selenak: (Peggy and Jarvis by Asthenie_VD)
( Jun. 26th, 2015 10:42 am)
RL business makes for haste:

Amusing especially if you know your Elizabethan history:

21 Things only kids who grew up in the 1590s will understand

Agent Carter:

hey good looking, what's cooking (12363 words) by Anonymous
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Agent Carter (TV)
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Peggy Carter & Angie Martinelli
Characters: Peggy Carter, Angie Martinelli, Edwin Jarvis, Anna Jarvis, Jack Thompson, Daniel Sousa
Additional Tags: Female-Centric, Feminist Themes, Period-Typical Sexism, Undercover, Bechdel Test Pass, Espionage, Domestic

Dottie Underwood has been spotted again. Now they just have to find her.

Case fic! With Jarvis in it! And Anna! At last! (Not that I'm against case fics involving Peggy and the SRR team solely, but to really love it, I need my Jarvis(es) included.

The Hunger Games:

Vid: In the 99 (48 words) by cosmic_llin
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: The Hunger Games (Movies)
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Katniss Everdeen & Effie Trinket
Characters: Effie Trinket, Katniss Everdeen
Additional Tags: Video, Fanvids, Social Justice, Inequality, Female Friendship, Epiphanies

Effie, Katniss, the Districts and the Capitol.

Coulld also be called "The Education of Effie Trinket". The movies, both due to Elizabeth Banks' performance and the script giving her more to do and to react to than the novels, made Effie from comic relief/symbol of Capitol glamorization of the Games into someone I really care about. Here in this vid, the contrast between Effie doing the reading of names at the start of the story and Effie reading Katniss' one and a half movies later is especially startling.

Harry Potter

So there will be a prequel theatre play about James and Lily Potter? More about the Lily-Petunia relationship sounds promising, and otoh I just know this will restart dozens of fannish wars....
You know, I'm so with the people who hope that in another decade or so, the books will get the tv series treatment, because the more I think about them, the more dissatisfying the film versions get. There's just sooo much missing, from book!Harry's snarky attitude to some of the most interesting subplots. Now I'm not saying the books were perfect, far from it, or that adaptions into another medium shouldn't/couldn't make different choices. But in the HP case, when they did dare to make changes, the changes in question tended to make things worse, not better.

One of the chief examples: the Slytherins in the battle of Hogwarts. The fact that none of the Slytherin students and of the teachers only one (Horace Slughorn) battles Voldemort & Co. along the other houses in the final battle has come in for (justified, imo, given the "we must unite" theme earlier) criticism. (Sidenote: doesn't mean I think the majority of Slytherin students should have stayed, that would have been unrealistic given what was previously established, but a couple of them? Absolutely.) The movie manages to make a questionable creator choice worse and manages to rob it of some of the good aspects. Compare and contrast:

Film: Voldemort telepathically tells everyone at Hogwarts either to surrender Harry to him, or be killed. Pansy Parkinson suggests to grab Harry and hand him over. Students of the other houses rise to place themselves protectively around Harry. McGonnegall gives the order to escort all the Slytherin students into the dungeons. Cheers from everyone else.

Book: Post-Snape's flight, McGonnegall tells a flustered Slughorn who asks what the hell just happened that Slytherin House will have to make a choice as to where their loyalty lies and that they should either stay and fight, or leave. Slughorn is somewhat panicked at the thought of going up against Voldemort. Voldemort does his telepathic "Surrender Potter, or else" demand thing. Pansy suggets handing over Harry. Non-Slytherin students surround Harry. McGonnegall orders Pansy and the rest of the Slytherin students to be escorted off the Hogwarts premises into Hogsmeade (cheers from the other houses); later adds the younger students of the other houses and anyone of the older ones who doesn't want to join the fight to the general evacuation. All the Slytherin students, the younger kids and some, but not many of the older ones leave. Slughorn supervises their evacuation from Hogwarts, then returns along some of the Hogsmeade inhabitants in time for Voldemort's second wave of attack on the castle. (Slughorn is still, as Harry notices when he passes him, in his emerald pyjamas.) There's no suggestion Slughorn shirks fighting; later Harry spots him battling Voldemort himself at McGonnegall's side. Now, in addition to the fact that escorting ALL the younger students off the premises of an impending brutal battlefield is a really good (and responsible) idea and that they should have kept it in the film version, at least in dialogue reference if they didn't want to show any evacuation scenes, here McGonnegall's "fight with us or leave" may be unkind but in a situation of impending batlte makes strategic sense (she can't afford anyone staying who is more willing to sabotage than fight), and it comes as a choice, not a preempting condemnation. Also, Aberforth Dumbledore, through whose pub all the students were evacuated, furiously asks Harry why they didn't keep some of the kids of the Death Eaters hostage. Harry replies that a) Voldemort wouldn't care (example to go by: Draco Malfoy, the reader might add), and b) not cool. Which I thought was a great case in point for the type of pragmatic compassion Harry has reached at this point of the saga. It also shows that Aberforth, while a good postumous counterpoint to Albus and delivering criticism of same that the reader is supposed to take seriusly, is no saint, either.

Speaking of Dumbledore criticism, the movies make the baffling choice of keeping some hints of his backstory but never bothering to deliver an explanation, which I think is the worst of both worlds. Either cut out the backstory altogether, or keep the entire Dumbledore backstory reveal. But just hinting there was something up with his family and then later via Aberforth that it has to do with their sister, without explaining exactly what, keeping the photos of the youthful Grindlewald and Dumbledore without any of their connection ever mentioned verbally, and cutting anything in the King's Cross conversation between Harry and Dumbledore that relates to Dumbledore's past and his deep regrets, his self loathing, only leaving Dumbledore in his usual wise mentor delivers exposition role...? Bah.

On another note: something that movies and (a lot of) fanfiction do have in common is that they remove not only Harry's tendency towards sarcasm but also Snape's pettiness. Seriously: Snape is still one of the most interesting and compelling characters of the saga to me, but he's the uncontested winner for "most petty" by far. Fanon usually goes with "but he had to maintain his cover!", but I very much doubt Voldemort's belief in Snape's loyalties depended on such gems as Snape making Harry copy detention notes on his father and Sirius in the year after Sirius' death. Fanon!Snape never does that kind of stuff. (Movie Snape didn't, either.)

Speaking of fanon, I've come across several stories in which Slughorn treats young Severus unfairly and ignores him while favouring Lily. Where the hell does this come from? What book canon gives us: Slughorn was into students who were either talented or socially well connected. Lily was one of his favourites (btw, The Half Blood Prince marks a switch from people telling Harry about his father to people, in this case Slughorn, telling him about his mother), but there is absolutely no indication he didn't also spot and encourage young Severus the potion genius. On the contrary. In the present, Slughorn immediately spots how gifted Hermione is and encourages her, never mind she's a Gryffindor. (As opposed to, you know, Severus Snape, whose behaviour towards Hermione varied between ignoring her, telling her she was an insufferable know-it-all in front of the class and insulting her physical appearance - "I can see no difference".) And then we get this scene, where Slughorn raves about Harry's gift with potions at one of his gatherings (due to, unknown to Slughorn, Harry having "The Half Blood Prince"'s text book):

"Instinctive, you know - like his mother! I've only ever taught a few with this kind of ability, I can tell you that, Sybill - why, even Severus -'
And to Harry's horror, Slughorn threw out an arm and seemed to scop Snape out of thin air towards them.
'Stop skulking and come and join us, Severus!' hiccoughed Slughorn happily. 'I was just talking about Harry's exeptional potion-making! Some credit must go to you, of course, you taught him for five years!"
Trapped, with Slughorn's arm around his shoulders, Snape looked down his hooked nose at Harry, his black eyes narrowed. 'Funny, I never had the impression that I managed to teach Potter anything at all.'

Leaving aside this is JKR at her comic best (and also foreshadowing, given the identity of "the Prince"), this certainly doesn't give me the impression Slughorn used to overlook Snape in Snape's student days, on the contrary. I bet he told him "stop skulking and come and join us, Severus" a lot. :) Consequently, I suspect the idea of Slughorn ignoring young Snape hails more from the subconscious or conscious fanon that child and teenage Severus didn't get any encouragement from not-evil people and therefore had no choice but to fall in with the Death Eaters.

Lastly, Horace Slughorn: non-evil Slytherin who never was a killer and doesn't die is generally an interesting creation. He's not without bias; his initial reactions to Muggleborns doing well is still a surprise, even if the second is to take to the gifted person in question, which makes him an hitherto unprecedented in between as far as the HP saga's fantasy racism depiction is concerned. (I.e. pre-Slughorn, you had on the one hand racists using the term "Mudblood", marked for future Voldemort service, and otoh non-racists utterly believing in equality). And of course, you can argue whether networking and collecting gifted and well connected students is what a teacher should do. But he deeply abhors murder (when we finally get the real memory of him and Tom Riddle, that's what shocks him out of Riddle's conversation - "Seven! Isn't it bad enough to think of killing one person? And in any case... bad enough to divide the soul... but to rip it into seven pieces..."), and while he loves his creature comforts and has an instinct to evade rather than confront past mistakes, he comes through and puts his life on the line when everything is at stake. And as opposed to McGonnegall and Snape, both of whom we see favour their own houses when teaching (while Snape does it more blatantly, McGonnegall is anything but free of this behaviour), Slughorn really seems to reward students according to their efforts; we see him repeatedly giving points to Gryffindor for academic brilliance whereas I'm struggling to recall an instant of McGonnegall giving points to Slytherin for the same reason.
Some Pottery tales, if you're in the mood for fanfiction:

Academic Pursuits: a great Snape portrait offering several aspects, and while covering all his life manages, rare in Snape stories that include his relatonship with Lily, to focus on the friendship they shared when young rather than on the later pining (sidenote: I always thought making it a MUTUAL childhood friendship before things went sour was really important in canon).
In a name more Lily and Snape friendship, same author

Respite: in which McGonnagall, just before the final battle at Hogwarts, finds out a few things from Dumbledore's portrait in the headmaster's study. Great Minerva throughout, and a killer punchline.

Censorship: a look at Hermione with her parents between school terms. The way she must have self edited increasingly as her life at Hogwarts grew ever more dangerous. Oh, Hermione.

Circatrix: the three Black sisters, Bellatrix, Andromeda and Narcissa. Beautiful and subtle.

The sleeper awakes: how Percy went from supporting the Ministry to joining the resistance in the year of DH. I especially appreciate there isn't just one Eureka moment for Percy, but a gradual process.
With spoilers for all the books, so skip if you don't want to know. Having had to write Dumbledore meta during my December posting meme made me reread some Harry Potter - not books, I don't have the time, just a few select passages - and reminded me how much I like the (book) series. I don't actively dislike the movies, but I think they get some important things wrong - Ron comes immediately to mind - and by necessity of the format sometimes cut out some of the most interesting parts, definitely the backstory related ones. Prisoner of Azkaban missing the entire Marauder backstory, the "Snape's worst memory" flashback in Order of the Phoenix not including Lily (and thus missing why this particular encounter with the Marauders is Snape's worst memory), the entire Kreacher-related Regulus story, which makes for one of the most moving chapters in Deathly Hallows. (BTW, I love Snape as a character, but Regulus wins in the Death Eater redemption stakes. Turning against your dastardly Evil Overlord because he abused and tortured your house elf is far less likely than turning against him because he's threatening the love of your life. Mind you, Regulus then coming up with a suicidal plan to foil Voldemort all on his own was both brave and stupid, but no more so than some of the stuff other characters pull off.) Some of Dumbledore's backstory survives, but not all, and Harry has barely time to react to it where the book has him work through the realisation that Dumbledore was flawed and not always wise and right, which is a preparation for the final revelation re: Dumbledore's plans. It's something that works better in book format by its very nature - access to thought process of the pov character - but since they split up the final novel into two movies anyway, they could have tried to work more of this in.

An ongoing theme of the novels as Harry & Co. get older is what tv tropes calls "adults are people", by which I don't just mean "flawed", but complex, with histories, mistakes, and in the case of the villains, also virtues. Snape can be a horrible teacher who never emotionally gets over teenagerdom and an incredibly brave man who lived a lonely, tragic life. Remus Lupin, by contrast, is a wonderful teacher and lovely, nice man, but he also never mastered what Neville Longbottom did already in his first year at Hogwarts, standing up to your friends if your conscience disagrees with them. Sirius, like Snape, never grows out of emotional teenagerdom (unlike Snape, he has the Azkaban excuse), and is an incredibly loyal, loving friend. Narcissa Malfoy is a racist and quite likely murderous racist who at no point shows regrets for any of the victims and a dedicated mother risking it all for her son, in the full knowledge of what Voldemort would do to her if he found out and survived. Dumbledore, see December entry.

And here's one (of several) reason why I really like our chief protagonist: Harry may react with confusion and anger to some of this, but also with kindness and compassion. When he returns to Hogwarts in DH and thinks of Tom Riddle, Snape and himself as "the three lost boys" who found their home there, he doesn't yet know the truth about Snape, and acknowledges the commonality nonetheless; when Snape dies, Harry still doesn't know (though he's about to find out) but is there. And in his last conversation with Dumbledore, when he does know both the good and the bad the man has done, there is this short exchange which I love in how it shows Harry's changed perspective and position - when he tells Dumbledore something he, Harry, knows via his mental link with Voldemort, i.e. that Gellert Grindlewald died defying Voldemort when Voldemort was on the lookout for the Elder Wand. (The movies got that one wrong, too.) The is no reason to tell Dumbledore this but one: Dumbledore has just talked about his own guilt re: falling for Grindlewald in the first place. It's Harry providing comfort without declaring it as such. Whereas at the start of the book, when he reads the first of Dumbledore's obituaries, he finds it impossible to imagine Dumbledore as a youngster his own age, with a family and friendships, he's now responding to someone he can see that way: to the old man with a lifetime of regrets and the young man who fell in love both.
Disclaimer: I haven't had the chance to watch the latest OuaT episode yet, so please don't spoil me for it in the comments. Also, it's been years since I read the Potter saga, so any inaccuracy is due to memory failure, and I apologize in advance.

This said, I love this prompt. It's not an obvious comparison, but if you think about it, the two do have their parallels. (And contrasts, obviously.)

Which are spoilery for all of the Harry Potter novels and seasons 1- 4.10 of Once Upon a Time )

December Talking Meme: The Other Days
selenak: (Abigail Brand by Handyhunter)
( Sep. 10th, 2014 09:25 am)
...because I'm in a bit of a hurry:

Generally I think authors should avoid arguing with readers on the internet, but in the case of JKR versus a homophobe, I approve.

And Marvelverse fanfiction:

An untitled vignette about Peggy and Howard and moral ambiguity in the early SHIELD days. Excellent!
It is weird not to have a current show on the air during the entire week. Penny Dreadful, I miss you already. When does Doctor Who start again, August? I've heard there were leaked scripts, and can only hope everyone who does like to get spoiled will discuss them below a cut, because I really don't want to know anything.

Meanwhile, there's always that farcical soap, reality. Seems we've arrested our second American spy today. This one wasn't working for the BND but he did work for the German defense ministry. Meanwhile, the US press has started to notice there might be a problem but assures us Obama didn't know a thing about the first spy. (Presumably even less about the second.) This, strangely enough, is not reassuring. Spare some pity for Hillary Clinton who is currently in Europe promoting her book and had all her interviews both on tv and with the papers circling not said book but about the US spying on minions allies instead. (At least she didn't use the same lame Casablanca quote which everyone, from Obama downwards, used when discussing the previous American-German disaster.)

Deliberately amusing instead of farcical: JKR wrote a Rita Skeeter gossip columm on Harry Potter and friends showing up at the World Quidditch Cup, and it's a hoot. I've always suspect she had great fun spoofing the tabloid style for the Rita articles quoted in the later Potter novels (and of course for the excerpts of Rita's scandalous tell-all Dumbledore biography), and here she's doing it again ("Does Hermione Granger prove that a witch really can have it all? (No – look at her hair.)"), complete with Rita insinuating Harry's forbidden love, not Draco: As their devoted fans and followers will remember, Potter and Krum competed against each other in the controversial Triwizard Tournament, but apparently there are no hard feelings, as they embraced upon meeting (what really happened in that maze? Speculation is unlikely to be quelled by the warmth of their greeting).

Harry/Victor: surely someone has written that already?
Briefly, I flirted with linking one of my meta-as-fanfiction stories here, as they usually happen when I have issues and/or am on a collision course with a sizable majority in fandom re: characters and issues. (Cases in point: Five in One in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Discordance in Merlin fandom.) However, I'd be blatantly lying if I said I write these kind of stories for myself. They're very much an attempt to reach out and communicate what's bothering/captivating me in an entertaining way. However, every now and then I indulge myself with silliness and crack fic that usually unites more than one of my interests, and that definitely was the case with the story below, which happened due to me having some crossover ideas that made me smile. It's so self indulgent that I never uploaded it to a fanfiction archive and just posted it on lj and dw.

...welll, okay, one bit of it is perhaps meant seriously. Because I've seen on lj various attempt to sort the Beatles into Hogwarts. Some people invariably sort John Lennon into Slytherin and Paul McCartney into Gryffindor. Those people are wrong.

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.

The rest of the days )
I was travelling for nine hours today, and thus it was great to have a lengthy tale to read, to wit, this awesome fusion/crossover which manages to put the First Class X-Men into the Harry-Potter-verse, shortly after WWII, which means they are all teenagers. The story captures the atmosphere of the Potter books (and the joy of the early ones) and the HP characters who were at Hogwarts at that point - from Dumbledore to Moaning Myrtle, just recently dead and ghostified -, while doing full justice to the younger version of the mutants (and yes, that includes Erik's concentration camp backstory). (No spoilers for Days of Future Past. ) In conclusion, it's brilliant.

The Getting of Magic (64165 words) by lilacsigil
Chapters: 8/8
Fandom: X-Men: First Class (2011), Harry Potter - J. K. Rowling
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: Graphic Depictions Of Violence
Characters: Charles Xavier, Erik Lehnsherr, Albus Dumbledore, Moira MacTaggert, Raven | Mystique, Sebastian Shaw, Emma Frost, Azazel (X-Men), Angel Salvadore, Filius Flitwick, Arcturus Black, Sean Cassidy, Armando Muñoz, Janos Quested, Alex Summers, Karl Lykos
Additional Tags: Crossovers & Fandom Fusions

It's September 1947 and Hogwarts is finally getting back to normal after the disruptions of the war against Grindelwald and the Muggle World War. Transfiguration teacher Albus Dumbledore has been searching for students who have missed out on starting at Hogwarts, such as Charles Xavier and his sister Raven who have been hiding in the US, and refugee Erik Lehnsherr. Grindelwald's supporters are still strong, though, and it's going to be a turbulent first year for Charles, Raven, Erik and their friends.

selenak: (Puppet Angel - Kathyh)
( May. 14th, 2014 10:12 am)
State of the [personal profile] selenak: was terribly busy yesterday, which included visiting several breathtakingly lovely towns in the Elsass/Alsace (German and French name for the province respectively, I don't know the English name, I'm afraid.) I made some great photos which I'll try to upload as soon as I have wi fi again. Did check on my mail in between, which brought me several nice comments on my Rarewomen story about Harmony, which made me happy, but so far the only people who liked my Remix story, which is one of those ambitous "I poured my heart and soul into this!" things, seem to have been my remixee and the beta reader. Never mind reviews, there aren't even other kudos. (Cue inner "but WHY?" wail of despair every time I check my mail.) This makes me profoundly depressed and in danger of getting whiny, so I shall stop and instead present some recs of other stories:

Breaking Bad:

Five Gifts for Holly White (and one she gave)

A great future fic giving us a plausible Holly growing up, which offers great glimpses at Skyler, Marie, Flynn and Gretchen as well.

Narcissa Through the Looking Glass

a Harry Potter/Game of Thrones crossover which not only pulls that premise of but does so in the backstory era for both sagas. Narcissa Not-yet-Malfoy but Black accidentally ends up with the Tully sisters, Catelyn and Lysa, and the result is eminently entertaining to read.
The other day I came across about a great post about Tiana from Disney's "Princess and the Frog. Among the newer Disney heroines (i.e. last decade or so), Tiana is still my favourite, and that article made me go and rent the dvd to rewatch her movie. Yes, still my favourite. And still so unusual in its genre, if you ask me. You've got herones wanting freedom (either for themselves or for their family/country), you've got heroines who want romance, but Tiana's ambition - to have her own restaurant - doesn't owe anything to either romance or fantasy. Ambition as a trait is so often treated with suspicion in YA fiction, unless it comes in a tomboyish form (i.e. heroine living in vaguely medieval, sexist fantasy world wants to live like a man) , and here it's treated as a sympathetic key motivation of the heroine. I'll always love that spoilers for Disney under the cut. )Incidentally, for all that so much was made about Frozen putting a relationship between sisters in its centre, rewatching The Princess and the Frog reminded me that actually all of the most recent Disney heroines have meaningful relationships with other female characters in their narratives, and as opposed to Frozen, there are more than two important female character around in Tiana's case - her mother, her friend Charlotte and Mama Odie, all of whom are important to her and the story. (Post Princess and Frog, we got Tangled which had a dysfunctional mother/daughter relationship in its centre and Merida with a mother and daughter relationship in need of repair at its center, and the witch who is key to the transformation as a third important female character. Disney products have their problems, but all of the more recent ones are actually doing pretty well in including important relationships between women.)

Avengers and the actors who play them:

- a nice profile of Mark Ruffalo, talking about politics and acting

- RDJ tweeting a photo of the cast and Joss having lunch while shooting Avengers II

Post-Cap 2 fanfiction:

The Favored Sons of History (1570 words) by zeen
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Captain America (Movies)
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: Author Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
Relationships: Alexander Pierce & The Winter Soldier, Nick Fury & Alexander Pierce
Characters: Alexander Pierce, Nick Fury, James "Bucky" Barnes
Additional Tags: Abuse of Authority, Parallels, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Seventies Robert Redford

Alexander Pierce and his justifications.

I'd been hoping someone would tackle Pierce (and his relationship with Nick Fury), so was delighted to see this.

Problem Solving (4544 words) by persiflet
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Marvel Cinematic Universe, Iron Man (Movies), Captain America (Movies)
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Bruce Banner/Pepper Potts/Tony Stark, Pepper Potts & Natasha Romanov
Characters: Pepper Potts, Tony Stark, Natasha Romanov, Maria Hill, James Rhodes, Steve Rogers, Sam Wilson (Marvel)
Additional Tags: Background Relationship, Neuroatypical Characters, Moral Dilemmas, Female Friendship, Panic Attacks

Spoilery stuff happens )

. Pepper Potts deals with the aftermath.

By now there are a lot of "other Avengers and friends reacting to Cap 2 events" stories. This one puts Pepper Potts in the spot light, remembers her backstory with Natasha from Iron Man 2, doesn't forget Rhodey exists - something that used to happen a lot though less so after Iron Man 3; hopefully Sam Wilson won't suffer the same fate -, and assumes an established three way relationship between her, Tony and Bruce which is so my headcanon until we're explicitly told otherwise. It also falls under the rare category of story that doesn't assume everyone is best buddies post Avengers. I've seen a lot of people wondering why there is no Watsonian reason given for Steve and Natasha not contacting Tony during The Winter Soldier, which I didn't have a problem with. I mean, I like the stories written pre Cap 2 in which everyone became friends and moved into the tower as much as the next fan, but: what we actually know is that Tony kept contact with Bruce, not with any of the others, and that Steve kept contact (and work with) Natasha and Nick Fury, not any of the others. In The Winter Soldier, it's noticable that while Steve refers to Howard Stark as "Howard" in dialogue, Tony Stark still is "Stark" (in both a Steve-Fury and a Steve-Natasha conversation), so chances are that MCU Steve at this point still thinks of Tony as "my friend Howard's annoying son who turned out to be a good comrade in arms when we were busy saving earth but who otherwise gets on my nerves", not as a friend in his own right. Moreover, spoilery arguments ensue. ) As for Natasha, Natasha who was SHIELD's mole in Stark Industries during Iron Man 2 has better reason than anyone to be aware of the likelihood Stark Industries may still be infiltrated, which means a phonecall to Tony in the middle of the Cap 2 events would alert far more people than Tony. (In fact, given that Nick Fury in Cap 2 admits to spoilery things ), I'm 100% sure Natasha had a successor as a mole at Stark Industries.) In conclusion: not calling Tony Stark during Cap 2 made Watsonian sense to me. Doesn't mean he's going to be happy about it, which the story also deals with.

Once upon a Time:

Once in Purpose: bugging your friends about stories they need to write so pays off, she says smugly. This one deals with, to put it as unspoilery as possible, Rumplestilskin's mental situation at a certain point in s3.

Harry Potter

The Journey of a Thousand Miles (7069 words) by igrockspock
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Harry Potter - J. K. Rowling
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Luna Lovegood, Xenophilius Lovegood, Severus Snape

After the end of the war, Luna makes two surprising discoveries: her father attempted to give Harry to Lord Voldemort, and Severus Snape is alive.

This is both a beautiful Luna character exploration and a story featuring a surviving Snape which manages to avoid the most popular clichés, i.e. pairing him up with one of his former students and/or ignore he really is a pain to live with.
Because any combination of Catherine Tate and David Tennant is bound to make me smile with happiness which I want to share, and this includes her having to guess his character's name in the Harry Potter films:

The L.A. Times informes me that the last but one Elementary episode was indeed, as I had guessed, inspired by Philipp Seymour Hoffmann; the article is about than that, though, about how Elementary handles the drug recovery theme in general,

But long-term, consistent recovery is rare (...) because TV prefers the high drama of the addicted life. Sobriety, though personally challenging, is a cinematic bore. It's tough to win an Emmy by embodying serenity for an entire season. Even when dealing with recovery, writers go more for the big pivotal moments: The addict passing on sobriety's Splendid Life Lesson, the recovering alcoholic staring down a brimming shot glass.

"Elementary" has its share of pivotal moments, but they are invariably underplayed, woven into crime-solving story lines that allow the larger narrative to emerge with surprising power. It may be the best portrait of recovery on television.

(You can read the rest here.)
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

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

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)

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.


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.


selenak: (Default)


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