What were your inspirations, especially since [Tauriel] is a completely created character; what brought you to bring that power because there were a lot of ways you could have played that role that would have been along the lines of what we usually see for a girl in an action movie where she’s not in the adventure, she’s the prize…?
"Initially, Daenerys was awed by Xaro’s generosity and Qarth’s elegance, but almost at the risk of losing herself: as she increasingly starts to doubt Xaro and become dissatisfied with Qarth in general, she starts incorporating more and more Dothraki-style features back into her outfit."
Dumbledore, notorious for giving second chances Dumbledore, let Sirius rot in Azkaban for twelve years.
He must have known Sirius well due to his time in the Order, he must have known what James meant to Sirius. Dumbledore was a member of the freaking Wizengamot yet he didn’t fight the Ministry’s horrifying trial-optional policy.
This is a man who took back Death Eater!Snape at his word, shielded him from prison, and employed him at a school for children.
But he didn’t have a use for Sirius, so he didn’t care about him.
I got 99 problems with Dumbledore and his treatment of Sirius Black accounts for like 64 of them.
To be honest, Albus Dumbledore is one of the most disturbing, terrifying characters I’ve ever found in a book, because he thought he was a good guy and so did everyone else and the books don’t really challenge it either (given that Harry forgives him for everything he did), but when you look between the lines he was profoundly, profoundly immoral and unethical.
A couple of months ago, I was talking about HP characters with a friend, and he said that Dumbledore was one of his least favorite characters of all time.
Naturally, this took me back a bit since he’s one of the heroes of the series, misguided as he was at times. Still, I was curious and asked my friend why he hated him. His answer still strikes a chord with me.
"There is never, ever a reason to leave a child in an abusive home. Never."
[made rebloggable by request]
all the ways.
no, literally, all the ways.
Okay, this is the…super extra sparknotes version of my dissertation on Harry Potter and the ways its worldbuilding is just asking to be shaken to pieces. It’s called:
~*Ten Ways To Irreparably Fuck Up a Civilization: A Harry Potter Rant*~
1.) Put the major base of your economic power—such as a national bank—in the hands of a class you are busy oppressing. Because goblins definitely have forgotten centuries of warfare and specicide anti-goblin sentiment and will totally treat your ancestral gold with the fairness and even-handedness it deserves. Ditto with house elves and your children.
2.) Don’t try to understand or theorize about how your power works. Do not inquire as to how a particular measure—spell, hex, or charm—works. Do not try to test its effects. If a spell builds a house, do not attempt to test the durability of the roof—the roof will have come into existence with the necessary durability for roofs. Do not ask why a perfectly ordinary Latinate word and a stick of wood conjures the Platonic Form of a roof. Have no engineers or philosophers. Make sure no one thinks the phrase “hypothesis.” Make sure no one tests theirs.
3.) Make sure the schooling that you do offer is, essentially, a technical school. Make no attempt to teach students how to write, read, do maths, or think critically, even though those skills may be required. Those who do not arrive with such skills must learn them independently, because helping students with learning disabilities or those who come from difficult home lives is for chumps. Also, make sure to sow the seeds of deep social divides that will persist through your population’s adult life.
…there is no alternative.
4.) Don’t have any institutionalized pre-schooling or post-secondary education. Because everyone worth educating has access to tutors, or parents who have the time, energy, and ability to teach. Do not have institutions for further learning, because there is nothing more to learn. Do no try to understand how your power works.
5.) Allow the government to be the single biggest employer. Small businesses may be tolerated, but private chains, corporations, or conglomerates should not be allowed to operate independently. Make sure that your population gets its news from the government. Dissenting voices that cannot be rendered unemployed can be narratively shamed.
6.) …and then have that government rife with corruption and barely representative. The people in power now should be descendant from the people in power then. They should love their own kind. Trial by jury is unnecessary. Elections are unheard of. Influence talks, and money covers a multitude of sins. Nothing says forgiveness like a bag of galleons and an invitation to the Malfoys’.
7.) Don’t innovate. Your mores should be Victorian and your aesthetic Medieval. “Technology” is a broom, a radio, and an hourglass.
8.) Don’t have any contact beyond the incidental with the civilization literally occupying the same space as yours. Particularly if there is significant crossover in population. In fact, make sure those individuals who emigrate from that civilization cannot return, cannot discuss their new country with friends and family, or use their new-found knowledge to help those friends and family. God forbid they try and help that civilization in turn.
Reduce interest in their world to a laughable hobby. You are the only civilization for them now.
9.) Ensure that all those who do not fall within specific parameters are labeled Other and de facto exiled from your civilization. Particularly squibs and werewolves and other species. An accident of birth implies someone isn’t at fault.
10.) Expect people to quietly stand by. Some of them will. Most of them will. But sooner or later you’ll piss one off, and all the ones who have been afraid to speak out will nod, will join in, and the whole affair will come tumbling down around your ears as that one troublemaker screams to the heavens for justice and knowledge and innovation and truth and light and then my dears
your civilization is well and truly fucked
My [scattered] thoughts on Bong Joon-ho’s Snowpiercer. This was originally just a defence of the film’s ending—which I’ve seen widely criticised—because I think it’s brilliant and necessary and worth defending. But… then there’s everything else.
[major spoilers, of course]
where is the harry potter fic where harry has to deal with the fact that ginny weasely is deeply fucked over by childhood insecurities and trust issues from her family and then by her terrible first year at hogwarts and then by her terrible sixth year of hogwarts she was the ringleader of organized guerilla rebellion against a crushing occupationist force when she was sixteen. SIXTEEN.
she is not harry’s happy ending. she was a child in the shadow of her parent’s war and she got her first wounds from it when she was eleven and alone and she carried those scars forward into battle again and again—when she was fourteen, when she was fifteen. she grew up violent and angry under terrible pressure and she’s never going to be anyone’s reward.
i want to see harry fucking realize that. i want to see him wake up at night with her wand at his throat and love her anyway. i want to see him make her sandwiches when her hands are shaking too bad from curse damage to hold utensils. i want to see him get the fuck over himself and earn her.
Just thinking out loud here
Quite apart from the obvious, I think the worst thing about the way Zevran’s romance is written/crafted is that from a certain POV, the way he so frequently makes a point to say things like ‘is this ok with you’ or ‘do you want me to stop’ or ‘should I not be flirting with you’ seems just really courteous? I still remember, my first playthrough, how much I appreciated that because I’m generally extremely uncomfortable with being ‘pursued’ as it were, and it seemed like Zevran was written in a way that he was just making sure he wasn’t making the Warden feel uncomfortable/unsafe. Which was…more courtesy than I’ve ever been shown IRL, to be honest, and it just made me love him as a character that much more…it lends him this feeling of awareness and sensitivity about potentially forcing any attention on the Warden that they don’t want.
It was only a little later that I realized it wasn’t actually intended as ~making a very introverted female Warden feel safe~, it was ACTUALLY intended to give cishet male gamers plenty of ways to jam on the no homo breaks, or make sure straight female gamers don’t get freaked out by a man who’s been with other men. In that light, it’s just like he’s a beaten dog trying to avoid another kick, and it’s horrible. So I’ve got really mixed feelings wrt the way the dialogue plays out, sort of an in-world viewpoint where it’s just really sweet, and then a behind the scenes revulsion that they were giving players so many chances to piss on a bi character who’d already had a really difficult life / throwing gay/bi players under a bus.
I guess the way of reconciling the two halves is, defend the character / condemn the writers…which…is usually the conclusion with problems like this.
(reference for when i am trying to explain these to people and they are looking at me like “huh”):
- the Bechdel test: does the story have a) more than one women, b) who talk to each other, c) about something other than a man.
- the Ellen Willis test: if you flip the genders, does the story still make sense?
- the Sexy Lamp test (courtesy of Kelly Sue DeConnick): can you replace your female character with a sexy lamp and still have the story work? if yes, YOU ARE A HACK.
- the Mako Mori test: there is a) at least one female character, b) who gets her own narrative arc, c) that is not about supporting a man’s story.
- the Tauriel test (which i made up in response to The Hobbit 2 [which passes] and Skyfall [which fails]): a) there is a woman, b) WHO IS GOOD AT HER JOB.
and in justification of my recent TV obsessions, i would like to note that Scandal, The Vampire Diaries, Buffy, and Nikita (ALL HAIL MAGGIE Q) pass all of these tests with flying colors.
UPDATE: i just discovered the Finkbeiner test and it is FANTASTIC.
FURTHER UPDATE: these were noted by oranges8hands and are EXCELLENT and add some much-needed intersectionality:
The Deggans Rule: a) At least two POC characters in the main cast, b) in a show that’s not about race.
The Racial Bechdel Test (I first saw it laid out by Alaya Dawn Johnson): a) it has two POC in it, b) who talk to each other, c) about something other than a white person
and then I offered an amendment to the Bechdel test: d) both women have to be alive at the end
Uh, one night my dog leaned against a wall because his back legs decided that they were done. And those kinds of stories never end well and this one wasn’t going to be different. We put him down the next day.
I’m a writer and that is the first and easiest trick we all have. Uh, it’s true, so it’s not cheap. It happened. Lying is kind of the cheapest trick of all, but still to come out here and lead off with my dog died is uhm, about as courageous as taking a stand against child abuse. But I did it because I want you on my side and I only have 4 minutes.
His name was Captain Applejack because he spent for year in the dog navy and would not be called mister. And anytime a dog owner says, “Who’s a good boy? Who’s a good boy?” The answer is always Captain Applejack.
I was actually on a deadline so I did what writers do and I compartmentalized. I stuffed it into a box and put it next to the other boxes marked, like, dad issues, and high school crushes and then I got on with my day. Uhm. I write comic books and my career was ending so I wanted to meet my deadlines. My worm had turned in the way that the worm turns for people in popular entertainment. There’s no retirement plan where I come from. There’s just one day people stop calling and the work stops coming. You don’t get hired anymore.
I was launching a book called Hawkeye and if you saw the Avengers movie he was the guy… he was the first archer in the history of cinema to run out of arrows. Which is a very kind of true moment for him. He’s the regular dude in the avengers. And as a kid I always liked him because he was the regular guy. He came from Iowa. I lived in Iowa for God’s sake! It just seemed to make so much sense. He was a bad guy who made good. And he would like, drop his g’s when he spoke and he’d get so wrapped up in his thinking he’d get lost in like their super mansion and stuff. He was very human and he got to be an Avenger and that’s what I liked about him and now it was my chance to write him. This is before the avengers movie come out and they were looking for opportunities to make that cast of heroes a little more visible.
When you work for someone like Marvel it’s a shared universe where everyone is playing with the same toys in this strange imaginative game all at once. And because of the movie and because of a couple of other things, Hawkeye was everywhere as I was supposed to launch my book. And I could sense that there were people that wanted him here and wanted him there: “Well I’ve got him on the moon on Tuesday, and you’ve got him underwater on Wednesday, what is he doing on Thursday?” And that I decided would be my take. My book is what he does on Thursdays when he’s not an Avenger. It’s where he goes… my book was going to be about where he goes to change his pants. It was going to be very slice of life, small ball kind of stories.
It was supposed to last 6 issues and it’d be done. And nobody thought it would do better than that because it has never as a character ever done better than that. It was… and then I’m putting him, you know, in pants in an apartment building it was commercial suicide. But as my career was ending I had nothing to lose and everything to gain by writing books that I would want to read.
But my dog was dead and my first issue wasn’t happening and I wanted to cry and be alone and be sad and grieve and mourn but I had this stupid comic book that I had to write. And I had the ‘what happens’ but I didn’t have what it’s about. I knew in this Hawkeye story we were going to meet him on Thursday afternoon when he’s not an avenger and there’s a neighbor in his building who’s getting kicked out and what Hawkeye is going to do is he’s going to buy the building so she doesn’t get kicked out. Cause he had a bunch of… yeah I know, right? Dynamite, dynamite stuff!
And I came up with these kind of tricks, if I’m going to do this small ball stuff, like, there’s an issue where he just wants to buy tape. There’s an issue where he just wants to hook up his DVR and people keep bugging him. And he’s… so… Like, small things and I came up these different things I was going to do, we’ll tell the stories all out of order, and we’ll do this and that and in a way to kinda keep it compelling… and try to keep it compelling and keep it interesting a little more than just: “This issue Hawkeye buys tape.”
The honest truth was I didn’t care about the building or Hawkeye or the neighbor getting kicked out ‘cause of my dog. And then I pulled out my first trick. And I gave him a dog.
Yeah. So when Captain Applejack was a puppy I found him under a car. And he was so sick and so little and uh… so mangy I didn’t know if he was very young and very sick or very old and about to die. He was wrinkly. So I gave him to Hawkeye. I gave him this beat up mutt who was neglected and ignored. And as I started to kind of write and give him this kind of emotional thing he was connected to, like, the character’s anima appeared. That was it, it wasn’t a hawk it was a dog. And then I got the book. I understood what the book was. I knew what happens. I knew what it was about. And if I couldn’t save Captain Applejack, Hawkeye could save Lucky.
Spoilers, the dog lives.
So I wrote it in a single day. I wrote it… it was a very bad, very sad day, but I wrote it in a day. And it comes out, and the response is impossible to ignore. And I do my very, very best to ignore response at all, at all costs. But a fandom roared, or barked as the case may be, and like we started to immediately get fan art and crafts. While Hawkeye might not have the best sales in the world I’ve met literally everyone reading the book and they were dressed. Uh, but it’s he’s just wearing pants so it’s super easy, it’s pants and bandages. My editor said “People love the dog” so it’s the dog. And this entire corner in my career was turned.
If I said ‘miraculous’ it would actually insult real miracles but I don’t know what else to say. I was on my way out the door but it turned out the door was revolving and I was right back in and my entire life turned around. And everything in my career exploded off of this book. I tried to save my dog, and he saved me."
the stupidest thing in the entire harry potter series was when they go down to the slytherin dormitory and it’s all dark and slimy and freezing and shit. as if lucius malfoy would let his son live in squalor like that. the house with the highest concentration of spoiled purebloods are happy to live under the goddamn lake? no.
wow this is the #1 best harry potter criticism i have ever read
the essential dichotomy of the two very different things jkr seemed to be trying to embody in slytherin which are just not compatible if you ask me.
you’ve got the malfoy side of slytherin. blood purity, deliberate class metaphors, deliberate race metaphors. this kind of slytherin is all about old wealth, british identity, and privilege-based violence. the malfoys are SUPER WHITE they are the WHITEST WHITE, and with that goes this image they project as benevolent philanthropists, while they privately (and then not so privately) degrade and exploit and abuse those they consider categorically lesser (muggle borns, house elves, people poorer than them, etc). this is the slytherins-are-privileged-racists side of the house traits.
the other side has always kind of struck me as jkr’s-privilege-seems-to-have-led-her-to-use-racist-tropes-to-make-slytherins-more-loathesome side of things. it’s the snape side of slytherin. the side embodied by snakes (and all that weight of judeo-christian inflected nastiness they are supposed to carry). why is the house of POWERFUL pureblood families not represented by some animal associated with institutional power in britain (like I DON’T KNOW A FUCKING LION). this version of slytherin is the kind of evil that is “obvious” because everyone knows snakes are bad (just like rats are bad!!! :|). everyone knows the guy with the black eyes, the greasy hair, the “”“”“sallow”“”“” complexion, and the hooked nose (always comes back to the Ambiguously Ethnic thing doesn’t it) is evil. you know it even before he says a fucking thing. you can tell he’s evil by his body, by his phenotype. because this shit doesn’t exist in a vacuum and like it or not, certain traits have a history of being coded in certain ways, racially/ethnically speaking. the idea of sneakiness, of cleverness, of ruthlessness and questionably moral doing-what-it-takes-to-get-ahead, none of that is coded ROBUST HETEROSEXUAL WHITE CHRISTIAN let me tell you that. slytherins are bad at sports (not like the VIGOROUS HEALTHY GRYFFINDORS) and when they do get close to winning it’s by cheating.
but the thing is if you are running the system, you don’t need to cheat the system. the two sides of slytherin just don’t mesh together.
THIS IS SUPER INCOHERENT I need to structure this into something formal with capitalization when I’m not quite so beset with insomnia and inarticulate rage. I’M NOT EVEN A SLYTHERIN. I just care because if JKR had been really serious about the radical and anti-authoritarian message she seemed to WANT for harry potter, it would have been gyffindor that was the dangerous, privileged, racist house. that’s the house with the traits associated with POWER, and so much of that second slytherin has been associated with groups that are ruthlessly marginalized.
this old post explains it pretty well actually, the antisemitism / anti-foreigner sentiment seething just beneath the surface.
i love harry potter but sometimes i fucking hate harry potter you know?