This final season was just a hurricane of emotions
I came back from watching with rachel and sat in the shower for a long time
Klance was the most beautiful in this season. Their quiet love and support for each other was so genuine and Lance looked so content whenever he was with Keith
My heart feels like its bursting
Its really difficult to accept that I won’t see them anymore
The most bittersweet feeling is that both of them grew up so peacefully. I so happy and so glad but also sad that their journey as paladins came to an end. i miss the bickering and teasing and all the shenanigans in space. i miss their adventures among all the different stars and planets. i miss their teamwork
Keith just shone!!!
He was amazing as a leader, and just as amazing when he turned down being the leader. He has so much talent but never had any ambition for it because he treasured family and friends so much more. Im sooo proud of him. Alot of people think I stan Lance more, but Keith is my star and my one true north.
Lance grew so much and became so gentle.
In a way, I feel like it took alot of courage for Lance to be a farmer. Its not easy to choose the simpler/quieter life and be content with it. But I also fell in love with him because of his passion for flying and excitement for new things, so its a really complicated emotion i can’t quite come to agree with yet. (Im waiting for Keith to come in and take Lance away on more adventures haha)
I truly feel that klance are my endgame, that they are so good for each other. my love and hope for them will never change.
----About the season
Its a conflicted feeling because the writing has alot to answer for, there were so much window for amazing story telling and character development that was missed.
Lotor could have been a really great character! he had a good heart even tho he had no example to get it from (Also he was so freaking cute as a kid!!!) I wish that they could have factored him into saving the universe instead of a catalyst for Honerva’s insanity.
Honerva’s actions were all really, really hard to connect with...I even felt that Zarkon had a better redemption scene compared to hers
Also, RIP matt holt’s hot hairdo
Hunk was just perfect. He was solid and a pillar of support for everyone, and never let anyone tell him otherwise what he wanted or was supposed to do or feel. He’s as warm as the sun!
I can’t believe they all went to Clear Day carnival, Shiro tells Keith to relax and have fun, then the first thing Shiro does is go and have an arm wrestling match WITH HIS ADVANCED ALTEAN ARM Im crying Shiro you are terrible. im glad Shiro is canonically happy with Curtis, but I also really miss Adam.
Ryan Kinkade is so far off from what i imagined.. but also i love him and all the MFE pilots, and especially James...James was a Mood
The scenes were all done beautifully. I really loved the lighting and atmosphere for all of it....it makes me so emotional and I’m really going to miss all the different worlds that they created
@Who are you a year from now, 5 years from now and 10 years from now?
🪐🤍check out my previous PAC here
Hey beautiful its Jenx🤎 Finally I have made up my mind and decided to go with this option among all since I think this is something that can give me a lot of insights about you right now and your highest potentials🕊Please keep in mind that since I'm reading for a lot of people, some would resonate more while the others might not with some specific details as I'm channeling certain images and different things:)
Pick one of the images above, remember their numbers (1 — 3 from left to right) & scroll down to read your tailored reading🥰 As you pick between the images, think about yourself and yourself only, about all the past you you can recall, focus in the you in the moment and your highest potentials, then use your intuition to pick one.
Pile 1 my Mercurians😭🥺🥺🥺 I know my Mercurian babies when I see one. Ahh also I see some small Leo placements, major earth and fire energy too!! ADDITIONAL INFO FOR PILE ONE A YEAR FROM NOW HERE
5 year from now, I think you'll encounter someone who's not at all what you expected. What you needed is a Ruler, just like you, who shines bright in their minds and on their own, who's organized within their thoughts and you can also share your responsibilities with. However, this person is anything but that, they may be a business partner, a co-worker or a romantic interest for many of you. They might remind you a lot about a you you used to be, therefore you may feel the need to save them and shelter them. I just heard "saviour complex" loud and clear loves. Be extremely careful of these people, as they might subconsciously dim your lights and hold you back in terms of abundance. They might make you question things you never did before, make you hesitate and therefore create a loss in your newly gained stability. Clear your thoughts. Clear your third-eyes. You must learn to see things the way it is instead of envisioning what things could eventually become. You're a sympathetic person deep down, and you have been through more than enough to know that it takes more than trust for a mutual relationships. Energies can always change, your faith is within your grasp, clear out hidden pattern as we speak so you can help the you in the future.
Lastly, we arrive to the you 10 years from now. I immediately see a maturity thats so different from your previous years. You have grown, you have finally realized even things you see can manipulate you. This is where your big brains are going to thrive. You hold immense power to manifestation and after a period of going within, embracing the "Yin" side of yourself, you go back out there in the world, admitting to your issues as you march on forward to your truth. People who endured great pain knows the sweetness of great fortune. I think while the you you will become is still a work in process, the door to great happiness and healing is opening and as you open your arms wider, you'll feel things you never felt before. I'm seeing rainbow. I just also heard that you'll finally take off the rose-coloured glasses you've been wearing. Thats good. I'm so excited for you🥰
Super random but are you guys feelings drained recently? Are you guys alright? I felt as if I need to sleep as soon as I start to do your reading so I think sleeping must be one of your emotional outlet haha. "Sleeping it off?" I heard it just now. Your minds fascinate me though, how does it even work? Balancing all that rationality and idealistic thoughts all in one head? Yes, knowledge is power and you're closer to power than you thought. I'm seeing a lot of blue, purple and green around you. Jump start and begin to clear out people that do not mean well. You got this. And you know it in your soul, your journey does not end here.
Hi there again my gorgeous beings with hella Sun/Leo energy:) I also see Sagittarius energy, loads of Uranus energy or Virgo/Libra energy!! Perhaps lots of air and plenty of healthy earth or fire too. Such regal energy. So retro in a way too:) For this pile I immediately felt a sense of optimism? You guys are very expressive people now aren't you? You don't just feel things, you show people that you feel things. A year from now, I see you walking up to your throne as you rightfully declare you victory. A very combative if not competitive spirit haha, so much willpower and you sure are one smartie too. A year from now the you I see is thriving. That's about it. Haha I'm joking. But expect some great news on the way. Finally, I see that you're able to harness the energy within you that holds so much strength and raging passion. You'll be able to finally unleash these sides of yourself and therefore, put yourself comfortably to where you belong, the spotlight. And i kid you not I just heard "entertainer"?? So you must be really funny or quirky aren't you. But a teeny sense of sarcasm is never missing. You're an honourable person and you perhaps take a lot of pride in your intellect capacities AND your courage. You are one brave soul. It is one thing to be fiery but its another thing to still be rational and determined when needed. You may come off a bit demanding at times, but a year from now, this will work in your favour. So much success and great achievements. Welcome home to the spotlight baby.
5 years from now I think you might become a lil too excited. But excited for the wrong things in life. Similar to the energy I felt at first in pile one, you guys might become too impractical and let your worse judgement get a hold of you and chain you down to pettiness and immaturity at work. Luckily, you'll recognize this almost immediately though. As you clear your head one more time, you know that what you're looking for is something long term success in work and in personal relationships. So you put all of your determination as you clear your head and reach a fresher approach. I'm not gonna lie, you're one hell of a person. You guys have this love for yourself thats so interesting to read. It doesn't make you a negative person, but rather a progressive one as you constantly self-reflecting and "vibe check" to make sure things are on the right track:) The storms are leaving soon. The sky is bright once again.
I think that 10 years from now you should be expecting a very different you. A you where you can finally "be in your element" and go out into the world like the rebel you are. You'll start fresh, perhaps even a lil bit reckless, literally sprinting into the world with absolute bliss. This is so cute haha. However, I think this is your way to cope, instead of going within again. You might experience some kind of changes in your belief , religious wise that makes you question things. You are healing and only slowly getting better. This is interesting, because I'm also seeing that you're also letting go of a person, of someone who brings you great joy and romance yet you guys no longer see eye and eye and having to part your ways. Trust me, it may seem very significant yet its merely is. You'll make it out stronger than you ever knew you could. The Leo card appeared again haha, so you'll reminisce a lot about the you in the past and you'll get this renewal energy thats going to help you thrive in the future. Inside you theres an abiding strength with no bound, utilize this and embrace your crown. You earned it, with every second and every breath of yours.
I'm feeling major Virgo energy, Capricorn energy as well as Scorpio energy here today:) Subtle Venus/Libra energy here and there too! You guys make me dizzy haha, I think we better get through this one if not I'll die from how intense this pile is actually lol. A year from now, I think you'll be experiencing a lot of emotional contentment. You'll feel that your effort and emotions are reciprocated and valued. I'm also seeing a man, a very smart one, thinking about you with a smile on his face, as if he's adoring you. This man may be a teacher or a love interest. Nevertheless, the affection and care they have for you is vast and real. They bring mental and a lot of spiritual pursuit to the table. I just heard "value". Interesting now isn't it. You'll be in such a good place though boos. I'm seeing nothing but greatness awaits for you a year from now. However you will soon must make a choice. I think it can be really hard for you to be open with your communications at times, especially to others. Ahhh I've been waiting for you. This is my overthinkers pile haha. You guys rationalize emotions a lot and you have a bad habit of pushing them down until you can't and you'll burst into a million of pieces. I think you have a very calm and collected front, yet a very gentle and loving soul. If not, understanding and hide a sea of wisdom. Beautiful.
5 years from now, you're finally had a breakthrough. You will get over some kind of toxic attachment that has been chaining you down in the past, ones that make you addicted and hungry for more. But finally, you break free because a truth was brought to your attention. You're finally in control again. This person that seems like they're their soulmate, turns out not to be. I heard names starting "B", "Z", "C" and "S". As you process, I think you'll have a minor shut down period. Where you decide to retreat and tend to your heart. Because even from the present, I could hear your heart mourning. Who would have known, under that tough facade, you're one soft and deep soul. Its giving me the energy that this truth, whatever it is, is what set you free. Its not the nicest to hear, but its essential. As your heart shatter and your mind wheels blank, you'll come to the realization that you, my love, grow from disappointments and heartbreak. It is painful isn't it. It is draining isn't it? It keeps happening to you too. To the point where you feel that its impossible for you to find what belongs to you. After grieving, you'll go through immense transformation and you'll embrace this ending. Your heart yearns for closeness but it closed down before anyone could hurt you again. Your heart deserve someone who will treat it like their own.
10 years from now. I see you finally being in your brightest and most successful state. You shine wisdom and power. Others are drawn to your intensity and are blown away by your personal power. Light, beauty, grace and everything that you are. People are stunt by you. However, you're different now. The naive you that we started off with is now gone. Funny how it feels like a reward but also a punishment isn't it? How you always have to lose something to learn something. My dear I see that you'll be fed up with people bs and will be keeping yourself occupied. You unconsciously became the person that used to hurt you, ruthless in love and prideful with your heart. The you that were once hopeful is now putting the crown on her head, yet her eyes now blazed with power instead of hope and light. You're more private now than ever, and as you gaze at your suitors, I feel a sense of boredom and detachment. But who knows what holds for you future my love, I can feel it in my soul, you will find someone who can love you, as much as you love yourself.
Thank you guys for reading it til the end🤎 For more posts like this please be sure to check out my masterlist <3 be sure to reblog if you enjoy this too beautiful!!
You say sexy shady sorcerer I say nerd and love of my life
Solomon is a sad lonely little man why just wants a genuine connection us that so much to ask???
No but seriously like. It's totally fine if you hc Solomon as this man-turned-lowkey-sex-god with a million succubi and more at his whim whenever he wants and would be a tough one to put the ol' ball and chain on like to each their own for sure! But that's not MY hc
(Thats not to say my hc means he doesn't ever engage in casual sex like that and wanting a genuine long term relationship at some point [or finding out thats what you want when you meet someone] are not mutually exclusive yknow)
So like Solomon isn't the type to be short with you or keep you at an arm's length (i mean...u get what I mean. Once you're close enough and all that jazz) or get annoyed by you wanting to be affectionate?? Hello??
He LOVES the little things you do (some on accident tbh). You feeling affectionate today and give him a kiss or three on his face before you leave to go to your separate classes? Adorable, he's fallen in love again. You do that thing where you like.. forget how to walk straight and just accidentally bump into him? No come back he likes being close to you :( He doesn't SAY these things but there's a light, airy laugh he has that gives him away.
If you're ever facetiming he will say "boo!" when you connect instead of just. Greeting you like a normal person.
His fuckin. His devilgram name is monSOLO. My mans is a star wars fan!!! I dont know any of The Discourse bc I'm not super into star wars myself but he has IN DEPTH opinions about the movies. Seriously rivals Levi in this aspect. Please make time for movie nights where you watch the movies together 🥺 especially if you haven't seen them before he'd love to convert you 🥺
Didn't Solomon also have a thing for TSL??? Or am I just imagining it??
I feel like his ideal date would be exploring something new, whether its this new spooky forest or "hey have we been down this alley before? Let's check it out!" but ideal date number TWO is movie night. Even if it isn't Star Wars. He likes to sit on opposite ends of the couch throwing popcorn into each other's mouths (and big candies like peanut m&ms where you both have almost choked before) and maybe a footsie war if he's feeling real devious. Then at some point you grab a blanket and snuggle up to him and you both fall asleep on the couch
Simeon yells at him when you leave because there's popcorn EVERYWHERE
LOVES when you laugh super loud. Idk man he just thinks its great when you have such unbridled joy and then he laughs too 😊 not as loud though he's more of a quiet chuckle kind of guy (most of the time).
Is friends with Asmo so is extremely great at slumber party gossip. Catch him in his pajamas, cross-legged on the floor while clutching a pillow to his chest and listening intently to you rant about the brothers.
"Come here I have a secret to tell you" (blows air in your ear) "okay okay I'm sorry but come here again" (blows air on your neck) "okay okay last time! I actually have something to tell you. Please? Its important...." (kisses ur cheek) "like u a lil bit xo"
Never the type to send "good morning beautiful" or "good night 💞" texts. Instead he'll send you something at 4 am like "the infinite cosmos will eventually swallow whole all familiarity and life as it is now presently known and despite the adaptations humans or demons or angels could make i will still have to adapt and face the world as an alien in the realm I love so dearly. Funny how the strongest of beings bow to the whim of space and time. But sometimes my eternal journey doesn't seem so daunting when I realize that with my everlasting life will be the memory of you no matter how distant and the survival of the vessel you loved...."
And then at lunch that day when the brothers pull you away he'll send you a picture of the lasagna they're serving with "this kinda looks like you? Don't worry I'd still hit it" and then two minutes later "you not the pasta"
Is the type to think randomly "oh damn I love you so much" but has an impressive filter about it. Or he thinks he does until Luke grumbles "ugh get a room thats the fifth time you've seen that since monday" ok, sometimes he has a good filter about it
He can't help it! Sometimes you just say something really smart (or something SPECTACULARLY dumb) or you do something cute like lean on him or smile a specific way or-
Sir.....you're head over heels sir :/
The type who would go to a playground at night with you and just swing on the swings talking about life
Wants to have a secret handshake with you!!
If you're ever on a road trip with just the two of you, you can get him to join in on the terrible singing but he'll be a lot quieter than you
Also will only join in if he isn't driving. If he is and you aren't talking, he's just humming underneath his breath. Will drum on the steering wheel though
(Yes, it gets its own section because MAYBE I'm obsessed with the idea of MC teaching Solomon to cook and the food still turning out terrible but at least it isn't a void when MC is helping)
The type to flick water at you every time he washes his hands. Will chase you down just to do it.
"Hey, tilt your head back and open your mouth MC" (proceeds to dump too big a handful of shredded cheese in your mouth)
100% the type to lean over you just to hinder your cooking abilities. Who cares if the sauce splashes he's tiiiired.... you'd let belphie do it :(
Puts a hand on your lower back when he passes behind you. Hopes you'll lean into it/step back and offer him a kiss 🥺
Believes in always having a proper table setting. Prepare for whatever juice they have (or water) in wine glasses if you're having a nice-er meal
Under the assumption that a spell ruined his sense of taste (and not that he's just bad at cooking) he hates spicy food. He can feel the burn but he gets none of the flavor??? Wack. Don't hurt him like that MC. If you do because its hilarious to watch him try to be cool about it he will pout
Gets cheesy aprons. He just likes them.
Will hit you on the top of your head with a whisk to hear the noise it makes
Will buy every kitchen hack tool there is. A ketchup dispenser that looks like a gun? He's got it. A fish that helps you squeeze out the egg yolks? Yes! A dinosaur soup ladle? You bet! Pizza scissors? A tool that makes hard boiled eggs into cubes? Something that's gotta be like 200 years old and no discernable purpose? Absolutely! He wants a hot dog toaster. Do they even have hot dogs in the devildom?
Will sneak bites just because it bothers you
Look at him. He hasn't had friends in centuries. He's playful!
Look at his DEVILGRAM NAME
His funky little WAND
This is a man who is a huge nerd, thrives off of cliches and just wants to have a good time. So let him! Its mentally exhausting having those pretenses up all the time.
hiii! i really admire your art skills. and the fact that you improved so much in just 6 months is inspiring! do you have any tips on how to improve? i'm 26 and i want to improve but i feel like ive neglected my art for so long and now it's too late. :(
THANK YOU SO SO MUCH OMG ?? oh man i’m so bad with feeling and gratitude but this seriously means more than i can express so i worked really, really hard on narrowing down my best tips! so here’s
Eli’s Top 5 Rules To Be a Totally Cool Awesome Badass Artist In As Long As It’s Going To Take (In Order) :
Most important rule of all is it should be FUN. be disgustingly self indulgent, draw what you want and LOVE, not what you think you should or what everyone else is, or how everyone else is! don’t vibe with doing sketches first? hate lining? despise complicated painting styles? find shortcuts, don’t do them!!! if you’re doing digital maybe draw your sketches traditionally first and scan them/take a photo to draw over, try a lineless style, cel shading, or mixing mediums, the options are endless! this is where your “style” will come from. all “style” is, is an artists shorthand.
You are your only competition. never compare your progress to anyone but your past self, it’s not a race in terms of how good you are at X age after X amount of time spent practicing. i saw it illustrated in this comic a few years ago (that made me cry at the time, because i hadn’t started drawing yet) as seeing your skills as a beautiful potted plant- just because some people are walking around with theirs fully grown and thriving, doesn’t mean your little sprout will stay small forever. just be patient, keep watering it, and eventually, it’ll be a beautiful flower all your own. ❀
Use references Obsessively. this includes tracing! (ethically) there’s a ton of resources out there, redraws of frames from movie or shows are great too! play around with it, try using the perspective but change the style or turn it into a character au for a fandom you love. (this is part of that first tip!) mashing together images past the point of original intelligibility is acceptable as well. the goal isn’t to obsess over accuracy or stop using references altogether though, just to use them differently over time.
Inspiration/motivation won’t be gone forever. don’t force yourself to practice drawing, or you’ll end up resenting it altogether. i’ve had my tablet and pencil since january but i say 6 months bc there were two (almost three) entire months where i had no inspiration and just did Nothing. take time to consume new media for ideas or look at what inspires you instead! keep folders of the things you find most appealing to pull up when you need them. art can be a freeing escape if you allow it to be!
Look at art you admire and think about Why you admire it. why does it look good, what catches your eye most? is it the colors? the lighting? the shapes and perspective? the varied line thicknesses or the overall layout composition? everything can be broken down into components, hone in on the ones you like most and try to emulate them. we’re all just flowing down the stream of shared inspiration together. :)
bonus digital art tip: you will always need more layers than you think you do. give each element its own layer like it’s the most introverted mf you’ve ever met, i swear on everything good in this cursed world you will thank me later. layer/item selection and transform are your best goddamn friends for life.
there’s also a lot of art related posts in this tag and on my art twitter ♡ thank you endlessly again and good luck on your journey!!
Ok so I have been in the interest area for some time
And I may have gotten interested in several Draculas
Here is a list of who I have on team:
5. Bram Stoker's Dracula
I mean come on, Gary Oldman in late Victorian era suits is just extremely handsome. The warrior that became a vampire: seductive, cruel, very nice when in love.
They were quite very bold when they named the movie "Bram Stoker's Dracula" to be honest - like, yes, it is very evident that they followed the author, but decided to add a more romantic plot with some Victorian sensuality. My personal opinion - they tried too hard: they wanted to fit their own storyline of Mina x Dracula love to the original Stoker story, while keeping up at least in the beginning to the author's stile of reading diaries and switching POVs in 2 hours of screentime - it did not go as smoothly as one might have wished, the time is obviously not enough, the story and character relationships are a bit rushed. Besides some characters were well... Lucy's lovers are a bit dumb - far worse than they were in the book and Lucy - ok I get it, you wanted to add eroticism, but not like that!!
In general not so bad. I like it, feels like a nice interpretation.
4. Netflix Dracula
Well, the storyline began as if it could have been Bram Stoker's, but proved to be very different from the original quite quickly. Another nice interpretation. Van Helsing is a female and a nun - that's quite an interesting change. (Seriously, I love the character, she's a big mood.)The modern versions of characters in 3rd episode seemed kinda cool too
Absolutely loved the idea of Dracula absorbing the memories and knowledge with blood, it's really cool. ( Can I please be a vampire too? I really need that for my studies!)
Claes Bang portrayal of the vampire seemed very impressive. Loved it - didn't expect to but loved it - it was the first Dracula movie I watched and it left me under a spell.
Plus the human-eating irony - Hannibal Lecter would have shook Dracula's hand for that, those two have a common sense of humour and aesthetic.
As with the previous one, I enjoyed the interpretation quite a lot.
3. Van Helsing
Well, in that one.
The story has almost nothing to do with the book, doesn't even try to, but the plot they made is exciting - the ancients old enemies concept and all that stuff. The gothic Transylvania/Budapest/Paris/wherever else they were depiction is lovely - it gives the viewer this sense of darkly beautiful atmosphere of vampire stories; soundtrack adds to the picture nicely.
Characters, well... Anna is cool if you look at her in terms of personal - keep up the family values and stuff. BUT a young lady wearing tight trousers in 19th century, are you kidding me??? I'm sorry, but that weirded me out a bit. Same with that moment when "oh I fell five meters and before that soaked under rain, look at my perfectly soft curls" - the female characters in that movie are a bit overly fancy for the time and the action genre - same with Dracula's brides, they're kind of cute, love their babies and Dracula, but why on Earth are they always half-naked?
Van Helsing has a bit of a younger and sadder Mad-Eye Moody vibe. "I kill monsters, although I do pity the humans that sit inside of them. These things need to die" - that kind of person. Hugh Jackman plays him nicely, I felt him very fit for the role - he and Dracula are basically what really saves the film and makes it interesting.
Dracula here is just.. I mean aw. He's hot. He's got a nice accent, he turns into some flying half bat thing that looks hella cool, and he removes his cape in such an extremely graceful gesture that it makes one faint. Love that guy.
(+ the ballroom dance scene was very sensual and gothic, it was one of the reasons I started watching the movie)
2. Dracula Untold
The story of medieval Dracula and how he came to be a vampire - to protect his people and his family. Politics, love, monsters and broken dates. That movie has a great plot and some points which make you stop and wonder (oh do I love the quotes of those "sometimes the world doesn't need another hero, sometimes what it needs is a monster" and of that sort, just beautiful)
It is kind of tragic, but it has a bright side to it, I am extremely grateful to the authors for what they did to the ending.
And Dracula himself well... Luke Evans is just gorgeous in the role. The ultimate strong warrior vampire - a monster to his enemies and a loving husband and father to his family. Dracula redeemed. This one is sweet.
Aaaand here we go on my favourite one. If you don't mind watching anime and you love vampires/gothic stuff - you're probably gonna enjoy this. I did. I loved it: the plot, the characters, their relationship, the whole concept of the vampire community and Dracula the vampire King, their motivations. It's catching, it's mesmerizing, it charmed and drew me in (read: I cried and wailed together with my friend, this left me a trauma, I had to write a big fanfic to make up for the pain).
Main characters - Adrian, Sypha and Tevor are a bit Ron, Harry and Hermione but they are a lovely trio, I love the tension between Trevor and Adrian. Very loveable characters, and I dare say quite well written.
And, well, Dracula. Excuse me, this one is my personal favourite. I mean - a beautiful castle, that is moved by some cool mechanisms to wherever Dracula pleases, an enormous library with all the forgotten knowledge of the world. Dracula himself is extremely well-educated, well-mannered, THE gentleman (and yeah well 8ft tall but let's skip that bit). I love that character he is in so much pain I want to hug him and cuddle him into warm blankets. He is a sweetheart.
So that was a short attempt of a person who is terrible at criticizing stuff to write some film reviews. In case anyone is interested. And for me to reassemble my journey into the vampire world.
Hey, I love your analysis and I really want to know what do you think about how Baz’s vampirism was handled in AWTWB. Personally, I didn’t like it because it felt like he was just pushing it down, I hoped he would come to terms with the fact that he is a vampire and maybe stop viewing himself and the other vampires as evil.
Hi, Anon. I'm so glad you like my analysis! Thank you for sending in this ask! I have so much I want to say about Baz's vampirism. (So much, in fact, that this is like 40k words! Oops!)
I feel very strongly about both Baz and Simon coming to accept and even love the things that make them "monstrous" and also being comfortable enough to share those parts of themselves with each other. That said, I actually feel really good about where we left off with Baz in canon. I think he's come a lot further than it seems, and while he has more hard work to do, he's definitely on the path to get there, and he finally has the support system he needs to make that happen.
With your indulgence, I want to talk about why I think Baz's arc looked the way it did in AWTWB, why I think we have reason to feel good about that arc, and why we can feel confident about his post-AWTWB outlook.
At its heart, this trilogy is Simon's story. The focus had to be mostly on him and his arc, and while Baz, and their relationship play big roles in that arc, they can't be the focus. The vampire storyline in CO was tied up in the mystery surrounding Natasha's death, and in WS, it was tied up in Agatha's disappearance. Those storylines were both important for Baz's character development, but they were also part of the overarching "external" plot of the books. In AWTWB, the "external" plot line is instead the Chosen One cults—which I think makes a lot more sense in terms of closing out Simon's arc as the Chosen One. While it may not sound incredibly healthy, I think sorting out his relationship with Simon is actually far more important to Baz's mental health than facing his self-loathing as a vampire at this point in his journey.
When we're looking at AWTWB, I think it's easy to forget where it fits into the overall timeline, which is critical to putting the book into perspective. Both WS and AWTWB take place in June 2017. CO, on the other hand, runs from September 2015 to September 2016 (in the epilogue). CO was an entire year and WS and AWTWB both take place in under a month. (I'm not including the AWTWB epilogue, because while I have thoughts about its significance for everyone in the "flock" of magic, Baz isn't explicitly in it.) Almost no time has passed between WS and AWTWB. While we see everyone undergo a lot of personal growth in AWTWB, the amount of that growth is limited to what is possible in that timeframe. (Could this book have been spread out over the course of another year? Yes, but I don't really think it would have been made better for a protracted story/timeline.)
WS is a book about people who are stuck in a bad place—even while its cast is driving cross-country. I have seen arguments that WS actually doesn't matter, because there wasn't forward progress made. I disagree with this, because while it lacks linear progression—it ends with Simon and Baz about to have the same conversation (the same breakup) from the opening scene, with Penelope once more interrupting—the point that WS makes is that even though progress can be slow and doesn't always go smoothly, or even in the right direction, it still happens. It may not be apparent, but that doesn't mean it isn't there. (I know this was an ask about AWTWB, but I really think we have to look at CO and WS first. I promise there is a point to this.)
When WS starts, Baz is so caught up in Simon's problems, and the problems between them, he's not looking inwardly. He has to smooth things out with Simon first, and then do some deep introspection. The avoidance of his own problems is something he's learned from his family. Unlike Simon, Baz has grown up with relationship modeling and people who love him. But the way love was modeled for him wasn't always healthy: Malcolm closes himself off emotionally and Fiona channels her grief into rage and revenge. Baz is heavily affected by both of these examples. (In CO, he admits to standing in front of a mirror and practicing his father's emotionless expressions and posture. In AWTWB, Baz tells Fiona that going along with her schemes was his way of trying to earn her approval.) Baz's unhealthy coping mechanisms (i.e., not coping at all, and instead burying everything so deep he doesn't even know it's there, or throwing himself headfirst into "solving" external problems) have led to him repressing much of who he is.
Baz has been denying his vampiric side for so long, he's nearly mentally divorced himself from the reality of it. (I know that you know that he's repressing his vampirism, but in order to make my point about his progress, I'm going to spend some time delving into the extent of that repression, and what it looks like.) Given the danger it presents to him in the World of Mages, it makes sense that Baz would work hard to keep it hidden, but that makes it impossible for him to do the work needed to embrace his vampirism.
Ever since he was Turned, Baz has had to live with the belief that his mother would have killed him herself if she had lived through the vampire attack. That's a hard fact to live with for anyone, let alone a child who's already dealing with the loss of that very mother.—Not to mention one who is confronting the knowledge that he's going to Turn into the very creatures responsible for his mother's death. Once he started at Watford, the number of people he had to hide from and lie to grew to encompass everyone on campus—especially his roommate. When that roommate became ever increasingly suspicious of his activities, only to figure out the truth, and then proceed to try to convince everyone around them that he was, in fact, a vampire, it's understandable that Baz would be all the more diligent in repressing his vampiric side and come to hate it that much more.
We see Baz's denials in CO, when Simon asks him point blank, and Baz avoids or lashes out. ("Get off my bed, Snow." "Why don't you ask one?" "I swallow my temper and then swallow it again.") When Baz and Simon go to the vampire bar, and Baz has to confront for the first time the fact that he is one of them as much as he is a magician, he can't handle it. This, compounded with the frustration of their only lead on his mother's murder refusing to help, sends him spiraling to the point that he tries to take his own life. There is a lot tied up in that decision for Baz, but Baz's words during the scene in the forest tell us that his vampirism is one of the biggest factors. "This is what my mother would want for me…If she knew what I am…She would never have let me live…She loved what I was!…I'm not that boy anymore. I'm one of them now." This is the first time in Baz's life that he's met another vampire since he was Turned. The first time he's even been around them. The first time he's seen one (as far as he knows). I don't think that he had prepared himself for how it would feel for him to walk into that world. He did his best to remain emotionally removed from the situation, and lean heavily into his magician side: dressing up to show his wealth, being hostile, smoking, using his wand, walking in with the Chosen One, giving his full name—Tyrannus and Pitch are both names from his mother's side, underscoring his identification with her, and opposition to the vampires. This show is as much about constructing an identity to project to the vampires as it is about constructing an identity for himself. I've talked about how Baz uses clothing as emotional armor, and in this scene, we can see this conscious construction of a strong self-image, and afterward, we see how it crumbles around him.
It's only when Baz thinks he's at the very end that he speaks the truth out loud to Simon. And Simon, in classic Simon fashion, decides he's actually not afraid of or creeped out by Baz being a vampire. This is very, very important for Baz! He moves from knowing the person who loved him most (Natasha) would have killed him for being a vampire, to realizing the person he loves most (Simon) can know the truth and still accept him, still want him. That is going to go a long way to helping Baz to eventual acceptance. But we know it's not going to be easy, or happen quickly. As much as it means to Baz to have Simon see him for what he is and still choose him, he still struggles with seeing himself for what he is.
I think the best example of Baz's continued state of denial over his vampirism in CO is his refusal to allow Nico to come to Watford with him. "But I'll be damned to hell twice over before I let a vampire into Watford." Now, when I say that Baz is in denial over his vampirism, I don't mean that he doesn't know or believe that he's a vampire. He obviously does. What I mean is that he doesn't see himself as belonging with other vampires. He sees himself as a magician, and only a magician—one who just very unfortunately has to drink blood to survive. (There's a lot that can be said about how this ties into his internalized homophobia.) Vampires are separate, other. He won't acknowledge the fact that his status as a possibly immortal, blood drinking, super human creature, affects his identity in any material way, unless he allows it. He thinks that because of his status as a mage, and because of his refusal to drink human blood, and the fact that he's never associated with other vampires, he is different from them—better. With this line to Nico, Baz tells us all we need to know. Baz refuses to let a vampire into Watford, despite the fact that he is one! And it's even more telling that Baz isn't saying this to just any other vampire. He's saying it to the only other (known) magician who was Turned. However, the key point for Baz in mentally separating himself from Nico is that Nico chose to cross over, and Baz had no choice. Baz fights back against his vampirism, and Nico embraces it (as far as Baz knows) by drinking human blood and living among other vampires.
We see that Baz has continued in this mindset between CO and WS, and considering that he probably hasn't had any other encounters with vampires that would affect his outlook, it makes sense that that outlook wouldn't have changed. Baz and Penelope are both so invested in Simon that they've neglected themselves. Baz hasn't done any self-reflection or made any progress on the path to accepting the parts of himself that he hid from before. It's Baz who immediately suspects the vampires at the Renaissance Faire and insists on following and attacking them. Simon remarks on how their positions seemed to have reversed, as he has always been the one to fight against the "dark" creatures before. But Simon's made his peace with vampirism ("I'd rather risk a bite") and Baz hasn't. The Ren Faire vampires are caricatures of themselves—dressed in costumes, obvious—doing very stereotypical vampire-y things—draining "harlots like cans of lager"—a perfect target (and metaphor) for Baz's internalized hatred. They even have a Lestat de Lioncourt to bring back his traumatic memories of being "a 15-year-old closet case whose parents didn't notice when the family dog disappeared."
The most striking part of this battle with the Ren Faire vampires, however, is the fact that Baz continues to act like they're something completely different from him. Simon says, "Christ, you people are perverts", and Baz's immediate retort is, "These are not my people." We see this again when Shepard tells Baz he's "never met a vampire", and Baz says, "I hope your luck holds." When Margaret calls him "an abomination", Baz's response is, "I'm not—that…I'm a mage! I was bitten by a vampire as a baby!" He continues to claim only his mage half: vampire isn't who he is, it's what happened to him. Penelope has observed this attitude, too, and I'm sure to her it makes sense, because they have very similar feelings about mage superiority and vampire villainy. In their escape from Jeff Arnold's posse at Carhenge, she tells us that "Baz is truly frightening when he's not pretending he's not a vampire." When Baz goes to the vampire party in the Katherine, he tries to bolster his courage to follow through in his ruse. The thought that seems to convince him to stay and put his life in danger is this: "vampires mustn't learn to Speak—no one should be allowed to be both." The irony of Baz—the only person in existence who can do both—being the one to have this thought is lost on him, because he doesn't think it's ironic. He doesn't think he's one of them. This is made unequivocally clear during the final face-off in the desert. In the midst of his shock and grief at seeing Simon on the ground, apparently dead, one of the thoughts that races through his mind is: "I'm pretending to be a vampire." Baz thinks he's pretending! (He is definitely pretending—the exact opposite—but he's the only one fooled by the act.)
Of course, in this same scene Baz—probably for the first time in his entire life—gives over completely to his vampiric side when he tears off Braden's jaw and goes on a rampage. The only reason Baz lets out that side of him is that he thinks Simon is dead: "There's no saving me. Everything I am is already gone. My teeth are like knives. I use them." Just as he did after being surrounded by vampires in CO, Baz lashes out in desperation and grief—once again placing his life in danger and believing that he's not going to walk away. Just as in CO, this appears to be the only kind of situation when Baz feels comfortable with letting his vampiric side surface. If he's at his end, then it no longer matters if he's hiding.
Even Baz's lack of a practical meal plan shows us his denial. Not only does he seem to be punishing himself for the fact that he has to drink blood to survive by the way he goes about it—skulking around in shame and secret—he also willfully places himself into situations where blood is a scarcity! Simon tries to talk about this with Baz at the airport before their trip. It's a very reasonable concern on Simon's part, to be thinking about how his boyfriend is going to be able to obtain blood when they're on a plane and a road trip. This is a topic Simon broaches himself, despite the fact that there is almost no useful communication between them at this point. Simon wants to talk about this important subject and Baz shuts him down by not taking any of it seriously. "I'll be fine, Snow. It's only eight hours. I get through every day without slaughtering people…No worries, I've heard that America is overrun with rats. And other animals, Grizzly bears, show dogs." Baz hasn't planned how he's going to get blood while abroad. And we know that shortly after arriving, he's already suffering. Thinking about how delicious Simon and Penny smell, rather than admit that he needs to drink. Not only thinking about it, but doing so just after Simon has once more asked Baz about getting blood. Baz puts him off with the excuse that he's "not going hunting in the suburbs at midday" and insists that he's "fine", then goes on to call himself a "deliriously thirsty vampire" and has to run out of dinner in order to avoid disaster in the Cheesecake Factory. He has to use a spell and wrestle "nine tabby cats" behind a skip because he puts off drinking for so long. And he doesn't get more thoughtful about sourcing blood after this, either. All of this is an extended symptom of Baz trying to distance himself from other vampires. He's so in denial, he won't even take the time to consider how to find animals to drink and try to keep to a hunting schedule, because he just won't let himself think about his need for blood. It's beneath him.
The point I hope I'm getting across with all of this is just how far Baz still has to go to accept his vampirism. So far that first he must admit his vampirism is a part of who he is, and not just a side effect of something that was done to him. That's a big divide to cross. He does make large strides in WS, and continues on that path in AWTWB, but I think it's realistic, considering where he starts on his journey, that he still has more work to do. To be fair, there is always more work to do—for all us.
While I'm on the topic of major strides in WS, let's take a look at what those are—then we'll look at the progress Baz makes in AWTWB. At the start of WS, we see that Baz has grown into himself. He's coming out of the closet in all ways except vampiric. Part of what spurs him to do this is being free from Watford and his father. He's living on his own—he can be his own man. But the other, and equally important part, is the fact that he's dating Simon. He has a good reason to want to be "out" and that reason is being out with the man he loves. Of course, when we join the story, that's not going so well. But for a while, things were pretty good for Baz. ("Last September…I would have had to pull my mouth away from his to ask the question, and he might not have let me finish.") Baz being more confident in one aspect of his life is important for his confidence in other aspects, and the less he feels he needs to hide, the lighter the toll will be from his other secrets. What I mean is that being openly queer will only help him in the long run to being more open about vampirism. (At least, where and when it's safe.)
The bigger progress Baz makes is, of course, with Lamb and the vampires of Las Vegas. (I've said it before and I'll say it again: "The Vampires of Las Vegas" is an indie band waiting to happen.) Being in Las Vegas is the very first time in twenty years that Baz has existed freely and openly in public—and also the first time he has been in public where other vampires can exist freely and openly. No one in Las Vegas is ashamed or afraid or repulsed by what they are. They aren't vampires, they're brethren. They have elected officials. They have regular jobs and swanky, exclusive parties, and access to all the blood they could ever need without having to kill or Turn. They help each other out! They protect their own! Compare this experience to the vampire bar in Covent Garden and it's night and day. This is an existence Baz cannot even fathom—one he certainly doesn't trust. It's too good to be true. And Baz doesn't want to let himself enjoy it. Not just because he's there as a spy, but because he's there as a mage. He doesn't believe that he really has a place in Lamb's world, because he doesn't see himself as a vampire. The lifestyle Lamb is selling isn't one Baz is willing to buy because it's affirming for the part of himself he fights against the hardest and hates the most.
When Baz and Lamb are out on their "date", Baz gets drunk. And the whole time he's drunk, surrounded by other drunk people, he's thinking about how he hates drunk people. All the while, he's a vampire, surrounded by other vampires, thinking about how much he hates vampires. Lamb even remarks that Baz stands out from the other vampires based on his drinking habits: "And you are the only one of us I've ever met who can't hold his drink." The thing is, Baz is actually enjoying himself! And he's actually able to admit that. ("This is the best night out I've had.") I think the point here is that if Baz allowed himself to try living life as a vampire—to accept that he is one—he'd feel better about himself and the world. He'd be able to let go a little. But then, Lamb grabs a tourist and offers his neck to Baz, and the spell is broken, so to speak. Baz isn't at the point yet where he can take that step. He's only just seen how life for him could be living openly, if he were able to accept his vampiric side. But he hasn't done the work to get there.
This hasn't changed with Lamb's next offer: for Baz to stay in Las Vegas. This conversation does happen after Lamb betrays Baz, but it's still an incredibly important one. It's important, not just because it happens at a critical point in Baz's journey, but also because of how Baz reacts. Lamb might not have known Baz was a magician until earlier in the scene, but he still cuts through all of Baz's bullshit. "I'm glad your friends made it…but that doesn't change reality—nothing can change what you are." Those have to be hard words for Baz to hear. Definitely hard for him to accept. "You saw what I am," is Baz's answer, because of course he only thinks of himself as a magician. Lamb's response is, again, incisive. "Yes. You're one of them. I see that. But Baz, you're one of us, too. Blood will out." The next exchange is the key: "Could I live as a mage in your tower, Lamb?" "Can you live as you are with them?" Baz doesn't answer him. But I think Lamb is actually asking the wrong question. He doesn't understand Simon and Penny. He doesn't believe that anyone in the World of Mages could accept a vampire among them. That's why he doesn't have a hope of convincing Baz. The question he should have asked—the question Baz needs to be asking himself is: Can you let yourself live as you are? Will Baz allow himself to live as a mage AND a vampire?
The answer to that is no. Not at this point in the story—Baz is still very much in denial. But what Lamb does for Baz is show him possibilities. He shows him a world of acceptance, a world free of shame, a community—even if these aren't things that Baz can accept from him. Baz rejects the support that's offered to him, but it's still important that the support is offered at all. There isn't anyone back in England that's offered Baz support in a way that would genuinely help him. There isn't anyone there who can help him in a material way, perhaps apart from Nico, who, as far as we know, is struggling to keep his own life together. When Baz needs help in Las Vegas, he only has two people to call: Malcolm and Fiona. Malcolm may keep the family woods stocked with deer, but he won't even talk to Baz about his vampirism. Fiona…is a vampire hunter for the Coven. Baz needs other people to call. If he takes away nothing else from Lamb, I hope it's the knowledge that there are mentor figures out there who can see him for what he is—mage and vampire—and still want to help. That he has the right to not just ask it, but demand it.
But of course, Baz does take something else away from his association with Lamb, and it's maybe the biggest piece of the puzzle so far. Baz learns how to control his fangs while eating. He can eat in public. He can eat and not be afraid of who will see him. He can eat and not bite himself with his own fangs. This is one of the most pivotal and emotional scenes in Baz's journey, not just because he learns this huge thing, but because Lamb tells him, "you are not an animal…You are a man, Baz. You are in control, not the thirst." This is something Baz has been struggling with since he was a child. This is a huge milestone for him. And it's brand new. WS takes place over one week. That's a super condensed time period. The gang barely has time to breathe. There isn't time for Baz to stop and reflect on this new skill afterward. And while we do get to see his reaction in this scene, we don't get more than passing thought from Baz about how he’s getting better at retracting his fangs at the beginning of AWTWB when he and Baz are eating ham sandwiches. I think there was a missed opportunity in him not commenting on it elsewhere, for instance when he’s able to eat cake in front of Lady Ruth, but that doesn't make this any less earth-shattering for Baz.
There's something even deeper at play here, and that is the start of acceptance. Baz doesn't just keep his fangs back in this scene, he feels them sliding down into place and he pulls them back into himself. He's physically drawing his fangs—his vampirism—into himself.—He's internalizing them. He's taking control and he's accepting them back in. Lamb tells him he's not an animal—Lamb tells him he's in control—and Baz draws his fangs in. I think this is the first moment when Baz finally starts to open up to the idea that being a vampire is a part of him, he just doesn't know that's what he's doing.
We sadly don't get Baz's thoughts on eating in AWTWB, but we do get to see him fully embrace this new freedom and control in his life in a really wonderful way. He eats with Simon, with Lady Ruth and Jamie, with Penny and Baz, with Malcolm and Daphne and his step-siblings. Baz gets to break bread with his family and he doesn't have to be afraid, he doesn't have to hide, he doesn't have worry about cutting himself. The scenes with Lady Ruth are especially joyful as she is a link to Baz's mother, intent on"shoring up [his] foundation". In her, Simon and Baz find a warm, welcoming, supportive older figure. She knows they're both queer and she supports their relationship. She knows about Simon's wings and she wants him to keep them out in her house. She even makes it clear she'd like to fly herself. If she found out about Baz's vampirism, these two things tell us that she would embrace him. Lady Ruth is over the World of Mages politics. She just cares about loving the people around her. By the end of the book, Baz has also succeeded in getting Daphne to come home, and she lets him know she wants him and Simon to visit in Oxford, implying that Malcolm is also amenable, or that she will work to make him so.
All of these relationships are very important for Baz. Even more so, his relationship with Simon. That's where most of the work is done in this book, and that's how it needs to be. I don't mean that it would have been detrimental to have Baz directly working on his vampirism instead, but considering how little time has passed overall since WS, I think the relationship work with Simon was much more critical to laying the foundations for his future progress. Baz needs the people he loves to accept his vampirism and embrace it and love him because of it. I don't think it would be unreasonable to say that everyone else in Baz's life loves him in spite of his vampirism. Simon, on the other hand, loves him because of it. Simon likes it. He's never known a Baz who wasn't a vampire. That's who Simon fell in love with. That, long term, is going to make all the difference to Baz's self-acceptance. The same way that Baz loving Simon's wings and tail and his de-powered self will go a long way to Simon making peace with the loss of his magic. I know that, ideally, we should want for Baz to be able to accept and embrace and love his vampirism without needing to have Simon do that first. But he's been dealing with it pretty much all on his own for fifteen years. He finally has someone to help him bear that burden and they both deserve to have unconditional love and support in their lives after all they've been through. Seeing vampirism through Simon's eyes gives Baz a brand new perspective. He's not comfortable with it, yet, but that perspective can only help to show him that being a vampire doesn't make him a monster or a villain.
Simon is so unbothered by Baz's vampirism, he insists on going hunting with him. He's been trying to convince Baz to take him hunting since the night they first kissed. It isn't until after they've broken up and reconciled that Baz allows it. Hunting is a fact of Baz's life, and sharing that with Simon shows us that he's opening up. If Baz is willing to let Simon see him in his element as a vampire—hunting, killing, drinking blood—then he's willing to let Simon see him as a vampire. It solidifies the idea in an irreversible way. Simon has seen Baz drink before in a limited way—he talks about Baz drinking a squirrel, he steals a dog for him, he insists on going with Baz when they're on Margaret's mountain, he's there for the bird apocalypse—but the scene in the alley in AWTWB seems to be the first time he's really been a part of things. The conversation they have is honest and messy and Baz gets blood all over himself. And he lets Simon see him this way! He tells Simon to “Turn around” so that he can see him covered in blood! They're being open and raw. Simon tells Baz he'd let him drink his blood.
Baz gets upset by Simon suggesting that Baz drink from him, but Simon makes his feelings clear, in the alley, and then later at Watford. Even though Baz doesn't like the idea and tries to shut the conversation down both times, he can't be ignorant of Simon's intentions. Simon is very clear: "Just know…that I'd do anything for you. That I'd let you do anything to me. There's nothing about you I don't want." —There's nothing about you I don't want.— Baz cannot have any doubts after this conversation that Simon accepts and embraces his vampirism. It's part of the way Simon wants to be with Baz, and that's going to help change Baz's mind about himself. But he's not there yet. And that's okay. They have the rest of their lives. They've only just barely reconciled and they're trying to figure out how to navigate this second chance. As much as I would like to see Baz drink from Simon—because that would show him truly embracing that side of himself—this isn't the time for it. I want them to get to a really comfortable place first, and things are still very new and uncertain. I have no doubt that they have the tools in place to build a sturdy foundation and that is imperative for Baz to take a positive view of drinking human blood—as long as that human is Simon.
Sticking a little longer with this second conversation around human blood drinking because it shows Baz's perspective at this point and how it has shifted even from WS. When Simon tells Baz, "You know that you aren't more responsible for vampires just because you are a vampire…" Baz asks, "Aren't I? They're my kind." —They're my kind.— Baz is grouping himself in with vampires, out loud, to Simon. When Simon pushes back on this by calling Baz "their victim", Baz's response is, again, to group himself with other vampires: "All vampires are victims." As the conversation goes on, Baz is the one taking the defensive position, giving vampires the benefit of the doubt that "they don't know a different way to survive" and denying that he's "special". This is a huge shift in his attitude from the Ren Faire when he was ready to kill the other vampires on sight, and continued to insist on their guilt to Simon, and distance himself from them. Baz's time in Vegas with Lamb has definitely changed his outlook and it will continue to do so, the longer he has to digest everything.
Later on, after Baz confronts the truth of what he did to Philippa, his thoughts turn once more to his place among vampires. "Since we left America, I've been trying to decide what I'm culpable for…what about those vampires at the Renaissance Faire? I thought they were murderers—but at the time, I thought all vampires were murderers…I don't know what I feel." Here, again, we see evidence of the changes in Baz's mindset toward vampires in general, and his place among them. Maybe he still thinks vampires are "death", but he's no longer black-and-white about vampires being inherently bad. He's feeling torn and guilty and he's contemplating his identity and culpability in a way he's not done before. This shows an immense about of growth and progress from where he started out in CO, and even in WS. If Baz is taking the time to have this introspection, then it's likely a topic he's going to return to in future—when life settles down for Baz and Simon, he'll have a lot of opportunities to do some soul searching.
While I'm on the topic of the Philippa storyline… Baz's shame around his vampirism was fostered by his family and another positive in favor of Baz making peace with himself is the way we see him finally start to push back against the harmful influences in his life—especially confronting Fiona about what happened to Philippa. Baz is able to recognize the way Fiona manipulated and exploited him as a child and he calls her out on it. While he ultimately decides to forgive her in order to keep her in his life, he's not going to allow her to influence him in the same way again. One thing I really appreciated about AWTWB is how it shows that parental figures and mentors are just as flawed and human as the younger generation. The plot lines with Philippa and the tape recorder, Daphne succumbing to Smith Smith-Richards's message, and Malcolm being unable to take care of his children without help, work together to show Baz that the people he's spent his life looking up to and modeling himself after are far from perfect, and not actually any better at navigating the challenges of life than he is at twenty. He finally recognizes the influence they've had over him (some of that positive, as with Daphne) and that he can decide for himself if he's going to continue to let them influence him. He's asserting his agency over his narrative and that will be as much about his queerness, his place in his family, his place as a Pitch, his place in the Old Families, his place in the World of Mages, his place with Simon, as it is his vampirism.
The Philippa incident is touched on briefly a couple times in CO, and then dismissed with the belief that the loss of her voice will be temporary. Rainbow could have left her story alone, and we would have had to simply write it off the way Baz, Simon, and Agatha did in CO. I'm glad she didn't because I actually think that the Philippa plot line was really important for Baz's peace of mind and will ultimately help him reconcile with his vampirism. As much as Baz always viewed himself as a villain, he hasn't done a lot of truly villainous things, except for stealing Philippa's voice. By contrast, Baz's conduct as a vampire is unimpeachable—from the standpoint of harm done to other people. Philippa was victimized by Baz the mage and not Baz the vampire. If any one act in Baz's life is going to reinforce his negative self-image, it's going to be that act.
For me, it was really satisfying to have some reckoning and resolution on this. This is something Baz needs for himself. He has to face Philippa again, he has to face what he did to her, he has to face his motivations, he has to face his response. I mentioned before how Baz has long viewed himself as a villain, and also how stealing Philippa's voice is really the most villainous thing he's ever done. Baz can't really ever accept his vampirism as long as he views it as villainous and views himself as a villain. This is what prompts him to separate himself mentally from vampires—identifying only as a magician for most of the trilogy. His only reference point for fifteen years is the attack on Watford that resulted in Natasha's death and his Turning. He has more reference points now, new, more positive experiences. He understands that the ideas he has about vampirism from childhood are incredibly limited and not wholly accurate. (Vampires don't have to kill or Turn. They've been hunted and marginalized and demonized. They're not all monsters, just as not all mages are good.) I think Baz's family were able to excuse and even justify asking him, as a child, to do horrible things in the name of war and family pride, because of his vampirism. To them, it diminished his humanity, and was inherently "dark", and therefore, meant to some degree, he was irredeemable. This is something Baz internalized: "My road to hell isn't paved with good intentions or bad. It's just my road." Baz is finally coming out of this way of thinking.
In WS, Baz sees that vampires have far more humanity than he ever believed. He's starting to accept that his vampirism is a part of him and not just something that was done to him. I think the last piece in this puzzle is his view of himself, not in terms of vampire or mage, but in terms of his character. With the Philippa plot line, he has the chance to face his past and consciously choose for himself what kind of person he wants to be and how he's going to live his life—he's not going to let anyone else decide that for him anymore. It's a reckoning that Baz takes so much to heart that he's willing to give Philippa his wand—a symbol of sacrifice in order to prove himself repentant. Ultimately, his acceptance of vampirism is dependent on his acceptance of himself. Really then, this becomes a journey about Baz accepting all of his parts, not just his vampirism.—If he continues in his self-loathing, no amount of growth in regard to vampirism will make material difference.
By the end of AWTWB, Baz is in a place of healing and growth, and I think we can feel confident that will continue because he has a loving support system. If he's not living in constant terror that his relationship with Simon will crumble, then he can put that energy into further, much needed, personal growth. Things in his life are settling down: Simon is committed to him, Malcolm and Daphne have reconciled, Fiona is getting married. And positive change is on the horizon: Daphne is going to work on getting Malcolm to accept Simon, Fiona is marrying a vampire (and is apparently letting him drink from her) and will probably be doing some deep reflection herself, Simon is going to have Lady Ruth and Jamie to help him move forward. This is all groundwork for Baz to move forward, too. Fiona's going to wield less sway over Baz, Malcolm isn't going to be able to feed Baz's internalized homophobia, Nico will be in the picture to begrudgingly dispense further vampire life lessons, Simon is going to call him "hot" and insist on hunting date nights. Baz knows his vampirism won't prevent him from growing old with the man he loves, as long as he continues to rely on animals for sustenance. Baz has also reframed the way he regards Simon, letting him down off his pedestal and viewing him as a real person and an equal, instead of an ideal that he has to somehow strive to be worthy of: "I'm lying in bed with Simon Snow. No—I'm lying in bed with Simon. With Snow."
None of these are small victories, and taken together, I think we have a lot to feel good about in terms of where Baz is ending this part of his journey. The important thing to bear in mind is that it's not an ending. We leave Simon and Baz in the middle of a conversation, because their story isn't over, it's just up to us to write the next chapter.
Anon, if you’ve made it this far, I really hope this helps you to feel better about Baz's progress.
If anyone has additional thoughts, counterarguments, headcanons for Baz's future, or questions (about anything!) send them to me! ❤️
I'll take the first product and btw congrats on 1k!!!
I'm a Scorpio with a MBTI type of INTJ and 6w5
I've done a bit of boxing in my time so I have fast fists along with martial arts. A very laid back person, extremely nonchalant and not very prone to reactions especially in terms of negative light. It takes alot to rile me up and I'm extremely patient so it's hard to really make me upset. I love driving around the city especially at night. My ideal date in general is kinda just nighttime activity, I wander the streets sometimes (I wear a binder and hoodie to keep safe) especially since I'm an insomniac. I'll occasionally ride around and just have those 3 am chill days. I smoke weed too so that's another thing-
My love language is physical touch and words of affirmation, I'm all about making my partner comfortable though so I'm flexible to whatever there comfortable with. A listener at heart, I'm known to be very silent and listen to other people's problems and offer advice when I can.
I want someone who knows how to treat me right and can match my energy and respect me. A ride or die til the end and if things don't work out then we can stay friends.
Some things I'd do for my partner is take them on a drive and spoil them relentlessly. If they've had a bad day then I usually coddle them in my arms since I'm tall for a female (5'9) and do what I can to make sure there okay. I make music for them or sing to them because it's a passion of mine.
Tokyo revengers male matchup!
THANK YOU FOR ORDERING A MATCHUP PRODUCT!!
ORISHA MATCHES YOU WITH ......
˚₊❏ sanzu haruchiyo
"it doesn't work like that." for a second, you're nearly startled to death but the scent of copper and sandalwood easily soothed over your worries.
"there's way more steps than . . . whatever it is they're doing, especially if it's that specific type of wound." sanzu points, his honeyed voice too close to your ear.
you roll your eyes, not bothering to avert your attention from the crime tv show. squinting, you watch as a man's placed into a body bag. "thank you for informing me, mr. criminal."
"you're very welcome, just making sure you're not misinformed." slightly bending over, he places a chaste kiss on your clavicle, then a nip. you swat away at his head.
"missed me?" he tumbles over the couch and into the cushions. you hum, too focused on the scene beforehand. his head comes to lay on your thigh with an expecting hum. without a second thought, your fingers are combing through his long locks. he sighs, liberated while you rub circles at his scalp.
"i got your favorite pasta from your favorite restaurant." visibly, you light up. your eyes scan the kitchen in search of the treasured plastic container of food.
when you spot it, a hand comes to cup his jaw. his heart stops as you plant wet kisses across the span of his face.
pink, the color of his hair strands, dusts over his cheeks. heat reaches down his neck and completes its journey to his ears. when you're done, you're up in a flash. the sound of a plastic bag and a bowl clanking is all sanzu hears as you grab your bowl of pasta.
his scars raise as he lightly smiles.
there're words lodged in his throat, words he wishes to say. something along the lines of corny and appreciative. words that convey how you make his chest cave in, his heart too erratic to be kept in a place so small.
but he holds it in, too scared that'd you poke fun. instead, he opts to place his attention back on you as you plop back down on the couch. your eyes are still unnaturally bright as you stuff your face full with food.
"let me get a bite." he urges, pressing forward. you give him a look of skepticism but still give in.
I know we are all super curious about this new comeback and what it will be so I wanted to pull some cards to think about!
Funky Disclaimer: this is my interpretation of the cards and not to be taken as fact! This is for entertainment purposes~
Oki so 11 and 26 (though this number might have to do with something later), and may 14th it would make so much sense for this to be the day? Like logistically I think it would make perfect sense?
Leather?? (Is that just me having fake love flash backs and hoping for bad boi bangtan? Possibly but who knows 👀)
green and purple wtf? I KNOW we won't be having any barney shit in this house. Maybe.... set?
Maybe a dash of spring day vibes (long live the queen).
(Possibly irrelevant but yoongi on his little platform thing has a grey turtleneck and a black harness ish thing? Or maybe like a bag? Idk but it looks super cute with the rock star hair)
(Koos look is peak chunky fashion and I'm here for it!)
((I still haven't figured out if there's ever a specific reason that their clothes sometimes change on the platforms? Like for instance sometimes tae is wearing really cool smart pants and a beret but sometimes he looks like a total fuck boy? I really don't understand but I'm here for the energetic fashion show lol))
I SEE THEM WITH IMSTRUMENTS EVERYTIME I CLOSE MY EYES BC IM OBSESSED WITH ROCK-TAN
They can be a rock band and I want them to be really badly :(
It's funny bc the energy is like pop rocky but in spirit? I don't know how to make that make sense
The energy is a bit... everything?
Very good very good
So, starting from the very tippy top we have Hermit, ace of wands and nine of cups. These cards I pulled with the question "what will the vibe of the song be?"
The first thing to me is that its gonna be introspective in nature due to that hermit boi at the front but we get into the ace of wands and that to me is that bad ass creative spark that comes in a passionate form. The nine of cups is about personal fulfillment/ wish fulfillment and being greatful for what you have. So, due to my vague question (you think I'd learn by now lol) this can be either for the sound of the song/ genre or the actual lyrics? So. The sound of the song could have a layer of intensity with something pretty creative going on in the actual instruments (could also be traditional instruments, intresting layering, rock bangtan (PLEASE)? Or even something unconventional?) as well as the "traditional bangtan" sound. I say that because of the 9 of cups as I see that meaning that they might draw upon their personal repertoire of sounds that have become synonymous with bts? If that makes sense.
This could also be talking about lyrics? So again, Introspective and passionate but also lux? So this could be a "we never thought we'd be where we are" and "fuck you, you can't even perceive us bc we're on another level" and "this is our life blood and I'd rather die before I stop making music" kinda thing? (Obviously way better and wayyyy more classy) but this could also maybe be a continuation of hyyh? I'll get into it in a sec but the overall vibes for the song seem very bangtan? Like I highly doubt this song will be specifically focused on charting in the west? It feels more black swan than dynamite in terms of bts?
Oki now we have the 10 of swords and 8 of wands. These were about what the comeback itself would be like. I took this to be visuals and mv because I had very vague phrasing? But I'll also include it as how the comeback itself goes?
So the 10 of swords bleak. It's a painful ending and death in a way. It's loss and literally "it's darkest before the sun rises" kinda stuff. Sounds scary but this could talk about a few things. It could be the continuation of hyyh in music video form (and possibly the beginning of the end of hyyh as we know it now) this could be hyyh and conclusions start to fall into place (we already saw some hyyh references in film out) and a possible aging up of the characters at some point? The 8 of wands makes me think of that but also moving away from the og storyline and possibly creating a new thing. 8 of wands is about travel and moving and rapid movement/ change. With this card we could see them trying to hit a western market which is why I included it (though I think it's unlikely. Tbh I think it's partially me projecting bc I think the western charts don't deserve them)
BUT I really see it as change so if we actually get rock bangtan pls act suprised. They might be taking this time to really try something intresting!
So visuals, possible darker themes and possibly using them to contrast more happy things (very I need u ) could also be themes of loss. Either actual physical loss or possibly lack of self and identity. Also change and adapting as well as enthusiasm? Tbh I'm giving yall all the things the cards say bc I am a bit confused lol this could be a pastel fever dream it it would make perfect sense
I bet the color scheme will be fantastic though
I kinda overlapped some of my questions so if we move down a row we have the emperor, axe of pentacles and page of wands. This was for concept.
This to me is... intresting... so let's start with the emperor. Authority and power. This could be talking about them SHOWING their Authority and power through this comeback or it can talk about them portraying powerful and authoritative vibes.
Ace of pentacles. This is all about abundance and opportunity (usually financial or career bc its pentacles) tbh this might have something to do with flowers and gardens? Ngl though it could also be rich bitch bangtan. We have authority and power and abundance.... again this could possibly an extremely high budget thing too.
Page of wands. Creativity! Very creative/ intresting concept. This could talk specifically about the set or clothes? Idk why? This could also be about the flim / editing style?
We have the 3 of pentacles which is the card of collaboration and team work! This could signal the members having a real heavy hand in this either story wise or acting wise or possibly a bomb ass group dance (I say that thinking of some of the absolutely legendary dance breaks)
So for concept we have: authority, abundance, creativity, collaboration.
The oracle cards are for the attitude! We have value your self worth and purification and detoxification. The rebel cards are: you are being shady, you got a feeling you just can't shake and believe what you see. These to me say authenticity and tying back to the beginning, that kind of intensity in emotion (doesn't necessarily mean it's a sad song fyi) and also a cloudy layer? It makes sense to me bc this whole reading has been a bitch to do. It's like nothing is clear and straightforward and the idea of "cloudy" is kinda like there's more to it? I don't really know how to make that make sense but it would explain the feeling for hyyh. If not it could be the beginning of a new /era/. Not just the normal eras but like ERA you know?
For the two sacred rebel cards we have softly softly tender touch which is all about finding power by simply existing. Essentially there's no need to force something to happen when you can just continue being you and let it happen naturally. It uses the example of the sun and wind story and in short, the sun and the wind where trying to see who's more powerful and they decided that whoever could make the man's coat come off the fastest would be most powerful. Obvi the wind teies blowing the coat off but the sun was like "imma just shine so it's hot and he'll take it off because it's hot"
This to me is a very bangtan thing that they've come to the point where they don't want to try really hard to force something to happen when they can achieve it by simply being. So not making a song that's intended to top charts or break records but making a song that speaks to them and that they feel passionate about. That in turn receives the best gift ever. Love and support and feeling seen. (and its only natural that records get smashed along the way) so they are doing it for the music and creativity of it all, not really for social points!
Then we have follow your own rhythm. This card is about being intune with how things are going. Within a song you can feel it rise and fall and swell and you can tell when it's coming to an end. It's about knowing when to rest and when the song is over so you don't drag it out and dilute its meaning. This could be them transitioning from hyyh and putting it all to bed soon or it could be about their LY journey that's extended from LY:her through MOTS. They could be moving into a new song/ chapter as they feel the end of whatever song they're on approaching? It also could talk about them specifically starting to wrap things into neat bows to prepare for military service so they don't have unfinished business (I also wouldn't be suprised if they did some kind of cliff hanger scenario to give people theories to conspire over while the enlistments start. Whether they all decide to go at the same time (if they are even allowed to do that?) Or not, there will still be bangtan content in the interim)
These cards all make me stupid excited for the comeback because I really don't know what we're gonna get! It could be ANYTHING but it will definitely be good.
This definitely didn't have a lot of specifics and the energy is not very upfront but that makes it all the more fun. Bts are the masters of pulling something wild and unexpected out of their sleeves. It could be anything from dionysus to black swan to no more dream to dynamite to spring day to fucking converse high. Who knows. I'm just super excited to get to experience the thrill of the comeback and have some new tunes and mv to love!
If yall have any theories, do let me know! Do you think we'll have rock-tan? (Take a shot (( of good old h2o)) everytime I mention them being a rock band.
AHHHHH Just one preformance pls. Or one rock song. I will also accept pop punk and pop rock. That's all I need. All I crave. MAYBE ALT BANGTAN
oh my God I need to not drink coffee by the bucket load.
(Ps here's a gif of tae embodying what I want the aesthetic of thIS COMEBACK TO BE)
Edit: this was supposed to be posted yesterday but I didn't see my queue was set to today instead yesterday 🙃 also I read this back and it's a mess lol. It's 75% me thirsting for rock bts concept and 25% me hoping hyyh makes a return
I might add on to this later in case i can get a better reading but we'll see
This is the @maribat-secret-santa-2020 piece for @saltandfluff I am so sorry for being late!
Anyway, I will be using the quantic kids, but you don't necessary have to know them to understand this fic.
The only have to know that "Melodie" is Allegra's nickname.
It was always a bad idea to try to mess with fate. Everyone knew this. Allegra knew this, but she didn't care. Not when it was taking a toll on her sanity.
There were only so many times a person could see two literal soulmates walk past each other before they decided to take matters into their own hands.
So that's what she did.
Or well, was going to do once she could convince her friends to help her out.
"I don't know, Mel." Allan rubbed the back of his neck nervously. "These things take time you know? You cannot rush it." He glanced at the corkboard that was behind Allegra and winced, it was going to be impossible to talk her out of the crazy plan.
On the corkboard, there were two pictures. One was a selfie of Marinette Dupain-cheng. A twenty-year-old who was a regular at the café where Allegra and Claude worked at. After chatting with her in the mornings, Allegra decided to adopt the girl, and she introduced her to the rest of the group. She quickly became friends with Allan and surprisingly enough, with Felix as well.
The second picture was a rather blurry photo that was clearly taken from afar. You could sort of make out the image of Timothy Drake. The sleep-deprived twenty-one-year-old who had started going to the café for about a month. All the employees loved him because he never failed to amuse everyone with his half-asleep antics.
The one thing that both pictures had in common was a coffee cup.
On Marinette's collarbone, there was a small tattoo-like mark that looked like a coffee cup. The same one that was on Tim's wrist. Soul marks . Granted, they looked a bit plain compared to most people's soul marks, but in Allegra's eyes, they were the excuse she needed to get them together.
Allegra had shipped her two favorite customers long before she noticed their soul marks. But now that she knew they were soulmates . Well, she was not going to rest until they finally met.
"I'm not trying to rush things!" Allegra insisted. "I just want to push them in the right direction."
Allan looked at her, doubtful. "That's basically the same thing. Plus do actually think that," he squinted to read the list of plans that was tacked on the corkboard. "'Locking them inside a room with no escape' is merely pushing them in the right direction? 'Cause I think that sounds more like a hostage situation."
Allegra glared at him. "You know what? I don't need your help. Claude will help me. Right, Claude?"
Claude looked at her with wide eyes. "Oh no no no. Sorry Melodie but I can't."
"Uh, I'm sorry what?" Allegra blinked. It was very out of character for Claude to turn down the opportunity to help her with one of her elaborate plans. Not to mention that in this case, they were doing it to help Marinette.
"Allegra," he said solemnly, "this is a destiny thing. We just can't interfere."
Allegra facepalmed. "You can't be serious."
Claude looked at her dead in the eye. "If we interfere we might end up," he leaned towards her and whispered " cursed"
"Oh give me a break." Allegra pushed Claude away. "Are you guys kidding me? This is Marinette we're talking about. You all can't possibly think that Marinette wouldn't want to meet her soulmate, and as her friends, we have to help her."
"I agree with Allegra."
Everyone spun around in surprise.
Felix rolled his eyes at his friends' incredulous expressions. "What? Marinette is my friend as well. Is it really that shocking that I want to see her happy?" The three of them nodded. He ignored them. "Besides, I've heard Marinette ramble about soulmates nonstop, so it's clear that meeting hers is what she would want."
Allegra was the first to react "See guys? Even Felix agrees with me!"
Felix huffed. "Yes, but I also think that your plans are ridiculous and ineffective."
"I think the best thing we can do to help is to get them to interact and we-"
"That's literally what my plans are for!" Allegra interrupted.
Claude crossed his arms. "And what do you mean by 'we'? I haven't agreed to do anything."
Shooting both of them a glare, Felix continued. "- can do that without needing to kidnap them. We simply have to make it so that they have no other choice but to sit at the same table at the café. You all know how friendly Marinette is, it will only be a matter of time before they start talking."
There was a beat of silence.
"That… that might actually work," Allan admitted. "Soulmates are naturally drawn to each other so once they actually have a conversation we won't have to do anything else. They can figure out that they're soulmates by themselves." He paused and then chuckled. "We'll just have to push them in the right direction."
"But how are we going to get them in the café at the same time?" Allegra asked. "Tim always comes in right after Mari has left."
"Pft that's easy!" Claude exclaimed. "Just tell her that you need help with something and that you'll need for her to stay a while longer at the café. Since Mari doesn't have early classes on Wednesday she'll agree and- oh!" Claude suddenly slapped his hand over his mouth as his eyes widened with horror. "This does not mean that I'm helping." He mumbled from underneath his hand.
Allan laughed. "I think you just did."
"Looks like someone's going to end up cursed." Allegra singed songed. "Not even ladybug is going to be able to help you with that bad luck that's to come." She teased.
Claude pouted. "Haha, laugh all you want." He then looked up at the corkboard and grimaced. "But you're right, there's no turning back now. What do you need me to do?"
Allegra clapped her hands in glee.
"Okay so here's the plan."
Just like Claude had predicted, it was incredibly easy to convince Marinette to stay at the café. All that was left to do was orchestrate everything just so that the two soulmates had to sit at the same table.
It was easier said than done but after enlisting more people to help out, they were able to make sure that the café was full for that morning.
Everything was going according to plan…
"WHERE. IS. TIM?"
Claude looked around. "He hasn't arrived yet?"
"No!" Allegra cried. She glanced down at her watch and winced. They were running out of time.
Claude frowned. "And you know, it would have been nice if Marinette hadn't chosen today to wear a turtleneck."
Allegra couldn't help but agree. Sure, Marinette looked amazing with the turtleneck and skirt outfit but did she really have to wear it today? When they needed for her to show off her soul mark?
It was like the universe was against them.
But finally, Allegra heard a tinkling sound at the door. She spun around praying that it was Tim.
And it was!
He looked more tired than usual as he stumbled around trying to find a seat.
Allegra watched as Tim danced around the tables that were being occupied just as he was about to take a seat.
One after the other until finally, a good push later, he ended up at Marinette's table.
Tim was too tired to deal with this.
All he wanted was to sit down, have a couple of cups of coffee at his favorite coffee shop and finally be awake enough to continue investigating the moth guy.
But apparently, that was too much to ask because almost all the tables were full.
"Sorry man," Claude whispered as he guided a couple and motioned them to sit at the table that Tim had beelined for.
"Oh, actually I'm waiting for Adam." Felix had said when Tim asked if he could sit with him. Which was strange since Adam had said that he was waiting for Felix when he asked him.
But he could barely comprehend what they were saying, so he was not conscious enough to complain.
Tim continued on his journey when he felt someone push him from behind. In his half-asleep haze, Tim lunged at the chair that was in front of him hoping that it would break his fall.
It took him a few seconds to recover. He wanted nothing more than to pass out right then and there, splayed out on a coffee shop chair as everyone stared at him wondering if he was drunk.
He too wondered if he was drunk, but he couldn't remember the last time he'd slept so if he was drunk, he was not going to figure it out on his own.
When he finally looked up, his eyes met with a pair of beautiful bluebell eyes.
Marinette watched as a guy stumbled around the café until finally flopping onto the other chair at her table.
It was clear that he was sleep-deprived. She had seen enough videos that her evil friends had taken when she was in a similar state to know the poor guy probably hadn't slept at all for the last week or so.
Marinette wanted nothing more than to drag the guy to the nearest bed or couch and wrap him up in a bunch of blankets. Just because she didn't comprehend the term "self-care" for herself didn't make Marinette any less of a "mom friend"
But she had to remind herself that she didn't know the guy, so it might be considered kidnapping to drag someone somewhere against their will.
The best she could do was offer him her own coffee.
"Hey, I think you need this more than I do at the moment." She said, pushing the drink his way as he stood up.
He mumbled something that could be interpreted as a "thank you" and eagerly took the drink. His eyes lit up when the heavenly liquid touched his tongue.
It was almost miraculous how quickly the caffeine took effect.
Actually, it was Marinette may or may not have mixed a little concoction she made with Tikki that helped her when she stayed up late with her regular coffee.
The guy blinked. "This. Is. Incredible."
Marinette laughed "Yeah, it's what I always get. Though you still look like you need to sleep."
"Yeah, yeah whatever." He waved her off. "But seriously, what is this called? I need a gallon of this."
"Sorry," Marinette said sheepishly "but I'm afraid that's a secret, you know, I'm kind of everyone's favorite, so I get the miracle coffee." Okay so that was a lie but what else could she say?
The guy pouted. Marinette had to admit that he looked adorable.
"Well, then I'm sure you can get me some then... um"
"Ah, nice to meet you, coffee goddess, I'm Tim."
Marinette's cheeks heated up. "Uh, coffee goddess? Shouldn't they be the coffee gods and goddesses?" She pointed at Allegra, Claude, and the others.
"Nah, you have blessed me with this amazing coffee. Claude didn't even help me in my time of need."
"You know Claude?" Marinette asked, surprised.
"Yep, I've been coming here since I arrived in Paris, so I've gotten to know Allegra and Claude a bit."
"That's funny, I've never seen you. And I come here every day." Marinette said.
"Huh, that's weird. I've never seen you either. "
And from there they kept talking. Like they were old friends and not just acquaintances. Marinette found out that Tim had come from Gotham city. That he was in Paris because of business. Meanwhile, Tim learned that Marinette was an aspiring fashion designer and a college student who was close friends with almost everyone from the café.
Hours passed and the two were still deep in conversation completely oblivious to the crowd that had gathered behind the cafe's counter to watch the soulmates.
"I can't believe you didn't tell me about this before." Adrien, who had arrived after Tim, whispered to his cousin.
"I was under the impression that your father needed your assistance for the upcoming fashion show. I was not about to ask my dear uncle Gabe if I could steal you so that we could set up our friend and his future competitor, Marinette Dupain-cheng, with her soulmate."
Adrien hated to admit that he had a point. "Fine, but can you at least catch me up to date? Who is he?"
"He's a rich guy from Gotham city. He's pretty cool though he's basically Marinette when it comes to coffee which is honestly kinda scary now that I'm seeing them interact." Allegra whispered.
Adrien looked down to look at her. "Alright, I guess I'm going to have to do my own research since you guys are useless. What's his job? Why is he rich? If his from Gotham then who knows, maybe this guy is actually dangerous and wants to take Marinette as ransom for-"
"Oh please Adrien, stop with your theatrics. Do you honestly think that I would allow this if he was dangerous?" Felix interrupted.
Felix glared at him.
Felix sighed. "Timothy Drake is Marinette's soulmate, and I can assure you that he's clean. So don't worry about Marinette."
Allegra shushed the cousins. "Guys, I'm trying to listen here you know?"
"Um, you could probably hear better from up here" Felix nodded in agreement.
"Thanks, Adrien, but I don't want to risk Marinette seeing me and then remembering about time and stuff."
"Speaking of time, it's been years since I last ate, I'm hungry." Claude cut in.
"Claude! You're supposed to be with the customers!" Allegra whisper-shouted.
Unfortunately, all good things come to an end. Marinette eventually remembered the reason she had stayed in the cafe. Not only that but when she looked at her watch she realized that she was running late for class.
After Marinette's rushed exit, Tim went back to investigating Hawkmoth. But while they were trying to concentrate on their own thing. Marinette with her class and Tim with his research they found themselves zoning out and thinking about each other.
It was strange, they had quite literally just met.
Why had they made such an impact on each other?
It wasn't until Marinette was getting ready to go to bed that she found the answer.
"Tikki is… is that what I think it is." Marinette's voice trembled as she stared at her reflection on the mirror.
Tikki gasped. "Oh Marinette, I think it is!"
Staring back at her was her soul mark, which no longer was a regular coffee cup but rather a gorgeous cup with beautiful red flowers that surrounded a somewhat familiar symbol.
"But, how? I mean they're not supposed to change… right? And why?" Marinette's eyes widened. "Does this mean that I met my soulmate? Who is it?"
Tikki giggled, "You seriously don't know?"
"Umm no? Should I?" Tikki continued to giggle as her holder looked at her confused. "Who is it Tikki?"
"Oh Marinette, how many new people did you meet today?"
"Uh, I don't know? I mean surely I must've passed by lots of strangers in the street." Marinette panicked. "Oh no Tikki! What if one of them is my soulmate? I'll never find out who they are!"
"So you don't remember meeting anyone else?"
"I don't think so, well other than ohhh- "
Tim could not believe what he was seeing. Gone was the plain coffee cup he was used to seeing, the daily reminder of the fact that he was still painfully single, it now had an intricate flower pattern that surrounded a symbol.
He recognized that symbol.
After weeks of researching and tailing the red Parisian heroine, he knew that it was the Ladybug symbol.
But why was it on his soul mark?
No, the heroine couldn't be his soulmate, Tim hasn't even officially met her. Nor had he even seen her today.
The only blue-eyed girl he had met was Marinette.
No, it was impossible. Except it wasn't. Tim had only known the girl for a couple of hours, but he knew that Marinette would make a great heroine or vigilante.
But, he… he was probably hallucinating, right? Tim hadn't slept for weeks, so surely he was just seeing things and his soul mark was still a plain coffee cup and the Marinette conclusion was just wishful thinking.
Because otherwise, his first meeting with his soulmate was him acting like a sleep-deprived zombie and Tim could not allow that.
Well, one thing was for sure, he really needed to get some sleep.
It took three days for Marinette to find Tim.
She looked everywhere. The coffee shop, Le Grand Paris Hotel, the tourist areas, and when she was ladybug she looked down from all the rooftops trying to find him.
But he had vanished, leaving Marinette worried sick that he had either A. Gone back to Gotham B. Died or C. Been so horrified that she was his soulmate that he decided to move to a remote island and changed his name in hopes of never seeing her again.
Gosh, she was starting to sound like her fourteen-year-old self.
But finally, she saw him, sitting on a bench, not far from her own home, looking down at his wrist.
He looked at his wrist like it was some puzzle he needed to solve. Marinette also noticed that he looked a lot more refreshed, so he must've finally gotten some sleep.
Marinette cleared her throat. "Well, you've been a very hard person to find Mr. Drake."
Tim looked up. "Ma- Marinette!"
"We need to talk."
Tim nodded his mouth hanging wide open as he stared at her soul mark.
"How do you feel about coffee? There's a coffee shop that's not very far from here, I hear their coffee is divine.
(this was going to be a scene on the fic but I didn't know how to add it but it has important info sooo)
*They are at the coffee shop*
Marinette: So you're red robin.
Tim: And you're Ladybug
Marinette: Should I be worried? Like doesn't this compromise our secret identities?
*Claude and Allegra appear with some pastries*
Claude: Yooo Marinette! So you found your soulmate! Crazy right? We totally didn't have anything to do with it!
*Allegra elbows him*
Claude: So uh, congratulations! I um feel happy for you.
*looks nervously at Allegra who is glaring at him*
Claude: Bummer about the soul mark though…
*Allegra keeps glaring*
~♡~♡~♡~ Permanent tag list ~♡~♡~♡~
Claude: What? It's just a plain white cup!
(here's a bad doodle and my crappy handwriting)
(If you want to be added or removed please let me know!)
top 5 character relationships in mdzs (romantic or platonic)
xiyao and nieyao MY GOD.... letting them share a place because while they are extremely different dynamics they also hugely inform each other, and neither would be as captivating to me without the presence of the other. however i'm not calling this 3zun because it really is about these two discrete relationships.... jgy's two great & terrible romances.... the way they all shape each other and the ways they are similar and opposite, compatible and incompatible, and the way they literally cannot stay away from each other and also all cause each other's complete ruination. obsesseeeeedddd
nie bros - can't believe i didn't care about these guys until i watched fatal journey but i think of all the sibling dynamics this is my favorite. it's so. DEVASTATING. seeing how they used to be close as kids and the strain that nmj inheriting leadership and all the awful nie cultivation practices put on their relationship, which gets so much worse once nmj has to step in and parent nhs... their total inability to understand one another which is something that under normal circumstances would just be sibling growing pains but in the middle of a war is so much higher stakes... and then HOW nmj's death affects nhs, how vengeance essentially becomes his entire purpose and also transforms him into exactly the kind of person nmj hates the most. horrific!
yunmeng trio as a three-person dynamic... specifically the way their relationships with the jiang parents both strengthen and complicate their relationships with one another & how that manifests even after jfm & yzy are dead. so i guess this really is about the entire jiang family unit. it's really, really rough that you can see how much they all love each other and it just... Isn't Enough! all 3 of them essentially sacrifice their lives for each other at different points and it isn't enough. the missing space between wwx and jc once jyl is gone!!! what jin ling inherits from all of them!! What Could Have Been
speaking of which. jin ling & the two uncles who raised him. genuinely so fascinating to see the way both of them are reacting to their own childhoods & also the worst of their trauma in the way they behave with jin ling. when i think about jl refusing zidian when jc tries to give it to him, or when i think about jl coming to terms with the fact that he can't hate jgy and what his feelings are about that... and also when i think about jgy and jc as pre-divorced coparents. well i just lay down in the dirt
wwx and wen ning who i think are SO underrated both for the really good parts and also for the really, really bad parts. i think wen ning being this linchpin to some of the biggest turning points in wwx's life means wwx's biggest ~accomplishments~ and also his greatest regrets kind of both hinge on wen ning's existence. he is in this in-between space that basically no other characters share and it is in so many ways wwx's fault... & yet wen ning who is defined by his selflessness more than anyone else made the active choice to help wwx. nonstop chain of good intentions with horrific results... frankenstein & frankenstein's monster dynamic... i am very happy for them that their relationship gets the best ending it possibly could albeit without wen qing being there but that's a whole other bullet point
runners up are the lan bros, the wen siblings, chengqing, and every horrible thing that ever happened between jgy and nhs
i really love how you explained/summarized the handmaiden and stoker, could you do the same for marlina the murderer in four acts if you don't mind? i'm interested to hear your take on it
thank you! I've been thinking what I can say about this all day because I haven't seen the film in a long time... I think what strikes me about that movie is the Space. a lot of modern westerns have forgotten how important that can be to a story, reducing it to an aesthetic of aridity, tumble weeds, pistols and masculinity. admittedly even when the trailer came out we were mostly just excited about the novelty of it all, “an indonesian western!” there’s a lot to criticise about the lack of sumbanese casting in this film, but mouly surya is still excellent at giving us a sense of just how big marlina’s sumba is. there’s no camera movement throughout the film because you can already see is all there is to see.
i’ve read a lotttt of complaints in reviews about how marlina’s choice to remain in her home, even though she knows what’s going to happen to her, makes her weak and thereby frames what happens to her as her fault And That’s Problematic And Gratuitous, but i disagree completely with this interpretation. marlina knows the space, just as her attackers do, so she knows she can’t run, just as her attackers know. and so she does all she can to protect herself, and then some.
the morning after we see her travelling across sumba, and we see so clearly how marlina fits on this island with the people around her, the community bus, the groom and his mother and the dowry, and of course novi (hello lesbian subtext).
then there’s the grief, guilt, and survival. as marlina grieves for her husband, the whole island knows she is vulnerable. her husband remains in their home, but the beheaded ghost follows her. she sets out feeling guilty of the murder, but i think it’s too simple to say her emotional journey is just her coming to terms with the fact that she was not wrong to kill. she only feels grief for her husband in isolation. he does not follow her. and that is her true guilt. she’s let go but never realised it, because she never tried to leave. maybe she feels her overstayed grief is what led her to that vulnerability, and resents it, and feels bad for resenting it. but she survives, all on her own, and by the end she leaves her old home because she knows she can do it on her own. clearly she wanted a family, and she can have one with novi and her child.
Thank you for the tag @vukovich, @elvenwinters and @thejadewritergirl ! I'm sorry this is so late, I was super busy 😅 (in other news, I've achieved 3 major things that I'm so relieved about) Since I don't write fanfic, I figured I'd do origami based on fics. Featuring first lines and quotes I like from 4 of the fics I've recently read that got me through this crazy time + 3 from 1 fic each of the lovely people who tagged me.
Here's the actual rules lol: List the first lines of your last 20 stories (if you have less than 20, just list them all!). See if there are any patterns. Choose your favorite opening line. Then tag 10 of your favorite authors!
Please click on the images for better quality! Also please note, some of the origami quotes contain potential spoilers. For this reason, I have put my spoiler-free rec of the fic first followed by the image of quotes on origami, and also individually flagged potential spoilers where I think it might be needed. If you would like anything else that I missed to be spoilered, feel free to lmk ❤️
Ok, on to the fics! (Below the cut)
1. Please, Take Your Time by @dracothecupcake (Drarry) (T, ~2.3k)
Summary: Draco's made it halfway through Eighth Year by way of reliable routine. All he wants is to be lonely in peace, thanks very much. It's really not that sad.
Enter Potter and his gang of devoted and overly organized minions.
Inspired by Vina's ideal cupcake as mentioned in this ask. This is a super sweet fic of 'Potter and his gang' plotting a scheme to help Harry cheer a sad Draco up. I loved how everyone got together to make the plan happen, especially when it was Dean's turn 😂 (Also I've literally been binge-reading all of Vina's works and they're great for comfort reading, do check them all out!!)
Video has plot spoilers!! (pls don't unmute lol tysm)
2. Through The Night by @thesleepiesthufflepuff (Linny) (T, ~2.75k)
Summary: Ginny tells herself that she's content with the way things are.
Luna proves her otherwise.
This fic has a special place in my heart. Featuring pining!Ginny, Luna and Ginny having weekly car rides together (which is 1000% my jam), soft and serious conversations, and coming to terms with feelings. The gorgeous description of the scenery and their road journey will make you feel like you're there with the two.
Bonus song suggestion: I loved reading the fic along with listening to the song referenced (Wild Horses), and also a second time with this song (Khaabon ke parinday) which I personally think fits the vibe of the fic really well. Feel free to give either/both a listen while reading if you'd like to!
3. Sugar Sweet by @the-sinking-ship (Drarry) (T, ~6k)
Summary: Draco thinks everyone forgot his birthday. (They didn’t.)
What the summary says 😌 This is officially one of my favourite birthday fics. Featuring scheming yet caring friends, snarky and witty banter, an absolutely delightful oc (Mrs Marchbanks), sweet birthday treats and sweeter moments between Draco and his loved ones.
If anyone's interested, here's how it looks from the back:
4. Flying Without Wings by Rasborealis (Drarry) (E, ~3.7k)
Summary: Harry has a Really Good Idea for that undercover Auror mission, and it involves boarding an airplane with Draco Malfoy.
He may not have thought this one through.
This hilarious and hot fic features Draco's first time on an airplane, scheming, snarky and dramatic Draco, and Harry trying (and failing) to focus on just their mission 😏
Potential spoiler in image!
5. Rocks At My Window by @thejadewritergirl (Drarry) (G, ~5.54k)
Summary: All Harry wants to do is snuggle up in bed and dream of warmth and kisses and a silvery eyed someone. Too bad that someone has other plans.
Have I mentioned before that I'm obsessed with this author's writing? This heartwarming feel-good Christmas fic features Draco who has a Plan, a hilarious Ron, Harry enacting one of my favourite 'doors are for people with no imagination' scenes (Skulduggery Pleasant reference 🙈) and lovely Christmas traditions.
This poetic fic features two writer friends trying to figure out the perfect way to write about love, showing the ideas they have, the struggles of writing, and soft moments between the two. It's so beautifully written, and this is just one of the quote-worthy scenes I adore:
7. Pearls Make the Girl by @vukovich (Ron/Hermione, Harry/Hermione, Draco/Hermione, Draco/Harry, polyamory) (E, ~19.7k)
Summary: Security Advisor Granger is having a strange day at work after being recruited to collaborate with a certain handsome Head Auror, a gorgeous Curse Breaker and a... Ron.
Filth, fluff, and Furbies.
Omfg this fic is a wild ride. An intellectually and sexually frustrated Hermione tries to figure out the significance of said strange day at work as well as the rings the three men are wearing. The personalities and dynamics between the four are so on point. Super hot fic with a brilliant emotional ending.
Hi again! I come to you today with a question that may simply be a continuity error, but I'm still interested in your thoughts! In the main story, le Comte *knows* it was MC that came through the door behind him. Yet in Comte's "One Night, Beneath the Crescent Moon" POV story, he said he "...had no idea of what would happen next... That she would end up using the same door and end up stuck on the other side." What's your take on it? Thanks in advance! 💛
Hiya! First off I wanna apologize for how long it took to reply oTL I had originally drafted a response and then lost it when I accidentally closed the tab, and whenever that happens I always have to like sufficiently mourn the words I lost 😂😂😂
But to answer your question! If I’m entirely honest, I can’t remember what it was Comte said exactly in the Main Story in regards to her entering the door. There could be a lot of explanations for him saying he “knew”: continuity error, him wanting to put her at ease by seeming “in control” of the situation (while he’s screaming internally), or maybe even him wanting to cast some doubt as to whether or not he’s a person that can be trusted (aka the whole like “MC nooooooo don’t trust me I’m a vampire very bad very scary run away” kind of like Leonardo).
All that being said, given the evidence we have and the stories I’ve read from his POV--esp that Crescent Moon one you referenced--I’m most inclined to believe that he had no idea she would follow him that day at the Louvre. If anything I really don’t think he ever anticipated any human person could follow him through the door? Because remember Sebastian (and the suitors for that matter) only manage because Comte is their escort. Sure their will to live on was strong enough that he could hear them, but they had no capacity to approach or find a door on their own as far as we currently know. The door was closed when MC found it; this suggests that Comte fully closed off that avenue to make sure nobody wayward stepped in by accident. He did the responsible thing and he left long before he could ascertain her safe journey through time, but she still managed to make it across somehow.
That’s why I think MC’s mere existence is earth-shattering to Comte. I mean we have all the good basics: a lovely lady, sweet and hard-working, means well and does her best. And these attributes all do matter, for sure. But the door is perhaps a greater catalyst in their romance than we might have first anticipated.
There will be some semi-hefty JPN rt spoilers below the cut for Dazai and Comte, so I’m just going to keep it under wraps just in case there are people who want to remained 100% unspoiled:
TW: Mentions of suicide in Dazai’s rt
The reason I say this is twofold, based on information provided by Dazai and Comte’s Main Story route. In Dazai’s route, remember that the focal point of the story is that Dazai wants to go back in time to kill himself as a baby so that he can never grow up to write his books or cause anyone pain in the near future--essentially, suicidal ideation to a frightening extreme. One of the main reasons that he fails (though MC plays a significant role in stopping him, too) is that Dazai’s will to kill himself is too weak. In simpler terms, this means that--no matter how much he insisted he wanted to die, the truth of his heart was revealed in his constant hesitating and difficulty going through with it. This is very often a reaction from people who need sizable psychological assistance to overcome trauma; they don’t usually want to die, it’s more that the pain of surviving their experiences is outweighing any possible joy they can find in living.
But back to the most important part in bold. When Dazai asks about being able to use the door to travel through time, Charles confirms that it’s possible to travel without a pureblood escort. HOWEVER. This type of travel is very, very difficult unless you have an intense sense of willpower. I imagine the implication here is that you have to have an overwhelming desire and firmly believe it’s where you want to be in order for the travel attempt to succeed at all. (I don’t think the tethering point necessarily matters, but there is a suggestion that strong bonds between people--whether platonic or romantic--can serve as powerful guideposts when the door is distorted.) In other words, the reason Dazai relies on Charles’ moral bankruptcy is because Dazai knows he doesn’t feel strongly enough to go through with the suicide. He needs someone else who has the sheer determination and unbending will to see it through when the door opens.
This is why Dazai is forced to ask Charles to accompany him, even though Charles doesn’t necessarily want to kill him. For Charles, this is less about a desperation to kill Dazai and more about his intense obsession-love for MC, and his willingness to do anything to receive her love/attention in return. In Charles’ view, since MC is ostensibly in love with Dazai, removing Dazai from the picture permanently is ideal. While Charles’ judgement is clouded and a little horrific, he is nonetheless rock steady in comparison to Dazai’s nonstop wavering. Dazai knows that he’s fickle on a personal level; one moment he wants to die, another he’s too afraid to let go of what he does care about or upset anyone. He’s at a point where he doesn’t know what’s right or true anymore and he’s floundering, which is honestly fairly common among those who share his lamentable condition. (Most people don’t have a death wish--it’s more a combination of circumstantial problems and healing that has remained in stasis that constitutes the extremity of that behavior.)
Moving right along, Comte’s route also features a similar testament to willpower, believe it or not. This happens in the last few chapters of the main story. Basically, Shakespeare dumps MC on Vlad’s doorstep and she’s more or less suffering the latter’s monologuing for a good while. Not long after that Comte appears and nearly shoots Vlad in the head, the bullet just grazing his cheek. Comte demands that he let MC go, and Vlad--in a classic sadistic act of compliance--wrenches open the door and just tosses MC into the freefall of distorted spacetime.
Now this is dangerous to MC’s life in and of itself, but there’s a key element there: distorted spacetime. In this main story the door never returns to its normal state after that first month period. Rather, the expanse of the door is too dangerous to be traveled even by a pureblood, let alone a human being. The chances MC will ever be able to escape in order to survive are closer to zero than any other number. Remember that Comte is immortal. If he gets stuck on his own, he can’t die and the damage to his body is always more than able to heal when he’s back to safety. (He even warns Leonardo in Leo’s MS that the danger of getting stuck in some kind of pocket in spacetime is still too significant to be ignored, though I can’t be sure if that’s due to Leonardo’s inexperience with time travel/requirement for an escort, or just an inevitable risk you juggle anytime you travel through the door.)
Of course Comte leaps in after her to try to save her, but presumably their entry point is long gone now (Vlad shut the door), so they’re just kind of floating in amorphous time. They do and don’t exist. Comte is understandably distraught because MC’s life hangs in the balance; if they don’t find a way out, she is almost certainly going to die. Comte admits that--while he hates the fact that his very existence is a danger to her, he still doesn’t regret finding her by any extension. MC protests, naturally, that there’s nothing to regret. Circumstances be what they may, she loves him.
Now, here is the key. While Comte is trying to think of a way out, MC is thinking hard about wanting to return to the mansion. Her mind reflects an acute, intense desire to return home to the place where they both belong. And wouldn’t you know it? They both suddenly tumble out of the door in the mansion and onto the carpeted floor, whole and alive, sputtering in disbelief. Comte is baffled at first but it can only give way to immense relief that she’s safe, and he just immediately breaks down.
The only reason the two make it out unscathed is because of--I can only assume--MC’s overwhelming will to live on with Comte and return to the mansion. While it would have been natural for her to be overcome by fear to the point where she could make no productive decision, or even humor the concept of focusing on their home, she does it all the same with immediate success. That’s also part of why I think Comte just 100% caves into both of their feelings in the next chapter. He saw firsthand that, not only does MC keep a level head under duress, but she also has the overpowering will necessary to survive amongst vampires. And it was perhaps this unshakeable will in the first place that landed her in the late 19th century all those weeks ago.
It’s interesting because, honestly? Her entry through the door is more or less a hinge point for their romance. While it obviously isn’t the only reason he cares about her, it definitely is one of the bigger reasons he even feels safe enough to court her in earnest in the aftermath. It is literally only after this event that he confesses everything. Why he created the mansion and the men. How he’s really felt about her and himself all this time. What Vlad showed her and the implications of Vlad’s existence. And finally the truth about what he wants. He wants a relationship with her, but he keeps being held back by the fear that he’s too much. That the demand of being by his side will outweigh any happiness she might find choosing him. (Granted MC and I find that preposterous given how attentive and considerate he is, but you know). But after seeing her pull off surviving Vlad and traveling through the door by her own willpower again? I think it sufficiently lessens his doubts as to whether she could handle a future with him. It gives him the courage to just ask her: Do you want a future with me? Can you handle the demands of a vampire that cannot accept a mere human lifetime to be in love?
And so this is why I have unceasing Comte brainworms ladies and gentlethem. I need to go lie down before I start crying again, I love him oTL
Neon genesis Evangelion Analysis Chapter 23: Katsuragi Misato Part 2 Dear Shinji, this is my will.
Misato: So you don't want to meet your dad?
Just like me
Let us start from the beginning. The scene in the first episode where Misato drives down to meet Shinji. Her first words to him were, "Sorry, I made you wait." This, I believe, is the first of many times their interactions will revolve around the theme of "Waiting." The line also contrasts with her final words to Shinji, "Let's continue when you get back."
Her cross is first brought to our attention through Shinji's eyes as Misato shields him from the blast of explosions from the Self-defense force's missiles used against Sakiel. Then, on their way to NERV, Shinji confides to her about his feelings towards Gendou. Misato empathizes, saying, "You're just like me," pointing to their commonalities.
She later consoles Shinji as he refuses to pilot Eva-01 and tells him to "Not run away from himself." At this point, she was already seeing herself reflected in Shinji, and those words were meant for herself as well.
After this point, Misato constantly finds herself reflected on Shinji. While it has a positive influence, like in episode 1, it also frequently caused Shinji to hurt. One criticism viewers lay on Misato is the sarcastic tone she sometimes takes when talking to Shinji about his actions. "You don't want to pilot the Eva? With that kind of determination…. What a pain!", Is one of the harsh words directed at Shinji. Even in episode 12, her cold reaction to Shinji's contemplation regarding Asuka is also, in its own way, infamous.
Yet, if we consider that she sees a lot of herself in Shinji, those lines come to represent her self-contempt rather than how she sees the fourteen-year-old. Misato was not really in the position to take care of teenagers if we consider her character flaws.
While such actions are worthy of criticism, there is room to empathize considering the traumas she had to endure, which has shaped the kind of "Adult" she became. As a young child, she was in the center of the Second Impact, and the psychological impact has led to her being mute for a few years. However, she seemed to have eventually recovered. Perhaps to compensate, we are told that she became an overly happy and talkative person. On top of this, she has studied hard and become a student at the Second-Tokyo city University. She met and began living with Kaji in the year 2005, at the age of twenty. According to Ritsuko, she even had a week-long sex marathon with Kaji, where neither of them left the house during the period.
To elaborate on her constant need for physical pleasure, we can start from the glimpse of her inner monologue we get during the instrumentality. We learn that it was one of the few things she had control over that made her feel alive when she was intimate with Kaji. Yet she breaks up with him because She saw a glimpse of her father reflected in him, although that was what got her attracted to him in the first place.
What are you embarrassed about? You wanted the man you love to see you for who you were. NO!
I wonder about that. You wanted your father to see you for who you were. That's not true!
We can identify Misato as struggling with Electra Complex (Oedipus Complex for girls) regarding how she views her father. She then attempted to quench the thirst for affection her father failed to provide her from a different man who felt similar to him. This can be observed through Kaji and Shinji. Two people sharing the same character flaws as her father (Workaholic and being bad at human interaction) being the two people she opened herself up to (Mentally, emotionally, and sexually). Misato was hoping to compensate for the loss she suffered and recover from her past trauma using her relationship with these two.
Consciously or unconsciously, she likely understood this side of herself. She felt disgusted by herself, leading to her breaking up with Kaji while punishing and labeling herself as someone "Undeserving to love." While her relationship with Kaji was open and overtly described in the series, some of you might wonder how Shinji is involved in this process. Especially regarding the sexual aspect of this analysis.
We can definitively say that Misato and Shinji do not share a simple Guardianship relation. But the discussion about Misato and Shinji can wait for now. First, let us discuss Hyuga Makoto.
Hyuga is seen approaching Misato as more than just a direct superior at work (Especially after Kaji's death). "Only if it's with you (I don't mind dying from the base self-destructing)." It is a telling line that highlights Hyuga's feelings that he begins acting on in the latter part of the series. Turning him into a more dimensional character. While Misato seems to be aware of such advances, we never see her acting on it. Neither accepting nor rejecting him outright. Since this is at the low point of her emotional journey, Misato would have been okay with anyone. Thus, it makes us wonder if there could have been more intimacy between the two off-screen. I'd argue that Hyuga died a virgin (or at least that there was no sexual relationship between the two) based on Hyuga's fantasy during the instrumentality.
To bring our discussion back to Kaji, we are shown that he was the first man she trusted and gave her first intimacy to. At the same time, she was someone Kaji was able to trust and be vulnerable with. We never see either of them refer to each other by their names. While the reason is not depicted, we can make an educated guess and say that it stems from their determination to interact professionally. Without letting their (embarrassing) past hinder their work.
But perhaps it was destined that this guise was not meant to be. In episode 15, we see the two confide in each other. Misato laments about her father and her regret of not being a good lover for Kaji. Kaji embraces and accepts her of it. The last time they ever shared a bed, Kaji gives her his final present. His death led to Misato shedding many tears, but the present helped guide her to her next step. Before this point, we see her constantly drinking her favorite beer, but never after this event. All we see her drink from then on is canned coffee, Kaji's favorite drink. And now, two peoples' worth of "Will" lived on inside her. One from her father, the other from Kaji.
Now, let's discuss the last "Male" in her life: Shinji. As mentioned earlier, Shinji was more than just a child under her care. Shinji's first introduction of Misato was through her photo that she sent him. It is a revealing photo of herself with arrows drawing attention to her breast. As a side note, the actual words in this image were written by Anno himself, and the lipstick mark was from one of the female Gainax staff.
From the photo, we can see that Misato wants Shinji to see her as more than a potential caretaker (as ethically should), but as someone of opposite gender and a "potential" love interest. Although, of course, we can brush it aside as a part of her quirky and fun-loving attitude. But the problem arises in the latter part of the series where this attitude crosses the line. The suspicion is confirmed in the official pamphlet's character introduction describing her as Shinji's family + co-worker + superior + "lover."
Misato: Shinji, I'm going in. This is about all I can do for you right now.
The scene central to this discussion happens in episode 23 when she takes her seat next to Shinji, who is grieving the death of Second Rei on his bed. Although surface-level reading is, Misato wants to hold his hands to comfort him. If that is the case, the line "This is all I can do for you right now" is unnecessary. And not only that, but Shinji's rejection of this advance is also too strong to justify the conclusion of the surface level analysis. If anything comes to mind about an act that two grown-up adults do on the bed is "Sex."
Even if we try to give the benefit of the doubt and stay at the surface-level conclusion that is psychologically comfortable, this is Evangelion. It refuses psychological comfort. The film book released by Gainax has a note about this scene that says, "Misato is attempting to give Shinji her body." This is even alluded to in the shot right before the line, the head of the chair being where Shinji's Penis would be, and Misato coming to sit right on top of it.
Throughout the series, both Misato and Asuka approach Shinji as the "Other sex." it's natural for Asuka since they are the same age. However, it is unnatural to think of Misato (Who is twice his age) approaching Shinji sexually (neither should be accepted). So let's dive into how Misato might think about that. As early as episode 2, we are shown Misato yelling at Ritsuko through the phone, saying, "There is no way I will lay my hands on a boy!". This is perhaps foreshadowing what she will be doing in the later part of the series. So what changed in her throughout the series that she would end up trying to lay her hands on Shinji sexually. Did she genuinely believe that it was the only way she can console Shinji? Or perhaps there was a more selfish reason, to distract herself from the sadness of losing Kaji? Well, it could be both. There is a middle ground and an explanation that I prefer. Kaji was the only man she allowed herself to be vulnerable with. Because the best means of communication between the two have been sexual, she most likely believed this to be the most effective way to empathize and be vulnerable with Shinji.
We can see this as another manifestation of her Electra complex if we consider that Shinji also reminds her of her father.
As many of you are aware, Evangelion borrows concepts from psychology and is strongly influenced by Freudian psychoanalysis. Psychological terms are heavily used, especially in later episodes. The characters' internal conflicts are put into the spotlight in episodes 18, 19, and 20. All these episodes use terms from psychoanalysis for their title. Let me touch on each of them briefly over here. Episode 18's title is "Ambivalence." It refers to the coexistence of two conflicting emotions (Love and hate) regarding something and was coined by Eugen Bleuler in 1911. Freud borrowed this term in his analysis. His followers believed it to be an essential state that leads to the sadistic sub-phase of development. Episode 18 is also when the dummy-controlled Eva Unit-01 destroys Bardiel. Thus the title can also help us understand the Destrudo-led sadistic destruction of the dummy program.
Episode 19's title is "Introjection" and was a term heavily used by Freud. It is the unconscious adoption of the ideas or attitudes of others and a psychological defensive mechanism used by the ego to minimize anxiety. Almost every human being goes through this phase and is a part of healthy development as an individual. Episode 19 is when Shinji emits a strong dose of Destrudo and achieves a 400% synchronization rate. Here, we can try to explain the use of this term for the episode title in two ways. The first is to refer to the synchronization process of the pilot and the Evangelion. Secondly (and more specifically to the episode), to refer to Shinji becoming an individual that has become a part of Unit-01. Becoming a part of Unit-01 who have just absorbed the S2 engine and become as though god.
Last is episode 20, titled "Oral stage," and is the stage central to Freud's theory of Libido's development. Libido is the potential sexual energy, and Freud categorized the development into four distinct stages, starting with the oral stage. During this stage of development, the child clings onto its mother's breast for nourishment. This is also when the child begins to develop the ability to distinguish between themselves and the other. The significant happening of episode 20 is salvaging Shinji from Unit-01's Core, trying to bring Shinji back as an individual and away from the comfort of his mother. This can be seen to parallel the child leaving its mother's womb and coming to be born into its own person. And to add, they had to inject Libido into the Core to salvage him.
To return from our long detour, Evangelion is a series that heavily draws its conceptual inspiration from Psychology and Freudian psychoanalysis. What Freud posits, and perhaps most central to his scholarship, understands that desires created by both Libido and Destrudo, any forms of mental energy are irresistible and irrepressible. That is to say, if during one's development if any of such mental energies' expressions are disturbed and blocked off, it will results in the development of harmful coping mechanisms as an adult. In the case of Misato, her father's absence resulted in the absence of ways to healthily release her Libido. Therefore, Misato's inappropriate advance towards Shinji could manifested the harmful coping mechanism she developed as a child.
Losing her father as a child resulted in dysregulation in Libido. Losing Kaji, the only person she truly loved, left Masato broken. At this point, she had no other way to release her desires other than laying hands on a vulnerable child. When both Shinji and Penpen refused her the physical affection she needed, she could only find comfort in listening to Kaji's final voice message in repeat. Yet, she did not lose all possibility to recover. She was able to dry out her tears and began to follow the road her father once took. This leads her to analyze the evidence Kaji passes onto her and begins questioning the truth behind Rei. By the end, she manages to reach close enough to understand the "Truth." This is how she was able to explain to Shinji what was going on. She also experiences character growth through this process, becoming able to fully understand and empathize with the pain of others.
This is also when we see her starting to differ from Asuka. While both lost Kaji, whom they both loved, Misato comes to accept this loss and can carry herself as an adult. By the end, she was mature enough to send the grieving Shinji to Unit-01 during the End of Evangelion. While Misato has always convinced Shinji to get on the Eva, now, she was different from the past. Unlike in episode 4, where she emotionally manipulated Shinji into piloting Eva. Unlike episode 12, where she drew a hard line and coldly forced him. In EOE, she was no longer forcing Shinji out of her own hatred of the angels. All there was, was a grown adult's desire to convince a child that "Life is worth living." Even if she were to die during this process. All there was, was Misato's advice as an adult to the crying child. And it was this "will to live" that was passed on from Misato to Shinji.
Misato places her necklace on Shinji's hands and wraps his hands around it. Just as how she once held onto it while facing death in its face. Her father's memento. The love towards one's family. Hope for humanity. And all else that the cross symbolized. And the cross passed on from Misato to Shinji like the passing of the torch. To pass on the will to live. This was followed by a grown-up's kiss, just like how Kaji showed her, the perfect way to, perhaps the only way to fully communicate this will and pass it on. To want the other to continue living and hoping to live on as a part of their memory.
With the kiss, Misato stopped pretending to be Shinji's inept guardian.
She sent Shinji off, hoping that he could become a grown-up who can stand by himself.
Misato: You will be alone from this point on. You need to choose for yourself.
Shinji: No. I can't.
Misato: Crying isn't going to solve anything, either!
Misato: You hate yourself, don't you? That's why you hurt others. Deep down, you know that you suffer more when you cause someone else pain than if you just let yourself get hurt. But Shinji, that was your decision, so that makes it a valid choice. That's what you wanted, so that makes it worthwhile, Stop lying to yourself, and realize that you do have options. Then accept the choices that you made.
Shinji: But you're not me. You don't understand!
Misato: So what if I'm not you?! That doesn't mean it's okay for you to give up! If you do, I'll NEVER forgive you as long as I live.
Misato: I'm not perfect either. I've made tons of stupid mistakes, and later, I regretted them. And I've done it over and over again. A cycle of hollow joy and vicious self-hatred. But even so, every time, I learned something about myself.
Please, Shinji. You've got to pilot Eva and settle this once and for all. Find out why you came here. Why you exist at all.
And when you've found your answers, come back to me. Promise me. See you soon.
Kaji: Go and do what you can. No one will force that choice on you. Think for yourself and decide for yourself. GO and do what you must right now. So that you don't live to regret it.
Misato: If I had known it would end like this, I would have changed the carpet as Asuka suggested.
Many discussions about Eva centered around her last words, the one about the Carpet and Asuka. Most of the theories have interpreted it with the spilled coffee during the instrumentality scene. I'll touch on the scenes shown in instrumentality in future chapters. But for the discussion here, note that the coffee was not spilled on the carpet during the instrumentality scenes. So I'd instead interpret this line separately from it. Personally, I believe this to be Misato, as an adult, regretting not being as kind and compassionate as she could have been to Asuka.
Unlike Shinji, who she managed to pass on her will and true feelings, she did not have that privilege with Asuka. Instead, she wallowed in her sadness, not looking out for Asuka, who was herself suffering from traumas and grief. The regret of not being a good guardian and not making the home comfortable for Asuka would have hit her as waves of regret crashed in as she laid bleeding cold on the floor of section R-20.
After Shinji, who she just sent off, Asuka, who she feels sorry for, After Penpen, who was always there for her, Kaji now crosses her mind. Was she waiting for his praise for passing on his will to Shinji?
As though she can see him, she stares at the sky. Right before the explosion, we see Rei standing over her. Perhaps it was Lilith who traveled through time.
And we come to the final scene of the EoE. Shinji and Asuka are lying down on the shore, staring at the sky. At this moment, we are reminded of Misato through the cross, now nailed to a wooden post. The cross has come to symbolize Misato's hope and dreams for the two children who will now be growing up into two adults. Will Misato be able to revert back to her human form by her soul desiring it? Nobody knows. But I don't think that matters. Because now, Shinji carries on her will.
Let's continue when you get back.
I'm back. Welcome back.
Welcome Shinji, this is your new home.
Sorry, made you wait!
TBC Chapter 24: Ritsuko Part 1 Mother and Daughter
Amy is my favourite character because she's so real and true to herself. She's a human being, she makes mistakes and she always tries to fix it. All the hates she gets is just unnecessary.
I'm gonna quote some of the good ones:
"Amy gets more hate as opposed to the other, because they are exaggerated sitcom characters. When we see them express questionnable characteristics, we excuse it because we know it's unrealistic. But Amy is written more realistic, more relatable so we hold her accountable for her actions more than the other cartoonistic characters"
"I feel like her fear of dating Jonah is a legitimate thing to be cautious about, coming off of her marriage with Adam. Jonah and Amy meet while she's still married to Adam and trying to work on her marriage, so of course she won't be into Jonah from the start. She doesn't even separate or divorce until the end of season two.
But more importantly, Adam is a terrible partner, who is a nice guy. He always on and off has crappy jobs. Doesn't stick to any job. He is so unreliable as a life partner.
But then Jonah is similar UNTIL Amy. The last episode shows that in his interview. He consistently left jobs, changed careers, couldn't hold down any type of work experience. So, yeah, Amy should use caution when thinking about dating Jonah. She doesn't want a repeat of Adam.
And Adam wasn't a bad guy. Overall he is nice and he does care for both Emma and Amy (and eventually Parker). But he is a person who never grew up. So Amy has to carry their household. Jonah, in the beginning, is the same "privileged boy who never had to grow up". He got to wander for a different reason than Adam (due to his family's money), but he still represents the same person. A nice guy who doesn't have or take on responsibility."
"With Jonah her behavior towards him changes over time and can be a bit erratic giving the impression that she is toying with him. As a viewer you wish she would just feel the same love for him that he clearly has for her since the beginning since he is genuinely a good guy and easy to root for. But life is more complicated than that and it takes her a long time to figure things out. Eventually though she does and the journey those characters go on is a fun and interesting one."
In conclusion: Amy Sosa never did anything wrong in her life
oh jesus. the jonah/adam comparison. for the most part, we’re seeing jonah & amy’s story from jonah’s perspective, so to see him paralleled with The Ex is. ouch. but at the same time, it’s right. like no matter how much i love and identify with jonah and as much as i resent adam, as much as i WANT to say this comparison doesn’t hold up, the fact is that jonah easily could have fallen into the same cycle. adam’s string of abandoned hobbies, for example, feels like something that might happen to jonah. i adore the kid but if he didn’t put in the work to grow and set larger goals, he could very well have ended up putting amy in the same position as she started in.
obviously jonah and amy have something that amy and adam don’t, which is REAL chemistry. there’s real love there but at the end of the day, love in itself isn’t enough to sustain a long-term relationship. ESPECIALLY when there are kids involved. jonah takes huge steps to better himself, he actively involves himself in raising parker, he grows up because he’s seen what amy went through and he doesn’t want to do that to her again.
Could you answer this question? I went through a bunch of Sakura fics, many recommended by yourself (many good ones, thanks for your excellent taste!) but I also explored on my own, which is how this question spurred. I was wondering why so many ppl want Sakura to have wood release? &, because it's been a while so my memory's foggy, wasnt wood release sort of a bloodline thing? They had to infuse Hashirama's cells w/ Yamato for him to use it. It seems a little...I guess radical to give it to her? I LOVE Sakura, which is exactly why it kind of throws me off. I think she's already strong as is, & I think being able to utilize genjutsu & slug sage mode are logical expansions of her abilities, so wood release seems very...Idk how to put it but it seems like erasing Sakura. I'm discovering that I truly really dont think I like BAMF Sakura fics a lot bc it just doesnt read AS Sakura. It's like the author's are ashamed of her. Also I dislike when they use Strong!Sakura as a tag on ao3 bc she IS strong that HASNT changed & there's a canonical version of BAMF!Sakura in everything before the Pein arc. Everything after the Pein arc turned the entire series in a bad fanfiction for everyone in itself.
Thank you, I'm happy to know you enjoyed my recs!
That's a good question.
This is what I think makes Sakura badass ➡ here
I love Sakura the way she is, as well. Her development, however, is lacking not in terms of her personality but her skillset. She has impressive chakra control, monstrous strength and is one of the two frontline medics and one of the best healers in the world. She has impressive feats under her belt as well, two of the most remarkable include her byakugo seal and her fight with Sasori alongside Chiyo. But it pales in comparison to her teammates, including Sai and Kakashi. I don't mind that too, because her journey is different than others, excluding Lee and possibly Tenten. She isn't seen much involved in fights, her attacks are repetitive in the show, she isn't bestowed many techniques under her belt and her best moments are in games and novels. It is not her character's fault but Kishimoto who just doesn't use her strength and intelligence which he (and other characters) have mentioned she has.
She is genjutsu type – but has she ever performed one, or even gotten out of one easily? Whats the use of such information if Kishimoto doesn't use it?
She has near perfect chakra control – she should be easily able to perform many techniques and practice different elements, especially water, but earth style and cloning is what we mostly ever see her use.
She has good foundation in Taijutsu – and that should increase her stamina and therefore her chakra coils, and that in turn will ensure she is able to use many techniques.
Her medical and research skills are only next to Tsunade – and we wish to see her revolutionize the medical field which she has but in Borutoverse. That is time skip. That doesn't really relive you much.
She has resistance to mind jutsus, thanks to her inner personality – and theoretically she should be able to even evade strong genjutsus like she did Ino's clan technique (something never been done before) but Kishimoto only used that incredible ability once. ONCE.
She has massive chakra storage and exceptional chakra control and sensitivity – she should be able to master Senjutsu, a field which is all about chakra. Anything that has to do with chakra control is Sakura's playground.
She is more or less an unofficial poison expert – but we didn't see her playing with poison expertly (a poison that even Suna's poison experts failed to break) after Gaara's retrieval arc.
She is the smart and responsible one of team 7 – but Kishi often makes her look both stupid and selfish. We don't see her use her intelligence much. I hate that more than her lacking in the expansion of the skills.
She trained under a political leader – that itself makes her and Shizune great administrators and governors. So, out of everyone, Sakura is the one of the best Hokage material. Hokage is said to be the strongest fighter of the village but that requirement failed us when Tsunade became the fifth Hokage.
She has yin seal – the strongest seals one can make, in their own body no less. It also shows her expert control of her chakra. She can summon one of the big 3 summons. Sealing is more or less code that requires high intelligence and great chakra control that can be fused into the ink. As far as I can tell, she is one of the best candidates to learn Fuinjutsu.
With all these possibilities of her growth – because it is not something we make up but something Kishi has implied she has but never explored – how can one not exploit it? It doesn't mean one doesn't love Sakura for who she is but that its because they love her that they want to give her what she has the right to. She doesn't have to be expert at something to be powerful, just her putting her skills to best use is admirable as it is. I love Sakura for who she is and who she could be.
Now, onto the question as to why people seem to favour giving Sakura wood release, this are the following reasons that I think could be it:
Does it have to be bloodline limit?
Kishimoto gave Hashirama a unique bloodline limit that apparently cannot be inherited by any other Senju. That defeats the purpose of bloodline limit. What makes Senju clan so different? Without Hashirama in the picture, you cannot distinctly identify a Senju clan member aside from their strong chakras. Tobirama is identified for his water techniques. Tsunade has perfect control of her chakra that allowed her to exhibit monstrous strength and incredible healing abilities. How come wood release is a bloodline limit but is not passed down the line?
It is complicated because Tsunade is also renowned for her perfect chakra control just like Hashirama. So, some stories make Sakura a secret Senju clan member because of her uncanny resemblance to Tsunade and Senju clan in general. Pink hair can be a diluted version of Red (Mito) and her chakra control originating directly from Hashirama's lineage.
I personally don't like this because I love Sakura being a civilian child.
It's not a bloodline limit:
So, assuming wood release is not a bloodlimit but a very hard technique requiring precise chakra control and mastery of dual elements Earth and Water, then it is possible for Sakura to practice same technique because of her prodigious chakra control. By that logic, we can also assume that Tenzo inherited Hashirama's unique chakra control to use wood release. Because Orochimaru could have used Tsunade's DNA too if it was only about clan blood. So that rules out bloodline limit.
I love the idea of Sakura practising wood release because it is possible for her to do so. So if an author gives Sakura wood release that she hones with practice and control (ref. fanfic: Labyrinthine) instead of having been gifted with it, I'm digging it.
Nature chooses the wood user:
Naruto universe has many references to spiritual entities such as gods/goddesses, reincarnation and celestial bodies. It is conceivable to make nature an ethereal entity that has its own will. Sakura looks like the embodiment of spring with her petal hair and green eyes, and Hashirama can be compared to wood with his warm personality and appearance, these attributes can make them look distinctly attractive to nature. No other characters remind me strongly of nature than these two so I suppose they can be uniquely selected to be blessed this ability. Tenzo's abilities is the result of human experiment by Orochimaru who always cheats on nature so he is an exception.
I only like this because I like the idea of Sakura being Nature's child.
Most stories that I love don't give her a special edge and only give her more techniques under her arsenal. It is very rarely that I love an OCC Sakura who has a bloodline, a clan or godlike abilities.
After Pein's arc, Naruto turned into a joke. Everyone in team 7 (barring Sakura, Sai and Yamato) and long list of antagonists seemed to get power ups left and right. Sakura got hers in the last moment as a last ditch effort to reunite team 7 as one, a moment that felt so hasty that I couldn't take the show seriously at all. I was so disappointed with the whole war arc. I cringe just thinking about it. I sometimes think if it would have been better for everyone to just die with happily ever after in their mind. That would be tragic but a fitting end because Madara became too OP and Kaguya ridiculously so.
The reason people add 'Strong', 'BAMF', 'Smart' prefixes before Sakura is the reason why people add extra qualities to Sakura's character. They are not satisfied with how Sakura handles herself in fights and many base her fights with the one she had with Sasori. After that, did you see her actively participating in any major fight, barring her attempts to make a score on sidelines? Usually, these fanfictions also justify why she is Tsunade 2.0, something the Naruto failed to show.
By the way, many stories have BAMF tag for Shikamaru, Naruto and Sasuke as well. Are they not already strong af? They don't use Strong tag for them though, and that's because their fighting prowess is already seen. Shikamaru is not much of a fighter as much as he is a strategist and a leader. He is a cool and sly character. Naruto and Sasuke have flashy moves with flashy names under their belt with absurd power levels that puts them in god tier. Sakura has none of that – no signature move that is uniquely her, no clan to back her, no move with a name (barring game moves) – and she is seen useless because she is a healer which is a non-offensive, background job even if it is the most crucial and taxing job. It's significance is even more reduced when people point out how her work is futile because they are again sent to the fight/missions once they are up to go. Most fans only care for visual aesthetics, regardless of how rare and in-demand medics are because of the lack of qualified people who can muster and use medical chakra properly.
Sakura is more than just a healer but in canon she is more or less reduced to that. To make things worse for her, both Ino and Hinata are also shown to have healing techniques. They both also have clan techniques (vastly unknown) with them which makes them appear more 'useful'. Sakura is literally in the shadow of her mentor and her friends.
In Boruto, she is said to be the most powerful Kunoichi of her generation and quite possibly the greatest medic in the world but in Shippuden it is severely undermined. This is also why Boruto fans love Sakura but a bunch of Shippuden fans don't.
I mostly don't judge BAMF/Strong Sakura fanfictions, but I mostly avoid Anbu Sakura fanfictions if I can because I personally don't belive Sakura to be an Anbu material.
I want to add more, but I think I got my point across. Thank you for reading this far. I hope I answered your question adequately.
okay I just finished Rise of the Titans so spoilery thoughts ahead, positive first.
First off- WHAT THE F*CK
I have never yelled that much while watching a movie ever, and most of the yelling was 'what the f*ck?!?!!?!?!' at a pitch barely audible to dogs.
Pardon my klatchian but--
oh my gods.
Let's mention that I didn't hate it. It's a kid's movie and ultimately I think kids will enjoy the epic titan battles and the goofy moments. I certainly had a great time watching it.
My favorite part were the character/set designs which were all GOD TIER. Praise be to the concept artists that truly gave this their all.
BUT (here's where things get critical and a bit negative, so don't read if you just want to bask in the afterglow of finally getting new Trollhunters content. ✌)
The plot, dialogue, and voice acting were truly F tier. I noticed during Trollhunters season 3 and especially during Wizards that the emotional beats of the plot were getting smooshed by the pace of the show, and of course that problem was dialed up to 11 in the movie. Remember, the mega-villains for the movie were only just introduced in Wizards, and barely. Add the bad voice acting and heaps of really cheesy/bad lines on top of that and I found myself laughing and making incredulous glances at an imaginary audience through most of the movie. I think I had to pretend I was making a youtube commentary video to make it through.
The starter narration was already pretty rough. I understand the need for a summary/flashback but did it have to sound like the intro paragraph of a high school essay? After that you're flung right into the action and that's great for a few minutes. Then the real cracks start to show. Claire says, "Go! Remember the plan!" Okay, stupid line number one. I didn't keep count.
The second speed bump is the whole arrest sequence. That's when I realized that nothing that happened in this whole movie was going to A. Have serious consequences or B. Make an emotional impact. The whole squad gets 'exposed' to the whole world (supposedly) and arrested (while entirely failing to acknowledge that Douxie got himself kidnapped, btw) and it's played for laughs. They escape almost immediately. Could you write a scene that was any stupider, narratively? Doubtful.
It goes on with weird narrative beats like main characters splitting up to go on side quests, several important characters dying meaningless deaths, and even a whole new magical society being introduced just to be obliterated several minutes later. Sensed some weird imperialist/racist vibes there too but I'm not going to get into that.
I'm not gonna touch on the whole mpreg subplot either, because whenever I think about it I just start helplessly screaming 'What the f*ck?!?!' again.
The bad writing stood out most at the end with the double callback to Jim's iconic hero speech from season 1. This movie wishes it could-- It wishes it had an ounce of that. There were definitely attempts at #iconic lines but they only made me cringe harder because none of them made a lick of sense, contextually.
The death scene at the end was completely undercut by Jim's terribly hokey voice acting. He sounded more like Steve than Jim for some reason, and I had to nervously laugh through the whole thing. Maybe I'd already given up on it by then. I think I gave up when Strickler died, because after that I was in such a state of emotional disconnect and denial that I couldn't care anymore. Understand--I'm not even ride or die for that character. It just didn't make any sense. When enough nonsensical things happen in a plot, you get into 'this might as well happen' mode. I was still along for the ride but I knew it was going nowhere.
The most in-your-face problem with the whole movie is that Jim's whole character journey in the movie, where he's simultaneously the unquestioned Leader Of The Group and struggling to come to terms with having no actual power--it's nonsense! It literally makes no sense whatsoever. In the context of the story, Douxie and Claire are both more suited to the leadership/main character role than Jim. Douxie makes the first (and only) gambit in the movie by body-swapping, but he gets ZERO emotional beats in the story (he looks really sad a few times but that doesn't count). Claire--who by the way has all the powers that Jim now does not, as well as the super-special ability to locate literally any of the main characters AND teleport them--gets ZERO lines during pivotal scenes in the movie. Mostly she just shouts 'JIM!' and screams. Not that any of the lines anybody else got were worth having.
And then right on queue-- ✨ time travel ✨, so literally nothing did matter, ever. 😂 The point was the goofy shenanigans we had along the way, I guess. It was a fun ride. I still love the idea of the story. I guess I just have to love the way the best parts of it inspired me, and shrug my shoulders at the rest.
If you think their stories lacked empathy do you think Hama and Jet were redeemable? I don't hate Iroh or Azula or Zuko tbc, I'm just hearing a lot of people say it's unfair that people from the fire nation got to change when the people the Fire Nation hurt weren't.
My answer to the question of ‘could this character be redeemable’ is almost always going to be ‘yes’, unless the character in question is the literal embodiment of all evil or something. Galactus? Probably not redeemable, he’s a massive planet eater with no real conscious thought except, well, eating planets.
Can be redeemed is not the same as should be redeemed, though, and it also isn’t the same as ‘with the way this story has been constructed and executed thus far, I think a redemption would make sense’. Sometimes, the hero just has to kill the villain, or at least put them down/imprison/otherwise depower them to keep them from being a threat. (I’d argue that Ozai could not have reasonably been redeemed, given the story that was set up, and also that he wasn’t actually sufficiently depowered, and that even if Aang wasn’t gonna kill him, he should have been brought before a tribunal and executed for crimes against the Earth Kingdom and Water Tribes, and that leaving him alive indefinitely is the reason the New Ozai Society was able to gain traction, because his political power was not intrinsically tied to his bending, but that’s another rant altogether.) And, typically, if there is a villain getting redeemed, there needs to be a Bigger Bad who gets put down in their stead. (Zhao was this for book 1 Zuko. Palpatine was this for Vader. Etc.)
The reason I say that just about any villain you could name (barring, again, eldritch abominations or The Literal Embodiment of Evil) is redeemable is because redemption, when boiled down to its bare essentials, is simply this: the choice to do and be better.
Every sentient being is capable of making this choice, and so that possibility exists for every fictional sentient being, too--whether or not it would make sense for their character is entirely dependent on the surrounding narrative, and also their overall character arc. There is no real ‘point of no return’ for the ability to make this choice--however, there usually is such a point for the audience’s ability to believe they reasonably would make that choice. The farther down the path of villainy the character has gone--the more harm they’ve caused, the more people they’ve killed, the more evil they’ve done--the harder it will be to accept that they would ever actually decide to change.
This can be offset, of course, by giving the villain a sympathetic backstory and reasons for their actions--cool motive, still murder will usually apply, but if you write it well enough, you can believably chronicle the villain’s journey to the side of good. Some of your audience may not think it’s enough--for some people, any villain redemption for someone who did anything worse than say some mean things to another character is ‘villain apologism’ and not to be tolerated--but if the narrative scaffolding surrounding a given villain is sturdy enough, a majority of readers/viewers will accept it.
(As a side-note, a villain redeeming themselves is not--or should not be--reliant on the people they’ve hurt forgiving them. That can also be included, of course, but just as it’s entirely in character for some villains that they just would never make the choice to be better people, it’s in character for some heroes that they cannot forgive someone once they’ve done enough harm. Everyone has a breaking point, and if you’re going to go the ‘everyone forgives and welcomes them to the hero group’ route, that will need to be set up and constructed believably as well.)
Now that I’ve rambled for ages about redemption itself, I come to the actual point of your ask: yes, I do believe Hama and (especially) Jet were redeemable, and I do believe the fact that a man complicit in war and genocide for decades was allowed, by the narrative, to choose to be a good person and do good in the world, while characters who were victims of the war helmed by that man’s family were not granted the same dignity of that potential choice.
If either Hama or Jet had their stories end differently--if Jet had been allowed to heal on his own terms, without being brainwashed into being Nice and then killed off and only referenced once in the rest of the show via an off-hand joke about his casual demise, or if there had been a line or two at the end of The Puppetmaster where Katara expressed regret for what Hama had become and perhaps hope for being able to return for her, after the war, and get her the help she desperately needed (rather than appearing content to leave her languishing in the Fire Nation prison that was the source of her trauma), then it may not have seemed so much like the narrative was saying ‘victims of trauma who do not react in appropriately pacifistic ways will be punished for their anger’. But because both of them were treated so cavalierly at the end of their respective arcs/episodes, it leaves some unfortunate implications, particularly when contrasted with Iroh’s pre-series redemption, and the way so many fans call for Azula to be redeemed because ‘she’s a traumatized 14-year-old girl’ without extending the same to the traumatized 16-year-old boy who was basically murdered on-screen.
Jet was no worse, in terms of his character and his crimes, than Azula--little miss ‘I’m gonna suggest Daddy burn the Earth Kingdom to the ground’ does not have any moral superiority to lord over anyone. Hama was no worse than Iroh, when you consider the deaths he was responsible for as a wartime general with decades of military service under his belt, nevermind the siege of Ba Sing Se that was nearly two years long. If they both could believably be redeemed--if, as Azula stans so frequently claim, she deserved a redemption arc after everything she went through--then so could Jet and Hama. And the fact that the latter did not get that treatment, but instead were figuratively (and literally, really) left to rot by the narrative, while it could be seen as a consequence of the realities of war, still has unfortunate implications when you consider the way the characters who had ‘appropriate’ responses to trauma left by the war were treated.
Previous Part | Next Part | Masterlist
Notes: I hope everyone’s having a good week 💕
Voxi - Translator
*Ei dotch - (*and you)
Warnings: Mentions of canon-typical violence.
Summary: While his reasons had been purely self-serving, maybe Spargo’s suggestion of revisiting the topic of Somonia hadn’t been such a bad idea.
When Christopher and I had left Larilia, there were smiles on the Chancellors faces, settled looks as they stood side by side, sisters and rulers.
Now, as I stepped onto the landing pad on Somonia with the Admiral, I found the Chancellors with their antenna rigid, faces stony and set. Standing alongside them was the Federation’s assigned attaché, Soivo. Commander Soivo was a Rigelion. They had been on the planet since Pike and I had left, and I had spoken to them twice since I’d left Larilia: once to get them up to speed with the situation on the planet, and then again earlier that week.
I raised my right hand, raising my right index finger and brushing it across my hairline, where Larilians had their antenna and I lacked one, before I dipped my head in greeting. Choholl and Chihurs both flicked their antenna at me before dipping their heads in turn.
“It is good to see you again, voxi,” Chihurs spoke up first. I smiled a little bit.
“*Ei dotch,” I answered gently, looking between the both of them.
While his reasons had been purely self-serving, maybe Spargo’s suggestion of revisiting the topic of Somonia hadn’t been such a bad idea.
Shortly after the armistice had been announced, and the transfer of power of the territory shifted to Chihurs, factions of the industry’s leaders had spoken out against the change. Choholl had initially doubled down, urging open channels of communication between Chihurs and the leaders. But as tensions escalated, violence was threatened, and both parties refused to back down, manufacturing had come to a halt.
Nickel mining and processing was one of Larilia’s largest industries; it was their primary export, employing the majority of their population. And now, with the operation at a standstill, the average Larilian was beginning to feel the effects.
Commander Soivo had counseled Chihurs to take a hard line with the industry leaders; that had led to both parties walking away from the negotiating table, and that was when Cornwell had called me earlier that week. It was a play out of Spargo’s book - the kind of play that might’ve worked on a planet like Bajor or Q'onoS.
What Sovio had failed to take into account was the Larialian’s warring sensibilities. There was a reason that the sisters had taken one another to task for the last eight decades, and it wasn’t just grief at the loss of their matriarch, or their inability to decide who was their mother’s favorite. Like Romulans, Larilians could be wrathful, and bowed to their emotions quickly.
On the journey to Larilia, Cornwell had updated me that not one, but four attempts had been made on both Choholl and Chihurs’ lives since negotiations had broken down completely.
It was moments like these that I really, really needed my Spock Cap.
“How’s it feel?”
“Worse than when we were here,” I admitted. I peered out of the conference room window, overlooking a darkened processing plant. We were stationed on Somonia for the time being. The lodgings weren’t nearly as comfortable as they were last time, but that was just as well. Maybe the discomfort would keep me on task and get me out of there sooner.
“Worse how?” Chris asked.
“Just…” I trailed off, shaking my head and lowering my eyes to my communicator, “Last time, I could feel the want for a change. Now there’s this tension, and-- And I don’t know if it’s the territory conflict or what happened with Soivo, or… I can’t suss it out.”
I lowered my head, scrubbing my eyes with my hand as I shifted from foot to foot.
“What’d you get up to with your last day of leave?” I asked. I didn’t want to talk about Somonia anymore.
“Holochambers-- you were right about those flight sims.”
“Oh yeah?” I smiled a little, “What else?”
“Dinner with a few people.”
“Does it matter?”
I could practically hear the wrinkle in Chris’ brow, and I realized that I sounded like I was interrogating the poor guy.
“No,” I said softly, “Of course not. Just--... I just wanna hear you talk.”
There was a pause on the other end of the line before Chris said, “Spock, and Thaleh-- And Una, of course.”
“Of course,” I teased a little.
“I would’ve rather been with you.”
My smile widened, and I tipped my forehead forward onto my hand, “I’d rather be with you, too. You all on your way to the Pergamum?”
“Been on our way for about four hours. We have a few stops set before we get there-- I have to be on the bridge in a little bit, but I’ll talk to you soon, alright?”
“Alright. Be careful.”
“Don’t worry about me.”
“You’re kidding, right?”
“Don’t start, sweetheart,” Chris retorted, but besides all of his grumbling, I was suddenly very glad that he wasn’t in front me. He’d never called me that before, and it put the stupidest grin on my face.
“Too late,” I finally managed, “I’ve started.”
“Well, I’ll finish it when you’re aboard the Enterprise again.”
“That a promise, Captain?”
“You know it is, lieutenant. Pike out.”
I murmured my goodbye before I clicked my communicator shut, staring down at it. I sighed softly, running my thumb over the device before turning my eyes back to the processing plant.
I whirled around to find Admiral Cornwell standing in the doorway. I felt my stomach churn uncomfortably. How long had she been standing there?
“Admiral,” I greeted, tucking my hands behind my back and forcing my face into a calm set.
“Yes. Just touching base with Captain Pike.”
Cornwell gave a nod, stepping further into the room, “Did he have any words of advice?”
“Just-- To comm in if I had any questions.”
Cornwell had this...Little look on her face, one that I couldn’t decipher, but she nodded a little.
“I’ll be leaving in the morning, I’m needed on Tiburon.”
Fear thrummed through my stomach, and Cornwell raised her hand before I could protest: “Commander Soivo is aware, and certain that the two of you can handle this situation. We’ll have check-ins every few hours, you can comm me if you need something-- Or Captain Pike.”
“Of course,” I nodded, speaking with more conviction than I felt.
Cornwell was quiet for a moment before: “Lieutenant, your record aside, the work you’ve done on the Enterprise-- and with the Chancellors before -- has shown a lot of promise. I understand that this is….Sort of a hard left turn, in terms of what you likely thought you’d be doing, and how, but I am going to need you to step up. I wouldn’t be going to Tiburon if I didn’t think you were capable of that.”
“...Admiral, I appreciate the sentiment, but under the circumstances, I also don’t mind admitting that I am scared shitless.”
Cornwell smiled, nodding.
“I’d be a little concerned if you weren’t,” She said, “You should get some rest. I suspect you’ve a few long days ahead.”
Commander Soivo and I were up in time to see Cornwell off. We watched the yacht lift away from the landing pad, and I felt my confidence go with it.
“Shall we to the conference room?” Soivo asked.
“Sure,” I nodded, turning with Soivo away from the landing pad. My eyes caught on something in the distance - a few lights on at one of the dormant processing plants.
“Are the Chancellors set the visit the processing plants today?”
“No. None of them are meant to be under operation.”
“What do you think those lights are, then?” I asked, nodding toward them.
“... Routine maintenance, perhaps.”
“Can we get that looked into?”
“I’m sure you’re fretting needlessly, lieutenant. Come now, we mustn’t keep the Chancellors waiting.”
I’d come to realize, later, that even if Cornwell had stayed -- even if we had an extra Phaser in that room, we wouldn’t have stood a chance. The negotiations would still have been overrun, the heads of production would still have had the upper hand, and we wouldn’t have made it out cleanly.
Tag list: @angels-pie ; @fantasticcopeaglepasta ; @mylittlelonelyappreciationtoo ; @how-am-i-serpose-to-know ; @onlyhereforthefandomandgiggles ; @inmyowncorner ; @tardis-23 ; @2manyfandoms-solittletime ; @paintballkid711 ; @katrynec
End Note: .... Just trust me.
Hi, nyerus.....If you don't mind me asking, who are your favorite MXTX characters (top 5 from each novel)? And why? I'm sorry if you've answered this question before.
Thank you so much for asking! I would love to! (Apologies for the delay, and also for how long this is lol....)
1.) Xie Lian: I could write forever about why I love him, but XL is just a really great character who subverted my expectations. He's gentle and compassionate, but also funny and snarky on the inside. His character arc is the classic hero's journey but told out of order. So we meet him when he's already wise and world-weary, then get to see what he was like before, and how he finishes his journey later on. He's extremely inspiring, to show that our choices and our actions are what make us, and ultimately no one can take those from us.
2.) Hua Cheng: This is no surprise! I also just adore HC for being a very intense character! He's completely devoted to XL and that zealotry is very unique in a character. He's 100%, not 50, not 75. While he has a lot of relateable aspects, this part of him is utterly fantastical, on the level only myth and fable can achieve--which tracks. After all, he isnt a Ghost King for nothing. In the story, he is the embodiment of the purest devotion, no strings attached.
3.) He Xuan: I actually like him for the same reasons as HC! He too is a walking fable, only instead of devotion, he represents vengence. (They're actually like foils of each other, which is quite neat.) I really adore his arc, and how murky his whole character is. It tells a cautionary tale of how sometimes, our worst enemy--the one who makes us most miserable--is often ourselves. SWD wronged him greviously, but HX's obsession with vengence ultimately prevented him from getting the peace and recompense he wanted in the end. Absolutely stellar storytelling.
4.) Mei Nianqing: While I often question his motives and methods, he is still a really good character. Caught between wanting to be a mentor and protector to XL, but still loving (platonically or romantically, that's up to you) JW. He's the only father figure in XL's life that actually took him seriously, even if he did have to come around to it. But ultimately, he was proud of who XL became even before he ascended. He was just terrified of XL drawing the attention of the one man he shouldn't--and did. However his belief in superstition and fear of Hong Hong-er also makes sense, even if it's sad. MNQ is also just a quirky and fun dude lol.
5.) Mu Qing: I really like how complicated and murky MQ's is in terms of his inner turmoil. I'm somewhat similar to him in the way he thinks, and it's real work not to make things worse for myself by expecting the worse. His background makes him naturally suspicious of... basically everyone, all the time, and it's honestly understandable. Ultimately, he does understand that you can't make assumptions about people's intentions by projecting your own insecurities onto them--which I think is something everyone can relate to. I really like his subtle journey of self-realization and self-forgiveness, and he ends up far better for it.
1.) Lan Wangji: I love the fact that LWJ was just so ready to Night Hunt himself to death upon the loss of his beloved. As you can tell, I really like complicated characters who have extreme traits, haha! That being said, I just also really like his stoicism and reliability.
2.) Wei Wuxian: Naturally, it's hard not to love WWX! He decided "yeah maybe the ends do justify the means" and went for it. To us, he is the hero. To the regular people of the world? Whose ancestors were dug up and disturbed to be used by the Yiling Laozu? His blackened reputation is not without cause! (Like... JGY literally has done more positive and helpful things for regular people than Wangxian, but those metas already exist lol.) Once again, his gray morality is what makes him so damn good, and can be debated at length!
3.) Jiang Cheng: JC gets a bad rep, but oh boy he doesn't make things easy for himself at all. However if I was in his position, I probably would be much worse off. He lost EVERYTHING, and still trudged on because there were people who depended on him. His hatred of the Wens also makes sense in the context that... that's often how humans react to and process extreme trauma. We find something to blame and *waves at literally every major conflict since the dawn of time.* (His rumored torture of innocent people due to that is reprehensible, of course, but given that MDZS is a book about how rumors can make or break someone's life... we should take that line with a grain of skepticism, much like all other hearsay.) He's not typically the type of character I like, but I found him really interesting to read.
4.) Jiang Yanli: I really love JYL, who decided to be the emotional backbone of her family from the time she was a child. It was an undue and extremely heavy burden to bear, but she did all of it without complaint. That's strength. I think many elder siblings can relate to her having to step up and be the third parent, when the actual adults fail at it.
5.) Wen Qing: I really like her arc in the novel, where she makes some of the hardest decisions anyone will ever have to make, over and over and over again. I don't typically love very "rough" characters, but she has ever right to be that way (and it makes sense for her character, and isn't just a tacked-on character trait like hair color or eye color in a CC), and honestly I want to marry her very seriously.
1.) Luo Binghe: Probably the most misunderstood main character of all of MXTX's works. LBH is neither truly a crybaby nor is he a ruthless maniac. He's right in the middle, in the valley of misanthropy. And yet, he knows just how to use his charisma to get his way. Cunning and devious, intelligent and ruthless. Meanwhile, he craves love and intimacy--something he could only ever dream of.
2.) Shen Qingqiu (Shen Yuan): Extremely refreshing to see an transmigrator know how to handle transmigration almost flawlessly. (Me reading/watching other works with this trope and wanting to tear my hair out at the protags = me sympathizing on a personal level with SQQ.) This also proves to be SQQ's fatal flaw!! His knowledge of the novel is both a boon and a obstacle to him, and prevents him from understanding the other characters as people until he lets go of his pre-conceived notions. And of course, his snarky as heck inner dialogue is amazing.
3.) Liu Qingge: I don't actually even know why I love LQG as much as I do. He's just neat.
4.) Tianlang-Jun: Honestly same goes for TLJ. He's just great though, and I have a blast reading about him. He wanted to see the good in humanity, and ultimately comes around after writing them off.
5.) Yue Qingyuan: He's a fascinating character. Harmless on the outside, but a quagmire on the inside. His love for Shen Jiu was quite... problematic, in that he saught forgiveness from SJ, without actually ever taking the time to understand him or to make amends. Patronizing and judgemental, yet willing to let SJ get away with literally anything because of his own unresolved turmoil, etc etc. Fascinating.