//Just like in all of my other discussion posts, I do not intend to offend anyone.
So this discussion post too, like a lot of my other discussions, is born out of something else I read/heard online, and which has moved (or rather, in this case, offended) me enough to form a whole discussion on it.
I’ve said this a lot of times on my blog, I love booktube. About 50% of my time is wasted on guiltily gobbling up tons and tons and tons of booktube videos, and as much as I’m trying to stop this obsession : it doesn’t work out. So anyway, this other day I was watching a wrap up video in which the booktuber was talking about Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Part I and II and specifically, that booktuber said something that really offended and enraged me. (I’m not disclosing the channel for privacy purposes). But what the booktuber basically said was, ‘I, like every other true fan of the Harry Potter series, really enjoyed and loved the book’. Well, something along those lines. But the words ‘true fan’ were there, and I was like, waaaaaaa????
I was really offended by that (and I agree that yeah maybe I’m overreacting and I should let it go) but come on, I really disliked Cursed Child, so does that mean I’m not a ‘true’ fan of the series? Just because I disliked something in the series, does that make my love for the fandom/series/books shallow? I find this so ridiculous.
So now it’s been a about a week since I saw that video, and I’ve pretty much let that thing go, but yesterday I was just thinking about something and the words of the booktuber suddenly popped into my mind and I realized that I could make a discussion out of this! So here it is :)
[Please read this! : This discussion is NOT ABOUT HARRY POTTER. Please do not comment below exclusively about the Harry Potter books and tell me why you think that booktuber said something like that. Please. This is a discussion about all books in general and I narrated the Harry Potter example because I wanted to tell you about how I came up with the idea for this discussion. Thanks.]
Does criticising something you love make your love untrue/shallow? Mainly, to be considered a ‘true’ fan of a fandom/series/book, do you have to overlook/ignore any fault it has?
No book is perfect. I mean, okay that may be an overstatement because I’m sure by now most of us have read quite a few books which we consider perfect, but come on – it’s not like we’re reading ‘perfect’ books every other day. A book which (according to our own selves) has no fault, and has perfect writing and perfect story and perfect characters and everything perfect and flawless doesn’t come up every once in a while. So, I think it’s safe to conclude – that about 90% of the books we read are in fact, not perfect. We read books which have faults, which have shortcomings, which could’ve been a little bit better in writing, or a little bit more practical, or a little bit better in some other aspect. But does that stop us from loving every single book which has a fault? Does that small little fault, or that one aspect of the book which could’ve been executed better, stop us from loving a book? Haven’t you ever loved a book and yet accepted that it does lack in some aspect?
Or, let’s look at it in another way. Suppose you’re in the middle of a book/series, and you’re loving it. You love every aspect of it, when suddenly mid-way, something happens and it irks you. You see that the author has done something annoying and you acknowledge that fault and shake your head over it. But does that mean you completely stop loving the book? When you love a book, just because you thought one aspect of it was not-so-good, does that mean your love isn’t true/real?
[Ok I’m sorry I’m done with the multiple questions :D ]
From childhood, we’re taught that having true friends is great, having a true love is great, but accepting the faults and flaws of them is even more important. If you love something in spite of its flaws, then that doesn’t make your love smaller or less consequential.
And now probably some of you will be like, true friends are human beings and books are inanimate, to which I’ll say SO WHAT?? Loving a book is great, but I think it would be remarkable if everyone could analyse and accept the shortcomings of books they love with an unbiased opinion. There is no such rule which says that to be declared a true fan of a fandom, one has to overlook all its flaws. I think anyone can love a book to death and yet take part in a healthy discussion about its pros and cons without a guilty conscience.
Take Sarah J Maas for example. I love her books, they’re probably some of my favorite YA fantasy novels, but I cannot overlook that she has problems with shifting of love interests, and sudden changes in the personality of characters. To a few people, that might be a major flaw, and I guess yes it may be a big problem, but I cannot take away the love or attachment I have with this series. The entertainment and addiction this author has given me makes me love the books so much and yet I can still accept that there are aspects which SJM could’ve dealt with differently.
The Raven Cycle. I wish the first book had been clearer and better. All the Light We Cannot See. I wish it had been less depressing. I’ll Give You the Sun. I wish it had less romance. It Ends With Us. A few parts were way too cheesy. Since You’ve Been Gone. The ending was not at par with the rest of the book.
These are some books which I loved and these are all part of my favorite books, but there are aspects in each I have found fault with, or which I wish had been executed better. But that, in no way, lessens my love for these books. That, in no way, makes me a less ‘true’ fan of the books. I can proudly say that ‘Yes. I’m a huge fan of these books’ but I will also readily participate on any critical analysis or discussion about the cons of the book.
And maybe that’s just me and I’m the only one who feels like this, but I will not allow anyone to demean my love just because I’m expressing an unbiased or an honest opinion.
[Again, please do not relate the discussion with the comment of the booktuber. Like I said, that comment is what led to the birth of this idea, and it has nothing to do with the post.]