The last month has been A LOT for Harry Potter and Wizarding World fans. While she’s shown her transphobic mentality before, She Who Shall Not Be Named, who wrote the Harry Potter book series, decided to tweet out transphobic rhetoric recently. She then doubled down on her transphobic mentality with an open letter on her website. While many celebrities, including several stars from the Wizard World film franchise, have shared words of love and support, the defamed author’s words have already harmed transgender people and inspired anti-trans policymaking.
With all of this going on, being a Harry Potter fan is hard right now. Some fans have walked away feeling like they can still be fans of the books/movies while rejecting the author. For others, the books are now dead to them. But no matter which side you stand, what if I told you there was a great and queer alternative out there?
Who’s Simon Snow?
It’s no surprise that the Harry Potter series has inspired many creative projects. From art to cosplay, social media posts, musicals, Off-Broadway plays, viral videos, and more. But did you know, there is a gay fan fiction of Harry Potter that became its own book series? The Simon Snow Series by Rainbow Rowell is much like the Harry Potter series. But I’ll let the story’s synopsis do the explaining.
“Simon Snow is the worst Chosen One who’s ever been chosen.
That’s what his roommate, Baz, says. And Baz might be evil and a vampire and a complete git, but he’s probably right.
Half the time, Simon can’t even make his wand work, and the other half, he starts something on fire. His mentor’s avoiding him, his girlfriend broke up with him, and there’s a magic-eating monster running around, wearing Simon’s face. Baz would be having a field day with all this, if he were here — it’s their last year at the Watford School of Magicks, and Simon’s infuriating nemesis didn’t even bother to show up.”
Queer Representation & Other Differences?
At its origins, Carry On, and the following Wayward Son, was created in response to the HP mythos. In 2015, Rainbow Rowell published Fan Girl. That story followed a college freshman, named Cath, who wrote fan fiction to a fictional story about a boy at a wizarding school. Rowell then decided to write that book series into reality. This meta conceptualization has breathed through the series ever since.
Upon the first read of this series’ beginning novel, Harry Potter fans will recognize many similarities to the book series they’ve known and loved. But this story is even better once it establishes the similarities and separates from them. For LGBTQ readers, the main character’s obsession-turned-love with rival and roommate Baz holds special weight. From there, this book series becomes romantic, angsty, adventurous, and magical all on its own. It has become the queer, pop-culture loving, brother to the Wizarding World and holds an intense chapter stealer in Baz Pitch.
In terms of LGBTQ representation, this series far exceeds the Harry Potter series. It centers on queer romance and characters while still focusing on witty magical world-building and fun or heartwrenching adventures. Rainbow Rowell finds a way to balance emotional character growth and romance with bubbly storytelling (especially in the sequel novel). And, frankly, this “fan fiction” tale has become something worthy of standing next to its inspiring predecessor.
So for any HP fans who are looking for something with the same magic as the books of their childhood while holding a special Rainbow difference, the Simon Snow series by Rainbow Rowell is worth a read. And even better, a third installment is already in the works, so this new LGBTQ-friendly wizarding world is still soaring to greater heights.