Arts & Culture

When Harry met Katniss: Of Fandoms and Communities

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Arts and media have always been an important part of the lives of human beings. We started with passing down stories and then onto books, theatre, television, cinema, and then videos and the various other kinds of content on the internet. Even before the concept of being a fan or being a part of a fandom was around, we bonded with fellow human beings over similar interests, which included books read, movies watched, and TV series followed. In recent years, social media has catapulted the idea of fandoms into the limelight and given it more legitimacy, and the idea is very simple – you’re a fan if you like a body of work, which also makes you a part of the fandom of that work. There doesn’t need to be any more qualification to being a fan, although social media today would have you believe otherwise with fans of certain franchises being really invested in them and the whole concept of a person being a ‘true’ fan only if they can name all the characters or quote the body of work at length or something equally unnecessary.

A group of people tied by nothing but their love for say, a book series or a band, might not sound like much but these groups have become legitimate communities and people within them often find friends and supporters for life. Social media has made it easier for these communities to interact with each other irrespective of geographical barriers. I have met some of my favourite people on social media through bands that I love, football teams I support and the books I love. People in these communities are also really creative are often found writing fanfictions (stories based on a particular body of work/characters in that work but with alternate endings or plots), creating fanart (digital art, doodles, sketches, merchandise designs and a plethora of other kinds of art), and having in-depth discussions about characters and their evolution. The fandom is no longer a group of just passive consumers of art; content creators are increasingly taking notice of their fans and their opinions and demands. A great example of this is interaction between YouTubers and their fans, with the former often looking towards their subscribers for suggestions and critique.

Whatever be the franchise, fandoms are a great way to not just interact with a bunch of (usually) really cool people but also get to know your favourite book/movie/band better through the perspectives of others who examine it through lenses different than yours. Have fun exploring your fandom, and this fandom issue!

Shubham Kaushik

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Shubham swears by three Fs in life: Fall Out Boy, Feminism and Food, and hopes to combine them into an amazing book someday. Staunchly against heteronormativity and a believer in the power of hugs, she considers herself a pop-culture 'activist' and a crusader against the stigma attached to fanfiction. A student of Economics at Miranda House, she likes indulging in discussions about the fragility of money and the absurdity of life. Find her reblogging memes on Tumblr or drop her a word at [email protected] if you want to discuss bands, books or have a nice pun to share.

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