Rewriting the school story through racebending in the Harry Potter and Raven Cycle fandoms
Keywords:Fan art, Photo edits, Postcolonialism, Race, J. K. Rowling, Maggie Stiefvater, Young adult literature
Racebending fan work has the potential to be a productive site of postcolonial critique. In a close analysis of two racebending young adult literature texts—the titular hero of J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter series (1997–2007) and major character Ronan Lynch from Maggie Stiefvater's Raven Cycle (2012–16)—fans' racebending of the primary characters permits postcolonial revision by challenging the predominantly white worlds they depict as well as recuperating the erasure of diaspora by other fans who insist Britishness and Irishness equate to whiteness. Racebending Harry and Ronan fan works center around queer romances: Harry with school rival Draco Malfoy and Ronan with his in-series boyfriend, Adam Parrish. Racebent Harry fan work, particularly work incorporating a queer romance with Draco, creates a space for fans to imagine alternative possibilities for the series beyond the heteronormative, hegemonic conclusion represented in Rowling's epilogue. Similarly, racebending Ronan offers a depiction of soft black masculinity and loving queer romance that subverts the common association of blackness with anger and aggression. By depicting two characters of color at the center of these queer schoolboy romances, fans disrupt the white homoeroticism and imperialism of the school story genre upon which both series draw.
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