Book Talk 4: Harry Freaking Potter And All The Fanworks


Rachel: 00:00 Let’s talk about books.

Sarah : 00:01 Hi.

Rachel: 00:01 Hey there.

Sarah : 00:08 I don’t know, I feel so weird whenever we do this, but every time we do this, I feel weird.

Rachel: 00:15 We’re awkward at this part. We don’t really know what to say.

Sarah : 00:20 Yeah. So like you said, let’s, let’s just talk about books because that’s easier than actually talking, you know, like humans. Um, yeah.

Rachel: 00:29 So what are you reading?

Sarah : 00:30 Well, I’m not actually reading this one. I finished it because I read it the day it was released, but it’s The Adventure Zone graphic novel. Oh my God. Let me get through the list of people Carey Pietsch, Clint Mcelroy, Griffin Mcelroy, Justin Mcelroy, and Travis Mcelroy. Five authors on this one, well Carey is the illustrator but she’s also been involved in some of the stuff.

Rachel: 00:57 They’re all the creators,

Sarah : 00:59 Creators, that’s the right way to say it. So what this is, is a podcast that has been turned into a graphic novel, The Adventure Zone.

Sarah: 01:09 It started out as a D&D podcast. It’s now just sort of an RPG.

Rachel: 01:15 Cooperative storytelling.

Sarah : 01:17 Yeah. Using RPGs to do cooperative storytelling. But what they’re best known for is their first story that they did entirely in D&D. it’s a really epic story. It felt like listening to an audio book.

Rachel: 01:29 It really is just a huge fantasy story that told with input from a number of story-tellers.

Sarah : 01:37 Improvised fantasy story. But yeah, so it’s really cool podcast, which if you haven’t listened to, I just took up hours and hours and hours of your life because you’re going to have to listen to all of it once you get started. But it’s really interesting. It’s a graphic novel because they’ve taken this medium which is entirely audio and they’ve transferred it into an entirely visual medium of graphic novel.

Rachel: 01:59 Yeah. Which is not an easy switch to make.

Sarah: 02:02 Yeah. So the way that they’ve done that, it’s just very interesting to me.

Rachel: 02:07 It’s pretty incredibly really. I’ve read it as well, if that wasn’t already obvious.

Sarah : 02:11 I think they’ve done it really well.

Rachel: 02:13 I agree.

Sarah : 02:13 They make a few changes because like I said in the podcast they’re using D&D and for the first story they actually started off playing like sort of a normal beginner adventure. Like it’s published in a booklet.

Rachel: 02:26 So there were some name issues that they had.

Sarah : 02:28 So they changed up to sort of divert because the story quickly diverges from like normal D&D and yeah, it’s just, it’s fun, it’s short, it didn’t take me long to get through it and it’s just fun. And even if you haven’t listened to the podcast, you’ll probably like it because I think it’s just a good story and they’re going to be a lot more because it was a long one and they’ve already announced the second graphic novel and this one became a bestseller. So I think there can be more.

Rachel: 02:53 Definitely.

Sarah : 02:53 So what are you reading?

Rachel: 02:55 Well, my library hold just came through on crazy rich Asians, which I have been wanting for ages. It’s, I mean I feel like at this point and you’re really everybody and their mom has heard of this book

Sarah : 03:09 and you’re running out of time because When we were recording it, the movie comes out in two weeks when we actually publish this

Rachel: 03:19 It’s like days when we released this episode

Sarah : 03:21 The movie will be coming out in days, so you’re not going to have a ton of time to read the book first at that point.

Rachel: 03:26 Yeah. If you haven’t already. When you’re listening to this, get on it. I’m getting on it a little ahead of you, but anyway. Yeah, I’m really enjoying it so far. I’m not very far into it, but for anybody who doesn’t know, it’s basically kind of looking into the lives of some of these crazy rich families in Singapore. I think it’s mostly set in Singapore. I’m not there yet. We’re still in England right now.

Sarah : 03:48 The first book is pretty much entirely in Singapore.

Rachel: 03:50 Yeah. And so it’s about, well it’s, I think it’s about a lot of people, but mostly so far it looks like much of the story kind of centers around. Nick is bringing home his American born Chinese girlfriend to Singapore to meet his family for the first time for like the wedding of the season. So I imagine a lot of high jinks and disapproval and things of that nature are going to ensue when he brings his girlfriend home and she finds out that he’s basically Singapore royalty and they’re finding out that she’s American, which is maybe not what they wanted and I think it’s going to be Romcom vibes and really fun and I’m loving it already.

Sarah : 04:26 It’s a really fun book. It’s when someone asked me like what the perfect be treated is. It’s, Crazy Rich Asians. Yeah, it almost seems like a Romcom very light on the romance though. It’s just fun. It’s a very good job of dealing with this like inter family drama and it’s got a lot of different perspectives, which depending on how far you are into it, you may not realize yet, but you get the story told from a lot of points of view and it’s excellent.

Rachel: 04:51 Yeah. Oh, and it’s by Kevin Kwan, by the way. I didn’t say that. Yes. So are you reading anything else? Good at the moment.

Sarah : 04:57 The next one I’m going to talk about. I’m not very far into yet. It’s, I’ve actually, I got it from the library and have been reading him for like a week now, but other commitments came up so maybe like three, four chapters into it. I’m, I’m checking how many chapters I’ve been to it right now. Yeah, I’m on like the fourth chapter, so I’m not very far into it, but it’s The Pisces by Melissa Broder and I don’t really know what to say about it other than. It’s really weird.

Rachel: 05:27 I mean you read the first page to me and I was speechless.

Sarah : 05:30 Yeah, I and I’m not going to read it here.

Rachel: 05:33 No, please don’t. We’re trying to keep this podcast pg.

Sarah : 05:36 Yeah. It’s not very pg, so I’m going to refrain. You can look up how it starts.

Rachel: 05:41 It’s adult language

Sarah : 05:43 and it’s weird but I keep reading it and I mean I knew it was going to be weird. The premise of this book is this woman is not dealing with a breakup well and so she goes to stay at her sister’s house on the ocean

Rachel: 05:55 and falls in love with a fish

Sarah : 05:59 Merman, I believe, but yeah.

Rachel: 06:02 It’s a fish on the cover

Sarah : 06:02 There’s a fish on the cover. I believe he is in fact a Merman. I read some spoilers so I kind of know that much at least. And that’s kind of all I know. So I knew going in it was a little weird reading it. It’s very weird but I need to know what happens so I don’t know if I’m going to love it, but I’m, I keep reading it so

Rachel: 06:21 it’s maybe one of the books that you can’t tell if you like it, but you can’t stop reading it.

Sarah : 06:25 I’m not going to be able to tell if I really like it or not till the end. I’m like, I’m definitely, I don’t hate it. That’s for sure. Like it’s a good be at worse like a, maybe not for me kind of book, but yeah, I just keep reading it because I can’t tell you. I like it. Is it just so weird that I can’t stop? I don’t know yet. I’ve gotta keep reading to find out. So what else are you reading? Cause I know you’re not reading just one book?

Rachel: 06:48 No, I’m not. I’m, I’m reading several books right now and I’m not very far into any of them, but the other two that I’m reading right now are the Royal Runaway by Lindsay Emory, which I don’t remember when it comes out, I should know that it’s not coming out for a few more months, maybe like September.

Sarah : 07:05 September is only a month away.

Rachel: 07:08 Oh No. Oh, that’s true. Okay. Existential crisis had and over, um, anyway, I’m reading the Royal Runaway by Lindsay Emory. Um, which I think is. I’m, I think that one definitely is going to be kind of Romcom and I’ve seen some comparisons I don’t think in terms of actual plot but to princess diaries because basically it’s about this princess of a small European country whose fiance disappeared on their wedding day. And I think what’s going to happen is she gets kind of drawn into this mystery of finding out what happened to him possibly. There’s some blackmail involved and I think also some, you know, like running away from duty and I assume also romance. But anyway, it seems pretty fun so far. And anytime you’ve got, you know, a princess, it’s going to be kind of fun.

Sarah : 07:59 Definitely.

Rachel: 07:59 And then the other one I’m reading is Heart of Thorns by Bree Barton, which just came out a few days ago as of recording, but it’ll be, you know, a few weeks ago once this is released and it’s much more fantasy and it’s about this girl who I think basically the premise is she’s living in this kingdom where there are these creatures who are women, but they kind of call them demons and they’re called gwyrach. And basically they can manipulate human flesh. And her mother was killed by one, so she’s like, you know, sworn to destroy them all. She’s training to be a huntress. And then her father like betroths her to the crown prince, which she is absolutely, probably not interested in. There’s a question mark there are a few chapters. Then she’s like, I hate this guy, but I’ll tell he’s kind of cute. So I don’t know where we’re going there. TBD in any way. From what I know of the plot, this is actually beyond where read, but I don’t think it spoilery since it literally says it on the cover jacket on her wedding day. She definitely finds out she’s one of these gwyrach, so I’m thinking that’s not gonna go well and we’ll probably drive the rest of the plot

Sarah : 09:08 Probably. Sounds like, I mean it’s also a little concerning because like how do you find that out on that day, I’m guessing not good.

Rachel: 09:16 Things may not go well for crown prince boy.

Sarah : 09:21 Well, I guess you’ll find out

Rachel: 09:23 we’ll find this is, this is sort of like, you know, we need to do like a pre and post reading, like what’s gonna Happen? Let’s find out.

Sarah : 09:33 Okay. So I think that’s all we have to say about what we’re reading. So.

Rachel: 09:38 So let’s talk about fan works.

Sarah : 09:41 Yeah. Because during our episode about Harry Potter and the Goblet of fire, we briefly mentioned a very potter musical.

Rachel: 09:49 Yeah. Several times it came up a surprising amout

Sarah : 09:52 More than we expected, maybe.

Rachel: 09:55 In fairness, you bring up a very potter musical once and I’m not going to be able to stop making references.

Sarah : 10:01 Yeah, it’s very quotable. So I guess for those of you who aren’t familiar.

Rachel: 10:06 Yeah, we should explain what it is.

Sarah : 10:07 a very potter musical is sort of. It’s what it sounds like. It’s a musical about Harry Potter.

Rachel: 10:14 It’s a parody musical of Harry Potter that was created by students at the University of Michigan in 2009 and it was like a production that they did and then they put it up on Youtube.

Sarah : 10:23 Right. So the whole thing is on youtube

Rachel: 10:27 You can and should go watch it.

Sarah: 10:29 Yes. As well as both of it sequels.

Rachel: 10:31 Yes. A very potter sequel and a very potter senior year.

Sarah : 10:35 It’s also a little funny because they’re kind of out of order. A very potter musical combines book one and book seven I would say

Rachel: 10:44 And book four too. Heavily booked four.

Sarah : 10:47 No. Oh yes. Yes. You are correct.

Rachel: 10:49 Trust, I’ve been rewatching them lately, so take my word for it.

Sarah : 10:53 Yeah, I know. The second one is pretty heavy on book five

Rachel: 10:59 and also book one because it’s first year. It’s very confusing basically,

Sarah : 11:08 the last one sort of pulls heavily from book two because it’s way out of order

Rachel: 11:13 book two and book seven and books four again. Yeah, you know,

Sarah : 11:18 it is what it is.

Rachel: 11:20 Very parody. They have a lot of fun with it. I

Sarah : 11:23 t’s very funny. If you like musicals, if you like parody, you’re probably gonna like it. It’s good. And we sort of brought it up because I realized some references they were making clearly came out of book for.

Rachel: 11:36 Right. Because I think, I hope I’m not getting this wrong, but I think I saw that apparently part of the inspiration for it was after some of the creators were reading book four, they were like, man, draco malfoy really seems like he might be in love with hermione like he’s just being kind of like picking on her and stuff maybe. And so they wrote one of the main songs of the show, Granger Danger kind of about that and then that’s kind of where the show came from. So it actually does relate really well to book four.

Sarah : 12:04 And Malfoy’s a little weird in book four his characterization in book four is very different than it is, like uncharacteristically so but just he’s different in book four then he wasn’t books one through three and who he becomes in books five, six and seven. Book four is sort of a weird point where he’s not super sinister yet, but like he’s still constantly like snarky and annoying and you just get a lot of quality Malfoy in book four.

Rachel: 12:29 That’s true and I think I think A Very Potter musical. It’s kind of one of the, you know, when you talk about fan works related to Harry Potter, I think that’s one that most potter-heads would mention. I think it’s fairly well known in the fandom and it’s probably one of the bigger and more famous fan works that have come out of the fandom.

Sarah : 12:47 Yeah. I also think we should probably mention at this point there’s a play called Puffs. I think it’s a play and not a musical. It is a musical.

Rachel: 12:56 Oh, is it a why? I wrote down Puff the musical, so it must be a musical.

Sarah : 13:01 Obviously. Neither of us have seen it.

Rachel: 13:03 I almost. This is sad and I know our mom is listening to this episode and it may make her a little sad to hear this too. We were going to go see it for my birthday earlier this year and then some life things happen that we won’t get into here. But anyway we couldn’t go and it was fine, but we weren’t going to go see it and we were both really excited but it just didn’t happen.

Sarah : 13:19 Maybe the movie theaters will play it again and maybe they’ll play it again.

Rachel: 13:22 Yeah, they were going to play it at the movie theater. I don’t think. I don’t think they can like. I don’t actually know how Puffs works because I know they can’t license the production. There are no officially licensed productions they cannot make basically. That’s how they got away with doing it is Warner Brothers was like, it’s fine. We’ll let you keep this up. You can’t make any money off of it because it’s like a parody and it’s fine as long as you don’t make money. I guess so. I don’t know how Puffs does that because they I think, you know, it’s like an actual play people are like going to

Sarah : 13:52 I don’t know. I don’t know how they handle it. I did check and they haven’t announced anymore theater’s playing it, but I’m hopeful that it will

Rachel: 13:59 maybe that like parody law and satire and stuff is kind of complicated so it’s possible that they just kind of fall under different places under it because sometimes you can get away with more than other times. I don’t know.

Sarah : 14:11 Yeah. Also, if you’re not a group of college kids and can afford an actual lawyer, that might be to your benefit. I assume puffs is not put on by college kids. I don’t actually know that for a fact because I did no research it.

Rachel: 14:25 It’s also possible that they use a lot less actual references. Like in A Very Potter musical. I mean it’s in. They’ve got potter in that, you know, like they. It’s references out the Wazoo.

Sarah : 14:37 They all have the same name. They have the same basic appearance

Rachel: 14:42 despite the fact that there is a school on Mars called Pig Farts that has a professor who’s a lion named Rumbleroar. Like the actual school itself is entirely the same. So unless musical was taking place on pig farts. I guess maybe then they could get away with it.

Sarah : 14:56 I mean there are a lot of reference. A Veryy Potter Musical is entirely based on Harry Potter. Like Puffs may be like, oh, it’s a fictional wizard school. You know, you can sort of, if you abstract enough you can get away with more.

Rachel: 15:09 You can get away with more I think under parody law if you change things up more.

Sarah : 15:12 Yeah, so I think we also want to talk about other kinds of fan works since we sort of brought it up

Rachel: 15:17 Because there or for anyone who doesn’t. Who would. For anyone who doesn’t know much about fandom or fan works. When we say fan works, what we’re talking about is obviously things like a very potter musical and puffs, so you could have things like plays or movies, but then fanfiction is a big one that probably most people have heard of. There’s also fan art when people make artwork inspired by some sort of fictional piece of fandom that they like.

Sarah : 15:41 In the Harry Potter community, we even have wizard rock, so yes, music.

Rachel: 15:45 Oh my gosh. Sick. Yeah. There’s Harry Potter has inspired a plethora of fan works.

Sarah : 15:50 Yeah. Harry Potter’s inspired a lot in general because it was so meaningful to so many people that there’s just a lot that sort of been inspired by it. I

Rachel: 15:58 t really. I mean it even went on to inspire and I don’t just mean in terms of, you know, kind of changing the way we view children’s fiction and young adult fiction, but it also directly inspired a lot of other fiction. You know, I remember there were tons of series when I was growing up and I was definitely the kid who was like, this is a knockoff, I hate this, you know, but like there were, I remember a bunch of series when I was in like elementary school and middle school that were clearly inspired by Harry Potter. You know, it’d be a little boy at a magic school

Sarah : 16:27 and this isn’t fan work, but just speaking of like changes like Harry Potter had on books. I remember. So I was a big fan of Tamora Pierce. I read all of her books. She wrote fantasy somewhere between middle grade and why when I was reading that line still wasn’t really clear the way it is today and yet still not super clear, but it was even foggier then and they were all quartet, so for books, because trilogies weren’t really in yet. That happened after Harry Potter and they were all very short. So I would read one book after the other, like very quickly. And I remember after Harry Potter came out, her books became much longer and she started doing duologies and trilogies and rather than quartets because the books could be longer and it was basically like Harry Potter prove that children will read longer books. So now we can write longer books.

Rachel: 17:17 I imagine we could do a whole entire episode on all of the ways that Harry Potter changed the world of Children’s literature because it, it definitely made changes, you know, there are always those books that are kind of seminal to the genre and really affect things moving forward. And this was definitely one of them.

Sarah : 17:34 Definitely. And like you said, I also remember a lot of wizard school books after Harry Potter and

Rachel: 17:41 Well, Then of course I think there’s, you know, the popular one now that most people probably know about, which is Carry On by Rainbow Rowell which is inspired by Harry Potter I think in a different way because I know some people are bothered by the similarities to it and they’re like, oh, you know, the way I was when I was getting like a Harry Potter knockoff. I disagree. I think it’s obviously inspired and influenced by it. And obviously we’re both plants, but it’s really, to me it’s a reimagining of a lot of the themes and tropes you see in Harry Potter, particularly the Chosen One trope. And it’s also similar to the way fan fiction is, I think it’s a book that would not function as well if you did not have knowledge of Harry Potter because it’s basically this idea that it’s throwing you in pretty much in the last book or the second till much later in the series, you know, like let’s say it’s the fifth or sixth book in this series about these characters. And so it’s kind of, you know, it’s in the middle of the action things have already been happening and we’re dealing with the chosen one, but who’s not. It’s not Harry Potter, you know,

Sarah : 18:42 I really feel like Carry On to me, felt like I know homage to the fan community and what it felt like being part of it. Reading Carry On felt like in a lot of ways when I was reading Harry Potter and part of Fan Communities, which we’re gonna talk more about next week, fan communities themselves because we have, well not next week, next month,

Rachel: 19:02 next month for our next book talk after book five. We’re going to be talking much more specifically about fandom and fan theories. And sort of how we got involved in fandom mostly after book five came out, so we’ll be talking a lot more about fan fiction and some of that stuff.

Sarah : 19:20 But yeah, we’re, we have too much material for that to combine it with other fan work. So it sort of has to have its own episode.

Rachel: 19:30 Yeah, that had to be its own. Well and we should probably wrap it up there because like you said, we have a lot more stuff to talk about in relation to fanfiction next month and if we keep going we’re probably going to wind up going into it and you know, spilling the beans about like who among us may have written some Harry Potter fanfiction? I don’t know.

Sarah: 19:48 Yeah, we don’t want to give that away. Spoiler. It’s not the sibling you think. It might’ve been. Not the one you would have expected.

Rachel: 19:57 They may not know as well enough to make that judgment call yet.

Sarah : 20:00 Well I will, as a warning. One of us is a published author and one of us is not. And I’ll leave you with that information for now.

Rachel: 20:10 With that we will leave you hanging so that you’ll listen to ournext month’s episode of books talk. I would like to say a big thank you to Sahara Sky for the use of our theme song Never A Long Time Goes by from the album Escapism.

Sarah : 20:23 And thanks for listening. You can get in touch with us by tweeting @unassigned pod over on twitter or emailing us at We’d love to hear your thoughts and questions.

Rachel: 20:34 And if you’re enjoying the show, head on over to itunes or wherever you get your podcast and leave us a positive review. It helps people find the show and also just makes us really happy.

Sarah : 20:42 We particularly like it if you tell us about the books you’re reading, especially it’s one we recommended. We want to hear what you think.

Rachel: 20:49 Yeah. And tweet at us. We love that too.

Sarah : 20:52 Uh, so we’ll be back on the 31st for a discussion of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Rachel: 20:59 Aka our favorite book. And what I’m sure is going to be a not to be missed episode, even though we haven’t actually recorded it yet.

Sarah : 21:06 Definitely not to be missed. We have a lot of thoughts

Rachel: 21:10 about trauma and political resistance and how terrible umbrage is.

Sarah : 21:15 A lot of thoughts about umbrage. Now go read some books.

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