Unfortunately our internet contract has finished and so I can only get internet access on my phone or by going somewhere which has wi-fi. Plus my mate Chris is here this week and I’m busy doing fun things. Fortunately today we are lucky enough to have Niamh here writing an awesome guest post about fandoms. It is awesome.
Fan·dom [fan-duhm] - noun - fans collectively, as of a motion-picture star or a professional game or sport.
Origin: 1900–05, Americanism; fan2 + -dom (Source)
So you think you like Harry Potter? That's what I thought I mean I'd read the books (even things like Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and Quidditch Through the Ages), watched all the films, played at being a wizard, been to Harry Potter birthday parties and had a tonne of Harry Potter Merchandise. But knowing what I now know I have realised that I was only dipping my toe in the ocean of the Harry Potter fandom!! But it's not just Harry Potter that has a huge fandom (though obviously it's one of the best ones...not that I'm biased or anything! :P )...oh no! I mean there's the older (or should I say longer lasting) ones like Star Wars and who hasn't heard of Trekkies?! And there are the more vocal fandoms like the Twihards (Spellchecker wanted to change this to Wizards...mwhaha...wizards for the win!) and the newer ones like The Hunger Games! But of course I can't forget ones like Doctor Who!! So this post is going to be a guide into fandoms...now I don't claim to be an expert (there's no way that I could ever claim that if you saw some of the dedicated fans out there!! o.O) So let's begin...
I think this picture provides a pretty accurate example or most fandoms! But let's start with some important fandom terminology...
- Shipping - verb - meaning to ship - Fandom uses this word as a verb to denote their interest in the possible (and perhaps more often impossible) romantic relationship between two characters in a piece of fiction belonging to any medium. Just think of "shipping" as short for "relationSHIP". Source. Example: "I ship Dramione" Which would mean that this person believes that Draco and Hermione should get together (trust me there is a lot of Dramione shipping which I personally find weird!).
- Fanfiction - When someone takes either the story or characters (or both) of a certain piece of work, whether it be a novel, TV show, movie, etc., and create their own story based on it. Sometimes people will take characters from one movie and put them in another, which is called a cross-over. Source.
- Cosplay - It is a word that has its root in costume play. It is both a noun and a verb. Cosplay can mean the actual costume, as well as the action of wearing it. Contrary to popular belief, many cosplayers (well over 98%) do not believe they are the characters they are "cosplaying" as. Source. This is Dr. Who Cosplay...
But let me tell you where I come into all of this...well up until last summer I think it's safe to say I was just your average HP fan, well maybe not average, I mean they were always more than a book series to me but I think since then it's safe to say I've got worse! Why? Well I finished this little thing called the International Baccalaureate (understatement of the century methinks! Life consuming, soul sucking monster might be more accurate...ahem moving on) and suddenly found myself with a whole lot more time on my hands! :O Which obviously meant that I HAD to spend more time on the Internet, didn't it now?! Which led to my discovery of Pinterest which in turn led to my conversion to Tumblr (I once wrote that I didn't see the point of it...I do now...for finding pretty pictures which I can put on my Pinterest...clearly the purpose for its creation!) but the thing that really sent me falling head first into the Harry Potter Fandom was Pottermore. I think I became obsessed overnight...I just knew I had to get into it!! I had to be one of the first million people who got early access!! And let me tell you it was stressful!! But oh so worth it! Finally I knew for definite which house I belonged in (Hufflepuff in case you were wondering) and what my wand was (Pear and Phoenix Feather, 14 & 1/2 inches, quite flexible) and all that information about that characters that only Rowling knew like the whole of Professor McGonagall's or Mr Ollivanders life stories! It was heaven for a Potterhead like me!
It was after this discovery that I started investigating the Potter Fandom because, trust me when I say this, there is a wide range of things in this fandom, in fact I think it probably has to be one of the most diverse! If you've ever been slightly interested in Potter you might've heard of sites like MuggleNet or The Leaky Cauldron which are sites run by fans for fans, then there's the new kid on the block MyHogwarts which will be where you can take classes and meet other HP fans from your area (and which unsurprisingly I also managed to get early access too! :P ). Then obviously there’s the fanfiction which has sort of overflowed into Youtube...there's the sort of "normal" videos like Shit Potterheads Say but then there are also some really weird ones. If you've ever spent a certain amount of time on Youtube you might've stumbled across the "weird" side of Youtube, where all sorts of odd videos lurk and I hate to say it but there are most definitely some HP fan videos which fall into this "weird" category like this one. Words cannot describe how weird that is! Anyways moving on...did you know that there is also something called Wizard Rock or Wrock with bands like Harry and the Potters?! :D Who sing about Harry Potter stuff!! Then there are conferences like Leaky Con, which obviously involve cosplay, but the things I really want to do are....play muggle quidditch!! :D Which yes you can do, there’s a proper International Quidditch Association and it looks awesome!! And ultimately visiting the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and going on the studio tour!! :D
So that's an insight into one fandom, and I think you can probably see that it's rather easy to get lost in one quickly but you see most people aren't just involved in one fandom...oh no! Now I wouldn't say I was actively involved (or at least not to the extent of some people) in fandoms but I definitely sit on the beach and dip my toes in few fandom oceans (I have no idea what is going on in my brain today but it seems to be obsessed with churning out these dodgy, water related comparisons...I'm sorry!) like Doctor Who, Sherlock (the latest mini-series aired on the BBC), The Wizard of Oz, Alice in Wonderland, general Disney-ness and recently The Hunger Games (you would not believe the amount of time I have spent on Youtube watching Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson being interviewed and if you did know you would probably recommend that I seek help! :L ). And it's all thanks to the Internet! I mean obviously fandoms are not a new thing, the definition I used at the start says the word originates from around 1900 but I think it's definitely been exacerbated (oooh look at me using posh words!) by the Internet :D Which I think has given fans a whole new way to connect/express their love for that particular thing!
However like anything there are good sides and bad sides of fandoms...welllll firstly lots of fandoms don't seem to always get on. Okay so maybe it's not the whole fandom just people in the fandom. Like quite often Potterheads are set up against Twihards because they're compared a lot (which I really don't understand as they are nothing alike!!) and I for see this could be the case with fans of The Hunger Games as that and Twilight are drawing comparisons (again I've read both series and can't see why?!) especially as lots of Hunger Games fans seem to be Potterheads too! :O But on the bright side (always look on the bright side of life... de dum dee dum...) there are good things that can come out of fandoms like The Harry Potter Alliance which is "an army of fans, activists, nerdfighters, teenagers, wizards and muggles dedicated to fighting for social justice with the greatest weapon we have-- love." and in the Doctor Who fandom a man (or should I say Whovian) with terminal brain cancer was looking for someone to make a TARDIS urn and the fandom came up trumps! Literally banded together to find this man a TARDIS urn, it was all over my Tumblr Dashboard for a while and then it was followed up a bit later by the news that someone had come forward to make him one! :D Yay Fandom Love!! You can read about it here and here!! See isn't that wonderful!!
So I think we'll end there, I've probably waffled on enough now but I hope you enjoyed it and that it wasn't just one long boring read!
That's all for today folk!
If you liked that you should go and check out Niamh’s blog “One Girl and the World”. It is properly awesome. Hopefully I will be back at the weekend with an update on my week.