11 weird ways fan fiction writers completely reinvent the 'Harry Potter' universe

Harry potter reading by wand lightWarner BrothersThese ‘Harry Potter’ fan fiction stories are best read by wand light.

“Harry Potter” fans are an obsessive bunch, so it should come as no shock that thousands of fan fiction chapters have been dedicated to expanding J.K. Rowling’s wizarding world.

Some of the stories are decidedly anchored in Rowling’s original canon — think the James Potter, Lily Evans, and Severus Snape love triangle — while others completely reimagine the series and invent new plot lines.

We scoured FanFiction.net, Wattpad, and Archive of Our Own to find the 11 themes that Harry Potter fan fiction writers love to visit again and again.

1. 'The Wrong Boy Who Lived'

Warner Brothers
Neville Longbottom was almost the Boy Who Lived.

Throughout the series, Harry Potter is referred to as the 'Chosen One' -- the 'Boy Who Lived' -- who was destined to defeat Lord Voldemort and bring peace to the wizarding world.

Popular fan fiction, however, loves to turn that story arc on its head: What if Harry Potter was not the Chosen One after all?

Most of these narratives focus on Neville Longbottom as the true Boy Who Lived with Harry as either a side character or an evil counterpart, but other popular accounts include a twin or a brother for Harry that serves as a foil and provides an interesting take on what two Potters could mean for the prophecy.

2. Harry as a Slytherin

Warner Brothers
What if the Sorting Hat had ignored Harry's pleas and placed him in Slytherin?

Harry Potter in Rowling's beloved books is a proud Gryffindor who begged the sorting hat not to put him into Slytherin. But 'Harry Potter' fan fiction writers love to wonder what Harry would be like if he had ended up in Slytherin.

The idea is ripe with story line ideas. Snape as Harry's Head of House can lead to an interesting mentor/mentee dynamic, for instance. Many of the authors like to keep Harry as a good wizard who is struggling to discover who he can and can't trust in his new Slytherin House, all while forming alliances and going to class.

But there are also fan fiction stories where Harry is a darker, brooding, sometimes evil version of the titular character who does things that would make purist 'Harry Potter' fans extremely uncomfortable.

3. Bizarre love affairs -- or 'slashes' -- between beloved characters

Warner Bros.
Remus Lupin and Sirius Black were best friends and member of the original Marauders.

Rowling admitted in a Wonderland magazine interview that if she could do it all again, she would have Harry and Hermione end up together. Although many fans had hoped they'd fall in love, Hermione ended up with Ron in the end.

But not in fan fiction world. In addition to Harry/Hermione stories, there are plenty of other romantic pairings fan fiction writers obsess over that were never realised -- or even dreamed of -- in the books. These stories are called 'slash' fiction because of the way the writers will describe their story with the names of the two characters.

Searching around on the fan sites, you'll see plenty of Harry/Draco Malfoy, Remus Lupin/Sirius Black, and Draco/Hermione ('Dramione') love stories that J.K. Rowling probably never intended in her original books.

And that's not even to mention the Voldemort romance genre where everyone from Ginny Weasley to Severus Snape is won over by the complicated Tom Riddle and their desire to change him for the better. Yikes.

4. Harry dies and Voldemort wins the Battle of Hogwarts

Warner Brothers
'Harry Potter' fans would shudder to think what would happen if Lord Voldemort had won.

'All was well' may be the last words of the 'Harry Potter' series after the Boy Who Lived triumphed over the Dark Lord, yet some fans like to imagine a completely different ending where the resistance was crushed and Voldemort prevailed.

These alternate universe stories often focus on the lives of some of the most beloved characters like Ron, Hermione, Lupin, and Snape as they strive to bring down Voldemort without Harry and free the wizarding world from Voldemort's new regime.

5. Harry Potter is a vampire

Warner Bros.
What if Harry was both a wizard and a vampire?

If wizards weren't enough fantasy for you, many fan fiction writers love to add vampires and other supernatural characters into the mix.

Technically, vampires are already a part of the Harry Potter universe, but these stories tend to focus on making the core group of characters vampires themselves.

If you've ever wondered what Harry Potter would be like if he was a vampire (or fell in love with one), these are the stories for you.

6. James and Lily are still alive -- or they come back to life

Warner Brothers
Harry only has tantalising glimpses of his parents in Rowling's original books.

The death of Harry's parents and the consequences thereafter (like his having to live with the Dursleys) are two of the biggest events to shape his personality.

But these fan fiction stories imagine what would happen if Lily and James never died in the first place and they lived happily with Harry (and sometimes his brothers and sisters).

Though many of these narratives are a happier look at what Harry's life could have been, some of the more chilling tales wonder what would happen if Lily and James didn't survive, but were brought back from the dead in some way.

Since Dumbledore famously stated that there is no spell that can truly bring back the dead, it shouldn't surprise fans that these stories often end in heartbreak for Harry.

7. Scorpius Malfoy and Albus Potter are best friends

Warner Brothers
Albus Severus Potter in the final 'Harry Potter' movie.

By the end of the 'Harry Potter' series, it turns out Draco and the Malfoys weren't as evil as they originally seemed, eventually turning their back on Voldemort and the Death Eaters and abandoning the cause.

So when Ron, Hermione, Harry, and Ginny send their children off to Hogwarts on Platform 9 3/4, they see Malfoy with his wife doing the same with their son and there is a moment of grudging respect.

Called 'next generation' fan fiction, one genre of fan fiction imagines Draco's son Scorpius and Harry's son Albus becoming best friends and living it up at the wizarding school with their siblings and friends.

Just like their parents, they get into a few scrapes, go up against villains, and make lasting friendships.

8. Harry Potter can travel in time

Warner Brothers
The Time-Turners in 'Harry Potter' were a controversial addition.

Some fans really disliked the Time-Turners in 'Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban' since they thought using time travel as a way to solve Harry's problems was too easy. Rowling got so much criticism for this problematic plot that in the fifth book, she ended up writing that all of the Time-Turners were destroyed so no one else would ask why her characters couldn't go back in time and kill baby Voldemort.

But make no mistake that just because fans disliked the Time Turners, that doesn't mean they don't love imagining Harry travelling back -- or forward -- in time.

Whether it's through some archaic magic that knocks him into a different year or a spell that sends him into another dimension, Harry must find his way back to the present to defeat Voldemort once and for all in these fan fiction stories.

9. Daphne Greengrass is a central character

Warner Brothers
Fans point to this unidentified blonde girl in the 'Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix' movie as a stand-in for Daphne Greengrass.

Unless you're a true Potterhead (and even if you are), you may not recognise the name Daphne Greengrass. But fan fiction writers love to write about Daphne and her sister Astoria.

So who are these women? Rowling told fans on Pottermore that Draco ended up marrying Astoria Greengrass, who was the little sister of Daphne. Both sisters came from a pureblood family and Daphne was even in Draco's year in Slytherin, but took a backseat to the main plot of 'Harry Potter.'

But because Daphne was never developed by J.K. Rowling, she's ripe for adaptation by fan fiction authors. There are numerous stories dedicated to reimagining Daphne as a part of the central cast, especially as a love interest for Harry in lieu of Cho Chang.

10. Harry Potter is a dark and powerful wizard (and raised by Voldemort)

Warner Brothers
Some fan fiction writers wonder what would happen if Harry Potter was raised by Lord Voldemort.

Evil Harry, or 'Dark Harry' as fan fiction writers label their stories, is not the kind and just wizard from the books. Most of these stories focus on Harry being kidnapped by Voldemort -- instead of killed -- and raised to be a villain.

Some of these stories even make Tom Riddle Harry's biological father, which would mean Lily Evans and Voldemort had an affair. Completely unimaginable in the original canon, but a major theme nonetheless in fan fiction.

11. Harry Potter is a girl

Warner Brothers
'Fem!Harry' is a very popular fan fiction category.

Last but certainly not least, 'Fem!Harry' is a very popular genre of 'Harry Potter' fan fiction, even though it is definitely not meant for die-hard canon fans.

While many of the main story arcs are kept the same -- Ron and Hermione as her best friends, for example -- there is quite a lot of slash in this category, from female Harry falling in love with Draco to female Harry falling in love with Tom Riddle/Lord Voldemort.

These 'Girl Who Lived' fan fictions seem to be getting more popular, according to this Reddit thread, and female Harry has a variety of names in different stories: Harriette, Holly, Meredith, and Ivy are all examples.

Looks like female Harry Potter is here to stay.

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.