Hogwarts: 14 Years Old
...And Still Going Strong

by Harry Potter


The Hogwarts novel began when Pan Historia was in beta. On the 15th of November 2015, the novel turned fourteen. When Hogwarts was started the first four books had been published and those formed the basis for the novel, our canon. We diverged from that point from the story Rowling told over the next three books. One challenge we faced was that as each of those subsequent three books were released was how much content from each would we incorporate into our overall story. When book five came out, some members were in favor of starting completely over, adding that entire book to our canon. After much discussion and debate, the members as a whole decided to continue on as we were, pulling information here and there from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and to do the same when books six and seven, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, respectively. As a result, our Sirius Black, Fred Weasley, and Bellatrix Lestrange are still alive while our Narcissa Malfoy is deceased. When we began, Hogwarts was in the year 1995. We are now in the year 2009 and soon will move into 2010.

Another challenge is one faced by those writing book-based characters. Year after year how does one continue writing a character created by someone else, staying true to what was established by the novelist, J.K. Rowling in this instance, while growing the character and making it one's own? Since the novel's inception, some found the challenge daunting and gave up their book based characters, some after only a relatively short time. In fact, only Hermione Granger, Bill Weasley, and Viktor Krum are still written by their original writers.

One problem the novel has had over the years had been writers wanting to join as a book based character simply to be able to say they had a book based character. Often, these members weren't that interested in doing any actual writing or if they were posting, developing storylines. They tended to want others to do the work for them.

Another dilemma, were those members who did not fully grasp the interactive and collaborative nature of Hogwarts. They wanted to do their own stories, writing all the characters whether those characters had writers or not. Even when etiquette guidelines regarding the use of other people's characters would be pointed out, a stubborn few would persist in doing their own thing.

A few writers also have preferred over the years to follow their own calendar despite the fact that Hogwarts has a posting events calendar. That calendar is there for all members to see and consult. Additionally, for every date change a novel wide message goes out about it. Most members, however, do well with the calendar and a number of them love having it. We never get bogged down on a certain date or with a particular event. We continually more forward but anyone with unfinished business is still able to incorporate that aspect of the storyline using a variety of storytelling techniques such as using past tense or having a flashback.

Two of the biggest obstacles have been creating an environment for characters who aren't working at Hogwarts or are students there, and providing novel-wide twists and turns that affect all characters while still allowing our writers to continue with their own storylines. A great example of that is when we did the Pures vs Nons storyline, begun in early 2008 (2001 novel time). Every single character was affected in some way and seven years later some are still affected by the events that took place; however, at the time, the storyline was taking place members were still able to carry on with their individual storylines.

For those who have characters who are not Hogwarts students or staff we try to keep the novel inviting. We are not only about the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. There are business owners, Ministry of Magic employees including several in law enforcement, and a university, St. Emrys, which is a newer concept for the Wizarding World and a point of divergence from information Rowling has given, and with that university are students and professors. Of those who do write Hogwarts professors, we encourage more than just teaching classes and patrolling hallways in search of wayward students. Still, writing adult characters whether associated with the Hogwarts school or not, is yet another challenge because there has long been the perception that the novel Hogwarts is all about the students and their lives. A good bit of it is but we do have a number of active writers with adult characters with good storylines. One of the best and most fun to write storylines was the Battle Beneath Hogwarts in which Voldemort was defeated and which involved a number of adult characters.

Hogwarts has had a few downs over the years, seen its share of hiccups and headaches, but it has had more ups with mostly excellent members keeping the novel going for fourteen years with great characters with the majority original to the novel, and interesting storylines. Who knows? Perhaps we'll continue for another fourteen more years or beyond.

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