thinking about that one scene from crooked kingdom when matthias and nina are at the market, and a woman sees matthias and calls him ‘babink’ - barbarian, and how it so immaculately encapsulates xenophobia and stereotyping and othering, albeit between two white characters.
like, nina tells him about that story called ‘princess and barbarian’ and even though it seems like your typical folklore shocker it is such a good example of how knowledge about the world around us is constructed - and especially about foreign nations with historically conflicting relationships. there is even this amazing moment on how the abducted Ravkian princess civilizes the Fjerdan warrior, because he lives in a cave and - who would have thought - drinks mead and lies on animal furs. and Matthias literally flinches at the idea, because things have been very different for him since childhood, not only regarding the mutual hostility or the quick story he comes up with about the malicious drunkards Ravkians. it’s just that he knows another Fjerda, imperfect, in many ways irreconcilable, but full of people he cares about, people who are kind and brave and trying to live their lives every day. and he believes in this Fjerda, fights for it until his very last breath, even when he is recognized as a traitor, and passes this belief and fight on as his legacy to Nina as he’s dying in her arms.
but this scene - with its deliberately humorous, light tone - everything's played in such an emphatically mundane way, yet means so much both for the relationship between Nina and Matthias and for their individual arcs of accepting and learning about their enemy side, trying to find out things about it outside the established bounds of fiction or generalizations. because yes, of course, they dismiss the canons of the ‘princess and the barbarian’, and the ease with which they do it - Nina readily offering to take on the role of the Fjerdan, and Matthias not protesting, not really anyway - that ease speaks of how long they have come together, of how they are finally able to see through the fear of the unknown, and turn upside down all the outdated simplistic perceptions, doing so with love and laughter.
i just - maybe it’s the anthro student in me talking, but this scene touches me every time.
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just thinking about modern crows and car rides.
Kaz and Inej would be simple, radio on in the background with the windows down. Inej driving, Kaz watching her as she drives, just observing the way she mouths the words, and sees how her eyes light up when a song she likes comes on.
Nina and Inej would be jamming out to Nina’s playlist (which is mostly Taylor Swift because yes they’re Swifties and singing horribly off key) talking about whatever came to their minds. mostly Kaz and Matthias and how they’re idiots, what’s happening in their lives. it’s peaceful, a simple rhythm to fall into.
Jesper and Wylan would be talking about anything and everything. Jesper driving and taking detours just to stay in the car a little longer with Wylan. Jesper listening to anything that Wylan has to say, knowing that he probably didn’t get listened to a lot when he was younger with his dad ignoring him.
Jesper and Nina would be the pair that love getting distracted by any stores that interest them. shopping places, malls, grocery stores, anything that looks remotely interesting. They would talk about their friends, their respective partners.
Nina and Matthias would be kind of like Kaz and Inej, in the way that Matthias would be watching Nina even though he’s the one driving. (Nina would scold him and he would say something awkward about how she’s more interesting then the road) Nina would talk about whatever came to mind, getting him into an argument because it’s funny to see him try to defend his points vs hers. They would definitely stop for a waffle date. (Matthias would probably only ever go on a car ride with Nina, otherwise he’d go alone)
Jesper and Inej would be the pair that talk about their childhoods, parents, everything under the sun and more if they thought of it. They would also listen to music (Inej’s playlist, she insists that Wylan has better music taste then Jesper does which he disagrees with because whenever he’s with Wylan he listens to his music, classical, but when he’s alone you know he’s jamming to some older 80s)
Wylan and Kaz would be that pair that has the awkward silence at the beginning before they got into a full blown discussion about something that no one else would even think to know about, but they both know about it for some reason.
Kaz and Jesper would be the pair where Jesper tries to get Kaz to sing something with him, because finally, finally he gets to use his playlist and he knows that Kaz enjoys most of the same songs as he does. so when he finally gets Kaz to at least tap his fingers on his knee when they’re driving, he has to point it out which Kaz scolds him and tells him to turn his attention back to the road because if they get in a car accident he’s going to hit him with his cane.
this is just my take, feel free to disagree or add on! <3
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