Be The Serpent: Transfigurations

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Podcast Episode
Be The Serpent
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Episode Title: Transfigurations
Length: 59:43
Featured:
Date: July 15, 2020
Focus: Transfigurations, J.K. Rowling and Transphobia, Transformative fandom, Harry/Draco
Fandom: Harry Potter
External Links: Episode 65: Transfigurations (archived) on PodBean
Transcript (archived)

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Be The Serpent: Transfigurations is episode 65 of the podcast, Be The Serpent. The episode does a deep-dive into Transfigurations, a Harry Potter fanfic by Resonant. The fic is used as a springboard to discuss J.K. Rowling's transphobic politics, as well as the larger Harry/Draco fandom (and its fic tropes).

Some Topics Discussed

Excerpts

On Harry Potter Fandom

"For me, personally, Harry Potter the fandom and the fanfic were an incredibly important part of my coming to terms with my own sexuality and my own queerness and an immense source of joy for me as a young queer person in fandom. And I think over the years the amount of importance and -again- joy that I have gotten out of it has been much much much more from the fandom than from the canon itself and I don’t want to erase that part of my personal history and I don't want to allow that to be taken away from me and my personal story"[2][3]

On Transfigurations

"So in this fanfic where Harry and Draco come to terms with their sexuality after leaving, after the war, and come back together and find each other and find that they are queer now and that’s a surprise to each of them, that certainly felt very reflective of my life [...]"[2][4]
"This particular story is one of a very common Harry/Draco trope which is they both go back to Hogwarts after school and the war sometimes enrolled as teachers and sometimes not. In this they are both professors at the newly re-opened Hogwarts and it’s a story about -obviously- them falling in love but it is also a story about Harry who has not great memories of the war and has been spending a couple of years in America helping to set up the first central american school of magic which is called the Coven of the Americas. And so he’s come back to England to take up this position at Hogwarts, and it’s about him finding his place again among a friendship group and a society that has changed and shifted in terms of who people are and how they relate to each other, and it’s also a sort of adventure/mystery story when it turns out that Hogwarts has been magically mined, it has lots of curses set up all over the place, and how the people working there have to go about trying to make it again a safe place."[2][5]
"I had some feelings about seeing American magic in this fic, cause on one hand, I think the idea of there being lots of different ways of doing magic is a great thing, right? There’s not one universal way to do it, and if there were, having it be based on Latin words of power is some white supremacist bullshit, and unnecessarily racist, but on the other hand, Harry goes to America, and make friends, makes friends with a bunch of American wizards, some of whom are implied to have magical practices with roots in voodoo, and another magician who is of Native American descent. And then he learns things from them, and takes them back to England, and then uses those things that he learns to help solve the big mystery and undo the evil computer programming. And so I have complicated feelings about it [...] So I think that could have been handled a little bit better, but on the other hand it was 2003 and we were not nearly as educated about such things back in those days, so it’s an interesting look back on how the conversation has developed in the twenty-year, nearly twenty years since then."[2][6][notes 1]
"Massive PTSD from Harry in this fic."[2][7]

On Harry/Draco

"There’s this thing, throughout canon in fact, that as a reader you can really tell that Draco just wants Harry to pay attention to him."[2][8]
"That is the great thing about Harry being an oblivious dick and also the narrator, because you can have him being “Oh it’s fine, it’s just sex,” until we get to another of my favorite tropes, which is the hurt/comfort with attractively swooning Draco."[2][9]

Notes

  1. ^ See Ilvermorny for discussion of J.K. Rowling's later canon handling of American and Indigenous magic.

References

  1. ^ Mijan on Archive of Our Own. Eclipse, Jan 25, 2012.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Episode 65: Transfigurations, as transcribed by Nic Marita, Tess, @banana_l0rd, Kate, and Sara. Archived Sept 5, 2020.
  3. ^ Freya, first paragraph after the 15:29 mark.
  4. ^ Macey, five paragraphs after the 15:29 mark.
  5. ^ Freya, 10 paragraphs after the 15:29 mark.
  6. ^ Alex, 48 sections after the 23:08 mark.
  7. ^ Alex, just before the [43:54] mark.
  8. ^ Macey, three paragraphs after [37:42].
  9. ^ Freya, after [37:42].