of love for his family and friends without falling in the trap of advancing his selfish interests using the Hallows (Rowling, Deathly 21-24, 288-293, 571-579). Likewise, The   Rotfang   Conspiracy   ’07   (TRC07)   defends Dumbledore’s   treatment   of  Harry, while agreeing with other fan writers of their accusations of  Dumbledore’s  treatment  of  Snape.   TRC07’s   essay   challenges fellow readers to examine another complex layer of Dumbledore’s   character.   TRC07 acknowledges, in agreement with Ib4075, that one possible exception  to  Dumbledore’s  habit  of  keeping  emotional  distance  from  others  is  his  protégé  Harry.    60 Yet, in regards to the chief accusation many fan writers place on Dumbledore—the planning of Harry’s  opportune death—TRC07 presents an interesting case by suggesting that perhaps it was essential  for  Dumbledore  to  plan  exactly  how  Harry  should  be  killed  in  order  to  protect  Harry’s  soul. TRC07 argues that had Dumbledore not planned for Voldemort to attack Harry with a Killing  Curse,  Harry’s  soul  would  have  been  at  risk  of  remaining  “conjoined  with  Voldemort’s  parasitic   soul   fragment”   (TRC07 n.pag.). The point TRC07 makes here is this: while Dumbledore  may  have  appeared  careless  about  protecting  Harry’s  life,  what  Dumbledore  cared  for more than Harry’s   life was the integrity and wholeness of his soul. While TRC07 pardons Dumbledore on this front, he or she concurs with other reader-writers such as Emma and SLS with regards to Dumbledore’s  treatment  of  Snape.  TRC07  observes that Dumbledore left Snape in extreme danger, failing to foresee certain events that complicated and jeopardised his great scheme. By making allowances  for  Dumbledore’s  genuine  concern  for  Harry even in light of his cold, calculating Machiavellian side, TRC07’s  analysis consequently adds more intricacy to the understandings  of  Dumbledore’s  character. 5.4.  Dumbledore for the Greater Good To further the  discussion  of  Dumbledore’s  moral  ambiguity,  Theowyn  and  Sara  Putnam  Park   present   an   interesting   angle,   which   could   be   described   as   the   angle   of   “General  Dumbledore.”  In  Theowyn’s  analytical  contribution  to  The  Leaky  Cauldron,  “The  life  and  Lies of   Albus   Dumbledore,”   Theowyn   analyses   Dumbledore   by situating him in a position of a wartime commander and a strategist. To an extent, The Order of Phoenix gives more dimensions to  Dumbledore’s  character  by  providing  readers  a  glimpse  into  the  lives  of the members of the Order of Phoenix and how they see its leader, Dumbledore. This added adult perspective on Dumbledore helps us perceive Dumbledore not only as a teacher but also as a rebel leader. In this   61 role, Dumbledore exhibits a great level of secretiveness and strong reservations towards revealing the details of his plans to his comrades (Rowling, Deathly 65, 174, 549). Perhaps, it is the necessity of being a leader not to be on equal ground with common soldiers; yet, it is noticeable that Dumbledore is largely isolated from the rest of the Order members. Theowyn questions whether Dumbledore’s  apparently  heartless decision-making can be viewed simply as a wartime general making the best decisions he can under the pressures of war, whose ruthlessness is a necessity of that condition.  Theowyn  calls  Dumbledore  “[t]he  most  enigmatic  character” (n.pag.). Once  an  “epitome  of   goodness”   (Theowyn n.pag.), his youthful attraction towards wizard supremacy as well as some of his actions in his later years revealed in the seventh book challenges readers to re-examine his character (Theowyn). Theowyn  views  that  Dumbledore’s  care  for  Harry  is  genuine  despite his willingness to prepare Harry for a path that may lead to his premature death. With regards to this certain ruthlessness about Dumbledore, Theowyn calls Dumbledore a “Machiavellian”  (Theowyn), for he is prepared to “use others without compunction, even to the point   of   plotting   a   child’s   death”   (Theowyn).   Like   many   of   the   other   analytical fan writers, Theowyn finds the ability of Dumbledore to compartmentalise so that he can plan a war strategy involving a high probability of the death of a child whom he genuinely cares for “chilling”  (Theowyn n.pag.). Theowyn also notes that for all his scheming and cleverness, one of the most important pieces of information almost does not get delivered because it is entrusted with Snape to be delivered to Harry at the pre-arranged moment (Theowyn). Looking back on The Deathly Hallows, Snape barely has time to commit his final act of passing on this entrusted communication to Harry as he lies fatally injured (Rowling, Deathly 529).   62 A further concern of Theowynʼs is how Dumbledore gains a position of authority under the façade of a gentle and wise mentor situating himself perfectly to mould Harry into becoming someone who does not recoil at the thought of sacrificing his own life in order to defeat Voldemort (Theowyn). Theowyn notes that in his manipulation of others, Dumbledore takes full advantage of his ability to uncover the core moral fibres of those nearest to him. For example, Dumbledore  has  “laid  out  an  enticing  road”  (Theowyn)  for  Harry  to  follow, knowing how strong Harry’s  desire to protect those whom he loves is   (Theowyn).  As  Theowynʼs  blunt  description suggests, it has been a pattern for Dumbledorethe master manipulatorto set up a path for his lieutenants to follow without disclosing the full extent of the danger that the mission entails. Theowyn explains: once Dumbledore knows that his lieutenants are   “gone   far   enough   that   he  [knows] they [will not] turn back . . . [t]hen he step[s] aside and point[s] the way to the cliff . . . [for]  them  to  jump  off”  (Theowyn).  Theowyn  suspects  Dumbledore  predicted  that  even  if  Harry  had realised he was deceived in the particulars, once he understood the end goalthe destruction of Voldemorthe would accept the responsibility and would want to follow it to the end (Theowyn).   As   Theowyn   observes,   Dumbledore   does   not   “[give]   his   followers   all   of   the  information   they   [need]   to   make   a   free   choice”   (Theowyn);;   instead,   he   “[gives]   them   only  enough   [information]   to   manoeuvre   them   into   doing   what   he   [wants]   them   to   do”   (Theowyn n.pag.).  Joining in Emma, SLS, Leonhardt, Ib4075, and TRC07, Theowyn reviews Dumbledore’s  relationship with his two most trusted lieutenants, Harry and Snape. On this point, Theowyn maintains that both Harry and Snape have remained loyal and honourable in their respective relationships with Dumbledore, while Dumbledore has done disservice to both of them by not being  forthcoming  in  return.   In  light  of   this  observation,  Theowyn  eloquently  notes  that,  “[f]or    63 all his insight into human nature, [Dumbledore is] . . . often oblivious to the emotional needs of others   around   him”   (Theowyn n.pag.). While recognising Dumbledore as someone who is “capable  of  great  patience  and  greatness”  (Theowyn n.pag.), Theowyn makes quite a compelling argument  to  expose  Dumbledore’s  hypocrisy  in  his  manipulation  of  and  control  over  others.   In   “Dumbledorian   Ethics:   How Albus Dumbledore Combines Utilitarianism and Compassion,”   Sarah   Putnam   Park   poses   similar   questions   to   Theowyn   about   the   morality   of  Dumbledore’s  actions.  Park  subsequently  attempts  to  rationalise  Dumbledore’s  actions  by using the principle of utilitarian theory. It is important to note here that it is not my intention to evaluate  the  validity  of  Park’s  assessment  and  understanding  of  utilitarian  theory.  I  aim,  rather,  to  understand  how  Park  evaluates  the  morality  of  Dumbledore’s  actions  using  the  theory at hand. Park  argues  that  all  of  Dumbledore’s  decisions  and  actions  can  be  explained  by  the  principle  of  utilitarian ethics, which champions the notion of achieving the greatest good for the greatest number and stipulates that an individual action cannot be assessed for its morality until the action in question is measured against an end result (Park).  Park   points   out   that   readers   could   only   speculate   Dumbledore’s  motives   and   thoughts  behind his actions using the limited information the texts reveal because Rowling does not disclose Dumbledore’s   inner   thoughts   in   details   (Park).   The  main   question   Park   poses   is   this: when  one  applies  the  utilitarian  theory  to  Dumbledore’s  strategy,  does the end (Voldemort’s  fall) justifies the means (the possible death of Harry)? To this question, Park answers that while it is a hard  and  seemingly   impossible  decision,  “the  end  of  Voldemort’s   reign  of   terror  would   justify  the sole death of one boy—Harry  Potter”  (Park n.pag.). Park argues when we weigh the possible consequences   of   Voldemort’s   prolonged   control   over   the   magical   world, which means a continued persecution of thousands of Muggles and Muggle-born wizards and witches,   64 Dumbledore’s   plan   to   have   Harry   sacrifice   himself   is   “not   cruel   or   self-serving, but it is the appropriate  ethical  decision  for  this  particular  situation”  (Park n.pag.).  Park presents a counter-argument to this conclusion and further argues that while the above conclusion may be valid from   a   utilitarian   perspective,   Dumbledore’s   plan   does   not  respect Harry as a person (Park). Park acknowledges that one of the major objections towards the utilitarian ethics is raised on how the theory allows for an individual to be considered as a means to an end, denying their humanity to be respected as an end in itself (Park). In light of this objection, Park concludes that Dumbledore is culpable of not respecting Harry enough to confide the complete plan in him, while he is not guilty of seeing Harry as a useful instrument given the gravity of the alternative, which is, Voldemort continued existence. Dumbledore guides Harry to become a young man capable of assuming the task of the Chosen One, destined to defeat Voldemort. Dumbledore does this not by changing  Harry’s  nature, but by “fostering  Harry’s  own  innate loving kindness, thereby moulding a man capable of making great personal sacrifices, even   sacrificing   his   own   life,   to   save   the   lives   of   others”   (Park n.pag.). Here, Park seems to suggest that, while Dumbledore shows Harry the path he believes to be right, it is Harry himself who ultimately chooses to take that path.  In the books, Harry wonders why it had never been important enough for Dumbledore to entrust his plans with Harry and questions whether Dumbledore had ever truly cared for Harry as more than just a pawn in the war plan (Rowling, Deathly 147, 267). Park wonders at this point and is puzzled as to why Dumbledore often kept distance from Harry when it was potentially quite damaging for Harry to experience such temperamental demeanours of Dumbledore, someone Harry has known, respected, and sought approval and returning affection of. It is evident from the questions fan writers raise in their critical opinion pieces that there are many   65 textual indeterminacies surrounding the character or Dumbledore. In other words, upon the conclusion of the series, the character of Dumbledore remains elusive and consequently some of the mysteries surrounding his character have become a source of inspiration for further speculation and critical examination on  readers’  part.  5.5.    Concluding  Thoughts  on  Fans’  Analytical  Writing One of the most interesting points stemming from the eleven analytical essays is the way in which fans   take  Dumbledore’s  moral   failings  quite  personally.  Fans also appear to establish strong  moral  understanding  through  their  evaluation  of  Dumbledore’s  conduct.  It is perhaps safe to speculate that   by   making   moral   judgments   in   respect   to   Dumbledore’s   actions, in a way, readers are prompted to face and question their own moral principles. Some of the key themes that are repeated across the eleven writings include 1) readers’  expressions of respect and trust for  Dumbledore’s  goodness,  2)  readers’  perception of Dumbledore as the voice of morality in the story,   and   most   importantly,   3)   readers’   initial   assessment   and   later   re-evaluation of Dumbledore’s   manipulation and control of others, revealed most prominently in the seventh book. With regards to the last point, some readers criticise Dumbledore’s  conduct  towards  Harry,  while some perceive greater demonstrations of moral failings in Dumbledore’s  conduct  towards  Snape.  Dumbledore is a complex character comprised of often contradicting elements such as wisdom of age, solid moral principles, propensity for secrecy and lies, as well as common human weaknesses for power. Further, as eight of the eleven analytical reader-writers point out, for all his visions as a master manipulator and for all his aura of omniscience,  Dumbledore’s  power  and    66 control reached only so far in changing the course of history.2 This contrasting representation that Dumbledore signifies seems to fascinate some readers such as Theowyn.  In the in-between  place  where   the  author,   the   text,  and   the  readers  meet,  Dumbledore’s  character comes alive as his actions earn censure as well as passionate responses from readers. It is evident that Dumbledore is an important character for these reader-writers because, if he were not, they would not have taken the time to make sense of his character. If we consider reading to be an activity that exposes readers to life experiences that cannot be attained in their everyday lives, then online fandom allows readers to create an open forum in which they can exchange their thoughts, thereby deriving not only personal but social value from their literary experiences.                                                             2. Theowynʼs  observation,  especially,  suggests   that   there   is  a  parallel  between free will and destiny within the text. For example, does Harry freely choose the path of being the Chosen One or does he do so because Dumbledore often carefully guided him to take a particular path by controlling the flow of information? For more discussions on the issue of control and agency, readers may refer to Drew Chappell’s  “Sneaking  Out  After  Dark:  Resistance,  Agency,  and   the  Postmodern  Child  in  JK  Rowling’s  Harry  Potter  Series.” This parallel is mirrored by the question of literature as changeable or determinedis a text fixed in the written words of the author or can it be understood to be something more organic, something that can take a life of its own through reader response?   67 6. Examination of Selected Creative Writings Posted by Fans As mentioned above, reader-writers who take up creative writing as their method of expression appear to approach the exploration of Dumbledore’s  character a little differently from analytical fan writers. Drawing  upon  Henry  Jenkins’  genre  classifications,  most  of  the  fan  fiction  stories examined  below  can  be  classified  as  “Alternative  Points  of  View,”  “I  Wonder  If-s”  and  “Missing  Moments”  (Jenkins  181). What these classifications signify is how fan fiction writing is founded in  readers’  desire  to  bridge  textual  indeterminacies  and  break  out from the limitation of the original text. The three genres respectively refer to stories that address textual indeterminacies 1) by   telling   the  stories   from  someone  other   than  Harry’s  point  of  view,  2) by exploring other outcomes of a decisive event, and 3) by writing unwritten parts of the Harry Potter stories (Jenkins 181).  I examined ten fan fiction stories posted by reader-writers. Instead of conducting an in-depth analysis of each story, I focus on some of the key themes fan writers explore. Additionally, particular attention is paid to personal comments fan writers leave which offer insight into what inspired them to publish the stories, as well as what they wished to accomplish by writing and sharing their creative pieces. On first examination, it appears that the ten fan writers that comprise the dataset take up, as entry points for creating their own stories, the following themes:  1. Dumbledore’s  little revealed childhood and family relationships,  2. Dumbledore’s  sense  of  guilt  and  the  trauma  he  endured over his sister’s  death,  and 3. Dumbledore’s  sexuality.   To present an apparent point of observation, it appears that while   readers’   analytical   opinion  pieces focused more on close textual analysis, fan fiction writers, due to the nature of creative writing, use the  “facts”  presented  in  the  text  as  a  foundation  upon which build their imaginative   68 stories. In other words, one could say that analytical writers focus on what is written (yet problematic or unclear), whereas creative writers pay particular attention to what is not written. One of the great merits of creative stories lies in how  those  stories  call  other  readers’  attention  to  the unwritten parts of the original Harry Potter stories.  There are an exponential number of postings on the Fanfiction.net that include references to the stories of Harry Potter. For example, a key word search within the site in June 2014 revealed that there were more than 2500 stories featuring Dumbledore as at least one of the primary characters (Fanfiction.net). My method of selection was as follows: 1) I searched Fanfiction.net for stories featuring Albus Dumbledore under the category of books and the sub-category of Harry Potter. 2614 stories came up in this search. 2) I categorised these by relevance and  excluded  “cross-overs” (e.g., stories including characters from literary source texts beyond the Harry Potter series). 3) I limited the selection to substantive stories with word counts between 3000 and 8000 that would comprise a manageable dataset for this study. 4) I limited the stories to English language only. Abstracts of over 1000 stories were reviewed. Sixty stories appeared to meet the inclusion criteria and were selected for further examination.  For the purpose of this study, I wanted the number of creative texts for analysis to be roughly equivalent to the number of analytical texts analysed in the earlier section. The purpose of this study is in part to illuminate how readers bridge textual indeterminacies with the understanding that indeterminacies do not open doors to infinite possibilities for meanings, for the text imposes certain limitations with the facts that it establishes (Freund 146; Iser 51). In light this limitation, I therefore omitted stories dealing with settings and situations too distanced and disconnected from the original text—for example, stories implicating characters into situations   69 well beyond the content of the original texts or stories that directly contradict facts set up in the original series.  Of the final sixty stories, approximately thirty stories were omitted on the following grounds: 1. The story was incorrectly identified by filters and in fact features someone other than Dumbledore. 2. The story includes events incompatible with the events in the original series (e.g., Dumbledore is in fact James Potter in disguise; in short, stories that can be classified as being set in an alternative universe). 3. The majority of the characters do not appear in the original series. 4. A story by the same fan author already appears in the dataset. Of the stories meeting all of the inclusion criteria, the first ten were chosen for the examination.  As is the case with the examination of analytical writers, the following examination is divided into four sections according to the topics and sub-topics that reader-writers take up (see also Table 2 for further details).  1. Exploration of Dumbledore as a friend and a protector.  Appearing in stories by RobynElizabeth; CyborgNinjasInLove; AngelMoon Girl; The Half Mad Muggle. 2. Exploration of Dumbledore as an arrogant and somewhat selfish young man. Appearing in stories by biopotter; estuesday. 3. Exploration of how guilt over the death  of  Ariana  affected  and  shaped  Dumbledore’s  character.  Appearing in stories by MissPadfoot100; Kilara25; Wuff.   70 4. Exploration  of  Dumbledore’s  arguably  romantic  relationship  with  Grindelwald.     Appearing in a story by Sahara Storm. Table 2. Details of fan fiction stories examined.  Author Word Count Title 1 RobynElizabeth 3044 words Scars and Sherbet Lemons 2 AngelMoon Girl 6152 words Wolf  in  Friend’s  Clothing 3 CyborgNinjasInLove 6978 words Recollections 4 The Half Mad Muggle 3115 words Dear Albus 5 biopotter 5573 words Albus Dumbledore and the Deathly Hallows 6 estuesday 6574 words Love and Other Childish Ways 7 MissPadfoot100 3422 words Albus’  Recollections 8 Kilara25 5428 words Wonderful Tragic Mysterious 9 Wuff 6561 words Believe in Love  10 Sahara Strom 7229 words Love Letters  In illustration of the ambiguity surrounding Dumbledore’s  character in the original texts, certain   “facts”   about   his   past   are   revealed   through   a   third   party   who   may   be   considered   an  unreliable narrator. In   the   obituary   for  Dumbledore,   for   example,  Dumbledore’s   school   friend  Elphias Doge reminisces about his youth and states that he and Dumbledore became close friends due to their common identities as outsiders (Rowling, Deathly 21). Doge explains that while the idiosyncrasy that excluded him from the crowd was his medical condition, what separated  Dumbledore  was  “the  burden  of  unwanted  notoriety [due   to  his   father’s] savage and well-publicised   attack   upon   three   young   Muggles”   (Rowling,   Deathly 21). Doge recalls that while many of his classmates pressed him to speak of the matter, Dumbledore refused to speak of   it   except   to   confirm  his   father’s   guilt of the charges laid upon him (Rowling, Deathly 21). Doge observes, despite Dumbledore’s   rocky start at Hogwarts,   “[i]n   a  matter   of   months   . . . Albus’s  own  fame  had  begun  to  eclipse  that  of  his  father[,] . . . never again [to] be known as the son of a Muggle-hater, but as nothing more or less than the most brilliant student ever seen at the   71 school”   (Rowling,  Deathly 22).   Judging   from  Doge’s  obituary, Dumbledore’s   life  at  Hogwarts  was, perhaps, a journey that of finding acceptance and friends, as it was for Harry (Rowling, Prisoner 258-61). These circumstances presented in The Deathly Hallows suggest the possibility that Dumbledore also spent a lonely and somewhat abandoned childhood akin to that of Harry, Snape,   and   Tom   Riddle,   whom   Harry   calls   “the   abandoned   boys”   (Rowling,   Deathly 558). Markedly, Doge can be considered an unreliable narrator, since his friendship with Dumbledore is  likely  to  make  him  silent  on  matters  that  can  cast  shadows  over  his  famous  friend’s  character  and reputation. Secondly, it is also evident that there are no particular details given in the original text as to what Dumbledore felt and how he responded to his  father’s  arrest  or  his  school  years.  Nevertheless, the fan fiction stories examined below offer an interesting model as to how textual indeterminacies are bridged and how the original text is transformed in the hands of a reader.  6.1.  Dumbledore—A Friend and a Protector The following four creative writers examined below RobinElizabeth, AngelMoon Girl, CyborgNinjasInLove and The Half Mad Muggleexamine Dumbledore’s actions and emotions in relation to his relationship with other characters. In so doing, these writers give voice to Dumbledore’s   inner   thoughts   and   contemplate   the   workings   of   his   heart   and   mind   in   places  where the original text remain silent. In the story titled “Scars and Sherbet Lemons,” RobynElizabeth imagines the role Dumbledore could have played in ensuring James and Lily Potter’s   continued   safety. RobynElizabeth envisions in what manner Dumbledore could have been involved in the rescue of baby Harry on the Halloween Day when James and Lily were murdered by Voldemort. RobynElizabeth pictures Dumbledore making arrangements with James so   that   the   latter   could   inform   the   former   of   his   family’s   safety   every   night   at   a   set   time.  RobynElizabeth’s   story   depicts the growing anxiety Dumbledore feels during the Hogwarts   72 Halloween Feast when he notices that James has not checked in for the evening, wondering whether   the   silence   is   caused   by   James’s   carelessness   or   whether   it   means   genuine   trouble.  Itching  to  rush  to  Godric’s  Hollow  to  ensure  their  safety,  RobynElizabeth  envisions  Dumbledore  feeling   restless.   Eventually,   Dumbledore’s   gut   feeling   of   something   being   terribly wrong is confirmed when he senses the Fidelius Charm break, and Dumbledore rushes in fear to the Potter residence, knowing too well that he is too late to save them (RobynElizabeth). In the story, RobynElizabeth fills in the textual gaps by imagining how Dumbledore was involved in the Potters’   protection as well as in the   discovery   of   both   Harry’s   survival   and   Voldemort’s  disappearance, and portrays Dumbledore in a positive light by having him show genuine care and concerns for the Potters.  In “Recollections”, CyborgNinjasInLove (CNIL) imagines that Dumbledore left a letter to Harry imparting to the younger man the memories of his life, especially his association with Grindelwald that  affected  Dumbledore  deeply.  Dumbledore   in  CNIL’s  story   is   sensitive   to   the  possibility that his life may come under scrutiny after his death and Harry might be hurt and confused   to   discover   his   mentor’s   past   mistakes and failures (CNIL). Giving voice to Dumbledore regarding matters about which he remained silent in the original texts, CNIL has Dumbledore   reach  out   to  Harry   to   assure  him  of  his   loyalty   and   trust,   and   that  with  his   “very  human body and mind, one entirely capable of missteps   and   misdeeds”   (CNIL n.pag.), Dumbledore tried to help Harry the best he could (CNIL).  In the story “Wolf   in   Friend’s   Clothing,” AngelMoon Girl (AngelMoon) looks at the events that follow the third task of the Triwizard Tournament in The Goblet of Fire through Dumbledore’s   eyes.   The   author’s   note   suggests   that   AngelMoon   decided   to   create   this   story  because   she   “often   wondered   what   happened   beyond   Harry’s   perspective   on   the   night   he    73 returned,   Cedric’s   Diggory’s   dead   body   in   tow   [at   the   end   of   the   Triwizard   Tournament]” (AngelMoon n.pag.) AngelMoon   states,   “[a]ll   we   got   was   a   blurred   vision   from   a   barely  conscious  Harry,  and  I’m  left  wanting  .  .  .  [therefore,  I  decided  to]  write  it  myself  .  .  .  my  creative  take on the events that transpired after the Third Task,   from   Dumbledore’s   point   of   view” (AngelMoon n.pag.). AngelMoon’s  story  examines  Dumbledore’s  inner  thoughts,  especially  his  genuine   concern   for   Harry’s   safety,   as   Dumbledore   waits   for   the   result   of   the   third   task   in  growing anxiety, sensing that something is terribly wrong. Following   Dumbledore’s   inner  thoughts,   AngelMoon   turns   readers’   attention   to   what   ferocious   fury   courses through Dumbledore under his outward façade of self-control, as he begins to realise that he was outsmarted by Barty Crouch Jr. and failed to protect Harry (AngelMoon). The Half Mad Muggle further contemplates the more human side of Dumbledore by exploring his relationships with his trusted friend and ally, Severus Snape. In “Dear Albus,” The Half   Mad   Muggle   brings   readers’   attention to Dumbledore’s generous and attentive nature through the friendship between him and Snape. There is one particular scene that The Half Mad Muggle creates that illuminates how Dumbledore’s  past  failures  and  disappointments  led  him  to  demonstrate a great deal of understanding towards the failings and errors of others. In the scene in question, Dumbledore speaks to Snape who is crushed under the weight of his evil dealings that ultimately led to the death of Lily Potter, and offers him a piece of wisdom:  “What  you  have  done before is in the past—we cannot change it—but we also cannot continue to live in it. We both have dark parts in our past—but we have to move on from those and walk toward the future instead”  (The  Half  Mad  Muggle n.pag.). Dumbledore  in  The  Half  Mad  Muggle’s  story  continues  to   console  Snape:   “I  did  not   say   forget   [the  past   sins].  Learn   from [them], indeed. But do not allow  your  past  to  control  your  present”  (The  Half  Mad  Muggle n.pag). In short, The Half Mad   74 Muggle imagines what conversations and connections Dumbledore and Snape could have shared beyond what the original texts disclose. In the process, the author reinforces the representation of Dumbledore as someone to look up to and rely on in time of need—an image initially established from Harry’s  perspective. 6.2.  Dumbledorethe Young and the Restless The two following writers fill in the textual indeterminacies by imagining the details of Dumbledore’s   youth   that   are   only   briefly  mentioned   in   the   original   text.   In   the   creative   story  “Albus Dumbledore and the Deathly Hallows,” biopotter  draws  readers’  attention to the chain of events   that   took   place   in   the   summer   shortly   after   Albus’s   graduation   from   Hogwarts,   most  particularly  the  circumstances  that  brought  Dumbledore  home  to  Godric’s  Hollow.  As  depicted  in the original text, Dumbledore was forced to cancel his plan of travelling around the world when he was called upon to return home upon  his  mother’s  untimely  death  in order to take care of his unstable sister (Rowling, Deathly 573). biopotter portrays  the  workings  of  Dumbledore’s  heart at the time of his   returning   home  by   closely   imagining  Dumbledore’s   disappointment   at  having to forgo his chance of a big adventure, as well as resentment towards his sister and brother whose presence keeps Dumbledore in their little village. biopotter examines Dumbledore’s loneliness upon finding himself in a place without the company of an intellectual equal, and his feeling of being slighted upon realising his brilliant talents and intelligence are being wasted upon household chores. Dumbledore, as mentioned above, exhibits these feelings in the original text, and biopotter highlights and expands on Dumbledore’s rare exhibition of ungraciousness, sulking in the face of a circumstance that is beyond his control that befell upon him. biopotter portrays the youthful Dumbledore as someone with a great sense of entitlement in the world, and as someone who is capable of harbouring a strong sense of bitterness and   75 resentment. This antipathy stems from his dreams being quashed by family obligations and the portrayal of a young and rebellious Dumbledore provides readers with a different perspective of the man who acquired gentlemanlike, yet reserved manners later in his life (biopotter).  The particular circumstances that expedited the close relationship between Dumbledore and Grindelwald is explored in estuesday’s  story,  “Love and Other Childish Ways.” Imagining the first encounter of Dumbledore and Grindelwald, estuesday depicts spars of wit between the two, making it quite clear to readers what drew Dumbledore and Grindelwald together and how powerful their magnetism was to each other. In a joint interview for The Leaky Cauldron and Mugglenet, Rowling makes a following comment on Dumbledore and friendship: “being  very,  very intelligent might create some problems and it has done for Dumbledore, because his wisdom  has  isolated  him  .   .   .  where  is  his  equal,  where  is  his  confidant,  where  is  his  partner?”  (Rowling qtd. in accio-quote.org n.pag.). This premise is important in examining, as estuesday does, why Dumbledore became so infatuated with Grindelwald who was his intellectual match when he knew very well that Grindelwald had a darker desire for power and control. Both biopotter and estuesday bring Dumbledore to a more human level (albeit in a different way from the first four writers examined), showcasing the intricacy of the workings of his heart where egoism and conceitedness coexist with compassion and thoughtfulness. Neither altruistic nor malicious, their stories emphasise all too human aspects of Dumbledore through his shortcomings, allowing readers  to  have  a  second  and  a  third  look  at  Dumbledore’s  character  with  compassion   and   understanding.   In   one   of   the   scenes   in   biopotter’s   story,   Dumbledore  acknowledges the feelings of pity towards both himself and for his  sister  and  reflects:  “the  only  help he could provide her was superficial, and clumsy at best. When he sat alone with Ariana he had   no   ease   with   her,   no   comfortable   companionship”   (biopotter n.pag.). biopotter illustrates   76 Dumbledore’s   frustration  at   not being able to love his sister as he ought to and this feeling is accompanied by his desire for a companionship with someone of equal intelligence.  6.3.  Dumbledore and the Price of his Love The next three stories—MissPadfoot100’s   “Albus’   Recollections,” Kilara25’s  “Wonderful Tragic Mysterious,” and   Wuff’s   “Believe in Love”—address the period of time where Dumbledore meets Grindelwald,   their   meeting   ending   in   Ariana’s   death, and how the whole chain of events has affected and changed Dumbledore. MissPadfoot100 has a more simple way of writing and only a very short analysis follows below.  MissPadfoot100’s  story  takes  place  on the eve of James and Lily going into hiding from Voldemort. Significantly, MissPadfoot100 imagines Dumbledore to have lived all his life without ever being able to disconnect himself from his past; MissPadfoot100 illustrates this point by using the Mirror of Erised and the Pensieve, the two instruments that allow Dumbledore to travel back to the memories of his past. Identifying   Dumbledore’s   past   as   something   that   continues   to   shape   and   affect   his   actions,  MisPadfoot100 depicts Dumbledore working hard in order to protect the Potter family from the hands of Voldemort, especially because he himself failed to save and protect his own family. In short, MissPadfoot100 is one of the many fan writers who strive to connect young and somewhat egocentric Dumbledore and aged and wise counterpart the original texts depict by filling in the gaps between the two.  In “Wonderful Tragic Mysterious,” Kilara253 transports Luna Lovegood, whose present time seems to be situated sometime after the Battle of Hogwarts, via Time Turner so that she                                                         3. While it is not my intention to offer criticism to the quality of writing of the fan fiction stories that are examined, Kilara25 should be noted for a good writing style that is particularly notable  in  the  story’s  representation  of  Luna  Lovegood’s  speech  pattern  and  her  characterisation.   77 encounters Dumbledore immediately after   Ariana’s   death.   Kilara25   uses   Luna’s   blatant   yet  somehow  elegant  honesty  and  openness  to  bring  out  Dumbledore’s  inner  thoughts to the surface. For  example,  Kilara25  has  Luna  proclaim  how  she  finds   it  quite  natural   to  “seek  acquaintance  with other people’s   dead”   (Kilara25 n.pag.)   because   “[m]ost   people   aren’t   very   possessive   of  their  dead,   for   some   reason”   (Kilara25 n.pag.). This exchange between Luna and Dumbledore illuminates how people avoid visiting the graves of their families because of the pain and regret they bring to the living and how Dumbledore struggles to find solace in his solitude. This above-mentioned line, while perhaps not uttered by Luna as a reproach, leads Dumbledore to open his heart to her and speak for the first time after its occurrence about the chain of events that led to his  sister’s  death.   It is easy to imagine that the burden of guilt Dumbledore carries over the death of his sister naturally makes him want to turn back time and Kilara25 introduces an interesting plot twist by having Luna’s   Time Turner that she carries to play an important role in the story. Kilara25’s  story  features  Dumbledore noticing   the  Time  Turner  around  Luna’s  neck  and  being  compelled to approach Luna with the intention of grabbing the Time Turner out   of   Luna’s  possession   by   force:   “[Albus  Dumbledore]   sees   history   and   the   rewriting   of   it   all   in   a   single,  delirious flash . . . one thing done differently at the right moment . . . and everything would be different,   his   sins   redeemed,   his   mind   unburdened” (Kilara25 n.pag.). Kilara25 envisions Dumbledore  gazing  at  the  Time  Turner  around  Luna’s  neck  “with  a  hunger  he  cannot  conceal”  (Kilara25 n.pag.), causing Luna to notice his desire and beg him not to go down that path (Kilara25). While  Kilara25  has  Luna’s pleas bring Dumbledore back to his senses, Dumbledore’s  hunger   to   turn  back   time   resonates  with  Rowling’s  portrayal  of  Dumbledore’s  behaviour  upon  his discovery of the Resurrection Stone:    78 When I [Dumbledore himself] discovered it . . . I lost my head, Harry. I quite forgot that it was now a Horcrux, that the ring was sure to carry a curse. I picked it up, I put it on, and for a second I imagined that I was about to see Ariana, and my mother, and my father, and to tell them how very, very sorry I was . . . I was such as fool, Harry. After all those years, I had learned nothing . . . The stone I would have used in an attempt to drag back those who are at peace. (Rowling, Deathly 576-7) Finding connections over their shared experience of losing someone close, Kilara25 has Luna and Dumbledore talk of grief, time, and the effects of time on a grieving soul. To Dumbledore, whose loss is much closer and pain more acute, Kilara25 has Luna pass on her knowledge that “[t]ime  doesn’t  make  the  sadness  any  easier  to  forget  . . . But I think . . . that it makes happiness easier   to   remember”   (Kilara25 n.pag.). By imagining someone who can see beyond human follies and weaknesses and still find good in others, Kilara25’s  story  gives  a  gentle  nudge  to  the  readers (just as Luna might) to re-evaluate  our  harsh  criticism  of  Dumbledore’s  mistakes  and  his  failures. That is,  by  introducing  Luna,  whom  Kilara25  sees  as  someone  who  “go[es]  on  behaving  as though people  are  what   they  ought   to  be,   rather   than  what   they  are”   (Kilara25 n.pag.), as a guide  into  Dumbledore’s  heart,  Kilara25  succeeds  at  casting  a  kind  eye  to  Dumbledore’s  flaws. By casting light on Dumbledore in the time  period  after  Ariana’s  death, which is little explored in the original text, “Wonderful  Tragic  Mysterious” brings together the trustworthy and caring gentleman and his younger selfmore ambitious, arrogant and selfish perhaps yet someone with a good heart. This in turn is perhaps revealing  of  Kilara’25s own compassion for  Dumbledore’s  struggles to make peace with his dead family and learn to carry his burden of guilt.   79 Wuff starts off the story “Believe in Love” with an author’s  note, which indicates how the  story  was  inspired  by  Wuff’s musings  on  “how  Albus  Dumbledore  became  the  man  who  so  strongly believes in love after he was so terribly let down by  Gellert  Grindelwald”  (Wuff n.pag.). Like biopotter and estuesday,  Wuff  focuses  on  what  effects  the  incidents  of  Ariana’s  death had on  Dumbledore  in  his  later  life.  Wuff’s  writing  is  memorable  because  instead  of  simply  looking  at  Dumbledore’s  trauma  over  the  tragedy,  the  writer  casts  light  onto  how  the  tragedy  shaped the man Dumbledore came to be by following some of the decisive moments  in  Dumbledore’s  life.  At each stage, Wuff inserts a little reflection that shows how Dumbledore forms and re-forms his opinions regarding the power of love in light of his experiences.  A key  moment  that  prompts  Dumbledore’s  reflection  on  the  vulnerability love brings is constructed when Wuff wondering how Dumbledore may have regarded his father’s  incarceration for attacking the three Muggle boys who taunted and traumatised Ariana. Wuff imagines Dumbledore to have felt respect for  his  father’s  love  for Ariana, while at the same time envisioning Dumbledore to have harboured an equally strong resentment towards his father for abandoning his family and not considering the consequences of his rash attack on the Muggle boys (Wuff). Wuff ponders the possibility that experiencing such an incident at a very young age might have affected Dumbledore to be wary of such a strong attachment that could lead one to act irrationally and cause the suffering of many (Wuff). Wuff shows Dumbledore’s disappointment in love  when  Grindelwald  reveals  his  true  colour  and  flees  Godric’s  Hollow  after  Ariana’s  death.  The  portrayal  of  Dumbledore’s  heartbreak  is  followed  by  his witnessing James and Lily Potter being betrayed to their deaths by their secret keeper, their most trusted best friend (Wuff). Wuff has Dumbledore reflect on the folly on James and Lily’s part for trusting their loved ones so blindly. Wuff illustrates how Dumbledore must seriously re-evaluate the true   80 power of love due to Lily’s   sacrifice  as well as the discovery  of  Severus  Snape’s   true   loyalty  towards Lily Potter (Wuff).  Another key scene is imagined from a small line from Remus Lupin in The Prisoner of Azkaban, in which he discloses that: Before the Wolfbane Potion was discovered . . . I became a fully fledged monster once a month. It seemed impossible that I would be able to come to Hogwarts. Other   parents   weren’t   likely   to   want   their   children   exposed   to   me.   But   then  Dumbledore became Headmaster, and he was sympathetic. He said that, as long as we took  certain  precautions,   there  was  no   reason   I  shouldn’t  come  to   school.  (Rowling, Prisoner 258) In light of this textual factit was Dumbledore who worked against commonly held prejudice and  fear  of  Lupin’s  condition   to  have  him  accepted  at  HogwartsWuff constructs a story that fills in the textual gaps as to how this decision was made and in what circumstance Dumbledore was acquainted with Lupin. Wuff  imagines  a  meeting  between  Dumbledore  and  Lupin’s  parents,  with the latter begging Dumbledore to have Remus accepted into Hogwarts (Wuff). In this scene, Wuff   depicts   Dumbledore   being   moved   by   Lupin’s   parents’   determination   to   have   their   son  accepted   to  Hogwarts.   Through   following   these   chain   of   events   and  Dumbledore’s   reflections  upon each of these encounters, Wuff’s  story  bridges   textual   indeterminacies,  by  demonstrating  that  Dumbledore’s  strong  convictions  in  the  power  of  love  is  perhaps a product of a long journey comprised of long reflections upon the subject, and observations of how people he cares for have been  affected  by  it.  By  reminding  readers  that  Dumbledore’s  wisdom  and  compassion  have  not  been gifts of nature but products of life experience and learning, Wuff succeeds at highlighting   81 why Dumbledore has always shown compassion and understanding to the misfortunes and errors of others, making allowances for the possibilities of people being able to change. 6.4.  The Gay Dumbledore  The   last   story   to   be   examined   is   Sahara   Storm’s   “Love Letters.” In the story, Storm explores  the  possibility  of  Dumbledore  and  Grindelwald’s  relationship  being  romantic  as  well  as  sexual.  The  story  follows  Albus’s  life’s  journey  in  reverse  chronology, starting from the period in The Order of Phoenix and going back in time to the summer in which Dumbledore meets Grindelwald.   In  the  author’s  note,  Sahara  Storm  notes:  “I   thought  it  was  pretty  cool,   to   look  at  their  [Dumbledore  and  Grindelwald’s]  relationship  in  reverse  chronology”  (Storm n.pag.). Storm weaves the story from   the   point   of   bitter   regret   and   sorrow   on   Dumbledore’s   part,   as he reminisces on his relationship with Grindelwald. In  Storm’s  hands,  Dumbledore  is  taken  back in time until the story line connects with the summer in which the destructive yet passionate friendship/romance between Dumbledore and Grindelwald bloomed. Storm follows the timeline back through both imagined and textually factual events, an example of the latter being the infamous duel in 1945 between Dumbledore and Grindelwald that is mentioned in  Rowling’s  original text. “Love Letter” presents   Storm’s   interpretation   of  Dumbledore   and  Grindelwald’s  friendship as one that is romantic through a graphic portrayal of their sexual relationship. Storm’s  two  main  foci  seem  to  be  on  the  bittersweet  love  story between the two brilliant young wizards as well as on the effects of heartbreak on both Dumbledore and Grindelwald in the years to come.  Storm highlights the connection Dumbledore and Grindelwald inadvertently maintain due to their shared status as the owner of the Elder Wand. As described in the original text, the Wand changes hands from Grindelwald to Dumbledore when the latter defeats the former in a historical   82 duel that brings an end to a dark era of terror and oppression that Grindelwald established. In the original text, Dumbledore only briefly acknowledges the connection with Grindelwald, speaking to Harry that perhaps Dumbledore was able to control and tame the Elder Wand, one of the three instruments of the Deathly Hallows, because he took it from  the  previous  owner,  “not  for  gain,  but to save others from it (Rowling, Deathly 577). Storm takes inspiration from the Elder Wand, and the connection it maintains between Dumbledore and Grindelwald, and imagines how the Wand must have become a daily reminder to Dumbledore of the memory of the previous owner and the mistakes he madefor example, how (as the original text discloses) his past relationship with Grindelwald delayed Dumbledore from taking actions sooner to stop the persecution of Muggles under  Grindelwald’s  reign (Storm; Rowling, Deathly 577).  In  short,  Storm’s  story  gives  voice to Dumbledore and sheds light on the vulnerability of Dumbledore that is only subtly hinted at in the original text. 6.5.    Concluding  Thoughts  on  Fans’  Creative  Writing As mentioned above, the two areas of exploration the ten creative fan writers in the data set explore   include   Dumbledore’s   difficult   relationship   with   his   family   in   his   youth and his sexuality explored through the possibility of a romantic relationship between him and Grindelwald. This suggests that issues such as an unhappy household, sexuality, as well as the matters of conscience and amend-making resonate with readers. In exploring and expanding themes   relating   to  Dumbledore’s   youth   beyond  what   is   revealed   in   the   original   story,   reader-writers challenge the readers of their stories to pay close attention to the original text for unresolved issues, vaguely framed ideas, and hinted possibilities. In short, my examination and examples demonstrate the extent to which readers fill in the textual indeterminacies through the medium of fan fiction writing. For example, in their creative approach to interpret the original   83 text, fan writers raise and answer the following questions that the original text alludes to but does not fully develop:  1. How did Dumbledore feel about his father being arrested and sent to Azkaban for retaliating against the three Muggle boys who bullied Ariana?  2. How did young Dumbledore behave towards his younger siblings? Did he ever feel strong connections with them? 3. How did Dumbledore and Grindelwald meet and what kindled their possibly romantic relationship? Did Dumbledore and Grindelwald still think of each other after their fallout? 4. How did   Dumbledore   find   courage   to   move   forward   with   his   life   after   Ariana’s  death?  5. Why did Dumbledore not share some of his personal history with Harry? Did he ever contemplate how Harry might feel when he discovered how little he knew of his mentor?  6. Given how Dumbledore failed at protecting his family from his own ambitions, how did   Dumbledore’s   understanding   of   his   own   propensity   for   power   affect   his  understanding of others who failed where he failed?  To reiterate, Jenkins argues that fan fiction writing allows readers to make personal meanings within a text by re-making the text to make it more responsive to their interests and concerns (Jenkins 40). In examining the ten fan fiction writers’   endeavours   to   re-construct the original text, what emerges is perhaps   readers’   desire to explore issues that matter to them, such as sexuality and family relationship.   84 On a different note, many fan writers express their gratitude for their peer reviewers and ask their readers to review their writings, making quite  evident  that  “the  culture  of  participation”  (Jenkins 40) that Henry Jenkins speaks of is alive and thriving in the realm of online fandom. To recall  Jenkins’  observation,  fans  are  not  simple  readers/audiences  but  are those who connect with other readers/audiences and by doing so, create a participatory community of their own (Jenkins 41). Perhaps there   are   subtle   differences   between  what   the  word   “fans”   implies   and  what   the  word  “readers”   signifies; “readers”  perhaps engage in their private acts of reading and can be spoken of without a reference to the social connotation of reading, whereas “fans”   exist   in  relation to other fans due to their mutual desire for connections allows them to expand their circle and promote their preferred text collaboratively as its champions. From the way in which the contributors to FanFiction.net exchange feedbacks, it is evident that online fandom has taken many of the fans into a public arena through a venue of an online fan community. There, fan writers connect with each other through their mutual desire to explore the deeper meanings of their preferred texts and to polish their own skills as writers. In other words, through exchanges of agreement, disagreement, reviews, and brainstorming among themselves, reader-writers use online fandom as an arena, in which to hone their imaginative power as storytellers and to develop their critical thinking as expert critics of an original text.     85 7. Conclusions and Opportunities for Further Studies  This investigation started with the question of how readers and authors engage  in  “a  game  of the imagination”   (Iser,   “Reading”   280)   and   how   the   thriving   existence   of   online   fandom  affects the dynamic and changing nature of reader response. After journeying through 21 pieces of fan writings, it is evident that online fandom functions as an arena for public discussions as well as a training ground for new writers.  Iser  maintains  that  a  literary  work’s  true  value  relies  on  a process in which textual indeterminacies within an original text inspires multiple interpretations of the said  text  on  the  part  of   readers  (Iser,  “Interaction”  50).  Regarding textual indeterminacies, I turn to Karin Westman, who compares the language of Rowling to that of Jane Austin, whom Rowling mentions in an interview in 2001 as one of her favourite authors (Westman 145). Westman demonstrates that, akin to Jane Austin, Rowling writes from a perspective of a protagonist and in so doing, places her readers at the mercy of the  protagonist’s limited understanding, sensitivity, and emotional maturity (148, 150-1). From the observations of fan writings, it is quite obvious that the texts allow readers to paint only an imperfect picture of Dumbledore because their knowledge of the character is limited to what is revealed to and observed   by   Harry.   Rowling’s   particular   writing   style,   therefore,   encourages   the   existence   of  textual indeterminacies that subsequently inspire readers to fill in what is not written .  Further, discussions among readers within online fandom are conducted democratically, giving readers more power and control over their literary experience, as opposed to the often top-down model offered in formal education settings. This observation lends support to Saxena’s argument that online fandom has blurred the clear-cut distinction between writers and readers (Saxena n.pag.). As reviewed above in the literature review section, Saxena reflects on the process of reader engagements with a text, in which textual meanings are deconstructed and re-  86 made by each reader upon each reading (Saxena n.pag.).  Saxena’s  understanding  of  a   text  as  a  more fluid entity is reinforced by the observation of fans writers, for they give new meanings to the source text by imagining the past, alternative present, and various futures for different characters. As Saxena observes, the thriving presence of online fandom, easily accessible to readers of all ages from diverse geographical origins, makes it possible for active reader participation in the form of fan writings to flourish further. A comment left by the creator of The Harry Potter Lexicon, Steve Vander Ark, sheds light on how big an impact the development of computer technology, and with it the expansion of online fan communities,  has  had  on  readers’  ability to reach out to other readers:  Cataloguing something as thoroughly as I tend to do is HARD WORK. It takes a lot   of   time   .   .   .   and   itʼs   also  pretty  much   a   thankless   task,   since  no  matter  how  carefully and expertly I do the work, no one ever sees and appreciates it. This time it was different, though. This time there was the Internet. This time I could share all   this  work  with  a   few  other  people.   (emphasis  added)  (“History  of  The  Harry  Potter  Lexicon,”  The Harry Potter Lexicon) Indeed, without the existence of online venues, it would have been much more difficult for me to conduct an examination on the subject of reader-writers’  response  to  Harry  Potter  story. 7.1.  Implications of the Study: The Controversy of Authorship and Authority The relationship between readers and authors can be a controversial one when it comes to fan writing and authorial control of texts. Readers take the settings and characters suggested by authors’   texts  and  weave   them   into   their  own  writing.  On   the  one  hand,   some  authors   such  as  Anne Rice are quite passionate about protecting their own characters and world and what they see as their rights as original authors to shield their creation from fan fiction writers (Waters).   87 Such writers see fan fiction writers as exploiters and are strongly against their characters and imaginative worlds being used in a fan fiction setting. In regards to this reality, the creator and editor of FanFiction.net, Xing Li, stated that FanFiction.net has a long-standing policy to remove works based on the works of authors who do not condone fan fiction stories and have requested fan stories based on their own works be withdrawn (Waters). On the other hand, some authors support fan fiction as a new form of free advertisement and condone, if not champion, their existence as long as fans do not intend to profit from their writings (Waters). For example, the author of Enderʼs  Game, Orson Scott Card, who was originally against fan fiction because he thought it violated his intellectual property as an author, eventually changed his attitude and started to approach the fans (Alter). For example, Card hosted a contest of fan fiction stories on his official website, advertising that the winner would have his or her work published as part of Card’s  upcoming  book  (Alter).   While some authors might see readers who turn fan fictions writers as tolerable at best, readers often turn critical eyes towards authors whom they perceive as controlling the texts by offering extra-textual facts and exercising authorial authority post-publication.   Rowling’s  announcement regarding   Dumbledore’s   sexuality   is   considered   to   be   one   of   those   occasions  where an author is attempting to wield control over her texts after the story is published and the official storyline is concluded.  Of  course,  whether  Dumbledore’s  homosexuality  is  canonical or not is another question about which academics and readers seem to be of two minds; that is, while  the  text  does  not  explicitly  assert  Dumbledore’s  homosexuality,   it  can  be  argued  that   the  possibility is hinted at. For example, Gendler observes that   “it   seems   fair   to   say   that  while   it  [Dumbledore’s  homosexuality]  is  compatible with  the  story’s  primary  truths  (and  perhaps  even  suggested by them . . . ), it is not strictly implied by  them”  (emphases  in  original)  (150).     88 With regards to the issue of what is written in a text and what is interpreted by readers, Gendler turns to reader response theory and its implications (151-2). Gendler draws upon a school of reader response theory that asserts that there is no one correct interpretation of a given text and there are as many interpretations (or more since a single reader could construct multiple interpretations) as there are readers (151). One circle of reader response theorists argue that among these multiple interpretations any one single interpretation—even that of the author—should not be privileged over others (Gendler 151-2). On the other hand, Gendler observes that a different circle of literary theorists advocate for authorial intent to be one single source of correct interpretation of a text and that it is readers’  duty  to  strive to understand a particular meaning an author tries to communicate (152). In response to this author-centric view, however, some critics raised objections even before the advent of reader response theory. For example, Wimsatt and Beardsley,  in  their  essay  “The  Intentional  Fallacy”  argue  that  the  literary  text  “is  not  the  critic’s  own  and  not  the  author’s  (it  is  detached  from  the  author  at  birth  and  goes  about  the  world  beyond  his power to intend about it or control it) . . . [for]   the   poem   belongs   to   the   public”   (470).  Wimsatt and Beardsley further object to the practice of readers deferring to the author for meaning, maintaining that an authority of interpretation and understanding should not be granted to the author outside the written text and that the work of critics is not to assume that of a historian or a psychologist (471). As it is discussed below with reference to an essay posted by Angua on The Leaky Cauldron site, this contention between authorial authority and reader response is an interesting one especially when authors try to change the narrative of the story through extra-textual statement after the text was published and story concluded. Given the prevalence of online fan fiction writing and reading, this issue of the rightful place of authorial voice post-publication is expected to become a focal point in future discussions.    89 While a shadow of a figure can be constructed from connecting small dots of details across the seven books, large gaps of textual indeterminacies remain with regards to Dumbledore, prompting readers to fill in those gaps with their imagination. The fact that four of the ten   creative   fan   writers,   either   directly   or   indirectly,   address   the   issue   of   Dumbledore’s  sexuality suggests that readers respond to the textual implications and perhaps to Rowling’s  post-publication statement. It is apparent that readers find it worthwhile to examine the question of Dumbledore’s   sexuality,   the   answer   to   which   the   original   text   does   not   divulge. As Henry Jenkins observes, for some readers this is perhaps due to the fact that even a hint at the possibility  of  Dumbledore’s  homosexuality offers a point of special connection with the story, allowing them to explore an issue close to readers’  hearts.   Below, some discussions presented by academics regarding the position of an author as a critic of his or her own work in an academic setting are reviewed. While their point of discussion is not quite on the issue of extra-textual authorial communication post-publication, the questions raised in the discussions bare some implications to the issue at hand. In the article “Critiquing  Calypso: Authorial and Academic Bias in the Reading of a Young Adult Novel,”   Catherine  Butler wrestles with the question of authority and credibility of an author as a critic of his or her own work. She asserts that while authors are “recognized   as   having   knowledge   and   expertise  regarding their texts, they are typically regarded as unreliable sources when it comes to critical analysis,  and  as  partial  witnesses  whose  personal  association  with  the  text  is  liable  to  influence  their judgement”   (Butler   264).   While   acknowledging   that the concerns presented above are sound, Butler counters this position, stating that many authors and academic critics begin their reading  and  examination  of  texts  from  a  position  where  “bias  is  the  universal  condition of critical reading”  (266).  In  other  words,  all  readers—including an author of the text as well as critics—are   90 far from being disinterested and are equally subject to personal and professional aspirations and predispositions (Butler 264). With this position as a premise, Butler questions whether  “authors  of   fiction   today   stand   in   a   place   of   critical   privilege,   or   of   disadvantage”   (265).   To   partially  answer this self-imposed   question,   Butler   asserts   that   for   authors,   “there   is   a   constant   rivalry  between the work as published and the ideal work one originally envisaged, to say nothing of its myriad   interim  forms,  all  of  which  colour  one’s   sense  of   the   text”  (266).  Butler   further  argues  that it is perverse to disqualify the authoran expert of a textfrom critical discussion stressing that  including  the  author  in  academic  discussions  is  not  equal  to  assigning  to  authors  “the  god-like  authority  to  determine  the  text’s  meaning”  (276).  In  fact,  Butler  argues  that a critical opinion of an author—the  person  who  “devoted unusual amounts of time and energy to considering the book’s  form  and  meaning”  (276)—is a rich point of reference and the writer may be relied upon to join and perhaps lead critical discussion of the text (Butler 276). Butler here writes from a perspective of an author who is also an academic and a critic. Unfortunately, Butler does not contemplate in her essay what relationship could be forged between an author who wishes to participate in the critical discussion of the text and readers who wish to stand on equal terms with the author as interpreters of the text in that critical discussion.  Julia Moss Zarb also sheds light on the critical function of the post-publication voice of an   author,   its   challenges   and  merits   (Zarb   ii).   In   her   dissertation,   “From   the   Horse’s  Mouth:  Critical Issues of Post-Publication Authorial   Influence,”   Zarb   identifies   critical   values   in   “a  situation where the reader is empowered with the interpretive discretion to allow or disallow post-publication   authorial   statements   into   the   reading   process”   (iii).   Zarb   firmly   upholds   that  “[an]  author may, in fact, proffer expedient detail without taking on a totalizing neo-Romantic authority   over   a   work’s   meaning”   (20).   Zarb   further   argues   that   extra-textual statements by   91 authors can be considered as enablers for deeper reading when readers approach post-publication authorial statements with an awareness of this distinction that readers can refer to authorial voice which offer alternative entry points to the text without regarding authorial voice as offering one true interpretative possibility (Zarb iii, 20). Drawing on the theory presented by Iser, Zarb reiterates the point that by engaging with a fictional text, readers are invited to explore the working of the author   and   characters’   hearts   and   minds   within   the   confines   of   textual indeterminacies (Zarb 9). Zarb maintains that during the process of reading, extra-textual statements can facilitate alternative readings on the readers’  parts  and  their  repeated  readings  will  then create further meanings (Zarb 10, 11). Notably, Zarb seems to suggest that in the current age, readers have greater opportunities  to  look  to  authors’  extra-textual communications and still remain to be in a position to choose freely, whether  to  accept,  question,  or  reject  authors’  extra-textual voices (10). Perhaps, as Zarb predicts, discussions between readers and an author post publication can be a part of normal dialogues within the fan community (Zarb). Although Zarb does not mention the online realm directly, it is safe to assume that public arenas such as fan sites, where authors directly interact with readers, contribute to a greater level of communications between readers and authors post-publication.  Further, as Butler mentions, authors go through tremendous amount of rewrites and edits in the course of their writing, not to mention, the changes the text undergoes during the publication process (Butler 265-6, 276). In other words, if we take into consideration what is edited out and added by editors who have considerations other than textual meanings and quality of writingsuch as what is marketable and profitablethe point of publication may not be the best place to evaluate what authors meant to leave in a given text, which is their only tool of official communication with readers. In the big picture of the writing process, perhaps it is safe to   92 say that what is and what is not extra-textual may not be as clear-cut as suggested by some readers who strongly reject the credibility and value of authorial statements post-publication. For some authors, the process of writing may become much more interactive and even communal in the context of online fan sites and the boundary of the published text may become elusive. Instead  of  having  their   thoughts  and  ideas  “frozen  in  the  time  and  place  of  writing”  (Zarb  24),  authors are able to clarify, defend, or expand their ideas, while readers are able to question, challenge, and request further writings. In such a setting, both parties can suggest and prompt further meaning-making or, as Zarb puts it, offer alternative points of entry into the text (20).  One reader-writer who alludes to an interesting aspect of the author-reader relationship is Angua. Contributing to online fandom through The Leaky Cauldron site, Angua examine some of Rowling’s  extra-textual statements that can be interpreted as her attempt to control, shape, and direct   readers’   literary   experience   (Angua).   First,   Angua   looks   at   a   wealth   of   extra-textual information with regards to Harry Potter books, which is supplied through supplemental pamphlet books written by J.K. Rowling, details provided by Rowling through her interviews, and  Rowling’s  comments  and  posts  on  her  official  websites  (Angua).  Angua  notes that through Rowling’s   interviews,   it is apparent the author is acutely aware of the existence and the magnitude of Harry Potter online fandom and one can observe how her attitude shifted from being suspicious of fan writing to being more positive towards fan stories sometime around the publication of the fifth book, which also coincides with the launching of her own website (Angua).  Echoing Butler and Zarb, Angua questions whether   an   author’s   interpretation   and  understanding of his or her text should be privileged over that of other readers. Angua notes that what is potentially problematic is the limiting influence an author’s  vision  may  have  on  readers,    93 if an author expresses one particular interpretation of a text post-publication. While Angua does not   explicitly   condone   or   condemn   authors’   perceived   right   to   communicate   their   own  understanding of the texts, Angua suspects   that   authors’   views   could   heavily   influence   and  perhaps  limit  readers’  understanding of a text. Therefore, Angua challenges readers to question what   lasting   effects   authors’   attempt   (either   inadvertently   or   intentionally)   to   direct   readers   to envision their texts in a certain way. Drawing some conclusions from literary theories, Angua maintains that perhaps readers have the potential to expand their literary experience only when authors detach themselves from the text after its publication and let it belong to the public. Angua upholds this view that the text belongs to the public after its publication, making the author’s  interpretations no more relevant or privileged than those of any other reader.  Further, Angua notes that when an author establishes one interpretation as the correct one, multiplicity of other potential meanings may dissipate, potentially diminishing the value of literary experience for some readers. Angua explains this possibility by drawing attention to Rowling’s   desire   to   have  Lupin’s   character   illustrate   society’s   prejudice   against   those  with   an  illness or a disability; when she voiced this vision in public, some readers who previously interpreted   Lupin’s   character   as   representing   other   issues   they   could   relate   to   (for   example,  homosexuality) felt their relationship with the text was somewhat damaged (Angua). Furthermore, Angua suspects that some of   those   readers  perceived  Rowling’s   statement   as  her  “attempt   to   ‘control’   their readings and   invalidate   any   interpretations   that   don’t   match   hers”  (Angua n.pag.). Moreover, to put  an  emphasis  on  Angua’s  reflection  on author interfering with readers’   literary   experience,   Angua   identifies   an   incident   in   which   Rowling   inadvertently  angered some readers at the Edinburgh Book Festival when she stated that she could not understand why some female readers were attracted to the character of Draco Malfoy. Angua   94 mentions   that   some   readers   expressed   indignation   at   what   they   perceived   as   Rowling’s  condescending attitude regarding which characters are meant to be good and which are meant to be bad. A noteworthy point in  Angua’s  essay is how Angua calls attention to a dynamic in which an author is aware of the presence of fervent online fandom, a venue in which he or she could choose to connect and communicate with readers, and how some authors utilise this venue to exercise authorial control over readers (Angua). Many of the readers read the Harry Potter series of seven books in the span of ten years, following the series from the publication of the first book in 1997 to the last in 2007. During each hiatus, fan interactions often involved communication with the author and after online fan sites have become prevalent, such communications with the author took place mostly on various online fan sites (Angua). Angua observes that most fans accept and enjoy complementary information provided by Rowling because added details further illuminate the world and the characters Rowling created and shed light onto some of the mysteries  left  by  the  texts.  These  readers  regard  Rowling’s  actions  of  providing  such  additional  information in a positive light, considering them perhaps as her honourable efforts to connect with   her   readers   (Angua).  On   the   other   hand,   other   readers,  Angua   states,   interpret  Rowling’s  willingness to communicate with her readers through interviews and online posts in a negative light and perceive it as  her  need   to  maintain  “control  over  how  the  Harry  Potter  books  will  be  read  and  understood”  (Angua n.pag.).  On   the   day   Rowling’s   official   website   was   launched   in  May   2004   (shortly before the publication of The Half-Blood Price), Angua reports that Rowling left a welcome message on the website, explaining to fans that she created the website in order so that she would to be able to reach her readers more directly and share extra information with them whenever possible   95 (Angua). While  Angua  acknowledges  strong  marketing  motivations  on  Rowling’s  part  to  launch  an official website, Angua also observes that Rowling seemed genuinely interested in using the website to promote further understanding of the books as well as further connections with her readers (Angua). It should be noted here once again that when creating exclusion criteria for Harry Potter fan sites,  one  of   the  websites   I   first   chose   to  exclude  was  J.K.  Rowling’s  official  Harry Potter website. This decision was made because official websites are controlled by agendas that authors wish to put forward rather than those of readers. The control and initiatives belong to the author not the readers, which defeats the purpose of examining how Harry Potter books impact readers and how the texts inspire them to participate in online fandom. With regards to Rowling’s  official  Harry  Potter   site, Angua is disconcerted by how readers take on subservient positions within   the   website.   For   example,   Rowling’s   website   features   awards  Rowling gives out to fans who solve some mysteries or puzzles she sets out within the website (Angua). For example, she gives out marks such as Outstanding and Troll, identical to the Hogwarts’  marking  system,  the  implication  here  being  Rowling  is the teacher and readers as her students (Angua). As Angua observes, it is evident on the website just how much control and authority Rowling maintains; in Pottermore, Rowling holds a hegemonic part as opposed to being brought down to stand on equal ground with her readers (Angua). Perhaps  the  outrage  over  Rowling’s  post-publication statements—such as her admission about  the  personal  reasons  behind  Hermione  and  Ron’s  relationship  and  her  revelation  regarding Dumbledore’s   sexuality—occurred because many readers still perceive that only the readings/interpretations of the text that are supported by the facts professed by the author either within a text or post-publication are authoritative and acceptable (Flood; Press Association). If one  were  to  take  this  view,  an  author  has  the  power  to  invalidate  some  of  readers’  interpretations;   96 this approach is then likely to introduce a dichotomy between an author-god and deferential readers. In such cases, authorial statements post-publication can be regarded as authorial interventions, a power play manoeuvre on  the  part  of  an  author  to  impose  control  over  readers’  literary experience. However, if one were to take the view that after the publication of a text, readers and authors stand on equal ground as critics and can exchange and discuss their understandings and interpretations on equal terms, perhaps such a view will contribute to establishing a more amiable relationship between authors and readers, in which both parties have the ability to facilitate further reading from the other. An aspect that is hard to resolve may be the question of whether an authorial view should be treated any differently from that of an ordinary reader. While there is the concern of authorial voice skewing a literary experience of readers, readers are not in a position to know the inner thoughts of authors or what authors envisioned for a text before some parts were edited out from the original texts in the editorial process. When it comes to authors such as Rowling, who established her world so meticulously and with intricate details that never made it onto the pages of the published text, it is hard to judge what is extra-textual and what is not and a reader’s understandings of the text may very well be enriched by these extra-textual authorial statements. 7.2.  Concluding Thoughts Possibilities for further research are as follows: 1) a continued examination of reader response in the realm of an online realm as an avenue for understanding how literature affect human life, and 2) a further investigation of authorship and authority, particularly on the subject of authorial intervention post-publication. With regards to the first point, a continued examination of reader response in the online realm can be expanded to include examinations of other characters, other online fan sites, fan fictions stories that completely change the parameters   97 set up by an author, and how readers use other mediums of reader response to express their reading experience. Further, both of the questions may be examined in parallel with the notion of literature as being an undetermined and fluid entity. To conclude, the goal of this thesis was to connect the analysis of reader response theory with the actual writings of readers in an online fandom setting, a setting where readers develop a sense of camaraderie over their favourite books (Borah 360-61). In addressing the research question—how does fan writing contribute to literary experiences of readers and how does it add meaning and value to a literary work?—I would  argue  that  my  examination  of  fan  writings  lends  support  to  Iser’s  argument  that  the  value  of a written text lies in the convergence of a text and readers, particularly when readers engage with a text and transform it by constructing additional meanings. The multitude of interpretive possibilities that readers offer through their reading, re-reading, and discussions of the text with their peers—as readers of Harry Potter stories do through their analytical and creative writings—arguably make the original text greater in its value than what it was at the time of publication. Employing  Ingarten’s  metaphor  once  again,  a  text  is  like  a  musical  score; it takes a true life form only when a performer plays its music (Green and LeBihan 188). In this manner, a text becomes multi-dimensional and more organic, acquiring further depth for readers to marvel at. Harry Potter fandom has grown and flourished because readers discovered meaningan element that spoke to themwithin the story that affected them personally in some way to the extent that they wished to share their experience with others. In this process, an individual reader’s  personal  experience  is  transformed  into  a  social  one.4 Literature as the work of art then                                                         4. In the spirit of ending with the very beginning, the history of the Harry Potter books is to be biographically situated below, for it is evident that keen eyes of a few readers played a key role in bringing Harry   Potter   and   the   Philosopher’s   Stone into the world. Initially, the   98 becomes an entity with expanding social meaning and history that are co-constructed by its readers. The Harry Potter universe, as with the universe of any set of literary texts, extends well beyond the books themselves.                                                                                                                                                                                     manuscript for Harry Potter and  the  Philosopher’s  Stone was sent to a reject bin at Christopher Little’s   literary agency (Smith n.pag.). However, Bryony Evens, an office manager to Christopher Little, picked up the manuscript from the reject bin because its unusual binding caught her eyes and she soon afterwards handed the manuscript to Little with her great commendation (Smith n.pag.). Little then called at Bloomsbury Publishing office and handed a sample of the manuscript to Nigel Newton, the CEO of Bloomsbury Publishing (Lawless n.pag.). Newton took the manuscript home but instead of examining it himself handed it to Alice, his eight years old daughter (Lawless n.pag.). Harry  Potter  and  the  Philosopher’s  Stone’s  fate  was  sealed  when  Alice  “came  down  from  her  room  an  hour  later glowing”  (Lawless  n.pag.) and told her  father,  “Dad,  this  is  so  much  better  than  anything  else”  (Lawless  n.pag.).   99 Works Cited Admiraal,  Beth,  and  Regan  Lance  Reitsma.  “Dumbledore’s  Politics.”  The Ultimate Harry Potter and Philosophy: Hogwarts for Muggles. Ed. Gregory Bassham. Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, 2010. 113-27. Print. Alter,  Alexandra.  “The  Weird  World  of  Fan  Fiction.”  The Wall Street Journal 14 Jun. 2012. Web. 20 Dec. 2013. <http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303734204577464411825970488>.  AngelMoon Girl. “Wolf  in  Friend’s  Clothing.” 21 Aug. 2009. Fanfiction.net. Web. 16 Jun. 2014. <https://www.fanfiction.net/s/5321053/1/Wolf-in-Friend-s-Clothing>. Angua.  “If  the  Author  is  Dead,  Who’s  Updating  Her  Website?  – J.K. Rowling and the Battle for the  Books.”  Scribbulus 9 (Oct. 2006): n. pag. The-Leaky-Cauldron.org. Web. 2 May 2014. <http://www.the-leaky-cauldron.org/features/essays/issue9/authordead>. Bane,  Rosamonde.  “Love  as  a  Weapon:  The  Moral  Choices  at  the  Heart  of  Harry  Potter.”  Scribbulus 16 (May. 2007): n. pag. The-Leaky-Cauldron.org. Web. 12 Mar. 2014. <http://www.the-leaky-cauldron.org/features/essays/issue16/LoveasaWeapon>. Bassham,  Gregory.  “Choices  vs.  Abilities:  Dumbledore  on  Self-Understanding.”  The Ultimate Harry Potter and Philosophy: Hogwarts for Muggles. Ed. Gregory Bassham. Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, Inc, 2010. 157-71. Print. – – –. “Love  Potion  No.  9  3/4.”  The Ultimate Harry Potter and Philosophy: Hogwarts for Muggles. Ed. Gregory Bassham. Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, Inc, 2010. 66-79. Print.   100 Bennett,  Andrew.  “Introduction.”  Readers and Reading. Ed. Andrew Bennett. Longman, New York, 1995. 1-19. 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Chappell,  Drew.  “Sneaking  Out  After  Dark:  Resistance,  Agency,  and  the  Postmodern  Child  in  JK  Rowling’s  Harry  Potter  Series.”  Children’s  Literature  in  Education  39. 4 (2008): 281-93. Springer. Web. 21 May 2013.  CyborgNinjasInLove. “Recollections”. n.d. Fanfiction.net. Web. 16 Jun. 2014. <https://www.fanfiction.net/s/10085761/1/Recollections>. Davies, James A. John Forster, a Literary Life. Lenham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield, 1983. 166-9. Print. Emma.  “Harry  Potter  and  the  Distinction  Between  Good  and  Evil.”  Scribbulus 20 (Nov. 2007): n. pag. The-Leaky-Cauldron.org. Web. 12 Mar. 2014. <http://www.the-leaky-cauldron.org/features/essays/issue20/HarryPotterandtheDistinctionBetweenGoodandEvil>. estuesday. “Love and Other Childish Ways.” 1 Aug. 2008. Fanfiction.net. Web. 14 Jun. 2014. <https://www.fanfiction.net/s/4439751/1/Love-and-Other-Childish-Ways>. Fish, Stanley. Is There a Text in this Class?: The Authority of Interpretive Communities. 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Web. 14 Jun. 2014. <https://www.fanfiction.net/s/7049900/1/Dear-Albus>. The Half Mad Muggle. “Letter From a Dead Man.” 27 Jul. 2011. Fanfiction.net. Web. 16 Jun. 2014. <https://www.fanfiction.net/s/7223355/2/Letters-From-A-Dead-Man>.  The  Rotfang  Conspiracy  ’07.  “Still  Got  Your  Wand  in  a  Knot?:  Wandlore  and  The  Elder  Want  Examined.”  Scribbulus 21 (Dec. 2007): n. pag. The-Leaky-Cauldron.org. Web. 10 Mar. 2014. <http://www.the-leaky-cauldron.org/features/essays/issue21/Wandknot>. Theowyn.  “The Life and Lies of Albus Dumbledore.”  Scribbulus 21 (Dec. 2007): n. pag. The-Leaky-Cauldron.org. Web. 10 Jun. 2013. <http://www.the-leaky-cauldron.org/features/essays/issue21/LifeandLiesAlbusDumbledore>. Thomas,  Bronwen.  “What  Is  Fanfiction  and  Why  Are  People  Saying  Such  Nice  Things  about  It?”  Storyworlds: A Journal of Narrative Studies 3. 1 (2011): 1-24. JSTOR. Web. 2 Dec. 2013. <http://www.jstor.org.ezproxy.library.ubc.ca/stable/pdfplus/10.5250/storyworlds.3.2011.000 1.pdf?acceptTC=true&acceptTC=true&jpdConfirm=true>.   109 Tompkins,  Jane  P.  “An  Introduction  to  Reader-Response  Criticism.”  Reader-response Criticism: From Formalism to Post-Structuralism. Ed. Jane P. Tompkins. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1980. ix-xxvi. Print. Tosenberger,  Catherine.  “Homosexuality  at  the  Online  Hogwarts:  Harry  Potter  Slash  Fanfiction.”  Children’  Literature  36 (2008): 185-207. Project Muse. Web. 30 Sept. 2013.  – – –. “‘Oh  my  God,  the  Fanfiction!’  Dumbledore’s  Outing  and  the  Online  Harry  Potter  Fandom.”  Children’  Literature  Association  33. 2 (2008): 200-6. Project Muse. Web. 26 Feb. 2013. Wanguard,  Mary.  “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and Me. The Causes of Crying and Squee-ing.”  Scribbulus 29 (Oct. 2007): n. pag. The-Leaky-Cauldron.org. Web. 10 Mar. 2014. <http://www.the-leaky-cauldron.org/features/essays/issue19/HPDHandMe>. Waters,  Darren.  “Rowling  Backs  Potter  Fan  Fiction.”  BBC News 27 May. 2004. news.bbc.co.uk Web. 20 Dec. 2013. <http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/3753001.stm>. Westman,  Karin,  E.  “Perspective,  Memory,  and  Moral  Authority:  The  Legacy  of  Jane  Austin  in  J.  K.  Rowling’s  Harry  Potter.”  Children’s  Literature 35 (2007): 145-65. Project Muse. Web. 2 Aug. 2013. – – –.  “The  Weapon  We  Have  is  Love.”  Children’s  Literature  Association  33. 2 (2008): 193-9. Project Muse. Web. 10 Apr. 2012. <http://muse.jhu.edu.ezproxy.library.ubc.ca/journals/childrens_literature_association_quarte rly/v033/33.2.westman.html>. Williams,  David  Lay  and  Alan  J.  Kellner.  “Dumbledore,  Plato,  and  the  Lust  for  Power”.  The Ultimate Harry Potter and Philosophy: Hogwarts for Muggles. Ed. Gregory Bassham. Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, 2010. 128-42. Print.   110 Wimsatt  Jr.,  William    Kurtz,  and  Monroe  Curtis  Beardsley.  “The  Intentional  Fallacy.”  The Sewanee Review 54. 3 (1946): 468-88. John Hopkins University Press. JSTOR. Web. 25 Aug. 2014. <http://www.jstor.org.ezproxy.library.ubc.ca/stable/27537676>. Woolf, Virginia. The Common Reader – First Series. (1925). The University of Adelaide. eBooks@Adelaide. Web. 16 Feb. 2014. <http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/w/woolf/virginia/w91c/chapter12.html>. Wuff. “Believe in Love.” 3 Mar. 2008. Fanfiction.net. Web. 14 Jun. 2014. <https://www.fanfiction.net/s/4109469/1/Believe-in-Love>. Zarb, Julia Moss. From  the  Horse’s  Mouth:  Critical  Issues  of  Post-Publication Authorial Influence. Diss. University of Toronto, 2001. ProQuest. Web. 23 May 2014. <http://download.springer.com/static/pdf/438/art%253A10.1007%252Fs10583-012-9189-9.pdf?auth66=1401056264_bc8d10dd97b65af321d795199a7a1afc&ext=.pdf>.     111 Appendix A. Themes covered by fan writing across analytical and creative writing  author type of writing Word count source Albus Dumbledore as the God figure Albus as a father/ mentor Destiny & free will childhood & family  Trauma & sense of guilt Albus’ moral ambiguity  Authority & control, secrets & lies Sexuality Author authority & Authorial control 1 birthday twins critical 2547  L x         2 Caltheous critical 2950  L  x        3 Mary Wanguard critical 3400  L x x    x    4 Rosamonde Bane critical 2800  L  x x       5 Emma critical 5146  L x     x x   6 Sly_Like_Slytherin critical 582  M      x x   7 Riley Leonhardt critical 2712  L x  x   x x   8 Ib4075 critical 1704  L x x    x x   9 The Rotfang Conspiracy  ’07 critical 6183  L  x    x x   10 Theowyn critical 4287  L x x    x x   11 Sarah Putnam Park critical 3572  L x x    x x                 1 RobynElizabeth creative 3044 F  x        2 AngleMoon Girl creative 6152 F          3 CyborgNinjasInLove creative 6978 F  x   x  x x  4 The Half Mad Muggle creative 3115 F  x  x x     5 biopotter creative 5573 F    x x     6 estuesday creative 6574 F     x     7 MissPadfoot100 creative 3422 F     x     8 Kilara25 creative 5428 F    x x     9 Wuff creative 6561 F  x  x x   x  10 Sahara Strom creative 7229 F    x x   x                 Angua critical 8867 L         x M=Mugglenet, L= The Leaky Cauldron, F=Fanficion.net  


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