The fandom life

Where does one begin to explain how truly vast and infinitely wonderful a fandom is? It seems an impossible task, but one I am willing to undertake.

I present to you a story, a story of life, love, and perhaps a bit of an unhealthy obsession; starring me, a hopelessly lost and devoted fangirl. The story starts, as most stories do, on page one.

“Mr. and Mrs. Dursley of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.”

Of course, this begins another story as well. But I cannot deny my story and Harry’s are closely intertwined. Now, I don’t want you to be fooled into thinking this is an epic tale of overcoming some hardship, or of finding my purpose in life through the worn pages of my favorite book. In fact, my story is quite mundane, a simple story of finding my identity in a world that told me magic couldn’t exist, a world that says you’re destined for the ordinary. You will live an average life, work in an average job, have an average family, and reside in an average house in your average neighborhood. Simply average.

As I sat in my room, flipping through the pages of a book and subsequently partaking in the adventures of my favorite boy wizard, I saw a life that was more than average. Suddenly my life became more magical than it was before. I completely immersed myself in the wizarding world. I dressed in Hogwarts robes and had wizard duels with my friends at the park. I wrote school assignments about Harry and his friends. My iPod was filled with my favorite wizard rock bands singing about a collection of books. My days were spent reading Harry Potter stories written by fans online. My nights were spent dreaming of Hogwarts.

I believe that this is where the pull of many books, movies, and TV shows truly lies. They present to us an outlet in which we can escape the quiet monotony of everyday life in exchange for a world of adventure and, yes, even magic. I can defeat Lord Voldemort. I can be captain of the USS Enterprise. I can travel time and space in a blue police box. I can fight demons and monsters, or start a revolution against the Capitol.

Reading Harry Potter opened up so many doors for me. It was my introduction to a lot of the things that make up who I am today. I found my passion for writing in fanfiction. I learned what it means to truly love a book and carry it with you long after you turn the final page. It sparked a creativity in me I had never known before.

I like to call Harry Potter my “gateway fandom,” meaning it was the beginning of many books, TV shows, and movies that I loved enough to let them leak into my “average” life. It was the first thing that made me truly feel connected to something that was so much bigger than a simple series of seven books. A fandom is a community of fans, all just as in love with a work of fiction as I was. A fandom is a family. Those obsessed fans will comfort you through the pain of having your favorite character die and celebrate with you when your OTP, that being the one true pair of characters you want to be together, finally works up the nerve to admit their undying love for eachother. Those fans will write the fan fictions, create the fan art, and be the support system you need during a hiatus.

The Harry Potter fans make up one of the most creative, intelligent, and loyal fandoms I have ever known to exist. Though both the movies and books have ended, there never seems to be a limit to what the fandom produces, whether it be fan art, music, or fan fiction. They have also created a charity in Harry’s name, the Harry Potter Alliance, which raises money and donates books for a variety of causes. I can’t think of a better way to introduce me to fandoms.

The world will say that it’s just a book, or movie, or TV show. But, as is so often the case, they are wrong. Books, movies, and TV shows provide more than just entertainment, they provide community, and creativity, and a passion for being more than ordinary. So yes, maybe I do have a bit of an obsession, but what’s wrong with that? I am part of a community. I cry over fictional characters. I squeal over a new episode. I create. I think. I am a fangirl through and through, and I am so happy to be able to say that.

If you’d like to reach me, whether to say hello or give a suggestion, you can find me on tumblr (thatgirlinredandgold.tumblr.com), or shoot me a tweet at @perksofafangrl.