Lightning Strikes ϟ
Today’s young people, including myself, were born-digital. Specifically, while growing up, using technology was the way to market oneself on social networking sites. In other words, there were limitations on sharing information to a large amount of people until the creation of the Internet. Still drawing from traditional media, today’s generation established his or her own media by virtually spreading ideas, norms, and values to thousands of individuals all over the world. Thus, begins a new movement.
So what exactly is a fandom? Similar to the Expecto Patronum spell, which conjures an incarnation of the caster’s innermost positive feelings, a fandom refers to an enthusiastic subculture comprised of compassionate fans forming friendships with others who share a common interest. Whether it is centered around a celebrity, hobbies, books, or movies, the subject of interest can be narrow or broad. Invested in every little detail, individuals spend a decent amount of time and energy with a fandom.
“The Harry Potter fandom has some of the most diverse fans, from eight year olds to thirty somethings.” – Urban Dictionary
After All, He Is The Boy Who Lived
Harry Potter fans, known as Potterheads, are a clearly defined body of people with their own little Potterverse. It does not matter if one has read the books or seen the movies everyone is familiar with J.K. Rowling’s seven part book series, Harry Potter.
Concentrating on a young wizard’s adventures at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, the series tells a coming of age story enjoyed by adolescents and young adults. Particularly, it depicts how Harry along with his friends Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger overcome life-threatening obstacles in order to defeat You-Know-Who, He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, Tom Riddle, The Dark Lord, or more commonly known as Lord Voldemort. Possessing numerous themes that are relatable to everyday life, such as love, death, and redemption, this piece of fantasy literature constructs an alternate universe for fans to escape to any time they want to tag along with the boy who lived.
Does This Invisibility Cloak Make Me Look Fat?
According to a senior thesis written by Duke University student, most aspects of the fandom are influenced by a belief that the novels content is worth exploring outside the physical pages of the books. So, why not explore it through the use of film. Nothing beats staying up late to see what kind of adventure happens next in your favorite fantasy saga. Thus, movie theaters are the perfect location for people to gather in packs stand in line eagerly waiting to take his or her seat for the midnight showing of the newest addition. Everyone is able to be him or her true self, knowing that no one will be judgmental. For that reason, a fun environment is established, where role-playing is encouraged. Dedicated individuals who dress up as his or her favorite character and go to midnight premiers are their own subset of Harry Potter fans.
Personally, I have only dressed up as a character, precisely Harry, once in my life, which was yet again for the premiere of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1. The whole time I did not feel out of place, since I with my friends and others who share the same obsession. Although, it was pretty embarrassing when my wand broke and hit some random guy a couple of rows in front of me.
The Wizarding Web
With new innovations in technology it is easy for individuals to join online communities to further his or her fan experience. As blog communities who value the sole purpose is to produce a space on the Internet, online communities enable users to post comments and chat live with other members about the books and about life. In view of that, the Online Harry Potter Community, or OHPC, as an evolving virtual social field that several people consider a main social setting. Precisely, OHPC is an online community largely consisting of, yet not restricted to, individuals of all ages who have been moved by and share a love for the Harry Potter series.
The Sorting Hat
Generated and upheld by a fan, fan sites are devoted to a certain cultural phenomenon. In this case, mutual feelings towards a particular Harry Potter element allows fans to connect with one other to discuss his or her love for the series. For example, debates like whether Hermione would end up dating Ron or Harry emerge within the community.
Individuals use websites like The Leaky Cauldron and Muggle Net as a tool to enter a world where he or she can escape from the real world and not bullied. One of the most popular fan sites built around the books, which I use on occasion, is Pottermore. Sorted into a house, members are able to further his or her experience within the magical world of Harry Potter by exploring each book’s story and compete for the House Cup. In addition, Pottermore provides exclusive content from J.K. Rowling.
The Daily Prophet
A fun, creative way for fans to connect is making videos related to Harry Potter and post them on YouTube, in hope others will enjoy it and feel the same way about the series.
In 2007, Neil Cicierega uploaded the video “Harry Potter Puppet Pals: The Mysterious Ticking Noise”. Using puppets to create a funny musical, where the characters only sing his or her first and last name, “Snape hears a strange ticking sound. Love ensues.” I clearly recall that one day of freshman year in high school where a bunch of my friends and I gathered in an empty classroom in attempt to recreate the phenomena.
Jimmy Fallon’s sketch “Drunk Ron Weasley Sings Happy Birthday To Harry Potter went viral July 31, 2013. In honor of Harry Potter’s 33rd birthday, Ron Weasley, played by Simon Pegg, gives a drunken toast, in which addressing his downward spiral, like how Hermione left him. Somewhere on YouTube there is a video of me engaging in a riveting duel, taking place in a movie theater for the midnight premiere of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1. By riveting I mean where I almost immediately collapse to the ground because of Avada Kedavra, known as The Killing Curse.
Owl Post ✉
Another creative, humorous way to connect with others worldwide is Twitter. The most popular Harry Potter character accounts are Professor Snape and Lord Voldemort. Both accounts, which were created by anonymous users, mainly post tweets that relate current pop culture news to Harry Potter.
Using the handle name @_Snape_, Professor Snape, who claims “There will be no foolish wand-waving or silly incantation in this Twitter feed”, has 1.17M followers
With a following of 2.22M The Dark Lord, @Lord_Voldemort7, tweets about how his “running around leaving scars, collecting my jar of hearts and tearing love apart.”
People become involved with the fandom because they realize that it can provide him or her with a more enjoyable life, where one is able to live as he or she chooses. Listed below are some motives of why individuals join the Online Harry Potter Community:
1 – Personal Identity
One aspect that fans are most drawn to the most is the ability to identify him or herself with a character. So, by discovering similar passions one’s social development increases, since his or her self-esteem is improving.
Taught us to pick our battles, and when we decide that one is worth the fight, we must fight as though everyone depends on us.
Taught us that the things we are most worried about probably aren’t true, and that real friends don’t leave our side.
Taught us that it’s good to be smart, because you never know when knowing the answer can save your life.
Taught us that you don’t need a lot of friends to be able to stand up and do what is right.
Taught us that seeing isn’t believing, and that believing doesn’t require seeing.
2 – An Escape From The Real World
In attempt to remove oneself away from daily life, people use Harry Potter to travel into a different world. This allows members to have fun by embracing and encouraging imagination
3 – A Sense of Belonging
Interacting with others from all around the world online enables individuals with similar interests to meet. Also, it makes it easy to relate to others, so members are more supportive towards each other.
It All Ends
Though only read Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, watched all eight Warner Bros. Pictures films: Philosopher’s (Sorcerer’s) Stone, Chamber of Secrets, Prisoner of Azkaban, Goblet of Fire, Order of the Phoenix, Half-Blood Prince, which is my favorite movie, and Deathly Hallows – Part 1 and Part 2 over 20 times, and occasionally participate within online communities, I consider myself a huge Harry Potter fan.
What determines whether or not one is a true fan goes beyond his or her participation in reading all the books or seeing every movie. Thus, creating an entire subculture based on the fandom of Harry Potter. Harry Potter fandom allows people to live a little differently, and in this case, different can be very good.
Though the series ended…
Harry Potter continues on in today’s culture.
“Whether you come back by page or the big screen, Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home.” – J.K. Rowling