netgirl_y2k: (kahlan white dress)
Two different remixes that I'd written over the last month or so de-anoned this weekend, and I thought I would self-indulgently talk about them. Because I think they're both kind of interesting in that I don't think they're as obviously by me as a lot of the things I write. I have a very distinctive style, I've been told.

So for remix_redux I remixed an ASOIAF five things fic called I Believe The Children Are Our Future, which is about various characters (Lyanna, Bran, Cersei, Arianne, Jon) being fostered out young and brought up in a different house. And each segment is basically a ficlet of a few hundred words (nothing wrong with that, I've written stories in that style myself) so my idea as to how to remix it was to expand every section into a longer fic; because why write one remix when you can write five?

The biggest change was that one of the sections (Arianne being raised in the Targaryen court in exile as Viserys' intended) was exorcised completely. Partly because I ran out of time/fannish energy, and partly because I had a lot of trouble with the idea of writing a sane future King!Viserys; I guess the you are the chosen one vibes I get off Dany are too strong, even as the narrative itself actively works to undermine those vibes. And I know it smacks of excusing my own laziness, but I think the remix works better as a four things than a five, because this way it's all about the Starks, really: three Starks who were brought up by other families, and one Lannister raised by wolves.

Hence the funky remix subtitle.

Live For Just These Twenty Years (the wolves in sheep's clothing remix)
ASOIAF; PG; 7527 words; Lyanna Stark, Bran Stark, Jon Snow, Cersei Lannister

Political fostering, yea or nay?

(Lyanna Stark, fostered at Sunspear; Bran Stark, a ward of Pyke; Cersei Lannister, a lioness in Winterfell; Jon Snow, a southron knight)

I also signed up for the Merlin fandom remix, which could have easily gone very wrong, because Merlin fandom is even more overwhelmingly Merlin/Arthur centric than it was in my day. And it's not that I particularly object to remixing M/A, it's that my interpretation of the M/A relationship is So Very Different to the majority of fandom's that nobody who ships them really wants me remixing their fic.

For the curious, my take on their relationship can be summed up thusly: the only thing creepier that Merlin's canon obsession with Arthur, is the way fandom romanticises it.

Anyway, I was very lucky with matching that I got someone's who's oeuvre included Lessons Learned which is a post series fic where Arthur has returned, and Merlin is pre-emptively killing Arthur's enemies (Mordred, Morgana, etc.) as they rise again; only it's strongly implied that these aren't the old foes come again, they're just random people, and Merlin is just violently paranoid.

So, I made my remix explicit that these weren't the reincarnations of anybody, just innocent bystanders, and I split my remix between two perspectives. Between the boys; Arthur, and Merlin teaching him about the modern world, which I'm sure has been done in 1001 fics before, and the detective who's investigating Merlin's killing spree.

I am weirdly proud of this remix. Mostly because I don't like Merlin as a character, nor do I like M/A as a ship, but I think I managed to respect the original fic, and the ship, while making my problems with it (not just the dead women, but the co-dependence, the way that Merlin manipulates Arthur, and how Arthur doesn't realise how much Merlin controls his life) pretty explicit.

Lessons Learned (a little bit of history repeating remix)
Merlin; R; 3200 words; Merlin/Arthur

Merlin has always killed for Arthur, ever since Camelot, but they're not in Camelot anymore.
netgirl_y2k: (kahlan white dress)
Specifically, what I go for in a femslash pairing.

According to the AO3 I have both written and bookmarked the most femslash in the Merlin fandom. Which is interesting, if only for the fact that that you have to really hate yourself to be a Merlin femslasher.

I think Gwen/Morgana is the pairing I have written the most of in any fandom, and although I am slightly loath to admit it, in that case it was a one true character thing. As we discussed a couple of days ago, I am a mite obsessed with Morgana; I loved Morgana, I thought she was gay and wanted to ship her, and Gwen was the only other woman on the show. I would have argued there was a little more to it at the time, but in retrospect-- that was a good eighty-five percent of it. Especially as my interest in Merlin femslash (well, all Merlin fic, really) drops like a stone as soon as Morgana isn't involved. And that I subsequently shipped Morgana with every woman who came into her general vicinity; including Morgause, who may or may not have been her sister depending on your headcanon, the degree of AU, and assorted writing inconsistencies.

But my favourite, favourite was Morgana/Vivian. So, Vivian was a one episode guest star in series... two? And she and Arthur are cursed to obsessively love each other, and by the end of the episode Arthur's been saved, and Vivian's left under the spell (forever, I guess), and I hated that. I became fascinated by the idea that Morgana could somehow be the one to lift the spell from Vivian. I have this recurring theme in all my fics and fandoms about women somehow reclaiming agency that's been taken from them; but, you know, with humour and occasional dragons. Anyway, Morgana/Vivian, which I sort of have to take the blame for, because by virtue of my writing a few fics and never shutting the fuck up about them, they briefly became a thing in fandom, someone even wrote a really awesome big bang fic about them. That aside, Morgana/Vivian is a pretty good example of my fondness for super-rare femslash pairings that don't really exist outside my head. I actually still have a lot of fond feelings and nostalgia for that pairing, and I keep thinking I should revisit them once more; I think they'd be good in a modern AU, I have this image of them making out in the limo at Arthur and Gwen's wedding, partly because it's the only way to lift the spell from Vivian, but mostly because if Arthur's going to marry Gwen, Morgana is damn well going to make out with a pretty girl in something expensive that he's already paid for.

A Song of Ice and Fire/Game of Thrones is a fandom where I want more femslash. I mean, there's actually a pretty decent amount, and so much female character centric het and gen that I'm actually a pretty happy bunny, but I want more, and in the spirit of being the change you want to see, I endeavour to write a fair bit of it. I also do a lot of exchanges in that fandom, and I always put "any femslash, basically" in my sign-ups; which is how I come to write some slightly off the wall pairings like Arianne/Dany and Sansa/Myrcella. I actually enjoy writing those types of pairings because there's sometimes a moment when your brain just goes oh, something clicks, and it all makes sense; I had that when I wrote Sansa/Myrcella recently.

Speaking of Sansa, she's probably the closest thing I have to a one true character in ASOIAF, so I write and read about her a lot. There was an amazing prompt on the kink meme a while ago, for a canon era fic where Sansa was a lesbian, but because of her upbringing and the world she lives in, she has no word for it, no frame of reference; and hot damn if I could figure out a way to do it properly I'd write it in a heartbeat. I do read a fair bit of Sansa/Margaery, which is probably the biggest f/f pairing in the fandom, interestingly enough I didn't ship them at all in the books, where I found it pretty evident that Margaery was using Sansa. Then came S3 of the show and brought with it Natalie Dormer and the impression, at least to me, that Margaery does genuinely want to help, and care for, and flirt with Sansa, just so long as it doesn't interfere with her own ambitions or the advancement of House Tyrell, and that's way more interesting to me. The scene with the rose and "some women like pretty girls" didn't hurt either.

Although the pairing I'm most desperate for, that fandom seems determined to deny me, is Sansa/Brienne; it's a the lady and her knight thing, bulletproof kink of mine, but only if the knight in question is a woman.

Now with Once Upon a Time I finally seem to have found myself in a fandom with a major femslash presence, which is nice, but also-- You know how I said when I was in Buffy fandom I didn't care for Buffy/Faith or Willow/Tara, going for the basically nonexistent Tara/Anya? I'm a bit like that with OUaT. I didn't get into Emma/Regina in S1 when everyone else did because I don't generally like adversary shipping, and now I can see it, I can so see it, and although it doesn't take much for a vid or a graphic to convince me of them, I am ridiculously fussy about fics. Like, I backbutton out of nine out of ten fics I try to read about them, but I keep trying because one day I'll find one that does them right, and that fic will be spectacular. I don't even know what "doing them right" is; but I have a feeling it would involve a lot less woobiefying of Regina, and framing of Snow as the enemy.

And I do like, more than like, Aurora/Mulan ; it's the princess and her knight thing again, and I really want to write fic for them, which I'm not writing for the same reason I think lots of other people aren't-- where do you even go after the aborted declaration of love|pregnancy scene?

But the pairing I fell super hard for was Ruby/Belle which was basically sunk by Ruby's actress not being on the show anymore, and the decision to retcon Rumple/Belle into something cotton candy sweet and fluffy. It's frustrating; Rumple/Belle could have been super-interesting, if not my shipping bag of chips, but the more they deny that there's anything dark or creepy about them, the more I want Belle far away from him. I always wanted a fic where Ruby was Belle's beast instead. Of course I did; bring me all the lesbian fairytales! They played into my friends to lovers kink as well. Speaking of, somebody's going to tell me when Regina/Tink becomes a thing, right?
netgirl_y2k: (brand new day)
Specifically, my continuing, inexplicable, and seemingly unending fascination with her.

Merlin was a show which, by the end, I... did not enjoy. Indeed, by the last couple of series it was offending both my sensibilities and my intelligence on an almost weekly basis. Now, a reasonable person might ask: why not just stop watching it and disengage from the fandom entirely? And my answer is twofold, 1) I tried, and 2) this silly, sexist, often deeply unpleasant little show also gave me my favourite character ever.

I know, right?!

And the thing is, I don't know why she's my favourite. The redemption arc that I always naïvely hoped Morgana was going to get is currently being done far better on Once Upon a Time with Regina. There are characters whose presence on the page or screen delight me more; if only because I'm not already cringing in advance of their creators somehow making it worse. There are characters who I am much more prepared to defend in fannish arguments; Morgana is my all time favourite character, but even I concede that she is badly-written, incoherent, and generally unpleasant, and if you dislike her, well, you're probably right.

I don't know-- my initial glomming onto her was a confluence of different stuff, what was going on in my life when I watched Merlin S1, a deep attraction to the actress, some stuff I was reading into the character (Gay! Gay! Magic as a metaphor for gay!) But I've liked plenty of characters who I've disengaged from when their narrative fucked up, and the only way I can explain why that didn't happen with Morgana was that the narrative really fucked up. You ever hate something so much it gives you energy? That's me with Merlin.

The problem with Merlin (well, the biggest structural problem, we don't have all day here) is how static and reactive a character Merlin is. He never develops, never grows-up, never reveals his magic, never acts unless backed into a corner, and then only so much as is required to save Arthur's immediate life. And this lack of development warps the other characters around him. Arthur becomes king, but never the great leader destiny promised. I always thought there was an interesting story in there about how Merlin's "destiny" went from protecting Arthur's life so that he could become the once and future king someday, to wrapping him in cotton wool and protecting him from any sort of upsetting knowledge or difficult decision until he was incapable of becoming that destined king.

And as for Morgana, after three years of being set up as antagonist to Uther because the king hated sorcerers (it's worth noting that this was always selfish, she hated Uther because if he burned sorcerers then someday he might burn her; there was some interesting anti-villian stuff there) over the course of one episode she decided to kill Arthur to usurp the throne, and I don't think she ever mentioned the laws against magic again. Then again, neither did Merlin. And it always struck me that Morgana's quick descent into smirking pantomime villainess who spent most of her screen time butchering extras and, I don't know, kicking puppies, was not least because as long as Morgana was Cruella de Vil it didn't matter that Merlin hadn't done much of anything laudable, all he had to do was not be quite so bad as her.

Merlin was a show that disdained character development, but with Morgana it couldn't be avoided, the legends are well-known; Morgana had to go from being at least a coincidental friend of Camelot, to the kingdom's mortal enemy. But Merlin was also a show that disdained giving screen time to any characters other than Merlin or Arthur; I'm thinking especially of the scene where Gwen has been banished and is leaving the city with a cart of her belongings, and Merlin is standing in the back of shot looking constipated - because otherwise how would we know to be sad. So Morgana's character development (character development, lobotomy, evil twin, brainwashing, magic spell; could've been anything) all happens off-screen, which is frustrating as hell, but also gives you a fuckton of room to play in.

I have a special hatred in my heart for that thing where interesting female characters disappear into male narratives -- and this is what Merlin did with Morgana, but the character herself, when faced with being sacrificed for the great destiny of Arthur & Merlin (even if she didn't know that's what was happening at the time) reacted by having a decade long, murderous, foot-stomping temper-tantrum because it wasn't fair; and that appeals to my inner eight-year old.

I love her epic poor life choices; that Gaius and Merlin may have had a hand in pushing her towards the dark side of the force, but it wasn't their fault (take note, fandom) Morgana's fuck ups are her fuck ups. I love her love for Aithusa (yeah, Morgana's best friend is a magic resurrection dragon; no-one is ever going to convince me that Morgana wasn't up and walking five minutes after the finale). I love even the tiny scenes she gets with Arthur, epic fucked-up siblings that they are. Morgana's story is a terribly executed story, with just enough hints of the much better story that I want to believe is in there to keep me hooked.

Fandom is about stories for me, and there are so many stories that I want to tell about Morgana, and until I get bored of telling them, which doesn't look to be happening anytime soon, I guess I'll always be a little obsessed with the ludicrous, tragic, awful, tyrant witch queen.


Jun. 7th, 2013 12:38 am
netgirl_y2k: (the opposite of love)
I usually try to have a rule about not posting chaptered fics. But I have been trying not to write this fic for seven months now, to the point where not writing it was blocking me from writing other things. So... hopefully, posting it will get it out of my system once and for all and I can throw myself wholeheartedly into writing ASOIAF femslash (er, yay?)

So, the one where Morgana survives the finale (hush, magic resurrection dragon), has a crisis of morality, gets thrown into Camelot's dungeon, and has a series of vaguely philosophical conversations with Queen Guinevere.

This is What You Will Wear To the End of the World
Merlin; Gwen, Morgana; PG-13; 3500 words; part 1/3

Gwen's choice was a stark one: she could kill Morgana, or she could keep her.

Also, parts two and three ought to be up next week and the week after, respectively.

Also also, icon (at least on the dw side) never more relevant.
netgirl_y2k: (Default)
You know how I said I was done being angry about Merlin's treatment of its female characters? Well, that was a lie; three things I will always be angry about: the poll tax, Thatcher's government abolishing free school milk, and the criminal misuse of the Merlin ladies.

On that note, a vid rec:

Red Football by [personal profile] sophinisba (Merlin ladies) Clever, and meta-ish, and angry-making in the best possible way, with the best of all possible song choices.


Dec. 24th, 2012 11:49 pm
netgirl_y2k: (Default)
I have watched the series finale of Merlin, mostly out of a sense of morbid completism, and partly because, well, it's Christmas Eve and basically the only time I'm gonna be drunk enough.

The destiny of a great kingdom lies in the hands of... Oh, never mind )

I do have very high hopes for Doctor Who tomorrow, though.


netgirl_y2k: (Default)

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