A purist is one who desires that an item remain true to its essence and free from adulterating or diluting influences. The term may be used in almost any field, and can be applied either to the self or to others. Use of the term may be either pejorative or complimentary, depending on the context. Because the appellation depends on subjective notions of what is "pure" as opposed to "adulterating" as applied to any particular item, conflict can arise both as to whether a person so labeled is actually a purist and as to whether that is desirable.
According to the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, the term dates from 1706 and is defined as "a person who adheres strictly and often excessively to a tradition", especially "one preoccupied with the purity of a language and its protection from the use of foreign or altered forms."
Purism in entertainment
In entertainment, a purist is a person, gamer, or audience member who considers modifications to a particular entertainment item unnecessary or even offensive, vehemently so if against the specific wishes of the item's creator. They also may make it a point to correct fanon, which they stereotypically detest.
- The Lord of the Rings purists are fans of J. R. R. Tolkien's fantasy novel The Lord of the Rings who dislike changes in New Line Cinema's film trilogy adaptation. Again, the use of the term varies extremely widely; it may be used offensively, in a complimentary way, or neutrally. The term may be meant to connote more sophisticated appreciation than that of "fangirls." The definition especially refers to those who adamantly detest the Peter Jackson-directed trilogy for deviating even in minor detail from the original text. As many of the book's dedicated fans also enjoy these films, purists have been contrasted with "revisionists" who accept and like the changes.
- Harry Potter purists are fans that despise various alterations made in a Harry Potter book to film adaptation. They expect to see most details, scenes and chapters included in the film while not taking note of the cinematic form and context needed to create an adaptation. The purists have claimed that Potter directors, such as Alfonso Cuaron and David Yates, have 'ruined' the series due to their cinematic themes which have resulted in amounts of plot details cut from the novel. However, author J. K. Rowling has approved of all these changes and stated that it is "simply impossible" to include every single storyline in a film with time and budget constraints.
- Video game purists, much like anime purists, are very hostile to certain changes that games may suffer during localization, such as the censorship of "offensive" elements best known as enforced by Nintendo on its systems until the mid-1990s.