What is Harry Potter canon?

We’ve discussed it here and on Mugglenet Academia, but a local Children’s Lit student is trying to do some research on it.  Please help her out by filling out a 1-question survey and passing the link on to other Potterphiles.  Many thanks!


  1. For me, canon encompasses only that which is in the books themselves. Alternatively, there is also movie canon, which specifically relates to that which is in the movies but not the books.

  2. Whoops. Actually clicked on the link and found the survey. I feel a bit silly now.

  3. I would say that the books are the “most” or “purest” canon, but that there is a level of canonicity to JKR’s interviews and Pottermore that must be acknowledged. I’ll even agree that the movies could be considered to be somewhat a source of canon in that JKR was consulted on them, so… But fanfiction? No. Fanfiction can end up contributing to “fanon” but it cannot be considered a source of true canon at all. (“Fanon” is when things become so ingrained in fanfiction that people stick to it even if its not real canon. Like my best example is in Pride and Prejudice fanfiction – Jane Austen never gave us Colonel Fitzwilliam’s first name, but a huge majority of fanfiction has him named Richard. To the point it is hard to tell it apart from canon. Like wise Colonel Fitzwilliam’s parents – I’m quite certain that they are referred to as the “Earl of M____” or something similar in the novel, but in fanfiction the Colonel’s father is almost always the Earl of Matlock… I’m sure there have to be similar examples in Harry Potter – I can never remember if its canon or fanon that Professor McGonagall gave Hermione a pass to the restricted session during the year when the DA was formed – if that is fanon, it’s a good example of something that has happened in multiple fanfics that is believable enough to be mistaken for canon… But just because “fanon” could be mistaken for “canon” at times does not make it canon!)

  4. Debbie Sweeting says

    Canon is the author’s written word: the books. Pottermore could be included as this is new writing by the author, although some of it does seem to conflict with the books. The interviews aren’t canon to me as there appears to be inconsistencies with the books, plus they aren’t always easily available.

  5. I like to think that anything Jo says is ‘true’ for her world, but as you say there have been inconsistencies. So although I like hearing her little comments, I take it with a grain of salt and mull it over later to decide for myself whether or not it fits acceptably into my idea of added canon. Ditto with the films. I love Slughorn’s little tale about Frances the fish and since it doesn’t contradict anything, I pretend it’s real. But really, the film additions are authorized and approved fanfic. My mind seems able and willing to swing back and forth quite happily with the two.

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