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Mad Men (Season 5)

most devoted fans

Harry Potter, Hunger Games, and More: Read Readers’ Astonishing Tales of Fandom in Action

Last week, we presented our 25 Most Devoted Fan Bases, in which we named the fandoms that weren't necessarily the biggest, but definitely the most diehard. (Game of Thrones topped our list, narrowly beating Star Wars.) In this feature, we also turned to the fans themselves, asking them to write down their most fanatical stories in our comments section. With 311 comments (maybe an intentional move by 311 fans to get acknowledgement?), there were plenty tales of devotion but a few fan bases did stand out. Read on for their tales of love in action: You'll agree that their superfan credentials are in order.

Harry Potter supporters led the way in terms of volume of responses, but also in impressive — dare we say superhuman — feats of devotion. There was StuckInOz, who wanted to fly to London for the final movie's premiere but could not get out of work, so he had a friend mail a fake wedding invitation from London in order to have a decent alibi: "Now, whenever any Muggles in my life ask me about the 'wedding' I had flown across the world to see, I quite honestly tell them of the 'amazing red carpet!' ... the 'spectacular dresses!' ... the 'tear-jerking speeches' and conclude that it was, quite simply, 'a magical day I could never, ever see outdone ... or forget.'" Or there was hayley.margules, who dresses in a full Ravenclaw uniform when visiting Universal's Wizarding World of Harry Potter so she can blend in with the in-house look-alike; she has learned the tunnel system so she can go on the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride "over and over again. And because I know where I'm going, all of the cast members think I'm one of them." Maybe the best Potter story came from KELLYELIZABETH, who not only created a fake Fred Weasley Facebook account when she was 17, but made that account her boyfriend and fended off "many menacing messages" from others who wanted to fake Internet-date him. "Sometimes I would get hate mail from random girls, saying things like 'YOU SUCK! all i wanted was to be ur gf on facebook its not even real life come on.' I remember one persistent girl in particular — her profile picture was a squirrel and she lived in Boston. She really, really wanted to Facebook date Fred, and sent many menacing messages. But I just had to ignore it all and go on with my life. Because I was fake Fred Weasley and I only had eyes for one woman (me)."

Not to be outdone, Twilight fans also wanted to share their love. And no one shared more love than TWI_HEART44. First, she sees the movies early and often: "My local movie theatre knows me as the Twilight girl cos i went 16 times to see New Moon, 8 times for Eclipse, 18 Times for [Breaking Dawn, Part 1]." Not only did she spend her savings to fly to Australia just to see Kristen Stewart at a premiere of a non­-Twilight movie, Snow White and the Huntsman, but she estimated she has spent more than $15,000 on Twilight stuff: "My collection, or shrine if you want to call it that." Some of her payments went to the gold ring she had engraved with "Robsten Is Unbroken" and getting K-Stew to sign her hand and then have it tattooed.

Not everyone could spend $15,000, but some Hunger Games fans made up for it in time spent. Sure, MockingjayKtns can be found "writing fan fiction, drawing Hunger Games art, [and] creating piano covers of the songs from the Hunger Games soundtrack" like many fans, but more impressive is how she "learned how to make animal snares and placed them all over my yard in hopes of actually catching something" and "bought a silver bow complete with half a dozen silver arrows" and shoots every day in her backyard. That is a very dangerous yard! She hasn't learned to catch small animals, but kamidramagirl knows how to throw a Hunger Games birthday party: "Everyone had to dress up to come ... My invitations were designed like the reaping papers. Every room in the downstairs of my house was a room from the book and movie ... I set out a feast table with backpacks and a pile of supplies with an arrow through an apple bag in the front yard. In the back yard was a tracker jacker piñata. The cake looked like the arena. We played a trivia game I made up, and I made parachutes as prizes."

Aethelwynebolger also had a themed party for himself, but in honor of a different book series — Lord of the Rings. He writes, "My biggest nod to fandom was when I turned 33, the year a hobbit turns of age. I went to Walmart and had a photo shoot of me in my hobbit costume and my coworkers threw me a party with a cake shaped like Bag End. I made sure to give gifts, not just get them, because that is what a hobbit birthday is all about." Another hobbit lover was frodofreak, who wears a Frodo costume every Halloween (never with shoes) and has shown up to high school in it as well; she's now waiting for when she gets old enough so she can legally change her name to that of one of the Lord of the Rings characters. (She has tried to do it now, but her mother said, "DO WHATEVER YOU WANT WHEN YOU'RE OLDER, BUT I GAVE YOU YOUR NAME FOR A REASON, YOUNG LADY. (sad face)." She also speaks Elvish, even though only her one friend understands her. "Once, I was daydreaming about being taken to Middle Earth by Frodo and Gandalf in the middle of class and then my teacher called on me and I accidentally answered her in Elvish. The whole class laughed at me. But I'm proud of my nerdiness!"

The Colbert Nation contingent rooted their fandom in their political upbringing. EVABEE credited her love to growing up as a Canadian immigrant who escaped "war-torn Yugoslavia." She was drawn to Colbert's use of satire and his general hunkiness. This culminated in the making of a video in which she cooks mussels for a photo of him. ("I even think it turns me on that my boyfriend kinda looks like him. Tall, dark, handsome, funny?? SIGH.") Less messy was former Republican MRCONTROVERSY, who credits Colbert for his political transformation. He also revealed this wonderful story of mutual fandom: "I went to a taping of The Report in April of 2010. During the pre-taping Q&A I asked Stephen Colbert (being the geek that he is) if he had ever watched Doctor Who. His response: 'No ... Star Trek is my threshold for low budget sci fi.' It was with that statement that I gave him the Vulcan Salute and encouraged him to give it back, which he totally did." 

Though they didn't make drunken YouTube videos, we had multiple Mad Men watchers who took their fandom to college. KEELYM wrote her college thesis on "the 'Cosmo Girl' and how Peggy breaks the mold," and KELLYELIZABETH wrote a 7,000-word medieval-gender-and-identity essay comparing female roles in Mad Men with Arthurian legend. Still, there was one Mad Men fan who exhibited classic fan priorities: ARTGAL987 told the story of when her cousin had the audacity to call to tell her that his wife just had a baby, doing so during Mad Men's airing. "All I said was 'No calling during Mad Men!' and [then] promptly hung up. To this day I don't regret it — you've got to know your priorities!"

HONEYBOOBOOCHILD didn't write some thesis or hang up on a relative for his love of Lady Gaga, but can identify any of her dancers in a crowd. When at the Alexander McQueen Met exhibit, "I darted between lines, trying to absorb everything on tip-toes, my eyes locked on a perfectly sculpted mohawk. HEARTBEAT. Yes, I can identify Lady GaGa’s backup dancers by their haircuts." (Considering that 90 percent of backup dancers have perfectly sculpted mohawks, that's damn impressive.) "I coolly regurgitated my adoration 'You’re Mark Kanemura, right? [as if there was any question] You’re an incredible artist. Could I get a picture with you? My roommate will take it, he’s walked in on me watching videos of you many times.'"

We also got some submissions from fans of shows/movies/authors not on the list. YH54 made a compelling case for Bronies and how it's rare for a fan base not to be in the target demographic of the people creating the art. And PREPPYINPINK365 told us of how Gossip Girl thoroughly shaped her New York life, from where she moved postcollege (Upper East Side) to what goes on her head (dozens of Jennifer Behr headbands that would make Blair proud).

It's no surprise that there are plenty more great stories in the comments. Trust us: Check out the full posts from these people and marvel at the dedication. And if you need something to do with an extra $15,000, we have a Twilight fan who'd probably be interested.