The Weekly Ringer

The University of Mary Washington Student Newspaper

According to Amanda…Fanaticism: From Then to Now

2 min read


Fanatics of anything have always amused me.  On the last day of science fiction literature, we watched a Star Trek fan phenomena documentary.  I kept my composure throughout the film, until a male science fiction folksinger wearing fuchsia lipstick sang one of his hits.  Laughing aside, it made me reminisce about my own experience flirting with fanaticism.

I was first exposed to Harry Potter in fourth grade.  With my head down on a desk, I fell in love with the world of Hogwarts in the sleepy lull that set in after recess while my teacher read to us.  It only took one book for Harry Potter to captivate me and I became an avid fan of the series.

Not only did I love the books, but I wanted others to as well.  I desperately tried to get my family to join in my enthusiasm.  I did succeed after much heckling on my part.

In retrospect, had I not hooked them, I could have saved myself some heated custody battles.  Didn’t they know that my rereading of the second installment was just as important, if not more, than their reading it for the first time?

In my, and arguably the series’ prime, I had read each available installment at least three times.  Consequently, I fielded questions about spells, characters and plot at the dinner table. I found that most casseroles are much more delicious when eaten with a swollen ego.

My interest expanded beyond the scope of the series. I read all available J.K. Rowling biographies and became a self-proclaimed expert.  I even pretended to be her for a class project in middle school. The assignment entailed “being” a famous person during a mock interview. My fake British accent was a hit.

Eventually, as new installments slowed, my enthusiasm waned. I still devoured new books as they came out. In fact, when the 7th book released, my then-boyfriend and I had, what we referred to, as “The Great Harry Potter Race of ‘07.”

Still, it wasn’t quite the same. My knowledge had become fuzzy and I found myself turning to Wikipedia to remember plot lines I once knew as if they were my own.  Much like my love for beanie babies, my love for Harry Potter morphed from an obsession into an appreciation.

I no longer pre-order movie tickets or hoard the books beneath my bed, but I’ll admit that my ears perked up when I heard that the Harry Potter Theme Park in Universal Studios Orlando is set to open this Spring.  Even now, the prospect of indulging my nostalgia on a rollercoaster called Flight of the Hippogriff is still downright magical.