Mapping the World of Harry Potter edited by Mercedes Lackey
The Harry Potter fandom was actually my first brush with literary criticism—no wonder, since the fandom spent so much time between books feverishly picking them apart to find out what could happen next. While I don’t want to go and find it again (there are some things best left to history and nostalgia), I specifically remember an essay about Peter Pettigrew that opened my eyes to how much meaning you could take away from a text. With that in mind, I decided to pick up Mapping the World of Harry Potter (known in later printings as Mapping the World of the Sorcerer’s Apprentice, for copyright reasons, I assume) as my first foray into the pop cultural offerings of Ben Bella Books.
Much like how many people falsely assume Belle is my favorite Disney princess (it’s Jasmine today), they also tend to assume that my Harry Potter House allegiance is to Ravenclaw—but I’m a Hufflepuff. (We’re into hugs and kicking butt.) It’s actually kind of staggering that this sort of reference works not only in fan culture but in the mainstream, especially as fewer and fewer texts are taken to heart by such large swathes of people. Today, we’re going to look at two manifestations of the fan culture around Harry Potter—a collection of fan scholarship and a history of the fandom itself.
While I’m glad I’m making more of an effort to showcase other genres on The Literary Horizon, I won’t lie–I’m always pleased as punch when I realize I can feature fantasy again. (The rule, if you haven’t been playing along at home, is that I can’t read or feature a genre twice in a row.) Today, we’re looking at two fantasy titles from the ’00s–one that’s technically historical supernatural fiction and one that’s solidly fantasy.