So, you have some questions? Well I’ll see if I have some answers.

Who is D. M. Nealey?

That would be me. My name’s Dina, I’m a bisexual, aromantic and slightly genderqueer artist from Norway. and my days as a Harry Potter fan started back in 2001, when Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire was the latest HP book out there… so I was with the franchise for a while. (My enthusiasm for it lessened considerably in later years, due to the infamous transphobia of it’s creator… but more on that later.)

Holly Potter and the Witching World is my first real fanfic, though. I’ve read a lot of fanfics, but hadn’t actually written any myself before the idea for the Witching World came to me. Yes, stupid as I was, I decided to start big.

Be honest: This entire thing is a rip-off of Darth Marrs’s Firebird trilogy, isn’t it?

I’ll admit that it can seem that way, but I hadn’t actually heard of Darth Marrs or the Firebird trilogy until I’d already done quite a bit of worldbuilding for the witching world.

When I found out there was already a fic out there with a predominently female magical world where harems were a thing, I immediately found Darth Marrs’s Fanfiction.net account and started reading…. and quickly found that it wasn’t quite my thing, and that Darth’s Marrs’s take on a predominently female, harem-centric magical world did not resemble mine.

Well, okay, I did swipe the word “coven” from Darth Marrs, as a word for the harems, because it was too good a word not to be used. But otherwise, I’m telling a very different story set in a very different world.

So if not from Darth Marrs, where did the idea for the story come from?

Online roleplays. And yes, a large number of them were VERY adult-rated. I’ve always liked designing and developing fem!versions of male characters, and a number of the people I played with were interested in harem play, so the combination made sense… a world where there were a lot more women than men would probably mean that the women were more inclined to share…

But what started as a mere excuse for harem-plays took on its own life.  I got much more interested in the backstory, the way a magical society based around polygamy and a general lack of men might function, and how the various characters would be different. Obviously you couldn’t just copy-paste the canon world, history and backstory; the personal histories of the characters would be different, the entire “Marauders” story would need to be drastically altered, and with the “fewer but bigger families” idea you’d have several people who were unrelated in canon but would be at least half-sisters in this universe… and you needed more characters to flesh out various covens and groups…

I might have got slightly carried away, because in the end I’d written like twenty pages of backstory, with fifteen additional pages of character lists and descriptions, and I hadn’t even got to the part where the main character was to start Hogwarts. And I thought “no player’s going to bother reading all this! Maybe I should try turning it into a proper fanfic…”

And so started my quest to write an actual story, which I gave the name “Holly Potter and the Witching World.”

Why didn’t you turn Ginny into a boy when you turned all her brothers into girls?

Because that’s not how the rules of this AU go. When I began the idea of a predominantly female magical world, I established that the gender flip only goes one way: I could turn male characters female but not the other way around. Besides, I like Ginny as a girl.

I get the immediate appeal of flipping the Weasleys so that instead of several sons and one daughter, you have several daughters and one son. And since I knew the Weasley coven would be much larger in this universe, I did plan on making one of the Weasley children a boy… since I had the idea that Frank and Alice Longbottom were both women in this universe, they could be part of the Weasley coven and Neville could be the son of Arthur and Alice instead…

Problem was, and this is something that’s going to seem really weird if you’re not a writer yourself, none of the characters wanted to be a boy. Even Neville basically became “Nella” before I knew it, and so I had “Nella Weasley.” And none of the OC children I created felt right as male… In the end I just said fuck it and decided that apart from Arthur, all the Weasleys were girls.

Well… technically, not ALL the Weasleys apart from Arthur are girls…

All right, hold it right there before we go to stupid places. Since I’m not J. K. Rowling, I acknowledge that trans women are women. So YES, all the Weasleys apart from Arthur are girls. I’m not backing down on this one. I’ve heard all the arguments for why trans women should not be acknowledged as women, and none of those arguments are any good or convincing.

While the witching world has some problems with trans acceptance (hinted at in the fic, and it will be explored a little more further down the line), the story is a trans-accepting story and this site is not a place to bring transphobia or cissexism. Okay?

Oh, so you just decided to make Fred Weasley trans as a “take that” to J. K. Rowling or something?

Actually, no. Okay, I won’t lie: I was one of the people who were hugely disappointed by JKR’s attitude towards trans people, and if I’d started writing this fic after she started releasing those infamous tweets it’s possible I would have made Fred trans just as a protest.

Actually, if I’d started this fic after JKR’s transphobia got evident, I would have made Ronnie trans, just to make a trans person a prominent character in the series.

But truth is, I wrote the entire “Mulierarius” scene long before I knew anything about JKR’s opinion on trans people, and the idea to make one of the Weasleys trans was there from the very beginning of the planning stage.

At first, it was a little up in the air which Weasley it would be, but I eventually settled on Fred… partly because if I made one of the OC sisters trans, there was always a danger she’d never be anything more than “the token trans Weasley.” Fred, however, has such a strong personality, and her canon counterpart is so popular and well defined, that the risk of reducing her to the “token trans” seemed a lot smaller. She’s mainly going to be comic relief in tandem with George, just like their canon male selves.

Okay, okay. But there ARE boys in this AU, right? Which characters are still male?

Well, it’s not a complete list, but I have these characters listed as being male:

  • Dean Thomas
  • Albus Dumbledore
  • Tom Riddle
  • Rubeus Hagrid
  • James Potter
  • Sirius Black
  • Arthur Weasley
  • Lucius Malfoy
  • Xenophilius Lovegood
  • Filius Flitwick
  • Gilderoy Lockhart
  • Garrick Ollivander
  • Amos Diggory
  • Cedric Diggory
  • Ernie Macmillan
  • Theodore Nott
  • Cormac McLaggen
  • Gabriel Truman
  • Newt Scamander
  • Gellert Grindelwald (though he’s not played by Johnny Depp)
  • Nicolas Flamel
  • …and of course the legendary Merlin.

Oh, and Vernon and Dudley Dursley are still male too. But they’re Muggles… and the Muggle world has a more equal split between men and women, so any Muggle that was male in canon is still male here. Bit of a culture shock for young Muggle-borns to suddenly enter a world where women outnumber men ten to one.

Are Hagrid and Dumbledore a gay couple in this story?

I… honestly don’t know? I didn’t intend for them to be when I started writing the story. Well, I knew that the Muggles of Privet Drive would think they were a gay couple (and kind of silently disapprove of it) and of course I knew Dumbledore was gay… but I didn’t think of them as an actual couple.

Still… reading back on some of those scenes, there is a bit of a “gay couple” vibe between them, isn’t there? And now my mind flipflops between whether they are a couple or not. Sometimes I think they are, sometimes I think they’re not. It all depends on whether Hagrid swings that way, and if Dumbledore is his type if he does… and I don’t really know.

I suppose it all comes down to what you as a reader think. If you want them to be a couple, they are. If you don’t, they aren’t. And I know it feels a little wishy-washy to be vague about this one pairing. It’s not intentional queerbaiting, I promise. (I’ll take heart in the fact that there’s plenty of queer content elsewhere in the fic.)