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Harry Potter Fan
Harry Potter Fan

The Harry Potter fandom is a large international and informal community drawn together by J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter series. The fandom works
through the use of many different forms of media, including websites, fan fiction, podcasts, fan art and songvids, and a distinct genre of music, referred to as Wizard Rock.

Harry Potter fan fiction, stories based on the series but written by fans and distributed online, is the most searched-for subject of all fan fiction on the web, surpassing even those in the Star Trek fandom, or Trekdom. However, the fandom not only interacts online in Internet forums, but also gathers at scholarly fan conventions, tours of iconic landmarks relevant to the books and production of the films, and parties held for the midnight release of each book and film.

By the fourth Harry Potter book, the legions of Harry Potter fans had grown so large that considerable security measures were taken to ensure that no book was purchased before the official release date Studies on the fandom have shown that both children and adults are fans, despite Rowling's original marketing of the books towards children aged nine to twelve.

Pottermania is an informal term first used around 1999 describing the craze Harry Potter fans have had over the series. Fans held midnight parties to celebrate the release of the final four books at bookstores which stayed open on the night leading into the date of the release. In 2005, Entertainment Weekly listed the midnight release of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire as one of "Entertainment's Top Moments" of the previous 25 years.

The craze over the series was parodied in Lauren Weisberger's 2003 novel The Devil Wears Prada as well as its 2006 film adaptation. In the story, the protagonist Andrea Sachs is ordered to retrieve two copies of the next installment in the series for her boss's twins before they are published so that they can be privately flown to France, where the twins and their mother are on holiday.

There are many fan web sites about Harry Potter on the Internet, the oldest ones dating to about 1997 or 1998. J. K. Rowling has an open relationship with her fan base, and since 2004 periodically hands out a "fan site award" on her official web site. The first site to receive the award was Immeritus, a fan site mostly devoted to Sirius Black, and about which Rowling wrote, "I am so proud of the fact that a character, whom I always liked very much, though he never appeared as much more than a brooding presence in the books, has gained a passionate fan-club."

In 2004, after Immeritus, Rowling bestowed the honor upon four sites. The first was Godric's Hollow; strangely, the site's domain name is occupied by advertisers and its content is lost, and there is no further record on Rowling's site that Godric's Hollow ever received the award. The next site was the Harry Potter Lexicon, an online encyclopedia Rowling has admitted to visiting while writing away from home rather than buying a copy of her books in a store. She called it "for the dangerously obsessive; my natural home." The third site of 2004 was MuggleNet, a web site featuring the latest news in the Potter world, among editorials, forums, and a podcast. Rowling wrote when giving the award, "It's high time I paid homage to the mighty MuggleNet," and listed all the features she loved, including "the pretty-much-exhaustive information on all books and films." The last site was HPANA, the first fan site Rowling ever visited, "faster off the mark with Harry Potter news than any other site" Rowling knows, and "fantastically user-friendly."

In 2005, only The Leaky Cauldron was honored. In Rowling's words, "it is about the worst kept secret on this website that I am a huge fan of The Leaky Cauldron," which she calls a "wonderfully well designed mine of accurate information on all things Harry Potter." On another occasion, Rowling has called the Leaky Cauldron her "favorite fan site." In 2006, the Brazilian website Potterish was the only site honored, in recognition of its "style, [its] Potter-expertise and [its] responsible reporting." It is the only non-English language website to be awarded.

In May 2007, Harry Potter Fan Zone received the award. Rowling recognized the insightful editorials as well as praised the site for its young and dedicated staff. In December 2007, the award went to The Harry Potter Alliance, a campaign that seeks to end discrimination, genocide, poverty, AIDS, global warming, and other "real-world Dark Arts", relating these problems to the books. Rowling called the project "extraordinary" and "most inspirational", and paralleled its mission to "the values for which Dumbledore's Army fought in the books". In an article about her in Time, Rowling expressed her gratefulness at the site's successful work raising awareness and sign-up levels among antigenocide coalitions.

At one time, Warner Bros., which owns the rights to Harry Potter and its affiliates, tried to shut down the sites. The unsuccessful attempt eventually led to their inviting the webmasters of the top sites to premieres of the films and tours of the film sets, because of their close connection with the fans. Warner Bros. executives have acknowledged that many fans are disappointed that certain elements of the books are left out, but not trying to avoid criticism, "bringing the fan sites into the process is what we feel is really important."

These fan sites contain news updates into the world of the books, films, and film cast members through the use of forums, image galleries, or video galleries. They also host user-submitted creations, such as fan art or fan fiction. Some YouTube member pages devoted to fan videos, which are typically in the form of anime music videos or songvids.

A podcast is a media file that is distributed by unpaid subscription over the Internet using syndication feeds, for playback on mobile devices and personal computers. The Harry Potter fandom has embraced podcasts as a regular, often weekly, insight to the latest discussion in the fandom. Apple Inc. has featured two of the podcasts, MuggleCast and PotterCast. Both have reached the top spot of iTunes podcast rankings and have been polled one of the top 50 favorite podcasts. At the 2006 Podcast Awards, when MuggleCast and PotterCast each received two nominations for the same two categories, the two podcasts teamed up and requested listeners vote for PotterCast in the Best Entertainment category and MuggleCast in the People's Choice category. Both podcasts won these respective categories.

MuggleCast, hosted by MuggleNet staffers, was created in August 2005, not long after the release of Half-Blood Prince. Topics of the first show focused on Horcruxes, "R.A.B.", the Goblet of Fire film, which was due for release two months later, and the website DumbledoreIsNotDead.com. Since then, MuggleCast has held chapter-by-chapter discussions, character analyses, and a discussion on a "theory of the week." MuggleCast has also added humor to their podcast with segments like "Spy on Spartz," where the hosts would call MuggleNet webmaster Emerson Spartz and reveal his current location or activity with the listening audience. British staff member Jamie Lawrence tells a British joke of the week, and host Andrew Sims reads an email sent to MuggleNet with a strange request or incoherent talk (dubbed "Huh?! Email of the Week").. MuggleCast is currently the highest rated Harry Potter Podcast on the Internet. On August 18, 2008, MuggleCast stopped recording weekly episodes but are still releasing them every few weeks, or whenever substantial Harry Potter news is released.

PotterCast was released less than two weeks after MuggleCast's first episode. Produced by The Leaky Cauldron, it differed from MuggleCast with a more structured program, including various segments and involvement of more people on the Leaky Cauldron staff compared to MuggleCast. It also was the first and is still the only Potter podcast to produce regular interviews with people directly involved with the books and films. The first show featured interviews with Stuart Craig, art director of the films, as well as Bonnie Wright, who plays Ginny Weasley. PotterCast has also interviewed Matthew Lewis (the actor who portrays Neville Longbottom), Evanna Lynch (Luna Lovegood), Jamie Waylett (Vincent Crabbe), Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley), Chris Columbus, Alfonso Cuarón, Mike Newell (directors of the fourth film), Arthur A. Levine & Cheryl Klein (editors of the books at Scholastic), and even the author of the book series, J.K. Rowling.

The two sites are friendly rivals and have aired several combined episodes, which they call "The Leaky Mug", a separate podcast released on a separate feed from time to time. Live joint podcasts have been held in New York City, Las Vegas, and California. From time to time, hosts on one podcast will appear on their counterpart.

In addition there have been podcasts solely based on a particular character, such as Snapecast which previously focused on determining the loyalty of Severus Snape.

Although the series is now complete, the podcasting community is still expanding to new generations of podcasters. One example of the aforementioned is Hogwarts Radio. This podcast follows more of a radio show format featuring news stories, interviews, discussion, and wizard rock. Hogwarts Radio was featured on iTunes under the "New and Notable" section during September and October.

Rowling has backed fan fiction stories on the Internet, stories written by fans that involve Harry Potter or other characters in the books. A March 2007 study showed that "Harry Potter" is the most searched-for fan fiction subject online. Some fans will use canon established in the books to write stories of past and future events in the Harry Potter world; others write stories that have little relation to the books other than the characters' names and the settings in which the fan fiction takes place. On FanFiction.Net, which has been referred to as the "granddaddy of fan-fiction sites", there are over 403,500 stories on Harry Potter as of June 2009. There are numerous websites devoted solely to Harry Potter fan fiction. Of these, FictionAlley.org has grown to be one of the largest: it hosts over 80,000 stories and 20,000 works of fan art. A well-known work of fan fiction is The Shoebox Project, created by two LiveJournal users. Over 5000 people subscribe to the story so that they are alerted when new posts update the story. The authors' works, including this project, were featured in an article in the The Wall Street Journal discussing the growth in popularity of fandoms.

In 2007, a web-based novel, James Potter and the Hall of Elders' Crossing, was written by a computer animator named George Lippert. The book was written as a supplement to fill the void after Deathly Hallows, and received quite a bit of media attention, much more than Harry Potter fan fiction usually receives.

Rowling has said, "I find it very flattering that people love the characters that much." She has adopted a positive position on fan fiction, unlike authors such as Anne McCaffrey or Anne Rice who discourage fans from writing about their books and have asked sites like FanFiction.Net to remove all stories of their works, requests honored by the site. However, Rowling has been "alarmed by pornographic or sexually explicit material clearly not meant for kids," according to Neil Blair, an attorney for her publisher. The attorneys have sent cease and desist letters to sites that host adult material.

Potter fan fiction also has a large following in the slash fiction genre, stories which feature homosexuality that does not exist in the books. Famous pairings include Harry with Draco Malfoy or Severus Snape or Cedric Diggory, and Remus Lupin with Sirius Black. Harry Potter slash has eroded some of the antipathy towards underage sexuality in the wider slash fandom.

In the fall of 2006, Jason Isaacs, who plays Lucius Malfoy in the Potter films, said that he had read fan fiction about his character and gets "a huge kick out of the more far-out stuff."

Prior to the publication of Deathly Hallows, much of the energy of the Potter fandom was devoted to speculation and debate about upcoming plot and character developments. To this end, clues from the earlier books and deliberate hints from J. K. Rowling (in interviews and on her website) were heavily scrutinised by fans. In particular, fan essays were published on websites such as Mugglenet (the “world famous editorials”), the Harry Potter Lexicon and The Leaky Cauldron (Scribbulus project) among others: offering theories, comment and analysis on all aspects of the series. The Yahoo discussion list Harry Potter for Grown Ups (founded in 1999) is also noteworthy for its detailed criticism and discussion of the Harry Potter books.

Speculation intensified with the July 2005 publication of Half-Blood Prince and the detailed post-publication interview given by Rowling to Mugglenet and The Leaky Cauldron. Notably, DumbledoreIsNotDead.com sought to understand the events of the sixth book in a different way. (Rowling later confirmed, however – on 2 August 2006 – that Dumbledore was, in fact, dead, humorously apologising to the website as she did so.) A collection of essays, Who Killed Albus Dumbledore?: What Really Happened in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince? Six Expert Harry Potter Detectives Examine the Evidence, was published by Zossima Press in November 2006. Contributors included the Christian author John Granger and Joyce Odell of Red Hen Publications, whose own website contains numerous essays on the Potterverse and fandom itself.

In 2006, in advance of the arrival of the seventh Potter novel, five MuggleNet staff members co-authored the reference book Mugglenet.Com's What Will Happen in Harry Potter 7: Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Falls in Love and How Will the Adventure Finally End, an anthology of unofficial fan predictions; while early in 2007, Leaky launched HarryPotterSeven.com, featuring “roundups and predictions from some of the most knowledgeable fans online” (including Steve Vander Ark of the Lexicon). Late additions to the fan scene (prior to the publication of Deathly Hallows) included BeyondHogwarts.com (the successor to DumbledoreIsNotDead.com), which billed itself as “the only ongoing online Harry Potter fan conference”, as well as Book7.co.uk, which offered an hypothetical “evidence-based synopsis” of the seventh novel. To this day, debate and reaction to the novels and films continues on web forums (including Mugglenet's Chamber of Secrets community and TLC's Leaky Lounge).

Fan conventions have been another way that the fandom have congregated. The conferences have maintained an academic emphasis, hosting professional keynote speakers. They have featured members of the fandom such as Steve Vander Ark, webmaster of the Harry Potter Lexicon (he spoke at Accio, a conference held in July 2005 at the University of Reading in Reading, Berkshire, Lumos, held in July 2006 in Las Vegas, Nevada., Patronus 2006 held at Copenhagen University in Copenhagen, Denmark, Sectus 2007 in London, an adults-only convention, and Prophecy 2007 in Toronto); Jennie Levine, owner of SugarQuill.net (Phoenix Rising, 2007); Melissa Anelli, current webmaster of The Leaky Cauldron (Phoenix Rising, 2007); Sue Upton, Senior Editor of the Leaky Cauldron (Prophecy, 2007); Heidi Tandy, founder of Fiction Alley (Prophecy, 2007), and Paul DeGeorge, guitarist of the wizard rock band Harry and the Potters (Prophecy, 2007). Still, the conventions try to attract the fandom with other activities, often more interactive, such as wizarding chess, water Quidditch, the watching of Harry Potter films, or local cultural immersions. Sometimes live podcasts have been held at conventions.

In the fandom the word "'ship" and its derivatives like "'shipping" or "'shipper" are commonly used as shorthand for the word "relationship."

Even though it wasn't written at all in the book, prior to the release of Half-Blood Prince, Rowling said that Harry Potter and Ginny Weasley were meant to be in a relationship, and Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger in another. This caused great disappointment among those fans who favored a relation between Harry and Hermione, and the hate was fueled when Spartz and Melissa Anelli, webmistress of The Leaky Cauldron, interviewed Rowling after the publication of the book. Spartz said, "We thought it was clearer than ever that Harry and Ginny are an item and Ron and Hermione—although we think you made it painfully obvious in the first five books[.]" Rowling agreed, and Spartz joked that Harry and Hermione partisans were "delusional." Though Rowling said immediately she still valued their readership, she established straightforwardly that "we do know now that it's Ron and Hermione," and added, "I do feel that I have dropped heavy hints. Anvil-sized, actually, hints, prior to this point. I certainly think even if subtle clues hadn't been picked up by the end of Azkaban, that by the time we hit [Viktor] Krum in Goblet..."

Once the interview was published online, fans of a Harry/Hermione relationship were very deeply offended. They felt the exchange had been intent on mocking them and that as a part of the fandom, they had been outed as "delusional" and "militant" for not sharing the same belief as the interviewers and the author. Furthermore, they felt disrespected in comparison to other shippers who had beliefs far wilder than their own, such as Draco/Hermione shippers who had been respectfully let down by Rowling, without any mocking of any kind involved. Spartz later apologized, admitting "delusional" might have been too harsh a word, but explained:

"My comments weren't directed at the shippers who acknowledged that Harry/Hermione was a long shot but loved the idea of them together. It was directed at the "militant" shippers who insisted that there was overwhelming canon proof and that everyone else was too blind to see it. You were delusional; you saw what you wanted to see and you have no one to blame for that but yourselves."

He also requested that they not "lash out on" Rowling: "the creator herself has laid down the law, it's time for you to lick your wounds and move on." However, Harry/Hermione proponents continued to defend their belief that Harry and Hermione would have been a far better match. One shipper said:

"I had seen the signs of R/Hr, I had seen the signs of H/G and yet they meant nothing to me. I had grown to love what I had seen between Harry/Hermione, and no other relationship could take over that passion."

On a less intense scale, other relationships have been doted upon in the fandom from suggestive hints or explicit statements throughout canon, such as those between Draco Malfoy and Pansy Parkinson, Rubeus Hagrid and Olympe Maxime, or Percy Weasley and Penelope Clearwater. A potential relationship between Neville Longbottom and Luna Lovegood was originally dispelled by Rowling, though she later retracted this and said she noticed a slight attraction between them in Deathly Hallows. Some couples, besides Harry and Ginny and Ron and Hermione, have been explicitly stated in the series: Bill Weasley and Fleur Delacour are married in Deathly Hallows after dating throughout Half-Blood Prince. In Half-Blood Prince, Nymphadora Tonks keeps her feelings for Remus Lupin to herself, but remains depressed when he refuses her advances; he feels that his being a werewolf would not create a safe relationship. Tonks professes her love for him at the end of the book, and she and Lupin have been married by the beginning of Deathly Hallows and have a son 'Teddy' later in the book. Other couples, such as Harry and Draco or Lupin and Sirius Black, are favorites among fans who read fan fiction about them. There is also an unusually large number of Severus Snape and Hermione Granger fans, with several large websites such as Ashwinder devoted only to this pairing. These shippers point out the shared love of books, innate intelligence and courage as reasons for the match making sense, along with Hermione's maturity. 

Some travel agencies have organized a subdivision to create tours specifically highlighting iconic landmarks in the world of Harry Potter. HP Fan Trips, offered by Beyond Boundaries Travel since 2004 in conjunction with fan site HPANA, was designed by and for fans of the series, and tours noteworthy Potter-related locations in the United Kingdom, including Scotland. Since 2004, they have exclusively chartered steam locomotive #5972 Olton Hall, the train used in the films as the Hogwarts Express, as well as the carriages labeled as such and seen in the movies. The travel agency Your Man in Europe began hosting Magical Tours in 2006, in conjunction with fan site MuggleNet. They offer four different tours through England and Scotland.

These tours primarily feature locations used for shooting in the films, though some trips include a Chinese restaurant in Edinburgh, which was once Nicholson's Cafe, where Rowling wrote much of the manuscript for Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, and Edinburgh Castle, where Rowling read from the sixth book on the night of its release to an audience of children. Filming locations visited include Alnwick Castle, where some exterior locations of Hogwarts are shot, places in Fort William, Scotland; Glen Nevis, Scotland; the Glenfinnan viaduct; and Christ Church Cathedral in Oxford.

Note that the majority of Harry Potter Fans do not listen to Wizard rock, and those that do have largely formed their own comunity outside of the fandom. Harry Potter Fans often listen to a mixture of music from the movies, normal mainstream music, and Podcasts. There is also a spoof of 'We didn't start the fire' dealing with Harry Potter Fans, apropriatley titled 'we didn't start the fandom', and indeed they probably didn't.

Harry potter fans dress more-or-less normally, but with Harry Potter t-shirts and maybe a Hogwarts scarf when it gets cold.

Most info from wikipedia, image and last two paragraphs by me.


 

 



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