It makes sense, in the Rivers of London series, for Peter to refer to Harry Potter because it’s contemporary and magic is legit new to him. Outside of his brief experience with magic (this happens thirteen percent into the book, by the way), all Peter has in his head that’d he’d be able to relate back to is Harry Potter.
You know… a character that happens to be the most famous British wizard this side of Merlin.
If I were suddenly exposed to the fact that magic has always existed and that the dashing older gentleman talking to me about it is a wizard, he’s going to butt up against my pre-existing beliefs of what wizards “should” look like. And despite the fact that I’ve read other books that look at the idea of a “wizarding world” (including Aaronovitch’s work), my go to when talking or thinking about wizards always leans toward the Potteresque.
However, referring to Harry Potter or having your character make that mental leap wouldn’t make as much sense in a world where the witches are household figures and are accessible or a world where witchcraft is illegal.
Like I said, I’m taking a break from the UF101 post on sexual assault because that’s a piece that’s been incredibly triggering to me. I’m going through my notes and trying to be good to myself as I research and write, but I’ve been picking at my other active UF101 drafts instead.
This is the one on crafting believable pop culture (and incorporating it) in your urban fantasy. This post is more about craft and worldbuilding than criticism and it’s just a way for me to maybe help authors see a different way to approach one aspect of their worldbuilding that they might not have thought of before.
So I’m asking questions, providing answers, and trying to close the holes caused by this little problem that I’ve found in some writers’ work. I don’t think every single UF author needs to have a developed form of pop culture for their world, BUT, it’s such an easy and dirty way to develop the world your characters live in.
So here’s a piece from the fourth “question” that I did. Please feel free to give feedback or ask questions so that I can incorporate feedback/commentary into the piece!
[WIP Post] Urban Fantasy 101 – Preternatural Pop Culture PREVIEW | Zina on Patreon