Harry Potter lives on through fan fiction

Emerson Spartz launched the Harry Potter fan Web-site MuggleNet when he was just 12 years old.
Emerson Spartz launched the Harry Potter fan Web-site MuggleNet when he was just 12 years old.

Few fictional characters have the magic of Harry Potter. He's sold 450 million books worldwide and drawn thousands of people to New York for the American premiere of his final movie. CBS News correspondent Michelle Miller introduces us to some spellbound fans who refuse to let Potter's story end.

Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling wrote the final chapter of the seven-book series in 2007. But since then, tens of thousands of amateur authors have picked up the tale, among them Jaida Jones. Writers like her pen new Potter plots on dozens of websites, often spinning new stories about the characters.

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"Their imaginations run rampant," she said. "Instead of keeping it in their heads, they're like I have this hilarious idea and I'm going to write it down and share it."

Jones read her first Potter book at age 11. By college she and a friend had co-authored The Shoebox Project, a history of the fictional Hogwarts school of magic.

"In the end, you know it was just our story," she said, "and I don't think anyone other than J.K. Rowling can know exactly what the truth of the characters is. But we as readers get a feeling for that truth and we want to be a part of their lives."

Fan fiction started in the 19th century, with stories and parodies based on "Alice in Wonderland," Sherlock Holmes, and even Jane Austen. Then came the sci-fi follow-ups to "Star Trek" and "Star Wars" movies.

But fan fiction really exploded with the Internet. One fan fiction website, FanFiction.net, has 2 million stories posted. Some 500,000 of them are based on Harry Potter.

"It's huge," said Emerson Spartz, who launched the fan Web-site MuggleNet when he was just 12 years old.

"Harry Potter was the gateway drug for books for a generation. I think with the power of the Internet combined with the intricate and detailed world that J.K. Rowling created also helped to catalyze a generation of writers."

The point of fan fiction is not to make money, but to share the stories -- and keep the magic alive.

Author J.K. Rowling doesn't seem to mind. This fall, she'll launch her own website Pottermore, which may offer even more fan fiction fodder well after the last credit rolls on the big screen.

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    Michelle Miller is the co-host of "CBS This Morning: Saturday." As an award-winning correspondent based in New York City, she has reported for all CBS News broadcasts and platforms. She joined CBS News in 2004.