1 July 2012 14:08
selenak: (Camelot Factor by Kathyh)
[personal profile] selenak
I.) Last night I was at the opera. This year, the Munich opera did the entire Ring and last night they showed the final part, the Götterdämmerung. Unfortunately, after the three previous productions were all well sung and imaginatively staged (the first production in which bringing masses of people who aren't in the script on stage actually worked for me, because said people formed the forest, the Rhine, etc, in a great use of body colour and performance art), for the last part the director abandoned his psychological/painting-by-bodies approach in favour of neorealism plus topical allusion. Suddenly it was about the Euro crisis and the one of the essays in the program (translated from the English language, by an American) earnestly informed us that Angela Merkel is Wotan (who doesn't even show up in Götterdämmerung), Francois Hollande is Brünnhilde and Alexis What's his name from Greece is Siegfried. And then there was Gutrune riding on a symbol for the Euro. Um. The singing was still great, but any attempt to imagine Francois Hollande as a former Valkyrie or vice versa was met with swift and abject failure. (If, gentle reader, you have no idea what the Ring of the Nibelung is all about, fear not: here is the fifteen minutes version, written by yours truly.) Also, nobody deserves being compared to the most obnoxious opera hero ever. (Why no, I can't stand Siegfried.)

II.) The first past of The Hollow Crown, Richard II, was broadcast, and reviewed by the Guardian thusly: Ben Whishaw, last seen being ambitious and lairy in The Hour, reprised both talents as Richard II but also managed somehow to trample wonderfully over himself and the kingdom with a masterclass in passive-aggressive venality and foot-shootery. Whishaw and Rory Kinnear as Bolingbroke mesmerised, and it was a rare delight to see David Suchet, as York, tear himself free ("ouchayowsa!") from Poirot's moustache and be allowed to act, but the best scenes were saved for super-thesp Patrick Stewart as John of Gaunt.

Not my favourite man in real life, due to a certain innate… bumptiousness… but not the point. He's an actor, and does so honestly and terribly well. His speech before his son's banishment from England, to "look what thy soul holds dear" and "imagine it/ To lie the way thou go'st, not the way thou comest", and "Suppose the singing birds musicians… The flowers fair ladies…" was essentially the shortest, pithiest and best self-help book ever.

Stewart-as-Gaunt's dying valediction to England – the "sceptr'd isle" stuff – and the "this happy breed" stuff was not only backshiveringly good but, listened to in full, suddenly struck me as the perfect opening speech for the Olympic thing, with its sheep and village greens, to encapsulate a land's history. The blip, of course, comes in the savage, resentful ending, Gaunt despising nephew Richard's greed. "This land… is now leased out, I die pronouncing it,/ Like to a tenement or pelting farm./ England… is now bound in with shame." So Shakespeare also foresaw Visa and McDonald's.

Go on, Danny Boyle, we dare you. The skypes are calling. We'd love you so.

III.) Every now and then (read: when I'm breaking that rule), I'm reminded why I stick to the few fellow Merlin fans on my flist and stay away from the fandom at large. You have the two extremes between the fanatic Arthur/Merlin OTP crowd who curses Gwen (and her breasts) for existing and the Gwen fans who think the show doesn't have anything worthwile to watch but Gwen and everyone else is horrible (and/or horribly written). And here I am, waving my OT3 flag, and being fond of Gwen, Arthur and Merlin together and in any combination. I'd love more screentime for Gwen, absolutely, but I also loved s4 best of all the seasons. (While considering it flawed, like all the seasons. But I just don't get the "only s1 was good" thing.) And then there's the "everyone agrees that..." Every time I read this, I want to raise a hand in protest because how would the poster know "everyone" agrees? I usually don't, and not just in Merlin. So, my rules for staying sane instead of spending my days in frustration is:

1.) Stay away from any fic which has a variation of "Arthur realises Merlin, not Gwen is the one he really loves" in the summary. Arthur loves them both.

2.) Stay away from any fic that has a variation of "Merlin can't stand it anymore" in the summary. Merlin loves Gwen and ships Arthur/Gwen madly.

3.) Stay away from any fic that looks like it's skipping over what Morgana did to Gwen in s4 in order to get them together. This is especially frustrating because I'd love to read encounters between Morgana and Gwen post season 4 and am on the lookout for those, but ignoring mindmessing and consent issues isn't any less icky if it's a female character responsible.

4.) Stay away from any post that pulls faux feminist arguments like "my problem with Gwen isn't that she's the female love interest of one half of my slash pairing but that she's written without agenda; I liked her in season 1, totes!" (you know, when she wasn't together with one half of the slash pairing) "and she had so much more initiative there" (um; I love s1 Gwen, but s1 Gwen would not have challenged Arthur on standing by and allowing a good man to die (again) as she does in s2's The Witch Finder, wouldn't have responded with that quiet, devastating put down to Uther as she does in s3 (and we have a direct basis of comparison to s1 when it comes to Gwen being dragged in front of Uther and accused of magic, wouldn't have challenged Agrivaine in the councel on behalf of the citzens of Camelot as she does in s4). Maybe I'm wronging some people, but every time I've read something like that it came across as a flimsy pretext.

Date: 1 Jul 2012 13:36 (UTC)
kalypso: (Garak)
From: [personal profile] kalypso
1.) Alexis Tsipras? I rather wish to see this now, purely for hilarity value, though it sounds as if it completely buggers up the concept of the cycle.

Date: 1 Jul 2012 18:32 (UTC)
kalypso: (Laughter)
From: [personal profile] kalypso
Just watched it. Is the restoration of the Ring to the Rhinemaidens supposed to symbolise the return of the Mark?

Date: 2 Jul 2012 20:12 (UTC)
From: [personal profile] meri
MTE about Merlin and Merlin/Arthur/Gwen. I can't actually be fannish on tumblr about that show because every post seems to break all those rules. I don't know how I drifted so far out of the fannish waters with Merlin but I did and now it's so hard to find fic/fanart/podfic I'll enjoy


selenak: (Default)

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