The Harry Potter story about Remus and Lupine taking over TikTok.

Over the past year, a new Harry Potter canon has gathered momentum, one that stems from a massive 500,000 word fanfiction. Yes, 500,000 words, which is almost half the length of all the Harry Potter books put together. Called All the young guys, this is currently the most popular story on the Archive of Our Own fanfic website, with over four million hits and escalation. It might not be an official Harry Potter story, but it doesn’t matter: All the young guys managed to create his own fandom, a fan all over Twitter, TikTok, YouTube and Tumblr.

All the young guys, named after a song written by David Bowie and recorded by Mott the Hoople, began publication in March 2017 by a user named MsKingBean89; it ended in 2018 with 188 chapters in total. All the young guys takes place during what fans call the Age of the Marauders in the Harry Potter universe, the time when Harry’s parents attended Hogwarts, and stars the so-called Marauders themselves: Harry’s father, James , and his best friends Sirius Black, Remus Lupine and Peter Pettigrew – all of whom appear in the novels.

The Marauder Age fanfic is one of the most popular subgenres of the Harry Potter fandom, known to have several unique relationship pairs in addition to the canon-conforming ship of Harry’s parents. Perhaps the most popular of these is the one known as Wolfstar, which is what fanfic readers and writers call the romantic relationship between Remus Lupine and Sirius Black. They are best friends in the books, and more than friends in All the young guys. Over 188 chapters, the fic traces the growing relationship between Remus and Sirius as well as the lives of James, Peter and Lily, following the gang from their very first year at Hogwarts until the end of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban-a period of nearly 25 years.

I started to read All the young guys in November 2020, while living at home. (There is no question that if you live at home for more than three weeks, you regress as a teenager.) Although I read the entire Harry Potter series as a child, I had not read any fan fiction of the series. before the end. year. Once I started All the young guys was inescapable. I first said, “I don’t read a 500,000 word fanfiction. Then I said, “I’m going to read the first two chapters of this 500,000 word fanfiction.” Fast forward two weeks, and I’m skipping the Zoom meetings to read this fan fiction.

Which makes All the young guys so captivating is how detailed and invested it is in building a world outside of the one Rowling created. It’s a slow-burning love story told from the perspective of Remus, who is a werewolf, and thus explores the experience of being a gay man in 1970s Britain and being a werewolf in wizarding society. At the same time, there is also a lot of exploration in the classroom, a dynamic alluded to in the Harry Potter books but more explored in All the young guys. Fanfiction as a genre allows people to write characters in a universe that might not have been there or that might have been overlooked. Stories focused on Wolfstar, the relationship between Remus and Sirius, fall into both of these categories, not least because homosexuality has been largely excluded from Rowling’s version of the Harry Potter universe.

The growing interest in All the young guys Lately, we have to thank this recovery movement, but there is another factor: Fanfiction TikTok. All the young guys in particular, really had its time in the second year of the pandemic, starting in winter. Here are some more numbers: The fic ended its publication in November 2018. As of mid-2019, it had around 100,000 visits to Archive of Our Own. In November 2020, it had just under 300,000 visits. Switch to January 2021: By the end of the month, the story had reached just under a million visits. And now it has over four million hits on Archive of Our Own. There are now YouTube reviews of this fic. People decided to read it for audiobooks in a practice known as podficcing. It has nearly 9,000 ratings on GoodReads and an average rating of 4.82 stars, for which many published authors would kill. He has his own TV Tropes page, and there are hundreds of posts in the Tumblr tag, which features some phenomenal fan art.

On TikTok, the #atyd hashtag on TikTok has 704 million views. Few of them have anything to do with the song Mott the Hoople, although almost every TikTok that uses this song relates to the fanfiction of the same name. The #atydtiktok derivative hashtag has 45 million views on its own. Among innumerable memes and fancasts devoted to history, people have even clips posted of themselves printing and binding the entire 500,000 word fic so that they can have their own physical copies.

At first glance, the concept of printing fanfiction might seem wild, but it makes perfect sense – fandom is nothing if it isn’t engaged – and it also sparked discussion among readers and the fanfic writers on copyright. Popular fandom logic is that the only reason fan artwork doesn’t technically violate copyright law is because it’s transformative, which means it’s different from the original work it is on. they are based, and because they do not affect the market. of the original work. Profiting from the fanfic theoretically changes the legal math, although current legal experts disagree on this. But as MsKingBean89 does not sell copies of All the young guys, simply allowing others to spend their own bound copies of his writings, the argument is moot in this case. There is little to no financial incentive for MsKingBean89 here – any attempt to monetize a level of engagement that brands would kill could potentially open it up to a Rowling copyright claim. What makes the popularity of All the young guys fully organic and popular in a way few internet trends are anymore.

This is just one of the many, many, many fascinating parts of All the young guys– and why it looks like, more than two years after its completion, its popularity won’t wane anytime soon.

To know more about All the young guys, to listen ICYMI, Slate’s Internet Culture Podcast; new episodes air every Wednesday and Saturday.

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