Surprising revelation that no one's ever thought to mention before: Harry Potter was a huge hit. Kind of a world-engulfing, international phenomenon. People kinda liked it. And seven years after the release of the final book — and three years after the release of the final movie — the Harry Potter fandom still finds itself going strong. This was renewed, no doubt, by the recent material author/benevolent Harry Potter overlord J.K. Rowling posted to Pottermore — but even before that Harry Potter's real-life web of influence hadn't really dissipated. Harry Potter fans, it would seem, are here for the stay.
My identity, it should be noted, has long been tied up with Harry Potter's wider world. I've long considered myself a superfan, bolstered instead of dissuaded in the knowledge that there's no such thing as being the "biggest" fan in this fandom — it's just one big community and a bunch of smaller sub-communities, all revelling in the glory of this great world thought up by a single mom on a train one day.
But hardcore Harry Potter fans do have their boundaries. Their buttons, if you will. These will not be identical for all HP fans: Some love Snape, some hate him; some love the movies, some barely glanced their way. The world of Harry Potter-lovers is vast and varied. But here are just a few possible things it's probably best to avoid saying in their presence, unless you want an argument or some serious side-eyeing on your hands*.
"J.K. Rowling's only doing [insert thing here] for the money"
This is literally a woman who gave away so much of her money to charitable causes that she's not a billionaire anymore. She knows she doesn't need all the money she has, do you really think she's using money as a motivation for much of anything?
"You know Harry Potter's not real, right?"
Yes, we know. We also know that whether or not there are literal wizards out there is not really the point.
"Don't you think you're taking this too far?"
There is such a thing as too far. That includes stalking and general harm unto others. Playing Quidditch and listening to Wizard Rock is not too far.
"I've never read the Harry Potter books and I never will"
If you just somehow, like, never got around to it that's one thing. But unless you've got a good reason, this just reeks of snobbery. It's the book equivalent of going around parties bragging that you don't own a TV.
"Ugh, why would anyone ever want to be a Hufflepuff?"
Misunderstanding Hufflepuff or underestimating the traits it represents is a sure sign of someone who hasn't been thinking super complexly about the Harry Potter universe. J.K. Rowling even said that in "many, many ways" Hufflepuff is her favorite house.
"Michael Gambon was the perfect Dumbledore"*
To each their own — and there are definitely hardcore HP fans who will disagree here — but this moment's pretty iconic in the Harry Potter fandom as super batshit wrong:
I'm still baffled by it.
"Movie Ron's So Much Better Than Book Ron"*
One of the major tragedies of the book-to-movie adaptations was that many of Ron's best lines — the heroic ones, the loyal ones, some really smart ones — were given to Hermione. Hermione can stand all on her own, and Ron did not deserve to be relegated to simple comic relief. Rupert Grint is awesome, but he deserved better than he got.
"Harry Potter's over, just move on/let it go"
We're living our lives, we're growing up, we're moving forward. We are not fossilized in 2007, forever entombed in the moment we finished Deathly Hallows. But Harry Potter's bigger than the release schedule of a few books and movies. And besides, didn't you hear J.K. Rowling?
*Your mileage may vary based on the fans' individual opinions.