Harry Potter fandom
"Harry Potter fandom" refers to the community of fans of the Harry Potter books and movies who participate in entertainment activities that revolve around the series, such as reading and writing fan fiction, creating and soliciting fan art, engaging in role-playing games, socializing on Harry Potter-based forums, and more. The fandom interacts online as well as offline through activities such as 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. Harry Potter fans usually call themselves "Potterheads", though some may refer to themselves as "witches/wizards" or "Pottermaniacs".
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.
- 1 Pottermania
- 2 Fan sites
- 3 Fan fiction
- 4 Conventions
- 5 Religions
- 6 "Ship debates"
- 7 Roleplaying games
- 8 Iconic landmarks tours
- 9 Wizard rock
- 10 Documentaries
- 11 Notes
- 12 External links
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 referenced 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.
The series has come with its share of criticism as well. Allegations of witchcraft and the Occult found in the text, and legal disputes, one doctor coined the term "Hogwarts headache" in a letter to the New England Journal of Medicine shortly after the release of Order of the Phoenix, the longest book in the series, at 766 pages in the UK edition, 870 pages in the US edition, and over 250,000 words. He described it as a mild condition, a tension headache possibly accompanied by neck or wrist pains, caused by unhealthily long reading sessions of Harry Potter. The "symptoms" resolve themselves within days of finishing the book. His prescription of taking reading breaks was rejected by two of the patients on which he discovered this headache. On the contrary, researchers in Oxford found that the admission rate of children with traumatic injuries to the city's ERs plummeted on the publication weekends of both Order of the Phoenix and Half-Blood Prince.
Some diehard fans of the series even theme their weddings around Harry Potter, featuring a sorting hat and wands on the escort table, long tables divided into houses, a reception venue that mirrors the Great Hall, a confectionary bar with treats from Honeydukes, and much more. Bridal Guide featured two real weddings soon before the release of the final movie, which quickly spread through the fandom via Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr.
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; for some time however, the site's domain name was occupied by advertisers and its content was lost and there is no further record on Rowling's site that Godric's Hollow ever received the award, although in 2010 the website came back online again albeit with a lot of content missing. 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 "favourite 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.
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 humour 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 27 August 2013, MuggleCast released its final episode called "All Was Well". The MuggleCast website will continue to serve as a resource for other Harry Potter fans who want to rediscover the show.
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 first four films), Arthur A. Levine and Cheryl Klein (editors of the books at Scholastic), and 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.
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. The hosts of the show are Terrance Pinkston (lead host), Andy Gathman, Greyson Smith, Jeremy Baril, Rebecca Schroeder, Eric Scull, Mary Terzian, Jennifer Porche, Marissa Reynolds, and Jeanna Marie. Hogwarts Radio was featured on iTunes under the "New and Notable" section during September and October 2008 and held a featured position under "Literature" in July and August 2009. In July 2009, all the hosts from Hogwarts Radio attended HPEF's Azkatraz in San Francisco, California. There, the show featured a live interview with actor Chris Rankin, who portrays Percy Weasley in the Harry Potter films. Hogwarts Radio was also invited to Infinitus 2010 in Orlando, Florida, to host a live show for the convention. The full panel reunited for another live show on 14 July 2011 at LeakyCon 2011 in Orlando to discuss the final Potter film and again in Chicago at LeakyCon 2012.
On 27 December 2011, Hogwarts Radio went on hiatus, with the future of the show unclear. After several months, the show resumed production and is now dedicated to bi-weekly shows about the Harry Potter series.
One other relatively new podcast is one entitled The Potter Pensieve. This podcast focuses solely on discussion of the Harry Potter canon. Beginning on 2 January 2010, the hosts analyzed the series from beginning to end, working together to discover unanswered questions from the series. In January 2011, this podcast was featured as one of the top 10 podcasts in Podomatic.com's literature section.
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, there are over 702,000 stories on Harry Potter as of December 2014[update]. There are numerous websites devoted solely to Harry Potter fan fiction. Of these, according to rankings on Alexa.com, HarryPotterFanfiction.com has grown to be the most popular.
A well-known work of fan fiction is The Shoebox Project, created by two LiveJournal users. Over 8500 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 Wall Street Journal discussing the growth in popularity of fandoms.
In 2006, the "popular 'bad' fanfic" My Immortal was posted on FanFiction.Net by user "Tara Gilesbie". It was deleted by the site's administrators in 2008, but not before amassing over eight thousand negative reviews. It spawned a number of YouTube spoofs and a number of imitators created "sequels" claiming to be the original Tara.
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 sexual relationships that do not exist in the books (shipping), often portraying homosexual pairings. Famous pairings include Harry with Draco Malfoy 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.
Tracey "T" Proctor, a moderator of FictionAlley.org, a Harry Potter fanfiction website, said 'I don't really get into the children's aspect of it, but rather the teachers, the adult characters. I read someone once who said, "If she didn't want us fantasizing about her characters, she needs to stop having these handsome men portraying them." And that's the truth: It's very hard not to look at Alan Rickman [Professor Severus Snape] and Jason Isaacs [Lucius Malfoy] and not get erotic thoughts. I have some fan fiction at Fiction Alley. You want to write stories about the characters that J.K. is not writing, about their love lives that you don't see in the book.'
|This section needs additional citations for verification. (March 2013)|
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 a 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 has congregated. Conventions such as Prophecy, LeakyCon, Infinitus, Azkatraz, and Ascendio have maintained an academic emphasis, hosting professional keynote speakers as well as keeping the atmosphere playful and friendly. They have featured prominent members of the fandom such as Jennie Levine, owner of SugarQuill.net (Phoenix Rising, 2007); Melissa Anelli, current webmaster of The Leaky Cauldron (Phoenix Rising, 2007; Leakycon, 2009/2011/2012); Sue Upton, former Senior Editor of the Leaky Cauldron (Prophecy, 2007); Heidi Tandy, founder of Fiction Alley (Prophecy, 2007), Paul and Joe DeGeorge of the wizard rock band Harry and the Potters (along with several other more well-known Wizard Rock bands such as The Remus Lupins, The Parselmouths, Ministry of Magic, and The Whomping Willows) (see below) (Prophecy, 2007; Leakycon, 2009/2011/2012), Andrew Slack, founder of The Harry Potter Alliance, and StarKid, the cast of the fan made musicals "A Very Potter Musical", "A Very Potter Sequel", and "A Very Potter Senior Year".
Still, the conventions try to attract the fandom with other fun-filled Potter-centric activities, often more interactive, such as wizarding chess, water Quidditch, a showing of the Harry Potter films, or local cultural immersions. Live podcasts are often recorded during these events, and live Wizard Rock shows have become a fairly large part of recent conventions. Members of the Harry Potter cast have been brought in for the conferences; actors such as Evanna Lynch (Luna Lovegood) and Christopher Rankin (Percy Weasley), along with several others, have appeared to give live Q&A sessions and keynote presentations about the series.
In addition to fandom-specific programming, LeakyCon 2011 and 2012 have hosted LitDays (as well as incorporating the many fandoms Harry Potter fans have branched into since the ending of the series). LitDays are full of programming with authors, agents, and editors. A few key examples are John Green, author of the award winning young adult novels The Fault in Our Stars and Looking For Alaska; Scott Westerfeld, author of the Uglies series and Leviathan; and David Levithan, author of Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist and The Lover's Dictionary.
These conventions are now incorporating the recently opened theme park The Wizarding World of Harry Potter into their itinerary, built inside Universal's Island of Adventure in Orlando, Florida. At the Harry Potter fan conventions Infinitus 2010, LeakyCon 2011, and Ascendio 2012, special events were held at the theme park dedicated to the series. These are after-hours events for convention attendees who purchased tickets to experience and explore the park by themselves. The event included talks given by creators of the park, free food and butterbeer, and live wizard rock shows inside the park.
The Harry Potter fandom has also led to the development of at least one religion. The religion of 'Snapeism' was active from 2005-2011. The Snapists (popularly known as the Snapewives) worshiped the fictional character Severus Snape. The Snapists were mocked by the majority of the fandom, especially the JournalFen community 'fandom_wank', for their unorthodox belief systems. Nevertheless, recent scholarship has argued for the validity of fandom faiths.
The Snapists exist within a context of 'canon sceptisicm' - the belief that Rowling is a flawed interpreter of the Harry Potter universe who misrepresents the objective reality of certain characters and plot developments. The Snapists believe that Rowling has misinterpreted Snape and disrespected him as a character. They also feel that Snape can contact them and provide them with help and guidance in life.
In the fandom the word "ship" and its derivatives like "shipping" or "shipper" are commonly used as shorthand for the word "relationship."
The Harry Potter series generated ship debates with supporters of the prospective relationship between Harry Potter and his close female friend Hermione Granger at odds with supporters of Hermione ending up instead with Ron Weasley, close friend of both.
Quotes from Rowling which seemed to contradict the possibility of Harry ending up with Hermione were usually countered by claiming them to be deliberate obfuscations designed to lure astute observation off-course (though such claims were far from undisputed, given that these allegedly vague quotes included such phrases as "[Harry and Hermione] are very platonic friends", and were repeated on at least three different occasions).
An interview with J.K. Rowling conducted by fansite webmasters Emerson Spartz (MuggleNet) and Melissa Anelli (The Leaky Cauldron) shortly after the book's release turned out to be quite controversial. During the interview Spartz commented that Harry/Hermione shippers were "delusional", to which Rowling chuckled, though making it clear that she did not share the sentiment and that the Harry/Hermione fans were "still valued members of her readership". This incident resulted in an uproar among Harry/Hermione shippers. Many of them complained that both sites had a Ron/Hermione bias and criticised Rowling for not including a representative of their community, as a way to avoid difficult questions. The uproar was loud enough to merit an article in the San Francisco Chronicle.
Rowling's attitude towards the shipping phenomenon has varied between amused and bewildered to frustrated, as she revealed in that interview. She explained:
|“||Well, you see, I'm a relative newcomer to the world of shipping, because for a long time, I didn't go on the net and look up Harry Potter. A long time. Occasionally I had to, because there were weird news stories or something that I would have to go and check, because I was supposed to have said something I hadn’t said. I had never gone and looked at fan sites, and then one day I did and oh — my — god. Five hours later or something, I get up from the computer shaking slightly [all laugh]. 'What is going on?’ And it was during that first mammoth session that I met the shippers, and it was a most extraordinary thing. I had no idea there was this huge underworld seething beneath me.||”|
In a later posting on MuggleNet, Spartz 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.||”|
Rowling has continued to make references, less humorous and more, to the severity of the shipper conflicts. In one instance she has joked about trying to think of ways of proving to Emerson, when inviting him for the aforementioned interview, that it was really her and not "some angry Harry/Hermione shipper trying to lure him down a dark alleyway"; In another, she has described her impression of the Harry Potter fandom's shipping debates as "cyber gang warfare".
But as of February 2014, Rowling has released a statement talking about Ron and Hermione's relationship, and saying that in some ways Hermione and Harry are a better fit.
In an interview with Emma Watson she states "I know, I'm sorry," she adds. "I can hear the rage and fury it might cause some fans, but if I'm absolutely honest, distance has given me perspective on that. It was a choice I made for very personal reasons, not for reasons of credibility. Am I breaking people's hearts by saying this? I hope not."
After the first days of the release of certain excerpts of the interview, many media sites and newspapers, such as CNN and the Guardian, took this to mean that she thought that Hermione should have ended up with Harry. But after the full release of the interview on February 7, it turned out that Rowling never actually said that. She went on to say that Ron and Hermione would have been alright in the end.
A new statement from Rowling a few days later confirmed that Harry did love Ginny.
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, Harry Potter's parents James Potter and Lily Evans, Rubeus Hagrid and Olympe Maxime, or Percy Weasley and Penelope Clearwater, or Rose Weasley and Scorpius Malfoy. 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 debate about Lily and Severus vs. James.
LARPing often involves re-enacting or creating an original Quidditch team. Match rules and style of play vary among fandom events, but they are generally kept as close as possible to the sport envisioned by Rowling. The 2006 Lumos symposium included a Quidditch tournament played in water. More common are ground-based games such as the handball style developed by USA Team Handball and featured at the MuggleNet-sponsored Spellbound event, as well as the Muggle Quidditch style played intramurally at Millikin University (at left). This version of quidditch has grown past intramural play, is far from LARPing, and has an international governing body, the IQA.
Internet-based roleplay tries to simulate the Hogwarts experience. Most[which?] sites are forum-based, emphasizing taking classes taught by staff members in order for the players to earn points for their respective houses. Some[which?] internet-based roleplay sites go more in depth into canon and storylines, and do not specifically rely on posting as the only method for gaining house points while others[which?] have expanded to include activities such as Quidditch, dueling, and board-wide plots. Hogwarts-school.net (est. 2000), for example, is a forum-based roleplaying game which allows players to take classes, engage in extracurriculars, and also has many options for adult characters in St. Mungos, the Daily Prophet, and the Ministry of Magic.
2007 saw the launch of World of Hogwarts, a completely free MMORPG Harry Potter roleplaying game in Second Life, set ten years after the Battle of Hogwarts. Here, roleplayers can create an avatar and interact with other students, attend lessons organized by other roleplayers, play Quidditch, sit for their exams, earn and lose points for their house, visit Hogsmeade, Diagon Alley and the Forbidden Forest, get a job at the Ministry of Magic, explore several secret passages within the castle, and even immerse themselves into intricate and well-composed storyline plots that have, through time, grown into the canon rules of the game.
A website created by ISO Interactive, called the Chamber of Chat is a free online interactive virtual world under a MMO format. Although not a full MMORPG format, Chamber of Chat is set up with 3D virtual chatrooms and avatars where fans can socially interact with each other in Pictionary and Harry Potter Trivial games or participate in discussion groups about Harry Potter or Film media or perform plays as a theater group to other fans as audience. They hold special community event such as Harry Potters Birthday or Halloween and have seasonal house competitions. Fans are able to create their own avatars, collect or be rewarded coins to purchase furniture items for their own "clubhouse". However, the website emphasizes more social interaction between fans' avatars to stimulate the Hogwarts student experience. "Chamber of Chat is a graphical Social Virtual World with a few Facebook plug-ins. The Harry Potter Virtual World is designed for fans. This give users the feeling that they are interacting in the actual 3D world. You can hang out with other students, relax in the common room, mingle at the pub, play games like Pictionary and even download cool looking wallpapers." On 19 April 2007, Chamber of Chat was awarded Adobe Site of the day. Chamber of chat has also been awarded a place among the SmartFoxServer Showcase. "Chamber of Chat is an MMO community inspired to the magic worlds of the Harry Potter saga. The application is a great example of integration between Director/Shockwave (client) and SmartFoxServer PRO.". Chamber of Chat has been a long time associated branch of The Leaky network and although as part of the network with The Leaky Cauldron, Pottercast and "Ask Peeves" search engine, it was ranked number two behind Indiana Jones's TheRaider.Net out of 25 essential fansites of "The Best of the Web" by Entertainment Weekly in December 2007.
Other sites use modified versions of phpBB that allow for a certain level of interactive roleplaying and are what is commonly referred to as "forum-based roleplaying". Interactive gaming can include player versus player features, a form of currency for making purchases in stores, and non-player characters such as monsters that must be fought to gain levels and experience points. However, these features are more prevalent in games that are not forum-based. Advancement in such games is usually dependent on live chat, multiplayer cooperation, and fighting as opposed to taking classes or simply posting to earn points for one's "house"; like at Hogwarts, players in forum-based games are sometimes sorted into a different group distinguishing different values within a person.
Iconic landmarks tours
Some travel agencies have organised 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. Since 2004, they have exclusively chartered steam locomotive #5972 Olton Hall, the locomotive 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; Christ Church Cathedral in Oxford and the Cloisters located within New College, Oxford.
Wizard rock (sometimes shorthanded as Wrock) is a musical movement dating from 2000 in Massachusetts with Harry and the Potters, though it has grown internationally and has expanded to at least 750 bands. Wrock bands mostly consist of young musicians that write and perform often humorous songs about the Harry Potter universe, and these songs are often written from the point of view of a particular character in the books, usually the character who features in the band's name. If they are performing live, they may also cosplay, or dress as, that character.
In contrast to mainstream bands that have some songs incorporating literary references among a wider repertoire of music (notably Led Zeppelin to The Lord of the Rings), wizard rock bands take their inspiration entirely from the Harry Potter universe. In preserving the promotion of reading, too, bands like to perform in libraries, bookstores, and schools. The bands have also performed at the fan conventions.
We Are Wizards
We Are Wizards is a feature-length documentary by Josh Koury about the Harry Potter fandom. It features Wizard rock bands Harry and the Potters, Draco and the Malfoys, The Hungarian Horntails, and The Whomping Willows. The film also features Heather Lawver, Melissa Anelli, and Brad Neely. We Are Wizards had its World Premiere at the SXSW film festival in 2008, then traveled to 20 film festivals worldwide. The film opened theatrically in 5 cities on 14 November 2008. The film can be seen on Hulu.com, and DVD.
The Fandom Fan Diaries: Wizard's Gone W!ld
The Fandom Fan Diaries: Wizard's Gone W!ld is a documentary web series that is based on fandom submissions. The producers Miranda Marshall and Amy Henderson starting accepting video submissions in early March 2009 and plan to accept them through 2013. WiZarDs Gone W!LD is affiliated with The Fan Book of HP Fans, yet another fandom project based on submissions that has recently extended its submission deadline date.
The Wizard Rockumentary
The Wizard Rockumentary: A Movie about Rocking and Rowling is a feature documentary chronicling the rise of Harry Potter tribute bands. Producers Megan and Mallory Schuyler travelled around the United States compiling interviews and concert footage of bands including Harry and the Potters, Draco and the Malfoys, The Remus Lupins, The Whomping Willow and The Moaning Myrtles. The film was released in April 2008 and has screened in libraries around the country. The producers are currently negotiating broadcast and home video rights.
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- Rucker, Philip (21 July 2005). "The Magic Of 'Potter' Not Just For Kids". The Washington Post. Retrieved 28 February 2007.
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When I buy the books for my grandchildren, I have them all gift wrapped but one...that's for me. And I haven't been 12 for over 50 years.
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