cygna_hime: (Default)
Because it's so late in the game I sometimes forget how many things there are to love about the scenes at the top of the Pharos:

  • Vaan not letting Ashe have her dramatic speech. There is very little funnier to me than a melodramatic character being constantly interrupted mid-drama.
  • The juxtaposition of illusory Rasler with Vaan works really well as she's trying to come to her final decision - royalty vs the people, dead vs living, and of course false vs real.
  • I have to say, Ashe tends to take a while to grow on me, but the reasons I'm not all over her are the reasons she has a great character arc, with this as its climax: she tends to get tied up in what she wants and feels due, and conflate those things with what's best for Dalmasca. Nobility, man... But I love that her arc addresses that, as a problem and a flaw, and that this, her world-changing choice, is about setting personal rage and vengeance aside in order to be a worthy ruler.
  • Fuckkkkk Ashe/Rasler tho. That she's so torn by seeing his face. That it breaks her heart not to be able to give "him" what he wants. That the Occuria finally overplay their hand, because Ashe knows that Rasler, her Rasler, the Rasler who lives in her heart forever, would never urge her into senseless cruelty.
  • Ashe's speechlet about the Dalmasca she wanted back reminds me of Faramir in the Two Towers : "I would see [...] Minas Tirith in peace: Minas Anor again as of old, full of light, high and fair, beautiful as a queen among other queens: not a mistress of slaves, nay, not even a kind mistress of willing slaves." There can be no higher compliment.
  • Whoops suddenly I am also Emotions about Gabranth. Because I will always read his behavior here as - he wants Archadia to burn. He's been living twisted up in hate and despair for so many years, and he has never forgiven the conquest of Landis, any more than he has ever forgiven Basch for fleeing before it fell. At Ashe's age, he would have given anything and everything for a Stone, for a way to make them hurt as he hurt. There are wounds in him that have never been able to heal as Basch's wounds have healed, whether because of different circumstances or temperament, and those wounds have festered for so long that sometimes he feels that he's nothing but hate beneath a metal skin.
  • Wow Cid way to twist the knife there. "You make mockery of Lord Larsa's trust. You are unworthy to serve him as sword or shield."
  • I also really like the parallels between Reddas and Gabranth here. They've both done things that cannot be made up for, cannot be forgiven. "History's chains bind us too tightly." Reddas sees the similarity, sees how other roads are closed off to them - sees, I suspect, that neither of them can survive this.
  • The #1 relationship in this game that doesn't get enough attention is Fran & Penelo. It's subtle, but Penelo asks more questions of Fran, and Fran answers them, and as here, when Fran is collapsing or in danger of collapsing from Mist exposure, Penelo is the one to notice or to ask if she'll be okay. I ship it
  • I swear, Cid manages to make "Fool of a pirate" into a paternal endearment. That last little exchange...it's so quiet, especially compared to Cid's Cidness just previously, and there's such a wealth of words left unsaid.
  • Overall I just love how this scene, while it doesn't stop acknowledging the importance of the beloved dead, reconfirms how...they're dead, nothing can change for them now. The wants of the dead should never take precedence over the needs of the living.
  • cygna_hime: Xion is in ur fandom, queerin ur text (Xion Queering the Text)
    My brain finally decided to throw up a breakthrough on the question of Auron in KHII -- or rather, the numerous intertwined questions, beasts that they are. To whit: is that FFX Auron? What is he doing in the Olympus Underworld? Why is he in the deepest dungeon therein? Why did Hades, going fishing for the "mother of all bad guys", come up with him? What was he going to say when he said he wasn't a hero, "just an-"? What the literal hell, in general, is up with him?

    The answer to the first question is, methinks, a straightforward "no". Partly because no one else is -- and in many cases, cannot be -- their FF self; partly because Braska and Jecht are presumably in wholly different worlds and timeframes being the fathers of their respective offspring; partly because that is boring. BORING, I tell you! There is no greater fanfic sin. Well, maybe a couple.

    The reason answering "yes" is so popular is that then you don't have to do any of the work of answering the other questions. Feh, say I. They're not, actually, that hard to answer -- if you approach them from the opposite direction.

    What gets people dumped in the nasty corners of Tartarus? You should all know this one; say it with me now: hubris!

    The gods are mean and miserly with power, and they take criticism poorly, to say the least. And if, say, you tried to change the appointed way of being, if you dared challenge their primacy individually or as a group, if you were the kind of person who would choose to fight them for any reason...well. They'd lock you up and throw away the key, wouldn't they? In, say, the deepest dungeon of the underworld. Just, you know, for example.

    ...Dammit. Now I'm going to have to write an entire fic on How It Came To Pass That Auron Tried To Make War On Olympus, aren't I? Buggery. MORE IDEAS, just what I needed!
    cygna_hime: (Default)
    As mentioned a few days ago, I'm going to actually take apart and examine the reasons why I decided that Dona deserves an entire prompt list worth of positive attention. But, since aiming low is not in my otherwise extensive vocabulary, I don't just want to talk about Dona. I want to talk about some female characters I like, and the reasons why.

    Read more... )
    cygna_hime: (Default)
    Because I do. Kind of a lot.

    I just finished reading her Lavinia, on which I'm writing my final Latin paper -- as a prologue, or a first chapter perhaps, to that book in my mind on the study of modern fandom, particularly fanfic, as a smooth continuation of a literary tradition as old and as august as story itself.

    Because Lavinia is a work of fandom, perfectly so, without a single solitary difference. Oh, it's brilliant, serious, thought-provoking -- but so, as any actual member of fandom will tell you, is the best of fanfic. It quotes the text, works against the text, rearranges the text, gives voice to the voiceless, revisions the text, discusses and resolves the text, interacts with the text, continues the text...it does what fanfic is meant to do. I have the better part of a pack of post-it notes marking places where this is particularly true. This reminds me of a [livejournal.com profile] femgenficathon story, taking a woman out of the background (a girl, an omen, a blush) and into the foreground, where people walk into and out of her life, rather than the reverse. Where she is the window rather than the curtains.

    Perhaps that book will be my thesis, after all. The more I read, the more I find that these words need to be said, because they are true and yet it has never occurred to anyone to say them until now.
    cygna_hime: (Default)
    So I am totally going to write my Aeneid paper on Virgil fanfic. It will be EPIC (badump-ching!).

    I am debating how to handle the aca/fen distinction: I have an urge to avow Virgil-as-fandom and use fandom terms (which are much better for discussing fanfic), but on the other hand there's the problem of the teacher not knowing what this fandom thing is (I don't think), which leads to a)having to identify a whooole bunch of terms before I can get down to brass tacks, and b)appearing to be on the wrong side of the Academese Line. And though I hate the Academese Line, when I'm not sure how the person grading my paper is going to respond, discretion is kind of the better part of valor.

    I think I am going to compromise by dressing it up under "transformative fiction", but citing the OTW glossary to define the term, and generally referring to fandom sources to explain why all this fanfic (because where else would I *find* discussion on what makes fandom happen?).

    But still. Totally writing about fanfic for a grade. This is why Classics is an awesome field. It's fandom all the way down!
    cygna_hime: (Default)
    I really, really need to learn how to be productive. Story is just not behaving itself; it feels like I'm never in the right mood AND the right place at the same time. *sigh* But I'll get through it! I totally will! (Also, I have way, way, waaaaay more ideas than I have time to write them. *sadface*)

    So, a meme from Tuna. Give me a character, and I will tell you:

    1. What would your character kill for? What would they die for?
    2. What would they refuse to do under any circumstances? Why?
    3. What do they dream about? [Either literal or figurative, specify please.]
    4. What’s their biggest fear?
    5. What single object would they be most hard pressed to part with? Why?
    6. What is their fondest memory?
    7. What is their worst memory?
    8. What or who was were their most significant influence? Expound.
    9. What do they believe makes a successful life?
    10. What makes them laugh?
    11. What are their religious views?
    12. What is their greatest strength?
    13. Do they have a fatal flaw? If so, what is it?
    14. Who is the most important person in their life?
    15. If they died, who would miss them most? How would they die?
    cygna_hime: (Default)
    Actually wrote something, whee!

    For [livejournal.com profile] kh_drabble, prompt "Walls". There were basically two places I could have gone with this, and I took the other one. Which is good, since someone else picked up on the Pink Floyd, and I would've looked silly. So.

    Daughters in Boxes/A Box Without Walls

    The chief thing the prompt stirred up in me was by-now-slightly-vague memories of Kishida Toshiko's famous (and yet unavailable online in English, as far as I can tell) feminist speech "Hakoiri Musume", or "Daughters in Boxes". Specifically, I thought about her entirely justified complaint (at least at the time) that women were not taught even the things necessary to run a household, that they were imprisoned in boxes where they could not see out, and even in a very comfortable box, without windows it was a prison. And I thought about her exhortation for women's education, so that they could live in a box without walls, though she did not yet suggest that women should or could compete with men directly. And then I though about the Princesses of Heart.

    So, there's Cinderella, and Aurora, and Snow White, who go in a minute from servitude or (apparent) poverty to royalty. Aurora lived in a cottage in the woods all her life! What do they know, what will they do, as royalty? But they got their happy endings, because they are beautiful and therefore married well. What they're to do after that does not enter into the question. They seem to have bought into it.

    And there's Jasmine, who doesn't know exactly what has been kept from her but knows at least that something has, and hates it. She tries acting out against her upbringing, but because she was never taught, for example, self-defense, she can't do a very good job of it. And that's sad, because she's stuck and knows it. (At least her marriage is likely to be an improvement.)

    But there are also Belle, and Alice, and Kairi, who are none of the above. The thing everyone knows about Belle is that she reads. No one has kept her from learning things, at least in theory. And it shows. She knows what she does and does not want, she makes choices. Her appearance in KHII is incredibly true to character: unlike the above princesses, she's capable of saving herself. And then there's Alice, who's...a seven-year-old girl from Victorian England, who goes on this ridiculous dreamworld adventure. And does quite well, for her age. She's been educated (even if only some of it stuck), she does things, she has firm ideas about what should be and should not be. And she's no kind of princess at all. And then there's Kairi, who has one game of princessly distress, one game of us learning a great deal about the difference between a princess and a witch (none), and one game of flatly refusing to be anything but active.

    But it's not that they're in some way different. It's not that the first four are weak for putting up with it. It's that even if you're strong, you need something to be strong with, some suggesting that strength is possible. It's that they've been put in boxes, while the last three have those boxes without walls that Kishida talked about.

    It's a bit soapboxy of me, I admit, but KH fandom is so very focused on the male characters. People often dismiss the girls as weak or uninteresting, and that's just not fair. Until we take a good long look at what makes them that way, we're just perpetuating a problem of women in fiction. "Why are the female characters so boring?" is the cry. Well, they damn well didn't make themselves that way. But my soapbox is much more interesting as fic.
    cygna_hime: (Default)
    Because for a kerfuffle that seems to me to be so damn obvious, it sure is going on for a while. ([livejournal.com profile] metafandom has links to most of the relevant posts, if you've been fortunate enough to miss it.)

    So, to warn or not to warn? )
    cygna_hime: (Default)
    So, I saw ST:Reboot with the fam' on Sunday. This was entertaining, as it's always good to have old-school fans to do these things with and deepen the discussion. Also, the Mominator is a K/S fan from waaaaaay back (we have piles of actual on-paper fanzines around the house, no lie), so there was that.

    Before going behind the cut tag, I am going to say two things:

    1. The movie had a poor plot, but very, very good dialogue, so that I wasn't put off by the shoddiness by the plot. Fanfic heaven.

    2. Part of the problem is that this is being sold as an adventure. This is false. The movie is not an adventure. It is a romance.

    Huh? You may well ask. "But, Cygna, isn't a romance centered around a love story? This is centered around things blowing up, so it must be an adventure!" Well, yes, but then again, no. First of all, subtext so thick you can cut it with a knife. Further, I dispute the standard way of defining genre in this case.

    An adventure story is about one person who changes the world. A romance story is about two people who change each other.

    That's all it is, when you stop looking at sex as a prerequisite for emotions, when you strip away all the heaving bosoms and virgins and man-titty from the word "romance" to get at what, in my opinion, differentiates a good romance with an adventure subplot from a good adventure with a romantic subplot. And by those standards, Star Trek is a romance.

    There be Spoilers in them thar woods )

    The best thing about this movie: it afforded me an opportunity to redefine genre.
    cygna_hime: (Default)
    That feeling where there's an idea swimming lazily about the deep-sea vents of your head that's so beautiful seen in fragments from afar it almost hurts, and as much as you want to show it to others you're afraid that they won't see it as the beautiful, fragile thing it is, or worse that in bringing it to them or them to it the idea in its freedom and music will be damaged beyond repairing?

    This is the prologue for The Electric Things Have Their Life Too, a KH AU that looks like being fairly epic and is to be honest mostly the product of running across a bunch of very, very good cyborg/android/robot AUs in SGA fandom. Right now the idea is bubbling in me, sweet and tragic and so very perfect, and I'm terribly afraid that I'm not equal to the task of bringing it up to the surface. But I can't not write it; that would hurt more than a failure, would hurt like being pregnant and, because I was scared of birth and being a mother, carrying the baby inside me for the rest of my life. I can't not try, even if I fail. (Part of my motivation, too, is that there are precious few in the fandom I'd trust even as much as I trust myself to bring this incredible, fragile thing into the world.) Besides, if I don't write it, I know nobody ever will, and having this story never come to be would be worse than maiming it through my own clumsiness.

    With luck, this will be the first seriously multichapter thing I finish. Wish me luck; this is going to be a beautiful dive.
    cygna_hime: (Default)
    Why college is awesome: today I got to go listen to a classics BNF (specializing in Virgil) give a talk about his analysis of the Aeneid as related to the early Augustan Age, and what Virgil was saying about both--was he using Aeneas purely to show the good bits, or to highlight the bad? It was most excellent. He was a very interesting speaker, and although I haven't actually read the Aeneid yet, I was fascinated and felt that several new perspectives were rattling around in my head afterward.

    Blah blah classics blah blah Marvel blah )

    My fandom did it first. Pretty much guaranteed.
    cygna_hime: (Default)
    Someone asked me my thoughts on yaoi Eriol/Tomoyo.

    I feel kind of sorry for the E/T fans who're about to read my attempt-to-not-explicitly-say-they're-all-complete-morons-but-make-my-opinion-of-them-clear-anyway.

    Do not ask this kind of question if you don't want me to give a multi-paragraph, increasingly sarcastic answer.
    cygna_hime: (Default)
    Today I re-read this book by Jules Feiffer (which is not a household name, although I don't see why not), which was one of the favorites of my childhood. I was pleased to discover that it remains just as good, just as funny, just as touching, and just as real when I read it now as it did ten years ago.

    It has been said that the measure of a good fantasy novel is that it is as good at five as at fifty-five. By this standard, A Barrel of Laughs, a Vale of Tears is an excellent fantasy novel. It stands up just as well to my critical adult eyes as it did to my youthful ones back when I only knew what I liked, not why. Now, however, I can at least make a go at articulating the why.

    This is a fantasy book. It is the story of a young prince who is sent out on a quest so that he will grow up a bit and stop being so naïve. He does, gets the girl, and lives happily ever after. No, wait, that can't be right. I've become sick of the whole bildungsroman trope, and my summary makes it sound just like one. Let me try again.

    This is a story about people. It is a story about a prince who makes everyone laugh, not by being funny, but just by being, and the quest he gets sent on so he'll stop, because it's hard to get anything done when everyone around the prince can't stop laughing. It is a story about the people he meets, each of whom has his or her own quest and his or her own personality, made real in a handful of sentences.

    This is a mix of many things I like. It has a hero who gets rescued by a woman more often than the reverse. It has a narrator who keeps talking directly to the reader. It has a fairy-tale feel but a nontraditional ending. It has complex morality. It has no fourth wall. It has lines like: If you read Homer's book The Iliad, you'll find that his heroes, before entering battle, tell their opponents almost more about themselves than you'd want to tell your best friend. Where they're from, what their father does, their entire life's history, except, perhaps, what they did on their summer vacation. How can you resist a book for children that can reference the Iliad without sounding patronizing?

    It is a story about life, a story that makes life funny and tragic and hopeful and unexpected. Now that I think about it, a lot of the other stories I like best are like that. Maybe it isn't "realistic". But it's real.

    And, like I said, it's just as good now as it was when I was eight. I highly recommend it.
    cygna_hime: (Default)
    1. There's an actual community. And it provides feedback. Lots of feedback. This is rare on LJ, especially for a first or second fic in a fandom. Feedback! I can has it! (As opposed to CERTAIN FANDOMS which refuse to give me any feedback for my crack epic of cracky awesome. Except for Kaz, who is shiny.)

    2. Crack. Crackcrackcrack. I think this stems from the fact that canon contains pretty much anything you can think of, except mostly the NC-17 stuff. But. Canon already has genderbending, zombies, clones, alternate universes, and enough plot devices to do whatever it is you do with a lot of plot devices. We mostly make pretty pretty people have sex. Sometimes they're zombies, or enchanted, or not the sex they were yesterday, or evil, or not exactly in the right timeline, or zapped by sex pollen, or more than one of the above, and it's not like we're exceeding the bounds of canon plausibility.

    3. People who feel free to take canon and make it better. I really like being somewhere where people will try to keep some kind of consistent characterization, but beyond that, anything goes. All too often fandoms end up in the reverse situation--characterization optional, plot from a template. I hate. Hate lots. Comics fandom has a slightly depressing tendency to be better than canon, for various reasons related to the American comics medium and its inability to let characters go.

    Also. I swear there was an also when I sat down here. And I'm pretty sure it didn't involve porn. Although I'm not sure why not. No, I haven't gotten enough sleep, why do you ask? But my essay is done, so it's all good. Caffeine for the win.

    Oh. I remember. For any of you who may know what I'm talking about, I have a lot of trouble taking the bits of the Green Lantern story with Parallax seriously. I mean, all this bad stuff happened courtesy of a trigonometric concept? I hate to see what integrals could do to these guys. The PTB just opened an astronomy textbook to the glossary and picked a random word, didn't they? Stupidest. Name. Ever. Well, no. This is comics, after all. But most names don't make me go, "What does the inverse of the distance in parsecs have to do with anything, and why is it such a bad thing? Do the Guardians have something against the ability to calculate stellar distances?"

    Yes, I had astronomy today. We learned about the parallax effect. It's stellar. (Sorry.)
    cygna_hime: (Default)
    I read Ursula K. LeGuin's novel The Dispossessed today. One of the reasons I like LeGuin so much is that her novels make me think, really think, putting into words thoughts I haven't quite had before. Sometimes it's uncomfortable--but then, childbirth is always uncomfortable.

    The Dispossessed, Fandom, and Me: an Essay )
    cygna_hime: (Default)
    Um. It's 3:30 am, and, well, Mom's asleep. She is, however, the only one. Little Sis, who had the same sleeping problem I did, is curled up on a chair nearby with a book. Meanwhile, I am writing Kingdom Hearts fanfic. This is what happens when I get sleep-deprived.

    In other news, good things happened today!

    1. My new laptop came! I didn't turn it on yet, because of one thing and another, but that's not the point. The point is that it exists.

    2. I didn't get my AP scores, exactly, but college did, and they listed it on my portfolio for placement purposes, so now I know. I'm surprised. Mom is not. Okay, so they were all 5's. Happy now? (Thank all the gods for good luck on the Calc exam!)

    3. I finished the longhand draft of the Crackfic That Ate My Sense of WTF, Also Possibly Characterization, And We Would Not Bet On Comma Splices Either. It's pretty okay, actually. Quite long. I'll start typing it next time I'm awake enough to read my own handwriting.

    And now, I return to my mission: write a multi-chapter fic all at one go, while it's still fresh in my head.

    All this, and I haven't had caffeine in days.
    cygna_hime: (Default)
    Despite all the fear, anger, bitterness, and generalized bad emotions over the last few days, I did find something reassuring about this whole debacle.

    Most of the time, fans are solitary creatures, living in small groups and snapping at anyone from the wrong tribe. We tend to subdivide and subdivide and subdivide into special interest groups, and often these groups don't get along very well. But this week, for the first time I can recall, fandom banded together. All of it: slash and het and gen and femslash, Harry/Ginny and Harry/Hermione and Harry/Draco and Harry/Snape, fluff and plot and smut and kink.

    It's no wonder 6A and WFI both underestimated us: never before has fandom demonstrated the ability to self-organize, self-inform, and self-mobilize with such speed and cohesion as we did. Not being fans themselves, they didn't realize how fast news travels or how quick fans have become to defend each other against an outside world that mostly doesn't care much about them. Even fans were surprised; I know I was. Do you realize that this entire debacle took less than a week? That fandom knew and had suggested responses before much of LJ management had even been informed? When we get really riled up, we work pretty well together.

    Now, if only we could find a way to make this sense of unity last...

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