HPANA to survive 2010 and beyond?

HPANA to survive 2010 and beyond? – HPANA

This is a cause that is true and dear to my heart, because without this website, hmrpotter  – let alone the Hanako that you know today – would not even exist.

This is a blog post that has circulated quite a few times in the past few years, as a way that I’ve introduced myself in the Potter fandom. It’s a pretty condensed version of a more detailed, longer post that I once wrote but that has since been long lost into the vast universe that is the internet. HPANA – and the friends that I met there – are a very large part of how I got so involved in the Potter fandom, and subsequently into other fandoms, and the Sci-Fi/Fantasy community in general. At a time when I had become very unhappy in life, very unsure of who I was, and pretty much cut myself off from everyone, this site and it’s members welcomed me, embraced me, and made me feel like I had somewhere I could go and be completely myself: no pretenses, no fakeness, no trying to be someone I wasn’t. It didn’t matter my race, my background, my religious preference (or lack thereof), my job, my status, etc.; they became my friends because we shared one single common interest in a book. Wouldn’t it be great if all relationships could be that simple?

You know the bond that people feel towards their sports teams, their Alma Maters, their fraternities and sororities? Fandom gives the same feeling to those of us who don’t share (or simply don’t care) about those other experiences. It gives us a different way to meet new people, to bond and to learn to accept people as they are, similar and different.

However I can support this site – now and in the future – I will, because I can say sincerely that without HPANA and its members, I would definitely not be the person that I am today.

Originally posted in OCTOBER 2008 at http://potterprofiles.ning.com/profiles/blogs/introduction-1

I guess I’ll start this blog off with an introduction.

My name is Hanako. I am 33 years old and have been married for 13 years (although we’re currently separated). I have three children: 2 girls ages 12 and 10, and a boy age 6. All of my kids are Potter fans as well. Between the 4 of us, there are 2 Gryffindors and 2 Slytherins.

I got into Harry Potter in March 2005. I was working as a Media Secretary in my kids’ elementary school and we had gotten a shipment of brand new, donated books from one of the local banks. In this shipment was the 5-book Box set of HP (this was right before the release of HBP). Now, I had heard of Harry Potter before, but never was interested because of all the “bad press” surrounding it; in other words, I was one of those people who was making judgements on the book without reading it. I had been contemplating reading the series for a few weeks by then, but we never had the books available in the library, because the students kept checking them out. So when we got the box set in, I told my boss/friend that I wanted to take them home to read them before we put them into circulation. Since Spring Break was coming up, I figured I could take about 2 weeks, and it would give me enough time to read all of the books.

That was on a Thursday. I was finished with all 5 books by early Sunday afternoon. And I was hooked.

And I still had no clue whatsoever as to how big the Potter phenonmenon really was.

After reading the books a second time through, I took them back to work and shared my thoughts with my boss/friend. He was pleased that I loved them, because he had been trying to get me to read them for a few months, knowing that I would enjoy them.

Back then, I was also not very active on the internet (my, my! how things have changed! LOL) But I started hearing words like “fandom” and “online communities” and once again, got curious as to what all the fuss was about. I decided one day to go online and type in “Harry Potter fans”, and WOW. I was not expecting the number of websites that came up! I randomly picked one to visit (HPANA), and was amazed. You mean there are hundreds of thousands of people who are into this stuff?Online? I couldn’t believe it.

Then when I found that many of them were not kids but – in fact – adults, I began to get a bit more excited. I joined HPANA, and was very active on there for a few years, but since then I’ve joined several other Potter fan sites, and have gotten more active on my Facebook, Myspace and LiveJournal, which is where I spend most of my online time now.

I’ve been to a family-oriented HP gathering, Enlightening 2007, that was held on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania back in 2007. I’ve been to Dragon*Con twice now, and went last year for the first time because I found out that Matthew Lewis and James/Oliver Phelps would be there (that’s me and Matt together in my profile picture). I got to meet them all last year, and got to talk a bit more with Matthew this year when he came back to Dragon*Con. I started reading fan fiction almost 2 years ago, and have written a few pieces myself. I’m slowly getting involved in cosplay, and I belong to a local Adults only Harry Potter group that meets once a month. Oh yeah, I also collect stuff: dolls, stationary, trading cards, books, magazines, etc. You get the picture!

So yeah, HP has become a very huge part of my life. I’ve met friends from all over the world, and it has helped me thorugh some very rough times in my life over the past few years. Most importantly though, I think HP has helped me to understand that there’s nothing wrong with being different, for liking things that others don’t like, and to be comfortable with who I am. Yes, I’m a “grown-up” who fell in love with a children’s book. But that children’s book has helped me find out who I am as a person more than anything else in my life, other than my husband and children.

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