Thursday, June 21st, 2012

A Middle-Grade Harry Potter Fan Fiction

My daughter Lily is a big Harry Potter fan. She’s read through the entire series three times, and she’s only eight. Lately I’ve taken to writing short-short stories set in the Potterverse for her, as a way of preserving some slender channel of human contact with my offspring.

As an experiment in utter self-indulgence, I’m going to post one of the stories here, which I wrote when Lily asked me for something about Buckbeak. Buckbeak is a major figure in Lily’s imagination — I think in her mind he ranks somewhere around Ron and Hermione in terms of his importance as a character in the series. This is definitely not adult stuff, or even YA — Lily was 7 when I wrote it, so it’s a middle-grade joint, a level below the Harry Potter books.

But I’m happy with it. For reasons best left to psychoanalysis, I framed the story as what is known in the jargon as a hurt-comfort scenario, with Buckbeak being hurt, and my daughter — whom I recognize is not generally considered to be a “canonical” Harry Potter character — doing the comforting.

Probably there are massive canon-breaking errors in it too. I had to extrapolate a bit about what Buckbeak does in the off-season. What can I say: it’s fan fiction. Here it is (as a Word file): Buckbeak and the Three Potions.

15 comments on “A Middle-Grade Harry Potter Fan Fiction

  1. Doug Fort says:

    That’s beautiful. Fanfic written by someone who can actually write is really good. Is this any different from some of Chaucer’s work?

  2. Tonya says:

    It’s very nice indeed! So here’s a dorky question… Is it hard for you sometimes, if you think of it, to imagine her someday reading your books with their interspersed moments of a much darker self-indulgence? To think of her reaching for and wanting those things, rather than innocence? I’m a parent too and it’s heartbreaking sometimes to watch how they (and we) go from dreaming of sparkles and blue sky flying to entwining flesh and potions made of darkness…
    Hm. Forgive me! I must be feeling a bit melancholy today. 🙂

  3. Jaimie says:

    This is wonderful. I enjoyed reading it. And may I say, you’re a really great dad. All my dad does is recommend synthetic oil and tell me to put money in my IRA. Whatever, he buys me things too. (Hi dad!)

    I love fan fiction. It’s what got me into writing. I even pulled a 50 Shades of Grey and was like, “What if I put Q from Star Trek in the present day and like, made him a Greek god or something.” Maybe Lily will one day do that with Buckbeak. (I was actually pretty in love with Buckbeak myself…)

    I’m writing some Star Trek fan fiction at the moment. Q/Riker. Not slash. The purpose of this fan fiction is to explain why “Hide and Q” is such a terrible episode — to explain what exactly happened with Q’s stupid bet and why Riker turned down omnipotence. Because come on.

  4. Laur says:

    This is so sweet! And it definitely sends me right back to high school when my friends would write ourselves into stories with our favorite anime characters. I’ve always credited them with my storytelling drive. I would have never started drawing comics if it wasn’t for these wacky stories they made up that I wanted to see visualized.

    Thanks for sharing this!

  5. Robbi Nester says:

    I’m sure Lily is thrilled.

  6. Michael says:

    Awesome, Lev!
    Thanks for sharing this with us.

  7. M says:

    wow that’s seriously fatherly of you
    yes fanfiction is the best way to get into writing and interested in writing
    but what a muddled pot it is

  8. Fluky says:

    This is the most poignant bit of fathering I’ve seen since a gazillion years ago, when my father used to do similar things involving poems, books, and diaries.

    Very sweet, Lev 🙂

    (Also, I love your books and can’t wait for more!)

  9. Matthew D. says:

    That was incredibly sweet. I couldn’t help smiling the whole time. She must have been delighted. Thanks for sharing!

  10. Ian says:

    That’s really cute. I don’t think this is fan fiction, this is firmly in the genre ‘bedtime stories’. 🙂

  11. Kevin Kraft says:

    That was wonderful, thanks.

  12. Heather Head says:

    I’ve been digesting this ever since you posted it. Finally, I know what to say:

    Thank you.

    So many reasons this is inspiring to me. A) It’s okay to write fan fiction (geez, do I really take myself so seriously that I thought fan fiction was beneath me? Yeah. Silly, silly me). B) It’s okay to publish simple, cute stuff. C) If Lev frickin Grossman can publish a little story for his daughter to his blog then for goodness sake why am I still sitting on all these stories I’ve written over the years that have never been “good enough” to submit to publishers.

    So, anyway. Today I published one of my short stories to my blog. Tiny, teeny, little, bitty step.

    Thank you.

  13. Leverus says:

    @Heather well done!

  14. Megan says:

    That was so lovely! At times it almost reads more like a legend than a fanfic…if one thinks of Harry Potter as the sort of story that’s sunk that far into the subconscious of our generation, Hogwarts can be a setting for all kinds of stories. It’s both sweet to hear that you did that for your daughter, and empowering as a writer to see a talented and respected author who isn’t ashamed of fan fiction. Like another commenter said, it also reminds me of when my mother would write short Lord of the Rings stories for me when I was a kid.

  15. Sam M-B says:

    Can someone please get Jim Dale to narrate this.

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