Playing Harry Potter

Essays and Interviews on Fandom and Performance


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About the Book

Through classroom activities, wizard rock concerts, and organizations like the Harry Potter Alliance, Harry Potter fans are using creativity to positively impact the world. This collection of essays and interviews examines how playful fandom—from fanfiction to Muggle quidditch, cosplay, role-playing games, and even Harry Potter burlesque—not only reimagines the canon but also challenges consumerism, questions notions of identity, and fosters participatory culture. The contributors explore issues applicable to fan studies and performance studies at large, such as the role of performance, the nature of community, and questions of representation and ownership in the digital age. Presented in three parts, the essays discuss discrepancies between sanctioned versions of Harry Potter and fan creations, the reenactment and reinterpretation of the original narrative in fan performance, and collaborative and participatory performances that break down the boundaries between actors and audiences.

About the Author(s)

Lisa S. Brenner is the co-editor of Theatre Topics and an associate professor of theatre at Drew University, where she received the 2013 President’s Award for Distinguished Teaching and the 2009 Faculty Leadership Award for Civic Engagement. She lives in Montclair, New Jersey.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by Lisa S. Brenner
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 248
Bibliographic Info: 13 photos and illustrations, notes, bibliographies, index
Copyright Date: 2015
pISBN: 978-0-7864-9657-0
eISBN: 978-1-4766-2136-4
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix
Introduction: Why This Book; or, Some of My Best Friends Are Witches (Lisa S. Brenner) 1

Part One: Consuming vs. Creating the Harry Potter Experience
A Potterhead’s Progress: A Quest for Authenticity at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter (Rachel Marie Gilbert) 24
(Re)Claiming Harry Potter Fan Pilgrimage Sites (Katherine Larsen) 38
Snape Written, Filmed and Slashed: Harry Potter and the Autopoietic Feedback Loop (Vera ­Cuntz-Leng) 55
The Power of Imagination and the Fan Creation of Muggle Quidditch: An Interview with Quidditch Player Emily Anne Gibson (Suzanne Delle) 75

Part Two: Exploration, Identity and Transgression in Harry Potter Performance
Discovering Your Inner Wizard: The Wide World of Harry Potter ­Role-Playing Games (Sarah Lynne Bowman) 86
Accio Burlesque! Performing Potter Fandom through “Nerdlesque” (Stevi Costa) 108
Talismans as Performative Devices of Resistance for Harry Potter Fans (Sandy Peterson) 133
Do Clothes Make the Man? An Interview with Cosplayer Droxy Yaxley (Lisa S. Brenner) 153

Part Three: Harry Potter Performance as ­Community-Building
Teaching Harry Potter: Pedagogy as Play, Performance and Textual Poaching (Edmond Y. Chang) 168
Embracing the Magic: Muggle Quidditch and the Transformation of Gender Equality from Fantasy to Reality (Jennifer E. Popple) 188
WE ARE BOOK EIGHT: Secrets to the Success of the Harry Potter Alliance (Heather Elise Hamilton and John Michael Sefel) 207
Developing Community Through Wizard Rock: An Interview with Wizard Rocker Lena Gabrielle (Rob Yoho) 220

About the Contributors 233
Index 235

Book Reviews & Awards

“This collection reveals the wide range of fan culture that has built up around the Harry Potter books. Recommended”—Choice.