It all started with one line: “Mr. and Mrs. Dursley of Number Four Privet Drive were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much,” and it was over. Or rather, it had only just begun. The first “fandom” I ever joined was Harry Potter. I’ve been reading the books since I could read. I have every single book in hardback. I used to have the movies until my siblings scratched them all, so I have to get them again. I even have Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Quidditch Through the Ages, and Tales from Beedle the Bard, both softback copies and illustrated copies. My goal is to get all the released books so far in illustrated form. Harry Potter has been an essential part of my life and continues to be. I may disagree with what J.K. Rowling does or says, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t be a part of the fandom. On my podcast with my BFF, Caroline, we discussed how you could love the work but not the creator. And honestly, after all these years, I don’t think Harry Potter belongs to Rowling anymore. It belongs to us.
For me, and many others, Harry Potter and other fandoms or nerdom (the “nerd culture” if you will) is a form of escape. It’s a way to get out of our heads and into other worlds because sometimes the world is crap, and you’d rather be a witch, a Jedi, a bender, a vampire, a companion, or a Shadowhunter than be your regular normal self.
The Dursleys may have wanted to be perfectly normal, but I wanted to be extraordinary. Fandoms give people an escape, an opportunity to imagine another place, to be well extraordinary, even if it’s just a chapter or two. Or for an episode or two (or eight).
I can tell you that all of my friends know their Hogwarts Houses.
That the debate on Aang and Katara being a couple is still discussed. Most of us are hardcore Katara and Zuko fans. We still despise that live-action movie.
Just as we despise the live-action Eragon. (Seriously, don’t even get me started on it.)
We all have our favorite Doctors and our favorite companions.
We all lament over the letdown of the Percy Jackson movies and are eager yet wary of the Disney Plus show.
And even though most of us won’t admit it, we all had a Twilight phase, whether we loved the series or hated it.
More recently, we all bonded over The Umbrella Academy (FUCK YOU ALLISON HARGREEVES and if you’ve watched season three then you know why I. am. salty),
The Witcher (Henry Cavill and his ability to grunt and say everything, like what even is this),
and Stranger Things (men should apologize for not being Steve Harrington, just saying).
We found ourselves shocked that we enjoyed Bridgerton. And you know what? We are all still extremely salty at the last season of Game of Thrones.
Fandoms bring people together, and yes, they can also be toxic. Fans can be toxic. There have been Star wars actors that fans have cruelly hounded. There are other fans for other shows that have been unnecessarily hateful. They can be mean and cruel to each other, to the creators, and to actors. But for the most part, it’s a fun community.
After all, without fans, Doctor Who might’ve not been brought back. Star Trek may not have been rebooted. Sense8 on Netflix would’ve been kept on a cliffhanger. But the fans brought them back.
People connect over shared favorite characters, headcanons, and theories. We discuss what we think will happen in the next season or the next book. (I have all the theories on season five of Stranger Things.) We may not be right, but it’s fun to discuss. If people don’t like how a fandom ended, then they hop on fanfiction.net or Archive Of Our Own, and they write the ending they want, or if they aren’t a writer, they find a fanfiction to ease their minds because sometimes the ending sucks and characters die and you just need a happy ending.
During the pandemic, everyone watched Tiger King and blasted social media at the sheer absurdity of it. You either watched it, or you didn’t, yet it still brought people together. We were in a shitty situation with the pandemic, and the outrageousness of the Tiger King made us realize that, well, it could be worse.
Fandoms have affected me so much that I have tattoos from them. My first tattoo was the Deathly Hallows from Harry Potter. I have a Captain America shield on my left arm, a Batman symbol on my right arm, and the anti-possession symbol from Supernatural on my right ankle. Supernatural ended after 15 seasons in 2020, and I had to get a tattoo commemorating the show that had been in my life for 15 years.
More fandoms will be forever embossed on my skin because they have shaped me somehow. Sometimes when I’m feeling down or in a funk, I pull out Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and start reading. It’s my favorite Harry Potter book and movie. Or I flip on Supernatural or Doctor Who. I know how those series end, how those books end, and it brings me comfort. Sometimes it’s Criminal Minds or, lately, it’s been the original Charmed. (I still say the sixth season is the best season ever.) My mom and I recently watched all seven seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and all five of Angel.
Fandoms are the reason why I want to be a writer and a filmmaker because I want to create something that touches someone’s life, as so many fandoms have touched me. Maybe it sounds a bit silly, but it’s important to me.
So yeah, I can’t tell you my blood type, which is probably a bad thing. But what I can tell you is my Hogwarts House and Ilvermorny House.
I am a proud Slytherin. Slytherins are known for being ambitious, resourceful, determined, and clever. Most don’t believe I am a Slytherin, but I can see it, honestly. Here I am, finishing up one master’s in spring 2023, then returning for another master’s in fall 2023. I am resourceful because I grew up in a broken home, so I had to figure out my own way. I am determined because nothing was going to stand in my way of getting a degree.
My Ilvermorny House is a Pukwudgie. It’s based on a creature in the Harry Potter universe. They are known for being wickedly smart and independent. Pukwudgies represent the heart and favor healers. And again, due to my history, I’m fiercely independent. I try to do everything myself (it’s both a good and a bad thing). As for the heart and healer bit, I am going into social work because I want to work with at-risk teenagers who come from broken homes, as I did. Because I can relate to them.
So it might seem silly to some how invested I get into my many fandoms, but for me, and others like me, it’s not. It’s who we are, and I will not apologize for that.
2 thoughts on “The Fandoms That Shaped Me”
My wife and I are absolutely “guilty” of being unapologetic residents in fandoms, some of which you mentioned above…Supernatural (I enjoyed its longevity but the season 5 finale was the best series-ender in tv history that didn’t actually end the series)…Doctor Who (Peter Capaldi & Jenna Coleman my faves)…Twilight (Team Edward)…Stranger Things (love ’em all)…Umbrella Academy (Allison was a mess in Season 3!)…Buffy (actually rewatching all Seasons right now). Enjoyed this post!
A fellow nerd! Hello! I do agree that season five finale of supernatural was amazing. It was actually suppose to end that way but they decided not too. For Twilight I am Team….Rosalie. Lol. I’m an anti-Twihard. Stranger Things is amazing and I need more. And yes, Allison was a mess in The Umbrella Academy. Buffy’s best season I think is her last, actually.
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