Thoughts on the Women of Game of Thrones, Pt 1

The quintessential “strong female character” usually has a checklist of traits: She wears makeup, but not too much and she’s never vain. She’s “one of the boys”. She’s a good shot. She doesn’t cry. She uses “girl” as an insult. Y’know, tropes like that.

The thing is, no one wants to read a trope-full “strong female character”. Female characters should have flaws just as male characters or nonbinary characters might. No one wants to read a story where “it’s got strong female characters because all the female characters are perfect and everyone of a different gender is flawed”. That’s not it either.

What I want from a good, strong female character is humanity. I want her flaws, I want to know what makes her tick, I want to see her biggest weaknesses exploited. But I also want her to be powerful, to know what her strengths are and to see her wield them in just the right way, whether she does it consciously or not.

I want her to be just as complex as her accompanying male (or otherwise) characters are.

The writers I’ve seen that get female characters as close as possible to real life are rare and far in between. I used to believe that JK Rowling did female representation pretty well. That changed when I realized what she did to Hermione and Ginny and Cho and Lavender and, well, basically every girl in canon. (But that’s a post for another time.)

Ironically, most of these writers are fanfiction writers. Most of these fic writers don’t work in original fiction, and it’s a pity really, but I understand why. The only professionally published, mainstream author I can recall at the moment that manages to characterize women on point? Probably GRRM. (kind-of Game of Thrones spoilers ahead)

Look at Cersei Lannister, for example. I think we can all agree that she can be a real asshole sometimes. She knows exactly how to exploit and manipulate the court, she takes a sadistic pleasure in weaving her web around King’s Landing and through Westeros itself, she hates Tyrion, despises Sansa, has a huge blind spot where her children are concerned, she’s ridiculously spiteful sometimes… And yet, I adore her. Certainly not what she’s done to some of my favourite characters, but Cersei Lannister as a character… Damn son, GRRM put a lot of work into her. She’s complex as fuck, man. She’s inscrutable, unpredictable, damn well evil at times, but she’s also fucking badass.

And then, we have Daenerys Targaryen, a Khaleesi of the Dothraki, Mother of Dragons, Rightful Queen of the Andals and the First Men (I forget her other titles). She went from a timid, terrified 13-year-old to a badass, terrifying freaking Queen. She loves her dragons but she’ll lock them away in order to protect her people, she hates slavery, is quite scarily ruthless sometimes, she’s built up this magnificent facade that she presents to her subjects, but she still hurts. She’s still a child in so many ways, and when we’re reminded of that, it’s basically a quiver of arrows to the chest Boromir style. She’s a kid, but she’s also a Queen, she’s an amazingly complex, developed character (don’t even get me started on the character development arc of hers unless you want to be stuck here for another 500 words).

Next, we have Lady Catelyn Stark. To be honest, I hated her through the first two books in the GoT series. I thought she was weak, I thought she was annoying, I thought she was a lot of other unflattering things.

See, what I thought was annoying was actually what made her such an interesting character in a first place. Too bad I didn’t realize it until she died in season 3.

But here’s what I found awesome about her: she’s loyal, she’s dedicated, determined, pretty damn scary when she wants to be, and she has this ability to make others rise up and fight for her. Her weak spot is her family: her children are what drive her motivations, for the most part, and it’s sad when you remember that the last time she will see her daughters is the day they leave for King’s Landing in book one, and the last time she sees her younger sons before her death is the day she leaves for King’s Landing. Her children (and, before his death, Ned Stark) are what keep her going, the major influence on the decisions she makes throughout canon, and yet, by her death, she only knows where Robb is–and then he gets killed. In front of her. In her last moments, we can really see that she’s broken. She’s nothing left to live for; her daughters are missing, probably dead or worse; her younger sons are gone and she probably believes they’re dead too; her eldest child has just been killed before her eyes, along with his wife and her grandchild; her husband died years ago. She essentially loses her will to live.

And that’s what I find interesting, that her children could be such a strong driving force in her life.

That’s it for now, but keep an eye out for part two! I’ll tackle the Stark girls next, but comment with the third woman you’d like me to write about in pt 2.

Posted in fangirl stuff, Books, Fandom-related, Meta | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Self Care Packages

scpfa flyerSo recently, I started modding for a blog called Self Care Packages For All (found here and/or here). What SCPFA does is send care packages to anyone who requests one. We don’t discriminate, you can ask for one if you’ve been having a bad day, if you want a friend to get a pick-me-up…basically for anyone in need of a little happiness. (you can request packages on SCPFA’s Tumblr)

You can pick what you’d like in your package, and some of the stuff you can get in a care package include tea, candy, a random book, or a crochet bookmark.

This is where I come in. The other mods, Emma, Kiri, and Amelia, are all sharing the job of putting together and shipping packages to individual people. I’m not able to do that, so I’m contributing several items at one time and the other mods actually pack them up and send them out. One of the things I’ll be sending out are crochet bookmarks, like these (yeah, the quality’s really crappy, sorry about that):

The fan bookmark pattern can be found here, courtesy of Crochetroo, but the other bookmarks were patterns of my own improvisation. And since I haven’t posted any crochet patterns in a while, I’ve decided I’ll be writing up and posting several of the ones in the picture over the next few weeks. Which would you like to see first?

I’m also thinking of doing a giveaway: the winner will get two bookmarks of their choice, some random book recs, and a few mystery teabags. What do you think?

Posted in Awesomeness, crafts, Crochet, Self Care Packages For All | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

Musings On Several Goddesses of the Greek Sort

Let’s talk about Persephone.
Let’s talk about a Persephone who takes Hades’ hand and goes with him willingly.
Let’s talk about a Persephone who loves the Underworld, who takes to Cerberus like a duck to water and leaves little flowers trailing behind as she walks, spots of brightness in a dark world.
Let’s talk about a Persephone who learns the twists and bends and eddies of the River Styx until she knows them better than the freckles on her arms and the crinkles in Hades’ brow when he smiles (yes, smiles.)
Let’s talk about a Persephone who takes the pomegranate in both hands and bites into it hungrily, relishes the drip of the cold, sweet juice as it gushes into her mouth and over her chin and down her hands.
Let’s talk about a Persephone who knew what she was doing if she went with Hades, if she ate the pomegranate. Let’s talk about a Persephone who knew all that and did it anyway.

Now, let’s not forget Hera.
Let’s not forget Hera, sister and wife of Zeus, jealous and fiery and never deserving to be called “good” or “benevolent” or “kind”, not really.
Let’s not forget Hera, Queen of the Gods and of Olympus, Hera who told Hercules to murder his family, Hera who cursed Echo to repeat her words for eternity, Hera who made Lamia crazy with grief, Hera who only wanted to be respected by her husband and her brother and her king.

We will not forget loyal Hestia, who tended the hearth like it was her own child.
Nor will we forget beautiful Aphrodite, whose jealousy could rival Hera’s own and whose beauty–Well. We know what her beauty could do.
Let us speak of Demeter, who only wanted to stay with her child.
Let us speak of Athena, who sprung from her father’s head fully formed and was a paragon of intelligence and of war.
Artemis, hunter and twin and really, she would be a raging feminist in 2015, wouldn’t she?
Nike, who brought Ares’ heaven and hell at once (but that is a story for another time).
Metis, who is only remembered as the fly that bore Athena in Zeus’s head.
Hecate, who is only mentioned by pagans and modern witches.
Eris, who loved chaos and strife and jealousy and flourished in the vitriol that lay between the other goddesses.

Let’s talk about the Greek Goddesses, jealous and brave and daring and terrifying and weak and powerful and petty and strong and loyal and unfaithful and quiet and raging and flawed. We will not do them the injustice of calling them perfect.
Let’s talk about the Greek Goddesses and how they were not perfect but broken and beautiful multifaceted walking disasters and how every flaw they carried made them so much more human than goddess in our eyes.

—-

I’m not sure if this is poetry or meta tbh. But a few days ago, I was thinking about Greek mythology and just mythology in general. And I realized that one of the reasons why I loved Greek myths so much was that each god and goddess was inherently flawed, in an absolutely perfect way. Really, they were much more human than god or goddess to begin with, I think. And then somehow I got to thinking about Persephone. But not the Persephone that was stolen away into the Underworld, a Persephone who lept onto Hades’s chariot eagerly, who devoured that pomegranate as quickly as she could–basically twisting canon around. And somehow this happened.

Anyway. What was your favorite Greek goddess? (We’ll do gods some other time). Mine was Athena, I think.

Posted in Culture/Society, Poetry, Writing | Tagged , , , , | 8 Comments

Borrowed Time

Borrowed Time

Three days ago I realized I was living on borrowed time
when my mother gave me an ultimatum:
“Either you start dressing like a girl
and talking like a girl
and acting like a girl
or you’re going to be in some deep shit.”

She didn’t actually say “deep shit”, of course.
My mother has standards.
Threaten her child–without swearing.
Reduce them to tears–without swearing.
Emotionally manipulate them–without swearing.
And deny everything when her kids hear her scream
“Why is your head so fucked up?” at her eleven-year-old son (who only wanted help with his science project.)

But this poem isn’t about my mommy issues.
This poem is about love, conditional love.
And about living in a home where familial love is dependent on and determined by
whether (or not)
I play along with gender roles and gender presentation.
And this? This is a barbed-wire cage dressed up in frills and laces
this is my own personal iron maiden
and I am impaling myself
on cold, archaic, unforgiving expectations
in the struggle to escape.

And I can’t stand the days
when all I want and need to do is flatten my chest
and walk
and act
and talk like a boy
but when I step out of my room
their stares drive me back in
and it becomes better, safer,
for me to suffer in silence
rather than enduring the hate outside.

And I don’t see why they can’t accept me as I am
because I might change my clothes or my pronouns or my name as I see fit
but I’m still the same person.
I’m still the same person.

But for some reason I am only fit to be proud of
and talked about
and praised
and loved
with skirts and pink and jewelry and “girl” branded into my skin.

Posted in Me, Poetry | Tagged , , , , , | 15 Comments

Be My (Hella Late) Valentine

So the wonderful Engie @ Musings From Neville’s Navel tagged me in a Valentine’s Day thingy and I didn’t see it until yesterday. I am trash. But even though I’m really not sure this even still counts, I’ll do it anyway. There’s another post I’m working on about BGMs, part two, but in the meantime let’s do this hella late Valentine’s post, shall we?

Who is your favorite couple in a book?

My first question: does fanfiction count? My second question: do comics count?

Nah, jk jk (not really). But I’d probably say (if we’re sticking to canon) Remus/Tonks. I’ve been on a Marauder-era kick lately and usually I’d say Remus/Sirius but since you insist on making me stick to canon :P But if we were including comics in this, I’d prob include Teddy/Billy and/or Kate/America (come on, you can see it.) from Young Avengers. The sheer queerness of Young Avengers is like heaven for me.

Which book character would you take to dinner if you could?

Uh. Damn. I really don’t know. Why must you ask me such hard questions? Can I say Margaery Tyrell because Nat Dormer and leave it at that?

Like have you seen her? Damn son. Also because I feel like Margaery would actually have a lot to say on stuff like the inherent sexism in a monarchial government like Westeros’s and how it is totally not fair that she, being born female, is reduced to essentially a pretty piece of property being traded off to kings in return for a bit of power.

Also how does she deal with Cersei and Joffrey because I really need to figure out how she deals with all that toxic shit and apply it to my life.

And, y’know, also because this gif:

She is hot af and I am thirsty and gay af and not worthy.

Villains deserve a little love, too. Which villain would you give a box of chocolates to?

Draco Malfoy, weird as it seems, because that boy needs some non-abusive, non-toxic people in his life.

Be a matchmaker; pick two characters from different books and pair them up.

I feel like Kaladin from The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson (which is a really awesome book, btw, you should read it) and Harry (as in Potter) would really get along? But in a platonic, no-romo way. They’re both forced into multiple situations that they don’t want to be in, they’ve both had to deal with the weight of the world for something that they can’t control… Yeah, I guess. Kal and Harry.

What book setting would you like to visit while on a date?

Diagon Alley Diagon Alley Diagon motherfucking Alley. Which is actually sort of possible IRL. Someone should take me to Universal on a date. Hell yeah.

No but really, Diagon would be the best place to go on a date.

It’s not all about romance. What’s your favorite non-romantic relationship in a novel?

Currently, Kaladin and Shallan in the Stormlight Archive series. They snark at each other and kinda have that weird insulty mutual mocking sort of attitude about each other that only true best friends get. But with friendship.

Venturing out of the book sphere for a bit: What song makes you feel loved?

That’s a hard question. I could tell you about which songs make me feel pumped and happy, which songs make me feel like everything’ll be alright, but I can’t really recall a song that makes me feel loved. Queer 8track playlists, though. Those are hella.

Now for the most important question of all: What is your favorite shade of red?

A rich crimson, like think Thor’s cape.

There’s something about slightly dark rich red that I just love. I couldn’t tell you why.

Favorite couple ever? You want to have their relationship.

Skdhagkdsgajga none of them are canon though. Wait. Wait. Some of them are canon. Can I just list a few?

They’re hella cute. Like omfg. Babies. And they’d die for each other and Cecil will do literally anything for Carlos (if you listen to it, you know what I mean.) And like just. That level of dedication

Can I have this? Please? They’re the most adorable fucking losers on earth. Also Carmilla wears leather pants and corsets and it is really really hot. (tbh I don’t know whether I’d be Laura or Carmilla but either way I’d  l o v e  it)

Also

  • Newt/Hermann (it’s canon if you squint)
  • Steve/Sam (they were flirting okay)
  • Sansa/Margaery (queerplatonic relationship you can see it don’t lie)

Engie why must you cause me such pain.

Relationship that never happened? You wanted them to get together, but they never did.

Ginny/Luna tbh. Like their friendship was the cutest thing ever. Also a multitude of other ships.

Your bookish crush?

Everyone. No but I used to have a huge crush on Fred and George. I don’t really have a current crush on anyone though.

Favorite “feel good” romance?

Laura/Carmilla. Their whole entire relationship is like sheer fluff with a side helping of oh my god she’s so sexy. Also Annabeth/Percy is always adorable.

Favorite genre to add romance to?

Idk man, it usually depends on whether the romance arc will be relevant at all, or if it’s just there because why not. Like as long as it’s not forced and unnecessary, I’m generally cool with it, but for longer epics I usually prefer gen stuff.

 

Like I said, I’m not sure if this still counts a week and a half later, but screw it, I’m tagging:

Posted in Blogging, Books | Leave a comment

Rape Culture: It’s Real (And You Should Give A Shit)

We as a whole, have finally started to acknowledge the rape culture that runs rampant throughout society. For those of you unfamiliar with the term, rape culture has been defined as:

a complex set of beliefs that encourage male sexual aggression and supports violence against women. It is a society where violence is seen as sexy and sexuality as violent. In a rape culture, women perceive a continuum of threatened violence that ranges from sexual remarks to sexual touching to rape itself. A rape culture condones physical and emotional terrorism against women as the norm . . . In a rape culture both men and women assume that sexual violence is a fact of life, inevitable.

(Emilie Buchwald, author of Transforming a Rape Culture)

and the site Force: Upsetting the Rape Culture explains how rape culture is everything we see and hear every day:

Rape culture includes jokes, TV, music, advertising, legal jargon, laws, words and imagery, that make violence against women and sexual coercion seem so normal that people believe that rape is inevitable. Rather than viewing the culture of rape as a problem to change, people in a rape culture think about the persistence of rape as “just the way things are.”

We are taught “Don’t get raped”, not “Don’t rape”. We are taught to walk with our keys jutting out between our fingers, to always be alert in parking garages, not to go certain places after dark, to cross the street if we think we’re being followed, not to wear anything “slutty”, not to wear anything that we can’t run in, to target the crotch and the neck if we’re attacked, to scream “Fire” instead of “Rape” because no one will come for the latter, to keep mace and a whistle on us, to go places in pairs, to watch our drinks being made and to never leave them out of our sights, to wait until our friends get inside safely before we drive away, to call someone before and after we’re leaving someplace and to call someone when we get home safe… I could go on and on, man. (There’s even a case of college students being told to vomit or urinate on demand to protect themselves from rape.)

We are not, however, ever taught “Don’t rape.” We aren’t taught the ins and outs of consent, we aren’t taught to treat others like actual goddamn human beings, we aren’t taught not to ask “But what were you wearing?”, we aren’t taught not to say “Well, they didn’t say ‘no.'” They didn’t say yes, either, but we weren’t taught not to ignore that.

Rape culture is a real fucking thing. It’s never been present in the forefront of my mind for long–I mean, it’s always in the back of my mind when someone says something off, it’s always there when I see a message that screams wrong in someway, but it’s never been more present than it has now.

A few months ago, one of the guys in a class made a “drop the soap” joke. He was talking about the character of Sophia Burset, an inmate played by Lavern Cox in “Orange Is The New Black”. He then cut himself off and said “Oh, wait, does that still apply if he-she’s a tr*nny? They’re all askin’ for it anyways, might as well teach them a lesson.”

About two weeks ago, someone described the outcome of the Super Bowl like this: “Damn, the Patriots fucking raped the Seahawks.”

Three days ago, someone in a different class said she thought there was nothing wrong with 50 Shades and implied that the numerous articles talking about the main pair’s notable lack of actual consent were all written by people who were, basically, tripping balls.

We treat rape lightly. Even those who want justice against rapists often go about it the wrong way. In one of the articles about 50 Shades I linked above, it mentions an excerpt from 50 Shades that is meant to be taken sexily but actually is rape (trigger warning):

Grey: “I wondered what your bedroom would look like,” he says. I glance around it, plotting an escape route, no – there’s still only the door or window.

Steele: “Well, I thought I should come and remind you how nice it was knowing me.” Holy crap. I stare at him open mouthed, and his fingers move from my ear to my chin. “What do you say to that, Miss Steele?” […she says nothing…] I take pre-emptive action and launch myself at him. Somehow he moves, I have no idea how, and in the blink of an eye I’m on the bed pinned beneath him, my arms stretched out and held above my head, his free hand clutching my face, and his mouth finds mine.

Next, Steele says no.

Steele: He bends and starts undoing one of my sneakers. Oh no… no… my feet. No. I’ve just been running. “No,” I protest, trying to kick him off. He stops. “If you struggle, I’ll tie your feet too. If you make a noise, Anastasia, I will gag you.”

Grey: He bends and starts undoing one of my sneakers. Oh no… no… my feet. No. I’ve just been running. “No,” I protest, trying to kick him off. He stops. “If you struggle, I’ll tie your feet too. If you make a noise, Anastasia, I will gag you.”

He slaps her during intercourse.

Afterward when he leaves, she says this: “But now I feel like a receptacle – an empty vessel to be filled at his whim. […] I have an overwhelming urge to cry, a sad and lonely melancholy grips and tightens round my heart. Dashing back to my bedroom, I close the door and lean against it trying to rationalize my feelings. I can’t. Sliding to the floor, I put my head in my hands as my tears begin to flow.”

 

And in reply to Grey’s act of rape, one commenter says:

MR. grey needs to be put in some form of jail and tossed to the sodomites and see how he like it.

((I heavily disagree with the saying “Don’t fight fire with fire” (that’s a post for another day) but, in this case, I wholly agree. Repaying rape with rape isn’t going to help anything.))

Why do we think it is okay to do this? Why do we think it’s alright to make and sell “Keep Calm and Rape A Lot” shirts? Why do we let the media constantly gloss over the word ‘rape’WAVAW has an article listing more incidences of rape culture. Some of them are shocking as all hell.

I want to be safe walking through town at night. But there is always someone more drunk, in a darker alley, in worse conditions, walking through town at night. I want her (or him, or them) to be just as safe as I am.

We can’t stop rape without stopping rape culture. Problem is, it’s everywhere. And problem is, a lot of people don’t seem to notice it. But it exists. And you should give a shit.


 

If you were sexually assaulted or raped, there’s a hotline. Call the National Sexual Assault Hotline – 1.800.656.HOPE. or go here.


 

Posted in Culture/Society, Feminism, Humanity | Tagged , , , , | 10 Comments

The Big Gay Moment of Realization: Did you have one?

Some people have known they were gay (or bi or ace or pan or whatever sexuality you happen to be, just not straight) since they were kids. Some figured it out when they were in middle school. And some are just now figuring it out in their 30s. Everyone has their moment of realization at some point.

But my question to those of you who aren’t straight is: How many of you had a moment where you just knew?

Personally, I didn’t get that. I didn’t have that oft-spoken-of moment in time where everything just clicked into place and it felt like you were seeing the world the right way for the first time. I didn’t even have a time where it was creeping up on me and I saw a girl one day (speaking from my dfab point of existence) and I was like “oh shit.”

I don’t remember exactly how my Big Gay Moment went, but I know it involved a lot of shrugging and the vague thought that “Okay, so I’m kinda gay? I still like boys though , what does that make me?” I don’t count that as a BGM, by the way, it was more of a very creeping, slow realization (that in retrospect, I probably should’ve noticed) of the fact that I was very very not straight.

But fast forward to several years later: A lot of the queer people I know talk about their Big Gay Moment (or Big Trans Moment, in some cases). Most of them are in the range of pretty-to-very confident in their identity. Me, I’ve never really been set in stone about who I am. I’ve always been pretty much a walking question mark. I never had a BGM moment either. I’m not sure that they’re related, but I think they might be.

But going back to my question to you: Did you have a BGM? Do you think having one (or not having one) had any effect on who you are now?

I’m really sorry this sounds like school questions oh god.

(I just noticed I hadn’t had a category for LGBTQ+ themed writing before today, wow, that really needed to be fixed)

Posted in LGBTQIAP+ | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

On Canons and Headcanons

So a while ago, I got a comment on one of my Harry Potter metaposts basically questioning why I bothered to write meta at all, since actual HP canon couldn’t be changed because Rowling had already written it, and questioning why I thus bothered to point out flaws in her writing because it wasn’t going to change for anyone. Here’s the actual comment below.

Here’s the thing… I see a lot of people commenting on various characters as if they were real, living people (how would Neville have turned out if Snape hadn’t abused him, etc.) Neville couldn’t have turned out any different, nor could Snape or anyone in any book ever, because that’s the way they were written. The author (in this case, J.K. Rowling) wrote each character in a particular way for a certain effect, and to fulfill a certain role and purpose in the story she was telling. It’s completely useless and pointless to speculate on how differently things might have been if only… because that is not the way the author wrote the story. Hermione couldn’t have been black; no-one besides Dumbledore could have been gay; Snape couldn’t have been nicer to Harry or Hermione or Neville; Neville couldn’t have grown up less downtrodden; Snape could never have married Lily… because that wasn’t J.K. Rowling’s story.

It’s like, when I was in a creative writing class and we were reading Hemingway’s “Hills Like White Elephants”—the woman in that story is a class-A whiny pathetic nasty bitch. We were having a discussion in class about this, and about the awful way the man in the story treated her (because of how she acted, presumably). Someone said “well, she *was* a total bitch!” And the teacher said “Yes, because that’s the way Hemingway wrote her.” It was like this huge eye-opening moment…characters in literature *can’t* be different in any way from the way they were written because they have no existence except within the framework set by the author in order to tell a particular story. Change any of the characters, and you will change the story out of all recognition.

I get your point, commenter. I really do. I know logically that no matter what fans or fandom may choose to believe or say about Rowling’s canon and characters, they are ultimately hers, and in Potter canon, we will never really be able to change the facts as they are: Snape was a douchebag and that messed quite a few generations up. Neville grew up abused and traumatized. Lily Potter died that Halloween on 1981. I can’t change that. I get it. Rowling chose to write her canon that way, and I can’t do a damn thing about the words she ultimately ended up publishing.

But. One thing I think you didn’t really acknowledge, is that it isn’t just Rowling’s canon anymore.

When JK chose to publish The Philosopher’s Stone, she introduced the world to a young boy of eleven with a curious scar on his forehead. By the time the last adaptations of her novels were released, DHs Part 1 and 2, millions of people had read about and fallen in love with that no-longer-so-young boy with a (now iconic) scar on his forehead. And, each reader took the words she had put down on paper, and interpreted and read them in a completely different way. We read Rowling’s canon differently because we were all in different situations, on different walks of life.

And, in that small way, by adapting and interpreting her works differently, we took that canon and each made it uniquely ours.

I won’t argue that my ruminating on Snape’s dickish behaviour could possibly ever change what Rowling chose to write, because it won’t. I can’t argue that my wondering what Neville might have been able to achieve had he not been treated so terribly can ever affect canon.

But, I can argue that my wondering about Hermione’s race and other characters’ sexualities can change something. Because if people read my writing on these topics, they might realize the lack of representation that JK handed to us, and they might realize how much more representation people need in the media they consume.

When JK handed over Harry Potter’s chronicled adventures to the public, she invited us to consume her work. I think, in the back of every writer and artist and singer’s mind, they know or have realized that once you put your work out there, once you share it with someone, it isn’t just yours anymore. You may have begun it, written the source material, but inevitably, people will see it and draw their own conclusions, interpret it their own ways.

I choose to interpret Hermione as a black character. There’s nothing in canon that states that she isn’t. There’s nothing in canon that contradicts me (rather the opposite, in certain cases). I choose to interpret Snape as a child abuser and a person that really fucked over quite a few classes’ worth of kids and their futures. I choose to interpret Luna as genderqueer and asexual and neurodivergent, I choose to interpret Tonks and Teddy as genderqueer and pan, I choose to interpret Ginny as aromatic, I choose to interpret Harry and Neville as child abuse survivors. And I can, because it’s my interpretations of and additions to canon.

To be honest, I think many people don’t love Harry Potter canon as much as they think they do. Rather, I think it’s the fanon they love. It’s the possibilities that magic and Hogwarts and characters that can be built on provide, it’s the framework of Ministries and Diagons and Wizarding Wars that JK has given to us, and it’s what the fandom has built upon that framework, worlds of inclusive, diverse, wonderfully imaginative things that they love. At least, that’s what I’m in love with.

Don’t get me wrong, I love canon. I love that Fleur defended Bill and her love of him to Molly, I love that a young boy named Harry Potter realized he was capable of wonders, I love that a little girl named Hermione and a little boy named Ron decided to love him and support him through years of danger and fun, I love that Quidditch is really quite a complicated game. But I also love the universes where a post-DH Harry doesn’t go into law enforcement, he goes into professional Quidditch because it’s what he loves. I love the universes where we can see what can be really done with magic: mapping dangerous places, Cursebreaking and all the wonders that accompany it, what would happen if a Metamorphmagus became an Animagus, what might’ve happened if Sirius had become the Potters’ Secret Keeper anyway.

I can’t change canon.

But I can change how someone sees canon. I can choose to see canon differently from you. I can choose to add my own details, branch off differently. I get the feeling that you like to stick to the source material, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But me? I like to diverge. I like to twist and weave and mold. And to be honest, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that either.

We both love Harry Potter. We also just choose to see it differently. I’m not claiming to try and change canon. I’m not trying to change what you love. I’m just writing what I think of what I love, and posting it.

 

Posted in Books, Fandom-related, fangirl stuff, Harry Potter, Ideas, Me, Meta, Theories, Writing | Tagged , , , , , | 10 Comments

2014 kinda sucked––but it was good at the same time

So 2014 was … eventful, to say the least. Hopefully, we all know about the Mike Brown case, resulting bullshit verdict, and the still-ongoing protesting (which I 110% support btw). There were also the Hong Kong protests, the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, the Leelah Alcorn suicide, the cases of Eric Gardner and Tamir Rice, Jennifer Laude’s murder, the kidnapping of 300 girls in Nigeria who are still missing, the Taliban attack on a school in Peshawar, Pakistan, and a fuckton of a lot more. But hey, there was a lot of positive stuff happening too. 21 states in the US got equal marriage rights, 5 other states’ appeals are pending, representation of POC and LGBTQ+ people in the media has gotten a bit better… Personally, 2014 was a very mixed year for me. On one hand:

  • I cut my hair

It went from this

hair

to this

oh look other crappy webcam selfie

oh look other crappy webcam selfie from December

and I really really like it tbh.

  • I got much gayer
  • one of my sugar gliders had twins and is pregnant with another one oh god
here is one of the twin babies

here is one of the twin babies

  • Florida’s getting same-sex marriage on Jan. 5th and I am so. Happy. (to all of you newbies, I live in FL and this will be a very happy day)
  • my drawing improved a lottt (it’s still terrible though)
  • my writing also improved a lot (I am ridiculously happy about this)
  • I read a grand total of 46,419,341 words this year. At least, that’s everything I’ve managed to log.
  • I came out to a lot of people about my sexuality and mostly everyone’s chill about it
  • I came out to less people about my gender and less mostly everyone’s chill about it
  • I learned how to wirework, sort of:
I'm irrationally proud about the bigger ring tbh

I’m irrationally proud about the bigger ring tbh

my brother, modeling two other rings I made

my brother, modeling two other rings I made

  • my best friend and I went to Metrocon and it was great:

I swear I look better irl (I’m Hiccup [HTTYD] and she was Jack Frost [RoTG] in case you didn’t know)

  • my family got annual passes for the Universal Studios park in Orlando and it is awesome
  • I finished NaNoWriMo with 630 words over my goal
  • my poetry got a hell of a lot more powerful
  • I joined my school’s GSA and man is it great
  • I met a ton of wonderful people and learned more about a lot others
  • I made these dragonscale gloves for the wonderful Andy:
dragons1

trans pride ftw yo

  • I dated my first girlfriend (she dumped me but it was a fun few months)
  • Engie got me into Game of Thrones and it is wonderful
  • I became much less of a terrified gay baby than I was at the beginning of this year
  • I’m a QTPOC and, for the first time, I’m beginning to feel proud of it.

On the other hand:

  • I found out after a loud, semipublic argument that my dad is a racist, generally xenophobic person
  • the Leelah Alcorn thing hit me hard tbh, and it’s because I can see similarities between us
  • after extensive deliberation I have concluded that my parents will probably not take my coming out well at all and have decided that I’m going to wait. Forever.
  • a suicidal friend of mine disappeared for almost 2 weeks and fuck it was worrying
  • I suspect I failed my geometry EOC (god that EOC was hard)
  • I failed to acquire any glittery Lush bath bombs
  • I got yelled at a lot whoops
  • my anxiety became very not fun
  • something happened between me and my best friend that shouldn’t’ve happened and I’m kinda worried about it

There were a lot of ups and downs, and both were pretty extreme in some cases. I’m kinda scared to see what this year’s got in store. But (and this is really stupid but) idk man this song summarizes my feelings about 2015.

Posted in Awesomeness, crafts, Crochet, Events, Humanity, Me, Music, NaNoWriMo, Poetry, Rambles, School, The sugar glider, Thingies I did, Writing | Tagged , , , , | 5 Comments

Harry Potter And The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Representation

Danny:

You guys should read this. It makes for really good food for thought.

Originally posted on Musings From Neville's Navel:

Hello again, everyone. How were your holidays? If you celebrated Christmas, Kwanzaa, or Hanukkah, did you give or receive any books as presents? I certainly hope so.

Speaking of books, I’d like to talk about the Harry Potter books. Or more specifically, their author.

As as far as authors go, J.K. Rowling is kind of a mixed bag for me. On one hand, I love the detailed and meaningful names she gives her characters, and her foreshadowing is nothing short of brilliant. (I’ve lost count of the number of times I suddenly realized the EXTREME IMPORTANCE of some minuscule reference from an earlier book!)

On the other hand, there are some things she is, well, significantly less skilled at – representation comes to mind. The Harry Potter books just aren’t very diverse. And as if that weren’t frustrating enough… she pretends they are. And then I turn into a GRUMPY BOOKWORM…

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