VIDEO: Harry Potter and the prisoner of Azkafandom

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Ursa rounds up this mini-series with a look at fandom, why it’s like belonging to a religion or a political movement, the need to belong, and giving away pieces of your heart. She also talks Nerdfighters, Gryffindor scarves, and her first-ever convention panel (squeee!).

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Tag: Sursum Ursa's Harry Potter videos

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  • Magdalen

    This deconstruction of fandom put the goofiest grin on my face. It’s so true, I think earily Japanese import anime was my first fandom, shortly followed by final fantasy. *sigh* Good memories. I squeed when you mentioned Draco and the Malfoys because I happened to have some WizRock on my iPod. Ever hear of Ministry of Magic? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JybrDuxRN78
    Will definitely be coming back next time. :3

  • I really don’t think you can compare fandom of fiction, that knows what they are fans of is fiction. To religion which defines people’s entire world view and shapes how they treat each other. This comparison doesn’t hold up to closer examination and I think it’s dangerous to draw these comparisons as it puts those people into the wrong light and invokes an impression those groups were comparable in the first place.

    • Jason Withrow

      While I see where you’re coming from, I think there’s something valid to be said in comparing groups of people to groups of people. While the intent and impact of religion and politics is much heavier and involved in a person’s life and so is going to have a markedly heavier impact, within that group, people are going to behave how people in groups behave, or at least that’s how I see it.

      • I don’t think you can just compare 2 different groups of people with entirely different contexts and motivation, just on the basis that they have behavior that is superficially similar.

        • Magdalen

          I don’t think her intention is to say they are exactly the same, only that they share a strong resemblance. People have a strong intrinsic need to belong to other people, groups, and tribes. That’s why people who are lonely are the most likely to convert to a new religion. We crave a sense of community and that’s what both religion and fandom provide.

  • Jerry Nava

    I just realized these video series have been full of “more about that later”s, because there is just so much to cover with these movies and their fandom, but you did a good work with the big picture, so thank you Jill!

  • Jason Withrow

    Yup! That’s Homestuck. Four online friends who have never met get drawn into a video game that’s trying to destroy the world. Aliens happen. You might like it, but it’s hard to say: fantastic writing and voice, and a brilliant showcase for New Media, but even though it’s not a “gaming comic,” it’s still more heavily rooted in early 90s gaming parody than the fans tend to advertise – probably because most of them are in their teens. They’re a good bunch, though. Fantastic fanworks: art writing and music.

    My fandom story started in Pokemon, then went through Zelda and Potter and even a few board games before getting where I am today, with ATLA, Kingdom Hearts, webcomics and video critics and abridgers. Through it all, fandom’s always been a primary support, writing teacher and secondary social educator (in its own haphazard way). I don’t think I’d be so brusque as to say I wouldn’t trade it for the world, but I would be markedly different if had.

  • MephLord

    Ursa I just watched Darkside of the Internet and I have to say it’s pretty true (especially on YouTube, that is where the worst haters live). I’ve been around during the dark ages (usenet, BBS, and dialup modems) and it ages me, but back then haters didn’t have the skills they have now. And when everyone can gain access to anything, it does create an environment where if someone thinks they are an Internet Tough Guy and want to mess with you they can. I personally don’t hate anyone I can respectfully disagree (sorry not much of a Harry Potter fan and certainly no Twilight fan, but I can understand the appeal of both franchises to those that are into it).

    As to the issue of fandom, I belong to several (Mixed Martial Arts, Superhero Cartoons, Gordon Ramsay, Canadian Football League) that I know are marginal, niche or just don’t have widespread appeal. And I’m fine with that. Not everyone likes everything, but you can’t be rude if they don’t like it. It’s just how people are; everyone has their own interests and they will either be part of the fandom or community or they won’t be. No reason to ever be rude or vulgar if that isn’t the case. And also, I think it’s important to know the medium you are communicating in; this is a geek site not a sports site so I’d never talk about the Canadian Football League here, I’d go to a sports forum for that.

    • danbreunig

      As for the fandom haters there’s quite a proportion of the amount of hate based on the currency and popularity of those fandoms. I’ll bet at least half that hate is simply mass gut reaction to the fact the haters are overwhelmed by the fans’ dedication, and I’m sure also there’s jealously that the haters’ own fandoms are passed by in comparison. That alone wouldn’t make me attack the fans of something they’re into while I’m not–for instance, some groups love the current (as of 2013) zombie lore, fine for them, I’m glad they’re happy, despite I’m fucking sick of any mention of the word for the remainder of that popularity.

      And Mephlord, you’re so right about knowing about the fandom that’s preached or hate for that fandom that’s spread; because discussions go nowhere when that focus isn’t there. Oftentimes I may agree or disagree with others in these forums more for ideas and principles than on the concrete fandoms involved (or maybe I just want to inject my own occasional humor), and it’s hard to offer direct opinions when I’m myself not as invested into such fandoms. Some I share with Boothers and other posters, but I can relate to what you’re saying because I have plenty of my own fandoms that I know will never be discussed here, simply because I’m not in the same generation as the average Boother, or else they’re subjects that aren’t about movies and shows, or books. You got your sports, I got my music.

  • danbreunig

    Are you a teacher, Jill? Because I sense a Master’s thesis in the making :).

    I may have picked apart and analyzed my own fandoms with the same relish, just not to the point of also turning it into practical social commentary. I’ll readily admit too I’ve gone through all the experiences and feelings you discussed here, as fans tend to do; the only real difference is the social aspects of what I grew up on weren’t nearly as widespread or openly accepted. There was no especially huge book/movie/card/website/network/mass-accepted-fanbase phenomenon anywhere near the cultural size and impact of Harry Potter during the mid 80s to mid 90s. Plus before the internet, if you were a little kid who didn’t know any kids in your own school or neighborhood who were also into what you’re into, that’s it, that’s as far as your fandom (and consequently, your sociability) could take you.

    So, another music vlog coming up soon, huh? Will you do more than just sing and maybe play that guitar you’re holding? I’m already so curious. Also, have fun at the Con in the fall!

  • Cyvaris

    Ursua……you had a much easier time with fandom I think….or maybe I just fell straight into the insanity levels. I beat you just a bit (book 5 was my first midnight) but I remember the HP fandom to be the most sane, though thankfully I wasn’t on the internet a lot at that point. Looking back…..the HP fandom scares me. Speaking of scary fandom the first creepy fandom I had contact with was the Avatar The Last Airbended fandom. The shipping there….ahhh I’ve repressed those mesmerizes!

    But yeah you really steered away from the “lunatic fringe” rather well, but you really can’t avoid that fringe because they are some of the best parts of fandom, because they are insane.

  • Jim

    Ursa, I have enjoyed your reviews on Harry Potter and the fandom. My first experience with fandom was Dr. Who (when Tom Baker was still the current Doctor). Your review of Harry Potter fandom reminds me clearly of this story from my first experiences with the wizard world. I saw the first movie when it came to DVD and then bought up and devoured the first four books in about a month. I picked up Quidditch Through the Ages and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them waiting for the fifth book to come out. Finally at my small, downtown bookstore, they put up the first ads for The Order of the Phoenix with the advice to “reserve your copy TODAY.” I went in and put my name and number down on the little clipboard list. Bear in mind, this is a small bookstore inside an office building in downtown Chicago, not exactly a hotbed of kid shoppers here. The book comes out, and on the following Monday morning I stroll into the shop. The place is filled with boxes of Harry Potter. Now here’s why I connected it with your stories of fandom: This businesswoman is arguing with the shop manager. “I just wanted to buy a copy!!” She waves her arms at all the boxes and says: “Can’t I just take one of these??” The shop owner explains “No, all of those books have been sold already.” I walk past the poor woman to the counter and give them my name and number and they hand me my copy of the book. The poor soul was just flabbergasted. I truly felt sorry for her. I wasn’t going to give her my book, but I felt sorry for the fact that she didn’t understand the nature of fandom that would instill that kind of devotion or require that kind of effort. Passionate fandom arguments can be quite fun. I really enjoy the back and forth nature of a good argument about characters who are so real to us that we take their lives seriously. But once everyone has had their say, we all part as friends. That’s something that I think we should agree on, Harry and his friends are fictional our opinions shouldn’t cause anyone to threaten anyone else. And with all respect to DPPalbert, if God is truly omnipotent and omnipresent, then the opinion or disagreement of any mere mortal cannot harm God. Lunatic fandom or fanaticism in any form that attempts to erase anything that questions or contradicts it, is dangerous no matter what the source or subject. Beating someone over the head OR SHOUTING IN ALL CAPS has never changed anyone’s mind or converted any person to any cause. Just my two cents.

    • danbreunig

      Great points there, Jim. I just wanted to add to your last sentence there: the more you beat a point over others’ heads, the more they’ll resist the point you make because they’ll resist the very aggression delivered with that point. I can surely attest that I’ve outright resisted or resented some folks not because of their points, but because they were overbearing while making their points. Which would explain why I write to these forums most because of the overall friendly attitude everyone has here, even when in disagreement. It’s all about attitude and heart.