As a genderqueer person I’m fairly certain that my own experience with slash fanfiction differs somewhat from the norm. Only recently have I begun reflecting on how formative both writing and reading fanfiction was at a time in my life when I felt isolated and frustrated by my own seemingly incongruous feelings. Knowing now that there are a surprising number of people for whom the gender binary doesn’t hold true, I like to think that for some small portion of the fan community fanfiction has been an important tool for self-discovery, as it was for me.
Lycanthropy also serves as a metaphor for the inherent state of physical transition and transformation that is a defining part of puberty. For most able-bodied, non-chronically ill people, puberty is the first time we actively feel out of control of our bodies (potty training notwithstanding). The changes are sudden, violent, bizarre; simple changes in height are nothing compared to the fundamental, irreversible changes to the character and nature of our bodies that happen during puberty. It’s rooted in the same basis that makes all body horror so terrifying—the involuntary changing of and lack of control over the body.
If you went to Hogwarts, which House would you be in? Where did Pottermore sort you? Identifying with Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, or Slytherin is one of the most important questions to members of the Harry Potter fandom. The internet loves personality quizzes, and in the early days of internet fandom, the web was full of people trying to write the most “authentic” Sorting Hat quiz. Some used Myers-Briggs personality inventories to sort you. Of course, no one could really agree on whether “iNtuitive Thinkers” made better Slytherins or Ravenclaws, or that all “Sensing Feelers” were either Gryffindors or Hufflepuffs (and don’t get me started on the awful chart that went around). But I’m here to propose a better way of understanding what makes each House tick, and why Slytherin really might have a bad reputation. It’s about the four cardinal virtues.
Well, the day has finally come. The last of the Harry Potter movies has been made, and with its release in theaters all the hardcore fans can enjoy the epicness of witnessing the conclusion of such a beloved story while simultaneously crying that it’s over.
Harry Potter has been a huge part of my life for years now. I was about twelve when I read the first three books, and now ten years later, sitting in the theater for the final movie, I feel as though my childhood has come to an end with the franchise. Harry Potter is someone I grew up with, so this was also a depressing day for me. I know it sounds sad, but I have to wonder what I’m going to do with my life now that this is over.