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Fanon, canon, and the difference - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
Fanon, canon, and the difference
Canon=What's in the books or has been stated by JKR herself

Fanon=What we've speculated based on that

Fanon may or may not become canon at some point in the future--not every speculation is wrong--and it's fun to play with sometimes, but it Is. Not. Canon.

There is nothing in canon (unless JKR has updated her site on the topic sometime in the last eight hours) saying that no Black before Sirius was in Gryffindor. Nothing. Nada. The notion that Andromeda couldn't have been in Gryffindor is pure fanon with no basis, and it wasn't fanon that I found interesting, so guess where I put her? And guess where she's staying until J.K. Rowling says otherwise?

(Well, actually, I probably wouldn't retcon things already up even if JKR contradicted me, that stuff's finished; I just wouldn't write new stuff contradicting new canon.)

Lily being a prefect is sensible fanon--if JKR remembers that she was head girl--but it's not canon, so if you write a story in which some other Gryffindor girl is the prefect in their year, I'm happy to entertain that idea. Draco being actually a nice guy in a bad situation is fanon, but if JKR goes that way, I'll promptly write him as such. Just...

Grrr. Aaargh.

Sorry.

Venting.

I feel a bit...: frustrated frustrated

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Comments
titti From: titti Date: February 6th, 2005 08:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
I don't know if everything she says it's canon. I will use it as canon as long as what she says isn't contradicted by the actual books. Sometimes she says things without thinking and they are obviously in contrast with the books.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: February 6th, 2005 09:41 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, I was being more generous than I usually am. Stuff on there is probable canon, until it isn't.
erised1810 From: erised1810 Date: February 6th, 2005 08:48 pm (UTC) (Link)
same for sirius/remus
or an ycharacter being gay
or ron/hermione
orthe weasleys beign catholic.
or remsu lovign chocolate or biegn addicted to tea.
i htikn bloody NOTHING beyodn what they say adn what harry says/narrates inthe bok is real yfact.
because 'canon is what'si nthe books' is stil proen to have people yel tha even what'si nthe bok is subjetive dependign on what peope seei nthe books.
Personaly i"m heartily sick of the debate about wht is and what isn't. I dont'think i'll givem uch of adam nany more unels i read afic and it gies me very strange quirky feleigns aobut how charactes arep ortrayed. I htn ki' mgoign to like plausible what-ifs. and i'm not goign to rectify stuffi'm writign now if the new boks are goingto contradict it. that's for th enewerstories to play with.
tanks forthis rant.
chocolatepot From: chocolatepot Date: February 6th, 2005 09:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
I seem to be in the minority about whether things Jo says in the chats are canon- not just in your comments, but everywhere. I mean, it's extremely possible that things we think are Flints- like Flint himself- were intended, were in that fabulous notebook that I want to get my hands on. (If I didn't come across as agreeing with you, then I'm telling you that I do.)

Out of curiosity, what sparked this?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: February 6th, 2005 09:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, just an FFN review of chapter 5 of "Of A Sort," in which Andromeda is Sorted into Gryffindor, which consisted entirely of, "sirius was the first black to ever be sorted into gryffindor. so andromeda couldn't have been one." On the same story on the Quill, several months ago, someone said, "I'm sure it's canon that Andromeda was a Ravenclaw."

:headdesk:
mafdet From: mafdet Date: February 6th, 2005 09:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
Word. Though as titti notes, JKR has contradicted herself on occasion, so when in doubt I'll go with the books rather than the website - in other words, Ron's wand is willow, not ash, until JKR clears that one up. :) Otherwise? Yes, canon is all about JKR as she is the author. I get miffed whenever someone tells me that such-and-such cannot be correct based on fanon.

I was just noting in my LJ the other day how we have no canon evidence that Potions has always been a Slytherin subject, and noting that the Fat Friar was well-qualified to be a Potions Master because medieval monks knew brewing, winemaking, and herbal medicines as a matter of course. (Monks and nuns ran the first hospitals.) Having the MWPP-era Potions professor be a Snape-like Slytherin may be fanon, but it sure isn't canon. Just for once, I'd like to see MWPP's Potions teacher be a pretty, cheery Hufflepuff.

And I also wrote Andromeda as a Gryffindor. I don't see why she couldn't have been one. In fact, her defiance of her family and determination to marry whom she chose was pretty brave of her.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: February 6th, 2005 09:41 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, that's what I thought, as well.

I haven't had a MWPP era potions master yet, but I'll keep a cheerful Hufflepuff in mind. (That would drive Severus purely mad in his best subject, wouldn't it?) I did have Albus's potions master be Nicholas Flamel.
azaelia_culnamo From: azaelia_culnamo Date: February 6th, 2005 09:46 pm (UTC) (Link)
Don't let people who take fics as canon too personally; heck, I had a friend who got flamed for writing Remus/Sirius (even though it wasn't supposed to be) and was told "The only one for Remus is Tonks." Well, obviously I am a R/T shipper, but I respect people who ship other things! *Rolls eyes*
mafdet From: mafdet Date: February 6th, 2005 10:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
*SMAX's reviewer for giving my ship a bad name* I ship R/T too, but it's not canon and it won't be unless JKR says so. Ditto R/S. I've come across more than a few militant "puppyshippers" too.

It's one thing to say "Arthur/Molly is a canon ship; therefore if you write a fic where Molly leaves Arthur and the kids to run off with Lucius Malfoy it's not canon (and grossly OOC as well)" but a pet ship is just that.
jesspallas From: jesspallas Date: February 6th, 2005 10:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think the line between canon and fanon is one that often gets blurred. I have seen an author get told off for not making Remus allergic to silver - a fanon fact that I personally won't accept unless JKR says so, simply because I don't like the obsession with the silver hand idea for Remus-protective reasons ;)- when it has not been mentioned or even implied in canon that silver will affect a Potterverse werewolf at all - in fact, Remus has possibly handled silver in canon without ill effect. In fandoms, certain things can be taken as "fact" and widely accepted and reused but personally, I'm in the "if it's not in the books, it's not canon" camp. I'm selective about whether or not what JKR says in interview is canon - mostly I say yes, but she does sometimes contradict herself.

My two'peneth, anyway. :)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: February 6th, 2005 10:36 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'd include her website at a much higher level than a chat, since the website is vaguely thought out, whereas chats are spontaneous and given to error.

And I agree about the silver thing. I'm not a big fan of the whole "Fear The Silver Hand Of Doom" theory, at least Remus-wise. Although fearing the really, really strong hand that can crush a twig to powder with a pinch seems a sensible precaution...
tiferet From: tiferet Date: February 7th, 2005 03:09 am (UTC) (Link)

...huh?

Draco being nice in a bad situation is not uncanonical unless he's being nice to someone he's always been nasty to in canon--we have no idea what he's like with people he likes.

Fanon, to me, is something that people think of as canon, but isn't. Like Ron/Hermione, OBHWF, Leather Pants Draco, Remus/Sirius, Harry/Hermione, Tom Riddle's eye colour being green or blue, Andromeda Black being in Slytherin (doesn't seem likely to me, either--I always put her in Gryffindor and usually put Narcissa in Ravenclaw, because she seems to be so inwardly-directed and you know my house theory I think)...

None of these things has happened yet (and I'm not going to argue about how likely they are) so they aren't technically canon, but a lot of people believe in them, and who knows, they might happen.
piperx From: piperx Date: February 7th, 2005 04:29 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: ...huh?

Actually, FYI, we do have some insight to how he treats his "friends". When Harry and Ron were polyjuiced in CoS, Draco was bossy, snappish and insulting to Crabbe and Goyle ("if you were any slower, you'd be going backwards"). True that this is just one isolated instance but it's all the canon we have on the subject so it speaks loudly.
From: netbyrd Date: February 7th, 2005 03:09 am (UTC) (Link)
Fanon things that become so popular that they are thought of as canon really bug me sometimes too. If you dare to write something in a different way, based on pure canon, sometimes people rip you in the reviews becuase they say it is fanon. I think "Malfoy Manor" is one of ones that bug me the most, and also the "cathoic weasleys." Blase Zabini, the "hot slytherin who has a crush on Hermione" is driving me nuts too. I saw a fic flamed once because her Blase wasn't a super suave sexy stud.
tiferet From: tiferet Date: February 7th, 2005 03:10 am (UTC) (Link)
I wrote one of the first Blaise/Hermione fics in 2002 and it always amuses me that people make him such a stud because my Blaise is a geek, who reminds me vaguely of John Nash and missed Ravenclaw by a breath.
From: pyxidis Date: February 7th, 2005 04:46 am (UTC) (Link)
I think what bothers me the most is the stereotypes that fanon tends to perpetuate. My favorite is "all Slytherins are mean, ugly, heartless people who are incapable of genuine love or friendship, even amoung themselves." Another user mention the sterotype that all potions masters are Slytherins. Going along with that is that all Transfiguration Teachers are Gryffindors.

A long time ago I jokingly wrote a small essay defending the intellegence of Crabbe and Goyle. While canon has made it more and more clear that they are likly not the smartest of the group, I still have to even argue with some of the opinions expressed by characters in canon. Ron say in the first book something to the effect of, "All those who became deatheaters were Slytherins." Yet this is apparently not true, Peter Pettegrew, though never explicily stated in the books, was probably not a Slyterin. Barty Crouch Junior might not have been one either. Even canon should be examined for consistancy and logic.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: February 7th, 2005 05:38 am (UTC) (Link)
Hmmm. I've noticed a lot more fanon along the lines of, "Slytherins are really deep and misunderstood, tortured souls waiting to be redeemed." The whole "Slytherins are way more interesting than those boring Gryffindors" thing. It's really only in fanon that Draco takes on vast importance (though my prediction for HBP is that Draco will come back with long sleeves that he never rolls up, and will have learned some tricks that the complacent Harry isn't expecting to have done to him at Hogwarts).
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