|Date(s):||2010-ongoing (last update April 2014)|
|Genre:||romance, drama, comedy|
|External Links:||FF.net, AO3, CPCoulter's Tumblr, Warberland Weebly, CP Coulter's website|
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Dalton (also known as 'Daltonfic' or 'Dalton-verse') is a popular canon divergence Glee fanfic by CPCoulter, published to Fanfiction.net. Taking off from 2.08 "Furt", it follows Kurt Hummel as he settles into Dalton Academy.
It is the highest ranked Glee fanfic on the site, and was later crossposted to AO3. It is known for its continuous allusions to Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland, original characters, infrequent updates, and extremely long length.
In addition to the main story, Dalton has an impressive number of side stories posted to CPCoulter's tumblr page. CP occasionally writes crossovers to fandoms like Teen Wolf, Trese, or her original "Blackwater". Additional facts, anecdotes, and missing moments became so numerous that the fic spawned a wiki and its own independent fansite Warblerland, Archived version run by Hufflebecks, the fandom archiver.
While the fic has not been updated since April 2014, fans still eagerly await the final chapter.
Dalton is listed as one of the "Classic" Klaine fanfictions, alongside the likes of The Sidhe, Go Your Own Way, or Little Numbers. Fans consider themselves part of "The Coult" or generally "Daltonites". It was initially recommended on LiveJournal, Tumblr, Fanfiction.Net, DeviantART, and Twitter because it updated frequently with long, detailed chapters. Later, though, the original characters, dramatic plot devices, and independent fandom drew readers, before becoming known as a ridiculously long WIP.
The fans have a very affectionate relationship with their creator, calling her "Mama CP" or "CP". She would answer questions about personal problems and anxieties on her Tumblr from 2010 to 2012, either as herself or as her characters. She continues to support those within her following and keeping close friendships with many of those who happen to have found her through her fic.
On November 29, 2010, Dalton was uploaded to Fanfiction.net. Coming at a prime spot before Glee's winter hiatus, the fic was able to capitalize on the wave of Blaine Anderson and Dalton Academy centric fanfic and it became an overnight sensation. With fun, snappy dialogue and a colourful cast of pretty blazer-wearing prep school boys, each 'episode' was meant to bring joy and excite readers- some of whom would wait until the small hours of the morning for updates. It updated daily, and before the end of December had over 157,000 hits. With trailers, art, fanfic, and a devoted following on Livejournal, Tumblr, and DeviantArt- it had gone viral.
By the end of Spring 2011, the actors who played the Warblers knew about the fic, most characters had been introduced on CP's Tumblr or in the fic itself, and the fics showed no signs of slowing down. In fact as international acclaim for Kurt and Blaine grew, the appetite for Dalton simply got bigger.
The fic had grown so large by that that 'The Warblerland Weebly', latterly known as simply 'Warblerland' or 'Alfalfa Academy' was created to attempt to archive the fics and facts. Shipping as well had taken off with the introduction of side characters like Julian Larson and Clark Sawyer, distracting fans from the Glee content in the fanfiction. Once pairs like 'Jogan' were introduced, Dalton fanfiction grew exponentially, sometimes only being connected to Glee because the school simply happened to bear the same name. CP placed a fan's OC into the original Chapter 19; but the popularity of her characters meant that when she updated the fic for AO3 in 2014, she replaced that character her own OC.
The difference between Dalton and Glee became more pronounced at the start of Glee's Third Season, after Chapter 26 "Hell Night" was posted, and the Glee fandom had endured the summer's Kum/Klaine Ship Wars. Dalton was entering what would be a year long hiatus full of 'Dalton Death' theories; and Gleeks overall were beginning to distance themselves with the Glee and Klaine fandoms. This aided Dalton's transformation to an autonomous fandom, through rapidly changing content, and the fandom perception that anything wrong with Dalton was because of the toxic Glee fanculture, not Dalton itself. Anonymous users on Tumblr went after fans, as well as CP herself for various reasons like using similar literary tropes to Ouran High School Host Club, and not updating frequently enough. In an attempt to escape from what was seen as a strictly 'Glee' problem, fans to this day consider it the ultimate faux-pas to ask CP when she updating, or beg for an update. It has succeeded with mixed results.
Many people felt safe, sheltered, and part of a tight-knit community away from the drama of Glee-specific wank. All these emotions culminated in October 2011: where numerous members of the fandom, originating in the Jogan bloggers, wrote one another smut fics anonymously in an event dubbed "The Great Anon Sex Riot".
By the time Dalton reached its One Year Anniversary at the end of November, the fandom was firmly set, with its own (contested) hierarchy of big name readers designated 'true' Roleplay Blogs, and OTPs. In honour of the occasion users wrote in expressing their gratitude to CP for bringing them together as a community, and for writing something they all identified with so much. It has been an annual tradition ever since to re-read the fic for lack of new material, and to liveblog your impressions.
Tumblr Anons and the Move to Plurk
Soon after the One Year Anniversary, the fandom was struck by a fresh round of anonymous hate comments. They attempted to rally together in support of one another, but in the Dalton hiatus it got harder to mobilize. A preview for Chapter 28 was posted in May 2012, but an update would not occur for another two years - longer than BBC's Sherlock's infamous series hiatuses. CP had been quite open and involved with her readers up until then, but with anonymous tumblr hate growing, The Coult suffered.
In the first months of Dalton, people had shipped CP with her own character Justin because she was so involved with the Dalton roleplay blogs on Tumblr, responding to and interacting with users like kingofswitzerland. CP's penchant for roleplaying had extended to her bringing out various OCs to indulge readers who had infatuations with certain characters, resulting in Reader/Character narratives sanctioned and even co-produced by CP herself. Some of these ships were so popular they made it into the Warblerland fanfiction archive, like Dwight/Jay, Nathan/Jessica, and Danny/Weasley (forgivemeannabelle, redqueenofprima, and weasleyinslytherin respectively).
This so-called favouritism, coupled with CP's announcement she would be including all members of the fandom in "Promenade," launched a fresh stream of anonymous hate, driving well-known users offline and into hiding for up to months or years. CP was accused of favouritism so much that she retracted the fandom-inclusion idea altogether, despite wanting to include anyone who sent her a dress and a name. The anonymous attacks of 2011-12 was what started the exodus from Tumblr to Plurk. Plurk.com was seen as a more attractive option in the wake of anonymous hate, due to better privacy settings and no anonymous option.
While redqueenofprima was frequently targeted, the best known affected user was forgivemeannabelle, sometimes referred to as "Annabelle" or "Jay Warbler". Jay has always been an odd addition to the fandom. She was well known for her fanfiction, roleplays, and posts about her home country of Australia. Yet, rumours still circulate about whether or not she was a real person, considering her colourful, yet tragic life and reluctance to post pictures of herself - unlike almost every other well-known fan in what was perceived to be CP's "Inner Circle". She received pages worth of hate comments from people angry that CP roleplayed Dwight as Jay's romantic interest and based parts of the character Sadie Moore off of Jay's personality. The "Dwilaura Anons", as they were called, negatively affected fans of the prominent ships of Day and Dwilaura; some fans wouldn't post fics or art for fear they'd provide more material for the users to use against Jay. However, even once Jay removed herself completely from the ships, the comments persisted. She abandoned her Tumblr completely, using a secondary account for a few months before disappearing entirely. Besides a brief appearance in January 2013, she has not been seen seen online since. Her blog is now password protected, suggesting to some users that she might make another return.
Many users were encouraged to join Plurk, as it was much friendlier there due to the lack of anonymous commenting options. Even once the anonymous 'whisper' feature was introduced to the site, few opted to use it. During 2013, CP didn't post at all on her Tumblr and it was a low point for the Tumblr=based fandom, even while the Plurk fandom was thriving. CP had small events called "Buttons" where she would pretend to push a button, unleashing some strange scenario like a Beach Party or a Superpower AU in an IM-style thread. New facts were learned, but Warblerland was hardly updated and it was becoming difficult to cross platforms. Many fans picked one or the other, further dividing the remaining fanbase.
An attempt had been made in Spring 2012 to bring the fandom back together for The Dalton Games: a writing competition set up in a Hunger Games style 'write to the death' challenge by confringo- and Hufflebecks, archivist of Dalton Blog. The month-long competition would pit author/beta reader teams against one another, with length, quality, and execution as criteria for the judges. Interestingly enough, the first winner was Tumblr user gizard for thier story More Than Just A Game. Gizard was only competing in Round One because they replaced forgivemeannabelle for District 4, as the anon hate had sent Jay offline before the competition had even begun. However successful the first round was, the attempt to run it for a second month in a row failed. The first round of Tributes were popular fanfiction writers voted on by other members of the fandom to recieve a slot in the competition, without that backing, Round Two was not as well-read.
Individuals kept their own parts of the fandom alive, but the vibrantly evolving culture of 2011 could not be recaptured. The magic of Glee itself - though separate from Dalton - was also fading. More and more people looked "back" on Dalton as if it had ended, and users began to refer to it less as a "perfect literary feat" that captured their teenage imagination, more realistically as the melodramatic fanfiction it is.
Chapter 28: Siege and Fandom Resurgence
In 2013, CPCoulter promised to upload her entire fic to AO3, and that it would act as a countdown to the next update. The story sat at Chapter 14 for almost a year until April 2014 when Chapters 15-27 were added. Rumours of a proper update spread, and speculation as to the timing of it caused an entire week of leadup and anxiety, as many did not know what it would be like after such a long update. Plurk users uploaded selfies of themselves at the moment the update hit, no matter what the timezone. Daltonites were pleasantly surprised as a good number of fanficcers and artists re-emerged for the update, on top of the remaining Plurk-based fandom. Things settled down again after a month or two, but it was one of the largest resurgences in ages.
Capitalizing on the resurgence later in the year, CPCoulter decided to celebrate the fic nearing 3.5 million hits on Fanfiction.net by hosting the first ever Dalton Big Bang, from August 1 to October 31. Seventeen teams collaborated in varied measure, but with general success, to create their art and fics. Many fics were posted to AO3 and, as longer works that displayed a greater degree of time and effort in their making, represented a departure from the fandom's history of mostly oneshots and drabbles.
In Glee's final season, the show featured Dalton Academy burning to the ground which resulted in many Tumblr bloggers sure that the TV show had in some way copied the most iconic part of CP Coulter's fic. Even if a Gleek had never read Dalton itself, most knew that it was a long fanfiction involving a sprawling cast and school arson. This connection resulted in no real resurgence of fandom, but discussion of the fic's influence on canon was widespread. The introduction of a female applicant to the Dalton Academy Warblers on Glee had a similar response, but primarily on the Daltonite side, as opposed to the general Glee fandom.
Currently, the fandom is waiting on Chapter 29: "Promenade", treating it like a release of the next novel in a series. Fanwork is still produced on a regular basis, though by fewer artists and writers than during the fandom’s height. Although it is unlikely she will be able to keep her update plans a secret, CPCoulter is planning for a "ninja" update.
Interactions with the Actors
Around the New Year 2011, and into Spring 2011, many of the actors who played the Warblers on the show were recommended Dalton either on Twitter or other media, many letting the unnamed Warblers know that they had been fancast as characters. Riker Lynch for instance was the cast as the characters of Reed, Jeff, and the Twins, and they all responded to the fanfiction in their own ways. The Warblers would tweet CPCoulter, and congratulate her on her fandom success. This led to some resentment in fan circles that Dalton, out of all fanfiction, was gathering such real life attention and readership.
Telly Leung and Luke Edgemon were some of the first to actually read the fanfiction. Dominic Barnes actually became a fan of hers, asking if he had a character. Like Glee's creation of the character Trent later in the seasons, CP created the character of Bailey Tipton to match Barnes' on-screen persona by matching him with a textually important sympathetic role in exposition, as the neutral perspective from the 'enemy' house. This was met with enthusiasm from fans, especially Barnes himself: "Cant wait to start reading more if this #Daltonfic!".
Aaron Page, who played an unnamed Warbler, was facecast as a character called Logan Wright. Fans referred to Page as Logan, and would address tweets to him as Logan. Page had a teasing relationship with the fans, deliberately acting like Logan in scenes when he was not given any proper direction: "Just for you!" The most visible of these examples was in "Original Song", Page was the last to raise his hand to support a duet between Kurt and Blaine, as they were Logan's ex-boyfriend, and present love interest, in the fic.
Relationship with Spah!Verse
infraredphaeton's Dalton Boys Are Geeks was written in the wake of Blaine's first appearance on Glee. Both fics both received independent fan followings for their original characters, and were on friendly terms - even writing collaborative fics of their schoolboy OCs. Despite Infra publishing first, she has been attacked for copying CP's ideas. The two no longer collaborate - but it is unknown if this was related to Glee's decline or lack of individual interest in the project.
Though initially the story was based on Kurt and Blaine, interest for CP's original characters grew so much that fans almost forgot it was a Klaine fic. Much of the fanwork for the series focuses on the 'Conspirators' of Windsor House, the Stuart Trio, and a plethora of background characters. While mostly artistic, many memes such as imposed the name "Logan" on various macros, or incorperating 'fyeah___' style memes have been created. Inside jokes like Logan the "Giant Squid of Ignorance" or Dwight's father being Perry the Platypus also exist; and some attribute the numerous Supernatural references in the fic to a brief spile in Supernatural/Glee crossovers.
Dalton was based on a musical tv show; Dalton itself is a story about singing prep school boys, but as a fic, it lacks the same auditory element. On top of fanmixes and the fic's soundtrack, fans felt compelled to add their own twist on the story and were inspired to write their music and fan songs based on Dalton. Different approaches, themes, and characters are covered by various singer-songwriters to create an original piece of fanwork in the tradition of wizard rock; although most songs are folk-pop acoustic recordings.
Between ics, drabbles, oneshots, and multi-chapters put the Dalton fandom at ~7000 fanfics (CP Fanfic, aka CPFs) with some authors accounting for more than 300 alone. Since 2012 though, the CPFs have simply grown at too large a rate to track by an increasingly shrinking fandom and have solidified into certain ships, tropes, or characters. It's difficult to quantify Dalton's impact on the fanfiction community, as most CPFs are tagged Glee, if they are tagged at all across platforms. While Jogan (Julian/Logan) is generally the most popular pairing, Rane (Reed/Shane) is a close second. For solo fics, Dwight Houston seems to be the most popular character; however there are over a hundred canon and non-canon ships to chose from, like the canon Merril/Spencer to Laura/Sadie/Dwight.
- Dalton House of Horror by lionphantom, a Tumblr event where users would select a choice at the end of each chapter to shape the fate of the Ensemble in the horror; an immersive, choose-your-own-adventure story where everyone lost except the author.
- Poison and Wine by redqueenofprima, one of the better known Jogan fics from the height of the fandom.
- Scratches and Ranebows by polkamusic, an early, and infamous Rane smutfic which epitomized the polarizing kinky and/or innocent characterizations of Reed in fanfic.
- In A Hundred Lifetimes by danibanaani/songofthe52hertzwhale, a 2018 Jogan fic which chronicles Logan and Julian in a possibly infinite number of alternate universe senarios; presupposing that the two are soulmates in every single one. Hundred Lifetimes is an example of the fandom’s continued passion for the work, and a shift after the Dalton Big Bang towards a trend of longer, multi-chaptered work over drabbles or single-chaptered fanworks.
- The Daltonfic Fanfiction Archive
- Hufflebecks's Rane Archive
- Hufflebeck's Jogan Archive
- Fanfiction.Net's Search Page with all mentions of CP Coulter
- The CPCoulter's Dalton Tag on AO3
Dalton cosplay is very difficult to distinguish from Glee cosplay because the Dalton Academy uniform is exactly the same. Main differences are either specific character costumes like Shane Anderson's scruffy hoodie, Laura Bancroft's colour-blind wardrobe, or a Dobry Hall uniform; or a typical blazer is paired with a Nerf gun for a Windsor student, or Supernatural style relgious paraphanalia for a Dwight Houston cosplay. Dwight is the most commonly cosplayed Dalton character simply because of the recognizablity of his accessories compared to other students. Cosplayers would attend conventions as Dalton characters amongst other Warbler fans, and not many people would tell the difference unless they knew the fic.
Before writing Dalton CPCoulter was known online for her cosplay and modelling in the Phillipines, and thus she has a healthy relationship with the cosplayers in her fandom. She herself has done a genderswapped version of her character Logan Wright.
Considering how prolific some Glee fanartists were, it was unsurprising many of them were also Dalton fans and drew some of the best known art, often as banners and manipulations. CP would reblog fanart, and continues to replurk a piece if she enjoys it. The most definitive Dalton art can be found decorating the Warblerland site without credit.
The support of popular artists only gave more clout to Dalton's permanence as a subfandom. Muchacha10 was the biggest name in Glee fanart from 2010-2013 on DeviantART and Tumblr. When her photoshop broke, it aligned with the popularity of Dalton, so many coloured, and reposted her Dalton fanart with permission, earning a name for themselves by doing a Muchacha colouring; or by emulating her style.
- The Cast as their 'Alice in Wonderland' Counterparts by kreamasuzuki
- A Jogan Doodle by Homemadedarkmark
- Windsor portrait An Ensemble Portrait by ElmerSantos
- A Comic from "Cheer" by yu-oka
- Dalton-Lovers on DeviantArt
- Warblerland Gallery
- A Gallery of Muchacha10's work, and the Colouring jobs
- CPCoulter's Website
- TV Tropes Dalton TV Tropes
- Warberland, Official Dalton Lexicon
- Official Tumblr Tag
- CP's Plurk
- It appears that the custom domain might have expired, but the site is still live.
- https://www.fanfiction.net/s/6601602/1/So-Contagiously%7CDec 29, 2010
- http://cpcoulter.tumblr.com/post/2512106501/%7CDec 26, 2010
- http://muchacha10.deviantart.com/art/Dalton-Welcome-to-Windsor-191532377%7CDec 30, 2010, "Just...ya gotta go read it. Take some time and just sit down and soak in its awesomeness."- Muchacha10, popular Klaine fanartist
- http://the-hypocritical-critic.tumblr.com/post/11531268973/dalton-quicksummary%7C"There’s also a character named Klaine or something" is an accurate summation of the growing view of Dalton's relationship to Glee
- http://cpcoulter.tumblr.com/post/4411415893/%7C Just some of a few well known users from 2011; as well as taweesha, ashabadash, and twixtedtweedledee
- http://forgivemeannabelle.tumblr.com%7CHer private Plurk account is similarly abandoned
- http://joes-motorcycle.tumblr.com/post/115110976623/artemismoon12-joes-motorcycle-artemismoon12%7CDiscussion on Glee and Dalton's linked fandom
- http://cpcoulter.tumblr.com/post/97838166948/aleclightwwood-just-a-brief-insight-into%7CTypical Dalton Fan Behaviour
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8_FPDEzt0pM The Warblers Talk Dalton
- http://www.warblerland.com/info.html%7C May 1, 2012