you know i actually think we put too much stock in fanon? i think we assign it a lot more importance than it actually has
don’t get me wrong, i think the idea that hundreds or thousands of people can come together from all sides of the world and construct, as one, a whole united interpretation of a text or media is rlly interesting and heartwarming. and i think a lot of the time it’s can simulate a sort of bonding experience for fans, especially in subfandoms and small communities. but i think when we assign fanon interpretations a huge wealth of importance to the point where we perceive other readings as alien or confusing, we lose a bit of the magic?
particularly in this fandom we can sometimes have a very, very homogenous understanding of the characters we work with, especially marauders era characters. it’s completely fine for certain interpretations of characters (that james potter lived in a manor, that marlene mckinnon was a blonde white woman etc) to catch on because they’re prominent in popular fics or fanart, but it’s worth remembering that variety is the spice of life, and that we can often end up maligning diverse voices in fandom when we create universal fanon interpretations of characters or plots of worlds, because these interpretations are almost always determined by which fanfictions are the most popular at a given point, and that decision will almost always be made by cis white women, who dominate fanfiction reader communities most of the time.
i think when we assign set fanon readings to different characters (particularly offstage/unseen characters, characters who we aren’t introduced to directly in the source material, etc), we remove most of our communal proclivity to create our own interpretations of them, and we make small fanfiction authors uncomfortable with the idea of introducing their own perspectives to the mixing pot. and i think that’s a real shame. i understand that set fanon interpretations of fan favourite characters can often serve as a narrative shorthand for fans, particularly serial and non-au fanfiction authors, but i think that encouraging the sharing of ideas and the establishment of soft fanon can be done in a way that doesn’t set hard and fast rules on the ‘best way’ to interpret the text.
idk. this post does’t have much of a point, i’m just tired of seeing my super inventive exciting cool friends and mutuals coming up with wonderful, unique interpretations of canon characters which don’t match up to common fanon and feeling guilty for that. i’m tired of seeing people take unique readings on source materials in the same way their predecessors in fandom did, but instead of being venerated as the ‘’new canon’’, being mocked and misunderstood etc. like, i think a fandom which has a thousand different readings of a character is so much richer and more exciting than a fandom with a thousand fanfics that all take the same one.
tldr: we should perhaps take a more critical stance on the tendency in fandom to view homogenous fanon interpretations of characters as set rules, rather than general trends. we should also encourage diverse voices in fandom, and be concious of the fact that many of the traits we assign to characters through fanon can make various members of fandom spaces uncomfortable.