Wealth and heteronormative romance tropes in Harry Potter fan fiction

Effie Sapuridis

[0.1] AbstractAnalysis of canon/fanon cocreation focusing on the fetishization of extreme wealth in the fanon genre of "Pureblood for a Day" fic.

[0.2] KeywordsCanon; Fanon; FSNNA 2020; Purebloods; Slytherins

Sapuridis, Effie. 2021. "Wealth and Heteronormative Romance Tropes in Harry Potter Fan Fiction" [multimedia]. In "Fan Studies Pedagogies," edited by Paul Booth and Regina Yung Lee, special issue, Transformative Works and Cultures, no. 35.

1. Introduction

[1.1] One of the most compelling features of fan works is fanon cocreation, the remix of elements from the source text (or canon) by fans. In Harry Potter fandom, many of these remixed elements have become indistinguishable from canon. An example of fanon cocreation is the assumption that Purebloods and/or Slytherins are synonymous with wealth. These fanon cocreations have always been particularly compelling to me. How do they emerge? What do they do within the context of the fandom?

[1.2] This poster introduces my research into the fetishization of extreme wealth in this fanon genre, which I have dubbed "Pureblood for a Day." The portrayals of wealth in the Pureblood milieu in fan fiction celebrate and fetishize upper-class living. However, they also often enact an inversion of the traditional romance novel tropes, particularly that of the billionaire alpha hero, when a non-Slytherin student is introduced to this setting. In this romance novel trope, a supposedly naive woman from a lower class is introduced to a world of wealth and power by a man as part of his seduction. Instead, these fics place the source text's eponymous hero, Harry, in the woman's place, which might function as a subversion of the romance trope.

[1.3] Ultimately, although these fics engage in radical appropriation, they also represent the infiltration of classist, racist, and misogynistic ideologies in fan communities. The popularity of Harry in the traditional female role subverts the trope's heteronormativity while simultaneously reaffirming class and race oppression. In the end, however, both are oppressed by the logics of late capitalism.

2. Multimedia

Video 1. Pureblood for a day. Effie Sapuridis.