Functional Character in Fan Fiction: A Case Study of The Lord of the Rings’ Alternative Universe Fan Fiction For Every Evil

Jieling Fang


From Henry Jenkins onwards, fan fiction study has walked pass almost 30 years and has covered a relatively large field including feminism, queer theory and mass culture, but many scholars still seem to miss the point that fan fiction is firstly a literary text and thus leave its literariness unexamined. In fact, with a high intertextuality and a “poacher” nature, fan fiction can serve as an ideal text to narratology study. This paper, through conducting a case study of The Lord of the Rings’ alternative universe fan fiction For Every Evil, is attempting to unfold fan authors’ literary talent in constructing functional character in the text and use it as a way to deliver personal interpretation to the canon. By applying characters’ known behavior as a method to resolve instability in fan fiction narrative and complete its narrative progress, authors who write alternative universe fan fiction show that this kind of “amateur” writing is worth a closer literary review. It is hoped that through the analysis, the literary merit of fan community can be better recognized, and fan fiction can be treated more as a genre rather than a cultural phenomenon in the future.

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