One question often posed to readers and writers alike is to what degree fanfiction is considered ‘true literature’. Whilst this article alone will not settle the debate, which still ranges on across the reader community, it will hopefully allow more insight into what fanfiction actually is, why people write and read it, and also why it still remains incredibly popular.
First and foremost, the concept of fanfiction must be defined in order for an understanding of it to be gained. Fanfiction is a division of fiction which consists of stories written by fans, who use the worlds and characters that are already in existence to form another story. More often than not, these stories venture from the canon created by the original author of the works. A lot of individuals who are unfamiliar with the process of fanfiction writing often confuse the works produced by fans as ‘(semi) plagiarised content’, judging said fanfiction writers and slating them for the ‘theft of another’s creation’ or their ‘lack of imagination’ and ‘inability to create work of their own’. What those judgemental individuals should come to accept is that: “Fanfiction isn’t copying – it’s a celebration. One long party, from the first capital letter to the last full stop!” – Jasper Fforde, One Of Our Thursdays Is Missing.
So now that we’re familiar with what fanfiction is, let’s look into why people write and read it.
There are, in fact, many reasons as to why people write and read fanfiction and it is clear that the acts of doing so have become integrated into fandom life.
But I don’t want to write my own fiction,” Cath said, as emphatically as she could. “I don’t want to write my own characters or my own worlds — I don’t care about them. . . I’d rather pour myself into a world I love and understand than try to make something up out of nothing. – Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
One of the more popular reasons from both writing and reading fanfiction is that it allows fans to exercise their imaginations and explore various ‘what if’ scenarios regarding their beloved fandoms. For example, what if Harry Potter had become friends with Draco Malfoy? What if John and Sherlock had both been gay and Johnlock was indeed a canon ship? All these potential storylines explored by a ton of writers who post their works online for the other fans of the show to enjoy. As well as the ‘what ifs’, many writers of fanfiction also write in order to expand the Universe further, stretching their fandoms world to encorporated and coincide with another. This is known as a ‘crossover’ and actually makes for some interesting fanfictions to be created, just imagine the characters from Teen Wolf meeting those from The Vampire Diaries, or Merlin seeking the help of Doctor Who to go back in time and change the past… This is the kind of thing which people write fanfiction about. Additionally, fanfiction writing also serves a purpose as fanfiction allows for the story to continue even if the franchise, TV show, or book series etc has ended. I suppose this could raise the question: Can a Fandom ever truly die? If fanfiction is a means of making sure the answer to that question is no, then why on earth would someone dislike the existence of the activity?
But many more exist so that writers of fanfiction may share their works, read the works of others and discuss an endless amount of theories and scenarios, whether canon or not. So, perhaps you have an idea for a story that you can’t stop thinking about, why not write it and post it on one of these sites for others to read? And if you’re worried that you’ll receive nothing but criticise be assured of one thing, there is definitely someone out there who is interested in reading your take on a particular fandom or ship!
Young Merlin is far from ordinary. Possessing the power of magic, Merlin longs for someone to teach him how to hone his skills and give him purpose. Arriving in Camelot, the young Sorcerer learns that his destiny is much greater than he could have perceived: to protect the Prince, Arthur Pendragon, so that he can – one day – become the King of Camelot and unite the lands. However, Merlin must be careful as both friend and foe alike pose threat and he must protect Arthur whilst also hiding the fact that he has magic – for in Camelot magic is outlawed and being exposed could just mean that Merlin is put to death…
If, after reading that, you are still uncertain as to whether or not you should put aside some of your time and dedicate it to watching (or re-watching) the show, then here are a few reasons as to why that is exactly what you should do!
Having aired from 2008-2012, Merlin is a completed series, which can be watched at the viewer’s own leisure. No need to suffer through hiatus, it is the perfect opportunity for you to binge-watch the entire show at the click of a button! What’s even better is that this fantasy-adventure series is packed with five epic seasons filled with magical action which all the family can enjoy.
One aspect of the show which makes it exciting to watch is that the action is spread evenly throughout each of the five seasons, meaning that there is no season which feels less important than the others. Each season, whilst action packed, is not too overwhelming in terms of the events which occur and each one—in fact each episode—will undoubtedly leave the viewer craving more.
Now, much like the issue some have with the Harry Potter series, some of you may be thinking that you won’t find Merlin enjoyable because what with all that magic and those mythical creatures… it’s just ‘completely unrealistic’ and a waste of time, right? Wrong! The story features some very significant and prominent themes which do in fact feature in the reality of our everyday lives. From friendship to betrayal, the exploration of life and death, Merlin is a show which takes these concepts and holds the potential to teach the viewers about them within a fictional setting.
Why not allow your children to understand the values of friendship by watching the bond between Merlin and Arthur grow throughout the course of the show? Allow Morgana to show you what it means to be independent and brave enough to stand up for yourself and what you believe in. More importantly, allow the show to assist you in believing that it is always okay to be your true self!
This alone is a reason in itself as to why you should watch Merlin. If not for the individual characters and their own storylines and impressive development, the way in which they interact with the other characters made for compelling watch. From the humour-filled bromance between Arthur and Merlin, the strange bond between Morgana and Mordred, and the tragic love story of Arthur, Lancelot, and Guinevere, the relationships of the characters allows for the fans to dive into the shipping realm of the fandom just as any other good drama does. These relationships, with the additional bonus of many others, not only proves to be entertaining drama, but in fact goes to show how people can enter our lives for a mere moment yet hold influence over us in a much greater way and how some relationships are just meant to be.
To conclude, those are only a few of the reasons in existence as to why you should watch Merlin. So, what are you waiting for? Go forth and enjoy the five season series filled with warlocks, witches, all kinds of magical creatures, knights in shining armour, and a story which “will live long in the hearts of men”.
What is a “fandom”? Of course, if you’re interested in discovering the definition then you could just use Google to search for and find your answer. Google defines the word fandom as “the state or condition of being a fan of someone or something” and “the fans of a particular person, team, fictional series, etc. regarded collectively as a community or subculture”. In regard to this examination of fandoms within the society of us readers, TV show lovers, and movie fanatics, neither definition is wrong.
However, neither definition succeeds in doing anything beyond scratching the surface as to what fandoms truly are. The term ‘community’ used in the definition provided by Google is fitting yet doesn’t quite express the strength and power to which being a part of a fandom holds. ‘Community’ portrays this idealistic, yet untrue, image of a large collection of individuals living and expressing their mutual love for said thing in harmony. However, there are times in which being a part of a fandom, or indeed multiple fandoms, is anything but harmonious… Therefore, it could be more fitting to use a different term to describe what fandoms are: fandoms are families. Those a part of a fandom can most likely agree to this use of terminology.
Fandoms are filled with people worldwide who come together to participate in the discussion of their favourite TV shows, books, movies, etc. Those individuals participate in a wide variety of activities which play a part in the ‘fandom life’ such as fanfiction writing, drawing fanart, and roleplaying etc.
There are many fandoms which exist today, some more popular than others and each with their own delights and disasters. Examples of the more popular fandoms today are as follows:
Potterheads – fans of the Harry Potter book/movie series
Whovians – Doctor Who fanatics
Thronies – Game of Thrones fans
Sherlockians – Sherlock fans, mostly those who are fans of the BBC TV series although it does extend to those who are fans solely of the movie adaptations of the Sherlock Holmes tales starring Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law
Merlinians – Fans of the beloved show Merlin which featured also on the BBC channel
Other fandoms which exist revolve around a mixture of TV shows, movies, books and even just individual actors, such as Shadowhunters, Supernatural, Teen Wolf, The Hunger Games, Maze Runner, Lord of the Rings, Twilight and more…
But whilst all these fandom ‘families’ may dwell within their own fictional worlds, sometimes two separate fandoms, or even three, may co-join with one another. This occurrence is known as a crossover and is often seen in fanfiction or even encountered during roleplaying, examples of this include:
PotterLock – In which the Sherlock characters are enrolled or have been at Hogwarts much like the characters of Harry Potterthemselves.
SuperWhoLock – A mix of Supernatural, Doctor Who, and Sherlock characters merged together to create an even wider universe for fanfiction writing and roleplaying prompts.
The fandoms mentioned and the others which exist are able to merge so easily now with the help that the Internet provides and sites like Twitter, Tumblr, ArchiveOfOurOwn, Fanfiction.net, and those used for roleplaying help to further expand the material surrounding a fandom by use of the fans’ imagination. One of the advantages which the Internet has with providing fans with the opportunity to interact with one another and create even their own material is that it allows—more often than not—for fans to keep the show alive even after it is over. For example, the BBC TV Show Merlin which ended in 2014 and MTV’s Teen Wolf has long been kept alive with the help of fans sharing their own AU fan fictions and fan art via sites such as Tumblr and even groups which can be found on Facebook. However, it’s not just the internet which allows for fans to interact with each other and even with their favourite actors and authors alike, but events held like Comic-Con allow for fans to gather, cosplay (dress up as their favourite characters), and meet those whom they admire!
Of course, as stated earlier in this article, not everything about being a part of a fandom is smiles, laughter, and fans coming together without complaint or disagreement… Fandoms are like families, after all, and families have their rocky patches. A big issue with the fandom life is the controversy which comes with being an individual fan in a sea of them, each with their own beliefs surrounding the material which canon provides. One of the biggest controversies within a fandom comes with the idea of shipping.
More often than not, fans are happy with the final relationships which come out of the works produced by their beloved authors and directors. However, this isn’t always the case and even if it is, where is the fun in refusing to explore the various outcomes of a product. Various ships which exist out with canon are:
Dramione – Draco Malfoy and Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter series Jalec – Jace Herondale and Alec Lightwood from The Mortal Instruments series Newtmas – Newt and Thomas from The Maze Runner series Sterek – Stiles Stilinski and Derek Hale from the Teen Wolf series Cherik – Charles Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr from the X-Men series JohnLock – John Watson and Sherlock Holmes from the Sherlock series Merthur – Merlin and Arthur Pendragon from the Merlin series
All these ships allow for individual fans to explore the “what if’s” of their favourite movies, TV shows, and romance storylines. However, not everyone is a fan of a particular ship or in agreement of two characters being anything more than what they are in canon or even just friends and so the controversy starts. Shipping is not the only thing within a fandom which causes controversy either, more often than not fans headbutt each other when it comes to the many theories which each of them create; theories such as “How Did Sherlock Holmes survive? Is Jim Moriarty truly dead? Is the new Doctor being a woman a good thing? What if Draco Malfoy and Harry Potter had become friends in Year 1? What if Arthur had known about Merlin’s magic all along?” All of these theories can be found somewhere online with a great number of people arguing their own case, agreeing, disagreeing, and providing evidence to back up their points, the entire experience of joining in or even just observing is highly intriguing.
As stated, all these fan interactions allow for a fandom to remain alive through the fans themselves but just how far are fans willing to go to save what they love? One fandom, in particular, is the perfect example to use when exploring this question.
With the cancellation of the Shadowhunters series being announced on June 5th 2018, the fans of the beloved show were sent into a frenzy and it’s clear that Freeform picked the wrong fandom to mess with… The below image provides merely a few stories as to what lengths the fans have gone to in their attempts to save the show from creating the trending tweets #saveshadowhunters, #savetheshadowworld and sharing multiple images throughout the internet to hiring a plane to fly over the Netflix HQ carrying the banner #saveshadowhunters and more!
With campaigns being held over the social media and petitions going around via Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr, countless fans doing their part in helping to save the shadow world which we have come to love from the moment it hit our screens, there is no doubt that proof exists as to how important fandoms can be to us fangirl and fanboys. And whilst the fate of the show can not yet be determined, it’s clear that the dedication shown by fans allow for everyone to see how much of a family the fans truly are. They may be at war with one another at times regarding various aspects of the show, but mess with the show itself and the fans will stand together to fight side by side to save what has allowed for them to create such a family in the first place.
If you’re after a new YA book-to-movie adaptation, then The Darkest Minds will be fixing your cravings this month. The new film is based on the novel written by Alexandra Bracken of the same name and the trailer teases fans with a visual as to what they can expect in the upcoming movie.
The sci-fi thriller directed by Jennifer Yuh Nelson (Kung Fu Panda 3) is set to have a run time of an hour and 45 minutes, which will provide the audience with ample time to experience and action-packed and dystopian-like adventure, which could very well rival the entertainment levels provided to us by the popular The Hunger Games series…
From the producers of Stranger Things, the trailer for The Darkest Minds certainly has a peculiar feel to it and it even has similarities the movies such as The Hunger Games, Harry Potter and X-Men – creating yet another example of children with unnatural powers and abilities being forced to band together to overthrow those in positions of power.
The Darkest Minds follows the character of 16-year-old Ruby, played by Amanda Stenberg (Everything, Everything), who just so happens to be one of the most powerful of those now possessing ‘gifts’ that anyone has ever encountered. After escaping her camp, Ruby is united with a group of runaway teenagers who are attempting to seek somewhere safe to hide from the Government determined to capture them. Together, she and her new friends come together to conduct a resistance to stand against those who betrayed them by putting each of their individual abilities to use to save the future of them all. As stated by another character capable of extraordinary abilities within the trailer; “The only people who would ever help us… are us.”.
Overall, The Darkest Minds looks to be a successful movie, which could attract a wide audience and if you are interested in being a part of it and witnessing the revolution begin, then there isn’t much longer to wait. The Darkest Minds is hitting theatres internationally this month, so check out your local listings to find out when you can go see it!
The Darkest Minds stars Amandla Stenberg (Everything, Everything), Mandy Moore (This Is Us), Gwendoline Christie (Game of Thrones), Skylan Brooks (The Get Down), Harris Dickinson (Trust), and Miya Cech (American Horror Story).
Written by Alyson Noel, The Immortals is a young adult fantasy books series consisting of six individual novels. From Evermore to Everlasting, the tale is beyond gripping and filled with many moments which will have the reader dying to know what comes next…
The series follow the life of a young teenager, Ever Bloom, who possesses many peculiar abilities after being the lone survivor of a car crash which killed her family. Gifted, or rather cursed, to see auras, hear thoughts, and know a person’s entire life story through one simple touch causes Ever to work hard to isolate herself from others and avoid human contact at all costs. Cue Damen Auguste: tall, dark, and handsome, he surprises Ever by being ‘unreadable’. With no aura, and immune to Ever’s gifts, he holds many secrets and the biggest one of all could explain why Ever can’t ‘read’ him—because those whom Ever has been unable to read are dead…
If you’re still unsure if you should put aside your time to dedicate it to reading The Immortals series, then here are a few reasons as to why you should!
Author Alyson Noel’s talent of being a successful writer ultimately shines through every word as the plot is spread evenly throughout all six books, allowing for each novel to be a definite page-turner but never once overwhelming the reader with too much information. Furthermore, this also allows for the plot to thicken at a steady pace and for the stakes to rise within the events which occur throughout each individual novel.
An Excellent Blend
The story itself is filled with everything that a reader could ask for: Adventure, romance, loss, love, betrayal, friendship, and everything that makes a story truly great. The novels incorporate each of these genres and more into the story, making The Immortals a series which could be enjoyed by many readers. The Immortals combines both the real world and fictional world which Noel created effortlessly, allowing for a change in setting throughout the books and more intriguing read as the readers not only get to enjoy seeing the characters within and outside their comfort zones.
Speaking of a romantic tale, the presence of romance within the novels itself is a reason alone as to why the books should be read. Who doesn’t enjoy a good romance novel, especially one which tells the story of a forbidden romance, in which nearly every outside force is trying to come between two destined lovers? If that sounds like the genre of book which you would enjoy, then add The Immortals book series to your TBR pile right now.
One aspect of Noel’s novels which should also be commended is her ability to provide readers of The Immortals series with a wide variety of characters, each of whom can spark several emotions within the reader. From the main character to those mentioned briefly, each character is one whom the reader can either relate to or can find similarities in with people from their own realities. Throughout the entirety of the series, Ever’s ability to ‘read’ individuals allows us to gain an insight into many other characters of whom we would not be able to if this series were written like any other novel.
A Complete Series
Finally, one of the advantages which comes with reading The Immortals book series written by Alyson Noel is that the series is complete—something which many readers often find comfort in. No waiting around and twiddling thumbs in wait for the next book to be written or published. The entire series is available to buy and read in whichever form of reading you enjoy best at your own pleasure.
However, if you do decide to read the series and are wary of perhaps wanting more, then the spin-off series also written by Alyson Noel titled the Riley Bloom series is also complete and available to read also! This series tells the story of Riley Bloom, Ever’s sister, in the afterlife following the events of the crash. This allows for the reader to dive once more into the wondrous world which Alyson Noel has created…