Once upon a time, Gillian Bradshaw, writer of entertaining and quite popular historical and fantasy novels, both for adults and children, posted on her website re: her novel Wolf Hunt:I've now decided that the heroine marries the wrong man, but I think it still works. (See here.) As far as I know - and of course I could be mistaken - this did not cause much of a stir anywhere, and certainly didn't cause Bradshaw readers to divide into "SHUT UP!" and "YES!" factions. These last few days, even if you haven't read a word of the Harry Potter novels in your life, the news that - in an interview that hasn't even been published yet - J.K. Rowling (towards Emma Watson, who played Hermione in the HP movies) said something along the lines of having paired up Hermione and Ron out of personal wish fulfillment rather than literary necessity reasons and that they probably would need couple therapy in the future was unavoidable, as were the very loud, virtually speaking, internet reactions. Betrayal! Justification! Just shut up already! How dare she say anything, doesn't she know the author is dead! Airing of grievances about all the other things in the Potter novels reader X doesn't agree with! 'Twas the Potterdämmerung all over again, and I hadn't missed it one bit.

Seriously though, I don't get the outrage. It's not like the woman is issuing orders on how readers should feel about the characters, relationships etc.; she never did. She simply seems to have changed her own mind about some authorial choices she made, and is neither the first nor the last writer to do so. It happens. (See above.) It doesn't change the novels themselves, and whatever you liked or disliked about them remains. Considering that readers can change their minds about books when rereading them with the distance of years, the idea that authors shouldn't be allowed to, or if they do shouldn't be allowed to say in public strikes me as extremely illogical. (You know, given that Arthur Conan Doyle if his letters are anything to go by developed a strong annoyance/dislike towards Sherlock Holmes, the more popular Holmes got, I can't imagine how dysfunctional the original SH fandom would have been if Doyle had been on twitter. Not to mention the constant cries of betrayal and selling out, given that Doyle when a stage adapter once telegraphed to him whether he could let Holmes get married in a stage adaption telegraphed back "Marry him, kill him, I don't care".) In the case of J.K. Rowling, it's also not like she's constantly talking Potter. I might have missed something, but the few interviews I've seen with her in recent years dealt with either her two adult novels, the Leveson enquiry, the importance of retaining the welfare state in the face of the Tories dismantling it. So the idea of a JKR constantly intruding on her readers is... bizarre? At least to me.

On to the show tirelessly advertising the value of the British National Health Service, now.

Wouldn't it be loverly? )
selenak: (Thorin by Meathiel)
( Jan. 20th, 2014 08:13 am)
Nominations for the Rarewomen ficathon are discussed here; I wonder whether one can still nominate Judi Dench's M, or whether the fact her letter, if not herself shows upon the juggernaut of Bond/Q stories means she doesn't qualify as a rare woman anymore?

On to some fanfic recs:

Harry Potter:

One of the most fascinating aspects of the last HP novel was to me the backstory about Dumbledore (and relations); one of the more overlooked characters in the fannish HPverse, as far as an occasional visitor like myself can tell, is Horace Slughorn. (Despite the fact that, Phineas Nigellus the portrait aside, he's the one adult Slytherin character who as far as we know never at any point in his life went Dark Side and who consistently fights against Voldemort.) (I suppose it's the lack of sexiness?) So I was very glad to come across this little gem featuring Slughorn, Albus and Aberforth Dumbledore during events of Half-Blood Prince; you need to know the Deathly Hallows revealed backstory about the Dumbledores to understand what's going on between the brothers, but we're in Slughorn's pov, and it's a lovely character piece about three people - and a Christmas story to boot!

The Messenger


The Hobbit:

If you haven't read the novel and only know the movies, this one contains spoilers for the likely events of the third movie based on the book. It's a terrific Thorin character portrait.

but oh, my heart was flawed (7042 words) by lacking
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: The Hobbit - All Media Types, The Hobbit (Jackson movies)
Rating: Explicit
Warnings: Graphic Depictions Of Violence, Major Character Death
Relationships: Bilbo Baggins/Thorin Oakenshield
Characters: Thorin Oakenshield, Bilbo Baggins, Durin Family - Character, Dís, Frerin, Fíli, Kíli, Balin, Dwalin, Thranduil, Bard of Laketown, Galadriel
Additional Tags: Character Study, Canonical Character Death, Non-Chronological, Gold Sickness
Summary:

Thorin hopes the story of his life will not be told as a tragedy. And as he looks back on it all, watching for glimpses of sky through the swaying flap of his tent, it’s finally become clear to him that there was never another way for this to end.



Breaking Bad:

Jesse between seasons 2 and 3, in recovery. Or not.

12 Steps/2 Planes/1 Day at a Time (3373 words) by Anonymous
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Breaking Bad
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: Major Character Death
Relationships: Jane Margolis/Jesse Pinkman
Characters: Jesse Pinkman, Walter White
Additional Tags: Canon Compliant, Drug Withdrawal, Recovery
Summary:

Jesse spends 45 days coming to terms with who he is and what he's done.

selenak: (Cora by Uponyourshore)
( Jan. 5th, 2014 11:26 am)
Once Upon A Time:

Sorting the OuaT cast HP style: in which the regular Once upon a Time characters get sorted into Hogwarts houses, and some unorthodox choices are made. Very enjoyable meta, and I agree with most of the picks. Spoilers for the first half of season 3, though, i.e. if you haven't seen it yet and wish to remain unspoiled, you should just bookmark this for later.

Time Travel and History:

Everyone kills Hitler on their first go: hysterical spoof of a certain time travel cliché (and on internet etiquette)
Skyfall:

The Road and the Room: an AU which departs from canon in the Westminster scene. Bond doesn't arrive at the inquiry in time, giving Silva the chance to abduct M. What then? It's an M pov throughout, her weary strength and sharpness captured fantastically well, Silva and Bond ring very true, and so does the way she relates to each. If you're easily triggered, there is a warning you should pay attention to, but to put it as unspoilery as possible, I found the potentially triggery thing that happens mid-story in character and handled in a non-gratitous manner, especially given the follow up.

Harry Potter

Undertow: It's hard to remember if you have to fight the current or swim with it to stay alive. Bellatrix, Narcissa and Andromeda during Deathly Hallows. The Black sisters have always intrigued me more than cousin Sirius, and this a poetic yet unsentimental and captivating take on them.
Five characters who should quit their jobs (and why).


1.) Severus Snape (Harry Potter). During the time canon was still open, of course. Let’s face it, Snape was a fascinating character but a really horrible teacher, even if you discount anything to do with Harry. The two most glaring proofs about Snape’s unsuitability as a teacher that come to mind are that he managed to terrorize Neville Longbottom so much that he, not, say, Bellatrix Lestrange who drove Neville’s parents insane, became Neville’s greatest fear, and that, as opposed to a certain fanfic subgenre, he treated an eager student like Hermione with contempt, best summed up in his reaction to the time when her teeth were bespelled into growing to gigantic proportions. Instead of helping her, he said “I can’t see any difference”. Basically, Snape and the students made each other miserable through the years, and yes, that was also Dumbledore’s fault for keeping him in this job instead of, say, giving him the magical equivalent of an university scholarship (Snape was brilliant at potions, no question, and would have thrived at only having to do research instead of teaching). But Snape was an adult, and really: he should have quit his job.

2.) Deb’s psychiatrist whose name I refuse to remember (Dexter): worst. Therapist. Ever. If you watched the horror that was season 6, you know what I mean. There is no excuse. After what she told Deb, she should never be allowed to treat another patient again.

3.) Jesse Pinkman (Breaking Bad). His current job is being a drug manufacturer and dealer, at which he’s grown ever more efficient in the course of the show, so quitting it is in the general interest, but it’s also in Jesse’s. As opposed to the show’s main character, it’s not yet too late for him and he still has something of a conscience, so quitting, while extremely unlikely right now, isn’t impossible. Here’s hoping.

4.) John Sheridan (Babylon 5). Good war commanders do not necessarily make good political leaders in peace time (or what passes for peace time at a galactic saga). Sheridan proved in the fifth season of B5 he was a case in point, even if his wife and his author think otherwise. By quitting, he would not only make room for a more capable president but also minimize his opportunities to play tasteless pranks on reporters with the misfortune of interviewing him, so that would be another plus.

5.) Thomas (Downton Abbey). I say this against my own viewing interest, because in the second season, O’Brien and Thomas became my favourite characters by virtue of not making me think “off with their heads” and “this isn’t romance, buddy, it’s stalking” respectively, and also for gaining layers in regards to s1 as opposed to losing them. Still. Instead of serving as another illustration of What Happens To The Lower Classes If They Forget Their Place And Want More Without Asking The Upper Classes For Support First, Thomas should quit his job and write a biting satiric novel, or become an impresario. He’s got business skills, scheming talent, organization talent, an acid tongue and a surpressed and only sometimes emerging romantic streak. He and Tin Pan Alley in the 1920s are practically made for each other.
5 characters that wouldn't do karaoke (even if you paid them).

I'm assuming we're exempting "do karaoke or die a gruesome death!" situations, since most characters are attached enough to their lives to comply in that case. With this caveat, here are my replies:

1.) Rorschach (Watchmen). Never would he ever. Not even during the happiest days of his partnership with Daniel before he really became Rorschach. Everyone else in this ensemble, including Jon in disaffected god mode, though? They would.

2.) John Cavil (Battlestar Galactica). Absolutely not, especially since it's the kind of thing Ellen adores, with and without her full set of memories. Cavil's twisted feelings about Ellen being what they are, though, he enjoys watching her do it (and the bar where they meet in The Plan just before the attack is in fact a karaoke bar).

3.) Severus Snape (Harry Potter). Unless we're talking young Severus during the holidays before Lily broke up with him. I can see her persuading him to go to a karaoke bar (and of course during the holidays his Slytherin and her Gryffindor pals are far away, and they live in Muggle households). But definitely not after the Mudblood/Worst Day Ever incident, not for the rest of his life.

4.) Daniel Holtz (Angel the Series). When Holtz visits karaoke bars, it's to blow them up, and that's canon. You know, some of the things Connor did in s4 would have made Holtz immensely happy (i.e. anything to do with hurting Angel - that was the whole point of making Connor his instrument of revenge, after all), and some would appall him (if you must kill fellow human beings, Stephen, it's in the service of bringing vampires to justice, not to bring fallen Powers into the world), but nothing would pain him like this:



5.) Spock (Star Trek). That rumour about him singing the Ballad of Bilbo Baggins is clearly illogical slander. His main reason for not doing karaoke is that Spock is actually musical, and while he's reasonably good at playing the harp (canon!), he'd never torture sentient beings by making them listen to his vocals. He's too ethical for that.
selenak: (Dragon by Roxicons)
( Jun. 17th, 2012 04:10 pm)
Harry Potter:

Hoping Machine : a beautiful vid, telling a story of death and love in a visually breathtaking and touching way.

Avengers:

The best primer on how to write (and how not to write) Loki ever . Should be made obligatory reading for anyone intending to write more than two sentences about him.
I meant to do this before going to Italy, but didn't find the time:

5 instances of theories getting Jossed (fanon or common fanfiction tropes being invalidated by new canon), Kripked (fanon or common fanfiction tropes being confirmed by new canon), or some combination of the two.

1.) Jossed: Snape Manor (Harry Potter). Which I use as a shorthand for the kind of background fanon gifted Severus Snape with pre-Half Blood Prince. Actually, the Jossing already started, if you like, with Order of the Phoenix, because the kind of House of Usher background Sirius Black has there - Gothic rotting mansion, crazy mother, near crazy servant, sibling with mysterious fate - is exactly the type of thing Snape had been given in fanfic a lot, and after this book, it was unlikely Snape would have the exact same thing in canon. Still, Snape Manor, home of Severus, persisted in showing up (not least so, say, Hermione/Harry/Draco/Whichever-student-the-author-ships-with-Snape in War-with-Voldemort fics could find refuge in it)... until it became canon that good old Severus' father had been a Muggle, that there was no manor, and he lived instead in an entirely normal looking house in an industrial northern town. I still get a kick out of this, I must admit.

2.) Jossed: Angelus as Spike's sire/Darla's status in Angelus' life. (BTVS and Angel.) Literally Jossed, what with both being Joss Whedon shows. I once wrote an entire post about why I loved the Fanged Four dynamics as established by AtS and the later BTVS seasons much more than the fanon that had been written before, so check it out. Hooray for vampire matriarchs!

3.) Kripked: Time Lords can change gender and skin colour when regenerating (Doctor Who and spin-offs). Our former Welsh overlord confirmed the later in the Sarah Jane Adventures episode where Eleven shows up and gets quizzed by Clyde on the subject, and our current Scottish overlord allowed Neil Gaiman to confirm the former in my favourite s6 of New Who episode, The Doctor's Wife, when Eleven reminisces about the Corsair.

4.) Jossed: Avon may display a lot of cynicism, but he wouldn't really save his life at the expense of his friends. (Blake's 7.) Of course I came to the show many years later, but fanzines were still sold, and thus I read a great many stories, all written pre-Orbit, in which Avon is in an emergency situation with Vila or Blake and could save his life at their expense, but comes through for them. Well, nothing happened in canon to jettison the Blake assumption, but alas, poor Vila. I must admit my perverse fondness for Orbit results not a little from an overdose of cynics-with-a-heart-of-gold/noble-jerk type of characters who while being interestingly ambiguous in canon were promptly whitewashed into never ever displaying a negative trait in fanon, being meanly judged and misunderstood and what not, etc. And Orbit certainly is a slap in the face in that regard. (Mind you, I've still read a lot of Orbit denial/apology fic in which Avon absolutely knew where Vila was hiding and didn't really mean to space him, but that's fandom for you.)

5.) Kripked/Jossed: Morgana is Uther's daughter and Arthur's half-sister. (Merlin). On a Doylist level, it's somewhat obvious that in the earliest episodes the show's makers hadn't yet intended to have Morgana as Arthur's sister, which she is in most versions of the myth, but in the later s1 episodes, we've arrived at a siblingesque dynamic between Arthur and Morgana anyway, and while there was Morgana/Uther shipping due to their chemistry, as of s2 there was also speculation as to whether or not there was a biological connection. [personal profile] zahrawithaz, for example, argued repeatedly for Morgana as Uther's biological daughter, while I was holding out for Morgause as Ygraine's secret love child with Gorlois. S3 then settled the bastardy question, which retrospectively brings back a bit of an incestious slant on very early s1 where originally none had been intended, but which is, err, sort of traditional. Anyway. I'm not sure whether to call it Kripked or Jossed, but whatever it was, it happened and works for me.
REMIX!

I'll be on a train in a few hours, as a happy reader in many a fandom. This year, the story of mine that got remixed was one of my newer ones, Here Be Dragons, which is a Merlin tale in which I went a bit meta with the story telling and myth building and messed up legacies. Also, it's my Kilgarrah the Great Dragon character exploration. It was written before s4 was broadcast, and so naturally one of the things I fretted about before Aithusa was broadcast was getting jossed. (And very relieved was I when it didn't happen. I'm fond of my messed up fanon for dragon-human relations.)

The remix story, which is called Waking Up Stories (A Dancemix with Dragons), not only manages to use Aithusa (and other things that happened in s4) but also tackles the storytelling theme with gusto, managing nifty parallels between Morgana (who is the pov character of the remix story) and Uther on the one hand, and Kilgarrah and Aithusa on the other. There are great guest appearances by Hunith and Morgause, and the Morgana and Aithusa interaction is delightful. I have my suspicions about the author (the Morgana centricity and witty dialogue make me think of [personal profile] netgirl_y2k; if it's someone else, then, Anonymous, I mean it as a compliment!). Anyway, reading this was a great way to start the remix 2012 archive expedition.


Now, here are some recs in other fandoms:


X-Men Movieverse:

Terminal Ballistics (The .45 Remix): Erik Lehnsherr wins forever at heartbreakingly dysfunctionally messed up. Oh, Erik.


Star Trek: The Next Generation:

Poker Face (She Can Read You Remix) : there are few Deanna Troi character explorations out there, and even less that focus on what it must be like being an empath (and among fellow Betazoids, telepath) in a society where everyone would automatically assume you to use that ability to your advantage. Very well done.

Pirates of the Carribean:


A broken silence, mended (The Tide Recalls Remix): in which a ghostly James Norrington pays visits to Elizabeth Swann and ends up as the one being haunted. I love the Norrington and Elizabeth interaction in this, and the graceful melancholia, pierced with sharp insights, of the whole piece.

Doctor Who:

Gearbox (The Won't Miss A Piece Remix): so just how does the TARDIS work? Multi-era, featuring various regenerations of the Doctor, and multiple companions, and drawing delightful character portraits of all.

Harry Potter:


A Quiet Interlude (The Standing on a Precipice Remix) : in which Lily Potter and Sirius Black have a chat during the last year of her life. I love it when authors tackle Lily and make her come to life as a complicated, three dimensional being. I also appreciate takes on Sirius that aren't a) about his immortal love for Remus or b) about his immortal loathing/secretly hidden lust (take your choice depending on shipperdom) of Severus Snape, and this story delivers on that count, too. Highly Reccomended.
selenak: (Mystique by Supergabbie)
( Feb. 11th, 2012 05:44 pm)
While we're all freezing in my part of the world, have some links.

Harry Potter:

Fey : in which the author pulls off believable Narcissa Malfoy/Luna Lovegood (or Narcissa & Luna with overtones, depending on your definition of the /), set during Deathly Hallows. I am in awe, and also, Luna's reactions to Narcissa throughout are just awesome. And so very Luna.

X-Men:

Narcissus: I'll never get tired of well written "Raven becoming Mystique" stories. Especially those who make good use of the ensemble, too.


And, err, "is this real life? is this fantasy?":

The Israeli Defense Forces vid Angel. No, seriously. I am somewhat at a loss of words.
selenak: (Ray and Shaz by Kathyh)
( Dec. 20th, 2011 03:54 pm)
So Dexter's sixth season has ended, and for me, the show.

A few spoilery observations )

This was once a very good show, with a great character ensemble, and I'll always remember that show with fondness. I won't continue watching it's pale successor anymore. Ah well, it'll free up some icon space.

On the brighter side of things, the beta of my Yuletide story came back, and I posted it, discovering on the occasion there were several stories in the fandom in question posted already for Yuletide (and of course still disguised); this makes me happy and even more looking forward to the reveal. My own story I think will be very easy to guess if you're familiar with my stuff, but then, I thought this last year, and [personal profile] bimo was nice enough to reccomend last year's effort to me before the reveal, which tickled me to no end. :)

Speaking of stories, here's a good one from Harry Potter fandom: For the Greater Good, which fleshes out Dumbledore's friend Elphias Dodge from Deathly Hallows and is a great example of a writer pulling off the trick of getting across things to the reader which the limited pov character does not realise himself. A great portrayal of Dumbledore developing from flashback into Potter era Albus, too.

Also something guaranteed to cheer me up after my Dexter blues: ye olde English musicians from the 60s. Seems Paul McCartney has taken to hanging out more and more with members of The Other Band. Here's Ronnie Wood (he of the Rolling Stones, young padawans) joining him for a rendition of Get Back at a concert two weeks ago:



Sidenote: ever since Keith Richards wrote in his memoirs that the northern guitarists hold their guitars closer and higher than he and his Southern pals, I can't get that out of my head and checked in the vid above, and it's definitely true for Ronnie W. and Paul. Who has also been busy indulging his penchant for classics from the 30s and 40s and will release an album with standards from Arlen, Loesser, Berlin etc. (first I heard of it was from Elvis Costello who mentioned it in an interview, as his wife, Diane Krall, is also on it) in February, plus two new compositions of his own. One of which has just hit the net. It's a lovely melancholy ballad called My Valentine. A bit jazzy, and what Peter Carlin would call an autumnal love song. With Eric Clapton on guitar.



Most annoying comment spotted on the net so far: "a song for grandfathers". You know, first of all, he is a grandfather (turning 70 next year and with six grandchildren so far), and secondly, one of the many reasons why I appreciate the man is that he liked these kind of songs already when he was a teenager, along with rock'n roll. Being a both/and rather than an either/or person myself - meaning I like rock, I like melodious crooning, and I never understood why this should be mutually exclusive anymore than liking, say, DS9 and Babylon 5, TNG and DS9, Spike and Angel, the Third and the Seventh Doctor... you get the picture. So boo to partisans; I'll sit back and enjoy the music.

ETA: I hasten to add there is nothing wrong with simply disliking certain styles of music.(For example, I'm not into techno.) It was the "grandfather" bit I found annoying, as if this was either news or something wrong for a 69 years old to enjoy singing and composing. (Or a 20 years old, for that matter.)
5 Scariest Villians (as opposed to Favorite Villians)

1.) Arthur (John Lithgow) aka Trinity from Dexter, season 4. Visceral performance, and arguably the scariest of Dexter's seasonal opponents. Spoilery reasons why ensue. )

2.) The Borg in their first three Star Trek: TNG appearances. Unfortunately, this is something later watchers won't be able to appreciate, not only because of the later overexposure of the Borg on both Voyager and TNG but also because the overall tv viewing context today is too different. But in Q Who and Best of Both Worlds I + II, the Borg scared the hell out of me because a villain like this hadn't been done on Star Trek before. The idea of assimilation, losing free will and personality and (as demonstrated via Picard) the idea that somewhere in the back of your mind your old self is still there and powerless to prevent it was incredibly shudderworthy to me, as were the original Borg's uninterestedness in the usual villain trappings like posturing or declarations, or gloating. They just came, assimilated and went. (And as mentioned multiple times before, the fact this happened to the main character who afterwards had to deal with it instead of being cured by the reset button was completely new for Star Trek, if par the course now, heightening the effectiveness of the Borg as scary villains even more.)

3.) Dolores Umbridge in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Never mind Lord Voldemort, standard evil overlord that he was. Umbridge the teacher in pink scared the hell out of me during Harry's first detention with her, when he realised what writing "I must not tell lies" over and over again really means. There are other reasons why Umbridge is such an effective villain - until this point in the saga, Hogwarts is still mostly fairytale refuge land for Harry (never mind the annual scares), and she strips it bit for bit of any joyful elements and turns it into a bureaucratic fascist nightmare - but this scene, which despite the magical element in it is as real a depiction of child abuse as you're likely to find, both in Umbridge's demeanour and Harry's reaction, is what makes me shudder to this day when I think of it.

4.) The Gentlemen from the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode Hush. I know I nominate them every time such a question is asked, but it's still true: they really are the most effective fairy tale monsters on tv. (And wisely Joss never tried to reprise them.) It's not the skeletal look, it's the spoilery thing they do ) that makes all the difference.

5.) The Alien in Alien. Again, a classic which probably won't work on today's viewers, especially if they've watched one of the later Alien movies first. I think it was Stephen King who once observed that if the original Star Wars was, despite the sci fi exterior, a fairy tale, the original Alien was, again, despite the sci fi exterior, a horror movie. Taking its time, artfully directed by Ridley Scott, and to me far more emotionally real than Cameron's more popular follow up because the grumpy crew of the Nostromo doesn't speak in stylized movie banter as the Marines in Aliens do, they're not soldiers, you know people like them and they're in no way prepared to handle what happens to them. And the Alien, in its first appearance and subsequently celebrated H.R. Giger design, in three stages, is a Freudian nightmare that combines just the right amount of actual exposure with letting the audience imagination do the work. (As opposed to the sequels where you see the beasties all the time.) It's a force of nature that can't be reasoned with and treats humans as breeding ground if it doesn't treat them as dinner, and it really looks, well, utterly alien, which was news in the 70s when aliens still very much looked like puppets and/or men in suits. It gave me nightmares for months.
Title: Magical Mystery Tours

Disclaimer: Harry Potter owned by J.K. Rowling, Buffy the Vampire Slayer owned by Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemies, X-Men owned by Marvel. Beatles owned by themselves, and certainly unrelated to their fictional counterparts here.

Summary: Three fictional universes the Beatles didn't end up in, or: how they fared at Hogwarts, who the Vampire Slayer of the 60s and 70s and her Watcher were and why Timothy Leary was so sure the Beatles were mutants.

Rating: PG 13 solely for swearing, discussed drug use and discussed adultery.

Characters: Albus Dumbledore, Charles Xavier, Erik Lehnsherr, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr, Maureen Starkey, Chris O'Dell and Brian Epstein.

Spoilers: Some for the Harry Potter books (and Dumbledore's backstory), basic ones for X-Men: First Class (the movie, not the comic), and only premise ones for Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Author's note: Started out as a meme reply and got away from me. Considering the sheer silliness and gen-ness of the premise, I think even utter objecters to RPF are safe to read it.

Harry Potter )


Buffy the Vampire Slayer )

X-Men: First Class )
5 sequels (or continuations) you thought were better than the original.

I'm afraid the first two aren't very original, but they still are inevitable choices for me.

1.) Star Trek: Wrath of Khan. There is a reason that this film became the golden standard against which any subsequent ST film was measured, and much as I often champion the fannish underdog, I just can't in the case of Star Trek: The Slow Motion Picture.

2.) The Empire Strikes Back. Now the is a brand of SW fan who loves only this one and bashes all the others. Don't count me among them. I happen to be fond of the prequels, love Return of the Jedi and am okay with A New Hope, though it alone would have never made me a fan. All this being said: The Empire Strikes Back really improved on the first one to no end - no Nuremberg Rally for rebels, the Leigh Bracket dialogue for Leia and Han is screwball comedy fun, Lando Calrissian is arguably the most layered character in the OT (what? he sells our heroes out for understandable reasons which aren't all about himself but about what he's in charge with and makes up for that without being prompted), and the part that got me personally hooked on the galaxy far, far away: Darth Vader and Anakin Skywalker turn out to be one and the same, and suddenly Luke's goals can't be as simple as blowing up Death Stars and defeating bad guys in a duel anymore. So often copied and still the best idea Lucas had for SW.

3.) Harry Potter series. Now you can argue about which of the seven books is the best one, but it definitely isn't HP and The Philospher's Stone. I know most people root for Prisoner of Azkaban (because of Sirius and Remus, I guess), but my personal choice is Order of the Phoenix. (Because it was about time Harry showed something like post traumatic stress syndrom, because it introduced the wonderful Luna, because Dolores Umbridge is the most realistic and chillingly loathsome villain JKR ever wrote, because Harry's stint in Snape's memories turns what he and the readers thought they knew about the Marauders upside down and introduces Lily as something other than a corpse, because "I must not tell lies" and the way Harry reacts to this still guts me when I reread it.) Either way, though: the sequel(s) is/are better.

4.Sharon Penman: The Devil's Brood. I love When Christ and his Saints Slept (Maude and Stephen plus young Henry and young Eleanor of Aquitaine), but there is no denying that the middle volume of her trilogy, Of Time and Change, is anything but her best. Not least because it is a middle story, without a beginning and a climactic ending but also neither the author nor yours truly can decide on their take on Thomas Becket, who inevitably occupies a prominent position in the narrative, and the Henry/Rosamund relationship isn't that interesting, either. But The Devil's Brood (old Eleanor and Henry, and their sons - i.e. we're in Lion in Winter territory) is fantastic again, managing to make all of the younger Plantagenets understandable and three dimensional instead of just favouring one or treating Henry as King Lear with ungrateful kids, and as for Eleanor and Henry, well, they're superbly rendered.

5. The Beatles: Revolver. You can argue about favourite albums and the like because everything is subjective etc., but as fine as Rubber Soul already was, there's no denying Revolver was what sealed their critical reputation (and also showed they had left the moptop times far behind) for good. Also? Eleanor Rigby and Tomorrow Never Knows on the same album showcasing the range of what pop music can be. Your argument is invalid.
Since lj is still down, thus preventing a planned lengthy reply in three parts to an unfortunate soul, have some links instead:

For friends of Brian Bendis' Alias and its heroine Jessica Jones:

Good news about the planned Jessica Jones tv series, called "aka Jessica Jones" since Alias is, err, taken at ABC. :) Carol Danvers and Luke Cage will both be in the show, which is a great thing to know because Jessica's relationships with both of them are pretty important to her characterisation.

If the last Harry Potter film has left you with a craving for fanfic, and you're in the mood for (in character!) humour instead of angst:

The Wendell that Wasn't: absolutely hysterical story featuring Harry, Snape's ghost and Ginny. If you don't know the story already, it'll make you see the naming of the Potter offsprings in an entirely new light, she says evilly.

X-Men: Jonathan is a short, heartbreaking Erik pov which uses the story of Jonathan, David and Michal wonderfully well.
In which the film version of the saga comes to an end. In bullet points:

No, Harry, I don't think it's odd at all )
13 – Do you prefer canon or fanon when you write? Has writing fanfic for a fandom changed the way you see some or even all of the original source material?

As to the former, by and large, canon. Even if it's an open canon, we're talking about backstory and I happen to like the one I wrote/read about better than the one the show eventually gives us, which was the case in Torchwood with Owen's backstory and his first meeting(s) with Jack. Still, if I wrote Owen again I'd use the backstory as given in the episode Fragments; I wouldn't be emotionally capable of using the one I made up before Fragments was broadcast. When it gets to the point where what canon tells me makes no sense whatsoever for me anymore I quit the fandom (alas, Heroes).

(Sidenote: as a reader, especially in fandoms I haven't written nor intend to write in myself, like Harry Potter, I find it sometimes interesting and/or amusing to be able to follow specific clashes of fanon and canon and being able to date stories from that. For example, pre-Half Blood Prince any number of stories featuring Snape out of Hogwarts gift him with "Snape Manor" (huge, naturally) and a Gothic House of Usher type of background, so the revelation he lives in a small city house in a northern industrial area instead entirely jossed that. BTW, this is one instance where I vastly prefer canon because I think it's far more interesting than Usher!Snape's dwellings. And then there are all those Jossverse stories (including a media tie-in) dealing with Spike's backstory written before and after Fool for Love was broadcast; not just relating to the Sire question but also in how Spike was like as a mortal. Not to mention that my girl Darla was peripheral or non-mentioned in most Angel-related backstories written before Angel the show started, due to her brief appearances on BTVS which didn't yet have the in depth characterisation she was to get in the spin-off, and that massively changed when canon established she and Angel(us) were hardly apart from the time she made him till the curse 150 years later.)

There are, of course exceptions to every personal rule. I am quite fond of what fanon [personal profile] andraste, myself and a few others created for the Centauri and Narn in Babylon 5, and kept using it in my stories. Too late now for JMS to tell us Centauri male tentacles aren't called brachiarte. :) Or about how the G'Kar/Mariel affair went, whether or not Londo speaks some of the Narn language and how he learned it, or what became of the four female Centauri telepaths.

As to the second part of the question: well, yes, to a point. Participating in a number of ficathons meant that I wrote the human characters of B5 as focus of stories which I had never done before (what with the aliens being more interesting to me, other than Bester), and that in tern enhanced my fondness and interest for these characters upon rewatching. Conversely, sometimes what was only a mild annoyance pre-fanfic writing can be an infuriating red emotional button when you rewatch and have to engage with that part of canon specifically for a story; certainly this happened to me in DS9, when I rewatched some Ezri-centric episodes in order to get a grip on her voice in preparation for writing Let It Be, and the way Ezri's mother was dealt with in Prodigal Daughter angered me so much that I wrote a rant about it. (Otoh writing Cold Heaven and Second Coming did neither appease nor inflame my Prophet dislike and fury about Sarah and what was done to her; it was there before, during and after writing in equal proportion.



The rest of the questions )
Five fictional beverages you wish you could try.

1.) Tarkelian Tea. Julian Bashir likes it, and so does Enabran Tain. Since the other thing they share is Garak, it makes me conclude Tarkelian Tea must be tasty indeed.

2.) Magic potion from Gaul brewed by Miraculix. Not that I have the urge to beat up Romans, but it could come in handy at times. Especially when one is exhausted and/or travelling long distances.

3.) Shape-changing potion from Harry Potter. It sounds as if it tastes really awful, but the idea of being someone else for a few hours intrigues me. Also there is the guarantee it would wear off, which means I'm not being stuck with another shape for life.

4.) Raktajino. Never mind Romulan ale, DS9 proves that the drink that conquered the galaxy is Klingon coffee. I'm curious. Also it comes in handy as a clue when one has to save the timeline, Starship captains and even tribbles.

5.) Elixir of life. Who wants to live forever? Frankly, I wouldn't be adverse to the idea. Yes, many a story has told me it's a horrible fate and I would suffer immensly, seeing everyone I love die and times change around me, but you know, as someone fascinated by history, I'm also intrigued by the prospect of what I could yet see. I'm optimistic enough to believe I would find people to make connections with as I would go on living. Plus I really, really don't like the idea of dying. At all.
selenak: (Hank by Stacyx)
( Apr. 28th, 2011 05:20 pm)
Below the cut are the new international trailers for X-Men: First Class and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows II. There are some new scenes in the X-Men one and the plot line becomes clear. Oh Charles. Oh Erik. Oh Mystique. Oh HANK. *wants film NOW*

What I think I spied in the HP one: young Snape and Lily, so we're going to get those scenes (phew; given the way the flashbacks have suffered throughout the film versions, we couldn't be 100% sure), Bellatrix vs Molly (yay!), Remus and Tonks (wah!), a worried Narcissa (that was one of my favourite scenes in the book, and they better do it justice). Also I thought once again that Ralph Fiennes manages to make Voldemort, who on the page (when not Tom Riddle) is one of the duller evil overlords to grace a fantasy saga, genuinenly menacing.

You and me, Tom... )
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