Gizmodo: Our Fascination With Canon Is Killing the Way We Value Stories


Well-known member
Dec 11, 2018
As the pop culture we love becomes increasingly dominated by vast franchises of interconnected worlds and stories, so does it become dominated by one, singular question from diehard fans: Is the thing we’re about to consume canon to everything else we’ve consumed before? It’s an attitude that’s turning our love of stories into some bizarre, archival competition.

Canon is not inherently a bad thing, of course—it can provide structure to chaos and it can provide a sense of not just continuity, but stakes as that continuity progresses. The idea lets characters bear the impact of events on their journeys across not just one narrative, but many, allowing them to grow and change to the point that they might even be entirely different kinds of people compared to where we first met them.
It’s fine if you want something to matter to a world and characters you care about, but it shouldn’t be the be-all-and-end-all to your investment in them, either. Fandom is such a wide, shareable passion, full of different opinions and interpretations about a thing, united by a shared, vested interest and love for storytelling. Valuing the sterile facts of those stories more than the things about them that make us think or feel is a sad thing indeed.
The hunger for facts above all else leads to things like “filler episode” becoming a derogatory term for stories that don’t advance the larger ongoing plot of a narrative or don’t include some shocking new revelation that someone can add to a list.

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