An epilogue is something that appears at a story's end. It provides closure, perspective, or - in the case of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - a glimpse 19 years into the future where suddenly people have receding hairlines and a smattering of cheeky children.
I have been granted a surprise fifth blog post, and as such, am facing a bit of a problem. How do you continue a blog when you have already concluded it, the loose ends all tied up in a neat, square package ready for owl delivery?
I can't jump into the future to tell you where we end up. The Ministry of Magic is clear on this: the use of Time-Turners are highly regulated and strictly controlled. And anyway, the entire Ministry stock is currently trapped in an infinite time-loop, so there goes that idea.
What I hope I have provided over the course of this blog is perspective. When you truly get down to it, meeting people from the Internet is weird. It's gaining more acceptance, but it's still frowned upon. People think you're meeting pale, lurking strangers living in their parents' basements. Or they assume you're talking about online dating, in which case, meeting people from the Internet is not so uncommon. When you remove romance from the equation, confusion abounds. What do you mean you're meeting a friend from the Internet? How do you make friends online? The kind you tell secrets to, whose voice you've never heard, whose face you've never seen.
I kept quiet about these friends for a long time. When I joined our group in 2007, I hid within the massive scope of the fandom and didn't latch on to anything (or anyone) meaningful. But then we grew closer. Names started looking familiar, members developed connections, people added one another as friends. These days, most of my friends and family know who these people are (I'm pretty proud of my mother for letting me pack my bags and go on trips to meet them.) Society is now interested in the evolution of friendship formation. Despite the downside, or perhaps because of it, there is intrigue in this crazy, modern, intimate form of pen-palling.
I used to call my Internet friends precisely that: Internet friends. In turn, my friends from real life were called Real Life friends. We would separate our Real Life friends from our Internet friends, until we realized just how redundant that was. Some of us formed closer bonds to our virtual companions. Some of us moved to new cities and traversed the invisible, weakening line between "real life" and "virtual life". To me, that line has melted into nothingness.
There is no more division. We live in a new world, one that is wider and webbier than ever before.
Raisa Patel is a writer, crafter and full-time geek. She enjoys baking cupcakes, advocating for social justice, and listing things in threes. Raisa is currently waiting for her Hogwarts letter, which she expects to receive any day now.