UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

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 Fujita, Midori


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.

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