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Canon

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Harry Potter author J. K. Rowling. Information that comes directly from her is considered the highest source of canon on the Harry Potter Wiki

Canon is a word used to describe a fixed collection of material that is considered part of the Harry Potter world. The Harry Potter Wiki use a three tier system which determines what sources are true and what sources are not.

The Wiki believes that Rowling's word is law. Any material she has written or was involved in or has stated is canon is the highest level of canon - even the illustrations, drawings, hand-lettering etc. that she created are part of that.

The Wiki also considers the texts written in their original language, J.K. Rowling's British English and editions with corrections she approved are the most valuable.[1]

Any extra material she has provided for select editions or copies of the books as well as her own pronunciation, intonation, etc. are considered tier-one canon as well as thing she says in videos, interviews and audio recordings of her reading her writings or talking about their content also belong to this category.

When J.K. Rowling contradicts herself, the newest source is to be taken as the "most" canon.

Canon tiers

Tier One: J.K. Rowling

This tier only contains all the material proved to be coming from J.K. Rowling herself. She either wrote the following sources herself, was involved in writing/developing them and/or stated to consider them as canon herself. Texts in their original language, J.K. Rowling's British English with her corrections and editions with extra material are the most valuable but American English editions may occasionally have more material, for example Dean Thomas's description was left out of the British edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone after the intervention of her editor (you can see the differences between editions of the books here). Most of the sources below include some content not coming from Rowling herself such as book covers or illustrations; this type of content is excluded from tier-one. Only the visual arts J.K. Rowling created herself as well as her own pronunciation, intonation, etc. (from videos and audio recordings of her reading her writings or talking about their content for example) belong to this category. When J.K. Rowling contradicts herself, the newest source is to be taken as the "most" canon. If published, the Encyclopaedia of Potterworld should belong to this category.


Tier Two: Based on J.K. Rowling's work

These sources do not contain information directly from the "mouth" of J. K. Rowling, but they are projects based on works by her, and in which she was involved in some capacity at some point.


Tier Three: Licensed

These sources are where J. K. Rowling or Warner Bros. (the makers of the Harry Potter films and her primary licensee) licensed the use of elements of the Harry Potter universe to a third-party.

Fanon

At the opposite end of the spectrum from canon is fanon, which consists of information, stories and supposition that has been created by fans, that are not actually addressed in any of the canonical sources listed above.

Fanon is not considered part of the Harry Potter world created by Rowling and has no place in the Wiki.

Uncertainity

The canonicity of the short film The Queen's Handbag is uncertain, given that it centres around a major anachronism - the date of Queen Elizabeth II's 80th birthday - and contains other elements that appear to contradict the continuity of the novels and the films.

Rowling was reportedly at work on a Harry Potter Encyclopedia project, but at this point work on it has apparently been discontinued in favour of Pottermore. Nevertheless, should it someday be completed, the information within will presumably be considered canon.

As expected, many fans have varying ideas of what is canon contrary to the Wiki's view. The HP Lexicon has the policy that only sources from JKR is canon.

Many fans have debated the canonicity of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. The play is based on an original idea by her and she had some part in the development of the plot. However, she did not write it and fans with a negative view of it have commented that it cannot be considered canon as it also contradicts previous canon. It is not known exactly what she came up with. Some fans believe the dialogue is not canon and separate the script from the plot entirely.

However, Rowling has stated that the story of the play is considered canon by her and since her word is law on the Wiki, the play is considered canon as well.

See also

Notes and references

  1. Differences between editions of the books
  2. The 2014 Bloomsbury Children Editions features a map of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry drawn by Tomislav Tomic based off of Rowling's original sketch and end matter from Pottermore for each book in the series that were created to summaries relevant areas of the online experience and attract the Harry Potter readership back to pottermore.com. The first two books in the series were given two double-page spreads in order to educate the readers about pottermore.com and its functionality in detail. The remaining five books were given single double-page spreads. The Harry Potter Enhanced Editions iBooks have annotations written by J.K. Rowling from Pottermore to give you insights into the world of Harry Potter.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Including the content no longer found on the current version of the website.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Canon from her Twitter account, documentaries, interviews and articles she did not write herself may have been provided without a time of reflection as long as when Rowling is working on a book, a text or an article and may contradict information from other sources of canon. Her exact quotes are also most valuable than reports of her comments.
  5. J.K. Rowling is credited for "Words and Creative Thoughts" in Wonderbook: Book of Spells while her website said that she wrote "spell descriptions and stories". J.K. Rowling is credited "for her creative contribution and writing" in Wonderbook: Book of Potions, a press release said she created Zygmunt Budge, the Wizarding Schools Potions Championship and its location especially for Book of Potions. It seems like she was less involved in Wonderbook: Book of Potions compared to Wonderbook: Book of Spells but both games include texts not coming from her. Distinction between the parts from J.K. Rowling herself and the parts from the developers is not possible.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Only the story was co-developed by J.K. Rowling and considered canon by her (J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) on Twitter: "The story of #CursedChild should be considered canon, though. @jackthorne, John Tiffany (the director) and I developed it together.") but she did not write the play.
  7. The script was written by Rowling but it was edited to match the final theatrical release of the film. Some scenes were edited or deleted, the actors ad libbed lines, etc.
  8. For example, J.K. Rowling wrote letters to some of her fans containing new information and created/approved/was involved in the creation of some original content for non tier-one canon's sources such as the Harry Potter video games, the film series (for example, some Black family members appears only on the version of the Black family tree tapestry shown in the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and were not included on the version of the tree which J. K. Rowling gave to a charity auction in 2006, according to director David Yates, Rowling provided the filmmakers with a copy of the Black family tree going back eight generations; so the filmmakers presumably received a more complete version of the tree than the one auctioned off, which only goes back six generations), the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, etc. if it ever happened that one specific element can be proved to have been originated directly from J.K. Rowling herself (or at least that she considers it canon) then this one element can be added to the tier-one. Unpublished/unused material Rowling created (such as early drafts, cut content, proof copy, the script of deleted scenes from Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (film), changes editors forced her to do, or ghost plots) have a specific status.

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