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The Power of Fans: the Harry Potter Alliance and All the Cool Sh!t They Do

Graphic above attributed to Karen Kavett.

With the first book that was more than mildly interesting to a large group of people came the fans, and then, more recently, the fandoms. Fandoms are groups of people who all follow the intricacies of a show, book (singular or series), or a podcast.

Basically, fans are people who care a lot about something. ‘A lot’ being a relative term that can sometimes be a gross understatement.

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These fans, for instance, are DEDICATED!

The question is, what do they do with that enthusiasm and excitement? I’m sure you could ask anyone who writes for this website, but personally, I have loud and hurried conversations about everything that I love, and I rewatch, reread, and try to connect with people who like the same things. And that’s it. All that enthusiasm is an untapped resource, but according to organizations like the Harry Potter Alliance, we should be using that enthusiasm in efforts towards social change.

The Harry Potter Alliance was founded in 2005, and since then has worked to accomplish many things, like helping Warner Brothers change how their Harry Potter chocolate is sourced, so it can be 100% UTZ or fair trade.

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Check out the story here!

From donating books to raising money for critically needed supplies to Haiti, the HPA seeks to use the “renewable resource of enthusiasm for social change”. If you look on their website, the Harry Potter Alliance believes in magic, love as a weapon for change, and the concept of unironic enthusiasm as a renewable resource.

Look no further than one their key values to understand what kind of organization they are:

Knowing that fantasy is not only an escape from our world, but an invitation to go deeper into it

They also endeavor to celebrate both online and in real life (IRL) communities.

I think that these two values separate the HPA from just any ol’ fan club. They acknowledge that although the world of Harry Potter and Hogwarts is great, there are real problems beyond the pages of our favorite book series that can be fixed with enough work and determination.

The power of a community like HPA is something I hope to be a part of with the same level of enthusiasm for the rest of my life. I am drawn to their values for two reasons:

  1. They acknowledge that there are different types of communities, and it legitimizes online communities that often are seen as worthless or not real.
  2. They call into the mind an image of a bunch of nerdy people fighting, and winning. Our power is in representation and tabling and campaigning, and it is powerful, because it changes lives and the world.

The HPA is currently working on a bunch of campaigns such as Fan Works are Fair Use, focusing the awesomeness of fan made creations, Positive Fandom, which is working to create guidelines for a “more positive fandom”, Fandom Forward which are toolkits that help fans think about current issues, and lastly Accio Books, which basically a magical book drive.

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More on this here!

The Harry Potter Alliance’s work doesn’t stop there, they are planning events such as  The Granger Leadership Academy, and others.

If you’re wondering what to do with your unironic enthusiasm check the Harry Potter Alliance out, join a chapter, and continue to be awesome!


MirandaMiranda is a college student studying Adventure Education and Sustainable Agriculture. Don’t let all that outdoorsy-ness fool you, when the Deathly Hallows came out Miranda was at the release party. Other nerdy credits include having deep discussions about various book series on reddit, tumblr, and twitter. She loves Harry Potter, the Hunger Games, the Delirium series, basically anything dystopian and the community of Nerdfighteria. You can find her on twitter @genderisweird, check her out on her blog and tumblr.

Alan Rickman, you magnificent bastard. You left us too soon!

I’m going to be real with you all, when I heard that Alan Rickman had died, I was mad. I skipped right over sadness and landed squarely in anger. This was absolutely UNACCEPTABLE.

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Why?

Because I’m not ready to live in a world without Alan Rickman. I’m mad because, despite fame and fortune, cancer still managed to steal yet another person from this planet. I’m furious that we spend our time and resources on so many things that don’t matter when we could be trying to find a way to preserve life – especially a life that has brought so much greatness to the world.

People may feel I’m overstating that. I mean, he was just an actor, right?

First of all, let me say it’s sad when anyone dies of cancer. I lost one of my most impactful mentors to cancer. I am good friends with cancer survivors who are constantly looking over their shoulders, forced to worry about having to do battle once again with the despicable affliction.

But make no mistake, Alan Rickman was a genuine treasure and he will always be a treasure to me.

Happy_Alan

 

In honor of Rickman, I wanted to take some time to write about the roles I enjoyed the most, and what they meant to me.

Dogma as THE METATRON

Kevin Smith’s Dogma came out in 1999. I was thirteen years old, and it was one of the first movies that made me question… so many things. Alan Rickman as the Metatron was a huge contributing factor to my inevitable understanding that the world operates in a gray area. As the Metatron, Rickman plays a discontented angel who wants nothing more than to get drunk and forget his worries. Because as an angel in a world where God’s gone MIA, things are stressful and there are plenty of worries to forget about.

Metatron_Finger

I was instantly taken by his straight-faced humor and absolutely in love with his otherworldly, yet still somehow down-to-earth perspective on the shenanigans that unfold. I may have seen Rickman in other movies (Sense and Sensibility), but this was the movie that made me fall in FOREVER LOVE with Rickman. His point of view made me question MY point of view. And what if things COULD be different than how we’ve always been told they are?

What if, what if, what if…

Galaxy Quest as Alexander Dane aka “Dr. Lazarus”

Just when you thought Rickman couldn’t nail a more perfect comedy role than THE METATRON, along comes Galaxy Quest, released the same year as Dogma. 1999 was a damn good year. Rickman’s role in Galaxy Quest makes me wonder if, one day, someone walked up to him and asked, “Would you like to play yourself in a sci-fi movie?”

Alan_Makeup_brush

In GQ, Rickman plays a classical actor who took one role in a science fiction show in the 80s and got pigeon holed into that role for, seemingly, forever. At first glance, it would appear that he resents this kind of notoriety, but it quickly becomes apparent how jealous he is of his co-star, Jason Nesmith, played by Tim Allen.

Eventually Rickman’s character embraces his pseudo personality and, as a result, finds belonging, purpose and passion. On the surface, it seems pretty simple – and it is. The message is… embrace who you are!

GQ_Alan_Acceptance

This was HUGE for me. I waivered in my early adulthood sometime later where I felt like I shouldn’t be as nerdy as I wanted to be. That is made me undesirable and unmarketable to things like relationships or a career.

You might have noticed that I have, as of late, re-embraced by nerdy tendencies. And it feels great. Just like Alexander Dane recognizing how much of a part Dr. Lazarus was of him. I have all the things he did at the end of that movie – belonging, purpose, and passion!

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy as Marvin the paranoid robot

We didn’t get to see you at all in this movie, Alan, but you were there in spirit in the form of Marvin. All we needed was your voice to know it was you – and more than that, to feel that Marvin was a person, with feelings and fears and a creeping, almost undetectable sense of humor. Marvin represented the voice in all of our heads saying we can’t do things, and the universe is a big, bad place that no sane person should want to live in.

Marvin

But Marvin marches forward. He doesn’t stop. In stark contrast to his depressive mood, he is a reminder of what we’re all capable of – we all have the capacity for greatness, and for perseverance. It’s a dichotomy that Rickman pulls off perfectly, and Adam Douglas, I’m sure, would have been proud.

Harry Potter as Severus Snape

Oh, Severus. Of course, we cannot overlook the contributions of J. K. Rowling in the creation of Severus Snape, but we have to give full marks to Alan Rickman for making the character come to life in the most glorious, ominous and heartbreaking way. I had seen the first three Harry Potter movies before I started reading the books (I know, it was wrong and I take full blame for slacking on getting into this series) – so when I started reading, the image of Snape was one and the same with a black-haired Alan Rickman.

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I hated Snape, I despised him, I wondered about him, I started to feel bad for him… and then I mourned for him. It was an elegant and emotional journey that both Rowling and Rickman took me on.

I will share this one, painful regret – that Snape did not get enough character exposition and progression in The Halfblood Prince and Deathly Hallows movies. We know from the books how Harry sees firsthand how difficult Severus’ childhood was, and how deeply he felt for Lilly, and the anguish in his decision to join Voldemort. Given half a chance, Rickman would have tore our hearts out countless times over if more screen time had been dedicated to his journey.

She

Is

everything

to me

For me, Dogma and Harry Potter are bookends in my love for Alan Rickman’s work – and in both, he portrayed the perfect mixture of what it means to be human and fallible – though in both he plays larger-than-life roles. Angel and Wizzard. Still human. Still one of us. Still showing us what it means to walk this earth and navigate the trenches.

You were taken from us too soon, Mr. Rickman. You will be missed. You will be mourned. But more than anything, you will be remembered.

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Always
Alan Rickman, 1946 – 2016

 

Eve2Eve is the founder of Some Nerd Girl and the author of urban fantasy novel Children of the Fallen and science fiction novel Colony One. She has been writing since the age of 13 and has been flying her nerd flag for the past 16 years. Fandoms include Star Wars, Star Trek and Battlestar Galactica. Basically if it has ‘star’ in it, she’ll give it a shot.

 

What are these Nerd Girls thankful for this year?

We’re thankful that…

SyFy is Finally Getting Back to Its Roots

This year, we got a glimpse of the fact SyFy is ready and willing to get back to producing and airing the genre of its namesake (only not butchering it with unnecessary y’s). This is excellent news for us BSG die-hards who are desperate for some space drama and other quality programming. We at SNG are VERY thankful for this turn of events.

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If you’re not up to speed on some of the current and future programming you can look forward to, here’s the short list:

  • Killjoys
  • The Expanse
  • Helix
  • 12 Monkeys
  • Children’s End

The BBC announcing it will do justice to the His Dark Material series

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Despite phenomenal casting (Star Wars Prequels, anyone?), the film adaptation of The Golden Compass left much to be desired. BBC to the rescue! The same people who brought us Red Dwarf, an adaptation of Neverwhere and Sherlock are going to do their best to bring His Dark Materials to life. Thank goodness the budget seems to have been worked out since Red Dwarf and Neverwhere – we have high hopes and we are soooo thankful for this news!

The Martian did not let down the science nerds of the group

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I’ll be damned. You did it, Matt!

Anytime there is a film set in the ‘near future’ involving science, the science nerds of our troupe cringe in a somewhat optimistic way. We want it to be good, we want it to be realistic, and we also really hope films like this inspire interest in space travel and the sciences that help us get there and figure out stuff once we get to where we’re going. We’re thankful The Martian turned out to be as good as we all hoped!

New Horizons Did Not Disappoint

Pluto

Everyone fell in love with Pluto this year, and that warms our hearts here at SNG! More than that, the hard work of some very dedicated and intelligent individuals bore fruit – pretty much the pinnacle of every scientist’s hopes and aspirations. When missions take years or decades to achieve, their success is that much sweeter!

Perfect Timing that is finishing a book in a series only to have the next one come out soon after is a thing

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If we’re lucky, we know the joy that perfect timing is when it comes to a good book or TV series – Some Nerd Girl Tessa recently experienced this with Ancillary Mercy. Tell us about when you experienced this miracle of timing in the comments!

Fury Road showed up for the ladies, and people were OK with it!

MadMax_Main_SL

Between Furiosa showing Mad Max the ropes, the Immortan’s ‘wives’ taking the fate of their lives into their own hands, and the women of the Green Place, this movie was a cinematic breath of fresh air when it comes to the portrayal of women. SNG couldn’t be more thankful for the dynamic portrayal of multiple female roles – we can only hope for more in the coming years!

You’re Never Weird On the Internet (Almost) reaffirms we’re all in this together!

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We plan on doing a whole piece on how relatable this Felicia Day book is. Until then, suffice to say, Day’s words were beyond welcome as her stories helped a LOT of us realize we are not alone in our experiences growing up and our current places in life. Many of us were inspired, others comforted, and all amused!

Moral support – in particular, with our Fallout 4 problem addiction was readily available

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Some Nerd Girl Heather reports requiring moral support to get through Fallout 4, which is equal parts amazing and scary! Maybe this is a new marketing strategy to make gamming more about community? Like, in person community. That’d be novel, eh?

Jessica Jones is a thing

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Finally, a lady gets some super hero digital content action! Granted, it’s on NetFlix and not the big screen, but we NetFlix addicts do not really consider this to be a bad thing. We’re thankful for this opportunity to see a lady featured as a superhero and look forward to seeing where they go with it!

MOAR HARRY POTTER!

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Even if it is in play-form. Now we, as adults, can enjoy an off-shoot of our favorite childhood books and still feel all cultured and junk!

Obviously; we get a new Star Wars this year. AND IT LOOKS GOOD

We’re thankful that the Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailers are making us cry. In a good way. They’re tears of absolute joy. Don’t F(*! this up, JJ.

Also, we’re hoping this new era of cinema for women will also dovetail into some decent merchandise and clothing for women. I AM LOOKING AT YOU TARGET!


Eve2Eve is the founder of Some Nerd Girl and the author of urban fantasy novel Children of the Fallen and science fiction novel Colony One. She has been writing since the age of 13 and has been flying her nerd flag for the past 16 years. Fandoms include Star Wars, Star Trek and Battlestar Galactica. Basically if it has ‘star’ in it, she’ll give it a shot. You can visit her website at www.somenerdgirl.com.

5 Ways to Make Thanksgiving Nerdy

Since we’re all sad about Halloween being over, we here at Some Nerd Girl thought we might ease the pain by suggesting ways to make the coming holidays even better (or just tolerable if you’re in THAT kind of situation).

So, please to enjoy, 5 ways to make Thanksgiving nerdy!

1. Lightsaber Duels to settle family disputes

We all know that Thanksgiving is a time we bring our families together, and we all know what a powder keg that can be! People you may or may not have seen all year, all with varying opinions and political affiliations – it’s a recipe for drunken arguments. We suggest an alternative to yelling at each other across a half-carved turkey: Dispute Resolution Via Lightsaber Duels. Hey, it worked for Luke and Vader, Right?! Right..?

lightsaber-fight

There is unlikely to be a clear winner, but you’ll probably have so much fun you won’t even care anymore that your uncle is voting for Donald Trump.

2. Light Side / Dark Side designation for the wishbone

Before you break apart the wishbone, designate who represents Light and who represents Dark. Then, let the Force decide the victor!

man-and-woman-with-wishbone

Winner gets to rule the Empire! Or, at least the TV remote for a while.

3. Instead of football, tune into something nerdy

NetFlix is your friend. Consider letting Doctor Who play in the background, or pop in your collectors edition Harry Potter DVD(s). Encourage discussions about how Voldemort probably just needed more hugs as a child. The Addam’s Family Values is always a go-to lovely and appropriate choice given the time of year.

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Other good options: Star Trek (perhaps the wishbone winner gets to pick which series), Sherlock, Clone Wars, Battlestar Galactica, Dark Matter, Lost Girl, Orphan Black, Supernatural…

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Shrimp gumbo, shrimp kabob, shrimp pasta…. whoops, sorry, got a little off track there!

4. Cook historically themed items, for the history nerd of the family!

To have a true ‘thanksgiving’ meal, you’re going to have to prepare at LEAST one of these:

  • Wildfowl (so… uh… like a goose? I don’t even know)
  • Corn in grain form for bread or porridge
  • Venison
  • Chestnuts, walnuts and/or beechnuts
  • Blueberries, plums, grapes, gooseberries, raspberries and/or cranberries

I realize not much of that sounds like a ‘traditional’ Thanksgiving dinner, but to the history nut, it’s the ONLY traditional dinner to have.

5. Instead of playing football in the side yard, set up a Quidditch pitch and play that!

Who needs Football when you can run around pretending to be a wizard for an hour or so instead?! All you’d really need is some hula-hoops, duct tape and 6 wooden dowels. Easy, right? Oh, and a Snitch. I feel like perhaps whoever lost the wishbone battle will have to play the Snitch – and if they disagree, it can be settled with a Lightsaber battle.

Hufflepuff
You know you want some of this!!

Now go forth, and spread the Nerd love!


Eve2Eve is the founder of Some Nerd Girl and the author of urban fantasy novel Children of the Fallen and science fiction novel Colony One. She has been writing since the age of 13 and has been flying her nerd flag for the past 16 years. Fandoms include Star Wars, Star Trek and Battlestar Galactica. Basically if it has ‘star’ in it, she’ll give it a shot. You can visit her website at www.somenerdgirl.com.

 

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