I was going to make a heartfelt post about how I love fandom, warts and all. But y'all know me: I don't really do heartfelt all that well
So this is what an end of an era feels like. I've been there before. Knowing that a story you love is about to come to an end is a curious blend of nostalgia and vague anticipation. The future is uncertain: will it suck? Will it live up to our expectations? Will fandom survive? Will there still be X pairing fic if one half of the pairing (or both halves) take a bullet in the final installment? I wish I knew the answers, but at the same time, I think it's the uncertainty that makes this experience, this sort of final deep breath before the end.
In early spring 1999, a few friends and I went to the movies; we wanted to see what all the hype was about re: The Matrix. I didn't know it at the time, but this event would lead to four years of obsession, friendships, meta, pointless flame wars, ficcing, and glorious wank. Before that night, I was a compulsive lurker, mostly in the LotR fandom. I read newsgroups and fora, I spent time on fansites, I giggled at wank. Before that night, I had no desire to share my thoughts or feelings on a creative work with anyone.
That night, as we came out of the theatre, the stars in my eyes were so enormously bright that I turned around and headed back into the darkness of the theatre with barely a word to my companions: I wanted to experience that again. I wanted to be immersed in that story again. I wanted Neo's trench coat and ergonomic keyboard. I wanted Trinity's shades. I wanted to listen to the soundtrack on blast for hours and hours until my neighbours complained. I wanted to write essays about what I'd seen, about my thoughts. I wanted to build the most comprehensive, inclusive fan site for the film. Most importantly, I wanted to talk to someone about what I'd seen, what I'd experienced, and what it meant to me, then a first-year university student with a pretty standard life -- friends, reading, lectures, writing, exams, boyfriend...
The story of my involvement with the Matrix fandom is long and deeply boring to anyone who wasn't along for the ride, so I'll skip it. Instead, I wanted to talk about the Time Our Canon Ended. For four years, we waited, patiently, gathering news-nuggets and speculating, sometimes to the point of absurdity. If you play Agent Smith's "A Virus" speech backwards, is there a secret message? Do you think the red and blue are metaphorical stand-ins for the Doppler Effect? What does that mean for the narrative, for the future of our favourite characters? We were crazy about our source material; people who didn't like the movie occasionally showed up for a spot of baiting, but they never stayed.
In May 2003, The Matrix Reloaded and Enter The Matrix (videogame) came out, preceded by a frenzy of glossy ad hype and snappy catchphrases. That summer was absolutely explosive in fandom: the two sequels were filmed back-to-back and what we'd seen was only "half a movie". Speculation ranged from harmlessly batshit to criminally insane. There were grudge matches between different fan sites, snide bickering about philosophical approaches, scandals involving unauthorised usage of fan-produced content... meltdown after meltdown, in other words, but it was so much fun. The die-hards, those of us who'd been on the bandwagon since day one (and looked down our noses at the n00bs just wandering in after the second movie) -- we'd dedicated years of near-slavish devotion to the creators' vision. Those of us who secretly didn't like Reloaded pretended to, because we were so sure that the creators would give us a fitting ending, one that explained away and tied up all the inconsistencies brought on by the first sequel. We were absolutely fucking batshit and proud of it.
Then the final movie dropped. Less than a year later, I left the fandom.
I'll spare you the many reasons for my disappointment with the finished canon, but that was what started my slow estrangement. When I actually did leave, it was mostly to get away from the now-endless wank that definitely wasn't of the funny kind. Had I still loved the canon, I would have stayed. A funny thing happened, though: when I cleaned the splooge out of my eyes, I found stars again.
During the summer of 2004, I watched Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and absolutely had to know what happened next. Two weeks and a trip to Berlin later, I had read all five books and was slowly lurking my way through the fandom, on LJ and FA and SQ and even Portkey. Then I read Lemon Zingers and Strawberry Jam by hackthis and thus began my extended obsession with Harry/Draco, who will never NOT be my OTP, whatever happens in the final book. I've felt no desire to return to the Matrix fandom since, because I don't love the canon.
So, I'll admit. I'm a little scared about the fallout. Because I've already read the leaked book, I know where I stand, but I don't know about the rest of you (most of you, anyway). I don't know where fandom goes from here, and that's simultaneously terrifying and exciting.
Will the fandom die? Of course not. Fandoms never die, not as long as there is even one person producing fannish content where others can see. Even if this person is a pot-bellied hobo in a Nacho Libre costume, standing outside his local pound shop and bawling fan filks at the top of his lungs. Whilst passers-by fling change at him in hopes of accidentally-on-purpose lodging a coin in his throat.
Fandom is going to change, though. Not next week or even next month, but by next year, it will be different. How different? That'll be up to us.
And since I expect this journal will be all Deathly Hallows, all the time for the next foreseeable future, I might as well do this now. I bear picspam for the photo meme. I have not been able to drive down to the place I like to go for walks to take a photo for moia and I lost the picture of a messy pile I took for deora_mystic. Sorry, ladies. >.> *rainchecks*
Slytherin robes for scrtkpr. Now with patch!
Favourite coffee cup for emmagrant01.
Bookshelf for devilish__angel. These are just the books I've brought up from the basement because I like to re-read them or because I use them; there are about 6 more boxes that I'm leaving alone until I move out, plus also the pile of books I left behind in Hungary that I hope to bring home one day. If my grandmother doesn't sell them on eBay first. :| And yes, that's an original scarah2 on the top shelf. *\o/*
Favourite place to write for wook77. Well, it IS. :P
Something in my general vicinity that annoys me to no end for karaz. Yes, they are Christmas lights. In July. But they don't annoy me for being off-season; they annoy me because the local wasps use them as markers for the nests they build inside the roof. :|
The inside of my fridge for mellafe.
My favourite outfit for dramedy. Tracky bums, a tank and a button-down. If I could live in these clothes (or some variations thereof), I would.
My bed for satanbaker.
Uglydog for goneril.
My hair care produts for henpecked. My hair care generally consists of "wash, condition, and air dry", though.
My favourite knick-knack for queenbarwench. It's the Noble Collection Slytherin house ring. :">
Really cool shoes for imadra_blue. I don't know if they're really cool!1 but they're the coolest pair I own. >.>
My trash can for arabwel. Not so much a trash can as a bag o' scrap paper just before I took it to the recycling bin.
My calendar for gossymer. lol wired.
My wardrobe for askani. It's hard to take a photo of the whole thing as it's a walk-in, but I tried. :S
My DVD collection for agent_maxine
And a bonus lolcat:
I do love you, fandom, warts and all. I'll see you at the end of the road, next to the weather-worn "Quo Vadis?" sign.