I'm going to be writing a post for the blog and the subject is: What is canon? And because we're a community, standards of what constitutes canon is going to vary person to person. My goal is not to try and establish any kind of over-arcing, generalized rule that formally defines canon; my goal for the blog post is to discuss canon usefully, in a way that will ultimately impact SFF.se in a positive and meaningful way.
I will read anything you have to say regarding canon¹ and am very interested in how you classify the particular canon of a creative work that you favor. I'm also interested in your thoughts on the importance of different axioms of canon, and how you personally vet the various levels of canon source materials. In other words, what source materials are the most important to you? Which are the least important? Why? For example, my personal Harry Potter canon hierarchy might look something like this:
- Seven main Harry Potter novels; three ancillary books Quidditch Through the Ages, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, and The Tales of Beedle the Bard
- Interviews with J.K. Rowling
- Pottermore website
- JKRowling.com via the Wayback Machine
- Information I remember having once read before but now cannot find
- Various Harry Potter fan sites/forums
- Harry Potter theme park trivia
- The eight Harry Potter films / The HP Wikia
- Fan Fiction
ETA: In chat the issue of ret-con came up, which means changing canon long after it has become established. For example, should J.K. Rowling suddenly decide that Dobby the House-elf's name was actually "Barry", and that (spoilers) --
-- never occurred, that would be ret-conning. I really think ret-conning is a legitimate axiom of canon, so I'm trying to figure out where it will fall in my personal hierarchy. Some fandoms are cleaner than others when it comes to continuity errors and ret-conning. Fandoms like Doctor Who and Star Trek have had to deal with significant or confusing ret-con. Anyhow, do consider ret-con for your hierarchy if it's applicable.
It's late so I won't detail my canon hierarchy, but I very much want to know why you choose the order(s) that you do, so please feel free to go into as much detail as you'd like.
Thank you very much. And thanks to the mods for letting me post this.
¹ I'll even accept formal complaints regarding the ridiculously inflexible standards I impose upon Harry Potter canon! Go ahead ... Queue up in the comments section ... No shoving ...