A/N: Inspired by Melissa A, who wanted me to write this. Special
thanks to Arabella, who is so beautiful that we should all hide our eyes
and cry mercy. (She wrote that. Oh the pain I call my sister......)
When I first read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, my imagination
was triggered and I immediately fell in love with the story. I couldn't
wait for the second book to be released. I also couldn't stop raving about
the first book to anyone who would listen. The first of whom would be
my older sister, Arabella. I told Arabella of the book and asked her to
read it. As Arabella and I have always had a difference in opinion in
regards to reading material (while she enjoys Jane Austen, L.M. Montgomery
and JD Salinger, I enjoy David Eddings, Mercedes Lackey, and - to my sister's
dismay - Nora Roberts), she was not enthusiastic about reading what she
thought to be a blockbuster book. But because Arabella respects and loves
me (ha ha - in other words, after I twisted her arm), she didn't hesitate
to take my advice. I couldn't believe it when, to my delight, Arabella
actually seemed to enjoy the book. I immediately thought, "Wow, my sister,
who is of far greater intellect than I, actually likes a book I recommended!!"
If only I'd had the foresight to realize the chain reaction I had inadvertently
I am about to travel to NYC to spend Thanksgiving with my sister. Before
I left Oregon, my sister explained to me that she had friends from all
over the country meeting in New York for the premiere of the HP movie.
As I understood it, people that Arabella had met online at HP sites would
all be meeting (many for the first time) off line. I thought it would
be interesting and fun to go see the movie with a group of people who
had read and enjoyed the book, and so I agreed to get to NY the week before
turkey-day, and meet them all for the movie. Especially since none of
my friends at home had the slightest desire to see the movie - none of
them would even read the book, and they all thought I was strange
for being excited about the opening of kids' movie. Well, if my friends
could have met the SQ freaks(x), I think they would have realized that
my liking of the books and excitement for the movie didn't measure in
any way to the love and passion held by the SQ'ers. My appreciation was
a drop of rain in the hurricane of feeling my sister and the SQ'ers felt.
I had no idea what I had gotten my self into, but I figured that it would
only be a day or so... I mean, how long could this excitement last? After
all, it's only fiction... right?
That first weekend was a truly eye-opening experience. I landed in NY
the evening before the movie opened. When I arrived at my sister's apartment
in Brooklyn, I met the first few SQ'ers of the many I would meet. After
all the introductions were made, the conversation immediately turned to
HP. Since we were all in NY to see the movie, I didn't find it strange
that the topic continually swirled around JK Rowling and her books. I
tried to follow the strange and newly exotic conversation topics of Cannon,
squick-ney, shippers, H-Hers, and the mysterious
number 87, but soon decided that I would never figure it all out. I mean,
was there a cannon in the book? Did I somehow miss chapters? I tried to
ask someone when I wasn't able to follow, but each person would explain
using more strange terms that I just didn't understand. I soon gave up
and tried to go to sleep (But with 18 million girls all wound up for the
movie it was not an easy task...I wanted to remind them that it was just
a movie, but feared too much for my personal safety.) As I drifted off
to sleep that evening, the last thing that echoed in my head was the melodic
chant of "Harry Potter... Harry Potter..."
As it happens, the first thing that penetrated through my sleep the next
morning was that same DAMN chanting song. Was it possible that
Harry Potter was still the only thing that people were talking about?
Wait, wait... it was the day of the movie and, truth be told,
I was pretty excited too. After all, I was in NYC, with people who appreciated
HP as much as I did. Damn right we were all excited, and so of course
Harry Potter was the only topic of conversation. I could deal with talking
about him, even if it was in public. So what if a gaggle of giggling girls
gabbed loudly in the middle of an A train bound for Manhattan? Who cares
if we walked the streets of midtown wearing matching Gryffindor House
scarves? We were showing HP pride! Who cares!
Who cares? Oh, Jesus, I'm walking behind a group of adult children,
some wearing capes (as if fashion came from the frickin' Hobbit shire),
all wearing matching scarves. Christ, I hope no one sees me. Oops, too
late, all of Manhattan has seen me, not to mention Brooklyn. I guess that
means only six million people have witnessed my embarrassment. All right,
all right... it doesn't matter if a few million New Yorkers saw me. I
wasn't wearing the scarf (OK, I was wearing it for a little while, but
it was only to please my sister...that's my story and I am sticking to
it). But soon we would all see the movie, we would talk about it for a
few hours afterward, and then it would all end. I would get a chance to
know everyone beyond the HP addiction. I would get to have a conversation
without Harry Potter involved.
Or so I thought.
The pre-movie was great. I had a better time watching the SQ'ers faces
than I did watching the movie. It was hilarious, the rapture everyone
was in. They have all been brainwashed. After the movie, we all went for
dinner at America. Twenty-five or so people took up half the restaurant
with a single conversation. That's right - Harry Potter. But I had expected
a post-movie conversation. That was fine.
HOWEVER. The next day, when we saw the movie AGAIN, and the conversation
was still stuck on HP... well... I knew I had a problem on my hands. But
I was leaving for home in a week. I could manage, as long as I had a lot
of beer, and Advil for my head...
Shit. I moved to Maryland with Arabella. I have no one to blame but myself.
I mean, I knew what the SQ'ers were capable of together. I had seen them
in action when I was in NY. I only wish I could understand their motives.
PLEASE GOD, HELP ME FIGURE THESE FREAKS OUT!
For example, my sister had four SQ'ers over one weekend. While we were
all eating lunch, I mentioned how nice it would be to see the opening
of the movie "Time Machine"(Guy Pierce is a hottie-tomatie). My sister
replied that she and the SQ'ers thought they would rather spend time together
"talking", etc., than going to a movie where they wouldn't be able to
"talk". This made perfect sense. I could understand that they would want
to make the most of their time, sincee they only had a few days. Which
is why, when I found all four of them sitting silently together in the
top floor of the house, I became severely confused. I mean, there they
were. A group of friends that only spend a few days together every couple
of months. No one spoke - no one even looked at each other. I had to check
for a pulse. Christ, is this better than seeing a movie? Each to her own
laptop? If so, could someone explain it to me? I thought that the entire
idea behind getting together, OUTSIDE THE COMPUTER, meant actual
verbal and maybe physical contact
But this is only a glimpse of the confusing behavioral patterns found
in the SQ. How do people do the same thing day and night, night and day?
I mean, two years... TWO YEARS of conversation about the same damn story.
I think it should be in the Guinness Book of Records. I am surprised that
they found enough material in the books to go on this long!!
Here I sit, listening to the HP conversation again. I don't get the jokes.
I'm not in on any of the inside info. There are so many questions I have.
Why do they end most words with the letter X? Freax, for example. Why
do they all drool over Mr. Darcy? He isn't in HP, is he? Why do they call
their meetings "summits", and why oh why do they insist on calling each
other by their screen names when they are not on line? These are
things I suppose I will never understand. I'm sure that there are reasons
for these strange occurrences. There must be a reason they get together
and then don't speak. But it is way, way above me. I continue to believe
that when I am able to decipher the owners of SQ (both of whom live in
arm's reach), then perhaps I will gain an understanding. So far this theory
has been proven wrong. But I won't give up...not yet!
All I do know is that, for some odd reason, they enjoy these strange
things. In their defense, when I have had a non-HP conversation (which
are few and far between), I have found each and every SQ'er to be a highly
intelligent writer, and a compassionate person. So what if I will never
understand their passion, so long as I respect it? (Which I do.) The amount
of time and energy they spend, not only on their own writing (which, of
course, is never good enough for them), but the effort they exert on other
people's writing is completely foreign to me. It's like they all care
so much for each other that they'll do whatever they can do to assist,
beta-read (whatever that means - I mean, why don't they just say editing
if that's what they're doing), or critique each other's work - even when
they don't really agree with what the story is about. It amazes me. I
probably won't even spend time proofreading this little... whatever this
I just thought I would jot down a few things that drive me crazy, and
a lot of things that make me respect these enigmatic people. You all inspire
HP fans, but you should know that you inspire the rest of us, too.
Beta-reader's note: Arabella here. I'd just like to state, for the
record, that the self-proclaimed "Outsider" obtained a bootlegged copy
of the HP DVD before I did. She fully approved naming one of our cats
Norbert. She asked me for an illustration of herself in Quidditch garb
- which I gave her - and it was HER idea to make a collage on our kitchen
table, using all my Harry Potter pictures. To top it all off, three nights
ago, she sat down with Quidditch Through the Ages, and spent two
hours organizing a feasible 1998-1999 Quidditch season for "After the
End", which she typed up in individual team-roster format, printed out,
and then proceeded to explain to me in full Oliver Wood style, with gestures
included. "So the Cannons get a by their seventh week - which is great,
you know, because that's midseason - perfect time to break -"
She can run, but she can't hide.