Is it me, or are fandoms dead? Okay, maybe not dead, but slowly dying.
We don’t want them to die, but fandoms have lost their charm. Fandoms create a space where people that love a particular property can celebrate it. Take Game of Thrones. What happens when a new episode of House of the Dragon airs on Sundays?
Fans of that franchise flock to the internet soon after to dissect all the plot threads and developments from the episode, because it is fun. You can consume entertainment in a vacuum. You don’t have to talk about House of the Dragon every week to enjoy the show.
However, those conversations elevate the viewing experience. They prolong the pleasurable sensations you feel when you consume your favourite property. I get a kick out of watching movie reactions for this very reason.
Remember that moment in Return of the King when Theoden gives that hair-raising speech before leading a thunderous charge into that ocean of orcs? I can watch that scene anytime I want. But it doesn’t pack the same punch it did when I first saw it.
Think of entertainment as a drug. I have no experience with drug usage. But from what I have heard, that high you get when you consume a particular drug for the first time is the most pleasurable, and addicts spend their lives trying to recreate it.
Entertainment is the same. However, we have one advantage. The excitement you see in the eyes of a first-time Lord of the Rings viewer on YouTube can recreate the sensations you felt when you experienced the movies for the first time.
It allows you to explore those minute aspects of your favourite fandom the average individual can neither understand nor appreciate. Everything Everywhere All At Once is my favourite movie of 2022, so far. Do you know what I did after the credits rolled?
I went looking for reviews and discussion threads, because I could not wait to talk about this incredible film. So, if fandoms play such a vital role, why are they dying?
Because the fun is gone. We don’t use fandoms to celebrate our favourite properties. Not anymore. Fandoms have become poison; places that nurture loud, obnoxious arguments. I watched episode four of Rings of Power this week and loved it.
I immediately jumped online in search of constructive conversations about the lore the episode was mining, possibly even speculation about the identity of Adar. I could not wait to share my theories with other Ring of Power fans.
Guess what I saw? Not debates, but rather, shouting matches; rabid fans hurling insults at one another. Rather than jumping into the fray, I created my own post, specifically asking for speculation about the revelations in the episode.
I wanted to attract submissions from excitable Tolkien fans that had spent one too many hours poring over The Silmarilion.
What did I get? More shouting matches. I was perplexed. Why would anyone add their voice to a discussion to answer a question I had not asked?
Rings of Power opponents and proponents have made it their mission to choke every discussion with their vitriol. And they are hardly unique in that regard. These days, I spend most of my time online defending the things I love, and it is getting annoying.
So yes, Fandoms are dying. Pointless arguments have sucked the fun out of these conversations. We would all be happier if we retreated to our respective corners.