Forever Knight Factions
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Early in the history of the ForKNI-L mailing list, its Forever Knight fandom developed a number of factions, or affiliations. These are generally good-natured divisions, with fans "aligning" behind particular characters (and later, pairings) as their favorites, usually by listing their affiliation in their ".sig"s. At least once in the list's history, though, passions over affiliations were running high enough that the list moderators banned .sig affiliation mentions for a couple of weeks to cool things down and get the list back on topic. As a general rule, though, Forever Knight Wars function to defuse this sort of tension.
The first six factions were all formed relatively quickly, around the major characters, and formed the core of the faction system: Cousins, Knighties, Ravenettes, NatPack, FoDs, and Die-Hards. From there, factions grew to add nearly every character on the show (plus in one case, a popular OC from fanfic), as well as a variety of pairings.
According to the lore of Forever Knight fandom, the first faction was formed when a fan of Nick, Sharon S., once foolishly admitted to the list that she had a phobia about frogs. On learning this, two other list members who were fans of LaCroix immediately sent Sharon gifts of chocolate frogs in the mail. She replied that the two were so cruel that they must be cousins. Thus, the Cousins were born. Very quickly, just before or during the first Forever Knight War, four other factions arose, centred on the other major characters of the show. In addition, a sixth faction was formed, the "Die-Hards", comprising those fans who refused to pick a favourite character.
Initially, a variety of names were proposed for these new factions. For example, some followers of Det. Nick Knight (the protagonist), called themselves "Nicolaaas" (after the French pronunciation of his name), though they eventually settled on "Knighties". Followers of the vampire Janette initially called themselves "ravens" or "bonnie wee corbies" (after the nightclub she owns, the Raven), before settling on "Ravenettes". Followers of Det. Don Schanke hesitated over "Schankites" or "Sluvakians" before deciding to call themselves "FoDs" (Friends of Don, pronounced "foods"). Followers of Dr. Natalie Lambert initially called themselves "au-NATurelles", before switching to "NatPackers". Lists of faction names rarely mention that there were early alternative names for these first factions.
By the second season of the show, with this model before them, fans started to create additional factions. Some of these focused on supporting characters from the television series—though this is to use the word "character" fairly loosely, since factions were formed by fans of Nick's car and Natalie's cat, Sydney; and the "Archivist's Assistants" were followers of a character from a fan fiction series by Susan M. Garrett. Couple factions focused on popular relationships between the major characters. The "Mercenaries" evolved their role within the Forever Knight Wars.
With the change in cast for the third season of the series, additional factions were proposed, primarily focusing on the new regular characters, but also on popular guest characters (including some who had been introduced at the end of Season Two). Again, there was much discussion as to the best name to pick. Although in most instances a specific name eventually proved most popular, other proposed names continue to linger on lists of factions.
With so many factions already in existence, the impulse to create more became unstoppable.
- So-called "fraction factions" spun off from well-established factions, begun by fans who felt their personal focus differed somewhat from that of the majority of members of the main group.
- With the example of the Mercenaries, spin-off factions also formed within existing factions, serving as sub-groups with particular foci, usually appearing in War-related stories.
- With the example of factions based on relationships that might be seen as more or less supported by canon, fans started (or at least proposed) factions to explore additional permutations.
- Additional supporting characters and guest characters had faction names proposed for them.
Mailing lists and Yahoo!Groups focused on support, hobbies, religious beliefs, or fan writing were also often referred to as factions.
Forever Knight fandom was in its heyday while the show was on the air and for some few years thereafter, while its memory was bright in the mind of fans and reruns were showing on television. By the time of the twelfth War in 2004, however, the size of the fan base had considerably shrunk. Interest in affiliating oneself with a faction, especially with one of the smaller factions, declined concomitantly. Most couple factions did not participate in War 12; most fraction factions coalesced (though it was not always the original main faction that took part); and few of the factions associated with minor characters were actively involved, though their members—playing with other factions—might write a post or two mentioning their earlier affiliation. Nevertheless, there were still a sufficient number of fans looking to LaCroix for the Nunkies Anonymous to rival their parent Cousins in terms of the number of participants.
By the thirteenth War in 2010, fewer and fewer people were bothering to add their affiliation to their ".sig" when posting to ForKNI-L. Not surprisingly, then in War 13, the implosion continued even further. All fraction factions had to recombine in order to reach a reasonable number of players; and some previously significant main factions were able to field only one or two participants.
Factions and War
In the early, organization stage of a War, fans declare their membership in a faction. In this way, they join one of the teams playing the round robin game.
Outside of War, it is a tenet of Forever Knight fandom that one may belong to as many factions as one chooses. All one needs to do is declare oneself a member. However, in order for a War to work, one must declare one's allegiance to one (and only one) faction. Hence the existence of the "Die-Hards" as a nominal faction for those who refuse to choose a favourite character.
Fans who consistently choose to align with one faction during War will call this their primary faction or primary allegiance; and the other factions to which they belong will be referred to as their secondary factions. Fans who make such a choice only during War (and may choose differently for different Wars) will refer to their chosen faction as their primary faction "for the duration".
Some factions are consistently secondary in nature. In particular, the hobby-, religion-, and support-based factions are not really related to round-robin fan fiction, and do not usually participate in Wars. Members of such factions will typically have primary allegiances, and fight with those in times of War.
Faction Symbols and Pins
The first set of Affiliation Pins was constructed by Susan M. Garrett and Calliope Monsoon in 1995 to help Forever Knight fans find each other at conventions and other places. Each was decorated with a symbol representing one of the factions. The pins were available through a page on Susan Garrett's website (archived).
For more information, please see the article on the Affiliation Pins
Faction Names Applied to Pairings & Fan Fiction
The names of some factions involving pairings and groups have undergone fannish drift, so that they now refer at least as much to the object of the faction's devotion. By extension, therefore, these particular faction names are also pairing names—comparable to "Spuffy" and "Bangel" in Buffy the Vampire Slayer fandom—and may be employed to identify pairing-based fan fiction. Thus, an Immortal Beloveds story involves Nick/Janette, and an Unsuited story involves LaCroix/Schanke.
Factions whose names are employed in this way include: the Dark Trinity (Nick/LaCroix/Janette), Immortal Beloveds (Nick/Janette), Seducers or Immortal Seducers (LaCroix/Janette), Nanette (Natalie/Janette), Unholy Alliance (Nick/Natalie/Janette), Unholy Trinity (Nick/Natalie/LaCroix), UF (Nick/LaCroix), UnSuited (LaCroix/Schanke).
Official Recognition of Factions
Many of the cast and crew of Forever Knight became aware of the existence of the factions, as they kept up with list traffic. Deborah Duchêne wore one of the first Ravenette pins at Dead of Winter Con. At a convention, Nigel Bennett listed most of the existing factions from the stage, particularly noting the Cousins in the audience. At one of the Weekend With Ger events, Geraint Wyn Davies wore a Knighties pin and at another he requested a Cousins pin, explaining that Nick "was the original Cousin."
During her Forever Knight book tour in 1997, Susan M. Garrett was contacted by phone by a representative from the Sci-Fi Channel, who were trying to gather information on the fandom, and was specifically asked about the factions. Thus, when Geraint Wyn Davies hosted the first Forever Knight marathon on the Sci-Fi Channel and filmed scripted filler bits between the episodes, several of the factions were mentioned on air.
List of Factions
See the full List of Forever Knight Factions for the names of the factions.
Faction List Websites
Many fan websites focusing on Forever Knight include lists of factions and/or lists of links to faction sites. However, the following are sites with notably comprehensive lists:
- Affiliations FAQ (This was compiled by Meredith in 1996, when the names of factions based on third season characters were still in flux.)
- Forever is Forever: Forever Knight Faction Guide
- The Forever Knight Faction List
- Forever Knight Wiki (See the Fan Factions category. This list has been compiled from the various contents of the preceding three sites, with updates on new factions.)
- FACTIONS: Explanation of Wars, posted to Forkni-L by Susan M. Garrett. Archived on the web by the War 12 War Maestro. Accessed November 23, 2008.
- The alternative names for some of the first six factions can be found in the text of the archived War One posts.
- Mr. Happy's Forever Knight Site contains a list of factions from 1996, at a time when the names of third-season factions were still in flux.
- The Forever Knight Faction Guide alternative link