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Fanfic / After

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After is a story by Anna Todd that was first published as a One Direction Real-Person Fic in 2013. It follows a young woman's toxic relationship with Harry Styles. In 2014, the fanfiction was published as a novel, with Harry's name being changed (and other characters' names being changed as needed).

Tessa Young is a sweet girl with good grades and a nice boyfriend. After she moves to college and her roommate convinces her to go to a party, she meets Hardin Scott, who is everything Tessa's mother disapproves of; not only does he have piercings and tattoos, he's a total Jerkass. However, when Hardin saves her from an old man who tries to rape her, Tessa realizes she has feelings for him and they start to form a relationship.

The novel has spawned a series of sequels and prequels, including After We Collided, After We Fell, After Ever Happy, and Before. A feature-length film of the first novel was released in 2019, starring Josephine Langford as Tessa and Hero Fiennes-Tiffin as Hardin; a film of After We Collided followed in 2020. Film adaptations of Fell and Ever Happy completed production in 2021 and prequel and sequel films are in development.


Compare Fifty Shades of Grey, another romantic story written by an English author that started off as a fanfic only to evolve into a standalone story and got adapted to the big screen.

The After series contains examples of:

  • Adaptational Dye-Job: Steph was a redhead in the books, but was made an Aloof Dark-Haired Girl in the film version. This was presumably due to a Race Lift.
  • Adaptational Nice Guy:
    • Tessa in the film adaptation of After still cheats on her boyfriend, but she is not as prone to Slut-Shaming Molly as she is in the book, nor is she as smug or sanctimonious.
    • Hardin still has some issues, but unlike the book, in the first film, didn't keep a condom or a blanket as proof of having sex with her. He also doesn't insult Tessa as much, and is not as blatantly abusive of her.
  • Adaptational Sexuality: Steph goes from straight to bisexual, and Tristan goes from a straight male to a lesbian.
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  • The Alcoholic: Both Tessa and Hardin have alcoholic fathers. A substance abuse disorder is also implied for Steph and Molly.
  • Ambiguous Disorder: Hardin's prone to mood swings, irrational jealousy and violent behaviour... but he's never been diagnosed with anything in-universe. Although some reviewers have believed he may have both untreated PTSD and a personality disorder.
  • Am I Just a Toy to You?: Tessa's main reason for not wanting to be involved with Hardin. Because he's more sexually experienced than her, she worried that he wanted to use her for a hook-up and leave. This was actually his plan initially — to take her virginity for a bet and then leave. Him falling in love with her was an accidental part of the process.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Hardin is handsome, has tattoos and piercings, and is a total jerk to Tessa...yet she still finds herself attracted to him.
  • Alpha Bitch: Molly. She hates Tessa for being modest.
  • Attempted Rape: A Dirty Old Man does this with Tessa, and the only reason it didn't escalate beyond that was that Hardin managed to save her. This was Adapted Out of the movie, due to the fact that many sexual assault survivors felt as though their trauma was being romanticised.
  • Beautiful Dreamer: Once Tessa wakes up before Hardin and considers letting him sleep in because of how adorable he looks.
  • Better as Friends: Tessa wants to reach this conclusion with Hardin. Of course, it doesn't work.
  • Betty and Veronica: Tessa is the sweet, naïve Betty to Steph's vivacious Veronica.
  • Birds of a Feather: Tessa and Hardin, though neither of them wants to admit it initially.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Steph later on when she sets up Tessa to be assaulted out of jealousy of her and Hardin’s relationship.
  • Calling the Old Woman Out: Tessa tears into her mother Carol in one scene in the film about how difficult it was trying to be perfect for her, and how fed up Tessa was about Carol's efforts to mold Tessa's life the way Carol wanted it instead of thinking about what Tessa wanted for herself. Carol doesn't take it well.
  • Cute Bookworm: Tessa, at least from Hardin's perspective. Contrast with Hardin, who's more of a Badass Bookworm.
  • Dating What Daddy Hates: Mother in this case. Tessa’s mother obviously doesn’t approve of Hardin and yet Tessa continues to be with him.
  • Darker and Edgier: The After We Collided film deals more with themes of trauma and estranged parental and familial relationships. Particularly, Hardin's past is delved into more, with his mother mentioning PTSD-like nightmares that therapy didn't help with.
  • Disappeared Dad: Both Hardin and Tessa both had alcoholic fathers who treated them poorly. Although Tessa's ready to forgive her dad, Hardin doesn't think he'll ever be.
  • Drama Queen: Tessa shows some shades of this, including becoming overly offended when Steph comments on her choice of dress and when she’s called prissy at the beginning of the book. She also starts crying toward the end of the parties multiple times.
  • Dude Magnet:
    • Tessa's friend Steph is gorgeous, lively, and enthusiastic about sex and hooking up. It's not hard to see why guys follow her around.
    • In the book, Tessa shows jealousy over Steph's physically appealing traits (bright red hair, green eyes, trim figure) and wishes to attract guys like she does.
  • Fanservice: Some scenes of Tessa in a state of undress.
  • Fish out of Water: Tessa isn't sure how to proceed with her clean-cut life after being thrown into the rampant party culture of university.
  • From the Mouths of Babes: Hardin and Tessa are called in for some babysitting duties on Mr. Vance's son. He and Hardin have a conversation about the latter's tattoos, which results in Hardin telling the kid that he doesn't give a fuck what people think. The kid asks him "which people don't you give a fuck about"...and starts spewing a bunch of other swear words as Hardin panics and tries to get him to stop.
  • Functional Addict: Arguably Hardin.
  • Genius Book Club: Tessa realizes there is more to Hardin than meets the eye when she gets a glimpse of the classic books on his shelf.
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Tessa is the only female protagonist explicitly stated to have blonde hair, and her demure personality reflects this trope.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: Hardin. He’s prone to sudden mood changes and becomes angry at the little things.
  • Hard-Drinking Party Girl: Steph and her friends.
  • The Hedonist: Hardin, in his better moods.
  • High-School Sweethearts: Tessa and Noah, who is a year younger than her and still in high school at the beginning of the story.
  • Holier Than Thou: Tessa, especially in the beginning of the book. She considers herself to be a better person than her peers because she stays at home and studies instead of going out and partying (which, apparently, anyone that's not her does), and she constantly judges the fashion and lifestyle of her roommate, Steph, for her alternative style and her partying-related habits, as well as Steph's friends that share a similar sense of style. This is much more downplayed in the film, with Tessa being more of a shy bookworm type who's not much for parties instead of openly voicing any condescending opinion of them.
  • Hotter and Sexier: The film of After We Collided has more nudity and more sex scenes between Hardin and Tessa; naturally, it was given an R-rating, in contrast to the first film's PG-13.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: While Hardin’s decision to make Tessa tell Noah that she was cheating may have seemed cruel, he did have a point in that Noah needed to know what was going on.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Hardin. Yes, he is rude and insults Tessa, but deep down he cares for her.
  • Light Feminine Dark Feminine: Tessa is the innocent, plain White Feminine to Steph's vivacious and seductive Dark Feminine.
  • Madonna-Whore Complex: Practically every female character within the book is either a repressed virgin that has never had a sip of alcohol (the best example of this being Tessa) or a wild partier that has sex every night (with an example of this being Steph).
  • Making Love in All the Wrong Places: There's a scene in which Steph and Tristan are lewdly making out with the virginal Tessa in the room, mistakenly believing that she is asleep. She squirms, very uncomfortable with this happening right next to her. Many LGBT fans voiced discomfort with this, sensing an undertone of homophobia of in the scene.
  • Most Writers Are Writers: In the movie, Hardin is an English major (though Tessa studies Business). Both Tessa and Hardin study English in the book series. In the final novel, Tessa switches career paths while Hardin becomes a famous writer much like Anna Todd.
  • Naïve Everygirl: Tessa. At the beginning, she only knows of a simple modest life with her dependable and smart boyfriend Noah and overprotective mother.
  • Naked First Impression: Downplayed. After showering, Tessa comes out of her shared dorm room clad in a Modesty Towel where she meets Hardin who's casually sitting in her roommate's bed while reading a book. She's obviously embarrassed but he doesn't care and when she requests for him to leave so she can get dressed he simply says "Don't flatter yourself, I'm not looking".
  • Nice Guy: Noah. He is loyal to Tessa, he stood up to her when her father left her, and even after she breaks up with him, he is not mad at her.
  • Old Flame: Molly to Hardin. And Steph to Hardin. Basically everyone to Hardin.
  • One-Word Title: Which is used to base the Idiosyncratic Episode Naming for sequels and prequels, along with another single-word title: After We Collided, After We Fell, After Ever Happy, and Before.
  • Overprotective Mom: Tessa's mother, Carol, demands that Tessa get a new roommate after Steph allows two boys into their room when they first meet. She later spends an hour "warning [Tessa] against parties and boys." Tessa calls her out on this in film.
  • Race Lift: In the book, Steph is a white redhead and Molly's race is ambiguous. Landon is based off a white member of One Direction.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Hardin is the rebellious, passionate, easily-angered Red Oni to Tessa's mature and sensible Blue Oni.
  • Ruder and Cruder: The film adaptation of After We Collided is far more vulgar, including numerous instances of "fuck" being said by various characters.
  • Shower of Love: Hardin and Tessa have one, starting with their yoga clothes on. They learn the hard way that this is not very easy.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: Hardin and Landon, where Hardin is rude and a Jerkass, Landon is more polite and calm. Justified as they're step-siblings and not siblings by birth.
  • Single Woman Seeks Good Man: At the begging of the story, Tessa was happy with Noah, since he was nice towards him. After she starts to fall in love with Hardin, she finds out that Noah has never made her feel so passionate.
  • Slut-Shaming: Tessa does this quite frequently, including labeling Molly as a “skank” just because she had on more revealing clothing.
  • The Reveal: Hardin has started to seduce Tessa in order to win a dare, and despite having sincerely fallen in love with her, he keeps the bloodied sheet and his own semen-filled condom as proof.
  • There Are No Therapists: Averted in the films. Hardin's mother tells Tessa that she had taken him to therapist after therapist to no avail trying to help him with his Ambiguous Disorder.
  • Used to Be a Sweet Kid:
    • Hardin is shown to have been a quiet, literature-loving young boy during his early years. A traumatic experience is what led him to behave the way he does now.
    • This also applies to Molly, who witnessed her boyfriend die in a car crash when she was only sixteen, and spent the next two years drinking and engaging in sexual activity with adult men.
  • Virgin-Shaming: Against Tessa during a game of Truth or Dare.
  • Wild Teen Party: Happens every weekend. To the point where Tessa wonders how they students haven't gotten sick from it.