Over the previous yr, a brand new Harry Potter canon has gained steam, one which stems from an enormous, 500,000-word fanfiction. Sure, 500,000 phrases—practically half the size of all of the Harry Potter books mixed. Known as All of the Younger Dudes, it’s at the moment the preferred story on the fanfic web site Archive of Our Personal, with over 4 million hits and climbing. It will not be an official Harry Potter story, however that doesn’t matter: All of the Younger Dudes has managed to start a fandom of its personal, one which’s throughout Twitter, TikTok, YouTube, and Tumblr.
All The Younger Dudes, named after a track written by David Bowie and recorded by Mott the Hoople, first started publishing in March 2017 by a person named MsKingBean89; it resulted in 2018 with 188 chapters whole. All of the Younger Dudes is about throughout what followers name the Marauders period within the Harry Potter universe, the time when Harry’s mother and father attended Hogwarts, and stars the so-called Marauders themselves: Harry’s father, James, and his finest buddies Sirius Black, Remus Lupin, and Peter Pettigrew—all of whom seem within the novels.
Marauders period fanfic is likely one of the extra fashionable subgenres inside the Harry Potter fandom, recognized for having a number of distinctive relationship pairings in addition to the canon-compliant ship of Harry’s mother and father. Maybe hottest amongst these is the one referred to as Wolfstar, which is what fanfic readers and writers name the romantic relationship between Remus Lupin and Sirius Black. They’re finest buddies within the books, and way more than buddies in All of the Younger Dudes. Over the course of 188 chapters, the fic charts the rising relationship between Remus and Sirius in addition to the lives of James and Peter and Lily, following the gang from their very first yr at Hogwarts to the top of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban—a virtually 25-year span of time.
I first began studying All of the Younger Dudes in November 2020, whereas I used to be dwelling at house. (It’s undeniable fact that in the event you reside at house for longer than three weeks, you regress into an adolescent.) Regardless of having learn the whole thing of the Harry Potter sequence as a baby, I hadn’t learn any fan fiction of the sequence earlier than final yr. As soon as I began, All The Younger Dudes was inescapable. First I stated, “I’m not studying a 500,000-word fanfiction.” Then I stated, “I’m going to learn the primary two chapters of this 500,000 phrase fanfiction.” Quick ahead two weeks, and I’m skipping Zoom conferences to learn this fan fiction.
What makes All of the Younger Dudes so engrossing is how detailed and invested it’s in constructing a world outdoors of the one Rowling created. It’s a slow-burning love story informed from the angle of Remus, who’s a werewolf, and thus explores the expertise of being a homosexual man in Seventies Britain and being a werewolf within the wizarding society. On the similar time, there’s additionally quite a lot of class exploration, a dynamic hinted at within the Harry Potter books however extra absolutely explored in All of the Younger Dudes. Fanfiction as a style permits for folks to jot down characters right into a universe that perhaps in any other case wouldn’t have been there or had been given quick shrift. Tales centered on Wolfstar, the connection between Remus and Sirius, fall into each these classes—not least since queerness was largely excluded from Rowling’s model of the Harry Potter universe.
The rising curiosity in All of the Younger Dudes of late has this motion of reclamation to thank, however there’s one other issue: Fanfiction TikTok. All of the Younger Dudes specifically actually had its second within the second yr of the pandemic, beginning across the winter. Right here’s some extra numbers: The fic completed publishing in November 2018. By mid-2019, it had someplace round 100,000 hits on Archive of Our Personal. By November 2020, it had just below 300,000 hits. Soar to January 2021: By the top of the month, the story had reached just below one million hits. And now it now has greater than 4 million hits on Archive of Our Personal. There are actually YouTube opinions of this fic. Folks have taken it upon themselves to learn it for audiobooks in a observe referred to as podficcing. It has virtually 9,000 rankings on GoodReads and a 4.82 star common assessment rating, which quite a lot of printed authors would kill for. It has its personal TV Tropes web page, and there are tons of of posts within the Tumblr tag, which incorporates some phenomenal fan artwork.
Over on TikTok, the #atyd hashtag on TikTok has 704 million views. Few of of them have something to do with the Mott the Hoople track, though virtually each single TikTok that makes use of that track is in regards to the fanfiction of the identical identify. The spinoff hashtag #atydtiktok has 45 million views in and of itself. Amongst numerous memes and fancasts devoted to the story, folks have even posted clips of themselves printing and binding the complete, 500,000-word fic to allow them to have their very own bodily copies.
At first look, the idea of printing out fanfiction might sound wild nevertheless it makes whole sense—fandom is nothing if not dedicated—and it’s additionally sparked a dialogue amongst fanfic readers and writers about copyright. The favored fandom logic goes that the one purpose that fanworks aren’t technically violating copyright regulation is as a result of they’re transformative, which suggests they’re totally different from the unique work they’re based mostly upon, and since they don’t have an effect on the market of the unique work. Profiting off of fanfic theoretically modifications the authorized calculus although precise authorized consultants are in dispute over that. However since MsKingBean89 isn’t promoting copies of All The Younger Dudes, simply permitting others to spend their very own on certain copies of her writing, the argument is moot on this case. There’s little to no monetary incentive for MsKingBean89 right here—any try to monetize a degree of engagement that manufacturers would kill for may doubtlessly open her as much as a copyright declare from Rowling. Which makes the recognition of All The Younger Dudes solely natural and grassroots in a method that few web developments are anymore.
It’s simply one of many many, many, many desirable elements of All of the Younger Dudes—and why it looks like, greater than two years because it wrapped, its reputation gained’t wane any time quickly.
For extra on All of the Younger Dudes, hearken to ICYMI, Slate’s web tradition podcast; new episodes premiere each Wednesday and Saturday.