Twilight: Waiting for Edward

[Twilight Content Note: Murder, Abusive Relationships, Winning At Patriarchy.]

Twilight Summary: In Chapter 21, Bella receives a call from James claiming to have her mother; Bella agrees to try to get away from Alice and Jasper, and then writes a farewell note to Edward.

Twilight, Chapter 21: Phone Call

We're really racing towards the end here, because I think this may be the shortest chapter in the book. It certainly feels short; you can whip through it pretty quickly so we're going to do just that.

   I COULD FEEL IT WAS TOO EARLY AGAIN WHEN I WOKE, and I knew I was getting the schedule of my days and nights slowly reversed. I lay in my bed and listened to the quiet voices of Alice and Jasper in the other room. That they were loud enough for me to hear at all was strange. 

One of my biggest regrets about the Twilight series--aside from the way-too-common-in-literature abusive relationships and the fact that I dreamed last night that Bella was vampire'd mid-Twilight and everything was so much better--is all the missed opportunities to explore out the nuance between Bella's human life that she doesn't have much left to savor versus Bella's vampire life and what she can expect when that happens.

Open Thread: Flower Meadow

Flower Meadow by Larisa Koshkina

Hosted by a tree in a meadow of flowers.

Twilight: The Cullens are Terrible at Everything

[Twilight Content Note: Murder, Abusive Relationships, Winning At Patriarchy.]

Twilight Summary: In Chapter 20, Bella hangs out in a hotel room with Alice and Jasper.

Twilight, Chapter 20: Impatience

So Chapter 20 is titled "impatience" and it's like the author is trolling us at this point, because we spent seventeen or eighteen chapters with absolutely nothing happening and then plot finally started to occur--it wasn't good plot, but it was plot and there was danger and excitement and car chases and things--and then BOOM everything has to slow down so that we can chill in a motel room for a day. It's so boring and tiresome, and I'll be skipping over 80% of it, but there are a couple of juicy pieces to bite into. But here's a chapter summary in advance so that I don't have to quote the whole chapter:

In Chapter 20, Bella wakes up in one of the Cullens' cars to find that Alice and Jasper have made it to Arizona in one night...somehow. (Ostensibly by the power of not observing traffic laws.) They pass the airport, but decide to head to a motel instead and hang out. They then proceed to hang out in a motel room for an interminably boring period of time while nothing happens and no one calls and Bella worries about Edward's safety. Bella and Alice talk about the vampire-making process. Then Alice has a new vision that Bella utterly fails to interpret correctly despite being amazingly obvious, then Edward calls to say they lost track of the tracker, then Bella leaves a message for her mother telling her how to contact her. 

Okay, now we're all on the same page. Let's do this thing.

Let's Play: Long Live the Queen (Magic Mirror)

[Content Note: References to assassination, oppressive government, depression, self-harm, parental abuse, incest.]

It's another Let's Play! (Technically it's one I recorded months ago and am only now getting around to uploading!)

Technical details first: I used LiteCamHD to grab the video and my voice, and I used Freemake Video Converter to merge the video files together whenever I had to stop for any reason. And I am still unable to find a way to transcribe these with any degree of accuracy, and I apologize for that; I'm sorry to our deaf and hard-of-hearing members of the community.

Copyright permission next: I thank Hanako games for responding to my request for copyright permission to use this material (to avoid all those pesky Fair Use considerations) with "open permission for people to make let's plays of our videos and to use the standard youtube monetisation tools if they want". That's a wonderful policy.

Content summary last:

Walkthrough 06 (Magic Mirror) is my playthrough where I let our father beat the final duel with a mysterious artifact. Game achievements include:

1. A Mysterious Artifact (You have discovered a magical mirror.)
2. A Promise Discarded (You have broken off a planned engagement.)
3. Better Left Unsaid (You have discovered a terrible family secret.)
4. Interpersonal Diplomacy (Your actions have caused a couple to divorce.)
5. A Dangerous Juggler (You have hired someone to spy for you.)

YouTube video below the cut, plus game transcript. I also strongly recommend the LLtQ wiki for any questions about the characters.

Open Thread: Yellow Autumn

Yellow Autumn by Petr Kratochvil

Hosted by a tree with orange and yellow leaves.

Animation: Bending Race and Gender

[Content Note: Binary-Gender Paradigms]

Gender is not binary and there are more than two genders. And this is the usual starting-point problem when we talk about "gender-bending" established characters because while it's fantastic to take an established role and play around with it, it's very important to make sure that we all understand that gender isn't a coin-toss.

Having said that, I've been spending some time this weekend looking at gender-bending and race-bending fan art of established animated characters and musing on what these deviations from the established canon do to the narratives--as well as what it says about our social constructs of male-gaze and female-gaze.

* A collection of gender-bent characters by Sakimi Chan, including Princess Mononoke and what I think is Howl's Moving Castle. I'm particularly fond of Hades and how she kept her sharp teeth.

* A collection of gender-bent characters by Maby Chan, including Hiccup from How To Train Your Dragon and Phoebus from The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

* A collection of costume-swapped characters by Haruki Godo, and I can't even pick out a favorite--it's amazing to see all the princesses wearing clothes that cover them, are practical for various professions, and aren't interchangeable pretty dresses; these clothes actually confer character by suggesting timeline, occupation, personal preference in ways that, say, the Shiny Blue Cinderella Dress and the Shiny Pink Ariel Dress simply do not.

* An amazing tumblr of gender-bent and race-bent characters by TT Bret. My favorite thing about these versions is how subtle many of them are; girl!Wendy and girl!Alice don't look significantly different from the "boy" versions of the characters, nor should they need to. Since gender isn't a function of physical appearance. Here's a compilation of the head-shots.

* A scene from gender-bent Frozen. Also more here. And a race-bent Elsa here.

* A scene from gender-bent The Little Mermaid. And another here.

* A scene from gender-bent Road to El Dorado.

And then there's this: boy!Jasmine in the iconic "seduction scene" from Aladdin. And in some ways this is my favorite of the bunch not because I particularly like it, but because I think it's such a perfect illustration of male-gaze in movies. That scene with Jasmine in this pose is hardly a blip on the radar for "pretty girls in sexually submissive poses in movies", but then you keep the same post and swap out the genders and--for a lot of viewers--there's going to be the sudden realization of how sexual that scene is.

And yet for many of us, we don't see the sexualized context until it's not a girl/woman being sexualized anymore, precisely because girls and women are sexualized by default in much of our media. Just like it sometimes takes a costume swap to let us see that the Girls Wear Pretty Things but the Boys Wear Things Which Indicate Actual Personality And/Or Occupation.

Open Thread: Contemplative Cat

Cat by George Hodan

Hosted by an orange cat looking into the distance.

Twilight: Asking Permission

[Twilight Content Note: Murder, Abusive Relationships, Winning At Patriarchy.]

Twilight Summary: In Chapter 19, Bella flees town.

Twilight, Chapter 19: Goodbyes

There's a lot of Chapter 19 left, but it all conveniently follows the same theme of Bella's consent being entirely disregarded by the Cullens, so I think we can whip through it all very quickly. When we last left Bella, she was flouncing out on Charlie while pretending an intent to drive to Arizona, which is a 24 hours drive under the best of conditions (i.e., not stopping to eat or sleep or buy gasoline).

   “I’ll call you tomorrow!” I yelled, wishing more than anything that I could explain everything to him right then, knowing I would never be able to. I gunned the engine and peeled out.

I'm pretty sure that Bella (a) never fulfills this promise and (b) doesn't even intend to. Which, I mean, to a certain extent? Fine. My personal morality is perfectly comfortable with lying about a phone call if necessary to save someone's life or something. But, as several of us have already noted, Bella driving out of town and then instantly disappearing off the grid--no phone calls, no witnesses, no credit card trail of gas stations tracking her to Arizona, not a single person who has seen or heard of her--will naturally lead her father (and the other local authorities) to assume very bad things have happened to Bella.

Metapost: Medicine Is Magic

I had this whole adorable thing worked up where I was gonna do this post as an episode recap for My Little Blogger: Medicine Is Magic! and how shy little Ana-jack learned a valuable lesson about the importance of her back medication, but (a) the idea was cuter than anything I could implement and (b) the implementation step would have required me to sit at the computer longer and I kinda can't.

So. Short version.

I get my medications through a mail-order pharmacy attached to our insurance. There was a goof-up this month which means that a medication I've been on for 2+ years now will now be a week or two late in getting to my house. Which means that for 1-2 weeks, I'm off one of the four medications that I pretty much can't function without. Which means that I am now, on Day 3 of being without this medication, not functioning. I can lie in bed and I can get to the toilet but that's about it. And while I know, intellectually, that I was already in constant pain, somehow it feels so much worse when it gets worser all over. Like, exponentially.

Anyway. I'm going to go lie back down and try to think distracting thoughts, but I wanted to let people know what was going on. There will be more Twilights--I have all the thoughts on Chapter 19 and was planning to post more yesterday but then all this happened--but for right now I'm in a hurty place. The short version is that all the Cullens are assholes, lol.

Twilight: Watching Her Leave

[Twilight Content Note: Murder, Abusive Relationships, Winning At Patriarchy.]

Twilight Summary: In Chapter 19, Bella flees town.

Twilight, Chapter 19: Goodbyes

I'm not going to lie; I've been dreading this chapter for the last couple of weeks. Every time I sit down to try to write about it, all these conflicting feelings come up, and I'm going to try to work through those here.

When I started this series, I wanted to deconstruct Twilight as an admitted non-fan who didn't like or agree with the books but didn't "hate" them. I'd seen plenty of "omg how awful is this" stuff online, and as much as I found a lot of it very funny and amusing to read, I didn't want to necessarily go in that direction. I wanted to sit down and talk about things that worried me in these books, ideologically-speaking, and what I thought it said about our larger society that these tropes weren't simply acceptable in a mainstream novel but arguably necessary for a novel to become as wildly successful as Twilight did.

For example: Edward Cullen is an abusive boyfriend by any objective metric I know to apply to him. But his popularity as a cultural icon in spite of (or because of) that fact doesn't lead me to believe that all girls want abusive boyfriends. It does, however, lead me to some very unpleasant observations about how we as a culture view female gaze and desire, female sexuality, acceptable male-on-female forms of attention, and so forth. In short, I wanted to Do Feminism, but using Twilight as a sounding board (or, as I privately prefer for reasons of amusement, a flannelgraph) to demonstrate that these things are real things that actually exists all around us.

Open Thread: The Season

The Season by Amateur Pic

Hosted by green and yellow fields.

Metapost: Out for the Week

So, I keep sitting down to write a Twilight and stuff keeps happening and then I think I should write a metapost, I've been flakey for a couple weeks now, but then I think no, this is incentive to write that Twilight, and then I sit down to write a Twilight and around it goes.

So. Short and sweet: I'm out for a week. I really hope that means we'll have posts next week!

I'm sorry to stick everyone with this, but work has gotten hella-busy for me, and my back has correspondingly acted up in response, which means that then I don't sleep at night, which makes everything go in this vicious cycle and also every family member I have in the area has decided to have birthdays this summer for some weird reason (SPACE THEM OUT PEOPLE. ONCE PER MONTH.) and apparently I am expected to attend social functions like an adult which surprises me because people didn't use to care if I showed up. So that's a spoon-thing.

Also: We are totally about to start Chapter 19 on Twilight and it is just... things are happening and it's like plot only it's like buh and my fingers are all noooooooo when it comes to typing. So I need to brain at it a bit, and you deserve a better post than me going WHAT IS THIS I DON'T EVEN twenty-thousand times in a row.

Narnia: Consenting to Leave

[Narnia Content Note: Genocide, Religious Abuse, Chivalry, Racism, Slavery]

Narnia Recap: In the last movie installment, everything is so much better.

Voyage of the Dawn Treader, 1:34:00 - THE END

I meant to get this up on Thursday but Real Life was all HAHA NO.

So. When we last left our heroes, Eustace had been turned back into a boy and saved everything forever. And after the EVIL MIST is defeated, there are the boats with all the sacrificed slaves alive and well and better, and Gael and Rhince swim out to Helaine, who continues to have a name. I approve.

And since we're about to kick the kids out of Narnia forever (well, in the case of Edmund and Lucy, anyway), and since the movie-makers correctly realized that this is something that really ought to be setup as desirable to the characters involved if there's to be any chance of this not being a hugely downer ending, then the reuniting of Helaine with Gael and Rhince prompts all the meaningful looks between Edmund and Lucy so that they can think about how much they miss their parents. Which doesn't really justify being kicked out of Narnia, because their parents are still across the ocean chilling in America, but...uhm, they tried?

Open Thread: Lavender Flower

Lavender Flower Close-up by Karen Arnold

Hosted by lavender flowers. 

Narnia: Cannibalism is Hilarious

[Narnia Content Note: Genocide, Religious Abuse, Chivalry, Racism, Slavery]

Narnia Recap: In the last movie installment, Eustace become a dragon.

Voyage of the Dawn Treader, 1:08:00 - 1:34:00

Two parts left of this movie, and this part is ALL DRAGON.

But first we start out with more mermaids or water-elementals or whatever, which is nice, only this time instead of waving happily to the ship, they're trying to warn it away from the EVIL ISLAND which is also nice because it's kind of like people in Narnia can be sensible and can look out for each other. Who knew?

Then everything sort of falls to pieces when the sailors say they want to eat dragon-Eustace because they are hungry. I remind you that this is a world in which sentient Talking Animals are both a thing and crewmembers on this ship. And, I mean, they sound kinda serious about it and it's all played off as "well, everyone is really hungry" and just...WOW it is creepy.

Anyway, the only semi-good thing about this scene is that Eustace starts towing the ship so that they get to Ramandu's island and food and so forth, and also it is super sweet to see Reepicheep riding Eustace as he flies and being amazingly sweet and encouraging. (YES. BUDDIES FOREVER.) But it is kinda tainted by the fact that they were talking about eating Eustace oh my god. I seriously do not know what the writers were thinking.

Open Thread: Autumn Trees In Park

Autumn Trees In Park by Petr Kratochvil

Hosted by trees with orange and red leaves.

Narnia: Here Be Dragons

[Narnia Content Note: Genocide, Religious Abuse, Chivalry, Racism, Slavery, Sexual Abuse]

Narnia Recap: In the last movie installment, our heroes zipped through the Island of Dufflepuds as quickly as humanly possible.

Voyage of the Dawn Treader, 45:00 - 1:08:00

There are some blubs today and also some screamy-no bits, so let's continue to see how my fellow Americans made everything somehow both better and worse than the source material.

When we last left the movie, Coriakin was passing out plot tickets for everyone to get punched and this was noteworthy because now he was the one who sent the Lost Lords on to put their swords on the table, and so now it's not just "travel to the Lone Islands to get these guys" but now the quest has upgraded to "travel to Aslan's table to save the world". Which I think we can all agree Narnia has a stake in, so it's probably okay for the Narnian king to be off doing this thing.

Anyway! There is a storm! Eustace writes snarky things about Coriakin in his diary! (I <3 Eustace.) There is an open candle in Caspian's study-room despite the ship being tossed like a marshmallow in an extremely frothy cup of hot chocolate, and yet somehow the ship doesn't set on fire nor is there hot wax on all the nice papers. Caspian is like "no, we must go on!" when Drinian suggests turning around because has Drinian not gotten the memo that Rhince's wife is missing? Which, I mean, seems relevant, yes, but also: EVIL MIST. Just sayin.

Open Thread: Picturesque Place Near The River

Picturesque Place Near The River by Larisa Koshkina

Hosted by rocks and trees along a river.

Narnia: Meet The Dufflepuds-- Oh Look A Puppy!

[Narnia Content Note: Genocide, Religious Abuse, Chivalry, Racism, Slavery]

Narnia Recap: In the last movie installment, our heroes learned that defeating scary green EVIL MIST is a better plot hook than finding seven guys that even they don't give a toss about.

Voyage of the Dawn Treader, 23:00 - 45:00

So, yay, it is Narnia Movie Week, if you are here for the Twilights, I am sorry but there are no Twilights, there is only Narnia Movie Week. AND IT IS OFF THE HOOK. (You kids still say that, right? Let's assume that you do.)

When we last left our heroes, they were slaves which is obviously very sad. Then they get to see a demonstration of what is in store for them if they don't get themselves rescued (Raising the Stakes! Otherwise we would have assumed that they would have had a nice life as slaves and everything would have been lovely forever!) and thankfully we are spared a scene with Caspian pontificating about how Slavery Is Bad, Ya'll because it turns out that we in the audience have been trusted to assume that the Good Guys would be anti-slavery. So instead we get to see a woman (grr, movie, would it kill you to take the dad/father for once but WHATEVER) get put on a boat with a lot of other people and then they're pushed out to sea and the EVIL MIST gets them and they are gone omg.

Now, if this were the book characters, they would be like "can we please have their stuff now", but it is the movie characters and they are properly appalled, so that's nice. And then the Dawn Treader sailors rescue the slaves, and Lucy smacks people with heavy objects, and hey look THERE IS A FAUN so I take back what I said in the last post about the Minotaur being the only non-human on-board, and then the cutest thing happens. Eustace runs back to the boat and waits quietly on the seats, and this is sensible because he was taken captive in the previous scene and used to force everyone to surrender, so I'm 100% chalking this up to a sensible thing for a character to do and not "cowardly" or something like that. And then Eustace frowns at the boat and says in exasperation, "Oh you're a boat in a magical land. Can't you row yourself?" And it is so perfect.

1 <3 Eustace.

Narnia: Platonic Pwning

[Narnia Content Note: Genocide, Religious Abuse, Chivalry, Racism, Slavery]

Narnia Recap: Let's watch an American pile of lolwhut that actually does try to address the source material problems in admittedly hilaribad ways!

Voyage of the Dawn Treader, 00:00 - 23:00

Welp, I did threaten to break this one up into multiple posts and as you can tell from the time stamps above, we get all of twenty-three minutes in this movie before I have to stop and type all the things.

This movie, ya'll, is bad. It's not as bad as the Disney Prince Caspian attempt, but let's be fair that a story about exciting islands on the wide ocean has an automatic leg up over a movie that is about bickering while lost in the woods. But that distinction alone does not automatically make a movie a tour de force and Voyage of the Dawn Treader really shows it.

And what makes me so excited about deconstructing this movie--and why we've broken with tradition to do this one first and the BBC one later--is that I saw this movie before I'd re-read the material in years and I was, no joke, stunned and horrified and hilarishocked at how this American piece of (and I mean this in a very caring way) shit had changed everything and omg can't they ever make a book movie without arbitrarily altering everything to add more special effects, etc. And while usually that is a very valid complaint (ha), after I re-read the actual book, I was immediately struck by how many of the changes in this movie were at least intended to combat the terrible awful that Lewis inserted into the source text.

So, to recap: This is not a great movie (ymmv), but it is an interesting one, as we trace through the many changes that attempted to get us from Lewis' vision (which simply could not have been shown on the screen, but more on that later) to something reasonably close to entertaining and maybe close to what he wanted us to feel. Ish. Maybe.

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