I read the first Harry Potter book for the first time when I was thirteen years old. At first I was skeptical. (I thought it was a "kids book," and I, at the extremely mature age of 13 was above such nonsense.)
I then became begrudgingly interested.
Finally I admitted that I totally loved what I was reading. By the time I finished the book I was a Potter fan for life.
I have loved that series ever since, and have pushed it on everyone around me for years. (Luckily, there aren't very many people in the world who haven't read this series, and thus the world is spared the extent of my fanatic jubilance. Potter fans are quite lucky that most of the world agrees with us that the books are something special, leaving us to just sit back and grin maniacally.)
Loving a book or book series as hard as I do has some consequences, though. Not everyone understands just how deep your love goes. Hearing other people talk about your books may cause all sorts of inner turmoil.
When someone tells you they didn't like your favorite book, you may get a little defensive.
Or, when someone flippantly remarks that they aren't all that interested in reading your favorite book, they may not understand why someone otherwise calm and collected seems suddenly prone to shouting.
Fandoms are places where people talk, draw, paint, write, and read about their favorite stories. It's a huge celebration of the very thing you love, and welcoming of everyone loyal to that particular story. Maybe for the first time, your nerdiness is fully appreciated.
Being a member of a fandom is a pretty fabulous thing. You get to geek out and get excited and happy and just basically enjoy all the feels with other people who love the same things you do.
There are some real highs to Fandoms. Like having a whole community to cheer with when a sequel to a beloved series is announced.
And having someone to squeal with on how great the books are when you finish that series again for the billionth time.
And having people understand just how MIND-BLOWINGLY AWESOME it is to have your favorite author re-tweet you.
And having people understand how awesome it feels when someone you've been begging to read the series for years finally does, and ends up loving them as much as you do.
It's also nice to have people understand when a friend finally reads the series you've been pushing on them for years, and hates it. Or worse, says they couldn't finish it.
Fandoms are there to commiserate with you and tell you how horrible your friend is.
Fandoms are a happy place, full of creativity and cheer, and a wonderful outlet for people wanting fictional worlds to last a little more beyond the last page of a book. Fandoms, I salute you.
What do you think? Are fandoms a great outlet for you? Are you unsure of them? Wary of them? In love with them? Frequently publish fanfic/fan art/etc?