The Unexpected Love Series by JayColin is one that I find really interesting. I love the ideas that he has on the thought of Harry Potter Wizarding Nobility and characters, but I'm not a fan of some of his creative choices. His tendency to drone on and saturate the text with more exposition than necessary is both grating and difficult to read. Also, his tendency to focus on gay characters--while understandable and I won't fault him for it--means that he tends to tell rather than show how the relationships progress. None of this stops the story from being interesting, but it got me thinking about how I would change the story as I was reading. As a result, I decided to create my own rewrite of the Harry Potter Series using Unexpected Love as a rough framework for how the stories would differ.
Over time, as I was beginning to rewrite the story, I started to realize that I didn't want to rewrite it at all. Rather, I wanted to take the characters and nobility that JayColin created--as well as those of my own creation--and see how the Harry Potter story would have worked if I followed the original Harry Potter books. Some of these changes were character-driven, and others were plot driven.
As I started writing, I quickly came to both JayColin's and Rowling's work that I wanted to explore: what if Dumbledore was actually competent? In the original series, Dumbledore can't really get involved because then Harry wouldn't be able to do his heroics. Yet, this created the paradox of him being aware of dangerous things happening and choosing not to do anything about them. In Unexpected Love, JayColin took this problem and made Dumbledore evil to explain his actions. It worked in JayColin's story, but I have always been a Dumbledore defender; it isn't his fault that Rowling sacrificed his competency in favor of the plot.
So, when I sat down to write the outline of my story (title to be determined), I knew that I wanted to show what would happen if Dumbledor e was competent. What if he actively took part in Harry's education? What if he did something about the Dursley's abuse? How would this affect the story? That, in connection with the nobility that JayColin created, really formed the changes to my story.
- Nobility: I absolutely loved how JayColin structured his Noble Peerage in Unexpected Love. I think that it's really clear where people stand, and it shows Harry's place in society very clearly to the reader.
- Characters: I liked and appreciated many of the original characters that JayColin made. I adapted them, but I liked the thought that he put into making them. Most of them have been altered from their original form, but I tried to keep much of the original as I could while changing them as needed.
- Power Levels: I love the power scale that JayColin created. It worked really well, and I liked the break up of the differences that each group could achieve.
- Nobility: While I liked the Nobility in Unexpected Love, it was far too overpowered for the purposes of the story I was trying to create. Harry having near-absolute power in his lands, while it works so far for Unexpected Love, would provide too many problems when I was trying to, eventually, deal with the war against Voldemort.
- Sexuality: I've chan ged the sexualities of a lot of the characters from Unexpected Love. One of my biggest criticisms of JayColin's work is the number of gay characters present. It isn't that I don't appreciate representation, I do, but I feel like there are less straight characters than in real life, and it takes me out of the story to think of the world with such glaring disparity. I fully understand why he does it: I'm gay and it is easier to write what I know. But, considering that homophobia is such a larch problem in the world that I'm crafting, I figured it would be best to show the problems faced by my LGBT characters in the forefront.
- Adventure: JayColin, first and foremost, is writing a romance story. That's great. I like romance. What I'm writing, on the other hand, is an adventure. For me, the romance is secondary and nowhere near as important. I'm trying to build a story of interpersonal relationships that are primarily about family and friendships; the romance may or may not come as I write. This is largely because I'm not good at writing romance, but I'm great at writing interpersonal connections.
- Portraits: This is a major change. In Unexpected Love, Harry finds portraits of his parents that he moves to Forest Cottage and get advice from regularly. I don't like that. It undercuts the pain of their deaths when he is able to talk to them regularly and get responses. Instead, the portraits make a brief appearance in the Potter vault, where they don't recognize Harry as their son. This comes from J.K. Rowling's notes about magical portraits getting taught to behave like their subjects. I took it to mean that the subjects place their memories in the portr aits like they would into a penseive. It also had the added benefit of meaning Harry was largely in the dark about much of his heritage and learning that could become a source of conflict for him.
- Blood Status: Blood Status is a huge deal in my story: more than in either of the source materials. I wanted to show the problems facing an oppressed group--the Muggle-borns--in a way that shows how many groups actually do fight oppression. I created activist groups, I made Muggle-borns into main characters, and I showed the obvious disparity between them and Pure-bloods in terms of rights and privileges. Moreover, I removed nearly all Pure-bloods and made them Half-bloods or Muggle-borns to show that there is a small group of people in power who are unfairly governing everyone else.
- New Characters: I added a lot of new characters that weren't in the original Unexpected Love story. Some became major characters while others were minor, but filled roles that I think were necessary to add to the changes I made to the series.