Monday, August 1, 2011

Love of the Week Returns!

And now I'm back on the blogging train! Hooray!

This week's love of the week was hard for me to figure out. I knew what I wanted to talk about, but...it's more than just one thing. So I'm going to try to use the broadest phrasing I can possibly use, in the hopes that that will encompass all that I want it to.

The Potter Fandom.

Yes, I know. First of all, I've done nothing but talk about Harry Potter on here for weeks. You're probably all sick of it. And second of all, I couldn't get broader unless I tried to say fandoms in general.

BUT IT WORKS. I PROMISE. Hold your hippogriffs, and I'll explain.

There's something (no pun intended) magical about the Potter fandom in particular. It's a level of love and support and encouragement that I've never seen in any other fandom, and I've been in several. The Potter fandom is more accepting than other fandoms, seems less likely to judge, and we can bond together in two seconds. We like doing things like, say, staying up all night together just to answer one strange trivia question...and then we help each other to succeed.

More explanation? Really? Okay.

Background: Two weeks ago, while the rest of the Harry Potter Alliance staff was down in Orlando for LeakyCon, those of us left behind ran a thing we called Portkey. It was an online conference of sorts, for all those who hadn't been able to go to Leaky. We had trivia contests and shared memories of the fandom and did garbage bag experiments and watched documentaries and geeked out together after the midnight premiere of Deathly Hallows Part 2.

And we Livestreamed. A lot.

I was the Gryffindor Head of House for the Portkey house cup. By virtue of that, I was expected to be on most of the Livestreams. I was fine with that. And by the end of the week, there was this core group of Portkey staffers who were on almost all the Livestreams and had, somehow, become the faces of Portkey itself. We don't know how that happened, but it did. Becca, Devyn, Quinn, Dani, Shrima, Kara, Alex, and I talked more that week, through Skype and on Livestreams, than we had previously. And something crazy happened...apparently our audiences in the Livestream found us funny. They told us they wanted us to stick around. Yeah, it was a strange realization for the rest of us too.

Fast forward to this past weekend. Saturday night. Becca, Devyn, Quinn, Dani, Shrima, Kara, Alex, and I had joked about staying up all Saturday night together on Skype to get the Pottermore Beta clue that was supposed to come out sometime July 31. We all got on Skype Saturday evening. Started talking. And then this weird thing happened. Becca got us our own Livestream channel. We posted something on our old Portkey Facebook page. By 8:30pm EST, we were broadcasting live on our shiny new channel, planning on staying up all night and entertain ourselves by running our mouths. Our channel being new, we weren't "verified," so we couldn't have more than 50 people listening to us at one time. This was fine, because we figured we wouldn't get more than ten or fifteen people who would want to listen to us be weird.

Oh, how wrong we were.

We hit our 50-person cap two hours in. According to our Livestream chat numbers, there were another 60 or 70 people just hanging out in the chat, unable to listen, getting information relayed to them through other listeners. Three hours later, we had the same number of listeners. It was the same four hours later.

Our numbers held strong for at least ten straight hours of Livestreaming. We talked about everything and anything. We talked Potter, and inside jokes, and Pottermore, and speculation. We announced rumors about the clue as we heard them. We counted down to 3am EST, which was when we heard the clue would come out.

And at 3:30am EST, the first Pottermore clue of seven that will be opened this week appeared on the site. Together, my fellow Portkey hosts and I freaked out. With the help of the chat, we figured out the clue, we went to the site. We found the Magic Quill. And then we all registered. Technical difficulties put a damper on some of us, that the others took time to help us through. We shared usernames and laughed and had a blast and freaked out about getting into Beta, even if we haven't been allowed to start playing yet.

Here was the amazing part. Some people didn't get through the first day. They have the rest of the week's worth of clues to try. And instead of pointing and laughing or saying "sorry, sucks for you" or basking in the glory of getting into Pottermore Beta when others didn't...the Potter Fandom has been collectively helping each other. We've been cheering each other on, and letting each other know when the clues come out. We've been helping each other register and get the chance to join Pottermore early.

This is the kind of fandom that we are. We celebrate our individual successes, and then we turn back and help our friends. We're the kind of fandom that stays up all night together, on a Livestream, listening to hilarious fan fiction about the Portkey hosts and making goofy inside jokes like "Snugglemore." We're the kind of fandom that can crash entire fan sites because of one announcement, who keeps each other in the loop even when we've been sworn to secrecy. We only half-joke about wearing our wizard or Death Eater robes on airplanes. We celebrate the birthdays of the author and characters that we love. We're activists who fight real-world Horcruxes. We can speculate with the best of them, solve clues like you wouldn't believe, and when we want to succeed, there's nothing that will stop us.

This is why I love this fandom.

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