vanitashaze: Girl on a dark beach. (it's just been that kinda day /)
I was going to write up a really long post on why I love these two episodes, but then I realized that it basically boiled down (heh) to this:

EVERYONE IN THIS IS INCREDIBLE.

I am so full of love for Suki, and Hakoda, and Sokka, and Zuko, and Mai, and Ty Lee, and even a little bit for Azula. Even individually, they're amazing - SUKI SUKI SUKI OH MY GOD YOU'RE KICK-ASS, AND HAKODA YOU'RE REALLY FUN* - but I think it was the relationships in this one that did me in, from the formation of new ones (Zuko and Sokka's burgeoning friendship) and the rekindling of old ones (Hakoda and Sokka, Sokka and Suki), to their disintegration, or at least... metamorphosis (Zuko and Azula, Mai and Zuko, Mai and Ty Lee and Azula). This episode really hinted at a complexity to these relationships that we hadn't necessarily seen before, and more than anything, this episode was the advent of a complex and nuanced (and KICK-ASS) Mai who's not a caricature or a sidekick, but (along with Ty Lee) a fully realized person with courage and conflicts and loyalties, for whom the center cannot hold. Things are starting to fall apart in this episode - Azula and Mai's faceoff, and Ty Lee's seemingly unconscious but momentous choice of loyalties, my God that was an incredible moment - and things are shifting, and it gives me shivers.

Other things I loved:

- The leitmotifs and general soundtrack. They could have gone with dramatic, death-defying music for these two episodes - prison escape, come on - but instead they chose an eerie, quiet little piano-and-string riff that really underscored the feeling of "there are secrets in this place, things said and unsaid, hidden relationships and loyalties running underneath, plots afoot". Listen carefully when you're watching; you'll hear it too. This also marked probably the best use of the leitmotifs yet. I especially love how Sokka's Water Tribe drums were heard only when he was around certain people (his father and his girlfriend). Very telling about his state of mind.

- MAI. (Mai/Zuko.)

- The return of emotionally balanced, occasionally a buffoon but sometimes deadly serious Sokka.

- Zuko's newly fluid firebending style. Whattya know, he really did learn something from the LSD dragons!

- Zuko and the breath of fire in the cooler. I never quite got what people were always panting about in terms of Zuko, but I do now; that was incredibly hot. The hunched shoulders, that look, and of course the fire...

- Speaking of hot, what about those prison uniforms? Something about the cut was just... very nice, especially on Zuko and Suki. And the color was awesome too.

- SUKI.

*Speaking of which, I want Hakoda/Bato/Kya. Like, now.

...I really need some good Avatar: the Last Airbender icons.
vanitashaze: Superman kicking off a... boot? Duck? (In with the new and out with the ducks /)
Dean Winchester is a blond in the way I'm a blond.

I.E., not.

ETA: "The following is SLASH which means two boys doing knotty things." Made my day.
vanitashaze: Girl on a dark beach. (Default)
ROMANCE c.1300, "story of a hero's adventures," also (early 14c.), "vernacular language of France" (as opposed to Latin), from O.Fr. romanz "verse narrative," originally an adverb, "in the vernacular language," from V.L. *romanice scribere "to write in a Romance language" (one developed from Latin instead of Frankish), from L. Romanicus "of or in the Roman style," from Romanus "Roman" (see Roman). The connecting notion is that medieval vernacular tales were usually about chivalric adventure. Literary sense extended by 1660s to "a love story." Extended 1610s to other modern languages derived from Latin (Spanish, Italian, etc.). Meaning "adventurous quality" first recorded 1801; that of "love affair, idealistic quality" is from 1916. The verb meaning "court as a lover" is from 1942.

I shall repeat: it didn't mean love affair until 1916.

Isn't it strange to think that, in a way, the concepts you're taught to build your world on didn't even exist a hundred, a thousand years ago? "Romance" was a heroic story. Love existed outside of marriage, not in it. Once, we thought that the earth was flat, or that atoms were formed like plum puddings. Doubtless in a hundred years, we will think, once, we thought that atoms were clouds of electrons revolving around a nucleus. We are not timeless; we are temporal. There is - I believe there is - the eternal in us, some being or presence, and yet. We don't know what time is, but we are so strongly grown from this one. I don't quite know how to articulate it but it's strange. It's eerie. Like living inside Einstein's dreams. How much of you is made of your time?
vanitashaze: Girl on a dark beach. (the cantaloupes especially suck /)
ZING! )
vanitashaze: Girl on a dark beach. (what the #@&%*$^ ? /)
Spoilers for THE END OF TIME, PART ONE )

And now I really want a Supernatural / Doctor Who crossover with the Doctor and the angels. Because if you think about it, angels are pretty much souped-up time lords with less angst. They live really long - jury's still out on if they live forever, or exist as fixed points in time & space, which I'm rooting for (It would explain how they manipulate time/space, after all - instead of moving through it, I think they would stand still and move it instead) - and muck around with timelines and the time/space universe gunk. Not to mention this fascination they seem to have with humans. And the self-righteousness. That too.
vanitashaze: Text: "Idiot: member of large, powerful tribe whose influence in human affairs has always been dominant & controlling." (rampant! rampant!)
I do not love you except because I love you
Pablo Neruda

"I do not love you except because I love you;
I go from loving to not loving you,
from waiting to not waiting for you
my heart moves from cold to fire.

I love you only because it's you the one I love;
I hate you deeply, and hating you
bend to you, and the measure of my changing love for you
is that I do not see you but love you blindly.

Maybe January light will consume
my heart with its cruel
ray, stealing my key to true calm.

In this part of the story I am the one who
dies, the only one, and I will die of love because I love you,
because I love you, Love, in fire and blood."

Why, hello there, Sam and Dean.

And in other news, snow - almost two feet of it - is amazing, but ice is not, and wine is fun, but livejournal's new pop-up ads are annoying.
vanitashaze: Girl on a dark beach. (who are you carrying those bricks for?)
I'm working my way through season one of Supernatural - I've said it before and I'll say it again, I fucking love my little small-town library's dvd collection - and I'm mostly satisfied. However, I'll admit it: while some episodes are really cool, others are not so great. Not that bad writing is uncommon for television shows, but for some reason, it's really getting to me here. Maybe because almost all of the bad episodes - "Route 666", "The Benders", that one with the shapeshifter - had the potential to be really cool with only a few slight adjustments. The potential for those connections was there. For example, "Route 666". As it stands, it was sort of about Dean's thwarted love life, and some really awkward commentary on racism - apparently that while it existed in the past, it's all gone now, or something? - and featured a sort-of-interesting-but-not-really Cassie, who was supposed to be tough and shit and instead was - not. The plot didn't really hook up, the reveal was forced, the end was unsatisfying, etc. But it could have been a tragedy, guys. It could have been about keeping secrets - the town's past, Dean's hunting, Dean's relationship with Cassie, Cassie's parents' relationship, Cyrus' activities and death - and how they never stay buried, how they get forced under and then become something huge and dark and terrifying. The invisible monster truck in the middle of the room*. They could have drawn parallels between Cassie and Dean's romance, and the romance between Cassie's parents. Both were couples with the odds pretty much all against them, after all, and when Cassie and Dean separated at the end, sure that it would never work, it would have been all the more poignant - and uncertain - for the reminder that, despite it all, Cassie's parents did make it. Like, Dean's comment about how he's seen "stranger things"? I think a better comeback would have been, "well, your parents did it." And that's only the tip of the iceberg, guys. That episode could have been the emotional high point of the season.

Or "The Benders", which is really all about family, but not quite the way I think it should be. When I first saw that creepy little girl - Missy - I thought, wow, this is a kid who's been raised in a seriously weird environment, to a very twisted definition of "normal". And yet, this is what she's been taught is right, this is normal for her, and her brothers. Which is exactly like Sam and Dean with hunting. They're all working with operative definitions of "normal"; they're all doing what they do, essentially, because their parents told them to. And that "hunt" thing, man. If they had paralleled that somehow - maybe cut between the Winchesters' and the Benders' pre-hunt rituals, had them repeat some of the language (that "you hurt my brother, I'll kill you"; "you hurt my family, I'll bleed you" thing, though it would have been much eerier if they had said the same thing). Not to mention, this season is all about John Winchester's absence.

So, my ideal "Benders"? John Winchester is missing and Pa Bender is dead. The Benders are hunting the Winchesters, thinking that they're typical prey, and the Winchesters are hunting the Benders, thinking that they're on a monster hunt. The awesome female cop** would have been there as a foil to the Winchesters - to emphasize what they do is not "normal", constantly checking them, providing the much-needed, "What?" - but in the end she wouldn't have been so normal after all, because she's much more obsessive about her missing brother. Maybe there's a bulletin board behind her desk similar to John's hotel room collages, or at her apartment. (Dean sees it, lifts an eyebrow, and she says, "Well. You know.") They cut between the Winchester pre-hunting rituals, and the Benders' (gun loading / knife sharpening, putting on jackets / putting on camo, etc.). All three groups of siblings use the same phrases. Maybe the Bender brothers tease each other a little bit, and they protect their little sister. There are two empty father-sized spaces. And when the Winchesters ask the Benders why they do this, they say, "Because Pa told us to."

Don't you think that would be an improvement? I think that would be an improvement.


*Comparable to the elephant.
**Who, by the way, would retain her rigid cop bun - but have hanks of it pulled out as her emotional / physical state roughens - and would not wear a skintight white t-shirt. Or, you know, have to have Sam save her. And she would totally say at the end, "Good luck, Dean", or something, because there's no way she hasn't figured who he really is out by the end of the episode.
vanitashaze: Girl on a dark beach. (who are you carrying those bricks for?)
1. Brace yourselves, guys. The wheel has turned*; thanks to general not-scariness and an interesting pairing that isn't incestuous, I am in the thrall of a new fandom. And I never would have guessed which one, because Supernatural, seriously? I tell you, I love Dean, but it's all about Castiel for me. Without the angels the show was, mostly, very claustrophobic in scope. Broad in mythology, but in terms of narrators, it was all Hunters, and they're apparently not a very diverse group, in terms of background, life experiences, advocation, world-view, or even - let's face it - race or gender. But with Cas, I have an inhuman entity that's possibly been around longer than time itself, who sees time, who doesn't understand humans - but is working on it - who drank wine to celebrate the Christ child's birth. (Yes, this is totally canon for me!) I mean, guys, come on. I have centuries of history to play around with, not to mention theology and all the issues it brings up, the ones that start arguments at my family's holidays once the schnapps start going around: free will, destiny, the nature of God, the nature of existence, etc., etc. Yay.

Which brings me to the point of this whole thing. Lately I've been reading - okay, sometimes skimming - a lot of religious texts, and look what I found in the Book of Enoch. (It's non-canonical, but considered to be canon by the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, so that's something! It's not as if I'm viewing this from a historical or even theological perspective, so it doesn't particularly matter; at least with what I'm doing with it, it's all literature.)

"And all the others together with them took unto themselves wives, and each chose for himself one, and they began to go in unto them and to defile themselves with them, and they taught them charms and enchantments, and the cutting of roots, and made them acquainted with plants... And Azâzêl taught men to make swords, and knives, and shields, and breastplates, and made known to them the metals of the earth and the art of working them, and bracelets, and ornaments, and the use of antimony, and the beautifying of the eyelids, and all kinds of costly stones, and all coloring tinctures. And there arose much godlessness, and they committed fornication, and they were led astray, and became corrupt in all their ways. Semjâzâ taught enchantments, and root-cuttings, 'Armârôs the resolving of enchantments, Barâqîjâl (taught) astrology, Kôkabêl the constellations, Êzêqêêl the knowledge of the clouds, Araqiêl the signs of the earth, Shamsiêl the signs of the sun, and Sariêl the course of the moon." - Book of Enoch, Chapter VI

So angels created the witches, did they? The ones who were taught "charms and enchantments, and the cutting of roots", and "were made... acquainted with plants." Not to mention the other nasty beasties, not mentioned above, the giants, "who consumed all the acquisitions of men. And when men could no sustain them, the giants turned against them and devoured mankind. And they began to sin against the birds, and beasts, and reptiles, and fish, and to devour one another's flesh, and drink the blood."

Reads like an Abominable Snowman article in The Enquirer, don't it? But the potential amount of stuff the angels have fucked up, then and since, is wonderful in a really horrible kind of way.

2. And in other news, I was denied admission to my Early Decision school. Fuck.


*And I know this because I'm reading the fucking Canterbury Tales and thinking, Oh, "Knight's Tale", that's totally about Dean, Sam, and Ruby! A horse fell on Sam! Ha! Except for the fact that it doesn't have anything to do with them, and the analogy really doesn't make sense after all.
vanitashaze: Girl on a dark beach. (the great brute boy-sage of civilization)
1. Houston, we have plot!

There is nothing in the world like that rush that comes with knowing how it all falls into place. I swear. It's like seeing God.

On a related note, SATs suck small brass monkey balls.

2. While reading about Nazi Germany's problems with two-valued orientation - it got to the level that "German" was a synonym for "good", and everything "non-German" was bad* - it occurred to me that Pegasus would probably have a similar problem with "Wraith" and "non-Wraith". We've seen this in episodes like Inquisition, where the Lanteans were criminalized for their alliance with the Wraith, and in fact it was the alliance that was considered illegal, and not what they were actually doing within the confines of said alliance (which, admittedly, was pretty sketchy too, but for the Wraith and probably not for humans, except to call into question what humanity really is). Sheppard's explanation of what they were trying to accomplish didn't sway their horror at all. So great is Pegasus fear of Wraith that the mere word is repellent, and in fact, I think in the pilot Teyla cautioned against telling tales [of the Wraith], confusing the word with the thing, as if the word could call the nightmares down on them. At this point, I don't even think the Wraith would necessarily have to be involved for something to be classified as "Wraith". It's been a pet theory of mine for a while that matrilineal and matriarchal society is more common in Pegasus than it is on Earth**, but because the Wraith are matrilineal and matriarchal, one could easily unhinge a human matrilineal/matriarchal tradition by arguing that this is unnatural because it is Wraith-like, that they're Wraith worshippers. Bollocks, but it gets people scared. Just as I would bet that the societies who were matrilineal/matriarchal - even just to an extent, like the Athosians - would have different words for "human Queen" and "Wraith Queen", while the non matrilineal/matriarchal societies wouldn't, necessarily.

On the subject of Wraith worshippers, we're not given much canon, but it's clear that they do exist, and people know of them, even if they're not common. The team has before been accused of "bringing the Wraith down on people" both in incidents where they are responsible for this (Ronon, as mentioned in Sateda) and incidents where they have not. And cullings, as we know, are not random, but to non-technically advanced village or even a society with no space travel (and thus space sensors), for all intents and purposes they might as well be. I wouldn't be surprised if "Wraith worshipper" is used in the same connotation as the Middle Ages "witch": a person who would get blamed in the aftermath of a culling even if they had nothing to do with it. "Executions"*** of supposed "Wraith worshippers" are probably quite frequent in Pegasus, especially on heavily culled planets. Methods of murder are rather brutal. Again, these are the outcasts of society this is happening to, or those who have economic power or possessions that others covet, and like a witch, a "Wraith worshipper" would probably be pretty hard to disprove. Go through the Ring any time within the past year? Guilty. Have any sort of interspace/interstellar transmitter technology? Guilty. Are a recent immigrant, consort with recent immigrants, or talked to a Ring traveler recently? Guilty. Even presumably using fucking semaphores that the Wraith might presumably see from space? Guilty.

The Atlanteans are sitting on a bombshell here. If their alliance with the Wraith ever comes into the public light****, heads are going to roll. Their trade allies would shun them. Atlantis might be attacked by those with space travel. It would be impossible to go through the Gate for fear of offworlders administering "justice" and killing any expedition teams. Really, the best way for the Wraith to destroy the Atlantis once and for all is to embrace them as friends. Because foreigners who have been allied with Wraith queens, are allied with Hive commanders, have a former Runner and a military commander who enjoyed the same benefits of Wraith worshippers******, created Wraith-human hybrids, often have female leaders, fucking woke the Wraith in the first place, and are suspiciously closed-mouth about all the other shit they're doing?

Definitely guilty.



*From General Ludendorff's Am Quell Deutscher Kraft: "The rabbit, it is certain, is no German animal, if only for its painful timidity. It is an immigrant who enjoys a guest's privilege. As for the lion, one sees in him indisputably German fundamental characteristics. Thus one could call him a German abroad."

**Because the Wraith are nearly impossible to defeat militarily - not that it's kept anyone from trying - reproduction is really a society's only defense against complete destruction. Thus, reproductive power - which lay with women, no pun intended - would trump military might - which can lay with either one but traditionally has rested mostly on males. I don't pretend to be an expert in the field, though.

***Which is probably what they're called, and again, even this has a connotation with it: that the person being killed has committed a crime and are being brought to "justice", as opposed to being killed or murdered.

****To the extent that it's widely known instead of just to the Genii, allies of the Genii, and the handy dandy Genii spy network.

*****Regeneration, the "gift of life".

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