You're The Voice: Nisma on Harry Potter and Originality
Can you smell that?
No, to be honest, I can’t either. Well, at least, I can’t think of a smell that describes the situation of NEVER EVER EVER EVER doing maths again. But if you can, do let me know.
But anyway, this isn’t about my permanent divorce with maths (yeah, that’s right, it’s so over). Recently, I read the current Residence blogger, Steven Lochran’s post on fanfiction… and it got me thinking about another post I read, on originality.
First up, fanfiction and I are not best buds. I already commented on the post itself – you should check it out – but just to reiterate, I just don’t like it when people rewrite an awesome story and destroy my favourite characters. Especially, good heavens, when they put Harry and Hermione together…
(And when people say this and I cry out in agony and say WHYYYYYYYYY? They say it’s because… both of them have dark hair….?
Okay, okay, I’ll stop with the gif spammage.
Anyhow, on this originality post, this girl was upset because after writing her own novel, she suddenly realised that every ounce of her novel was unoriginal. The names she’d taken from other places, the concept – superheroes – was also apparently stolen. The romance, the way the story progressed – all a rip off of stuff that already existed.
I thought… ouch.
Now, I can see why she’d think that, especially when she started listing exactly what she’d stolen from where, but somehow, I couldn’t agree.
Let’s talk… Harry Potter.
Isn’t that one of the most successful stories of all time? JKR takes stuff from mythology, Shakespeare, different languages, places she’s been to, people she knows. And, especially when I’m on somewhere like Pottermore, I get superdy excited to find the history of a name JKR used. Or a place. A thing.
I mean, it’s not as if she invented the concept of witches and wizards… they’ve existed for eons. And super-villains bent on world domination of the supreme race?? *cough cough* Hitler *cough cough*
(Though I can’t think of any who’ve split their souls… hm o.O )
And yet I would never ever ever never ever ever never never ever doubt the awesomeness of Harry Potter. Ever.
Or even The Hunger Games! Did you know that ‘Panem’ comes from a Latin phrase: Panem et Circenses, or ‘Bread and Circuses’? So many of the names too, are derived from flowers and plants… I mean, I’m pretty sure Collins didn’t invent those flowers either.
But isn’t this what makes the story more exciting? The deeper you dig, the more little facts you pull out, the more realistic the novel feels.
I don’t think anyone could really question the originality of these stories. We’d be more fascinated, wouldn’t we? Intrigued by the secrets the stories hold, the depth. The effort put into it. That’s what the subject Literature is for, at school. Unpacking all the details, tracing back to the sources, and finding more meaning. Rather than stealing, I think it’s more like you’re using your resources, and moulding it to be your own. You’re putting in secret messages. Hints.
So while I’m not a fan of fanfiction (haha, that sounds funny… fan of fanfiction… geddit? No? Okay…) I guess I can understand it, and appreciate the overall concept. You take this fantastic idea and you write it differently, because the tiniest difference can change the entire tale. And then it becomes your tale.
That being said, if you ship Harry and Hermione in front of me…
ONE MORE. PLEASE.