Fast HP facts: I identify as Ravenpuff, with some Slytherin tendencies I try to keep dormant. My favorite character is Luna Lovegood, and my OTP is Neville/Luna. My favorite book is the sixth, and my favorite movie is the first. My birthday is February 13, 1992. I await the day Evanna Lynch will realize that I am her true love.
I first got into Harry Potter when my mom dragged me to see the first movie in 2001. She fell asleep, and I fell in love with the story. I immediately read the first four books, and in 2002 commenced my tradition of rereading them every summer, meaning I've has now read the books twelve times through. I finally attended a midnight release for the last book, even though it was at some Walmart in the mountains of Pennsylvania, with nary a true fan in sight. I finished the book that very evening, cried as I've never cried before, and I still cry every time I reread the sixth and seventh books.
In 2003, the day before Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix came out, I stumbled onto Mugglenet. I spent all day on it, and have visited pretty much every day since. I've read every single editorial posted there. I also followed Leaky and the Lexicon for years. I joined the fanfiction scene in 2005 when I wrote my own version of the seventh book. In late 2006 I joined the Leaky Lounge, and for about half a year that dominated my life, before a rather ugly falling out. But in 2007 I also started getting my essays published online, and I've now been published on Mugglenet, Leaky, and the Lexicon. Four years later, I became a columnist for Mugglenet, heading the "Three Broomsticks."
Beginning in 2008, I've gotten much more involved in the actual real-life fandom outside the Internet. It started with me going to Melissa Anelli's book signing for Harry, A History in Borders. I then attended the live PotterCast 176 that discussed The Tales of Beedle the Bard on December 5, 2008, where I met up with The Group that Shall Not be Named, which I subsequently joined. Since then, I've become one of the group's most active members, and it's rather taken over my life. Thanks to them, I've gotten to go to things like the Harry Potter Exhibition (four times), and I've attended some awesome parties they've thrown like Evil Day 2 and V-V Day.
I became a huge fan of wizard rock, going to almost all the shows in New York City. I'm a huge fan of The Moaning Myrtles, Swish and Flick, Witherwings, Ministry of Magic, Tonks and the Aurors, and many other bands as well. I love going to really big wrock concerts like the NY Wrock Explosion, the NYC Wrock Festival 2010, Incendio! 2010, and Incendio! 2011. Since I'm always really into it, always dancing at the front, I have become known as "Wizard Rock's #1 Fanboy." I even started up a wizard dance troupe - the first of its kind - and I am still the leader of the Dancing Death Eaters. In my capacity as Dark Lord of the Dance, I have led the DDEs to perform at myriad concerts and parties. In November 2012, after three years with the Death Eaters, I organized my very own wizard rock concert: Avada KedavRock! 2012. It was a grand six-hour affair, with seven of the very best wizard rockers performing alongside the Dancing Death Eaters. The culmination of my efforts with the Dancing Death Eaters was a second concert, Avada KedavRock! 2014, where we performed every single one of our fourteen dance routines. The DDEs have been on an indefinite hiatus since May 2014, but I do wish to bring them back one day, and in the meantime content myself with teaching the Art of Wizard Dance at conventions.
I played Quidditch with TGTSNBN's altered rules for the Central Park Centaurs, playing the position of Seeker. I was considered one of the fastest players in the league, as well as the most reckless, having had some quite spectacular wipeouts over my career. When there's a game the Centaurs aren't playing, I take on the role of the Snitch. Called the "fastest Snitch we've ever seen," I vexed Seekers to no end. There has even been an action figure made titled "Irvin the Snitch."
I participated in the first Triwizard Tournament that TGTSNBN hosted in September 2009 on the Beauxbatons team. During the first round, a round-robin of Quidditch matches, I was faced with an obnoxious Twittering Snitch, and came up with a strategy with his team that had me playing Beater for the first time in his life. Not quite as good a Beater as a Seeker, I nevertheless kept up, and Beauxbatons came in a close second to the Hogwarts team. The second task, a series of twelve three-way duels, was my time to shine. Winning two of Beauxbatons's seven victories, I helped Beauxbatons win the second task and earned my reputation as TGTSNBN's most formidable dueler (after 2009, the Group has put a ban on dueling since no one could compete with me). The third task, from the Wizarding Academy of Dramatic Arts, was to put on a skit. The Beauxbatons team had to make one surrounding Snape's Worst Nightmare, and produced a comedic masterpiece about Snape dreaming that all his students started talking about homosexuality and all the male students hit on him. I was one of the students hitting on Snape, notable for a sexy strut and talk of beaker wanks. Beauxbatons once again saw victory, and won the tournament, with Hogwarts in a close second and Durmstrang in a very distant third.
A year and a half after joining the group, I attended my first con, Expeditious 2010 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. It was a very small conference, but it was still one of the best weekends of my life, and I made some amazing friends there. At the end of April 2011, I attended my second con in Laconia, New Hampshire. It was called Aeternitas 2011, and attended by the rest of TGTSNBN as well. This was, without a doubt, the best weekend of my life. I dressed as seven different characters over the course of four days, and even went swimming in a pool party still in costume. I led my team, the "Hogwarts Professors," to a resounding victory in Family Feud, and we all won copies of the Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook. I didn't really eat and I slept five and a half hours form Thursday to Sunday. I also gave two academic presentations there. He attended lots of other presentations, and even got a diploma for attending wizard classes and "completing [my] third year at Hogwarts." This diploma now hangs proudly on my wall, though I couldn't tell you where my actual diplomas are. I attended a Keynote by successful authors, a Fashion Show, wrock concerts, and much more. The con had a twenty-four hour common room, to ensure that no one was well-rested. I came home laden with stuff, including a game of HP Twister, and amazing memories of the time I had... and then I proceeded to sleep for over seventeen hours.
I also made it to the New York City premier of the sixth movie, even dragging my best friend along, where I got an autograph from Rupert Grint, Emma Watson (who is even better looking in person), and Warwick Davis. The seventh movie premier was a waste of time. But thanks to a friend from Expeditious, I got right next to the red carpet for the eighth movie premier, and got the autographs of Daniel Radcliffe, Matthew Lewis, David Yates, David Heyman, and David Barron. I then got to see the movie early, which inspired fierce jealousy among the Group. I'd never been to a midnight release for one of the movies, because I am so upset by the movies' lack of quality that I wouldn't go. But for the last movie, I finally decided to go, so I went along with 130 other costumed members of TGTSNBN to the midnight release of the movie.
Once it was announced that the 2010 Quidditch World Cup would be held in New York City, TGTSNBN scrambled to form a Quidditch team that could play in the International Quidditch Association (IQA). So in September 2010, tryouts were held, and I became one of the NY Badassilisks. I played Beater for the Badassilisks, leading to nicknames like "Dances with Bludgers," "Dancing Death Beater," "The Shirtless Beater," and "The Spooner." A defensive Beater, I'm known for frustrating my opponents with snarky "Gotcha!"s every time I hit them, and for being the bane of opposing Seekers. I competed with the Badassilisks in the 2010 Quidditch World Cup with the team ranked 14th in the world. I then competed with them in several other tournaments, such as two scrimmages at Yale and the Brotherly Love Cup, as well as the first tournament we ever hosted (the Secret Snitch Scrimmages). I was on the team at the 2011 World Cup as well, and we made it to the semifinal of D2. I competed in my third and final World Cup in spring 2013, traveling to Florida for it. In all, I spent three and a half years as a Badassilisk, and was the last of the founding members to leave the team. But I retired in January 2014, dissatisfied with the direction the Quidditch community had gone in (becoming a "serious sport").
In January 2011, I made my pilgrimage to the Wizarding World at long last. I rode Forbidden Journey half a dozen times, and Dueling Dragons far more than that. I spent two days in the park, surviving on butterbeer and pumpkin juice. It was absolutely magical, and I can't wait to go back (which I did in 2013 and 2015, where even more tears ensued). The following year, in spring 2012, I studied abroad in London. That meant I got to make my pilgrimage to Platform 9 and 3/4, see the Studio Tour, and do all kinds of cool Potter-y things. Better yet, I went to Edinburgh for a weekend, where I got to see the McGonagall and Riddle tombstones, the building that inspired Hogwarts, and I got to sit in the cafe where Jo Rowling wrote parts of Harry Potter. I sat down there, ate a snack, and worked on the draft of my own novel. It was, dare I say, magical.
However, the culmination of all the stuff I described above, the culmination of eleven years of Harry Potter and its fandom, came in October 2012. That was when I met God, that is to say, Jo Rowling herself. I camped out for a weekend in order to get tickets (details), surviving tornadoes and Merlin knows what else. I cried upon getting the tickets. There was then a day of non-stop drama over whether the tickets were valid or not (looooong story), where I experienced the entire gamut of human emotion in 24 hours. But it was all worth it for the 30 seconds I got to interact with her, telling her that every good thing in my life I owe to her, and handing her a letter explaining how Harry Potter has shaped my life, and a DVD of the Dancing Death Eaters. BEST 30 SECONDS OF MY LIFE. Now I can say that, in some ways, my life is complete. All my fandom dreams came true. So now, all that was left to do was to continue enjoying the incredibly fun and unique life that comes from being such a hardcore HP fan.
I continued going to HP cons - the follow-up to Aeternitas was cancelled, so TGTSNBN took over, and starting in 2013 threw a biyearly con called MISTI-Con. I have never missed one, always relishing the opportunity to give presentations, lead dance classes, wear more and more elaborate costumes (to the point where I've made a name for myself as a cosplayer), and just engage in all the wonderful silliness that goes on in cons. At MISTI-Con 2015, I added "actor" to my fandom resume, starring in Fan Fiction Theatre (a fan-written play) as a very glittery Edward Cullen. These cons remain the best weekends of my life.
My HP fandom slowly bled into other fandoms - I started wearing costumes not from Harry Potter, I started covering theatre and Dancing with the Stars for Hypable, etc. But Harry Potter forever remains the cornerstone of my fandom life, as I have now been in this fandom for over half of my life. As other members came and went, I remained in TGTSNBN, and now I am one of the old-timers who reminisces about things that happened "way back when." Starting at the end of 2013, I led book discussions with the Group, being acknowledged as the member who knows them best. The years are a swirl of parties, costumes, discussions, and absurdity... and it shows no sign of slowing down!