The Magical Power of “Harry Potter” Fan Art
Harry Potter now exists in many different forms. We’ve got books, plays, films, theme parks, and museum exhibits, and that’s not even touching on the world of fan-driven content – radio plays, fan fiction, theater productions, and of course, fan art. Fan art is as rich and vibrant as its artists and is deceptive in its simplicity. After all, a picture is worth 1,000 words. So to celebrate Inktober and the month when artists of all walks can come together and share their creations, I’d like to take a look at Harry Potter fan art. It is quite possibly the best thing that fans contribute to the fandom, and it holds a very real, almost magical power.
Because Harry Potter is so big, sometimes it can be hard to separate ourselves from the wide world of Potter and remember how we first experienced the series. How many of us can honestly picture Harry without seeing Daniel Radcliffe? How much of our vision of Hermione is tinted by Emma Watson? While this is not a terrible thing, fan art can often help us go back to those first days of being a book fan with no knowledge of films or plays, spin-offs or prequels.
Have you ever wished that a certain scene or character was more heavily featured in the films? Or put in at least once? (cough Peeves) Fan art has the power to bring us back to those scenes, the little gems that were cut from movies, sidelined, or even rewritten. Seeing characters such as Remus Lupin or Severus Snape in their proper early to mid-thirties paints their tales in a different light. Seeing James and Lily as the 21-year-olds that they were makes their deaths that much more tragic. In fan art, we can find those moments visualized in many different renditions.
Fan art also brings us all those imagined scenes, ones that explore the non-canon content we all still love perusing. Who wouldn’t want to look at snippets of the Marauder’s era or Teddy Lupin in front of the Mirror of Erised? (sobs)
I think that it’s in this arena that fan art really shines. Reimagining or expressing personal visions of how the world of Potter looks is so important not only to keep the fandom fresh and alive but also to reflect the amazing diversity of the fans and the universality of this story. This is a fandom that stretches to all corners of the world, celebrating a book series that was written in a way that allows fans to envision characters that are more personal to them. Harry as half-Indian or black Hermione are concepts that just make sense, but because of the movies’ pervasive influence, they weren’t considered by the masses until fan art pointed them out. Even something like Harry’s scar as a true scrawling lightning bolt is a cool interpretation that gets more and more thoughts rolling.
As a massive bookworm myself (or book dragon if you will), I cannot deny the power of reading and the immense pleasure that comes from it. But fan art is also powerful since it’s a look into how different people see that same world. The ink words are made more tactile and detailed to share with the rest of the fandom.
Fan art shows us that even a set of 20-year-old stories still has the power to surprise us or bring new interpretations to the table. And that is magic.