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So you or your child has read the Harry Potter books and now you want to discuss them. You join a Harry Potter discussion community and are suddenly barraged by "ships", "canon", "fanfics", and a perplexing number of abbreviations. Sometimes it's hard for even internet veterans to keep up with all the terms that float around. This list is by no means exhaustive, but hopefully it'll give you a good introduction to world of Harry Potter fan communities.

To begin: What is Netspeak?

Netspeak is a mix of slang and abbreviations unique to the internet. It is often used to help typers reply more quickly in this text based world, but excessive use is frowned upon in most forums.

What is a "fandom"?

A "fandom" simply refers to people who are fans of a particular series. Harry Potter, Star Wars, and Star Trek all have large and active fandoms, but those are not the only ones in existence. The larger "fandoms" are often made up of a large number of smaller fan communities. These range from local fan clubs to global mailing lists both on and offline.

Why do people join fan communities?

The same reason people join fantasy football leagues and sewing circles. To connect with other people who have similiar interests.

Common terms and abbreviations:

canon refers to the "official" version of the Harry Potter universe. In the Harry Potter fandom this is generally accepted to be the books, but you will occasionally see debates over whether or not the Harry Potter films are canon. Information from interviews with the author is accepted as canon by some and not by others.

CoS "Chamber of Secrets". The second book in the series.

DADA stands for "Defense Against the Dark Arts", one of Harry's classes.

DH The "Deathly Hallows". The seventh book in the series.

fanfiction (or fanfic) stories written by fans about copyrighted characters. Most copyright owners are tolerant as long as these stories are written for pleasure rather than profit. There are several large fanfiction archives for Harry Potter and other fandoms.

Note: Most fanfiction sites these days rate the age appropriateness of their stories. It's wise to pay attention to ratings and warnings as fanfiction operates with few restrictions and some writers place characters in adult situations. These sort of stories are purely fan based and NOT endorsed by the books, Rowling, or Warner Bros..

GoF "Goblet of Fire". The fourth book in the series.

H usually stands for "Harry", the series main character

HBP The "Half-Blood Prince. The sixth book in the series.

HP simply "Harry Potter"...often refers to the series rather than the character.

Hr usually stand for "Hermione", Harry Potter's clever friend. Occasionally you will see her abbreviated as simply "H" also...which is a little confusing. If you see H/H, it generally refers to "Harry and Hermione".

LOL stands for "Laugh Out Loud". Probably the most common and accepted internet abbreviation. Variation: ROFL or ROTFL "Rolling on the Floor Laughing". There are some additional variations like LMAO that involve cuss words, so we won't spell them out.

MoM The "Ministry of Magic", head quartered in London. This is the government for British Witches and Wizards.

OotP "Order of the Phoenix". The fifth book in the series.

PoA "Prisoner of Azkaban" The third book in the series.

PS "The Philosophers Stone" British Title for the first book. In U.S. "The Sorcerer's Stone".

R usually stands for "Ron", Harry's best friend.

Roleplay, RPs, or RPGs though the term can be used more broadly, Roleplay usually refers to a roleplaying game. There is no official Harry Potter roleplay game. However fans have set up their own games and rule systems. If you're not familiar with roleplay, it's a bit like a grown up version of playing pretend. Everyone takes on a character or characters and acts them out (usually through text in an internet setting). At it's best roleplay is an exercise in storytelling, a chance to experience new situations, make friends, and exercise problem solving skills in a controlled it's's well, all the worst things that humans can imagine.

Use the same caution with roleplay games as you do with fanfic. Pay attention to any warnings. If a game is no longer fun or stresses you out, quit. It's supposed to be a GAME. And remember, if you're a Christian you should represent Christ in all that you do, even roleplay. This doesn't mean your character has to hand out religious tracts, but you should avoid being overly dark or excusing sinful behavior as "just play". Always treat fellow players with respect.

Webmaster's note: I've been involved with several wonderful RPs over the years. God has helped me develope both empathy and friendships through gaming. However, I've had to walk away from a game or two as well and heard about some horrible ones. The people playing set the tone of the game. I don't recommend RP for children 12 and under unless in a very controlled group. If your teenager roleplays, it's good to talk to them about it. Listening to how they play their characters can give you lots of insights into how they think and openings for deeper discussions.

ship This term is short for "relationship". It's a common fall back topic in many fan communities to discuss which characters you would like to see in a romantic relationship.

OTP stands for "One True Pair" and is a similiar concept to a ship referring to the relationship the person most wants to see happen. We are uncertain how far it has spread. "Ship" however is most definitely a cross fandom term.

Slash while there is no trace of homosexuality in the Harry Potter books, some members of the fandom write characters in "slash" or Male/Male romantic situations. These are not always sexual but often are. Procede with caution. ...The term "fem-slash" is the same with Female/Female. Again these sort of stories are purely fan based and NOT endorsed by the books, Rowling, or Warner Bros..

SS usually "Sorcerer Stone", the first book in the Harry Potter series. The British title is "The Philosopher's Stone" so PS is also used. SS can sometimes stands for "Severus Snape", though Snape is such a short name most people spell it out.

The Trio Harry, Ron, and Hermione, the books' three main characters.

_ / _ It's common to see a slash between two letters or names. The letters usually stand for characters and the slash implies a relationship of some kind. Often it's a romantic relationship but not always.

:) The smiley. There are many, many variations. These are used to help imply tone in a text based world. Examples: >:( ~ O.o ~ :P ~ :*( ~ :D

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Disclaimer: This website does not represent Warner Bros., J.K. Rowling, any publisher or religious organization. We are simply Christians and fans who want to provide useful information and discussion on the topics of and surrounding Harry Potter.