Harry f*cking Potter. I love Harry Potter. You love Harry Potter (probably). Your friends love Harry Potter (also probably). And if you don’t love Harry Potter, you’ve at least heard of Harry Potter. This cultural phenomenon, this cornerstone of our youth is one of the most iconic things to happen in our lifetime. And as with any global phenomenon, there are many different types of fans throughout the fandom. As someone’s grandfather might say “different strokes for different folks”. Now, college is the first time we really meet new people with whole different ways of looking at the world, and so it may be the first time we run into people who’ve experienced Harry Potter differently than we have. And in the interest of finding common ground and forming a foundation of friendship, we’re here to prepare you for these differences by listing these, the five kinds of Potterheads you’ll meet in college.
They stick to the books and don’t like to mess around. They’re critical of the movies for mischaracterization and for being twelve hours too short to encompass all their favorite scenes. They definitely have opinions about casting (“Look, I love Gary Oldman but all the adult Marauders were too old”) and makeup/wardrobe choices (“Hermione’s Yule Ball dress is PERIWINKLE, not PINK”). They often have personal rituals surrounding how often they read the books and possess an in depth knowledge of all the Easter Eggs and references our less dedicated minds couldn’t possibly fathom. These Potter fans don’t necessarily play well with others.
The Fandom Enthusiast
This fan is on the opposite end of the spectrum from the Purist. In many ways, they can prize fanon (fandom canon) over actual canon. Their beliefs can range from common fanon (Ginny is short for Virginia, although Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling later revealed her full first name is actually Ginevra) to the deep cuts of back story (Molly’s two brothers Fabian and Gideon are believed to be twins with Fred and George’s initials meant to honor them) or the downright bizarre (Wizards of Waverly Place apparently takes place in the same universe as Harry Potter?!). These fandom enthusiasts are generally pretty nice, but they don’t get along too well with Purists.
Often seen accompanying the Purist, the Academic knows Harry Potter. And they don’t just know Harry Potter; they analyze Harry Potter like they were Hogwarts PhD candidates. They’ve written literal essays on Tumblr (or LiveJournal, talk about a throwback) about everything from the sorting process to Dumbledore’s teaching methods (which were pretty sh*tty, let’s be real) to Ron’s possible prophetic abilities as the seventh son of a seventh son. Academics know their business and are not to be trifled with, but are generally pretty tolerant of all levels of Harry Potter knowledge. You best come correct if you’re looking to throw down.
The Closet Potterhead
These fans are embarrassed by just how into Harry Potter they are. It usually stems from the fear of engaging in anything mainstream. They try to downplay their enthusiasm as much as possible, but their ears still perk up when they hear any mention of Harry Potter in passing conversation. They may even casually attempt to participate, purposefully making mistakes as to not give away their burning love for all things related to the wizarding world. But cut the closet Potterheads some slack — we’ve all been embarrassed by things we’ve liked. Just be thankful it was never Twilight. (Who am I to talk? I definitely had a Twilight phase.)
The Late Bloomer
Some people discover Harry Potter late, for whatever reason. Maybe they came from an ultra religious household that didn’t look too kindly upon books about wizardry. Maybe they just weren’t into reading as kids. Maybe they were already adults when the books first came out and only picked them up because they now have children of their own. (Yes, you can meet grown-ups in college with children; college is not limited to high school graduates and twenty-somethings.) Whatever the reason, they’re here now and that’s what counts. Their love and enthusiasm for Harry Potter is somehow more pure and innocent than other fans., since they’re experiencing the magic in a way the rest of the fans haven’t since the first time they read the books. And those other fans tend to welcome the late bloomers with open arms, because no matter the differences, nothing brings people together like Harry Potter.
Have you encountered these fan archetypes? What kind of Potterhead are you? Hit me up on Twitter and let me know!