OTW Fannews: From the remote to the fic

  • The popularity of Game of Thrones prompted a variety of fan-oriented discussion in the media about its finale. NPR’s Talk of the Nation held a discussion on how people deal with unexpected or unhappy story endings. “[P]eople seemed to be not only shocked by what happened…but really angry, and that was what’s so fascinating about it. Not just that they were disappointed that, you know, the characters who they had liked would no longer be on the show, they were really angry. And I think that shows just how locked in we are to the kinds of conventions and expectations that we have when we approach a story, even at a time when, you know, we have more stories available to us than at any time in human history. Nevertheless, we feel like it’s supposed to go down a certain kind of path.” (Transcript available)
  • Smithsonian.com discussed the topic with a more research-oriented angle. “The powerful emotional response by fans of Game of Thrones may seem weird to those who are not fans of the show. But we’re here, along with a little bit of help from University of Helsinki researcher Howard Sklar, to tell you that that powerful, visceral, emotional response you had…is totally okay…The key, Sklar argues, is that the way we get to know fictional characters—through little tidbits of information, through watching their actions, through the things we hear about them—isn’t so different from how we come to understand strangers. He says the processes of getting to know a fictional character is much like learning about a real person who lives out in the real world who we’ve only come to know through online interactions or non-fiction writing. From our perspective, sure, we know that one person is real and the other isn’t—but sometimes it doesn’t feel that way.”
  • At policy.mic, Rajiv Narayan uses Arrested Development to discuss What Fandom And Economics Taught Me About So-So TV. “I think part of what’s missing from my TV-watching experience is a real-time fan community and critic response. What makes some series great has less to do with the show than the conversation surrounding the show. The poster-boy for this argument is Lost, a show that was incredible to watch in its heyday even as it made its viewers put up with spontaneous time-travel, unsolved mysteries, alternate timelines, ecologically-impossible wildlife, and so on…The emergence of straight-to-full-release shows on Netflix like House of Cards and Arrested Development pull the rug out from under a fan base. Even if the shows are great (like the former), the potential enjoyment of their experience is limited from the outset by being all out there. What’s the point of a rabid fan base when you have all the answers? Fan communities that once guess at reveals now police spoiler alerts.”
  • Molly Templeton at Salon returns to Game of Thrones, ostensibly to pitch fanfic as a balm, post-finale, but also to recognize that fanfiction communities are about more than fic. “I searched Tumblr tags, skimmed LiveJournal communities, and searched fanfiction.net and AO3 for fanfic that disproved the common assumptions about it — that it’s bad, or all porn, or a waste of time for everyone involved. Here’s what I found. Stumbling into fanfic without a guide will make you feel like a tourist.” Browsing archives leads to the discovery that “[f]anfic is an immersive, collaborative world, and to be just a reader of it is to miss a lot of what makes it tick: writers taking prompts, writing stories for friends, beta-reading each others’ work, inspiring and being inspired by the stories that might sprawl across fandoms. It’s unexpectedly lonely being just a reader when it’s so clear how much action is going on behind the scenes.”

What fandom discussions have you seen taking over the media? Write about them in Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn’t guarantee that it will be included in a roundup post, and inclusion of a link doesn’t mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.