Mae govannen, friends!
I’ve seen this amazing tag floating around the blogging world recently, and since I always love a chance to
flail talk about my fandoms, I figured why not? I first saw this tag a long time ago on the creator’s awesome blog. Then Jenna (who, like I said not too long ago, is releasing her debut novel Ignite next month, and you should check it out!!) did it, and I saw it again a couple weeks ago when Merie did it.
So here I am! And you’re about to hear all about my very favorite stories. I hope you’re ready to add some books to your TBR and some movies to your TBW. (Is a “to be watched” list a thing? If not, I just made it a thing. There we go.)
(Oh, and in case you need an explanation of what a fandom is, it’s a group of fans of something, like Star Wars or Doctor Who.)
(And, although it will be difficult, I promise not to answer “Lord of the Rings” for every question.)
- Include the graphic somewhere in your post!
- Answer the questions!
- Tag two fangirls (or boys, I suppose)!
1. What’s the first fandom you remember becoming a part of?
It’s hard to say! All around the same time, I remember being introduced to Narnia, Tolkien’s books, and the wonderful world of the Disney animated movies.
But I think I’d have to say that my first fandom comprises the Disney animated movies, especially Beauty and the Beast and Tangled.
(And now I have “I’ve Got a Dream” in my head.)
If I’m remembering correctly, the animated Cinderella was the very first Disney movie I saw. But Beauty and the Beast is, and has been for as long as I can remember, my favorite Disney movie. And Tangled was the very first movie I saw in theaters. Both of those movies are excellent, and both have a very special place in my heart.
“She warned him not to be deceived by appearances, for beauty is found within.”-Beauty and the Beast
2. What’s the newest fandom you’ve come to enjoy?
THE AFTERVERSE BOOKS BY KYLE ROBERT SHULTZ!!! (I really, really love these. Can you tell?)
If you know me personally or have been following my Goodreads account over the past month or two, you’ll have noticed that I’ve been reading as many Kyle Robert Shultz books as I can get my hands on. And I love them.
Beaumont and Beasley is a gaslamp urban fantasy series set in a fantastical Roaring 20s time period, and “the problem with fairy tales is that they never really ended.” Fairy tales, myths, legends, and classic fantasy stories are history in the Afterlands, but they’re remembered inaccurately and embellished so that everyone thinks they’re merely stories. When private detective Nick Beasley, firmly convinced that magic doesn’t exist and dedicated to debunking magical “myths”, gets turned into a Beast by the magical Clawthorn Rose, he joins forces with eccentric young enchantress Lady Cordelia Beaumont to try to become human again and prevent evil enchanters from seizing the Afterlands in their tyrannical grip. Very fairy-tale-ish, very fun and hilarious, VERY brilliant, and VERY full of feels. Nick is one of the best narrators I have ever had the pleasure of meeting, with his endearingly grumpy, sarcastic approach to life, and Cordelia is one of the most epic, witty, brilliant heroines.
Crockett and Crane is a quirky Western series set in the Afterlands’s version of America, the United States of Neverica. Part-time centaur and con man Todd Crane, descendant of Ichabod Crane, and feisty U.S. Marshal Amy Crockett, descendant of Davy Crockett, join forces to hunt and stop evil monsters rampaging across Neverica. Comprising the rest of their gang are Julio Aquino (a Quixotan cowboy, amateur musician, and source of endless comedy) and Meg, a sweet, book-loving gorgon. I don’t consider myself a Western fan (although, admittedly, I’ve hardly read or watched any), but this series is gold.
Guys. Guys. GUYS. These books are some of the most amazing stories I have ever read, and you must visit the Afterlands. Some good friends of mine kept recommending these to me for years, and I am so glad I finally took their advice.
I wish more people knew about Kyle’s books; they deserve way more recognition. I am proud to be a part of the Afterverse fandom.
“I also realized then that no matter how much I wanted to be human again, I didn’t want my life to be the same.”-Nick Beasley, The Beast of Talesend
3. What’s a fandom guaranteed to give you feels?
The Afterverse is the newest thing that has never failed to load me with feels. But I’m going to go with Star Wars: Rebels; it never ceases to shred my heart and slam me with feels.
I will, with much effort, refrain from divulging spoilers, but suffice it to say that this is one of the most amazing shows I have ever seen. Ever since I first watched A New Hope as a ten-year-old, I have loved this epic fairytale-in-space saga, with its themes of justice, friendship, and most prominently, hope. All three of the movie trilogies have a special place in my heart, and I love both The Clone Wars and The Mandalorian. (Yes, I said it; I love all three of the movie trilogies. Fight me.) But there’s something special about Star Wars: Rebels, and whenever someone remarks that they don’t watch the Star Wars animated shows because “animation is for kids,” it saddens me.
Rebels is a gem of a show. In every episode, the characters pop off the screen as real, three-dimensional people with tangible hopes, dreams, emotions, and struggles. Throughout the show’s four seasons, the consistent Star Wars themes of clinging to hope and fighting for something good beyond oneself shine as brightly as the stars twinkling in that “galaxy far, far away.” And even though the characters suffer so much pain and loss, they drag themselves up and keep going. Against all odds, they cling to their hope of a better future and to the love and camaraderie they share as a found family (found family is one of my favorite tropes ever, and the Space Family is one of the best examples of it).
“We have hope. Hope that things can get better. And they will.”-Hera Syndulla
As I finish up my long-overdue rewatch of Season 2 and move on to the high-stakes Season 3, I’m reminded of just how much I love Ezra, Kanan, Sabine, Hera, Zeb, and even the local snide beeping garbage can, Chopper. I’m desperately hoping for the continuation of the Space Fam’s story in some form, either in a spinoff show, a movie, a novel, or the upcoming Ahsoka show. The loose ends that have been dangling for the last four years demand closure (as do I).
“We’re a crew. A team. In some ways, a family.”-Sabine Wren
4. What’s a guilty pleasure fandom of yours?
Uh…I have no idea. I don’t think I have one.
I have a nostalgic urge to rewatch VeggieTales sometimes. But that doesn’t really count as “guilty pleasure,” does it?
I know some people who have done this tag have interpreted this question as something that you wouldn’t normally love, but love anyway. Taking the question that way, I’d say the Elven Alliance series by Tara Grayce is a new fandom of mine that’s unusual for me. After reading the synopsis for the first book, Fierce Heart, and hearing about this series around the bookish world, I thought I’d give these indie, fantasy books a try.
I’m so glad I did.
The funny thing is that these are the kinds of books I would normally dislike; they have a fairly simple plot and a heavy emphasis on romance. However. The romance is absolutely beautiful, healthy, and adorable (not inappropriate in the least). The characters are winsome and three-dimensional, and the worldbuilding and cultures are incredible. If you’re the kind of person who judges books by their covers, don’t turn away because of the covers (which, honestly, make the series look like a super dramatic, unoriginal elven fantasy). Give the Elven Alliance series a shot! I’m so excited for book five to release this December, although I’m sad that it will be the last adventure I’ll be able to have with Essie and Farrendel and their wonderful families.
(There’s some cute fanart by H.S.J. Williams in this post.)
So, I don’t think this really counts as “guilty pleasure,” but I wanted a chance to mention these books.
“It is all right to cry. It is not weakness to ask for help nor is it strength to silently bear what truly should not be your burden to carry. Burdens are not meant to be carried alone.”–Troll Queen by Tara Grayce
5. What’s the weirdest fandom you’ve heard of/are a part of?
I consider Pirates of the Caribbean to be fairly weird; many pirate stories consist of strange, spine-tingling tales of monsters and magic. While this definitely isn’t a huge fandom of mine (it’s difficult for me to like a story where none of the characters are really role models), I do enjoy these movies, especially The Curse of the Black Pearl.
And Jack Sparrow is nothing if not iconic.
The weirdest fandom I’ve heard of, though…
I apologize if you’re a Twilight fan. I just cannot understand why anyone likes this vampire romance series. *shudders*
6. Favorite popular/widely-known fandom?
The Lord of the Rings is definitely my favorite widely-known fandom. But since I’m using Lord of the Rings for another, more fitting question, and I’ve already talked about Star Wars a bit, I’m going to go with the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
I’ll be completely honest: I was not interested in Marvel for most of my life. At that point (which was a little over a year and a half ago), I was not into superheroes at all, and I honestly didn’t care about seeing the Marvel movies. (Says the girl who now writes the majority of her stories about superheroes…)
However, after hearing about this expansive film universe mainly from several of my friends and my youth pastor, I wondered if there was something to this cinematic phenomenon. When my family got Disney+ and I saw the Marvel movies on there, I decided that I wanted to check them out.
As you can see from this post, I’m now a huge fan, especially of the Infinity Saga (or from Iron Man to Avengers: Endgame). I sadly can’t say the same of the things that Marvel’s been putting out recently, although WandaVision was fairly good and Loki has been fairly good so far. But I love the Infinity Saga (what my siblings and I call Marvel’s Golden Age). The writing and character development/arcs are superb (especially those of Loki, Tony Stark, and Natasha Romanoff), and they’re just very well-made films.
I highly recommend them (with content caveats, of course).
“Don’t waste it. Don’t waste your life.”-Ho Yinsen, Iron Man
7. Favorite bookish fandom?
As I mentioned earlier, I absolutely love the Afterverse books; they’ve become some of my top favorite books of all time. However, my favorite bookish fandom, besides The Lord of the Rings, is the Ashtown Burials series by N.D. Wilson.
I love this series so much that I wrote an entire essay about it for school this past year (the most fun essay I wrote). I can’t say enough about how amazing this series is. The brightest jewels in the crown of these books, though, to condense my thoughts, are the characters and the themes.
One of the things I find most admirable about N.D. Wilson’s stories is that evil is terribly evil and good is wonderfully good. Selflessly, the characters in the Ashtown Burials find that, as the Irish monk Niffy declares, “love burns hotter than justice,” and sacrificing for the good of others is one of the most important things you can do. Also, two perpetual themes of the series are the contrast between mortality and immortality and the true meaning of living life to the fullest. As the transmortal (only a select number of things can kill them) characters grapple with the consequences of their long lives, another theme is pulled to the surface: the value of a sound mind and a richly lived life. Immortality in stories has always been so fascinating to me, and N.D. Wilson explores it in such a fresh, compelling way.
There’s another mini-review for you. In short, please read this series. It’s an amazing work of Christian fiction.
“To love is to be selfless. To be selfless is to be fearless. To be fearless is to strip enemies of their greatest weapon. Even if they break our bodies and drain our blood, we are unvanquished. Our goal was never to live; our goal is to love. It is the goal of all noble men and women. Give all that can be given. Give even your life itself.”-Niffy, Empire of Bones
8. What do you consider your ‘homebase’, a fandom you can always come back to?
OKAY, here’s where I finally say The Lord of the Rings!
Although Disney and Narnia were my very first fandoms, The Lord of the Rings is, and will remain, my top favorite story of all time. This was the story that most tangibly taught me hope, nobility, courage, faith, and friendship, a story that completely demonstrates the power of wonderful fantasy. Coming back to Middle-earth after a long absence feels like pulling up a chair to the inviting hearth of Bag End or arriving at the shining White City to enjoy the hospitality of the king. Even though loss and pain permeate the pages (or the screen), the reminder is never far off that “in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing.”
“Though here at journey’s end I lie-Sam Gamgee, The Return of the King
in darkness buried deep,
beyond all towers strong and high,
beyond all mountains steep,
above all shadows rides the Sun
and Stars for ever dwell:
I will not say the Day is done,
nor bid the Stars farewell.”
9. What’s a fandom you know all about…but aren’t actually into it?
The Keeper of the Lost Cities series is the first that comes to mind. When my sister bought and enjoyed the first few books in the series, I read and enjoyed them as well. The first book was an immersive, fun, and interesting middle-grade novel, and I thought, “This really has potential!”
However…let’s just say that the series went downhill from there. And I know that a lot of fans, former fans, and casual fans, agree with me. Although the characters and world started out interesting, they became flat and unrealistic. For one thing, the character arcs keep going in frustrating circles, and I have no idea how the elven world has functioned for as long as it has. Also, the author has dragged and dragged and dragged the story out without giving us any satisfying answers whatsoever (there are nine books currently and WE STILL DON’T KNOW WHAT THE VILLAINS WANT!). Some stories deserve a long series, but the Keeper of the Lost Cities series doesn’t have enough complexity to deserve ten or so books.
Suffice it to say that my siblings and I have had many rant-filled conversations about how the series could have been so much better. When I read the first few books, I considered myself a fan. Now, I’m knowledgeable about the whole series, but I’m only still reading it because I want to see how the story resolves.
Another sort-of-fandom is The Hunger Games. Since many of my friends love it, I figured I’d give it a shot, so I read the whole series, plus the prequel, a couple months ago. I did enjoy it (although I don’t really like saying “I enjoyed it” because the things the characters go through are so horrible), and I found that it had some profound insights to offer about government and humanity. But although I did think it was fairly good overall, I don’t really consider myself a part of the fandom. (I wrote reviews on Goodreads further detailing my thoughts.)
“What I need is the dandelion in the spring. The bright yellow that means rebirth instead of destruction. The promise that life can go on, no matter how bad our losses. That it can be good again.”-Katniss Everdeen
10. Which fandom has the best characters?
Okay, okay, okay, I’ve already talked about Ashtown and the Afterverse. BUT I’M TALKING ABOUT THEM AGAIN BECAUSE THE CHARACTERS ARE LITERALLY THE BEST!
The main characters of the Ashtown Burials are incredibly unique and fleshed-out people who cause readers to want them for friends. For example, Nolan is a pale, transmortal teenager who grows from a loner teetering on the edge of madness to a faithful, selfless friend. Rupert Greeves, an intimidating but caring and empathetic man, is full of wisdom and valor. Diana Boone is an adventurous teenage girl and fiercely loyal friend. (In case you were wondering, these three are my favorites.) In the books, there are so many more incredible characters that grace the pages with their relatable, courageous presence. Their believable reactions, likeable personalities, and intriguing character growth cause readers to root for them in their battle against hideous corruption. As they learn, grow, and change, their morality is enhanced and their resolve hardened. Every member of the Ashtown Burials cast is a real, three-dimensional person.
In the Afterverse, the main characters are at the same time so much fun and so deep with the details of their backstories lurking in the past. It takes a lot to make me love a series as much as I love the Afterverse, and as I devoured the books and stories from that universe, I constantly burst out laughing and discovered that I loved the characters so incredibly much. I’m both in love with these characters and terrified for their futures. (Especially Nick, Cordelia, Malcolm, Julio, Todd, and Crispin. There’s a lot of pain in store for Afterverse fans. Yay.)
“I remember when I first came to this town, I introduced myself by saying, ‘I am a potato, and I do not know how to swim.’ How far I have come since those days!”–Horseman by Kyle Robert Shultz
“That was last month,” said Amy.
“Please, let us not quibble over minor details.” He grabbed my hand and shook it warmly. “I am Julio Rafael Lorenzo Velazquez Narvaez Castillo Aquino. You may call me Julio.”
11. Name your all-time favorite ship.
Since rewatching The Return of the King a couple years ago and rereading the book, I rediscovered my deep love for my favorite ship: Faramir, son of the Steward of Gondor, and Éowyn, the White Lady of Rohan.
Faramir’s selfless, dutiful, caring, gentle nature and Éowyn’s courageous, fiercely loving personality complement each other perfectly. Seeing them both reconcile with their losses and begin to heal together at the end of The Return of the King is a beautiful, beautiful moment. I have no doubt that they lived a joyful life together in Ithilien in the days of healing from the scourge of Mordor.
Some other ships of mine that are pretty near the very top are Kanan Jarrus and Hera Syndulla, Nick Beasley and Cordelia Beaumont, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Satine Kryze, Steve Rogers and Peggy Carter, Remus Lupin and Nymphadora Tonks, Farrendel Laesornysh and Essie, Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennett, Mr. Knightley and Emma Woodhouse, and Linh Cinder and Emperor Kai. (Yes, I am picky about the romance I love, but I do have a substantial fleet page.)
But Faramir and Éowyn are the best fictional couple ever. It’s funny that I think so, since their relationship is hardly a large part of The Lord of the Rings. But they’re the best, and I’ll love them forever.
And Éowyn looked at Faramir long and steadily, and Faramir said: “Do not scorn pity that is the gift of a gentle heart, Éowyn! But I do not offer you my pity. For you are a lady high and valiant and have yourself won renown that shall not be forgotten; and you are a lady beautiful, I deem, beyond even the words of the Elven-tongue to tell. And I love you. Once I pitied your sorrow. But now, were you sorrowless, without fear or any lack, were you the blissful Queen of Gondor, still I would love you. Éowyn, do you not love me?”–The Return of the King
Then the heart of Éowyn changed, or else at last she understood it. And suddenly her winter passed, and the sun shone on her.
“I stand in Minas Anor, the Tower of the Sun,” she said; “and behold! the Shadow has departed! I will be a shieldmaiden no longer, nor vie with the great Riders, nor take joy only in the songs of slaying. I will be a healer, and love all things that grow and are not barren.” And again she looked at Faramir. “No longer do I desire to be a queen,” she said.
Then Faramir laughed merrily. “That is well,” he said; “for I am not a king. Yet I will wed with the White Lady of Rohan, if it be her will. And if she will, then let us cross the River and in happier days let us dwell in fair Ithilien and there make a garden. All things will grow with joy there, if the White Lady comes.”
12. What’s a fandom you’re curious about joining?
Over the past month, my siblings have enjoyed A Series of Unfortunate Events. I finished the first book, and although I did enjoy it, I wasn’t enamored with it. But I have heard that the books get better as you go and that the Netflix series is amazing, so I’m planning to read the rest and see what I think! My cousins and several of my friends also really like this series, so I’m hoping to enjoy it.
A few other fandoms that I’m interested in joining:
- the epic Brandon Sanderson kingdom (Most of these author’s books have been glowingly praised by many of my friends, blogging acquaintances, and favorite authors, so I’m hoping to read some of Brandon Sanderson’s books soon! Especially the Reckoners series and the Stormlight Archive.)
- Percy Jackson and the Olympians (I’m actually listening to the first book on audiobook right now, and although it is well-written and fun in some ways, I’m not loving it so far. I’ll probably finish the series, but I’m not sure how much I’ll end up liking it.)
- Doctor Who (One of my good friends and several of my blogging friends and favorite authors love this show, and it seems like an intriguing, quirky, delightfully complex show.)
- Merlin (I love Arthurian legends, and this seems like a great, fun show.)
- Six of Crows (Although this sounds like a positively intriguing book and is very popular right now, I know there is some Content. So we shall see. Mainstream YA has Issues, okay.)
- the rest of the Jane Austen books I haven’t read yet (Okay, this one technically doesn’t count since I’m already in the Jane Austen fandom, due to Pride and Prejudice, Emma, and Sense and Sensibility. But I wanted to have a chance to talk about her books at least a little bit.)
“The purpose of a storyteller is not to tell you how to think, but to give you questions to think upon.”–The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson
I think this whole tag has convinced you that I am, in fact, a:
And I didn’t even talk about Narnia or Artemis Fowl or all my many other favorite books.
If you skimmed (for which I wouldn’t blame you, since this post is currently at… *checks details*… 4,112 words), here’s the tl;dr: The Lord of the Rings is my favorite fandom, and it would make me incredibly happy if you looked into N.D. Wilson’s Ashtown Burials series and Kyle Robert Shultz’s Afterverse books (especially Beaumont and Beasley).
I had so much fun writing this and thinking about all the stories I love so much, and I hope you enjoyed reading it.
Have a lovely week, everyone!
Are you a part of any of the fandoms I mentioned? What are your biggest fandoms? Are there any fandoms you think I should look into? Let’s chat in the comments!