My name is Willie Muse. I'm a writer here at CollegeHumor and I just found out I was published in a Harry Potter book....Seriously!
A few years back me and my coworker/dearest friend Amir Khan worked together on an article called "J.K. Rowling's Twitter is Out of Control" The basic gist of the thing was to parody the author's propensity for knowing a lot more information about her characters than is written on the page, and revealing said information on her Twitter. The article started with the author's real tweets like this...
....and slowly devolved into some slightly more outlandish revelations:
My job here involves cranking out a lot of content, so a lot of times, an idea isn't given too much thought beyond what it takes to produce an article. Once I'm done, I usually have to forget about what I've just written in order to focus on what I have to write next. This is all to say that once our J.K. Rowling article was released, I kinda forgot about it...Or at least I did for a little bit, because unlike most of the articles I write, this one began to take on a life of its own.
The article did okay on our own site, but, as is often the case with stuff people make on the internet, it didn't really start to gain popularity until it was stolen by third party sites. The images we had produced began to pop up on image sharing sites like Imgur with many, MANY more views than my original article got on our site.
I'd like to say that the popularity of my article was due to the fact that it was some sort of great comedic tour-de-force, but unfortunately that's probably not the case. As I saw it stolen more and more, and read the accompanying comments, it became clear that people were only interested in the article because they were under the impression that J.K. Rowling had actually tweeted these ridiculous things about her characters.
Here's the thing: Was it amusing to me that people thought these were real? Of course it was. That said, it was never my intention to try and fool anyone. When I wrote it, I assumed that my jokes were outlandish enough that people would know they weren't real. Unfortunately, this wasn't the case. Once they were removed from their home on a comedy website and placed on sites where weird but true social media screenshots were plentiful, the joke became less clear. As it spread, I began to feel just a bit guilty that I, a grown man who still needs to make an L with my finger in order to know left and right, had inadvertently put words into the mouth of one of our greatest living authors.
But hey, the damage was done. As time went on, my article would pop up every now and then and I'd get the same mix of pride, shame, and anger each time. It was a weird thing I did that, at the end of the day, I was okay with because seemed to make people happy. Hell, it even made its way to Rowling herself:
Again, was it upsetting that my one interaction with a woman I deeply admire was through my bastardization of her work? Yes. Was it especially regrettable that the thing she commented on involved sexualizing children? Of course it was. That said, I can't deny that I felt a little proud that something I had written had made it all the way up to Rowling herself. When I saw the tweet, I smiled and assumed that this was the end of my article's journey. I thought it couldn't have possibly gone any further than that....until last night.
As I was falling asleep, I received a tweet from @ibid11962:
@Williesillie2 It looks like one of your jokes has entered into official Harry Potter canon. Congratulations! (And also some heavy criticism to whomever at @BloomsburyBooks was responsible for fact checking this.) pic.twitter.com/kDENknjLv7-- ibid (@ibid11962) November 29, 2017
In order to bridge the gap between the real tweets from J.K. Rowling's actual account and the outlandish ones about childhood experimentation, I created some less bombastic but (I thought) equally ridiculous lies about the Harry Potter extended universe. One of these involved two professors dating:
According to Ibid, this tweet had been filtered through so many layers of internet lies that it became the truth, for one shining moment. The Hogwart's House Edition of The Philosopher's Stone had included my made up fact as a part of the franchise's canon.
I laughed, retweeted the tweet, and woke up my boyfriend to show him what a colossal internet troll he was dating. Then I put away my phone, put my head on my pillow, and tried to sleep while wrestling with the fact that my greatest accomplishment in life involved making some publisher's life mildly difficult. (By the way, if you're reading this Bloomsbury Books, I'm sorry.) When I woke up the next morning, I was greeted with this tweet:
We are aware of this error and it has already been corrected for reprints of relevant house editions.-- Bloomsbury UK (@BloomsburyBooks) November 29, 2017
My brief moment of glory was over before it had even begun.
When I wrote the article in 2015, I never expected it to go on the journey that it has. I'd like to tell you that I've learned a lot from it. I'd like to tell you that it's given me insight into the power of words and the ever changing nature of the things we say. I'd like to tell you I learned a lesson about the power of lies and the fragility of truth. I'd love to tell you that I grew as a person. I don't think I did. Instead, my big takeaway from this whole experience is this: For one shining moment, I was partly responsible for making people think that this woman...
...and this man...
...had once had some very strange, enchanted sex.
For that, I will forever be grateful.