Oh Wanderers. This past fortnight has flown by and I once again find myself at the computer wondering what to write. Of course, everywhere I look there’s inspiration, but for this issue I want to explore something dear to all of us; the question ‘why’. I’m aware this sounds a little odd, but bear with me.
This week I was watching Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 with the boys I childmind, when it struck me that there wasn’t actually all that much watching going on. The boys – twins aged 7 (I wouldn’t have personally chosen to share this film with them for a couple more years, but it’s not my decision to make!) – were too busy trying to work out the background, the whys and wherefores, and poking holes in the plot that I’d long ago accepted. “Yes,” one said to me, “but surely Harry can’t die? Why would Voldemort think that he’d do that?” The other turned to him incredulously and replied “Don’t be an idiot, too many people have already died for him, of course he’s going to face him.” This interaction, as well as the interactions which carried on throughout the film, gave me pause for thought.
For me, fandom in essence is an exploration of the question ‘why’.
Why do certain things happen? What makes it so that those things work? Why do we just accept this? Why wouldn’t that work in its place? What would happen if the other were true instead?
In most forms of fandom, from meta to head-canon, from fan-fic to episode commentaries, we are exploring what makes a piece of media what it is, and what would happen if it were to change.
By beginning again, and watching Harry Potter through the eyes of the child I was when I first joined the fandom, I realised how important the question ‘why’ is to fandom, and the significant role it plays in how we engage with the media we love. By asking ‘why’, we can implement change and begin the task of getting film and TV production units to begin casting appropriate actors and actresses for the roles on offer (The Hunger Games springs to mind). By questioning plot devices, characterisations, and casting, we can begin to effect change in the one area of society which appears almost unchanged by the fluctuations in legal, political and social climate the world over.
Such is the power of the question ‘why’, Wanderers, and this is the reason why it’s important that fandom exists.
Hannah Carter (is in a philosophical mood this issue)