Gryffindor Is for the Fake Fans

We have all been there. You hear someone bring up Harry Potter and your Potterhead Bat-Signal goes wild. Immediately, you jump into the conversation, asking, “What House are you in?” It’s a question that even the most casual of fans can answer. But perhaps that is the issue.

 

 

It seems like everybody these days knows that Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, and Ron Weasley were in Gryffindor House. However, many “casual fans” – those who have only seen a few movies or read the books many years ago – seem to forget that there are three other Houses, each representing equally important traits. Instead, these fake fans call themselves Gryffindors because they don’t know any others. Besides, if the protagonist was Sorted there, it must be the best… right?

Personally, I never realized how big of an issue this had become until the other day (maybe I’m surrounded by too many Muggles). I was staffing a retreat and was put in charge of dorm bonding. Feeling that the usual icebreakers had grown tired, I went around the circle and asked for everyone’s House. Much to my initial excitement, at least 75% of the group claimed they were Gryffindors. Going last, I told the group that I, too, was a Gryffindor when an exasperated girl turned to me and asked, “But are you really? Or are you just saying that because everyone else said it?” Naturally, I was furious. How dare this random person call me a fake fan! Can anyone else here recite full pages of the novels by heart? Does anyone else here have more Harry Potter memorabilia than space to put it?

 

 

Once I quelled my inner Draco Malfoy, I understood her point: Many people call themselves Gryffindors simply because they know it. Similarly, people will claim to be Slytherin because they want to be “cool” or “edgy.” In reality, these fake fans are oversimplifying the intricacies of Sorting into black and white categories, going with the most popular and well-known Houses. Don’t believe me? Just take a look at Hufflepuff. Before the release of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, everyone believed Hufflepuffs were lame, and finding a true Hufflepuff was almost as difficult as finding Hufflepuff merchandise. Now those yellow and black accessories have found a nice home among their serpent- and lion-emblazoned companions.

Is there a solution to this ever-growing problem? Aside from forcing everyone to take an official Sorting quiz and declare public allegiance to their Hogwarts House, it may be difficult to sort out. There are steps that can be taken, however, such as ensuring equal representation of all Houses, allowing even fake fans to make informed decisions. Oh, and please, for the love of Merlin, can we please stop harassing the real fans just because they are in a House flooded by the insincere?

  • Diagonotter

    “Fake fans”? Everyone says Gryffindor? Children say Gryffindor, and some, yes flip to Slytherin “to be edgy”. And it’s okay, because they are kids, they will get more nuanced as they get older. How old is this writer?

    • travellinginabluebox

      Maybe you have been lucky to be surrounded with hardcore fans all the time, but I can definitely name you more people who would pick Gryffindor, because it is the cool house and the hero of the series is in it, than actually seeing themselves in that house.

      • Amanda Gray

        Why does it really matter?

  • travellinginabluebox

    I personally have had some similar issues. Most of my friends are Hufflepuffs actually and whilst I as a Gryffindor have it easier with finding merch, I also want to hold up my Pottermore ID that tells people that I really am a Gryffindor. Because from what Rosie (Alohomora host) told me, the house editions of PS sold about equally for Slytherin, Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff, but twice as much for the Gryffindor editions. And that is not because there are more Gryffindor fans, but because casual fans and readers know Gryffindor. Most “regular” readers won’t have associated with other houses through watching or reading Harry Potter. It is us hardcore fans that know their wand, Patronus and Hogwarts house, that actually really identify with their houses. Plus since the last book came out there has been a huge shift in how people see the houses.

    • Iain Walker

      So tell me, how does “knowing” your wand, Patronus and Hogwarts house and really identifying with “your” house, make you any more hardcore a fan than those of us who consider the Pottermore tests superficial and irrelevant and who consider the House Sorting process to be one of Wizarding Britain’s greatest in-universe flaws?

      • travellinginabluebox

        Well if you consider the whole sorting to be complete bonkers than you would say that to someone if asked, right? I am talking about the people that just say Gryffindor because they think the other houses are rubish, when those houses have a lot to offer. So as someone who has been sorted into that house and really identifies with it, it can be somewhat annoying.

        • Iain Walker

          I think you may have missed my point here, which that just because you did the Pottermore tests and then decided to accept the results, it doesn’t make you any more of a “hardcore” fan than anyone else. You don’t get to define what makes a “true” fan for the rest of us.

          Oh, and strictly speaking you weren’t “sorted”, since the Sorting ritual doesn’t take place in the real world. Rather, you took an unscientific online test that approximates some aspects of the considerably more intricate fictional process. If you want to choose to accept the results, then fine. If you want to make it a big part of your identity, you’re free to do that too. But please bear in mind that this is a personal decision, and there’s no particular virtue in it. Your way of engaging with the texts and with the wider fandom isn’t everybody’s.

  • Amanda Gray

    Seriously? I’m sorry but I don’t believe in House division. When I meet a fellow Harry Potter fan I end up talking about my favorite character or book or something like that. I don’t care what House they’re in or if they’ve even been sorted or not. I’m just happy to have found someone else who shares the same fandoms as I do.

    • Iain Walker

      Thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you. Sometimes it feels like I’m the only House system / Sorting critic in the entire fandom.

  • This is stupid and there is no such thing as a fake fan. :/

    • saturn0205 .

      A fake fan is someone who has recently discovered a new film, series, artist, or book and despite only recently learning about it, still claims that they have superior knowledge and refer to it so frequently that it eventually becomes outright disrespectful to the original, larger fan base.

  • Samuel Lee Smith

    I have so many questions about this article… The lack of editorial oversight being a major one. But this is offensive on so many levels. Besides the biggest one, there are no “fake fans.” That’s so absurd and gatekeep-y.

    But you want to know the absolute worst part… that as a Slytherin I’m defending people that claim Gryffindor (obviously the worst house). (please read that last part as tongue-in-cheek).

    • saturn0205 .

      A fake fan is someone who has recently discovered a new film, series, artist, or book and despite only recently learning about it, still claims that they have superior knowledge and refer to it so frequently that it eventually becomes outright disrespectful to the original, larger fan base. Some examples of films which have been plagued by fake fans are suicide squad, deadpool and the recent ‘It’ film.

      • Samuel Lee Smith

        That’s from Urban dictionary a site literally anyone can contribute to. “Fake Fans” don’t exist. Maybe people are assholes but that’s about it.

        • saturn0205 .

          Yeah, it could definitely use better terminology, but whenever I refer to a “fake fan,” these are the kind of people I mean.

  • Diannika

    It stopped being “cool” to be Gryffindor years ago. And I say that as a die-hard Gryffindor.
    Gryffindor almost never wins house cups on various websites because we tend to have less people.
    At a con I go to, we get house point tokens that we place in a glass for our house. Gryffindor doesnt even come CLOSE to winning because there are so few of us, and that is just the kind of place where people would be going with whatever is cool because they dont associate with a house themselves.

    Slytherin is cool because its edgy
    Hufflepuff is cool because Cedric + people wanna be seen as nice, helpful, hardworking people
    Ravenclaw is popular because large numbers of people who like HP like books, and people like to forget that there is much more to Ravenclaw than that.
    Gryffindor has been uncool for years because of the backlash from when what you are describing ACTUALLY was happening, plus an exaggerated emphasis on the reckless side of Gryffindor in fanfiction.

    • Kevin Goulet

      This is so true ! I have so many friends in all the other house but I think I only have one potterhead friend who’s in Gryffindor. I’m always almost alone on my team at every event, ahah ! And most of my closest friend are in slytherin and I think that Slytherin and Gryffindor is really the best match for friendship ! ^^

    • pickettandpastries

      Ooh what fansites have the house cups?

      I called myself a Gryffindor for ages – my reasoning was that I was a very proud person etc etc but I stumbled across a fan theory on sorting (honestly it so well thought out and there are paaaages and paaaages on it to read) and realised that I was oversimplifying things a ton and mistyped most of my characteristics as Gryffindor where in reality they were part of Slytherin

      • Diannika

        Sites like Hogwarts Extreme, Virtual Hogwarts, and other ones where the premise of the site is going to Hogwarts 🙂

  • saturn0205 .

    Well said. I live with one of these deluded fans, and it drives me up the wall!

  • Lisa

    I’m sure there are many people who call themselves Gryffindors because it’s cool but frankly that’s as good a reason as any to identify with a FICTIONAL house. Honestly, people just take this sorting business way too seriously, acting like it actually says something about themselves when in fact it’s all sillier than astrology, really (though fun!). If only I had a penny for everytime I saw someone on the internet freaking out that their best friend was sorted in a house they can’t stand or that they’re dating someone who’s in a house which is “incompatible” with their own. And then there are those who like to preface every opinion they express with their House. This is especially common in Ravenclaws who are bound to be all “As a Ravenclaw I think that…” as though we must now all bow to their superior intellect. Everyone needs to just relax about Housing because it’s not a big deal (and also, it’s all made up! in case anyone forgot).

    As for fake fans…. well there are those who’ve only seen the movies *scoffs*

    • Iain Walker

      Well said (because sometimes an up-vote isn’t enough).

  • Gary Bernard

    I understand people’s problem with the label “fake fans,” but Gryffindor is the go-to for those with limited understanding of/dedication to the Potterverse. That being said, I think similar things happen in other fandoms: Pikachu being a favorite Pokemon, the Red (or White for old school Mighty Morphin) being the favorite Power Ranger, etc. I don’t think there is anything wrong with it, but it is understandably frustrating when your favorite, based on well-developed, thorough reasoning and personal introspection, is the same as the “masses” who share your opinion only because they don’t know/care enough to have a different one.

  • Iain Walker

    Maybe the solution is to recognise that all fandom identification with the Hogwarts Houses is superficial and meaningless. It’s make-believe identarianism, nothing more.

    You’re not, in point of fact, a Gryffindor. An actual Gryffindor is a fictional character, a witch or wizard resident in Great Britain or Ireland who is accepted into Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and undergoes a flawed and archaic rite of passage (the Sorting) that spits them out into an adminstrative sub-unit of the school called “Gryffindor”. That is the context in which the label “Gryffindor” gains its meaning and legitimate use, and it’s a context that only applies in-universe. Similarly, there are no Slytherins, Hufflepuffs or Ravenclaws in the real world either.

    Now, you might share some of the traits and values associated with the fictional House, and you might label yourself as a Gryffindor as an ironic short-hand for this. That’s fine. You might also possess some of the traits that the Auror Office looks for in its recruits, and you might think that being an Auror sounds pretty cool. But that doesn’t make you an actual Auror, because only fictional characters in the Potterverse who have undergone a certain training regime and passed certain tests can be Aurors.

    So there are new fans with limited understanding of the fictional world and the established fandom, and Gryffindor is the House they like to think they’d be in? Well, why shouldn’t they? It’s superficial and maybe it’s not done for the best of reasons, but the same is true of all such self-labelling. And I don’t see any of these so-called “fake fans” whinging about what other fans call themselves.

  • Khansa Shabir

    I understand where she’s coming from, but you can barely find any other merchandise except for Gryffindor. I am a #gryffindorandproud and I have an outfit dedicated to Gryffindor, yet my friend who’s a dear Hufflepuff, complains there’s no merchandise for her to express her love for her house. She even mentioned that she’d ‘rather move over to Gryffindor’.