bedlamsbard: star wars rebels: hera peering around a corner (battle (timeless-x-love))
You know, I think I might be able to solve my POV problem in the fic-that-shall-not-be-named by changing my tactics. Literally, since I'm writing a battle scene. I think I might be able to kill two birds with one stone, since I have a sinking feeling that the tactics I was planning to use aren't actually suited for a pre-gunpowder battle. But if I switch to pre-gunpowder naval tactics (i.e. ship-to-ship), I think that will also (partially) solve my POV problem, since that will allow me to take my emphasis off the big picture and by extension not have to have multiple POVs in order to accurately portray the battle.

First, on writing battles. (Spoilers for Red Seas Under Red Skies, Dies the Fire, A Game of Thrones (book), Twilight (book), Song of the Lioness, Agincourt, Rome (HBO).) )

Now, onto my own fic. Where the stakes change slightly because it's a naval battle, not a land battle. Spoilers for my WIP. )
bedlamsbard: star wars rebels: hera peering around a corner (aslan's how (elec3nity))
A couple of random thoughts regarding Narnian burial practices that I've been turning over in my head for a couple of days after something we talked about in my Age of the Vikings class, in somewhat disjointed form:

Traditionally the Telmarines practice ship burials; royalty, nobility, and the wealthy are buried in ships, while those that aren't so well off make do with being buried in the center of stones in the shape of a ship. After the Telmarine fear of the sea developed, this practice somewhat fell by the wayside, but gravesites are still marked by stones; not entirely certain if the ship burials are still being carried out by Caspian's time. I think so, at least for the royalty. (They also might still be carried out by Tirian's time. Caspian definitely had a ship burial; he was buried in the Dawn Treader. And I'm reasonably certain, yeah, buried, rather than burned, but not entirely positive.)

Traditional Narnian burial practice, pre-Long Winter, is to bury the dead facing east, towards Aslan's country. During the Long Winter burial wasn't practiced, as it was impractical to bury the dead in frozen soil. Not entirely certain what Long Winter funerary practices were; I think the tradition was forgotten by the time Spring came.
bedlamsbard: star wars rebels: hera peering around a corner (to war (tocourtdisaster))
I just had a sudden urge to put the Erinyes into Narnia. No, honey, we're not going to do that, that's the whole point -- by removing the White Witch from the equation, Aslan has destroyed the balance of power in Narnia. Yes, the White Witch disturbed it in the first place by causing the Long Winter and keeping Aslan and Father Christmas (and presumably Bacchus) out of Narnia, and imprisoning the river gods in slumber by freezing the rivers, but she didn't go so far as to kill Aslan until the circumstances had changed. And then Aslan destroyed her utterly, and Narnia was left without a replacement. The Deep Magic was disturbed. (Also, this leads into my conspiracy theories on why The Last Battle ended the way it did.)
"Have you forgotten the Deep Magic?" asked the Witch.

"Let us say I have forgotten it," answered Aslan gravely. "Tell us of this Deep Magic."

"Tell you?" said the Witch, her voice growing suddenly shriller. "Tell you what is written on that very Table of Stone which stands beside us? Tell you what is written in letters deep as a spear is long on the fire-stones on the Secret Hill? Tell you what is engraved on the scepter of the Emperor-beyond-the-Sea? You at least know the Magic which the Emperor put into Narnia at the very beginning. You know that every traitor belongs to me as my lawful prey and that for every treachery I have a right to a kill."

[...]

"Fool," said the Witch with a savage smile that was almost a snarl, "do you really think your master can rob me of my rights by mere force? He knows the Deep Magic better than that. He knows that unless I have blood as the Law says all Narnia will be overturned and perish in fire and water."

"It is very true," said Aslan, "I do not deny it."

(C.S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Ch. 13: "Deep Magic from the Dawn of Time")


...huh, I wonder what the Secret Hill is? I don't think it's mentioned elsewhere in the books -- do you think it's the hill in The Magician's Nephew with the Garden on it? But then what are the fire-stones? You don't want to put too many precious world-creating/world-sustaining immortal magical objects in one place.

(clearly, I have the attention span of a gnat.)
bedlamsbard: star wars rebels: hera peering around a corner (cowboys in the distance (427_fandom))
I have had an epiphany. I've been starting to wonder, lately, if there's something wrong with me -- I read a lot of author blogs, and obviously I watch metafandom and follow links and so on, and one of the things that's come up continually is, "I started writing so I could read stories about people who look like me," or variations on that theme. And that's a great theme! People should totally write books or stories on that theme. But the thing is that it's never a theme that's driven me; maybe I don't have a really strong sense of self.

I realized today, driving from Ellensburg to Yakima, through rolling hills covered with sagebrush and sparse brown grass, that it wasn't stories about people that looked like me that I wanted, but stories about places that looked like the place where I live. And that's a much rarer thing to find especially in the genres I read. (Which is not to say that Japanese-American fantasy is common, because, ha, no.)

It strikes me that that's what I've been trying to do lately in my writing: build up a sense of place, a sense of setting as character, as essential to the story. But where I live, the land doesn't look anything like the generic western European fantasy land that tends to show up in novels: neither place I live, Washington or Louisiana. And that's a crying shame, because -- if the land is different, how does that change the story?

(One of many reasons I love S.M. Stirling's writing: the Emberverse is set in my neck of the woods, and Stirling uses the geography, and not only that, but he does it for my favorite kind of warfare. <3)

If my Narnia didn't look western enough before, just wait until the sagebrush shows up.
bedlamsbard: star wars rebels: hera peering around a corner (cairo (girlyb_icons))
I was out hiking around Vantage and Frenchman Coulee yesterday with my geology class, which was made of win; I haven't been out that way for a couple of years and I can't actually remember if I've ever been to Frenchman Coulee, which means I probably haven't. It's fairly well-known for rock climbing -- googling gets me some pretty cool pictures here, but the view is just fantastic. Washington's absolutely gorgeous sometimes, especially eastern Washington -- we're very geologically active, and have been in the past, too, and a lot of the land east of the Cascades has been shaped by the Great Missoula Floods. It's very stark and very impressive. It is also, not particularly coincidentally, my mental setting for the High Reaches in Narnia.

Narnia, the Pacific Northwest, Cair Paravel, New Orleans, and the Doylist perspective* )

*Watsonian vs. Doylist, for those that haven't heard the phrase before.

*

I have also been thinking about domestic fantasy, which is sort of a rare subgenre in the fantasy world, and may not actually be an "official" subgenre the way high fantasy, urban fantasy, or swords and sorcery are, since I'm not entirely certain I've actually heard about it outside of my own head. Which -- doesn't seem unlikely, actually, because my mental picture of domestic fantasy is something that's very heavily based in the world, in the home, in small, discreet magics rather than grand, flashy ones, and -- need I say it? -- very female-oriented. The only published fantasy that I can think of that meets that description is in some of Robin McKinley's books -- my beloved Spindle's End being one of them, Chalice another. I would probably even count Sunshine in, because the main character is so heavily involved in baking. (Actually, I think the only RM books that don't fit this description are The Blue Sword and The Hero and the Crown, though I haven't read The Outlaws of Sherwood, so I can't speak towards that.) All of RM's books tend to have grand magics at the end, but they're still fired by those small, domestic magics, and largely occur almost as an afterthought. I can't think of another author who does something similar. (Maybe some of Diana Wynne Jones's books? But those are less concerned with the home, generally.)

I've been thinking of writing an original short story for a while now that is domestic-y; the main character is a baker, and her magic is tied up in baking. (Also there is world-building where yeast is very important; an unmarried woman who works with yeast is something of a social outcaste, since yeast is traditionally associated with fertility and pregnancy. In this world, the majority of bakers are either married women with children underfoot or women who have passed the age of menopause and cannot have children. The main character is an unmarried woman without children, and doesn't work with yeast. See what reading a lot of cookbooks for fun gets you?)

Thinking of this because a lot of my pleasure reading lately has been cookbooks and food history, and I knit a lot, so I think of that, and I just picked up a couple of books on country traditions from the university library.

*

Kitten cuddling kittens! Puppies cuddling puppies! Kittens and puppies cuddling! Lots of animals cuddling!

*

Work proceeds on Traveling Woman; I am halfway through the last chart.

*

My Latin prof thinks I am a fast translator! *preens* I think, at least in this early stage, that this is one of the few cases where being really really good at English is actually helping, because I'm used to taking words and phrases that are jumbled together and then rearranging them in a coherent, meaningful order, which with the Latin-to-English translations in the first few chapters of Wheelock, is basically what we've been doing. Later this will doubtless no longer be as true, but at least the fact that word order doesn't matter isn't confusing me as much as it is some people in the class.

*

My cousin is having a baby! The (traditional Japanese) family is somewhat alarmed about this, because she is unmarried and her boyfriend is black, and therefore the first inkling we got of this is when my uncle (my mother's brother) e-mailed my father and told him how ashamed he was for the family and also to find out what kind of man had fathered a child on his daughter. My parents' reaction to this was somewhat hysterical laughter, as we have actually met my cousin's boyfriend on several occasions, and he's a very nice guy. (He's in the Army, as well, and has been shipped out to Iraq and Afghanistan twice since he and Maya have been dating? And keeps getting told he's shipping out again, and then they don't actually ship out.) So instead of hiring a private investigator, we called my cousin to confirm that she actually is pregnant (she is), and then assured her that we were on her side and we supported her. I don't think we actually care if she gets married or not, but he's asked her before, and now they're thinking about a courthouse wedding, with a big ceremony later. (Also, as I have mentioned, her boyfriend is Army, which means military benefits if they get married.) It was not planned, and she was on birth control, so -- an accident, but she sounds pretty happy about it.

(It also means I can start knitting baby clothes! What is the best yarn for baby clothes, o knitters?)

*

Huh, I should probably look up when the [livejournal.com profile] narniaexchange deadline is. (I have -- thoughts. And have to do research.)

*

I want to bake pie. Well, crostatas. I require blackberries, although blueberries are what I am more likely to get. (Blackberry pie is my favorite! But blackberries are expensive out here, because it's too dry for them to grow. On the West Side, they are an infestation.)

I shall probably attempt to do muffins, bars, and cookies this weekend, as well, since I am baking considerably less than I usually do because of classes, so I have to make it up during the week, as we have nearly burned through the stash in the freezer.
bedlamsbard: star wars rebels: hera peering around a corner (just boys once (frenchsweetie))
*sighs* Sometimes I think there should be a male equivalent of the Bechdel Test* wherein, if there is a love triangle involving two male best friends, they talk about something other than the love interest and in which they decide their friendship is, you know, also an important part of their lives! Possibly more important than the love interest!

Or decide on a long-term threesome, because that would also solve a lot of problems.

*grits teeth* I think Pearl Harbor is better at it than The Four Feathers (the movie, not the book), though not by much, but Pearl Harbor establishes the relationship between the two male leads better than Four Feathers does. The Four Feathers is absolutely infuriating, because they keep saying over and over again that Harry's friends are Very Very Important to him, but the emotional context isn't really present, and it's hard to see the Harry/Jack relationship because it's all bound up with Ethne. Of course, Pearl Harbor is a longer movie, thus they can provide more emotional context, etc., but it's really annoying. Because the films generally try and establish that male friendship is an Important Thing, and then quite often they don't show it; they immediately throw in the female love interest and from there on out, the two male leads revolve around her, and very seldom interact with each other except by competing.

I think Pearl Harbor actually does it fairly well, because the relationship between Rafe and Danny is established to be one of the focal emotional points of the whole movie, and the relationships between Rafe and Evelyn and Danny and Evelyn are both well-established, and hey! They talk to each other about things other than Evelyn! And they do it damn well. The Four Feathers completely falls apart on that note -- the only thing Jack and Harry talk to each other about other than Ethne is about two seconds of conversation before Jack ships off and Harry resigns, and then never again. Harry doesn't talk to his other friends at all; the movie shows him trying to save their lives, but the emotional context isn't there. It has to be constructed by the viewers, which is always a failure on the part of the PTB. (Not to mention that Ethne isn't given much of a personality at all; it's been a while since I read the book, but I seem to remember her having vaguely more personality? I do remember that she pulls a white feather out of her fan and gives that to Harry, and since that's, like, the entire point of the book/movie, it makes no sense that the fourth feather is a throwaway line. WAY TO FAIL ON EMOTIONAL RESONANCE, GUYS.)

* Yes, I know what all the parts of the Bechdel Test are and it obviously does not line up or qualify in the same ways; I am thinking of the "two women have a conversation about something other than a man" bit of it.

endings

Jun. 28th, 2010 08:25 pm
bedlamsbard: star wars rebels: hera peering around a corner (farewell (fading_melody))
On the heels of the Deathly Hallows trailer, a thought that's been swimming around in my head for a week or so now.

I tend to hate series endings. There are only about two or three that really, really work for me, and one of them is my Ideal Platonic Ending. The others come pretty close.

Deathly Hallows is not on the list. Last Battle is not on the list. Return of the King is not on the list. The Lost finale is not on the list; it could have been by a difference of one or two beats. Freak Nation is also not on the list, but the second season of Dark Angel didn't work for me on a number of levels. I don't have the emotional background to judge the BtVS or AtS finales, and for some reason I still haven't gotten around to seeing the back half of BSG or the last episodes of Kings or Caprica 1.0.

My runner-up endings? Star Wars: Return of the Jedi and the last episode of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, "Born to Run." My one perfect ending is the end of S.M. Stirling's Emberverse trilogy (the first one, not the second quartet), A Meeting at Corvallis. It's just -- perfect on so many levels. So many. I reread the trilogy a couple of weeks ago, and have been thinking about the ending for a while now. I love it, and it makes me cry, and it makes me smile, and there's hope. There's beauty, and pain, and -- the world goes on.

The world goes on.

(For levels on which The Last Battle fails, look at that last one. *snort*)
bedlamsbard: star wars rebels: hera peering around a corner (the bayou (girlyb_icons))
I forget that outside of New Orleans, a number of people question the city's right to even exist. And also look at Hurricane Katrina as solely a judgment/wake-up call to the U.S., instead of a devastating event that affected people's lives.

I mean, I'm the last thing from a Louisiana native (born and raised in Washington), but I've lived in New Orleans for the majority of the past two years. And yeah, I live on-campus, I go to a school that has a majority of out-of-state students, but we all chose to come to New Orleans, you know? We're part of that group of people that go, "Yeah, New Orleans is important, and we love it, and we want to live here and tell people it's okay to live here and that there's nowhere else like New Orleans in the world." So that's what I'm used to hearing from other people, along with all the New Orleanians who were living in the city when Katrina hit and then came back. 97% of Tulane students who evacuated for Katrina and did their Katrina semester at another school came back to Tulane and to New Orleans. (I don't know the figures for other GNO schools, but I guess they'd probably be similar?)

I forget that everyone doesn't love New Orleans. I forget that some people believe that New Orleans shouldn't even exist.

(I forget that some people don't know basic geography and HELLO NEW ORLEANS IS NOT THE ONLY CITY IN AMERICA OR HEY THE WORLD BUILT ON A SWAMP. Gods, I think I just stared at him blankly when he said, "That's what you get for building on a swamp!" because I had no idea how to respond. And then I changed the subject as quickly as I could.)
bedlamsbard: star wars rebels: hera peering around a corner (come back to narnia (boredess))
The Wardrobe Door has posted new pictures from PC. I may never come down again. Susan's red and gold cloak that wasn't in the film! The fact that Rhindon is on Peter's right side instead of his left in the FIDM display! OMG, look at this beautiful shot of the tooling on Peter's bag. Oh, Tumnus! Peter's body language in this cap!

(Seriously, that's -- I really need to rewatch this movie, but if that one still is representative, and since that's how I write Peter in PC, that -- yes. I was not pulling stuff out of thin air. His pose is physically imposing in direct conflict with his actual body and the fact that, technically, he's at a disadvantage. He's looking down at Caspian, head cocked critically; Caspian, despite the fact he has a sword in his hand, is in a defensive pose -- not fighting-wise, but he's loose and open, confused. He doesn't know what's going on.)

Also, what is the Narnian in the back of this cap, between Caspian and Susan? I can't see a head, so it's hard to tell. That's not Trufflehunter, is it? Must rewatch to see if I can get a clear shot -- oh, that is Trufflehunter, I can see it now. I think he and the mice are the only Talking Animals that stand upright in this film, if I'm not mistaken. Also, in this cap, look at the expressions on the Pevensies' faces -- Lucy, Susan, and Edmund are all looking ahead, wide-eyed and excited, while Peter's eyes are closed; he's smiling quietly and calmly to himself. The others are directed outwards; he's directed inwards. (Granted, again, I really have to rewatch the film; this is just what I'm picking up on from caps.) Caspian looks dubious, of course.

Seriously, just look at that cloak.

(Oh, Narnia. You have successfully prevented me from working on Dust 20, new with no canon whatsoever! Yes, even less than usual; this is, like, The Godfather of Cair Paravel, a.k.a. the new OC POV.)
bedlamsbard: star wars rebels: hera peering around a corner (life (teatree_icons))
There's a really beautiful, thought-provoking essay here by [personal profile] general_jinjur on podfic that I really recommend.

I don't listen to a lot of podfic anymore, probably partially because I don't read much fic anymore, and when I was listening to a lot of podfic, I was also reading a lot of fic. (The fandom, for those curious, was SGA.) I do listen to audiobooks sometimes -- not very often, and I try and look for books where the writing style seems to translate very well to the spoken word. The Chronicles of Narnia are pretty good, because Lewis is a very personal, present writer. (I haven't gone through all of them -- um, and now that I'm looking, I'm not actually sure which set of audiobooks I have, since they've been recorded several different times.) I think Diana Wynne Jones and Robin McKinley would both be very good to listen to. And one of my earliest memories is listening to The Lord of the Rings on tape.

I don't tend to think about how podfic and audiobooks interact; I'm not sure they really do. I remember that [personal profile] toft and [personal profile] thingswithwings wrote two SGA fics a few years ago that were initially released only as podfics, and only later as text fic. (Melusine and lion body, head of man.) It always struck me as a fascinating exercise -- how do we write differently when we want our story to be heard, not read?

Anyway, rambling.
bedlamsbard: star wars rebels: hera peering around a corner (artemis (girlyb_icons))
When I applied to college a few years ago, one of my application essays told in exacting detail how I believed in the lost city of Atlantis and its cousin, Lemuria, and how when I got my degree in archaeology, I was going to find it, and prove all the believers right. Whether or not that essay helped me get into college I don't know, but my grand plan of majoring in anthropology turned into a physics major, then back into an anthro major, then into an English major, then history, then medieval and early modern studies, and finally I've rolled back around to classical studies, where at least I'm likely to at some point in time go on an archaeological dig, although I'm coming up on my junior year and have yet to take an anthro class. My search for Atlantis has been pushed aside in favor of ancient Greece and medieval Europe. But that doesn't mean I'm any less interested -- in Atlantis, the Ark of the Covenant, the Holy Grail, or a thousand other pieces of history that might be lost or might never have existed at all. I call them Archaeology Conspiracy Theories, or ACTs.

Archaeology Conspiracy Theories )

Orientalism

Apr. 8th, 2010 11:45 am
bedlamsbard: miscellaneous: read (bookshelf with text "read") (read (girlyb_icons))
I'm reading the introduction of Edward Said's book Orientalism for class, and I don't know what else he says in his book, but oh my god I love his prose this much so far. Plus he hits some of my Narnia kinks, always a plus.

I have begun with the assumption that the Orient is not an inert fact of nature. It is not merely there, just as the Occident itself is not just there either. We must take seriously Vico's great observation that men make their own history, that what they can know is what they have made, and extend it to geography: as both geographical and cultural entities -- to say nothing of historical entities -- such locales, regions, geographical sectors as "Orient" and "Occident" are man-made. Therefore as much as the West itself, the Orient is an idea that has a history and a tradition of thought, imagery, and vocabulary that have given it reality and presence in and for the West. The two geographical entities thus support and to an extent reflect each other.


*starry eyes* It's just so pretty -- okay, some of what he says later is a little problematical, of course it is, he's talking about Orientalism, everything is problematical, but it's problematical in an interesting sort of way.

A second qualification is that ideas, cultures, and histories cannot seriously be understood or studied without their force, or more precisely their configurations of power, also being studied. ...The Orient was Orientalized not only because it was discovered to be "Oriental" in all those ways considered commonplace by an average nineteenth-century European, but also because it could be -- that is, submitted to being -- made Oriental. There is very little consent to be found, for example, in the fact that Flaubert's encounter with an Egyptian courtesan produced a widely influential model of the Oriental woman; she never spoke of herself, she never represented her emotions, presence, or history. He spoke for and represented her. He was foreign, comparatively wealthy, male, and these were historical facts of domination that allowed him not only to possess Kuchuk Hanem physically but to speak for her and tell his readers in what way she was "typically Oriental."

...Orientalism depends for its strategy on this flexible positional superiority, which puts the Westerner in a whole series of possible relationships with the Orient without ever losing him the relative upper hand. ...The scientist, the scholar, the missionary, the trader, or the soldier was in, or thought about, the Orient because he could be there, or could think about it, with very little resistance on the Orient's part.


*pause* Okay, that latter part doesn't hit my Narnia kinks, but it mostly makes me think about rape and sexual assault, which is...interesting. And problematic. And interesting. And, I think, gives me something to write my response paper for class on.
bedlamsbard: the lion king: painting of simba, made by devicons (reckonings (devicons))
After rewatching The Lion King 2: Simba's Pride, I have a few thoughts:

* I think, though I may be wrong, that Simba is a lot more outwardly affectionate towards Kiara than Mufasa was towards him. Some of it may be because he's a father interacting with a daughter rather than a father interacting with a son, but still -- and at some point, he definitely licked Kiara. I think previously we've only seen lionesses lick cubs.

Dont't worry, you'll only be a *little* disturbed )

The real moral of The Lion King movies: BAD THINGS HAPPEN IN GORGES. STAY AWAY FROM THEM.
bedlamsbard: star wars rebels: hera peering around a corner (children (alexielnet))
Fact: no matter how awesome a "yay women!" multifandom vid is, it will always lose me the moment it features clips from Narnia that include Lucy and Jadis but never Susan (or Prunaprismia, for that matter).

And -- I've seen a lot of multifandom yay women vids, and the majority of them leave out Susan and feature both Lucy and Jadis. I have a theory about this that revolves around most multifandom vidders not being active in movieverse Narnia fandom and whose main impressions of Narnia were formed from the books, which do feature Lucy prominently as a character, and thus when they're vidding they're vidding bookverse with movieverse clips; they belong to that school that believes in Lucy as one of the main characters in the series, the one that most people are supposed to identify with, and Susan as the character that we, the reader, are all supposed to despise because she is "no longer a friend of Narnia" -- she lost faith, she lost her sense of childhood wonder, etc. And so, when they're picking clips for their vids, they ignore Susan completely and will put in two clips of Lucy instead of one clip of Lucy and one clip of Susan, and then a couple of clips of Jadis just for kicks, because kickass women are awesome, right? Except for that one who represents everything that fantasy readers are not supposed to be.

(That said, I hope that when/if they do SC, we do get a "yay women in Narnia!" vid featuring Lucy, Susan, Jadis, Jill, the Lady of the Green Kirtle, Ramandu's Daughter, and Prunaprismia. Because that would be fabulous.
bedlamsbard: star wars rebels: hera peering around a corner (Default)
What the fuck did I have this thought about? I can't remember if it was a book or a movie, though -- okay, yeah, I remember, it was The Dark is Rising. (The book, I have not been able to bring myself to see the movie. I think I saw the first two minutes and then promptly tried to rip my eyes out.)

I reread The Dark is Rising with the intent of rereading the series as part of my project to figure out what it was that had been gnawing me about The Graveyard Book in the same standing as Narnia and a couple of other classics of children's fantasy lit (and now I can't remember what they are -- I think I was also going to reread the Prydain Chronicles, but then I had to come back to school). It wasn't the first book of the Dark is Rising sequence that had struck me as being similar to the rest of the books on my list, but I haven't reread the series in a really, really long time.

Yeah, I didn't get to the others, because something about The Dark is Rising bothered me a lot, and here is what it is:

I don't like stories about extraordinary people doing extraordinary things. I like stories about ordinary people doing extraordinary things.

Extraordinary people being -- oh, Will Stanton, who finds out he is a superspecial Old One, and just -- agh, I reread the book and was kind of flailing in horror at some parts, I think especially the scene in the church with his brother and the priest, where it's all, oh, these humans wouldn't understand, and human-ness, humanity, becomes a weakness. Like -- I feel that this is actually a generational difference between, say, fantasy/sci-fi/horror written in the past decade or couple decades, and before that, and that more current work is much more focused on humanity as a strength rather than a weakness (HP and the power of love is the first example I can think of, and then most of Robin McKinley's work), but then again - it's been a really long time since I reread a lot of children's fantasy lit, so I could just be making this up. (Or conflating fanfic with original fiction, because I feel like that POV is much more prevalent in fic than in original fic, and I don't read a lot of original fantasy fiction because my tastes are so weird.

But, okay, example: One of the reasons that Narnia really works for me is because, on a core level, it's ordinary people doing extraordinary things. It's four almost absurdly ordinary schoolchildren suddenly forced into an extraordinary situation, finding out exactly what they're capable of. It's not four kids finding out they have amazing magical powers or that they're really aliens (with amazing alien powers!) or anything like that; they're still the same people they were before, just in a new, unfamiliar setting where there's suddenly so much more expected of them. Same thing with Jill and Eustace. Sure, it's an amazing world, but they're still -- just people, with all the limitations that includes.

With Harry Potter -- on one level, that sort of fits into the "extraordinary people" category, but actually -- not so much, at least for me. I mean, he's not one of a privileged few, or the only one ever, he's one out of many wizards, and he's still just human. He doesn't have any special powers because he's Harry Potter, who may or may not be the Chosen One; he's just one wizard out of many, but one who has to do absolutely crazy things.

And now we shall get a little more controversial! I think that, when it comes to Star Wars, the PT actually fits into "ordinary people doing extraordinary things" more than the OT does. I mean, the OT has ordinary as hell Luke Skywalker, but he's special, he's the one remaining Jedi! And the PT has not-so-ordinary Anakin Skywalker, who has the most amazing Jedi powers ever, but -- okay, I give up, I think this argument is falling down unless I switch the focus to a non-Skywalker character, like Obi-Wan motherfucking Kenobi. Yes? Yes. Because he is ordinary; he's just a regular guy (with some cool powers, but he's far from the only one with such skills) doing extraordinary things in extraordinary times. (Minor break for Obi-Wan flail. Obi-Wan! OBI-WAN MOTHERFUCKING KENOBI. Okay, I'm done now.)

Wow, it's a good thing I never meant for this post to be coherent, huh?

ETA: Because it probably bears repeating at this point, I was just talking about the title book, not the whole series as a whole.
bedlamsbard: star wars rebels: hera peering around a corner (Default)
Something I have been vaguely considering over the past few weeks is how many fantasy novels have New World foods in them. Not urban fantasy, obviously, but Ye Olde High Fantasy of the Tolkien-esque variety, the kind that involves a lot of knights in armor and tall forests and Western European tropes. I read a lot about food, because I think it's interesting, and I keep thinking about how many New World foods are now associated with European or Asian countries. Ireland and potatoes, Italy and tomatoes, India and, I think (my book is in New Orleans), peppers (or chiles? Something related). And all the kinds of food we take for granted that weren't available before the discovery of the Americas, like corn or turkey or chocolate and a bunch of stuff I'm probably forgetting because I don't know much about it. So I have been wondering how many fantasy novels of that type consider it. Probably not many. I know that there are potatoes in LotR, but I can't think of anything else off the top of my head. Scott Lynch, maybe? He does spend a lot of time talking about food, and I seem to vaguely remember potatoes or tomatoes or something New World. (One assumes that most fantasy authors, at least the ones who do large amounts of research, are researching things like armor and weapons care and the affect of sandstorms on weathered monuments, not foods.)

I feel like potatoes are something that's fairly common to see in fantasy, and cacao in one form or another (usually in hot chocolate form). Also corn? Though I'm not as sure on this one; it's been a while since I've read a lot of high fantasy, and again -- I don't think most writers think about foods this much. I'm just a little curious about how much the globalization of foods (and by extension, plants and animals, either used for food or for other purposes) has sunk into the fantasy genre, which is usually very European Middle Ages-oriented.

Corn. I feel like corn is not as present as I think it is, because I can't think of anywhere it appears -- wait, isn't there a cornfield in the beginning of FotR, at least in the movie? I can't remember about the book. For some reason I think that GRRM has all Old World plants, at least, in A Song of Ice and Fire; I can't remember potatoes or corn or anything of the sort, but again -- it's been a while.
bedlamsbard: star wars rebels: hera peering around a corner (children (alexielnet))
Thoughts on a rewatch of LWW, both in comment and fic form, because I'm special that way. Also, I suddenly realized that when I watch movies, I'm writing snatches of description in my head. It's...very disturbing, actually.

rather than interspersing comments and fic, we shall begin with the comments and go on to the wee tiny fic bits )
bedlamsbard: star wars rebels: hera peering around a corner (the end starts now (karanna1))
Myth is a dramatic narrative of critical events, historical or pseudo-historical, which functions to assist the individual or society in ordering their present experience. Myth imposes meaning on events. History and myth are not necessarily incompatible. The historian may create myth in the very process of writing history. On the other hand, the events which the myth recounts may be pseudo-history. But more than likely, in the case of contemporary myth, the narrative -- though referring to a series of events which did occurr -- selects, organizes, and interprets these events in a distinctive manner.

Liebman, Charles S. "The Myth of Defeat: The Memory of the Yom Kippur War in Israeli Society." Middle Eastern Studies 29.3 (1993): 399-418. Web. 28 Oct. 2009.

(Anyone else kind of bewildered by the new 2009 MLA standards? Yeah, me too. I actually have to use APA for this class, 's just that I know MLA better.)
bedlamsbard: star wars rebels: hera peering around a corner (the end starts now (karanna1))
Also this week we have watched Sharpe's Eagle and Sharpe's Company, starring Sean Bean, which leads my father to remark during the council scene, "He looks like he'd rather be back in the British Army during the Napoleonic Wars. Napoleon might have been tough, but he wasn't pure evil like Sauron! And the French aren't orcs!"

I remember there was a lot of criticism of Orlando Bloom's Legolas (who I really like, by the way) when LotR first came out (and oh, but I have memories of going to see LotR in theatres!), but if you give culture shock -- dealing with humans! and dwarves! and hobbits! probably for the first time in his life, unless you count the time the dwarves got taken prisoner by Thranduil in The Hobbit -- his character portrayal makes a lot more sense. Of course he hangs out with Aragorn a lot; Aragorn was raised by elves, so they're practically of the same species.

It may be the Sharpe thing bleeding over, but I found myself liking Boromir a lot more this time, and I couldn't put my finger on why until the last scene, where Boromir's blowing his horn, and then I knew:

Basically, Boromir is Susan Pevensie.

Or, shall I say, Boromir is Susan redeemed. Both of them are the only two characters to doubt and fall (and one can argue this in LotR, but the situation further on in the trilogy is slightly different), but unlike Susan, Boromir manages to redeem himself in the end. Susan just falls -- diminishes, and goes into the West, and remains Susan Pevensie. To, uh, mix characters in LotR. The rest of them rise to glory; she and Boromir fall.

Also, both of them have horns. There's something here that I can't quite put my finger on yet. *muses* (Perhaps my senior honors thesis can be on similarities in post-War British fantasy literature, hmm?)

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