Our Fandom Exists: A Realization Through Trivia and Beer
The Harry Potter fandom has always been both vocal and social, and as a member of that fandom, I’ve always felt blessed. That being said, in the age of the Internet, it’s very easy for social lives, and fandoms, to exist mainly online. In fact, the Harry Potter generation grew up at the beginning of the Internet, so we’re very accustomed to expressing and sharing our love of magic in that medium. And while one can talk with someone on the other side of the Earth with a shared love of hoggy, warty Hogwarts, it also feels somewhat solitary living your truth behind a screen.
But then there are fan events and conventions and of course, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Amazing, brilliant places where a fan can feel truly at home. But they’re costly, especially if you don’t live local to them. So what does one do to feel that at-home feeling of Hogwarts on a shoestring budget?
Fortunately, many of the Harry Potter fans have grew up to enjoy their nerdom in whatever medium they currently enjoy. And in Anaheim, California, I was fortunate enough to be a part of a prime example: Harry Potter Trivia.
Now, I host trivia nights at a couple of different breweries in Orange County since I enjoy trivia, as well as drinking free beer. In September, I was approached by one of the breweries for which I do trivia, Bottle Logic Brewing, with the idea of doing a Harry Potter trivia night in late October. I would write and host trivia, and the amazing Potterheads at Bottle Logic would make decorations, hold a costume contest, and of course, brew some special themed beer. I was ecstatic; there were so many of my favorite things all in one package! I couldn’t wait!
A Facebook event was made, and as I began to write the questions I periodically checked the event to see how it was being received. Trivia nights are usually pretty popular at Bottle Logic, so I expected the usual crowd, plus a few more Potter fans. But after a couple of days, the event had hit over a hundred who had clicked “Going.” Then over 200. Over 350. Finally, on the day of trivia, the event page had just under 400 excited and ready to go. I had never done trivia for a group that large and couldn’t believe the thought of that many people. But I packed up the car and went to the brewery, excited despite my nerves.
The brewery is only 15 minutes from my place, and as I got closer, I found that the traffic was unusually terrible. Then when I finally pulled up, parking was near impossible. By the time I had everything unloaded and started trivia, people were pouring in. I learned later that the final count for the night was 700 people! It was terrifying at first, but then when I got on the mic to start, I was comforted by the fact that I was enveloped in a real, live family of Potter fans who were all just as excited as I was. This was the experience that I had been missing and that I feel many of us are often missing. That feeling of being part of something much larger and meeting that something face to face.
And what’s more, this was just a random Harry Potter event. Not a convention or a theme park, so it felt even more surprising and special in a way. The fact that all of these fans came from nowhere, dressed in their finest Potter garb, it was all so unexpected! It was incredible to be reassured that every day I’m secretly surrounded by people who love the same stuff I do. That feeling of being alone behind a screen can be overwhelming, but after trivia at Bottle Logic, and 700 members of the Potter family, I felt reassured that I’m not alone. And even though a large part of the fandom may live online, it’s definitely real.
What events have you been to that make you proud to be a Potter fan? Leave your answers in the comments below!