selenak: (Borgias by Andrivete)
( Dec. 31st, 2013 08:37 am)
One last bunch of Yuletide recs while we're all still anoymous, and also: happy new year to everyone! May 2014 treat you well.

recs for The Borgias, Historical RPF, Lord of the Flies, Puss-in-Boots, Here Be Dragons, The Third Man and The Wire )
Twitter yesterday reminded me of this, because the strand of Lucrezia's hair which had been kept with her correspondence with Cardinal di Bembo and which Byron pinched when he saw it in Milan in 1816 has been found. How do we know Byron made off with the hair and was in general Lucrezia-fannish? Because he wrote all about to his sister Augusta. Which has the additional subtext that Byron and Augusta were the most famous incestous siblings of their age. (More about this here, if you don't know the story.)

So here's Byron being a hair-stealing Borgia fanboy (Lucrezia signing with a + was an odd coincidence for him because he and Augusta used that sign in their letters to each other):

My dearest Augusta
I have been at Churches, Theatres, libraries, and picture galleries. The Cathedral is noble, the theatre grand, the library excellent, and the galleries I know nothing about—except as far as liking one picture out of a thousand. What has delighted me most is a manuscript collection (preserved in the Ambrosian library), of original love-letters and verses of Lucretia de Borgia & Cardinal Bembo; and a lock of her hair—so long—and fair & beautiful—and the letters so pretty & so loving that it makes one wretched not to have been born sooner to have at least seen her. And pray what do you think is one of her signatures?—why this ✣ a Cross—which she says “is to stand for her name &c.” Is not this amusing? I suppose you know that she was a famous beauty, & famous for the use she made of it; & that she was the love of this same Cardinal Bembo (besides a story about her papa Pope Alexander & her brother Caesar Borgia—which some people don’t believe—& others do), and that after all she ended with being Duchess of Ferrara, and an excellent mother & wife also; so good as to be quite an example. All this may or may not be, but the hair & the letters are so beautiful that I have done nothing but pore over them, & have made the librarian promise me a copy of some of them; and I mean to get some of the hair if I can. The verses are Spanish—the letters Italian—some signed—others with a cross—but all in her own hand-writing.

I am so hurried, & so sleepy, but so anxious to send you even a few lines my dearest Augusta, that you will forgive me troubling you so often; and I shall write again soon; but I have sent you so much lately, that you will have too many perhaps. A thousand, loves to you from me—which is very generous for I only ask one in return

Ever dearest thine

And not mentioning Lucrezia by name, but still in a mind to make odd clerical comparisons which make me wonder whether Neil Jordan read that letter because there is a bit of dialogue in episode 1.03 of The Borgias which resembles this, there is this letter ("that very helpless gentleman your Cousin" refers to Augusta's husband, George Leigh, who was indeed her - and Byron's - first cousin and also a hopeless gambler; it was Augusta who kept the family afloat):

I still hope to be able to see you next Spring, perhaps you & one or two of the children could be spared some time next year for a little tour here or in France with me of a month or two. I think I could make it pleasing to you, & it should be no expense to L. or to yourself. Pray think of this hint. You have no idea how very beautiful great part of this country is—and women and children traverse it with ease and expedition. I would return from any distance at any time to see you, and come to England for you; and when you consider the chances against our—but I won’t relapse into the dismals and anticipate long absences——

The great obstacle would be that you are so admirably yoked—and necessary as a housekeeper—and a letter writer—& a place-hunter to that very helpless gentleman your Cousin, that I suppose the usual self-love of an elderly person would interfere between you & any scheme of recreation or relaxation, for however short a period.

What a fool was I to marry—and you not very wise—my dear—we might have lived so single and so happy—as old maids and bachelors; I shall never find any one like you—nor you (vain as it may seem) like me. We are just formed to pass our lives together, and therefore—we—at least—I—am by a crowd of circumstances removed from the only being who could ever have loved me, or whom I can unmixedly feel attached to.

Had you been a Nun—and I a Monk—that we might have talked through a grate instead of across the sea—no matter—my voice and my heart are

ever thine—
Aka the unplanned series finale. Which I have extremely mixed feelings about.

Most of which, I freely admit, have to do with my own biases )
selenak: (Default)
( Jun. 8th, 2013 11:38 am)

(click on the picture)

I'm awfully busy right now, and had originally only meant to read everyone else's meta, but then I saw a prompt asking for a comparison between Rodrigo Borgia and Tywin Lannister, and, well:

A comparison between Tywin Lannister and Rodrigo Borgia

Back to pacify Darth Real Life!
So, I may, um, have gotten to watch this episode a tad early. Because I was worried. But zomg so worth it. I cannot wait for a week until I write my review, I must do it now. Aka: the episode in which the key to the season turns out that clearly Neil Jordan saw Jeremy Irons as Henry IV. in The Hollow Crown and during a certain scene exclaimed "I want him to do that on MY show!"

Makes one wish Shakespeare had included the second Mrs. Bolingbroke in the Henriad because Vannozza )
selenak: (Borgias by Andrivete)
( Jun. 4th, 2013 08:44 am)
In which Neil Jordan takes up the writing pen again, which means we get s1 call backs. Also a time jump.

The year of the Jubilee )
In which my historical knowledge proves a bit distracting for the whole Naples storyline, but never mind, I determinedly squashed it in favour of enjoying watching Lucrezia do politics. Also, Micheletto's love life goes as Micheletto's love life goes.

A chessboard has no Pope )
Part of the Over 40 ficathon. I filled my prompt, saw the story was immediately visible, so it's apparantly not date-hidden, and thus, without further ado, more Borgias fanfiction by yours truly:

The tongue of men and angels (2573 words) by Selena
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: The Borgias
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Rodrigo Borgia/Vannozza dei Cattanei, Rodrigo Borgia & Cesare Borgia, Rodrigo Borgia & Juan Borgia, Rodrigo Borgia & Lucrezia Borgia
Characters: Rodrigo Borgia, Cesare Borgia, Vannozza dei Cattanei, Lucrezia Borgia, Giuliano della Rovere, Girolamo Savonarola

Family, God and Death: Rodrigo struggles through past, present and future.

Incidentally, I really regretted that there was no Rodrigo/God (unrequited?) tag for this one, because it's certainly a key relationship of the tale as well.
selenak: (Borgias by Andrivete)
( May. 21st, 2013 10:09 am)
In which Guy Burt, who wrote every episode so far this season, manages to tick me off with a) a big continuity mistake and b) one of the more annoying linguistic anachronisms re: a certain Renaissance figure in popular fiction.

Also bee keeping as a hobby spreads across the ages )
selenak: (Rodrigo Borgia by Twinstrike)
( May. 14th, 2013 05:25 pm)
Trying not to get annoyed about some first world privilege problem I have right now, there is nothing better destracting than the show about lots of privileged people doublecrossing each other in the Renaissance.

You said black )
In which the show manages to find an explanation for a notorious historical orgy that never occured to me, and also, consequences.

But guess what I was genuinenly happy about? )
selenak: (Borgias by Andrivete)
( May. 5th, 2013 09:24 pm)
The gifts have been revealed, with author identity from the get go. Rec posts to follow in the days ahead, but for now, just what I wrote, and what I got. I was matched in The Borgias, and my prompt asked for Sancia. Who shows up only in a few season 1 episodes and has not many scenes in them, so she was a rare woman indeed. But I enjoyed fleshing her out wiht a bit of history and speculation, and besides, outsider takes on the ensemble are always fun to write. And thus, I wrote my first Borgias fanfiction:

More composition and fierce quality (6108 words) by Selena
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: The Borgias
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Sancia & Vannozza, Sancia & Rodrigo Borgia, Sancia/Juan Borgia, Sancia & Alfonso, Sancia & Lucrezia Borgia, Rodrigo Borgia/Vannozza dei Cattanei, Sancia & Ferrante of Naples, Sancia/Gioffre Borgia
Characters: Sancia (Borgias), Rodrigo Borgia, Vannozza dei Cattanei, Juan Borgia, Lucrezia Borgia, Alfonso (Borgias), Alfonso of Aragon, Cesare Borgia, Gioffre Borgia

Sancia and the art of survival among the Borgias.

One of my requests had been for Margaret of York, for reasons touched upon in a post I wrote a year ago and because Margaret the survivor always intrigued me, so I was delighted I got a tale about her from Planatagenet expert [personal profile] lareinenoire:

Queen of Swords (5260 words) by La Reine Noire
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: 15th Century CE RPF
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: Major Character Death
Characters: Margaret of York, Richard III of England, Edward IV of England, Mary of Burgundy, Cecily Neville Duchess of York
Additional Tags: Off-screen Character Death, Court Factionalism, Uncivil War, Epic Yorkist Fail

For the duchess of Burgundy, there are no easy decisions.

selenak: (Borgias by Andrivete)
( Apr. 30th, 2013 09:01 am)
First of all, a general rant which doesn't just apply to The Borgias, or rather, the fandom of same. In the last month or so, it has become virtually impossible to be online and not get spoiled. I hate being spoiled, I really do, and I try to avoid it as best I can. I still could not help getting spoiled for something that happens in this episode, the third, before even the first episode of this season was broadcast because people everywhere forgot such a thing as lj cuts existed. The same applies to some Doctor Who stuff, though I backed away hastily enough upon realising I was reading an uncut review/rant, and possibly the next Star Trek film, though I really hope not. Then there was a casting spoiler for Elementary. Now when it comes to casting, I usually don't see "such and such has been cast for show X" as a spoiler per se, and I've done posts like that myself - except, you know, when spoilery things apply ) Some people were thoughtful enough to hide the casting spoiler beneath a cut. Others weren't. I minded.

Iron Man III will be released in Germany tomorrow. As of now, this moment, I'm still unspoiled. I would really like to make it through the last 24 hours in that state, but I'm not counting on it. It's as if the collective bar of consideration towards people who DO NOT WANT TO BE SPOILED has been lowered to a state of near non existence recently, and I'm probably either preaching to the choir or talking in vain posting this on my journal, but do you mind not doing that? Because I mind. I really do.

Now, on to episode 3 of season 3 )
In which everyone is in a crisis. Err, more so than usual.

Of curses and blessings )
selenak: (Rodrigo Borgia by Twinstrike)
( Apr. 19th, 2013 03:56 pm)
Back in Munich, and it's cold and wet enough to make me miss Italy immediately, so naturally I start my gigantic fannish catching up with the season premiere of The Borgias.

We are not safe )
Day 02 - A show that you wish more people were watching

Trickier to reply to than one might think, because the usual motivation for this wish is to prevent it from cancellation, and right now, my current open canon shows are either safe or coming to a planned close, like Breaking Bad. Which you should watch anyway, but from the start. :) The other motivation for wanting more watchers is wishing for more fanfic and more discussion. Which would be great in any fandom, of course. Still, thinking about it, it occurs to me that one of my beloved tv shows is both still running, unsure of getting more than the third season which will be shown this year, and in need of both more reviews/fanfic and watchers, and thus: The Borgias. Which isn't perfect but which I love dearly for its well played characters (both female and male), shades of grey characterisations, great Renaissance atmosphere and gorgeous photography. This excellent vid about the show makes my point very well indeed. Watch it!

The rest of the days )
selenak: (Black Widow by Endlessdeep)
( Dec. 20th, 2012 09:34 am)
Meme stolen from [personal profile] likeadeuce.

Your main fandom of the year?

I remain a committed fandom polyamorist without a main fandom.

Your favorite film you watched this year?

The Avengers. Four times watched in the cinema and three times on dvd... yes, it's a pretty safe bet to say it was. :) I just loved it to bits.

Your favorite book read this year?

It's a tie between Her Majesty's Will by David Blixt (when I read the Yuletide prompts asking for Shakespeare/Marlowe adventures & relationship I thought every time "does the prompter know there is now an entire novel like that out there?) and Raphsody in Blood by Roz Kaveney, though I had the chance to read the later in manuscript last year, so I suppose it's a bit cheating to say "this year"? Anyway. Rereading it in printed form only heigtened the love.

Your favorite album or song to listen to this year?

Come Together: Black America Sings Lennon & McCartney. Detailed review explaining why here.

Your favorite tv show of the year?

Breaking Bad. Which I started to marathon early in the year and thus was able to watch in real time when it began its final season.

Your best new fandom discovery of the year?

I would say Breaking Bad as well, except for the part that Breaking Bad fandom aside from fabulous people on lj also includes the people majorly into Skyler and Marie bashing on tumblr and elsewhere, so, no. But I was delighted to see one of my oldest fandoms, Babylon 5, still has an influx of new watchers and writers, and B5 never inflicted shipping wars and character bashings on me either then or now, so I declare the new B5 fans my best new fandom discovery of the year.

Your biggest fandom disappointment of the year?

Fringe's fourth season, after a promising start, cementing the show's decline. Alas.

Your fandom boyfriend of the year?

Jeremy Irons, for a) making Henry IV. for the first time ever the most captivating character in the two plays named after him to me in The Hollow Crown and b) continuing to do a fantastic job with Rodrigo Borgia, aka Pope Alexander VI., in the second season of The Borgias. I've said it before, I'll say it again: the man is a walking, talking illustration that some actors dramatically increase both in acting skill and hotness in their middle age. Young Mr. Irons, playing Charles Ryder in Brideshead Revisited? Eh. Current Jeremy Irons as Henry and Rodrigo both? Gimme gimme gimme!

Your fandom girlfriend of the year?

Skyler White. Followed closely by the ladies from The Borgias, Judi Dench's M, Katniss Everdeen and my darling Guinevere from Merlin, always, but still, no question about it: Skyler. For being complicated and not easily likeable but layered and smart and above all able to accept responsibility for her own deeds as opposed to blaming everyone else. A longer love declaration to Skyler is here.

Your biggest squee moment of the year?

Natasha pwning Loki in The Avengers. That moment when she turns around and says "thank you for your cooperation". (Come to think of it, Katniss Everdeen's "Thank you for your consideration" in The Hunger Games was also a fantastic moment and almost identically phrased, but Natasha's turnaround was when I went from loving The Avengers to SQEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE.)

The most missed of your old fandoms?

I go through moments of missing the BTVS and AtS fandom heydays fiercely. Then I check to see what's happening, and people are either obsessed with being upset with the comics (which I have no interest in) or are still fighting the Spike Wars (ditto), and I remember all the reasons not to miss said days. Until, that is, I come across unexpected splendid meta essays like the one about Chosen this year, or anything [personal profile] timetravellingbunny posts, and I'm full of BTVS and AtS fandom love again.

The fandom you haven't tried yet, but want to?

Once Upon A Time and maybe Teen Wolf. Also I really want to watch The Wire, but is there still a fandom?

Your biggest fan anticipations for the coming year?

The second half of Breaking Bad's final season; the SHIELD tv series; X-Men: Days of Future Past; Catching Fire; and The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.
Something to cheer myself up in various areas, and hopefully some of you, too:


check out this adorable Bruce and Tony cartoon


Various minor character drabbles. Two are about Anne, who is the best minor recurring character going from BTVS to AtS, full stop, and the first one is magnificent. But really they're all good.

The Borgias and history:

A good post on the historical Rodrigo Borgia and the three most important women in his life: Vannozza, Giulia and Lucrezia.
selenak: (Katniss by Monanotlisa)
( Aug. 24th, 2012 06:24 pm)
The Hunger Games:

Meta about Katniss and Haymitch, an excellent examination of their relationship. Spoiler for all three books, though movie only people, consider yourself warned.

Blade Runner:

Who We Are: poetic ensemble vid about the characters' struggle for life through the film. Blade Runner, you're still my favourite sci fi film bar none.

The Borgias:

Hubris: Sin is easy. Virtue is difficult. In between lies hubris. Or, Cesare and Micheletto have a chat near the end of s2. Excellent voices for both characters.
Day 30 ~ How would you end the show?

Welllllllll. It would be less angsty to end with Rodrigo’s death, I suppose there has to be a last episode about Cesare’s decline and fall and Lucrezia’s survivorness as well. So let’s say Rodrigo dies at the end of the last but one, which opens with chaotic Rome, Giuliano della Rovere taking over, and Cesare finding himself outmanoeuvred but at least able to secure the safety of his mother. (He had guards posted for Vannozza but as it turned out that wasn’t necessary; she was fairly popular, which della Rovere was aware of, so she was left alone.)

In order not to make it too depressing, I’d juxtapose Cesare losing territory and ending up dying in Spain (in a fight to the death, as previously mentioned) with Lucrezia managing to win over the d’Estes, who were strongly advised to get rid of her once Rodrigo was death, with the new Pope happy to offer annulment and making the defeat of the Borgias complete. But her father-in-law (soon to die) and her husband refused, and thus she became the Duchess of Ferrara, and a highly regarded one. (Which included her being occasional regent again, as she’d been for her father; in 1506 she initiated a law for the protection of the Jews.) So I’d cutting from Cesare’s death (cue epic fight sequence) to Lucrezia getting the news (from Micheletto, if he’s still alive in the show at that point), facing the possibility of her own impending end, with maybe some gleeful Rovere partisans waiting for her husband to discard her, head held high, and then hearing instead she won Ferrara after all. She prays for her dead family, takes her of the living one (her illegitimate son and however many of the legitimate kids the show will include, Giulia Farnese and Vannozza (who died Rome, not Ferrara, but never mind, show liberty) and as she was the first person we saw when the show started, as a young girl, she’ll be the last we see as it ends, a woman who has seen and done much and will do more, with the celebration of her and her husband taking over the duchy (after the death of the old duke, who in the show maybe WILL intend to discard her but dies before he can order his son to?) mirroring Rodrigo’s ascendancy in the pilot.

The rest of the days )


selenak: (Default)


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