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Functional Character in Fan Fiction: A Case Study of The Lord of the Rings’ Alternative Universe Fan Fiction For Every Evil

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Abstract

From Henry Jenkins onwards, fan fiction study has walked pass almost 30 years and has covered a relatively large field including feminism, queer theory and mass culture, but many scholars still seem to miss the point that fan fiction is firstly a literary text and thus leave its literariness unexamined. In fact, with a high intertextuality and a “poacher” nature, fan fiction can serve as an ideal text to narratology study. This paper, through conducting a case study of The Lord of the Rings’ alternative universe fan fiction For Every Evil, is attempting to unfold fan authors’ literary talent in constructing functional character in the text and use it as a way to deliver personal interpretation to the canon. By applying characters’ known behavior as a method to resolve instability in fan fiction narrative and complete its narrative progress, authors who write alternative universe fan fiction show that this kind of “amateur” writing is worth a closer literary review. It is hoped that through the analysis, the literary merit of fan community can be better recognized, and fan fiction can be treated more as a genre rather than a cultural phenomenon in the future.
Studies in Linguistics and Literature
ISSN 2573-6434 (Print) ISSN 2573-6426 (Online)
Vol. 5, No. 1, 2021
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70
Original Paper
Functional Character in Fan Fiction: A Case Study of The Lord
of the Rings Alternative Universe Fan Fiction For Every Evil
(Note 1)
Jieling Fang1*
1 Faculty of English Language and Culture, Guangdong University of Foreign Studies, Guangzhou,
China
* Jieling Fang, Faculty of English Language and Culture, Guangdong University of Foreign Studies,
Guangzhou, China
Received: January 14, 2021 Accepted: January 22, 2021 Online Published: February 5, 2021
doi:10.22158/sll.v5n1p70 URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.22158/sll.v5n1p70
Abstract
From Henry Jenkins onwards, fan fiction study has walked pass almost 30 years and has covered a
relatively large field including feminism, queer theory and mass culture, but many scholars still seem to
miss the point that fan fiction is firstly a literary text and thus leave its literariness unexamined. In fact,
with a high intertextuality and a “poacher” nature, fan fiction can serve as an ideal text to narratology
study. This paper, through conducting a case study of The Lord of the Rings’ alternative universe fan
fiction For Every Evil, is attempting to unfold fan authors’ literary talent in constructing functional
character in the text and use it as a way to deliver personal interpretation to the canon. By applying
characters’ known behavior as a method to resolve instability in fan fiction narrative and complete its
narrative progress, authors who write alternative universe fan fiction show that this kind of “amateur”
writing is worth a closer literary review. It is hoped that through the analysis, the literary merit of fan
community can be better recognized, and fan fiction can be treated more as a genre rather than a
cultural phenomenon in the future.
Keywords
functional character, alternative universe fan fiction, The Lord of the Rings
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1. Introduction
Fan fiction study, nowadays, is no longer a strange term in academic field thanks to the flourishing of
fan-created text on the Internet. Since the mid-80s, many researches have been conducted on various
fan texts, but because of its “unrestricted” nature (Tosenberger, p. 185), there are still many texts that
have seldom been covered in the past 30 years, and the genre of “alternative universe” (AU for short)
writing is one of them. By removing characters from their original setting and giving them new
identities, alternative universe fan fiction provides its authors a broader stage to show their creativity in
narrative experimentation than other homodiegetic fan works. Thus, a closer look at the narrative
device of AU fan fiction is worth conducting in order to better understand the literary merit of fan
community.
2. Method
From Star Trek to Harry Potter, science fiction/film/television and fantasy novel are usually considered
as the most welcome source text among fan writers, and these two specific contexts have become the
center of fan fiction critics in the last three decades because of their phenomenal effect among a wide
range of people, leaving other texts barely untouched. This paper will deliver a case study of The Lord
of the Rings alternative universe fan fiction For Every Evil. The canon (Tolkien’s original trilogy and
Peter Jackson’s Oscar winning film altogether) was once the spotlight of English fan fiction writing
after the films came out, and For Every Evil has received a high reputation since its publication on
fanfiction.com and become one of the representative AU The Lord of the Rings fan fictions for its
outstanding portrayal of the life of the medieval characters in the 21st century. By studying how the
known characters’ behavior contribute to the AU fan fiction narrative, this thesis wishes to treat AU fan
fiction text as a proper literature text, and unfolds modern fan authors’ talent in innovating the field of
narratology through the application of functional character as a method to deliver their interpretation
about the source text.
3. Discussion
3.1 Why Character Counts
Most fan authors, as Henry Jenkins points out, start writing fan fiction mainly out of their love towards
certain characters and wish their story could never end: “[Fans] stretching its boundaries to incorporate
their concerns, remolding its characters to better suit their desires” (p. 159). For those who read this
kind of story, it is the same desire that drives them to examine the text almost word by word and
actively leave comments to the author to exchange ideas. Thirty years ago, Jenkins also concluded ten
ways for fans to “remold” their favored characters, but as time goes by, some of the approaches become
more dominant than others and are more appreciated by the fan community, revealing modern fans’
preference in interpreting and reconstructing the canon in the age of the Internet. Slash, a
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reconstruction of characters’ romantic relationship from heterosexual to homosexual, is still as popular
as it was in the 1990s for it can always fulfill female audience’s desire of writing or reading stories
about equal love; the PWP (Plot, What Plot) text, or fan pornography, serves as another important agent
to satisfy fans’ explicit taste to observe characters’ sexual behavior; the gerne of Crossover fan fiction
allows fans to pair characters from different canon together so as to see how they would interact with
each other; the newly emerged ABO (Alpha, Beta, Omega) text in the recent decade reveals fans’
ambition to express their political, social and cultural concerns in reality through placing characters in
this animal-originated setting; finally, the Alternative Universe genre extends characters’ story line into
a new, seemingly unrelated realm, providing answers to fans’ wonder about those “What if…”
questions.
No matter how fans’ taste change, their reading and writing activities are all generated from their
interest towards canon’s characters. In order to preserve the joy as much as possible, certain rules have
been set in fan community regarding the boundary of fan fiction writing. Although some critics argue
that fans tend to “choosing (choose) something to emphasize and others to play down, filtering the
characters and the concepts through their own perceptions” (Jenkins, p. 181), fan fiction writers still try
their best to claim fidelity to the source text, especially in characterization. Except the AU text, fan
fiction’s setting, timeline and characters’ identity are all directly borrowed from the canon; if the
characters are in the alternative universe, their behaviors are also restricted to the known pattern in the
original text. If the characters’ action had gone too far from the canon, readers would usually leave little
mercy to authors of this kind and criticize them severely (with the exception that the author warn the
readers with “OOC” mark that the text itself is created for the sake of altering original characterization).
Therefore, it is a common understanding among fan community that fan fiction characterization should
remain loyal to the canon.
With this characteristic, fan fiction is no doubt a perfect demonstration of literary intertextuality, and it
is nearly the first direction scholars find to transfer the attention of fan fiction study from taking it as a
sub-culture production to seeing it as a new literature form. From the time of Saussure, it is widely
recognized by many literary critics that “the signs deployed in any particular text have their reference
not to objects in the world but to the literary system out of which the text is produced” (Allen, p. 11).
When readers encounter certain character’s action in the reading process, they will not refer to its direct
representation in the physical world, rather they will think about the similar characterization in the
literary and cultural system. This intertextual feature generates a unique way for readers to decode the
meaning of the text. Barthes, with his “connotative meaning of the text”, suggests that characters are
built upon a set of recurrent “semes” (Allen, p. 84), and when readers interpret the connotative meaning
of these semes, they can make sense of the special quality and the “depth” of the characters. This
hermeneutic code, defined by Barthes, finds itself a good representation in fan fiction texts. As the
“textual poacher” (Jenkins, 1992, p. 24), fan fiction authors would create little meaning in their writing
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without the reference to the source text, and with sufficient knowledge of the canon, fan fiction readers
will constantly keep the canon’s semes in mind to decode the character’s behavior. Therefore, the
recurrent characters’ action in the fan text deserves a further examination if its literariness is going to be
better understood.
In recent years, fan fiction is indeed treated more as a literary text rather than a mere online cultural
phenomenon like as it was in the 1990s, and the academic field circle is paying more and more
attention to its textual details and narrative device. In 2015, Maria Lindgren Leavenworth published an
essay about her research on the paratext of fan fiction in Narrative, marking a huge leap in the study of
fan fiction’s textuality. Other critics also contribute a lot in the close reading of fan fiction text. Abigail
Derecho defines fan fiction as an “archontic literature”, emphasizing highly on its intertextuality and
engagement with the source text; Mafalda Stasi conducts a textual analysis on slash fiction using the
model of the palimpsest, suggesting that fan fiction is a product of collective authorship within fan
community; Deborah Kaplan examines fan authors’ ways of characterization in three different fan
fictions, unfolding the complex conversations between fan fictions writers, readers and the canon
(Hellekson & Busse, pp. 61-152). Dedicated as they are, these scholars mainly focus on the specific
narrative devices fan authors use to interact with the source text, and have not yet touch upon the
function of characters’ known action in generating fan text’s narrating progress. Alternative Universe
fan fiction, with its features of radical appropriation in terms of setting and loyal reference in terms of
character construction, is suitable to serve as a medium to reveal the narrative function of appropriated
characters.
3.2 Action Comes First
When it comes to the canon, little doubt will be given to the popularity of The Lord of the Rings among
English speaking countries, but it is the same popularity that prevents this trilogy from receiving the
kind of academic attention like other more “sophisticated” works do. Though scholars like Rose
Zimbado and Tom Shippey never cease to dedicate themselves to Tolkienian study during the latter half
of the 20th century, it was not until the release of Peter Jackson’s films that Tolkien’s novels really
started to shine upon literary critics. From then on, many philosophical merits other than the mythology
and epic tradition of Tolkien’s writing has been dug out, and to many people’s surprise, the seemingly
“naive” trilogy has proved itself valuable to various academic discussions. Classical themes like
religion, gothic motif and the nature of evil have been widely discussed, and other more “modern”
methods like feminism, eco-criticism and queer study have also been applied to the text (Bloom, p. vii).
However, very few Tolkienian study has touched upon the discourse level of his writing except Mary
Bowman who explored the metanarrative aspects of The Lord of the Rings and had her article published
in Narrative in 2006, leaving a blank in understanding Tolkien’s way of constructing the long epic tale.
Thus, a closer look at the characters’ structural relationship would be a good beginning to fill in the
blank.
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There has been a long-time debate in narratology study about what constitutes the “personality” of
characters. Structuralist narratologists like Vladimir Propp and A. J. Greimas firmly believe that only
actions can grant characters with meaning, while many other critics like Forster, Virginian Woolf and
Martin Turnell hold the idea that it is the description of characters’ inner world that provides the story
with aesthetics (Shen, pp. 54-56). Both of the stands have good reasons and well-developed theoretical
framework to support their arguments, but when it comes to certain literature gerne, it is natural that
one of them is more considerably suitable than the other in analyzing the text. Propp delivers his
groundbreaking “functional character” theory based on his analysis of the Russian folk tale, therefore,
it is better to see characters in the similar text as “actant” rather than to treat them as “people”.
Originated from German folk tale Das Nibelungenlied, it is clear that characters in Tolkien’s The Lord
of the Rings carry different functions on their way to finish the task, and a structural examination on
their relationship can help to unfold the depth of this “childish” story from a new perspective.
According to how characters participate in the narrated action, Propp and Greimas identify them as a
different category of “actant” in narration. Refining Propp’s typology of seven general roles in
narration, Greimas further generalizes a total of six actants in the narrated event: Subject, Object,
Sender, Receiver, Helper, and Opponent, and their relation with each other can be summarized as
follow: “it is entirely centred on the object of desire aimed at by the subject and situated, as object of
communication, between the sender and the receiver the desire of the subject being, in its part,
modulated in projections from the helper and opponent” (Herman, Jahn & Ryan, p. 1). In The Lord of
the Rings, the events are all generated from the desire for the One Ring from different parties, so it is
reasonable for characters to fall into the six categories of actants: the fellowship of the ring as the
Subject, the Ring as the Object, those who commanded by the dark lord Sauron being the Opponent
and those allied with the fellowship are simultaneously the Sender, Receiver and Helper. With the
contrast of “keeping the Ring” and “destroying the Ring” being the main binary opposition in the story,
characters’ actions are all circling around the two power poles, and thus their relation is settled and can
easily be applied to another setting, which makes the canon perfect for AU fan fiction writing.
What should be paid most attention to is the structural relationship within the fellowship for it not only
inspires most of the fan creations, but also reflects Tolkien’s idea about what true hero means. The
fellowship, consisting of four hobbits, two human, one wizard, one elf and one dwarf, is form because
of the common goal of destroying the Ring and safeguard the peace of the middle-earth, but besides the
goal, each of them has their own different purposes in the journey and thus create a complex
relationship among the nine: Frodo, the hobbit ring-keeper, is the main carrier of the task and the other
eight are all supposed to be his helper, but he is also the object of others’ desire because of the Ring; the
human Boromir always wants to bring the Ring back to his city as a weapon to defend Sauron, and as a
threat to Frodo, he is tragically killed by his desire though he realizes his mistake at the final moment;
another human Aragon acts as the most reliable helper to Frodo at the beginning, but he also carries his
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own task of restoring his identity as king of all mankind and it ultimately leads him to depart with
Frodo; the wizard Gandalf serves as the guidance in the group, but he cannot share any of Frodo’s
burden other than pointing out direction, not to mention that his own “death” prolongs the action of the
fellowship; although the elf Legolas and the dwarf Gimli seldom jeopardize their partners, the fact that
their races dislike each other still casts an unstable factor over the task. Therefore, in the fellowship, no
one can act as the real helper except Frodo’s three hobbit companions Sam, Merry and Pippin. Sam, as
Frodo’s loyal gardener, is the only one who is not corrupted by the Ring and is more heroic than Frodo
by preventing him from becoming another Ring-slave; Merry and Pippin are usually considered as foil
characters and their journey looks dull compared with others’ adventure, but without their actions, the
fellowship would definitely break apart (the nine people are separated into different ways on the
journey, but the search for Merry and Pippin keeps bringing them together except Frodo and Sam who
march to Mount Doom alone) and the task of destroying the evil would never be achieved. Acting as
the mediator, the characters’ structure requires the three hobbits to be comic, gentle and emotional. By
arranging the most important role to the “little fellow” who shows barely no traces of traditional heroic
merit like the masculine Beowulf and those glorious fighters in heroic literature, Tolkien attempts to
rewrite the figure of hero from those physically powerful ones to those who possess a strong mind and
moral courage. For him, the ability of delivering moral choice is more important than physical strength,
and the new heroic figure represented by the hobbits answers exactly to the call of exterminating
gender stereotype in the post-war era.
With this interesting character structure in the source text, there is no wonder that The Lord of the Rings
fans are passionate in examining how characters would interact with each other in other contexts. On
the world’s largest fan fiction archive website archiveofourown.org (AO3 for short), alternative
universe writing accounts for the second largest number among all The Lord of the Rings fan fiction.
These fan authors, while keep focusing on the relation between the fellowship members, are more
willing to retell their adventure from the perspective of the elf prince Legolas thanks to the outstanding
portrayal of this figure in Peter Jackson’s film. Some may say that this change of narrative focalization
is a violation to Tolkien’s idea of heroism because elves are described as powerful fighters in the trilogy,
but when one considers the fact that their appearance are androgynous and they “are not known for
their physical prowess” (Enright, p. 171), fans’ choice of making Legolas the center of the narration is
their way of paying tribute to Tolkien’s philosophy. For Every Evil, written by an American fan
Mirrordance, is one of the well-received The Lord of the Rings AU fan fictions featuring the life of the
fellowship, especially Legolas in the 21st century. In Mirrordance’s story, Legolas is a policeman in Los
Angeles, Aragon a doctor, Gimli a hacker, and the hobbits are innocent college students. Though the
characters possess new identities in a modern setting, their actions strictly follow the behavior pattern
in the canon, and the readers are expecting to see them behave in this way. Thus, the narrative progress
in For Every Evil is mainly pushed by characters’ known behavior, and it would be inspired to see why
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this explicit narrative pattern can attract so many devoted people.
3.3 Textual Analysis: Functional Appropriation, Authorial Narrative Progression and Critical
Interpretation
In For Every Evil, Mirrordance tells a story about reincarnation, self-discovery and how to do with the
second chance. A businessman, Grissom Warrington, recovers his memory as Grima Wormtongue in
the middle-earth on his trip to Britain and decides to rewrite history by searching for the likely ruling
Ring and killing all the reborn fellowship members. Legolas, the immortal elf who remembers all,
senses the danger and starts to take action as a policeman to save the world as well as protect his
friends who know nothing about their past. Although the theme of reincarnation grants the characters
the same identity as they are in the source text, for most of the time their ancient self is asleep and their
knowledge about the world is completely modern, therefore For Every Evil is still a typical AU fan
fiction, in which characters’ identities are changed while their narrative function remains the same.
Though alternative universe story requires a brand-new setting, in order to stay loyal to the source text
and preserve characters’ function as much as possible, there are some certain rules within almost all
fandoms for fan authors to follow while writing alternative universe story. For starters, the characters’
new identities will normally have some connection with their original ones. In For Every Evil,
Aragon’s reincarnation Adrian Aarons is a doctor, which echoes the magic power of the human king’s
“healing hands” in Tolkien’s trilogy; the hacker Jimmy Goran’s profession has a strong implication to
the dwarf Gimli’s excellent digging skill in the ancient time; Bob Baggins, as an archaeologist in the
modern world, possesses the same adventurous spirit as his former self, the learned hobbit Bilbo
Baggins does. These similarities set the tone for characters’ development, forbidding the
characterization in AU fan fiction to be astray from the source text. The readers, with abundant
background knowledge of the canon, would spot out the similarity immediately and are eager to see
how the old characterization would fit in the new setting. In this way, the motivation of reading and
writing characters’ known behavior is created, and thus guarantees the base of functional appropriation
in AU fan fiction creation.
Compared with other writers who only borrow characters’ names in AU fan fiction writing,
Mirrordance goes a step further in her appropriation by intentionally imitating Tolkien’s plot and
narrative structure. One may call it lack of innovation and a possible plagiarism, but this writing
strategy allows her text to be more suitable than others’ in analyzing how functional character works in
AU fan fiction narration. As it is analyzed above, characters’ actions are more important than their
psyche in The Lord of the Rings because of the trilogy’s folk tale origin; therefore, borrowing canon’s
narrative structure while writing AU fan fiction is a way to test whether their actions are solid enough
to preserve the same function in different context. In the author’s afterword, Mirrordance acknowledges
that her initial drive to write this fan fiction is to answer the question “what if the characters are here”,
and in the story she makes her claim obvious to readers: “People were never randomly thrown together,
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he understood that. And especially, most especially, not the likes of them” (FEE, ch.5). Like Tolkien,
she divides characters into binary opposition and creates a journey for the bright side to finish so as to
achieve the great purpose. On the journey of defeating Wormtongue, the structural relationship within
the fellowship remain mostly the same as the canon because of the consistent characters’ action: when
Aragon is asleep inside Adrian Aarons, Legolas takes charge of everything just like Aragon does in
Lord of the Rings so the team could always have a leader to look upon; as a former dwarf and now a
high-tech criminal, Jimmy Goran still has a very complex relationship with his supervisor Horace
Harding, an Interpol as well as the rebirth of the elf soldier Haldir, and the team could not perform at its
best until the two become real friends; though the hobbit identity remains nearly silent in their body, the
three college students Philip Took (Pippin), Mark Brandy (Merry) and Sam Granger show great
courage in protecting their friend Finn Baggins (the reincarnation of Frodo) in the final stage of the task,
and Finn, remembering little if his past, once again holds the fate of all lives on earth by deciding
whether or not to destroy the evil treasure. From this arrangement, it is clear that action always comes
first in AU fan fiction writing; it is characters’ behavior, not the “people” that concerns fan authors of
this kind, and no matter how different the context is and how strange the characters appear to be, AU
fan fiction will remain loyal to the canon and persuade the reader as long as the author pays close
attention in following the original characters’ function.
However, like other narratives, fan fiction exists not only for satisfying the author’s own eagerness to
be a god in the fictional world by arranging characters’ action, but also for “generates, sustains,
develops and resolves” the interests of his or her authorial readers, which leads to the need of resolving
“instabilities” in fan fiction’s narrative progression (Phelan, p. 15). Phelan proposes two kinds of
instabilities in narrative, with the first one created by the story and the second by the discourse. In the
case of AU fan fiction, the main kind of instability is the one within the story and between characters,
the one which “created by situations, and complicated and resolved through actions” (Phelan, p. 15)
because, as it is mentioned above, characters’ actions are the first concern for both AU fan fiction
readers and authors. In For Every Evil, Mirrordance knows her authorial readers well enough to use
this kind of instability as the main force to motivate her narrative progression. As a reincarnation story,
the main instability in For Every Evil is the awakening of characters’ memory, and its readers, like any
other AU fan fiction reader does, are eager to know in what kind of situation would the characters
perform as they are in the canon and how their identity and relationship would be restored. By making
the characters’ old identity asleep at the beginning, Mirrordance sustains the instability until all major
characters (the fellowship) appear, and then develops it by creating certain conditions for characters to
meet if they want a full awakening, like physical contact with the person or thing that makes a drastic
change in their former life. In this way, more parallel actions can be planted in the AU story and readers
would get more excited in the reading process as they recognize the intertext. At the same time, the
major characters’ awakening process also serves as the turning point of the story. For instance, the L. A.
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policeman Brad’s Boromir-self becomes conscious when he meets the four former hobbits face to face,
and the change of his identity instantly creates another instability in the narrative for the author to solve,
that is, whether or not he has to die as he does in the canon in order to secure the success of the team’s
task. Finally, all instabilities are resolved through characters’ intertextual action, like Boromir’s
self-sacrifice, Sam’s intimate protection towards Frodo, and Aragon’s fight as the leader of the whole
team. With the evil side being defeated, almost all characters restore their former self, and their
relationship is more solid than ever before.
Besides echoing the canon, fan authors also find a chance of expressing their personal interpretation
about the canon’s story and discourse in AU fan fiction narrative progression. Although both the author
and readers know how the characters would perform as the narrative goes on, the fictional world
provides enough space for author to discuss the necessity of “repeating” the same behavior before the
characters conduct the key action. In Mirrordance’s story, Adrian Aarons keeps refusing to waken his
former king identity and perform his duty because “I live in the now world… And I find that nothing
here matters to me anymore than that I find them beautiful” (FEE, ch.14). The new, modern context in
For Every Evil’s alternative universe setting grants the characters a second chance to alter their
previous fate; they have the right to choose to remain “ordinary” because it is reasonable to presume
that the 21st century does not need these middle-aged heroes to save the world. Though unsurprisingly,
all characters take the old path in the end, it is in this discussion that the nature of these heroic
characters is revealed: the embracing, responsible attitude towards their destiny is exactly what
distinguishes them from other people. Another interpretation within the narrative progression is
whether certain characters have to die in order to complete the narrative function. In Propp’s analysis of
Russian folk tale structure, there must be some disastrous events that happen on the Helper (usually the
death of the Helper) so the hero can reach his epiphany and finish the task (Shen, p. 46). In The Lord of
the Rings canon, Boromir is the one who dedicates his life in protecting the hobbits, so when it comes
to his second life in For Every Evil, everyone tries to keep him away from danger so he would not die
again, but they also have doubt in altering his fate, including Boromir himself: “what if me being
here… What if it changes thing?... If I have to die for us to win, I don’t mind” (FEE, ch.27). Boromir’s
words reveal the author’s hesitation regarding characterization. On the one hand, she is aware that the
main reason for the existence of fan fiction is to compensate reader’s loss in then canon, so there is no
chance for her to arrange Boromir’s death again; on the other hand, she also worries that the change in
character’s fate would alter his function, therefore the meaning of him being in the narrative would be
gone. By putting Boromir into the situation of serious injury but later survives with the help of modern
technology, Mirrordance delivers her interpretation to character’s function in narrative: as long as the
sacrifice action of “helping” exists, characters do not have to die so as to preserve their function; it is
the action, not the ending that matters in functional characterization.
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From the case of For Every Evil, it is obvious that the appropriation in alternative universe fan fiction
is not a mere reflection of the source text; rather, it is a dialogue between fan authors and readers on the
one hand and the canon on the other. The key actions which resolve the instability in AU fan fiction
narrative progress are all known to the authorial readers. This feature does not spoil their joy of reading
the story; on the contrary, it arouses their excitement because it fits the requirement of intertextuality in
fan fiction composition. Being in the same fan community, fan fiction readers know well how to “pick
up on all the signals in the appropriate way” (Phelan, p. 5), and fan fiction author seldom fails them in
giving them enough “signals” to explore the text. When action becomes the top concern, it is
reasonable to alter characters’ fate and make up for fans’ emotional regret for their favored “people” in
the canon. In this sense, this kind of explicit narrative progression in AU fan fiction is an ideally
authorial one, providing both the author and the reader a safe ground to fulfill their literary pursuit.
4. Conclusion
The virtual space has helped fan fiction as well as other fan artifacts gain recognition among a wide
range of people and become an indispensable part of online culture. Because of that, scholars are more
concerned with the cultural merit of fan fiction composition, leaving the fictional text itself nearly
untouched. In fact, for fans who write and read, online fan fiction is more of a utopian space for them
to get away from the limitation in reality and be the “author of their own” regardless of their age,
gender and race, and there is no need for them to hide their talent like they do in daily life. The case of
For Every Evil in this thesis proves that literacy is not the privilege of those “classic” names; the voices
from the “amateurs” are also worth paying attention to. As more studies in its literariness being
conducted, it is hoped that in the near future, fan fiction will be mentioned more as a “gerne” than as
“cultural phenomenon” in the academic field.
References
Allen, G. (2000). Intertextuality. Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203131039
Bloom, H. (Ed.). (2008). Bloom’s Modern Critical Interpretations: The Lord of the RingsNew Edition.
Bloom’s Literary Criticism.
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Note
Note 1. This paper is supported by GDUFS Postgraduate Innovative Research Project, “Narrative
Character and Fan Fiction Writing: Study on Alternative Universe Fan Fiction” (20GWCXXM-24).
ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any citations for this publication.
Article
Many of the most devoted aficionados of J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series have not merely contented themselves with the just-completed septilogy, but have gone online in droves to create and publish new Potter stories. These new narratives are called “fanfiction”—fiction that utilizes pre-existing characters and settings from a literary or media text. Fanfiction (“fanfic” or “fic,” for short) differs from other forms of “recursive” fiction (Langford 805)—such as Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, Geraldine Brooks’s Pulitzer Prize–winning March, and every Sherlock Holmes pastiche ever created—by its unofficial methods of distribution. 1 The legal status of fanfiction based on in-copyright texts, such as the Potter books, is uncertain, though in the United States it is likely defensible under transformative Fair Use laws. 2 Fanfiction is, by preference or necessity, not formally published; it initially was circulated by way of self-published “zines,” and, these days, on the Internet. While fan writers are unable to capitalize on their work in terms of money or official recognition, they are compensated by not being restricted to institutionalized discourses. Fan writers are often characterized as refusing merely to consume media, but rather to engage actively with texts; fandom as a space of engagement is especially valuable for young fans, who constitute a significant portion of Potter fandom. In our era of what Henry Jenkins calls “convergence culture,” fan-produced writing provides a means for studying the impact of the Potter books on creative, motivated readers. One of the most interesting and fruitful areas of study is “slash” fanfiction—fan writing concerned with same-sex romance. 3
Bloom's Modern Critical Interpretations: The Lord of the Rings-New Edition. Bloom's Literary Criticism
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Bloom, H. (Ed.). (2008). Bloom's Modern Critical Interpretations: The Lord of the Rings-New Edition. Bloom's Literary Criticism.
For Every Evil. fanfiction.net
  • Mirrordance
Mirrordance. (2004). For Every Evil. fanfiction.net. Retrieved December 1, 2020, from https://www.fanfiction.net/s/1972204/1/For-Every-Evil www.scholink.org/ojs/index.php/sll Studies in Linguistics and Literature Vol. 5, No. 1, 2021
Western Narratology: Classical and Postclassical
  • D Shen
Shen, D. (2010). Western Narratology: Classical and Postclassical. Beijing: Peking University Press.