metaphasia: (Default)
You're a blue sky theoretical researcher and I'm a production engineer, this will never work.

You're a scientist and I'm an engineer. You design the crazy doomsday rocketship, and I'll build it.

You work for Capulet, Inc. and I work for Montague Consolidated and we keep running into each other at these trade shows, and based on where you work I should hate you, but I really, really don't.

That douchebag from the humanities should not have been allowed in this building because he literally blew up an entire lab and because our department is now short on space, you and I have to share this room, so you just stick to your side and I'll stick to mine, and we won't have to kill each other.

I don't care that it's an emergency and you lost all your research data and you need lab time to regather your results right now, I booked this room for this morning three months ago. oh, you brought coffee for me? well then, carry on.

We've never met before but I keep seeing your initials on all these amazingly insightful papers and I have had a total brain crush on you, but oh my god, you're as hot in person as your mind is and this is no longer just a brain crush.

We have opposite shifts on this telescope and I only see you for thirty seconds as we walk past each other every night, but I keep leaving notes in the logbook that I hope you'll find and you haven't commented on them yet, but did you just smile when we walked past each today?

This TA has no idea what he's talking about and it causes me physical pain to see someone be so wrong so I keep looking around the classroom to see if anyone else has the look of "can you believe this guy" on their face and you're the only one who does.
metaphasia: ([supergirl] orphan of the stars)
Oded Fehr
Pierce Brosnan
Alexander Siddig
Neil Patrick Harris
Peter Wingfield
Matt Keeslar
Adrian Grenier
Cary Elwes
That Guy From The "Touch of Gray" Hair Dye Commercials
metaphasia: (Default)
So I was on my drive home today, when the song "Material Girl" came on the radio. I think it would be the perfect song for Yuffie, especially if it was modified a little to be "Materia Girl" instead.
Which then led me to the idea of a cosplay masquerade sketch involving the first Midgar karaoke contest.
Sephiroth appears to be winning, until Cloud sweeps perfect scores from everyone, even the Russian judge, with his stirring performance of 4'33".
metaphasia: (Default)
I was having a discussion about the best albums of all time recently (which is not "the list of albums with the best songs of all time on them" because the best albums are those which not only contain excellent songs across the board, but are also synergistic and have a commonality of theme and composition as well) when I had a revelation.
I doubt anyone out there has ever had this thought, but if for some reason you ever find yourself wondering "Will Metaphasia like [the thing I am looking at right now]?", there's a pretty foolproof test. If you can make a fanmix, or a vid about [the thing] and the song "She's A Rebel" fits perfectly, I can guarantee you sight unseen I will love [the thing]. This isn't true of all my favorite songs either; a lot of them are more generic or are things that I like in music but that aren't necessarily things that I like in other media. This song is just the perfect representation of my fandom interests.
I was wondering if anyone else has a song (or songs) that perfectly describes what they like to see in stories, either canon or fanfic?

(For the record, the five best albums of all time are American Idiot, Sam's Town, Crossing the Rubicon, Indian Summer and The Final Cut.)
metaphasia: (Default)
It's a meme!

When you see this, share lines from 3 random WIPs.

1) This is from The Revolution Will Not Be Televised, the eternal WIP that I have given up hope of finishing anytime in the foreseeable future, and is the fic that I had in mind from the conversation in #yulechat that inspired [community profile] occupyfandom.
.
.
People keep calling fanfiction "amateur" as if it's an insult. Amateur and professional don't refer to the quality of a work though. They speak to the motivation. Amateur literally means "lover". Professionals write for money and for fame. And because of that, professionals are a lot more consistent in terms of quality. Professionals depend on their writing to make a living, which is why you get the one-book-a-year-every-year, soulless, formulaic, Nicholas Sparks cookie cutter novels from professionals. But both the very worst and the very best of writing comes from amateurs. Amateurs don't always have the talent, or the editing to write well, and when they don't, their works fall short, but when they do, they write the best stories you will ever read. Because the one thing that amateurs always have is passion. Of course they have passion; they're amateurs. Amateurs do it for love. Being an amateur isn't something to be ashamed of; we should be embracing that fact.
 
2) This is from Assemble and Accelerate, a street racing AU for the Avengers I actually have hopes of finishing sometime soon.
 
Natasha drove on sheer nerve and reflex. She would race right up on the bumpers of the cars in front of her and change lanes instead of decelerating, she would throw her car headlong into gaps barely long enough to fit her Spyder through, she would drive straight into oncoming traffic and trust that the other drivers would get out of the way rather than cause a collision. She had the utter confidence and fearlessness of someone who knew all the potential dangers around her and had accepted those risks long ago.
 
3) And finally, Wizards of Waverly Place Justin/Alex fic, where Justin is turned into a girl, because reasons.

And she was cute, too. Not just her appearance, but the way she was moving; Justin's nervous and geeky body language translated into shy and adorable as a girl (Alex would never admit that Justin's new body was totally hot, even if she had to, because come on people, she was supposed to be the hot one in this family).

"Oh my," her mom said, stunned. "We simply have to go shopping! Come on, mija."

Well. This was certainly the fastest a plan has ever backfired on her. Oh well, she might as well tag along. A chance at new clothes plus a second chance to humiliate Justin, all in one day.
metaphasia: (Default)
I was recently rewatching some episodes of Babylon 5, and I want to talk about my favorite character from the show. I think that Babylon 5 is one of the most powerful and important sF series ever made, because it focused not on crazy technology, but on the people (although that's a post for another time). The most interesting character on the show, for me, is Lyta Alexander.
Cut for length )
metaphasia: (Default)
I was assigned baroqueriot for Yuletide this year, which made me super excited, since I've read their WoWP stories, and I'm a huge fan of their work. I wound up writing:

Close Your Eyes, Count to Three (4952 words) by metaphasia for baroqueriot
Fandom: Round and Round - Selena Gomez (Music Video)
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Female Spy, Male Spy
Summary: The thing about spies, the most important thing to remember about spies, is that they lie.

Here Be Writing Process Notes )
metaphasia: ([harry potter] to write love on her arms)

Today's post is a rec list of fanfiction for Harry Potter! Most of these are Harry/Hermione centric (it's definitely my OTP for the fandom), but there are a few gen fics in here as well. All the stories have a great plot though, regardless of what they ship and are worthwhile reads even if you don't ship Harry/Hermione. I decided to do things a little differently than most rec lists, and rank them in order of favorites.
First, a couple of honorary mentions. These fics would have made it onto my top ten list, except they are currently incomplete and leave off in terrible cliffhangers. They're excellent stories though, and all are definitely worth the read.

Forging the Sword - Ginny dies in the Chamber of Secrets, and as a result, the Trio gets serious about the fact that they are in a war. Like the other entries on the honorable mention list, it's not on the main list because it's still incomplete, only reaching the middle of fourth year currently, but features the Harry, Hermione and Ron we should have seen in the books, who all still retain their unique personalities but become a lot more competent and committed to their cause.

Applied Cultural Anthropology, or - Hermione becomes a Slytherin. Most stories that feature Slytherin have Harry going there, and a story that puts Harry into Slytherin is usually a sign that he is evil, or "grey", or just plain emo. In this story however, putting Hermione into Slytherin just makes her more ambitious and while she is certainly scarier, it is not because she is evil but because without Harry and Ron to be her friends, and placed into an environment hostile towards muggleborns, she is forced to bring her ruthlessness to the foreground.

Coming Back Late
- During the final battle, Harry doesn't return from the Forbidden Forest, and instead disappears into the muggle world to get rid of the Deathly Hallows once and for all, leaving Hermione to become the Witch-Who-Won. A great romantic subplot, an excellent actual plot, and a realistic look at how Magical Britain may look after the fallout from Voldemort's demise, as well as featuring ultra-competent Hermione. Quite possibly the most badass Hermione of any fic, ever; when every member of the cast keeps getting crowning moments of awesome, she still manages to shine (I dare anyone to read this and not break out cackling maniacally at "and yet somehow, you keep doing it"). It's got a very slow burn, but it is absolutely worth the time invested. If this story wasn't incomplete and had been updated anytime recently, it could very well take the top spot in my opinion.

And now for my ten favorite Harry Potter fanfics!

10) Many Thanks - Like a lot of fanfics on this list, this story is based on a trope that a number of other fanfics use (in this case, time travel back to the era of the Marauders), but both does it much better than a lot of similar stories and features a unique twist on the approach. The twist that this particular story takes is that instead of preserving the timeline, Hermione sets out to make the largest changes possible, and manages to redeem a number of characters in unexpected ways. It manages to turn one of the happiest endings possible into an incredibly bittersweet and tragic gut punch of an ending as well, but in the best way possible.

9) Years of Rebellion - It's centered on a slow burning Harry/Hermione romance, but the plot is solid. Set during the summer after the events of OotP, this was one of any number of fanfics that feature Sirius' funeral, but it's certainly one of the most believable and entertaining takes on it that I've read. And the rest of the story manages to keep that same high level of quality. Unfortunately, a large percentage of Harry/Hermione stories out there feature character bashing, usually Ron, Ginny, Molly, the entire Weasley family, or Dumbledore. The only explanation for that that I can think of is that the H/Hr shippers believe that it not only "could have been that way", but SHOULD have, and someone must be to blame if they don't wind up together; since they didn't in canon, and blaming JKR is too meta, it must be some character's fault. However, this fanfic, like the rest of the list, manages to portray a believable Harry/Hermione romance without resorting to assassinating characters to get them together. While Ron isn't portrayed in the best light initially, his actions are explained, and the story takes the opportunity to give him character development instead.

8) With Malice Aforethought - After making this list, I've discovered that I'm apparently a sucker for slow burning romances, because there's a bunch on here. It's a great all around fic, and manages to showcase a number of unique ideas that I haven't seen in other fics. While this story is complete, there's a sequel that's been left unfinished, which is part of the reason this one scores so low.

7) A Black Comedy - This is the second in what I consider the "Alternate Universe Trilogy" - three works that are completely unrelated in plot, but feature the same theme; Harry and friends getting sent from one universe to another - to make it on this list (The first of the three is in the number one slot, and while the third doesn't make it on the list, the author of that one is bobsaqqara, who wrote the next entry). Like in the others, Harry winds up leaving the residents of his new dimension stunned at his abilities, and showcases just how absurd the Harry Potter canon is. While the work is mostly set up as a comedy, with lots of light hearted moments, there is an actual plot that ties the story together and features a pretty impressive reveal at the end that is a lot more fun to read if you don't try to figure it out beforehand. The humor varies from frat comedy to long lead setups, and everything in between; the only comparison I can think of for the whiplash from high brow to low comedy is the show Archer, and this fic pulls the style off brilliantly.

6) The Riddle of Jim Lillian - The titular riddle has a fairly obvious answer that I expect most or all readers would figure out immediately, but the enjoyment is in watching it play out and the various characters try to figure out who Jim Lillian is. There's some character bashing of Ron, but it's a well written enough story and the bashing is a minor enough detail in the plot that it doesn't come across as angry as most stories featuring character bashing do.

5) Will He Be Happy? - This is the Harry Potter fanfiction equivalent of the scene in Veronica Mars where she gets Sheriff Lamb to say "Veronica Mars is smarter than me", but in this story Severus Snape is Veronica Mars, and the entire wizarding world is Sheriff Lamb. Snape executes an incredibly Byzantine revenge scheme to ensure that after the final battle with Voldemort, Harry will live happily ever after. This plot goes about as well as most supervillain plots go, and while a lot of characters are angry about Snape's derisive scorn towards them, and it doesn't have the happiest ending, it does feel like a much more positive and healthy ending because of the fact that all the buried feelings of the characters get brought to light and the air gets cleared.

4) Stupid - This is probably the most annoying fanfic of any fandom to search for, since "stupid harry potter fanfiction" tends to produce rather different results than what you are looking for. It's a brilliant look at post series, and one of the few fully canon compliant, even the epilogue, Harry/Hermione fanfics out there. It's a remarkably slow burn romance though, full of unrequited feelings and unresolved tension, but when it finally manages to takes off, the resolution is just amazing and a delight to read. While others may beat out Stupid for "slowest burning romance" in terms of word count, in terms of chronological time this is hands down the winner, with a relationship that spans decades.

3) Hermione Granger and the Goblet of Fire - A very simple point of departure AU, positing what would have happened if it had been Hermione's name to come out of the Goblet instead of Harry's, and manages to not only come up with a believable explanation as to why, but also features a believable fallout from the change. Lots of great references, intelligent behavior by the characters, a stronger but not superpowered Hermione, and seeing the events of fourth year from Hermione's viewpoint make up for the sheer emotional torture that is the awkward dancing around actual romance that Harry and Hermione perform. A brilliant and triumphant ending caps off the intensity of the rest of the fic.

2) Restoring Hope - The other work of Alchymie, the author of Coming Back Late. This one is actually finished, and again features delightful competence all around, and my favorite (not actually technically a) sex scene of any fanfic ever. A lot of writers use Chekhov's gun badly, but Alchymie is the grandmaster of this trope. He lays out Chekhov's entire armory of weaponry on the mantle in fair view at the start of this story, and walks through the room picking them up one by one and shooting them, and every time it's a revelation.

1) Stages of Hope - This is, without a doubt, my favorite fanfiction of any fandom ever. Harry and the last of his resistance wind up in a magical accident that sends them from the bad future of all bad futures to an alternate universe where James and Lily never got together, and everything happened differently. The title rather brilliantly refers to Harry's emotional reaction to knowing that everything will end badly and suddenly being shown a possible happily ever after. It is heartbreaking, and one of the few works of anything that I have read that is able to get me to reliably cry every time through. The characterization is spot on, with quite possibly the best Hermione I have ever read. The writing is brilliant and elegant in a way that few fanfics achieve, packing every scene with an incredible amount of emotion. Reading it all at once will leave you with a bit of emotional whiplash from the sudden shifts from competence to humor to tragedy and back, but the read is absolutely worth it.

metaphasia: ([wowp] they see only each other)
I'm talking about one of my favorites relationship tropes today: the secret relationship. I know a lot of people are fans of the "they are obviously in love to everybody but themselves" type tropes, but I actually really love the opposite, where the couple keeps their relationship secret from everyone. I find those stories a lot more interesting for two reasons.

First, the plot of a "only they don't realize they're dating" story is the beginning of a love story and getting the two characters together. Whereas a typical plot for a secret relationship already has the two characters together, and is about how other people find out about their relationship and how they deal with it. I think established relationships are more interesting because I think a lot of the drama from establishing a relationship goes away since the question of "will they or won't they" is predetermined, since they absolutely will get together.

Also, I think that a secret relationship is more interesting because so established relationships are much less commonly found, and because an established relationship is about making a relationship work, and keeping it strong throughout any problems that are thrown against you and has both much more storytelling potential and also emotional potential. Most love stories end when the characters finally get together, but I think the most interesting part of a love story doesn't happen until afterwards.

On top of that, I really like the sort of intimacy that comes from sharing a secret and hiding a relationship from people. It lends an us against the world sort of mentality that I also really like. I'm a sucker for trust and respect between people, and having to keep a secret from people really brings out those sorts of qualities.

Secret relationships also work well for a lot of different genres. They work well with forbidden love like Romeo and Juliet where the two characters are from different factions, where one (or both) character is a spy and has to keep their relationship secret from their work, military AUs where relationships are forbidden because of the chain of command, superhero stories where they keep the relationship secret to protect each other from nemeses or because of their secret identities, are just some of the possible ways it can manifest. It's such a versatile trope!
metaphasia: (Default)
Apparently there's a meme going around where people try to post every day in December, so I decided to also give it a shot. I've got several topics already lined up to talk about, but if there's anything that you want to see me rant on, just leave a comment and I'll add it to the queue.

This is a post about expectations.

Every fandom is, indirectly at least, answerable to its fans. If viewers don't watch a television show, it won't get renewed for more episodes and will be canceled. If readers don't purchase a novel, the author won't be offered a contract for a sequel. Which means that creators have to be aware of what their fans are expecting to see. While no creator is obligated to fulfill every expectation that is held of their works, if they simply disregard those expectations, their works will fail because they are unaware of their audience. There is certainly room in which to subvert or avert fulfilling expectations, but simply disregarding them leads to unsatisfactory stories. However, there is a fine line between failing to meet the audience's expectations, and not leaving enough room for an organic story growth by only meeting their expectations. I feel that two great recent examples of this fine line between are the series finale to How I Met Your Mother and the Veronica Mars movie.

Many viewers were upset with the ending of How I Met Your Mother. However, I think that the show managed an excellent ending, given the constraints of how the show had evolved over the course of its run. Two of the most common complaints about the show were that Ted had no reason to be telling his kids all the stories that he did, and for a show whose premise was ostensibly about how Ted met the unnamed mother, the focus was frequently on Robin and her relationship with Ted. And the series finale managed to address both of those concerns. I had find it helpful to think of things in terms of math. While any ending imaginable was theoretically possible for the show, the probability space for how the series could end became gradually more and more constrained by the weight of the two hundred and seven prior episodes. Any ending that didn't resolve the concerns of Ted and Robin's relationship, or didn't address why Ted was telling his kids every detail of his life, or in which the mother didn't live up to the expectations that had been set for her by the course of the show, could not have been satisfactory. And while the ending to the show was certainly not happy, How I Met Your Mother has never been a very happy show, and is always willing to show how life is not what happens while people are making plans. But it has always been a very satisfying show to watch, because it understood the type of story that it was trying to tell, and the expectations that it's audience had. Just because a work ends in tragedy does not make it unsatisfying to experience; the very idea of catharsis is based on the satisfaction experienced from tragic works. That said, there was certainly room for the ending wasn't satisfying compared to the rest of the show, because the writers chose to kill off the mother to resolve the Ted and Robin relationship. In this case, while the writers managed to meet a great deal of the expectations held of the series, they didn't meet the expectation that the mother was still there in the future, and because of that, the story strayed from what people were expecting and left a distaste for some viewers.

On the other hand, the Veronica Mars movie was very good, but I feel that it failed to live up to the best episodes of the series. And the reason for that is that the film had to be too many things to too many different people. It had to end with Veronica and Logan together, or those fans would have rioted. It had to open with Veronica and Piz together, or THOSE fans would have rioted. There had to be appearances by Wallace, Mac, Weevil and Dick, or the fans of those characters would have rioted. It was so burdened by the weight of everything that was expected of it by the fans, that there was too little room for it to take any real risks. The best episodes of Veronica Mars are the ones which take risks and succeed, and so while the film was very good, it was also somewhat formulaic and didn't have the room to truly flourish.

In one episode of the Middleman, Lacey has this to say:

At the end of Ride Lonesome, Ben Brigade kills the man that kills his wife. Only it doesn't happen the way you think it's gonna happen. But once it does, you realize that no other ending was possible.

And that's what great art has to do. It has to meet the expectations of it's audience, but also provide a new twist to the story. And failing to do either can lead to very unsatisfactory experiences for the audience, but in very different ways.
metaphasia: (Default)
Note the repeated use of door imagery throughout Frozen. It begins in "Do You Want to Build a Snowman", with Anna constantly asking her sister to come out and play and to "come out the door", before immediately continuing in the next song, "For the First Time in Forever" in which Anna sings about how, "for the first time in forever" the castle doors and gates will be opened. Therefore, when given the opportunity to sing about true love, it is no surprise that Anna chooses to perform "Love is an Open Door", since she associates love with doors. It must be concluded as a result that Anna feels that Elsa does not love her, and in fact, rejects her, since her door is always closed to Anna.
On the other hand, Elsa does not associate love with doors, but rather with heat. It is her cold based powers that cause her to be cut off from the world, and therefore she links the two ideas in her mind. It is no accident that "Let it Go" begins with the line "a kingdom of ice-olation". Perhaps the largest proof for this association however, is Olaf. Olaf is created by Elsa, and his personality is based on Elsa's childhood memories; his use of the phrase "the sky's awake", his introduction being that "My name is Olaf and I like warm hugs", and even his appearance being identical to that of the snowman Elsa and Anna built when they were young, all show that Olaf is not a unique and independent being, but rather an extension of Elsa's psyche. He is an anthropomorphic representation of her subconscious, and her heart's desires. And, therefore, when Olaf sings, he is showing Elsa's true feelings; and the song that Olaf chooses to sing is "In Summer", extolling the virtues of heat.
When Elsa sings the line in "Let it Go" of "the cold never bothered me anyway" it is not literal; she is not discussing yet another winter-related superpower of her magic. It is the same refrain that everyone tells themselves when they are denied; "I never wanted to be friends with her anyway. I didn't want that stupid bike in the first place". The cold to Elsa represents being forced to be alone, after the very public way in which everyone freaked out upon discovering her powers, and in "Let it Go" she is lying to herself that it doesn't matter, that she doesn't care that she is forced out of her own kingdom and to live alone in the mountains.
metaphasia: (Default)
So, I saw the special in the theater in NYC, and it was really good, although apparently the place filled up early in the morning, so I was stuck in the front rows of seats, which was not optimal with 3D, but even still, I had a great time.

Spoilers )
metaphasia: (Default)
So, it's far enough into the new television season that I feel capable of making informed judgements on how the new shows are doing, and what I want to keep watching and stop. I've included my thoughts below:

Agents of SHIELD )

Sleepy Hollow )

Brookyln 9-9 )

The Tomorrow People )

Almost Human )

Final Thoughts and Returning Shows )
metaphasia: ([harry potter] to write love on her arms)

My bad habit One of my bad habits Amongst my bad habits is that sometimes when I see my side of an argument so clearly I have a hard time understanding how anyone could disagree, and, instead of debating intellligently, dissolve into a fit of acoherent rage. Quite aside from the fact that I am not always right, this is a problem because it means that when I become emotionally invested in an argument, I have a hard time conveying my opinion in a convincing manner. This means that I am sure that the following could be explained by someone else much more eloquently, but please bear with me.

 

I was a fan of Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality when I first heard of it. It has a clever premise, and is well written, both grammatically and stylistically. However, I have had some issues with the way the most recent story arc was written and handled, and these boiled to a head when I found the author's response to someone else's complaints regarding the same issues; that response can be found here; I will not be quoting it directly within this response, so please read it first before continuing.

 

First, right from the start, I take issue with the Mr. Yudkowsky's position in the opening sentence. I believe that feminism is and should be the concern of everyone, not just those who have heard of it, and that hiding the response away to complaints about being anti-feminist is not a good position to take.

 

Mr. Yudkowsky focuses on directly responding to the accusations from a particular tumblr comment (which he does not link to, so I'm not sure if his following assertion is true, since the text he quotes does not specify which female character, only makes general statements) that Professor McGonagall has significantly less agency than Professor Snape. And while I agree that that assertion is true, and I will return to it later, I feel that the anti-feminism present in the text is much more pervasive and insidious.

 

Mr. Yudkowsky states that he believes a text should stand on its own and that an author's opinion or notes regarding the text afterwards are a failure on the author's part. This is a perfectly valid viewpoint, and one that I personally agree with; it is one of the reasons that I have issues with the original Harry Potter novels in fact, since JK Rowling only ever revealed or discussed Dumbledore's sexuality in a memo after the final book had been published, and not within the text itself.

 

However, the text that Mr. Yudkowsky has written does not support his position that it is feminist (or even feminist - neutral as opposed to actively feminist or anti-feminist (okay, I'm going to stop using the term "anti-feminism" here, which Mr. Yudkowsky uses in his rant and refer to this as sexism, because let's face it, it is)). A central theme in MoR is the concept of "heroic responsibility" to which the readers are treated to multiple lectures. As part of this discussion, a quote that is attributed to Godric Gryffindor's autobiography is introduced:

 

No rescuer hath the rescuer,

No lord hath the champion,

no mother and no father,

only nothingness above.

(Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality, chapter 75)

 

However, as the deuteragonist of the story, and ostensibly a heroine in her own right, Hermione Granger consistently fails to live up to this standard. In the course of the extracurricular battles that Professor Quirrell arranges, Hermione is repeatedly shown as an inferior participant to both Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy; for instance, in the battle that takes place in chapter 67, Harry is able to defeat Hermione with only two soldiers, and in the post battle discussion in chapter 68, Professor Quirrell specifically calls her out as not thinking of alternative strategies as Draco did, which is an example of lack of agency on her part. Other examples include her needing to be rescued from the Wizengamot after being accused of attempted murder, and the other battles that take place; in which Professor Quirrell secretly plots to assist her in the first battle, in the Christmas battle (in which of all the plots that take place, she does not create a single one and is merely a pawn in the ultimate outcome of the fight, which is orchestrated through the efforts of Harry, Draco, Blaise Zabini, Professor Quirrell and Headmaster Dumbledore), the battle in which her and Draco's armies combined are unable to defeat Harry, who provides the means for them to chase him onto the roof whereupon she falls off, leaving the final confrontation between Harry and Draco.

 

Indeed, throughout the story, Hermione is consistently shown to lack agency and need a rescuer of her own. The events of the Self-Actualization story arc revolve around her creation an organization called the Society for the Promotion of Heroic Equality for Witches, which as Mr. Yudkowsky specifically states in his rant referenced earlier was intended to be feminist.

However, Hermione and her heroic witches fail to prove themselves heroes and need rescue; first from Nymphadora Tonks, a seventh year student in disguise as one of their own, and then later by Harry, Professor Quirrell, and Professor Snape all.

Professor Quirrell/Voldemort is portrayed similarly to Ollivander's description of him in the original Philosopher’s Stone novel; a terrible person, lacking in empathy and understanding of humans, but capable of great actions, and a force to be reckoned with. Indeed, he is portrayed as a very rational individual, who is a great judge of character, yet he repeatedly shows a lack of respect for Hermione; while he believes that she is intelligent, he repeatedly calls her out on a lack of dedication and heroic qualities, the most notable of which I believe is during chapter 70, when he speaks at a protest she has organized and he states that heroes are not those of high position, but rather those who show great ability and power, and then refuses to support her, since he believes she lacks ambition.

 

Mr. Yudkowsky's defense for the lack of agency that Professor McGonagall shows throughout the story is that such examples were before her character development in the most recent arc, and that such development was planned all along. However, despite referencing "fridging" in the opening sentence to his rant, he never addresses the concept again.

If you are unfamiliar with the term, it stems from the trope of "women in refrigerators", which originated with Hal Jordan's wife being killed and placed in a refrigerator for him to later find in the Green Lantern comics. The trope references female characters who have been killed, seemingly for the sole purpose of angst or character development, and is about the objectification of women. Literally; stuffing a woman in the refrigerator states that she has less value to the story for the narrative that she can provide as a female character, a subject capable of action, than the emotional value of her death, an object which is acted upon and inspires others to action.

This is problematic for me, because the most blatant example of sexism is no the lack of agency on Professor McGonagall's part, but rather the action that causes her to undergo character development; the fridging of Hermione Granger (actually, painfully literally, since her body is later placed in a storeroom for chapters 90-93). Hermione is killed by the troll, which, in the original canon JK Rowling provides, was defeated in time by Harry and Ron. Although the story has not progressed far beyond her death, it certainly seems as if she was killed for the sole purpose of character development for others, and, even if not, that is not an essential aspect of the woman in refrigerators trope.

 

In fact, Mr. Yudkowsky's assertion in his original rant is even more troubling in light of this. Professor Snape's competency can be directly attributed to his grief over, and desire for revenge for, the death of Lily Potter at Voldemort's hands. Which, while only somewhat problematic in the original narrative, since James Potter died at the same time, now becomes part of a disturbing trend in which a female character needs to die for another main character to develop into competency.

 

Mr. Yudkowsky chooses to end his rant with the position that it is unfair to attack an author of an incomplete story, since the section that has not been completed could redeem the sections which have, that the future plot points could shed new light on those that have been revealed so far.

 

I disagree. I believe that Mr. Yudkowsky could have defended himself rather easily against my complaints by the simple expedient of not having Hermione stuffed into the refrigerator because Lily was lonely there. By having Professor McGongall develop competency without the death of the only other strong female character in the entire story. By allowing Hermione to be capable of rescuing herself at some point without needing Harry to be her savior.

metaphasia: (Default)
Before I talk about Iron Man 3, a preface.

Music wasn't really a large part of my life while I was growing up. The radio and record player were very rarely on in the house, and road trips would often involve nothing coming out of the speakers (and when there was something being played, it was NPR more often than any music station). I never recorded a song off the radio, despite apparently everyone else in my generation recording entire mix tapes. In fact, I didn't purchase a CD until middle school. Alright, that's not that impressive given that CDs had only been in widespread circulation for a few years prior, but I hadn't purchased any casettes either; there were some that I listened to, but they belonged to my parents, or were the family's, not something that was mine, personally. And this was not only the first CD that was really mine, but that I had purchased, not that was purchased for me as a gift. To this day, while I acknowledge the convenience of MP3s and music downloads, I still prefer CDs, as a physical manifestation of music, and it all dates back to that first CD.

It was, of course, Europop. Eiffel 65 was one of the first techno bands I had ever really heard (I wouldn't find Daft Punk until 2001 with Discovery), and I loved the style. I was however, mocked frequently, mostly by my siblings, but also occasionally by my parents, for my choice in music.

The point of the story is that I would like to apologize to anyone in the theater I was in who was frightened by my maniacal cackling within a minute of the film starting. I consider it karmic payback on a cosmic scale.

I have to say that my final impression of Iron Man 3 was not as favorable as others; I was disappointed.

I think my problem with the movie was that the last thing before I left the theater was the ending, obviously, and as somebody famous once said and I am saying now, it was a hot mess.

Spoilers ahead )
metaphasia: (Default)
Anyone who has played tabletop or board games has most likely been involved in a debate over the rules of the game they are playing. The tabletop gaming community often characterizes debates over rules into the camps of RAW versus RAI; Rules as Written and Rules as Intended. This debate does not simply exist in the realm of gaming however; the heart of this debate can be found in many areas; in legal terms, it is the difference between the letter of the law and the spirit of the law. The difference in both cases is whether a document captures all the necessary important points of the matter or whether it was written incorrectly or incomplete.

This same debate also manifests in other areas, such as fandom. And in fandom, this forms the difference between what I call explicit and implicit canon. I haven't heard these terms used before, and a quick google search reveals they're not in common usage at least, so I am unsure if these concepts already exist under different names, but I think they  are pretty self-explanatory in the context that I use them for.

Implicit canon represents the same mental attitude as the Rules as Intended and the spirit of the law; that the matter seen in the canon is a representative sampling, and not the whole of the canon. On the other hand, explicit canon represents only the material seen in the original work and nothing else.

The difference between these two camps can sometimes be absurd, as the debate over the bathrooms on the Enterprise shows, but the I think it provides an important point of contention in a different type of argument, namely that of character interpretations. Many times, because an author can only feature a limited number of scenes in a work, they can inadvertently leave out scenes that support some aspects of a character's personality, and trust that the aspects that they leave out of the explicit canon will still be believed by the readers as part of the implicit canon of the work.

One of the authors that I think is extremely guilty of this sort of omission of details is JK Rowling. I think the most telling example of this in Harry Potter is Ron Weasley. It is rather obvious that JK Rowling intended for Ron to be a likable, brave character who is somewhat immature, but ultimately a loyal friend to Harry. However, because of the fact that the focus of the limited number of scenes in the book and the natural focus on conflict instead of on normal times, means that Ron's character flaws become more pronounced than his positive traits. We see Ron's jealousy and immaturity manifest repeatedly throughout the books, and are meant to assume that he is becoming more mature as time progresses. However, because it represents an opportunity to display interpersonal conflict between the heroes, he continues to display these traits throughout the entire series until the very end.

Because of this fact, there is a very large difference between the versions of Ron that exist in implicit canon and explicit canon. I think that this difference is what leads to such an intense difference between the ships of Ron/Hermione and Harry/Hermione in Harry Potter; some individuals base their opinions on what ship they prefer on the version of the characters that are explicitly presented in the novels, and some based on the version that is implied based on what JK Rowling intended the characters to be.

And though I think this dichotomy is most pronounced in the Harry Potter fandom, this same difference exists in every fandom. The difference between what is explicitly stated and implicitly meant will always exist in every canon, because there is always more to be told than can fit in any story. And this difference is a good thing, because it is what allows differing interpretations of a text. It is what allows fandom to thrive, because it is in the nuances and corners of canons that fan works come from, because if there was ever a canon that had no difference between the implicit and explicit canon, it would be complete and there would be nothing for fandom to fill in.

Profile

metaphasia: (Default)
metaphasia

Most Popular Tags

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags