I've got 99 problems and fictional characters are all of them
Published: Monday, June 4, 2012
Updated: Monday, June 4, 2012 16:06
When I say I am a fan of a show or a book, I do not mean I simply enjoy it, or that I saw it once. If I say I am a fan, I mean I have probably spent more time thinking about the characters in that show or movie than I have on my homework all term. I have probably watched the entire filmography of all the main actors’ (and most of the minor ones, to be honest), and I have probably watched most of the cast interviews. I go all out, and I am not ashamed of doing so.
One of my favorite things in the world is the experience of seeing a movie during its midnight release. The excitement of the crowd cannot be beat. My very first one was Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban when I was 13. I was with my best friend, and we had school the next day, but I was too excited to care. We were overwhelmed with how crazy the theater was. A group of high school girls with cloaks and wands took us under their wings so we would have seats in the packed theater. I will never forget the cheers when Hermione punched Draco in the face or the cries of anguish when it appeared Buckbeak had been executed.
Years later, during the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part Two midnight release line, I was with my same best friend, and we let some younger fans play trivia games with us and gave them water bottles during to combat the scorching heat. Some of my fondest memories over the years are of waiting. I know it sounds strange, but the creative energy that stems from that about-to-vomit anticipation you get in the weeks before a book or movie release, or before a show’s new season premier is a huge rush that nothing can beat.
My only problem with being a fan is that I often have nobody around to geek out with. Not many people in my life can match me scream for scream while watching a trailer for a movie we are excited for. In college, as most high school friends drift away, I find myself making new, passionately excited friends who get just as over-the-top into things as I do, and it is fantastic. For instance, I saw a trailer with a friend just this weekend at the drive-in, and we both screamed out loud when we saw Jeremy Renner, an actor we both like. It was amazing.
However, the Internet has always been a bit of a sanctuary for me and my obsessions. Other fans who are just as into books and shows as I am can get together (in cyberspace mostly, but sometimes and speculate about things. We analyze and criticize and theorize. Some draw amazing fan art, some write music and some write and read fanfiction.
Yes, fanfiction: writing stories using another author’s world or characters. Do not judge me for it, because I do not care how nerdy it sounds; I am a nerd, and I always have been. I have never been shy about the fact. Putting characters in new situations is a great way to know them better and have a deeper appreciation for them during the actual story, and if I can talk about that with people, I will never let them go.
If you bring up something like Doctor Who or Sherlock or Harry Potter, I will be internally screaming while trying not to scare you away. I like talking about character choices and symbolism in costume design. I love thinking deeply about dialogue and what characters are doing behind the scenes shown.
Being a fan means a lot to me, and it is part of my personal identity. Some people play sports, some write poetry, and that is great for them. But me? I like to get excited and even sometimes emotional over fictional characters and situations. I do not remember a time when made up people did not make me feel just as deeply as the people I interact with on a daily basis. This is because I do actually feel like I am interacting with fictional characters. They are my friends and help me get through tough times, and they are there for the good times, too.
In closing, here is quote from Tom Hiddleston, an actor who seems to share my views on this subject: “To have compassion for a character is no different from having compassion for another human being.”