Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Q is for Quidditch

Quidditch, Quaffle, Quills, Quirrell, Quibbler... So many Q words associated with just one series. And that, of course, is Harry Potter.

I joined the HP craze a little later than some. I remember seeing the books in stores, with their vibrant covers, and thinking them too young for someone like myself (then in middle school). It wasn't until my dad brought me the first book home from a business trip that I finally gave them a chance.

And I was hooked for life.

That was after the 3rd book was out, and I only had a short time more to wait for (my favorite) the 4th book. And then, after 2000 everyone was holding contests for guessing when the 5th book would be released (since it had yet to be announced). Remember that? The anticipation of fans, the mystery of the publishing industry, the wonder of the world as children were suddenly scrambling to bookstores...

Of course, my group of friends weren't acting any differently than usual. We'd always been bookish, and so the only difference we went through was having more people to talk to. In fact, I don't think I truly understood the impact of it all until I'd graduated high school (just before the 6th book was released in 2005).

Going into college, I started using the social networks, Facebook and MySpace, and joined my first HP fansite—the now defunct Dissendium. That was quite the eye-opener. Getting to know fellow fans, enthusiasts, and addicts all around the world, and interacting with them through contests, chats, and (eventually) written-role-play...I don't think I'll ever be the same.

In 2008 I was able to attend my first HP convention: Terminus in Chicago. Though a bunch of my online friends had planned on going, various hardships came up and I ended up attending alone. I still had a blast, though, and was able to meet and listen to fellow fans from around the country, and the world.

One of the presentations I was most excited to attend was a speech by one of my favorite authors, Tamora Pierce. She talked about how Harry Potter changed the world of YA, from a fellow YA author's perspective. Having written YA lit since the 1980s, she knows the hurdles one had to jump through. Not only were the rules strict as far as content, but the length of books was severely restricted. After all, 'kids will get scared if the book's that big!'

"And then we got the Goblet of Fire... THANK YOU J.K. ROWLING!!!" Suddenly her books change from struggling to stay under the 300 line to sitting comfortably at 390 and 410. And suddenly YA isn't a taboo term anymore. There's no embarrassment in saying you write YA lit, and there's no snooty looks at you either. Harry Potter showed that kids like to read and (more importantly for the publishing industry) will buy (bigger) books.

But the books have turned into movies, and as we approach the final chapters we, the fans, have to start considering...what next? Sure, there's fanfiction, there's Wrock (Wizard Rock), there's millions of fan-sites...but how long will it last?

As I've mentioned before, I moderate a role-play site dedicated to writing original characters interacting in the HP universe. Diffindo has had its ups and downs, though we seem to be on a bit of a down at the moment, and recently we've been enacting a bit of a restart. Our old storylines had fallen flat, our characters were frozen, and we needed something new.

And what better way to start afresh than attending the Quidditch World Cup?! As of right now we've just completed the two semi-final matches and are gearing up for the final match: Egypt VS England. And the RP is pretty engaging thus far. I think everyone's enjoying creating new characters and interacting all together.

Well, that's my Harry Potter journey. What's yours?

A Couple Q Movies I've Seen:
(Again, No Books)

A Quintessential Q Artist:

The Q Font: