Thanks to the internet, the line between fans and the objects of their fan-love grows thinner with each passing year. Whether it’s through Twitter, fan art, fan fiction, or fan videos, fan culture has become a fascinating entity in its own right.
Fan fiction has become so prevalent that it’s possible for its authors to rise to their own brand of fame. We spoke with one such author, Laura Hancock aka Lena Phoria, who is well-known in the Harry Potter fan world for penning an epic novel length fifty chapter fan fiction which received over one million hits and nearly three thousand reviews. It has now been converted into an original self-published story.
Hancock’s story uses a romantic pairing not found in the original narrative: Hermione Granger and Draco Malfoy. Colloquially known as ‘Dramione,’ the pairing is prevalent in fan fiction, fan art, and fan videos. Laura Hancock spoke with Inverse about the draw of non canon character pairings, what it’s like to be fan-fiction famous, her relationship with fandom, and more.
Do most people in your life know that you wrote this massively popular fan fiction?
My closest friends know; my family knows. Occasionally when I meet people, I tell them. Most people just think, “Oh that’s so adorable, you’re a nerd.” Everyone close to me knows that I’ve done it. Some of them have read it.
What’s it like to have your own fans as a fan fiction writer?
I have a big following in South America, because I know a girl there that translated the story for me, and she created a little fan club in Argentina. They call in “Lena’s Army.” Another person had written to me that she met her fiance because she was on some site talking about my story. They met online and fell in love and now they’re getting married.
What drew you to the pairing of Draco and Hermione?
Honestly I’d never even considered it. When I read a book, I go with whatever pairing the author has. But a friend I worked with – I caught her giggling at her phone one day. I wanted to know what she was reading, and it was Dramione fan fiction. She sent it to me and told me I needed to read it. He’s second in the class and he’s witty, and the draw is that he will challenge her, as opposed to Ron.
Why do you think Draco is such a popular character in fan fiction?
Harry is just so good and righteous and Draco’s not. I think people like to see someone flawed struggle and win the girl. He clearly wasn’t evil, he was just not very nice. But I don’t think that any Dramione stories work unless Draco is seeking some sort of redemption. It’s that love hate tension relationship – which might not work out in the long run either, but in fiction we can make it work.
As you’ve grown older, do you find that your relationship with the Harry Potter fandom has evolved at all?
I was always kind of involved with it. I moved cities about two months ago, and the first group that I joined to get out and meet people was a Harry Potter running group. I’ve always kind of been around it. There was a lot of access to stuff when I lived in L.A. Harry Potter rollerskating night; things like that. But I’m not really one of those chatters online. I also don’t like to read in-progress stories. If it’s not finished, I’m not interested.
Does that stop you when an author says they don’t want fan fiction written about their work?
Yeah, I want to respect the author. I don’t quite understand, since people love your characters. If I was that popular, I wouldn’t care if people wrote fan fiction because it encourages people to write. If that’s what gets them out of their shell to find their inner writer, then go for it.
Do you have any favorite pieces of fan fiction you’ve read?
There’s one called “We’ll Always Have Paris” and it’s a story where Hermoine and Draco go abroad for their 6th or 7th year. They go abroad to Beauxbatons and they become kind of close there and they come back and Lucius finds out. I love Lucius, I have an unhealthy obsession with Jason Isaac. Then there’s one called “Water.”
Even though Harry Potter has been done for years and years that people are still drawn to it. They’re still writing fan fiction, they’re still people reading it, they’re still watching the movies, they’re still obsessed. I think that’s really cool that JK Rowling was able to create something like that that’s just so beloved by so many people.