by Judith Brottrager, Joël Doat, Julian Häußler, Thomas Weitin.
In fanfictions, authors can explore the fictitious universe of a fandom without restricting themselves to its canonical rules and orders. These explorations are often linked to diverging character conceptualizations based on readers’ response to omissions and indeterminacies in the source material. Following a three part structure, we examine these character shifts in German Harry Potter fanfictions by (1) comparing basic frequency distributions of character names, (2) analyzing character co-occurrences in order to identify central character pairings as well as collocations surrounding these characters, and (3) using a word embedding-based approach to sentiment analysis to quantify the emotional charging of characters. We identified certain character types predestined for re-conceptualization, such as minor characters or figures from pre- or sequels who generate interest among fanfiction writers, as well as villainous characters whose redesign follows typical fanfiction tropes such as “Enemies to Lovers”.
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