Gatekeeper characters in fiction mark a significant transition for the protagonist and are usually less characters in themselves than a device to illustrate something about the character they confront. They are typically mysterious and evocative, often representing cosmic forces, or the character’s own subconscious. Unfortunately, Gatekeepers in real life are much less interesting–and usually much more irritating.
Now, what I am about to say here is probably nothing new on the subject, but I would like to get it out in the world, just so there is no misunderstanding later on. If you’re not aware of what I’m talking about (you lucky soul), ‘gatekeeping’ refers to the tendency of some media fans toward a sort of snobbery. “You’re not a real fan unless you can name Link Starkiller’s wife who doesn’t show up in the films, only the books, even though the books aren’t canon anymore.” That kind of nonsense. There’s nothing wrong with appreciating a fictional world by any means. The problem, as usual, comes from pride. Exhaustive knowledge of fiction, let’s be honest, is not really a useful skill, and not something anyone ought to use to elevate him- (or her-) self over another, except in the context of a trivia contest.
So, I’m putting this out as a content creator: no gatekeeping in this fandom. I am just happy for people to enjoy my work. If anyone tries to tell you you’re not a ‘real’ fan (whatever that means) because you can’t name Cassie’s whole family, or don’t know Becky’s home town, they’re elevating their own bias. It’s okay to just like things. You don’t have to treat it like Serious Business. You can, if you want! But remember it’s simply not real. I’m not going to judge somebody who throws their heart and soul into a world I created (or that anybody else created, for that matter). But if you treat it like a source of pride, then yes, in my estimation, you’ve opened yourself up for mockery. Not because you like something, not even because you spent so much time getting into it. But because of all the sources of pride you might tap into, fandom is probably the least useful, the least productive.
Learn a language or a musical instrument with that energy, or hell, write your own damn story like I did. Contribute something, somehow. That’s worth being proud of.
And FFS don’t be a douchenozzle to other fans, even if they aren’t ‘your kind’ of fan. The world is rough enough on us all already without people who enjoy the same things turning against each other because somebody couldn’t answer a random question or happens to like things the ‘wrong’ way.
Speaking of being fans of things, a good friend of mine just gave me a remote control that looks like a light saber! I’m not sure I’ll be able to use it, but even if not, it makes cool light saber sound effects when you push the buttons.