Inside the Vlogbrothers’ Enormous Family Tree
When Time named John Green to its Time 100 list earlier this year, actress Shailene Woodley, who plays the lead in the recent blockbuster film adaptation of Green’s young adult anthem The Fault in Our Stars, wrote his tribute.
“He treats every human he meets as their own planet,” Woodley wrote, “rather than simply one of his moons.”
But what you may not know about Green is just how voluminous the planet that he and his brother Hank Green have created for themselves really is. Its orbit within popular and Internet culture is vast, and it exists in the galaxies of YouTube, publishing, and mainstream Hollywood culture simultaneously.
At its center is a message of community, grassroots evolution, and hope.
Accio Harry Potter fanbase
LeakyCon, a mid-sized but ever-growing Harry Potter conference named after the popular HP news site Leaky Cauldron, may seem an unlikely conference to win annual recurring appearances from a major YouTube celebrity and one of the heavyweights of YA publishing. But no story of the Green brothers is complete without it—or without the Harry Potter fandom.
Hank Green dressed as the Tenth Doctor at LeakyCon 2012
Photo via Leaky Con
In 2007, the Harry Potter fandom was waning as fans prepared for the release of the seventh and final book and the end of an iconic era of fandom history. For most of its lifetime, HP fandom had centered around discussions of the books and related fan activities: cosplay, fanfic, and real life cons focused around the books. But in later years, anew flavor of HP fandom had emerged: sub-fandoms within the fandom. Wizard rock (“wrock”) had taken off as a new genre of music requiring love for Harry first, talent second. Bands with name like Harry and the Potters, Draco and the Malfoys, The Weird Sisters, and The Remus Lupins were going on tours and amassing large crowds of fans.
Around the same time, John Green had just taken home the prestigious Printz award for his 2005 debut YA novel, Looking For Alaska. His brother, then-27-year-old Hank Green, was putting his degrees in biochemistry and environmental studies to good use as the editor of Eco Geek and as a noted environmental science writer. In between writing to change the world, the brothers starting sending video messages to each other every day for the duration of 2007, in a project they called “Brotherhood 2.0,” on the Vlogbrothers channel.
Have you ever wondered how the Green brothers became integral parts of YouTube, Tumblr, and fandom?
We map it out for you in an extensive look back at seven years of being awesome.