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The Worlds Biggest Harry Potter Fan
November 16, 2010 2:09 PM   Subscribe


 
Rupert? What are you doing down there?

MOOOO-OMMMM!
posted by shakespeherian at 2:13 PM on November 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


it's levi-O-sa, not levio-SA
posted by 2bucksplus at 2:14 PM on November 16, 2010 [11 favorites]


You know who this guy should be?

He should be one of the false identities in The Saint.

Hopefully The Saint 2 will have room for a little Harry Potter action.
posted by circular at 2:15 PM on November 16, 2010


I have to admire his dedication. I did get worried at, "I can wear Harry Potter clothing every day for three months without..."

"... wearing the same thing twice." Whew!

Actually I know someone who has read the series 50+ times. That's the thing I don't really get -- I don't have a problem with rereading things, but it hasn't been out all that long. Are you finishing it and then immediately starting it again, or what?
posted by Solon and Thanks at 2:16 PM on November 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


The world's biggest Harry Porter fan!
posted by Gamien Boffenburg at 2:18 PM on November 16, 2010


I bet the world's biggest Harry Potter fan is quite a bit larger.
posted by 2bucksplus at 2:20 PM on November 16, 2010 [7 favorites]


Can't watch more than 5 seconds of this. Urgh.

I know I can't talk. I'm planning on freehand-embroidering a golden snitch onto my red scarf in preparation for the midnight IMAX premiere of Deathly Hallows. I have a secret tumblr dedicated to Poppy Pomfrey. But still I can't handle this video. Am I embarrassed for him? No... maybe it's more like having to look at a naked reflection of myself, in really poor lighting.
posted by Mizu at 2:21 PM on November 16, 2010 [11 favorites]


It was the autograph tattoo that sold me. Give him whatever prize he gets for this.
posted by Bookhouse at 2:22 PM on November 16, 2010 [10 favorites]


Shame he couldn't magic up a decent camera man that could follow his panning cues and hold the thing still.
posted by Brockles at 2:22 PM on November 16, 2010 [4 favorites]


No, no, no. He said he was America's biggest Hairy Potter fan.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 2:23 PM on November 16, 2010 [9 favorites]


That wasn't too bad. He seems like a pretty high-functioning nerd, and a natural behind a camera. The complete opposite of this.
posted by naju at 2:24 PM on November 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


No, no, no. He said he was America's biggest Hairy Potter fan.

Something about that photo is triggering the "not work safe, close tab immediately" part of my brain hard.
posted by theodolite at 2:25 PM on November 16, 2010 [10 favorites]


'Fan' is short for 'fanatic!'
posted by ericb at 2:27 PM on November 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


I love the fact that he is completely self-aware and totally deadpan. I guess you pretty much have to be in his case.
posted by griphus at 2:29 PM on November 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


I would pay good money to see the following prank played on Daniel Radcliffe: Captured by "thugs," blindfolded, tossed into a car, driven to this guy's house and locked inside.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 2:29 PM on November 16, 2010 [8 favorites]


CPB, I think you just committed a crime.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:31 PM on November 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's fascinating to see people devote so much to something like this. What I like about this guy is that he is not just a consumer -- he obviously can draw, and he writes. He's definitely got a vivid imagination that motivates him, and he just seems more focused in one area than other creative people I know. Whereas the folks that tend to get accolades aim for breadth, he aims for depth, and that definitely warrants respect.
posted by spiderskull at 2:31 PM on November 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Underpantsium wedgiosa!
posted by kuujjuarapik at 2:33 PM on November 16, 2010 [40 favorites]




The World's Biggest trapezius muscles on a hardcore Harry Potter Fan
posted by penduluum at 2:38 PM on November 16, 2010


There's something endearing about his fanaticism... I'm just not sure what.
posted by aftermarketradio at 2:39 PM on November 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


The character of Harry Potter would avoid this guy like the plague.

That said, and it's easy to miss this in the veritable avalanche of lolcrayzee in this video, but the guy appears to be quite a talented artist, if those "drawrings" were really done by him.
posted by Gator at 2:39 PM on November 16, 2010


Well, his metric on how long he can wear Harry Potter clothing without repeating an outfit certainly put a perspective on things.
posted by six-or-six-thirty at 2:47 PM on November 16, 2010


This video would be better if he ended it yelling "I am a beautiful animal! I am the destroyer of worlds!"
posted by hellojed at 2:47 PM on November 16, 2010 [12 favorites]


Hmmm, wonder what this is all about.
posted by Gator at 2:47 PM on November 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


I never really got being into things like this. Bands, movies, whatever, there's just always too much awesome stuff out there for me to focus on just one little part of it to the exclusion of others.
posted by klangklangston at 2:48 PM on November 16, 2010 [6 favorites]


sure, but has he ever shanked some dude for talking smack about potter? that's where the rubber meets the road, my friend.
posted by facetious at 2:49 PM on November 16, 2010 [8 favorites]


It's fascinating to see people devote so much to something like this. What I like about this guy is that he is not just a consumer -- he obviously can draw, and he writes. He's definitely got a vivid imagination that motivates him, and he just seems more focused in one area than other creative people I know. Whereas the folks that tend to get accolades aim for breadth, he aims for depth, and that definitely warrants respect.

That's the bit I found profoundly depressing - apologies for not getting fandom, but it makes me incredibly frustrated to see people who can really write and really draw wasting that inside someone else's world, instead of their own or the real one. The dude can draw, but all of those are of the same people and from photos, and I don't think that develops your skill or challenges you, and I really hope that outside of the obvious emphasis for video, he actually engages with something else as well.

It would be inaccurate to say that was the only thing I found profoundly depressing in the video. CHECK OUT HOW BIG I FAN I AM, I BOUGHT SO MUCH STUFF! is just fucking awful.
posted by carbide at 2:54 PM on November 16, 2010 [8 favorites]


I just want to make it known that my childhood bedroom is now my mother's Harry Potter room, and it looks pretty much like this guy's room. She always dressed up as a Hogwarts professor to wait in line for midnight book releases. Now I guess she just dresses up like one for fun, sometimes.

When we visit her, I'm always a little surprised that the full-length mirror doesn't show me my deepest longings, or that she hasn't gotten around to building an owlery or an astronomy tower.

Mom also has several fairy doors and fairy mushroom houses and gnomes in her yard and gets very annoyed if you imply that they are just decorative.

She's a very nice lady though.
posted by padraigin at 2:55 PM on November 16, 2010 [20 favorites]


Why do people make videos like this, is there some kind of personality disorder where you think other people will respond positively to your deranged obsessions
posted by tehloki at 2:58 PM on November 16, 2010 [4 favorites]


"My collection gets bigger every year, with no sign of stopping." he said.
If the World wide Depression doesn't get it, then surely a house fire?
Personally, I think he should be on the show Hoarders.
posted by QueerAngel28 at 2:59 PM on November 16, 2010


It was the autograph tattoo that sold me. Give him whatever prize he gets for this.

He only showed three of four tattoos. WHAT IS HE TRYING TO HIDE?
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 3:00 PM on November 16, 2010 [3 favorites]


is there some kind of personality disorder where you think other people will respond positively to your deranged obsessions

Palinomania.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 3:02 PM on November 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


When I was a child, I spoke like a child, thought like a child, and reasoned like a child. When I became an adult, I no longer used childish ways.
posted by Omon Ra at 3:03 PM on November 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Personally, I think he should be on the show Hoarders.

What? While he has a large collection, he seems to be completely in control of it. Look around your house and replace every object with a Harry Potter-branded object and you'd be in the same place he is.
posted by griphus at 3:04 PM on November 16, 2010


MetaFilter: Some kind of personality disorder where you think other people will respond positively to your deranged obsessions.
posted by Zozo at 3:05 PM on November 16, 2010 [31 favorites]


"While he has a large collection, he seems to be completely in control of it."

No.
posted by Gamien Boffenburg at 3:06 PM on November 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Why do people make videos like this, is there some kind of personality disorder where you think other people will respond positively to your deranged obsessions

It's for a contest.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 3:07 PM on November 16, 2010


LOL OCD
posted by slogger at 3:10 PM on November 16, 2010


Why do people make videos like this, is there some kind of personality disorder where you think other people will respond positively to your deranged obsessions


From the description on the Youtube page:

"My submission video to Moviefone's "America's Biggest Harry Potter Fan" contest..."

More power to him, frankly. He's got a thing that he's really passionate about that doesn't appear to be hurting anybody. More people should have that.
posted by dersins at 3:10 PM on November 16, 2010 [4 favorites]


I am regularly amused by Americans' inconsistent British accents. (Though to be fair, British people playing Americans routinely crack me up too.)
posted by klangklangston at 3:12 PM on November 16, 2010


He's got a thing that he's really passionate about that doesn't appear to be hurting anybody.

I get what you're saying, but from a certain pov he represents the sort of person that makes it economically unviable to create popular culture aimed to adults.
posted by Omon Ra at 3:18 PM on November 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


I just really need to say that it isn't being America's Biggest Harry Potter Fan that is the cringe factor here; it is the accent. My God, the accent. The accent moves us squarely from adorable fan to embarrassing teenage affectation.
posted by DarlingBri at 3:18 PM on November 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


I really like what he's done with his parents' basement.
posted by codacorolla at 3:18 PM on November 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


I am regularly amused by Americans' inconsistent British accents. (Though to be fair, British people playing Americans routinely crack me up too.)

Yeah, that was kind of funny to me too. I mean, I'm American, but I can certainly tell when an American is doing a (sufficiently for my American ears) not great British accent. Not to knock him, but you'd think with his level of obsession he'd really work harder on nailing that one...er, I guess, not really knowing what that level of obsession really does to your mind...

At least he always has more to strive for!!

Also, I'd take that WoW geek over this guy any day of the week, frankly. I like how Mr. Redshirt was so into it that he'd sussed out the issues with a very specific part of the world...granted, maybe this guy has those sorts of qualities too, and we just didn't see it here, but I always appreciate a curious personality over one that just seems to adhere slavishly to a certain ethos. If that's what this can be called.
posted by dubitable at 3:22 PM on November 16, 2010


I think there will be a lot of laughs at the office where he works when they pull this one out of the youtube archives in 20 years.
posted by crunchland at 3:24 PM on November 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


The accent was so bad I initially thought he was taking the piss... and I'm still not convinced it's not entirely real.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:27 PM on November 16, 2010


My Harry-Potter-loving friend here at work -- he spends much of his time with fanfic -- had this reaction:

"Hmm. Actually, the obsessive accumulation of stuff and the delight he takes in lording it over other people makes him seem a bit more like Draco Malfoy than Harry Potter."
posted by koeselitz at 3:34 PM on November 16, 2010 [3 favorites]


I've been watching the movies with my girl friend during the lead-up to the new one, and I recently told her about the concept fan fiction, and specifically slash fiction. We'll get to a scene (like Myrtle and Harry in the prefect's bathroom in Goblet) and she'll be like, "What about those two" and I'll just smile and nod as she goes "Ewwwww!"
posted by codacorolla at 3:38 PM on November 16, 2010 [3 favorites]


This is a primary cause for erectile dysfunction.
posted by zerobyproxy at 3:56 PM on November 16, 2010


He's hot, so it's a shame. Until he grows out of it that is.
posted by Summer at 3:58 PM on November 16, 2010


I've been watching the movies with my girl friend during the lead-up to the new one, and I recently told her about the concept fan fiction, and specifically slash fiction. We'll get to a scene (like Myrtle and Harry in the prefect's bathroom in Goblet) and she'll be like, "What about those two" and I'll just smile and nod as she goes "Ewwwww!"

...well, at least you weren't watching Azkaban with the scenes including Buckbeak.

and dammit, something in my brain just broke a little bit.
posted by zennish at 3:58 PM on November 16, 2010


If it says anything, I did watch this with my mouth agape.
posted by Askiba at 3:59 PM on November 16, 2010


He only showed three of four tattoos. WHAT IS HE TRYING TO HIDE?

Come on, we know what it is, because J. K. Rowling mentioned it in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. It's a Hungarian Horntail on his wanger.
posted by Rory Marinich at 4:04 PM on November 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


The accent moves us squarely from adorable fan to embarrassing teenage affectation.

He isn't a teenager, though. He has to be at least twenty-three, judging from how he says he discovered Harry Potter at age 11 and has been a fan for 12 years now.

I hope he wins the contest.
posted by misha at 4:09 PM on November 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


WHAT IS HE TRYING TO HIDE?

"Holly. Eleven inches. Phoenix feather."
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 4:11 PM on November 16, 2010


I hope he wins the contest.

He will. It's a straight-up "most upvotes wins" contest. With all the attention this video is garnering, nobody else has a chance.
posted by Gator at 4:12 PM on November 16, 2010 [1 favorite]




Under his profile page in the favorite movies section, he lists The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood.

I find that much more shocking that this Harry Potter business.
posted by Windigo at 4:26 PM on November 16, 2010


. . . apologies for not getting fandom, but it makes me incredibly frustrated to see people who can really write and really draw wasting that inside someone else's world, instead of their own or the real one.

It's the instant connection with other readers and viewers. I don't write fanfic anymore, but only because I'm not particularly into anything so much at the moment; I expect I will again. I've got a lot of work of my own, but fanfic has everything set up for you. Plus, your readers will be delighted if you just spell everything right and don't use a Mary Sue OC or have anybody in the story find Jesus. Internet affirmation is a real confidence booster.

It just takes seventy or eighty years for fanfic to become respectable, even upmarket -- a pastiche or a parallel novel. I don't mind getting ahead of the game.
posted by Countess Elena at 4:28 PM on November 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm like this about BUCKAROO BANZAI, and oh so alone.
posted by Ron Thanagar at 4:31 PM on November 16, 2010 [7 favorites]


That's the bit I found profoundly depressing - apologies for not getting fandom, but it makes me incredibly frustrated to see people who can really write and really draw wasting that inside someone else's world, instead of their own or the real one.

Some people aren't into creating things for the sake of artistic progress. A lot of very talented and famous people still aren't striving for progress.

To go with a MetaFilter fan fave, Lady Gaga is a bright, talented young woman, and before she got successful she flirted with a lot of different-sounding styles of music, but now that she's a success she's sticking largely to the sort of music she found that lets her connect with her fans. She was in music either to make a lot of money or to have a somehow-meaningful connection with a lot of people, and now that she's found that, her ambitions have shrunk. She's still growing musically, but we're not seeing radical reinventions of her sound like we are with, say, Sufjan Stevens, who found success with a style but still abandoned it to find something new.

Fandom is like that. You're in it because you love the community that surrounds it. It feels good to be a part of something. I'm not at all in the Harry Potter fandom, but I love the series, and listening to a song like Harry and the Potters' Dumbledore can get me teary, for all that it's mawkish and fairly amateur. What's more, I don't see anything wrong with people taking advantage of such a connection if they think it's easier to grab somebody on a more satisfying level. I don't insist that all the media I consume be artistically pure.


* (Although when I was 14, my friends and I made a Harry Potter dub on Newgrounds, and it got way more viewers than we probably deserved. Maybe that's why I'm sympathetic. Fandom made a 14-year-old Rory's freshman year in high school a little magical, and arguably is one of the reasons that I've ended up where I am today.)
posted by Rory Marinich at 4:45 PM on November 16, 2010 [4 favorites]


Call me crazy, but I think Rowling should throw this kid a mercy fuck. He shouldn't die a virgin.
posted by dbiedny at 5:05 PM on November 16, 2010 [3 favorites]


So I can't beat this guy, but I do have a story about the relationship my family had with Harry Potter.

My parents were finally blossoming out of their fundamentalist world views and for the first time, we could play Pokemon, watch Yu-Gi-Oh, and read Harry Potter. Years later, all four of us had read the series at least a dozen times (not an exaggeration!) by the 7th books release. We went to a midnight release party at the library, and there was a Jeopardy-like trivia contest starting. It was 5 to a group, so our group was me, my two brothers, my sister, and my dad. There were four groups, named after the school houses, that battled for the most points. The winning group would receive a free copy of the book, one for every member. And we completely smoked the other houses, and every member of our family won a free book.

After we were done reading them, they were given to friends so we only have one copy now, but damn that felt good, knowing my Potter knowledge was the greatest.
posted by Taft at 5:07 PM on November 16, 2010 [3 favorites]


Countess Elena: Sherlock. That's your next fandom. Go.
posted by Hildegarde at 5:13 PM on November 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


My very rough calculation is that he's claiming to have read an average of 100 pages a day of Harry Potter, every day for the last 12 years. That can't be good for you.
posted by ecurtz at 5:16 PM on November 16, 2010


Oh, also: lots of successful fiction writers started out writing fanfiction. Some of them are ridiculously successful at this point, New York Times best sellers, movie deals, etc. Started out in fanfiction. I know for a fact that at least one of the screenwriters and producers for a top American TV show writes and reads fanfiction. I'm a little tickled every time I see her name in the credits.

Though most people who write fanfiction don't really want to be professional writers. Fanfiction culture is far more about community and shared characters than professional publication. Why do you spend time posting comments on metafilter when you could be writing a novel, anyway?
posted by Hildegarde at 5:21 PM on November 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


A lot of very talented and famous people still aren't striving for progress.

Oh, I get it, a Bob Dylan reference.

*duck*
posted by nzero at 5:21 PM on November 16, 2010 [5 favorites]


...well, at least you weren't watching Azkaban with the scenes including Buckbeak.

So, I decided to see if Harry/Buckbeak slash fic existed. I couldn't find it, but I did find some NSFW Snape/Hagrid fiction.

I should be careful what I wish for at the altar of google. You should probably not read it.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 5:24 PM on November 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


apparently even metafilter is ashamed that this exists. here's a proper link. ugh
posted by Solon and Thanks at 5:25 PM on November 16, 2010


I am not clicking that link, in no small part because it contains the word "poppet."
posted by Gator at 5:28 PM on November 16, 2010


I'm not sure Harry/Buckbeak fic exists. I know for a fact, however, that Sirius/Buckbeak fic exists, and no, I will not dig it up and link it to you because that would require me to go spelunking through skyehawke archives and I'd be there through next month. Just shudder and consider to yourself the strange, feathery, bestial possibilities. There's also Crookshanks/Sirius and Crookshanks/Lupin stuff out there, which makes, in my mind, even less sense.

I don't know how anybody could ever not understand the appeal of fandom to talented people!
posted by Mizu at 5:34 PM on November 16, 2010


Call me crazy, but I think Rowling should throw this kid a mercy fuck. He shouldn't die a virgin.

Cosplay sex - if he's smart it should be a layup for him.

Actually I wouldn't say no to a good Cho Chang cosplay.
posted by 2bucksplus at 5:59 PM on November 16, 2010


poor Harry's probably cock-blocked by Cedric Diggory's ghost cosplay
posted by 2bucksplus at 6:01 PM on November 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


I know for a fact, however, that Sirius/Buckbeak fic exists, and no, I will not dig it up and link it to you because that would require me to go spelunking through skyehawke archives and I'd be there through next month. Just shudder and consider to yourself the strange, feathery, bestial possibilities.

I'm sorry, I couldn't resist posting this...

Life in a Cave [VERY NSFW]
"Sirius was lonely, and Buckbeak was his only friend."

posted by Zephyrial at 6:39 PM on November 16, 2010 [3 favorites]


Hogwarts Castle/Giant Squid exists.
posted by kmz at 6:40 PM on November 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


NOBODY TELL MY MOM ABOUT FANFIC.
posted by padraigin at 6:45 PM on November 16, 2010 [6 favorites]


That's the bit I found profoundly depressing - apologies for not getting fandom, but it makes me incredibly frustrated to see people who can really write and really draw wasting that inside someone else's world, instead of their own or the real one. The dude can draw, but all of those are of the same people and from photos, and I don't think that develops your skill or challenges you, and I really hope that outside of the obvious emphasis for video, he actually engages with something else as well.

Do you feel the same way about cover songs, or paintings in famous masters' styles, or literary pastiches, or the umpty-umpth time someone takes a photo of a landscape the way they learned to in photography school? How about writers who only put out mysteries, or musicians who only write cowboy songs (or punk rock songs, for that matter)?

Art is and always has been partly about being "inside someone else's world", especially as artists develop, and the process of craft is largely the same whether you're being "original" or not. The idea that art is ever wasted doesn't fit my experience; frankly, if I could trade the time I've spent reading mefi toward finishing an equivalent number of fanfics, I'd consider myself to be much better off.
posted by grey_sw at 7:01 PM on November 16, 2010 [5 favorites]


apologies for not getting fandom, but it makes me incredibly frustrated to see people who can really write and really draw wasting that inside someone else's world, instead of their own or the real one. The dude can draw, but all of those are of the same people and from photos, and I don't think that develops your skill or challenges you [...]

Ugh, this again.

I'd start a list of professional creators that cut their teeth on fan-work, but it would never stop.

Failing that, I'd write out my standard refutation to this kind of criticism of fandom, but I'm too tired. Hopefully Narrative Priorities will show up; I suspect she may have something to say on the subject.
posted by pts at 7:05 PM on November 16, 2010


it makes me incredibly frustrated to see people who can really write and really draw wasting that inside someone else's world, instead of their own or the real one.

You just described almost my entire body of professional work. I'm not really sure why my creativity has to be channeled entirely into "original" pursuits in order to be worthwhile, but....all right!

Writers and artists who hope to someday work professionally can learn a lot through fanwork. But that said, those who do it just for the sheer enjoyment of the work itself and the community around it aren't wasting their time, either, any more than you're wasting your time when you write comments on MetaFilter. We all do different things for entertainment.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 7:07 PM on November 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


I can understand why someone would write it, but why would anyone read it (the non-dirty stuff, that is, I can fathom why people read that)? If you're not getting the world directly from the author, then what's the point?
posted by codacorolla at 7:23 PM on November 16, 2010


Oh! Ali! Good to see you! :D Small world!
posted by Hildegarde at 7:24 PM on November 16, 2010


I can understand why someone would write it, but why would anyone read it (the non-dirty stuff, that is, I can fathom why people read that)? If you're not getting the world directly from the author, then what's the point?

Well, I read the heck out of some Star Wars novels and comics. That's just fanfic with a budget.

People read it because they want to know what other people think might have happened next, or when the cameras were off, or in between chapters, or in the next room. It's FUN.
posted by padraigin at 7:27 PM on November 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


And it's layers and layers of different interpretations of a character, or a plot point, or an idea. Playing around with concepts back and forth as a huge group, lots of what ifs playing out in a zillion different directions. And yeah, it's totally fun.
posted by Hildegarde at 7:29 PM on November 16, 2010


I can understand why someone would write it, but why would anyone read it (the non-dirty stuff, that is, I can fathom why people read that)? If you're not getting the world directly from the author, then what's the point?

Literature is chock-full of shared worlds, from Holmes to Lovecraft to Conan. It's equally full of genres which came out of a small handful of central works. You might as well ask why people read vampire stories which weren't written by Bram Stoker, but here's your answer: it's because they like vampire stories, and they already read Dracula.
posted by grey_sw at 7:44 PM on November 16, 2010


Kevin Smith and Scott Mosier explore and expound upon possible Harry Potter liaisons in one of their podcasts. Short animations followed (5 min each). Forgeticus part 1, Forgeticus part 2. Sex ... is slightly touched.
posted by phoque at 7:50 PM on November 16, 2010


Genre fiction (like sci-fi or gangsters) was the original fanfic in some ways. You have a set of conventions and stock characters and expected situations that you can tweak to a degree, but you're expected to stay within their familiar realms. Like, are your zombies fast or slow? The world's pretty much made, you just tweak it. The appeal is being part of a group and debating the little stuff, not really in creating some new world but exploring the confines of what you've got.

Just like genre, some really talented writers can be involved with/come out of fanfic. I do think the easy appeal of pre-built worlds can be a crutch for some people, but I don't think fanfiction is what's holding most people back from writing the next great American novel.

Comparing fanfic to capital-L Literature is like comparing apples and oranges. People like them and write them for different reasons.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 7:53 PM on November 16, 2010


I can understand why someone would write it, but why would anyone read it (the non-dirty stuff, that is, I can fathom why people read that)? If you're not getting the world directly from the author, then what's the point?

So... which One True Version of Arthurian legend are we supposed to read? What's the point of Paradise Lost? How foolish is Seamus Heaney, wasting his time writing Sophocles fanfic?

And that's not even getting to the reams of RPF (real person fic) throughout history, from Shakespeare's history plays to Romance of the Three Kingdoms.
posted by kmz at 7:59 PM on November 16, 2010


Comparing fanfic to capital-L Literature is like comparing apples and oranges. People like them and write them for different reasons.

Yes! Thank you!
In my thankfully brief friendship with the canon creator of one of my primary fandoms, I had to explain to him, once he started realizing what fanfic actually was, other than pervs writing about Kirk and Spock, that fanfic simply cannot be judged on the same rubrics as other contemporary narrative creative pursuits.

Fanfic is, apart from a perfectly acceptable form of culture building that goes back as far as Chinese mythological epics, currently something that is done for the specific purpose of immediate gratification, and to satisfy incredibly specific desires. You can't judge a piece of SG-1 whump-fic (wherein Daniel gets trapped in a hole with broken legs yadda yadda) next to a piece of original fiction about the potentials of space travel. Maybe fanfic is more easily seen as something that grows up out of a sense of community and storytelling, instead. It's people sitting around the fire of the internet, saying "hey, tell me a story about what could happen when Harry (or Hercules, or Conan, or Mister Fox, or Robin Hood) has to save the day? With mermaids! And also he lost his shoes! And what if he's gay?" You can't compare it to reading the latest bestseller, but it has no less merit as a creative pursuit of the individual, and is often more inherently satisfying, due to its niche-filling nature.
posted by Mizu at 8:08 PM on November 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think there's a slight difference between ancient literature and legends that didn't have many other things to build on, books that work inside of a themed genre, and writing a story where your self insert and Ron flirt with the girls of Hufflepuff.

Anyway, got it, it's the community.
posted by codacorolla at 8:12 PM on November 16, 2010


I don't think the accent is bad at all- in fact I was convinced that he actually was British and that's why he had to qualify being the biggest fan in "the world" vs "America."

What, specifically, does he flub?
posted by ethnomethodologist at 8:15 PM on November 16, 2010


That slight difference is pretty much that self inserts and Ron flirting with the girls of Hufflepuff is kind of awful fanfic. But people will still want to read it. Because sometimes you just really want to think about that sort of thing!
posted by Mizu at 8:15 PM on November 16, 2010


it makes me incredibly frustrated to see people who can really write and really draw wasting that inside someone else's world, instead of their own or the real one

Aren't some of the most widely acclaimed "own worlds" just responses to previous work? Often direct deconstructions of previous work? To stick to geeky genres: Watchmen had to create original characters due to IP concerns, but would it really have been much worse if Rorschach actually was The Question or Mr. A rather than a character based on them? Evangelion showed how actual children would crack and break under the stress of the by-then-cliched "children save the world" mecha story; would that have been impossible if set in an "alternate universe" of some existing franchise?

Surely it's possible to have new ideas that can't be squashed into the framework of an existing work like Harry Potter. But it's probably not as common as you'd think; some people turn out to be astonishingly good at squashing things.
posted by roystgnr at 8:34 PM on November 16, 2010


I don't think the accent is bad at all....What, specifically, does he flub?

I'm no expert, but his vowels sound really wonky to me: too short and nasally to be a genuine RP accent. He also seems to have decided, like so many American actors before him, that in order to sound British all he has to do is sound as pretentious as possible.
posted by colfax at 8:46 PM on November 16, 2010


Man. Gryffindors are sooo weird, amirite??
posted by little light-giver at 9:08 PM on November 16, 2010


codacorolla: "I think there's a slight difference between ancient literature and legends that didn't have many other things to build on, books that work inside of a themed genre, and writing a story where your self insert and Ron flirt with the girls of Hufflepuff.

Anyway, got it, it's the community
"

Not all fanfiction has self inserts. Not all fanfiction is awful.

Really, there are few really really good stories that could perfectly be canon or at least part of a Harry Potter 'extended universe' if Rowling allowed something like that.

There is also, of course, fluff/WAFF (Warm and Fuzzy Feeling) fanfiction that does nothing but take the characters, put them into a romantic/feel-good situation and see what happens. Which is not bad, sometimes people want to read things like that (there's a reason why romance novels exist after all).

And then, you have bad stuff like My Immortal.

I do agree that the community has a lot to do though, even for someone who doesn't read HP sites or read comments, as most fanfiction writers also read fanfiction and get inspired by what they read, spawning themes that get popular for a few months or years, like Super Harry (very popular before OoTP), someone goes to the past to fix things, X who Lived (Neville, girl-Harry, etc), Emancipated/Independent Harry, Evil/Manipulative Dumbledore (commonly paired with Evil Weasleys), and a lot more. And I'm not talking about a few fanfics each, there are hundred of stories based around the same themes and many are different and original enough to be worth a read.

There are also challenges inside the same community. One of the most famous ones in the Harry Potter fandom was the Severitus challenge, based around "Harry is Severus Snape's son and the spell hiding his appearance is starting to fail". It spawned thousands of fanfics, many of them being novel-sized.

And all those fanfics can also be divided according to what SHIP they sail. Are they about Harry/Ginny? Draco/Ginny? Ron/Hermione? Or maybe the author likes slash and has Harry/Draco as the main couple.

Maybe the writing style is not always up to par compared to even genre fiction but fanfiction is not really about that, it's about reading about something you love plus the author's own personal touch, their own interpretation of how things would go if X happens. It's about keeping alive and discovering the possibilities of a world that was left mostly unexplored by the original author.
posted by Memo at 9:12 PM on November 16, 2010 [4 favorites]


Capitalism is gross.
posted by wayland at 9:25 PM on November 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


"...over 15 wands..."

'Over'? Like, 16 wands? Or 11,565 wands? Or is your house built out of wands?
posted by obiwanwasabi at 11:14 PM on November 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


Capitalism is gross.

As in big, palpable, coarse, disgusting or income?
posted by topynate at 11:57 PM on November 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


I wish I could love anything as much as that man loves Harry Potter. Did you see what the prize is??? Its a non Harry Potter T-shirt. Worth making yourself "that guy"?
posted by Felex at 12:18 AM on November 17, 2010


facetious: "sure, but has he ever shanked some dude for talking smack about potter? that's where the rubber meets the road, my friend"

I can totally picture him standing over some poor slob and yelling, in that accent: Don't FUCK with me, bitch, I'll fuck your shit UP!
posted by bwg at 1:11 AM on November 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


huh. I plowed through the Potter books one after another in the summer of '07. Had a fantastic time, and well ... that was that. The movies have never really gripped me so it was funny when I was out having coffee with a friend this afternoon and he complained that he was really having trouble writing his latest movie review for a local paper.

Me: "Oh, what movie is it?"
Him: "The new Harry Potter one."
Me: "Seriously? Didn't the final one come out two years ago?"

Sigh. I guess it's time for one last round of fanatical madness. Is there anything like this awesomeness that could be used to piss off people who haven't seen the movie yet?
posted by mannequito at 1:16 AM on November 17, 2010


mannequito: "Sigh. I guess it's time for one last round of fanatical madness. Is there anything like this awesomeness that could be used to piss off people who haven't seen the movie yet"

Yes, but the first trailer did everything it could to give it away.
posted by Memo at 1:32 AM on November 17, 2010


Carbide, you've used the terms "incredibly frustrated," "profoundly depressing," and "fucking awful," to describe something that you apologize for not "getting"... that happens to be something that harms no one and is enjoyed by very many. Why do people play WoW or D&D, or collect stamps, or pore over vintage films, or do cross stitch or build models... or any of the things that people do to entertain and comfort themselves? Some people are really, really fixated on those hobbies and fill their homes with items related to that narrow interest. There have been clubs, societies and fanatics devoted to everything about Sherlock Holmes, or Alice in Wonderland, for example, for ages, so this is nothing new; the modern aspect is simply that it's easier for fans to connect with each other and share their thoughts and ideas. I can't imagine how that would frustrate or depress someone who isn't at all involved or interested in that hobby.

In fact, I'd say it's exactly these sorts of people with an obsessive and concentrated focus on a very narrow field of interest that often become respected academic scholars on subjects such as the works of Nabokov or — closer to home, regarding this post — Tolkien. Can you imagine spending your whole life reading, researching, writing about, teaching and lecturing on one author? You'd have to be somewhat obsessive, not a little like our Potter fan here.

Regarding Boswell, for example: "It has often been asked how a man such as Boswell could have produced so remarkable a work as the Life of Johnson. Among those who attempted an answer were Macaulay and Carlyle: the former argued that Boswell's uninhibited folly and triviality were his greatest qualifications; the latter replied that beneath such traits were a mind to discern excellence and a heart to appreciate it, aided by the power of accurate observation and considerable dramatic ability." In other words, very typical characteristics of fandom!
posted by taz at 1:58 AM on November 17, 2010 [4 favorites]


That's the bit I found profoundly depressing - apologies for not getting fandom, but it makes me incredibly frustrated to see people who can really write and really draw wasting that inside someone else's world, instead of their own or the real one.

Being able to draw does not mean you are any good at dreaming up fantasy worlds. Drawing is a physical skill. Being good at stringing a sentence together doesn't make you a world builder. World building is hard work and is its own skill set. Plenty of people who love writing are going to get much more pleasure frolicking around in a pre-exisiting setting rather than slaving away to make their own. Especially when you're young and barely know what makes this world work, let alone imaginary ones.

Fanfic is ultimately about pleasure - not what sells well, not what will drive a plot or create interesting growth in a character, but what's fun to write and what's fun to read. That's why there is so much bad fic out there. It was fun for the writer to whip up. That's why the Mary Sue exists - it's fun to imagine yourself in that world. And slash and shipper fics are fun for their own sexy reasons. Add to that the fact that there a heaps of people who will read and enjoy it and provide feedback, and there's a lot of people out there having fun with it.
posted by Jilder at 3:18 AM on November 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Why do people play WoW or D&D, or collect stamps, or pore over vintage films, or do cross stitch or build models... or any of the things that people do to entertain and comfort themselves? Some people are really, really fixated on those hobbies and fill their homes with items related to that narrow interest.

Do you see the question mark in what you just posted? Think of that as a line. Left of the line? You're OK. Right of the line? Not so much. When 'entertain and comfort' becomes 'actually, if I think about it for a bit, I don't think I can stop myself', you're right of the line.

This guy is right of the line.

And Boswell? You're seriously pulling out Boswell and holding him up against this guy? You're going to compare a study of the lifetime of Samuel Johnson to filling your house with Harry Potter shit?
posted by obiwanwasabi at 3:18 AM on November 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


I don't think the accent is bad at all....What, specifically, does he flub?

Well he doesn't do a terrible job, but he says Herry not Harry and that doesn't really fit with the rest of his accent, Herry suggests a v upper class huntin' shootin' aristocratic accent whereas the rest is filled with just ever so slightly over enunciated "t"s and is pitched as middle class.
posted by itsjustanalias at 4:06 AM on November 17, 2010


You guys keep articulately defending fanfic, i'll use this thread to defend my dream Burn Notice vs. Psych crossover comic project.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 6:35 AM on November 17, 2010


@padraigin

your mom sounds all sorts of awesome. i'd throw on a griffindor scarf just for the opportunity to meet her :D
posted by liza at 7:03 AM on November 17, 2010


your mom sounds all sorts of awesome. i'd throw on a griffindor scarf just for the opportunity to meet her :D

Tell you what, my kids think she is a grade-A badass grandmother. She lets them play with her action figures.
posted by padraigin at 7:27 AM on November 17, 2010


he says Herry not Harry --- I don't see the difference. Harry rhymes with Mary, marry, and merry, doesn't it?
posted by crunchland at 8:02 AM on November 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


I realize this is not really the place, but:

SUSANNA CLARKE: WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN DOING FOR THE LAST FIVE YEARS? HONESTLY.

-- end communication --
posted by everichon at 8:14 AM on November 17, 2010 [3 favorites]


Don't miss the excellent youtube comment exchange involving the fanatic!


vanzan5
2 hours ago 2
nothing like a 25 year old idolizing a fictional 14 year old. i really like what you did with your mom's living room´╗┐ though.



@vanzan5 Im glad! Cuz your mom really enjoyed´╗┐ how I rearranged her bedroom too!
HarryPotterHimself 58 minutes ago
posted by orme at 8:48 AM on November 17, 2010


Yeah, but I bet he wrote it with a fake accent.
posted by crunchland at 8:53 AM on November 17, 2010


He wrote "mom" and not "mum." BRITFAIL!
posted by Gator at 8:58 AM on November 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


He shouldn't die a virgin.

Dude, if this guy goes to cons he'll have no problem getting laid. Plenty of HP-obsessed women he could hook up with.
posted by wildcrdj at 2:37 PM on November 17, 2010


Accio nerd.
posted by bicyclefish at 3:00 PM on November 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Plenty of HP-obsessed women he could hook up with.

Or, Plenty of HP-obsessed men* he could hook up with.

* - "HarryPotterHimself's YouTube Channel. 'Gay.' This video is private."
posted by ericb at 3:26 PM on November 17, 2010


I wonder if the negative reaction to fanfic might be the result of a culture that's been influenced by copyright laws that have exceeded their original goals. The quality of fanfics wildly differs, but I contest that playing in the world someone else has created is without merit:

Shakespeare took his inspiration from history books instead of making up his own characters. Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides and Racine drew on existing myths. Tolkien plundered European myths. What difference does it make if a story has multiple (a myth) or a single author? Isn't a Star Trek fan-writer intrigued by the same concept that led Marlowe, Goethe and T. Mann to explore the story of Faust(us)? No one discredits Corneille's Le Cid because it was based on El cantar del mio Cid. Virgil delivered AAA quality Iliad fanfic. And of course even though someone had already penned the bible, we are all better off for the fanfics of Dante, Milton and Blake.

However, modern stories are guarded as intellectual property and don't have the lustre of time yet, so it's easy to consider them as cast in stone or unimportant. However, we don't know which stories will survive, how they will be evaluated by future generations and what they will evolve to. The Legend of Harry Potter might become as important as the Matter of Britain, it might be forgotten in 30 years or someone may make a fantastic story out of it. In Proust's work, people discuss heatedly the work of Ossian, who is hardly a blip in our cultural radar but a century later.

Derail aside, it doesn't matter if you use your own characters or make up your own world. What matters is how you handle the material you're using.
posted by ersatz at 3:38 PM on November 17, 2010 [4 favorites]




ersatz I think that the negative reaction to fanfic comes from a perception that the base material comes from pop culture. All the authors you cite did not use pop culture in the sense we understand it as their raw material.

Also, the authors you cire really transformed the material. Dante might have taken images and myths from the Bible and antiquity, but he wholly transforms them. The Divine Comedy would never be considered a gospel, and a Racine play does not look like anything the ancient greeks would have produced; unlike say, a well written Star Trek fanfic episode which could conceivably be filmed and be indistinguishable from the tv show.

I'd argue you're making a false equivalency. The fact that ancient authors took certain characters and general archetypes from older sources does not make them continuations of those stories. Otherwise all fiction is fanfic since everybody is inspired by something or other.
posted by Omon Ra at 8:43 AM on November 18, 2010


Not all fanfiction is written as a continuation of the story. Actually I think it's safe to say that most of it does not. They often go off in all kinds of crazy directions, including transporting the characters into new historical time frames, switching their genders, or completely altering the genre. Non-magical stories get fantastical elements, or fantasy settings get their magic stripped out. A book fandom moves into art, video, and short story formats instead of just novels, TV fandoms aren't full of screenplays; Harry Potter actual authorial style is not carried out though most HP fanfiction. Some of it gets much darker, some gets a lot more adult in tone and content. Very few fanfiction writers are actively trying to write something that could be mistaken for the original source content. That's actually kind of a no-no.

I think the only difference here really is that you don't have a lot of respect for the stuff modern fanfiction writers produce, full stop. That's not exactly an unusual perspective. It's not professionally produced, and it's mostly young women producing it. Lots of it is crap. Lots of it is fantasy-fulfillment. So what? I'm sure most slush piles are the same.

Also: yes, the authors ersatz cited did indeed use pop culture. Just because it's become imbued with respectability now doesn't mean it didn't fit precisely within the bounds of popular culture at the time.
posted by Hildegarde at 12:14 PM on November 18, 2010


ersatz I think that the negative reaction to fanfic comes from a perception that the base material comes from pop culture. All the authors you cite did not use pop culture in the sense we understand it as their raw material.

I mentioned the issue of quality because that's what sets a writer apart. When it comes to fanfic there are no gatekeepers, so anyone who's inclined to do so has to wade through the mud.

However, today's pop culture is the folklore and mythology of tomorrow. I am also not sure that older authors were not seeking their works to be a continuation of these stories, the most salient counter-example being the Aeneid, which sought to confer legitimacy to Rome by tying it to Troy after the end of the Iliad. I'm sure some of the people who consider the idea of fanfic silly have Wide Sargasso Sea in their bookshelves.
posted by ersatz at 4:32 PM on November 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


ersatz Maybe the ultimate question is if all derivative works are fanfic. If so yeah, under that definition, the Aeneid is fanfic.

What nags at me, a little bit, is this view where popular culture of the past and modern pop culture are interchangeable. It seems to me that modern pop culture is something that emerged from industrialization, it's connected to mass media and consumption. Whereas popular culture of the past is connected more with religion, artesanal production, folklore, ritual, etc.

I'm not knocking fanfic, by the way. I just find this kind of linkage to the past an odd way to legitimize it.
posted by Omon Ra at 7:01 PM on November 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Do you perhaps consider mass media and consumption less desirable than religion, artisanal production, folklore and ritual? It is tempting to make a judgment on that, especially considering all the masterpieces we have, but on the other hand mass media and consumption are recent phenomena. Still, there is Simenon, Red Harvest etc.

Returning to fanfic, I don't mind considering it a modern subcategory of derivative works, that is influenced by these phenomena of modernity, but I don't think that the core of the practice is something new. I rather think that disregarding its precedents is delegitimising it by casting it as a novelty.

(I'm slightly tired, so if my wording gives the wrong impression, no offense meant.)
posted by ersatz at 8:10 AM on November 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


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