Harry Potter's Realm of Wizardry has finally retired its web presence as of October 2022, after being abandoned (but left alive!) for many years. If you came here looking for some history or shared nostalgia, welcome back albeit briefly.
The Realm began in the middle of the night in mid-July 1999 with Netscape and a dial-up connection. I was a 13 year old looking for people on the internet to talk about two delightful books I had recently read, the first two Harry Potter stories. I made my website(s) initially on geocities, angelfire, etc., though eventually family members gifted me with this .com.
During my fandom years, I wrote a few fanfics (and due to sheer timing luck, I made it into fandom lore and someone's graduate dissertation). I met some truly incredible fellow humans. I pissed off my parents by staying up late to re-read the books. I did lots of late-night tweaking of my web 1.0 site while still maintaining good grades; I burned out later, don't worry. And of course I went to a bunch of midnight releases for the books and films.
This site was remarkably popular for one run by a kid who had no idea how to interact with other people, at least not particularly well, and no idea how to manage a website. I learned HTML through trial-and-error and a lot of copy/paste. After my parents discovered I was covertly running a popular fan website in the small hours (it took them about four months to figure it out), my mom monitored my hit counter for me and made sure I did my schoolwork before popping onto AIM to chat with magical folks on the world wide web. I let this site stay live long after I stopped updating in part for posterity, but also to stay connected to a world that meant so much to me for so long.
The Harry Potter fandom and the Realm forum community changed my life. I became a better, more mindful person because of the diverse people I met and the ideas I encountered. It pointed me in the directions I needed to go.
I believe deeply in the messages that Harry Potter purports to say, even if the author doesn't seem to remember what those are anymore.
The Realm community was always special to me. You got me through a lot of difficult times, and I cherish the friendships that remain 20+ years later.
If you are reading this, please consider donating to social justice organizations and community advocacy groups supporting critical causes like: queer and trans youth, gender-affirming healthcare, queer elders, abortion funds, reproductive care, anti-racist education, immigrant rights, reparation funds, food and housing insecurity, and combating climate change. These and many other issues we face today are intersectional. We rely on each other. We cannot do this alone.
Lastly, while it may not always feel like it, you are magical to someone.