Though the last Harry Potter book was published almost ten years ago, its fandom has never died. It might have waned a little, but recently, with a play and another movie coming up, it’s come roaring back. And true to form, that means more creative fanworks from fandom. One such fanwork is an ingenious new webcomic called Finite Incantatem.
Finite Incantatem pledges to take a very interesting look at the expansive worldbuilding of Harry Potter. It’s inspired by a throwaway line from book four: “Only one non-magical person has ever managed to get as far as the Hogwarts Sorting Hat before being exposed as a Squib.” As the comic’s intro page says:
That Squib, bitter at the rejection of her magical kin, went on to pen a seven book expose that revealed the world of wizards to the non-magical folk they had historically feared.
This is a comic that explores Harry Potter without Harry Potter. The Boy Who Lived is a fictional creation of that Squib, but the world he discovered in his stories is real, and is panicking at the mass publication of their secrets.
What if J.K. Rowling (or whoever wrote the Harry Potter books in this comic) was actually a Squib who wrote the series out of spite? That would be a major blow for our Statute of Secrecy-obsessed, Muggle-fearing wizarding society. The comic’s only just begun (with a series of prologues), but it already promises serious consequences for wizards. We begin with a little Black girl who, convinced the book is real, finds her way to King’s Cross and, just like Harry, overhears a couple wizards talking about Muggles. She almost makes it to the train before she’s found out as a Muggle. Then we meet the Ministry of Magic wizards who are in charge of her case—and, as it turns out, the case of the book itself.
Finite Incantatem says it will feature only original characters (understandable, since the books are presumably fiction in this universe), but it certainly opens up the Harry Potter world to some real discussion of its worldbuilding. The Ministry can’t Obliviate everyone who’s read Harry Potter, so what are they going to do? And just from its prologues, the comic already features more major people of color than much of the entire Harry Potter series, so discussion on those axes should prove fruitful as well—perhaps the Squib author was a white person who fictionalized the wizarding world only as they saw it.
Skillfully drawn and playfully executed, the start of Finite Incantatem is a delight to read. You can find Finite Incantatem here on its website, or on their Tumblr, Twitter, or Facebook. The main storyline will begin March 1st, so catch up now!