My Experience on the Pendragon Forums

January 21, 2011
By , Marblehead, MA
The end of fifth grade was not going well. I managed to hide it with water balloon fights, intense games of capture the flag, and elaborately choreographed routines on my trampoline, but I was struggling. Really struggling. I’d constantly compare myself to the other girls and wonder why my thighs and my butt were so fat compared to theirs. Social situations became awkward when no one ate except for one girl, who we all gossiped about because of that. I honestly couldn’t stand it any more!

Around the same time, I discovered there was a forum on the Pendragon website where you could talk to other fans. The Pendragon series was my favorite and it was exciting to know there were other people who liked it, too. I could sit for hours on end going through topic after topic. Once I got my courage up, I joined the website under the username of Nevva, after my favorite character in the books. Nevva was brave, smart, and didn’t care that she went against everything she’d been taught. If I was Nevva, I thought, I’d stuff my face with food and laugh at how horrified my friends would be.

Brave, smart, and not caring what everyone thought. That’s what I became whenever I logged on as Nevva and entered the realm of Pen (as the site was known by us users). I wrote my first (and absolutely terrible) Pendragon fan fiction a few months after joining. None of my friends irl (in real life) knew I wrote. Then, when moderators deleted fanfiction that reached a certain number of pages, I joined a group called the Revival. The Revival was named after a Resistance movement in the Pendragon books and our job was to save all stories approaching the limit. We saved lots of very well written fanfiction that way. Along with that, I made some new friends.

These new friends were older and more mature than my awkward twelve years. They were amazing writers and I felt I could be myself around them. We talked about everything, from Pendragon (our favorite), to other books we read (I always defended Harry Potter as the best), and then to our writing. They inspired me to write my second (and much better) piece of Pendragon fanfiction: The Travelers put on a play. I remember logging on one day and finding many requests from friends for an update of this comedic story. Once, as I spent a few weeks working on an extra awesome update, my friends started a foodfight on the message board. The smile did not leave my face for days. But not all of Pen was awesome.

The spammers were a group of people who were dedicated to wreaking havoc across the entire site. They started sexual topics just to get reactions and wrote horrible comments on other peoples’ fanfiction. As the fall of my sixth grade year wore on, the spammers grew even harder to ignore than my self consciousness around my classmates. One December day, I received a private message from a close friend which said something like:

Dear Nevva,

Pen is gone. The spammers are taking over and the Mods (moderators) and DJ (author of Pendragon and Administrator of the website, DJ McHale) can’t do anything about it. I’m going to join the spammers and help bring it down. I know this not what you want, but I hope you respect my decision.

That day in school, I could ignore the fact every single girl in my grade had thinner thighs than me. My brain was whirring with an idea for a new story.

The Death of Pen was not about Pendragon characters. It was about me, and my friends, as we struggled to save our website from the spammers. It didn’t matter that I knew only their screen names. We were all people working toward the same goal.

It was around that time I joined the website of one of my friends, HallaStar. Most of my closest friends were on that site and it was a safer place to be than Pen. On HallaStar, I realized my friends and I were even more alike than I thought. We had similar senses of humor and interests. The same things bothered us. I found I actually felt closer to my friends on the web than I did to my friends irl.

Real life was not a good place to be. I was fat. My clothes were ugly. My hair was gross. No one liked me. Everyone thought I was weird. The group whispering at recess was whispering about me. But I’d forget all that when I logged on as Nevva every day after school. I’d forget everything.

As the months went by, I began spending more time on HallaStar than Pen. Pen no longer felt safe. It was now full of spam, and people dedicated to hurting others. On HallaStar, I became so trusted by the Admin, Veego_Laberge, a close friend of mine, I was named a moderator.

Being a moderator was a lot harder than it seemed. If there was spam, I’d have to delete it. If someone said something rude or inappropriate, I’d need to report it. Yet it was rewarding. I liked being a mod. New members looked up to me and asked me questions which I answered gladly. But things were changing.

In real life, I was growing into myself. I could have a normal, face to face, conversation with other people, and my body was finally looking more normal. By the end of sixth grade, I was a happy thirteen year old with hope for the future. The sites were no longer something I wanted or needed. But I didn’t just quit on everyone and disappear.

I had to wrap up my affairs there. I also had to be there when Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows came out so we could all discuss it. And I had to do my job and keep spammers away. By seventh grade, Halla Star was the only site I visited. And then I left.

My note of resignation from my moderator position was blamed on computer viruses that blocked access to the website. Veego_Laberge said he was very sad to see me go. And I was sad to go. I was sad I had to leave my friends who’d helped me through a very hard time. But I was happy; happy that I could rejoin the world of my peers. I’d spent a year hiding from the real world because I just couldn’t face it. But now, with the help of my internet friends, I could.

THIS IS A SHOUTOUT: If The_Hamster_Queen, aja_smartee_pants, Gig Pilot, Veego_LaBerge (sorry if i messed any info up), Fralf, CrazyAsian, Defying_expectations, Ruler_of_Third_Earth (sorry if I got your message to me completely wrong), GheeWiz, Narnia~the~10th~territory, Rando, Bobby from Third Earth, Bailey Pandora, TravelerMK, Chloe, Balistic Jellybean, Aja Killian 71, Traveler4eva, Jace.11.1995, Sooperelf, Klee_named_Seegan, BobTheTraveler, Loorocks,or anyone else who knew me as Nevva (sorry that I didn’t remember you!) PLEASE COMMENT ON THIS WORK. I really do miss you all! You helped me out a ton!

Post a Comment

Be the first to comment on this article!

Site Feedback