Exclusive Interview: Leol Lyen on Crafting “The Bagsy Chronicles” Fan Fiction
For many of us in the Harry Potter fandom, the wizarding world allows us to tap into the land of imagination so that wonderfully magical things can happen. Stunning art, web series, inspired recipes, and, of course, fan fiction will never go out of style. For one writer, Leol Lyen, this creative spark has cast a glow large enough for a whole new series.
Lyen’s creation is “The Bagsy Chronicles,” a seven-volume work of fan fiction that can be enjoyed on Archive of Our Own, starting with the first installment, “Bagsy Beetlehorn and the Thorned Gauntlet.” Fortunately, we were able to interview Lyen to get a glimpse into this work:
It follows Bagsy Beetlehorn, an incredibly timid witch who can’t cast spells, and so invents her way around problems, alongside her best friend Mezrielda, an arrogant and ambitious prodigy, as they discover the friendships, conspiracies, betrayals and injustices of the wizarding world. The series explores their development as Bagsy tries to make sense of a world where her own magic doesn’t work like everyone else’s, and Mezrielda tries to fight back against a world that tramples on those it deems unworthy. Bubbling in the background, the magical world approaches a tipping point as its mistreatment of magical creatures brings to boil its own downfall.
This all started in a familiar place: a love for the Potter films and books. After consuming them all, Lyen described feeling “this hole in my chest where the series used to be. I wanted more.” We certainly agree, and that’s why so many of us bring our own talents and ideas to the table. By penning our own stories, the magic stays alive.
Sometimes, the need to create comes from feeling out of step with the books’ author. Lyen states, “I loved the world of Harry Potter, but I didn’t feel the same enthusiasm for the new content, and the old magic was stained with the views I now knew J. K. Rowling held.” Introducing original characters and plotlines allows fans to enjoy the franchise’s foundation while also introducing improved representation.
When asked about where this writing hobby started, Lyen reminisced:
As a child I drafted stories any chance I could in the back of my work books, sketching miniature comics, designing characters and plotlines… As I grew up, the need to write became a constant obsession, and I’m known amongst my friends as a ‘writing machine’ who can happily churn out six full-length book drafts a year alongside full-time study/work.
Though “The Bagsy Chronicles” is not this author’s first work, it is the first foray into fan fiction. Readers will recognize the setting, but they will also discover “all [new] characters, magic, potions, creatures, mysteries, spells, and much more.” The titles draw you in, but the originality and care keeps you reading. Much like Harry Potter, this series provides deeper lessons with “themes of love, equality, identity, determinism, forgiveness, trust, control and freedom.”
I view “The Bagsy Chronicles” as a series of stories that don’t copy Harry Potter beat for beat but instead, rhymes with it.
“The Bagsy Chronicles” took three years to develop, and beta-readers provided feedback along the way. Readers of fan fiction know well what it’s like to find that the story they are reading has been abandoned before the conclusion. Fortunately, that isn’t the case here; as a fast-paced author, Lyen completes each book before publishing. This also grants the ability to edit with forethought, so readers”may be surprised by just how many sneaky foreshadowing moments there are.” Now with seven books completed, that hole is back in Lyen’s chest. Perhaps more books will follow the first seven. In the meantime, readers can look forward to the next release:
Book four will be called ‘Bagsy Beetlehorn and the Vampire Affairs’ and will involve puppet masters, an acting troupe, a vampire ball, a floating castle on a bed of clouds, doppelgangers, a queen of corvids, a missing sister, and the breathing blight.
“The Bagsy Chronicles” is perfect for anyone seeking to spend another seven years at Hogwarts but with new mysteries. Lyen’s aim was to create a story that “holds the same magical feeling the original books had, addresses some of the storylines the original never did, like the mistreatment of magical creatures.” We highly recommend checking out this seven-book fan fiction over on Archive of Our Own.