There wasn’t much to say about the first film I ever saw that could make me fall in love with movies. It was 1996, and I was in grade school. My school had just gotten an old theatrical projector, and one of my classmates’ brothers had filmed a horror flick that year using it. I wasn’t really allowed to see it, but one of my friends snuck me a copy, telling everyone she knew that I was the greatest kid in the world. I went through the whole movie once. It was dubbed in English, which I didn’t understand at all, but I didn’t care. What I did understand was that it was awesome. Watching movies with my parents had become a chore, so it was nice to have a friend show me something that made it worth staying together for.

Since then, I’ve watched countless films, and my love for movies grew immensely. But it wasn’t only the movies that got me hooked. It was the incredible stories behind them that drew me in. When I was in high school, I started a book club with some of my friends. We would meet once a week to discuss the latest blockbuster, and it was during one of those discussions that my love for reading was reignited. We had all read the Twilight books, and we were discussing them. One of my friends asked me if I had read them, and I had no choice but to admit that I had.

My friend informed me that I needed to read them, and so I did. I devoured them in one go, and was completely absorbed in the world of werewolves and vampires. It was like nothing I had ever experienced before, and it changed the way I viewed movies forever. Suddenly, I saw plots and storylines in a way that was completely different from how I had seen them before. It was like the stories had been changed to fit my interests. It was no longer about some shallow celebrity and whether or not they could act. It was about something much more deep and primal: love.

This is the type of phenomenon that gave rise to the hashtag #RIPTwilight. Fans were so distraught over the end of the series that they took it upon themselves to immortalize the characters that they had come to love. But it wasn’t just the Twilight fandom that was hurting. Fans of the Harry Potter series were equally upset that its magical world was no longer able to enchant them. They took it upon themselves to create a magical world of their own, with Harry Potter as their wizard hero.

For anyone that has ever loved a book or a movie more than anything else in the world, it is completely understandable that these adaptations caused pain. If Harry Potter can have a dedicated group of fans that create an entire magical world because of the stories, then it’s fair to assume that the members of the Twilight community felt the same way about their series. It broke my heart to read interviews with Kristen Stewart where she would confess to feeling like she had failed as an actress because she couldn’t live up to the expectation of the fans. It’s easy to understand why she would feel this way.

With all of this in mind, it’s not hard to understand why everyone was so upset when Robert Pattinson announced that he was ending it all by taking a break from acting. It was a bold move, and one that was well-deserved after five long years of portraying the famous vampire, Louis Cullen. The last thing that any of us needed was to be reminded of how terrible a kisser he was, or how easily he transformed into a wolf.

There are certainly worse things that we could be reminded of, but it’s difficult to think of many worse things than those two moments that we were all subjected to during those five years. It was the most frustrating thing to see a talented actor walk away from a role that you knew he had been working hard to perfect. I remember when Pattinson first announced that he was taking a break from acting, it was like everyone’s worst nightmares had come true. We didn’t need any more terrible images in our head, and it wasn’t like we needed proof either – we had all seen it during those five years. Now, there was no getting away from the fact that Pattinson was a complete c**t at kissing, and we definitely did not need to see him do it on screen. So it was a relief when he took a step back, and allowed someone else to play the part. I don’t expect that he will ever fully recover from the mental health issues that this journey must have caused him, but at least he’s not on a screen any more.

I feel like I can speak for all of the Harry Potter fans when I say this: We will never forget. We will always have Faith (Freya Stone), Lily (Billie Piper), and Hagrid (Richard Harris). The fact that Pattinson chose to walk away from the role does not diminish our commitment to the series, or to him as an actor. It is our unwavering belief that he is the best Tom Riddle ever, and that he was born to play the part. We will always have a special place in our hearts for Mad-Eye Moody, too. He was a funny, magical, and most importantly, he was ours.

I can’t recall exactly what it was that made me fall in love with Mad-Eye Moody, but I know it was something about his distinctive stare. As a child, I would always have my eyes open wide whenever I saw that eye patch, thinking that he was giving me the steely glare from across the aisle. It was disconcerting, and for a little girl with a crush, it was perfect. There is a scene in the fourth movie where Moody teaches Quirrell how to be a squib and use parseltongue, and I will always remember it. It was probably the most hilarious scene in the entire series, and it made the entirety of the audience — including me — fall off our seats with laughter. It was one of the most memorable scenes of my entire life, and I look back on it with a smile every time. I still love the Mad-Eye Moody even though he is not acting, and it does not hurt that he was such a big presence in every scene that he was in. He will always be a towering figure in my mind, and I feel like I knew him even before I knew Robert Pattinson. It is a rare gift to be able to look back on a series and remember the little moments that you loved the most. For me, it is the Mad-Eye Moody patch that I will cherish the most, knowing that I have it on my sweater is a daily reminder of everything that I stand for. I love you, eye patch.

Hairies, Furries, And Scary Clowns

It is very difficult to summarize all of the different fandoms that emerged during and after the success of the Harry Potter series. One sequence that was extremely polarizing was the one where Bellatrix Lestrange throws her “hairies” — the witch’s black capes. It was a fashion faux pas that sparked a full-blown fashion revolution, or at least a hair imitation revolution. When those black capes came off, the reality of Bellatrix’s dirty blonde hair was revealed, and it was no longer acceptable to try and imitate it. It was a turning point in the Harry Potter series, and it caused a massive shift in how people saw themselves and their relationships with others. It was as if they had been impersonating feelings and attributes that they were not actually feeling or possessing. While this is a wonderful example of the power of storytelling, it was also a very strange moment.

It started with an innocent enough fashion faux pas. You see, when Bellatrix throws off her hairies, she reveals a beautiful blonde hair, and it was a fashion no-no for women to have hair that color. For centuries, it had been considered a curse to have such a striking shade of blonde hair, and it was looked down upon as “that awful blonde color.” It was not something to covet, and it certainly was not to imitate. Now, however, it was in, and it was being mimicked everywhere. Women were even hiding their natural hair under wigs, in a desperate attempt to look like Bellatrix, and it became an obsession. People started collecting photos of famous people with their hair imitated, and websites and forums were dedicated to shaming women for not owning the blonde hair gene.

While this was a very positive change, and one that was undoubtedly warranted given the devastating impact that the fashion faux pas had on its victims, there were also plenty of problems that it brought with it. One of the most significant issues was the fact that it trivialized bullying and hatred. Before the success of Harry Potter, there was already a movement against bullying; it had even become a legal term in some countries. Although it was already considered a serious problem before then, people were starting to become more vocal about it, particularly in light of the recent spotlighted cases. The fact that this was something that had been lurking beneath the surface for centuries and had gained no social media platforms made it all the more apparent. Now, however, it was impossible to skirt around the issue.