Tianna Mignogna ‘15 opens the door with a smile and a skip. I walk into her room and see multitudes of attractive faces staring me down – torn
from magazines, printed in the Info Commons, or scavenged from book stores. Mignogna has a couple dozen posters of actors, singers, and pop culture ephemera pasted neatly on all sides of her room, forming a mosaic of a life lived enthusiastically and nerdily.
While gesturing at a large poster of Samwise Gamgee carrying Frodo up Mount Doom, Mignogna explains, “I just try to make it as much like my room at home as possible. My room was floor to ceiling, covered with pictures, and it was like that for years. But then I wanted green walls and I took it all down – it was easy, it all came down like a sheet of wallpaper. I miss all the stuff I used to Sharpie onto the pictures, though.”
I suggest I could start the tradition in her dorm, and reached up to write “Belongs to me” onto the chiseled abs of a male model holding Zesty salad sauce. “Oh, Zesty guy is a new addition,” Mignogna says saucily.
Ron Weasley and Harry Potter have the distinction of being two of the few men on her walls, but Ron’s poster, facing the door, is far more noticeable.
“He’s been my favorite character since I was eight, when I was first reading the books. I’ve always had a thing for sidekicks, and now he’s just awesome. I know some people don’t like him because he leaves in the last book, but he comes back! Also, gingers.”
Mignogna also has a large, wooly blanket depicting the Hogwarts shield, and she stretches out upon it as she talks about the influence the world of Harry Potter has had on her life. “I’ve met the majority of my friends through Harry Potter, online, at conventions. My first friend in the fandom was this girl Ivy, and we spent the whole summer of 2008 together, one month at my house and one month at hers. We had the same blanket. I brought the blanket everywhere.
“There was one time that we both brought our blankets to our friends’ house – it’s silly, but it’s Harry Potter – and it was storming on the way in. We were holding our blankets over our heads and sprinting, but they got soaked and we couldn’t even use them. We got to our house and put them in the washer and dryer together, and now we tease each other, ‘I could have your blanket!’ It’s nice. I keep bringing it back every year, because freshman year was hard…” her voice picks up. “I brought it to Tuttle [where I lived last year] even though there is no AC. It reminds me of my Harry Potter friends. Good times.”
I ask her about the other posters, and she hesitates. “I would talk about the other posters, but they’re all roommate stories.” She hesitates for another second. “I got this first poster [of burlesque dancer Dita Von Teese lounging in an enormous champagne glass] just to make my first roommate uncomfortable. She was talking about how she was in a friend’s room and feeling awkward because there were all these posters of half-naked women on the walls, so here it is.”
The other main attraction in her room is a large tank with a beautiful mahogany fish. “That’s Glorfindel, a random elf character in Lord of the Rings, or ‘Glorfy.’ I’ve had him since March. This guy put a picture of him in [the Facebook group] Goucher Free and For Sale.” I suggest she could do likewise, gifting the fish and tank to an incoming freshman when she graduates. “Yeah, passing on the tradition!” she says.