Are You a Fan?


РИА Новости

Credits: Russian International News Agency Novosti

Be it to a band or a musician, a movie or a TV show,  a video game or a book, we are all fans of something. What makes someone a ‘real’ die-hard fan? Is it knowing all the lines to your favorite show by heart or knowing a popular musician’s blood type? Or perhaps you own an array of Star Wars action-figures that take up the entire back wall of your bedroom? There is an art to being a fan, a certain magic to obsessively knowing all about a single specific subject. So how do you separate the die-hard fans from mere spectators like those who can’t tell the difference between Monica & Rachel’s and Chandler & Joey’s apartments in Friends?

There is an art to being a fan, a certain magic to obsessively knowing all about a single specific subject.

— Isabela Peixoto

For musicians and bands, it’s pretty simple: die-hard fans know the names and release dates for all the albums, the musician’s middle name, parents names, and the names of siblings (if any). You have been to at least one concert per tour (that is, if your favorite band still plays)―even if it is only a reunion concert with half of the original band members. Also, die-hard fans know the correct lyrics to every song. Every single song. You know, for example, that Carly Simon is singing “wife of a close friend” and not a “wife of the post man” in “You’re So Vain”.

When it comes to movie franchises, there are many requirements for a die-hard fan. Watching all of the movies in a series, including those that everyone pretends do not exist such as Episodes I, II, and III of Star Wars, is an obvious requirement. You have to know all about the town, realm, or world the movie takes place in. If you are a big Harry Potter fan, you should know the ins and outs of Hogwarts and how to get to platform 9 ¾. A die-hard fan does not mind standing in lines for hours, in the cold, to see their favorite movie. Knowing all about the main characters is very important, but even more so is having an opinion on every controversy surrounding your favorite movie franchise. You must be prepared to defend your opinion to the death, even if you mistakenly believe that Superman is stronger than Batman.

In the case of famous TV shows like Friends, How I Met Your Mother and Game of Thrones, hardcore TV fans must have a similar level of knowledge of their favorite content as fans of movies. They must have watched all of the episodes (especially long running series) and must know obscure facts about the show’s location(s). For example, Gilmore Girls fans should be able to name at least three establishments in the town center (Weston Bakery, Al’s Pancake World and Doose’s Market). Die-hard fans must be able to quote their favorite TV show in any situation. For example, when someone wants one of your fries, you could use the line “Joey doesn’t share food” from Friends.

Literature also breeds fanatic people. It goes without saying that a true book fan has read all the works by the author and has their favorite passages memorized. As with TV shows, you are able to use book quotes in your day-to-day life. A true Shakespeare fan recognizes that Polonius line “Though this be madness, yet there is method in’t” applies to you, because even though your ways and ideas might seem crazy to outsiders, there is still a system to them. It runs from the way you organize your bookshelf (cross-referencing titles with release dates), to whether you are #teamedward or #teamjacob.

Where do you draw the line between being a hardcore fan and a stalker?   JD Salinger, the author of The Catcher In The Rye, stepped away from the spotlight once his book became a sensation. Many Holden Caulfield fans followed the author to his home, camped outside his driveway, and left notes by his house. Is a stalker the purest form of a die-hard fan? I would like to clarify that a real fan recognizes boundaries, such as acts of violence.  

What are you a fan of? Is it Star Wars? Friends? Harry Potter? Nirvana? Do you stand in line for hours, with a couple of protein bars and a lawn chair, to watch a movie premiere? Or stay up all night hitting the refresh button on Ticketsforfun in order to get the best possible seat available for a concert? Are your walls covered in movie posters and pictures of your favorite characters? Does hearing your favorite TV show’s theme song on the radio make you a little emotional? If any of these apply, you are officially a true, somewhat compulsive, even impulsive, die-hard fan.