Twilight: Open Thread (June 2012)

There will be a Twilight open thread today to allow some blog catching-up. Suggested topic:

How would the Twilight narrative change for you (if at all) if the author insisted that her motivation behind writing the story was to convey an explicitly unhealthy relationship that is magically redeemed by the power of love by the end? (As opposed to a perfect relationship from the get-go.)


Nathaniel said...

I would still see that as horrendously and completely screwed up. The words "magically redeemed by the power of love" says it all. "Magically" is the only way such a thing could happen. And we would still have the massive issues of Bella being an jerk and a utterly hollow human being. One who snarks at everyone who doesn't sparkle, and sees flawless for those who do.

So I would still hate the book, and find its popularity deeply distressing.

GeniusLemur said...

Ditto on what Nathaniel said. And also, it would still have vampires in it, so I would ignore it as a matter of principle. And it would still be the modern "Anne Rice made vampires too weak, too vulnerable, and too ugly, we need to fix that," so I would loathe it no matter what.

Courtney said...

Yeah. It wouldn't really change for me on the creep factor scale. It would be just as creepy, but for a different reason. It would change from "abusive, controlling, stalkers are romantic" to "if you just love him enough, it will get better." There is no happily ever after with abusive relationships, and the idea that the magical power of true love can redeem a relationship with an abusive person is already way too prevalent, especially among the youngest victims of dating violence.

Ana Mardoll said...

Very insightful points, and ones I hadn't thought of when I phrased the question! I was thinking more "grow to be better" than literally "magically" being better, but these are great points that it would still further the cultural narrative that a Good Woman can redeem an evil man if she just tries REALLY HARD.

I'm trying to think of a way that Twilight could be more palatable and more healthy as an object lesson (as opposed to a harmless fantasy for people who don't take it seriously). Is there ANY way this story can be saved as a love story?? o.O

GeniusLemur said...

I think to be a good story, Twilight would have to be a completely different story with completely different characters and probably a different author. And at that point, it's not Twilight anymore, is it?

Will Wildman said...

Is there ANY way this story can be saved as a love story?? o.O

No options occur to me that allow for it to be an actual Bella/Edward romance.

Considering how screwed up Edward demonstrably is, I think the best that he can hope for from this experience is that when Bella finally realises that he is monstrous and makes her getaway, he goes into a frenzy that causes him to legitimately assess his life and his character and set out on a globe-trotting quest to become a person who could function in a healthy relationship: getting over his misanthropy to see people as all independently valuable in their own right, with the right to make their own choices. I'm guessing this would take decades to succeed, so maybe he could have one bittersweet reunion with Bella (now in her 90s) at the end of the story. It's still a 'love redeems' story, but it's not Bella's responsibility to love Edward until he improves - it's Edward's hunger for love that finally drives him to be a better person.

On Bella's side, parts of the books could remain the same, but she would need to display less misanthropy and racism and so forth throughout, and ultimately come to the conclusion that no matter how much she 'loves' Edward (however that's defined here), she had to get out of there because her love could never really protect her from his awfulness. Having Jacob not turn jackwagon in the third book would be a nice touch, and possibly after Edward left on his quest of self-improvement they could restore their friendship and find some way to couple up that was not fundamentally screwed up.

So I do think it is conceptually within reach of salvation as a double love story, but not unless the OTP changes and Edward gets his exeunt vampiris on.

Yamikuronue said...

I was really digging the first book when I suspected it was a tragic story in which Bella, blinded by her teenage hormones and shortsighted as hell, would be trapped forever as an awkward teenager instead of blossoming into the woman she was meant to become thanks to her insistence on becoming a vampire. That kind of story is still technically a love story, but a dark one with a bittersweet ending that will resonate well with a lot of adults who look back on their teenage years and cringe at how narrow-minded and shallow they used to be (like myself).

Silver Adept said...

We'd certainly be talking about it less, because as a "love redeems" story, it joins a cavalcade of others, many who do the trope with less of a heavy hand than Twilight requires from its setup of Edward as a Bad, Bad Man.

Actually, and this will sound flip, I'm sure, isn't the topic shift posited here the general idea of Fifty Shades of Grey (and the subsequent novels)? Plenty of people reading that work have lots to say about how heavy-handed that work is in its own redemption quest.

As for the actual question (can we rework Twilight into something significantly less FAIL by changing the context), well...maybe. It would require grafting courage onto Isabella or otherwise giving her the ability to make rational decisions while in the presence of Edward, so that she can tell him off about the awful things he's doing while he does them.

I can see it working out where Edward is...not The Rebound, but The Wild Man (yay, trope reversal?) that Bella hangs out with when she wants to be dangerous and rebellious, but that she will ultimately grow beyond as she matures. That could craft a fascinating dynamic where Edward has to, erm, grow up to try and keep Bella's affection, and where they can have on-again, off-again relationships where Edward has changed for a bit and then slips back into old ways and habits, and then makes some improvements and tries again, each time better than the last, until he can get and keep Bella's heart...probably when she's quite aged.

At which point I would personally drop the floor out from Edward because he finds out that Bella has settled with him because he has financial resources that she needs to stay alive and pay for the costs of being old and slowly becoming more disabled by day. Your choice, reader, however, as to whether he would apply the vampire treatment and age-reversing beautification to her after/at her natural death, because he's finally wise enough to handle a mature relationship and she's finally old enough to be tempted by the promise of youth and immortality and wouldn't mind spending that time with him. Less "power of love", more "mercenary decisions all around.", but I think in those mercenary decisions, we can see that there's enough maturity on all sides that there is love and affection behind it.

I think a novel like that, told in snapshots over time, would be a pretty neat Twilight series.

chris the cynic said...

Broken people healing each other through their interaction could be a great story, and Edward and Bella are both demonstrably broken.

The trouble is that at some point things would have to go massively off the rails. In the story as it stands Edward and Bella are almost perfectly suited to destroy any chance the other has of redemption.

Bella's total disregard for humanity means that Bella can be Edward's Human friend, "I'm not a speciesist, my human friend thinks the same thing."

What are Bella's problems? Well she exhibits symptoms of depression, and Edward treats her like crap. Good match there. If we drop the depression hypothesis and just look at things individually:

Bella has low self worth. Edward takes steps to lower it.
Bella has a low opinion of others. Edward reinforces this.
Bella is isolated. Her relationship with Edward increases this.
Bella, for all her thinking, doesn't act much. Edward reduces her ability to do so.
Bella doesn't stand up for herself. Edward physically drags her around and makes threats when she tries to.
Bella doesn't like lying yet does it all the damn time even when not lying would be so much easier, to the point that lying seems to be her default option and she never considers truth. Edward inducts her into a world where lies are required by law and the penalty for truth is death.
Bella has no direction or drive, Edward presents the opportunity to spend an eternity with neither, with none of the usual downsides.

Edward is basically an amplifier to everything wrong with Bella.

That alternate version of Twilight's intent could solve so much if, and this is the key thing, it ever got around to getting better.

If Edward realized that he was a bad influence of Bella, or either of them realized that the other was a bad influence on them, if something cracked their belief that everything was perfect and they finally realized how wrong it all was and worked, slowly, painfully, with setbacks and fuckups, towards being better people.

I could forgive the author for everything that's happened so far if this were all the set up for eventual reform. If this were the, "Something is horribly wrong here and will need to be righted," I'd see it as heavy handed, but not the epic wrongness I see when told this is perfect love.

Lliira said...

It wouldn't. The author wrote what the author wrote. Her stated intentions outside the novels mean nothing when the novels themselves contradict what she says.

There are plenty of things that Stephenie Meyer says now about her intentions that just make me think, "well, that's yet another thing she failed at." For instance, she claims she wrote Bella as a blank slate. She didn't -- Bella has a very defined personality. Whether Meyer's lying now or whether she simply failed miserably at her intentions (I lean toward the second option), it doesn't really matter. She wrote what she wrote, not what she claims she meant to write.

I go with what the author says when the novels are unclear about something, or are so complex that only the author can really know what's going on, and when the author is a competent writer. Basically, I need to have a reason to trust the author over my own judgment, and I often do. Not with Twilight.

The books would have to be re-written entirely, and by someone who was at least competent and more probably brilliant, to pull off what you describe.

JonathanPelikan said...

This reminds me of when I was reading Romeo and Juliet in like my freshman year of High School, and getting rather annoyed at how capital s Stuuuuuuuuuu-pid it all was. "You've known each other for a grand total of, what, two days?" Stuff like that. Getting annoyed at all of it. Then something tipped me off and I started wondering if Shakespeare intentionally wrote it that way to make a point instead of presenting the tragic love-at-first-sight straight.

I'm still not entirely sure; my parents think that's plausible but I haven't seen a ton of literature and scholarship about it to see if the Experts agree or anything.

My opinion: These two individuals, as written, can't have a traditional romantic relationship and have it be Good or even Better or Acceptable, mostly for reasons outlined so brilliantly above in the comments. The hacking and slashing and burning necessary to make either Edward or Bella into a Tolerable Person, much less both, and make their relationship Not Terrifying would probably be so radical that you wouldn't recognize it anymore, and the author and the fans certainly wouldn't, for the most part.

GeniusLemur said...

It's actually worse: they decide to get married when they've known each other less than an hour. And they start trading declarations of eternal love instantly. Still, it wouldn't be unusual at the time. The Romeo and Juliet style tragic love story is a genre dating from ancient times (Pyramus and Thisbe, for instance) and the love part of the story is seldom more than "she was so beautiful he instantly fell in love." And the entire concept of courtly love is built on "You're beautiful, so I will love you and dedicate all my deeds to you, even if I can never touch you or even speak to you."

I've seen some speculation like yours, especially from the diehard Shakespearians, arguing that Romeo and Juliet is some kind of subtle parody or deconstruction. I don't agree, for the reasons above, but it's not hard to explain the idea when the choice is between Shakespeare writing a deconstruction/paraody so subtle that everyone missed it for centuries, and the GREATEST WRITER IN THE HISTORY OF THE UNIVERSE. just throwing some cliches in a pile and calling it a day.

Ana Mardoll said...

There's a Theory among some Shakespearean scholars (no, really, I learned it in college and everything. I think it has a name, I just don't remember it.) that each play's protagonist has a specific flaw that dooms hir (ok, "him", let's be real, but still) in ONLY THAT SITUATION and no other; i.e., that the character flaws are tailored for the worst possible flaw in that play's situation.

So Hamlet's flaw is extreme waffling; if he'd just killed Claudius earlier on, everything would have been fine.

Othello's flaw, on the other hand, is being too impetuous-murder-frenzy-happy: if he'd waited and not killed Desdemona and gathered actual evidence, then he would have found she was true to him and it all would have been okay.

So if Hamlet and Othello were to switch plays, they'd have each had happy endings because their flaws wouldn't have been flaws within those circumstances -- Othello would have killed Claudius and Hamlet would have figured out that Desdemona was faithful. The idea being that the flaws are *tailored* to each play, as opposed to being the same flaw over and over again. (Which is how some people characterize the Greek plays, as being only about Hubris and no other flaw ever. Which probably is over-simplifying and unfair. But that's people for you.)

Within the bounds of that theory, I've seen it argued that Romeo's flaw is his infatuation-impetuousness and thinking he's in Twue Wuv Forevah at the drop of a hat. And therefore that, no, he's not really in genuine love and someone else *without* that flaw would have realized that and not gotten himself killed over a girl he'd only just met.

I'm not one for Twelve Dimensional Chess, but I can definitely see a writer having a relatively simplistic process of CHARACTER --> FLAW --> SITUATION WHERE FLAW ENDS IN TRAGEDY and following through.

But as said above, it's just as possible that Shakespeare took a stock trope and ran with it -- it's certainly not the only example of Love At First Sight in his plays, I believe.

chris the cynic said...

I don't think it can be argued that Hamlet's flaw is waffling. A lot of the time he spends that gets labled as waffling is spent doing things that are either reasonable (checking that Claudius is guilty) or in line with his intended purpose (making sure that Claudius goes to Hell.)

His flaw actually seems to be textbook hubris. He thinks he knows better than God who belongs in Heaven and who belongs in Hell. His decision not to kill Claudius after Claudius' confession is his claiming the power of God for himself and upending the divine order of things. He was supposed to be an instrument of justice, instead he said, "Screw you God-Jesus-person, I am the sole arbiter of salvation and I say Claudius doesn't get it."

On the one hand, he succeeds in that goal. If you accept the rules at play, Hamlet did manage to send Claudius to Hell when, if he'd killed him when duty called for it Claudius would have gone to Heaven instead, on the other hand in the process he destroys everything he ever cared about except Horatio.

It was usurping the power of God that got Hamlet into trouble, and I'm pretty sure that's hubris.


As for the thing about the Greeks, Oedipus' flaw, if you can call it that, was that he was born into a cursed family, Agamemnon's was that he acted like Chloe, Antigone's was that she acted like Rayford, I don't think it was a one size fits all thing. (But note that neither Agamemnon nor Antigone was led to their downfall by their flaw, the flaw was about how they faced the downfall wrong.)

Though there is a certain one size fits all element to things. If you put Hamlet, Othello, or Romeo into Agamemnon's place they all would have been equally doomed. They might have pulled off a different doom, but they'd be doomed.

I think the difference is more that Greek tragedy is all about no win situations (except when they win), where Shakespearean tragedy is about, "How the hell could you not win?" situations.

In a Greek tragedy all roads lead to horrible things, and the character's decisions simply choose which of those roads is taken. In Shakespearean tragedy the vast majority of roads lead to not so bad places, and the character's decisions are what place them on the one road that leads to abject failure.

Or something like that.

GeniusLemur said...

That's just the classic definition of tragedy: hero has flaw which leads to his downfall. The situation, of course, will be one where the hero's flaw will result in his downfall. Of course, there were exceptions, even in the classical period. For instance, in Oedipus Rex, he's doomed by fate. Any flaws or virtues he has are irrelevant.

Mary Kaye said...

My family loves Shakespeare but generally hates R&J. My mother was a Shakespearean scholar and used to have to give public talks on it--not her favorite activity! She leaned toward the "Shakespeare knows these young folk are fools" interpretation.

A few years ago some of us had just seen it again and we got to talking about how R&J could actually be made palatable. My husband said, "Set it in a nursing home. R&J are quite elderly people, and the family members trying to interfere are their kids, not their parents."

I think that works. The sense of ridiculous urgency is plausible in a teen, but stupid: you know if you could just send Romeo to sea or something he would get over himself. "Men have died and worms have eaten them/ But not for love." But it makes more sense in an 80 year old who really *cannot* wait for another chance at love.

Silver Adept said...

@Mary Kaye -

I think someone has done that interpretation. Or suggested it in my travels in life so far. Perhaps it is just a glitch in the Matrix. Either way, it certainly seems like a better interpretation for out modern selves.

JonathanPelikan said...

If the only thing I bring to most discussions is reviews to better-thought-out stuff than me, well, might as well do it. This is what I thought of as soon as the discussion turned to tragedy and stuff; specifically, this guy's musing on how genre fiction -becomes- literature and how modern things reflect ancient tropes, looking specifically at Mass Effect for examples of tragic and eligaic heroes.

Lliira said...

Falling in love at first conversation happens. It's the only way I personally have ever fallen in love.

But the point of Romeo and Juliet isn't the love story. The point is the tragedy. It's to point out two things that were vitally important in Shakespeare's time: one, blood feuds are stupid; two, trying to forbid your children from marrying the people they want to marry is stupid. It doesn't matter how ill-advised you think they are, your kids are going to marry whomever they wish, and if they are outright forbidden from doing so, they're going to find a way around that, and it's likely that the way around that will end up with you wishing you'd never forbidden the marriage in the first place.

If the Capulets and the Montagus had not been feuding, there would have been no story, as there would have been no point. The fools are the adults, not the kids who are doing their best to live their lives in a world that has been entirely broken by the adults.

GeniusLemur said...

Well, on the kids marrying who they want to, it's not the case. When Shakespeare was writing, love matches were something new and controversial. Before that, you just married whoever your parents picked for you, and that was that. That was also the case for the majority of marriages during Shakespeare's time. Parents had all sorts of legal and social tools to make sure their children didn't do anything scandalous, like get married without their approval, and the more rich/powerful the parents, the more tools they had. In the vast majority of cases like R&J, it would never even occur to either party that they could disobey their parents.

Makabit said...

"He said, I'm gonna shaft the Moor,"
"How you gonna do it, tell us?"
"Well, you know his tragic flaw is that he's too damn jealous."

The question of how much on Romeo and Juliet's side Shakespeare is can become a subject of hot, scathing, contention. My own interpretation pretty much falls down with Lliira's: the tragedy is that of the feud, and the surety with which it destroys everything it touches. The tragedy is only fueled by youthful hormones and romantic yearning.

I'm an R&J fan; I think it's a brilliant play, and I like the Zeffirelli version, and I lurve the Baz Luhrman version, and I think the language is, even by Shakespeare's own exalted standards, spectacular. (And the dirty jokes are spectacular too.) And I have fun watching people tear each other to shreds over whether the lovers are supposed to be appealing or ridiculous, and if Mercutio is gay (IS TOO! IS NOT!) One of my favorites.

I may have mentioned this before, but I've got notes laid out for a slashfic with a Romeo and Juliet setting. I keep putting it off because I can't match Shakespeare's language.

Lliira said...

Before that, you just married whoever your parents picked for you, and that was that. That was also the case for the majority of marriages during Shakespeare's time

That is not true. The majority of marriages in Shakespeare's time and before in England were marriages that were chosen by the people getting married. They normally had the support of their parents, yes. That is partly because the parents cared about their children's happiness, part of which would be material happiness. But one quite common ploy when the parents were being stubborn was for the woman (and it was normally a grown woman) to become pregnant by the man, in order to force the parents to concede.

Parents had all sorts of legal and social tools to make sure their children didn't do anything scandalous, like get married without their approval, and the more rich/powerful the parents, the more tools they had.

Yes. But even the most powerful could not force it. By Shakespeare's time, the church had made quite sure of that. You could not legally force someone into marriage, nor could a marriage be legally dissolved because the parents wished it to be. Further, England was different than the continent, and prided itself on its people being more free. (Whether they actually were more free is another topic.) That's part of why Romeo and Juliet was set in Venice.

In the vast majority of cases like R&J, it would never even occur to either party that they could disobey their parents.

I don't know how many cases there were of adolescents from merchant prince families in a blood feud with each other falling in love. Not too common, I'd guess. It wasn't a story because it was common, though, it was a story because it symbolized something larger: oppose your kids' marriage, try to force them not to marry the people they want to marry or to marry someone they don't want to marry, and you will lose. This is a common theme in many of Shakespeare's plays, including my favorite, A Midsummer Night's Dream.

chris the cynic said...

Its worth remembering that the laws and how people acted aren't always the same. In Rome a father had the power of life and death over the members of his family. There is no evidence any Roman every used that power. Legally they could do what Bill Cosby threatened to do, but actually it doesn't look like anyone ever did.

There's a lot of speculation, and I think some evidence to back it up, that even though legally marriage at the time (still in the Roman Empire here, it's what I know) was a negotiation between the potential husband and the brides father in which the bride had no say, in practice she probably did have a fair degree of influence unless she was far enough into the upper class that her marriage was entirely a matter of political alliances.

But, basically, my point is that while we might think we know how things were based on what law or custom says, law and custom sort of get treated as guidelines: some people follow them to the letter, others not so much.

People were just as varied in the past as they are today, and we can't expect them to march to the expectations of the time in lockstep.

Beroli said...

If that was the only change? Instead of being baffled that Meyer thinks these two toxic people and their toxic relationship are perfect, I'd be baffled that she thinks they and/or their relationship change at any point. It would, I suppose, be slightly better in that, for some unspecified amount of time, Meyer would know what she was writing, but...honestly, if she made that claim, I would probably not believe her, because the relationship never does change. "Maybe their relationship magically transmuted into a healthy relationship five pages from the end of Breaking Dawn and they were just too focused on the Volturi threat to show it in any way" has all the value, for the story, of, "Maybe all of them and the entire town of Forks was obliterated by a meteor right after the end of Breaking Dawn."

Smilodon said...

I have three answers to your question.

1. Doesn't Meyer compare one of the books to Wuthering Heights? Which suggests that either she knew Edward was pretty flawed, or she never read the wikipedia page for Wuthering Heights like I did. (There are a lot of classics in the world, ok?) This doesn't change how I read the text she actually wrote.

2. What if the text did change? Would I have liked Twilight if it had been a different novel with a redemption-through-love story? Maybe, but "redemption through love" is one of my least favourite romance tropes. Give me a nice "mistaken interpretations by slightly flawed individuals" any day. That way, you can have witty reparte without bad people.

3. Would I have liked Twilight if it had been a story of a young woman destroyed by her abusive boyfriend? Probably not, I prefer books of happy escapism.

chris the cynic said...

I tried to address this in my post already, but to make it explicit: I think it very much depends on how much of Twilight is being judged. Are we judging the book, the series, or just what we've gotten through so far?

If it's just what we've gone over so far then I'd say that'd make a massive difference. There are many problems with Twilight beyond the relationship between Edward and Bella but that's the big giant unmistakable one. If that relationship is supposed to be bad and unhealthy and wrong for the stated reason then that carries with it the promise of change.

And in light of the anticipated change I think we could call what we've seen so far a reasonably competent showing of an unhealthy relationship between two damaged individuals.

So that changes everything.

But if we take a longer view we see that that change never happens. There is no redemption. Which sort of kills that way of looking at things. It goes from monumental failure at depicting a healthy relationship to monumental failure at depicting the change from and unhealthy relationship to a healthy one.

Smilodon said...

Thanks for clarifying, your point makes a lot of sense.

I probably would still dislike it if the book changed in the next chapter to be about redemption for Bella and Edward. The problem that I see with this is that either it's a type of romance novel I dislike, or it's not a traditional "romance novel" at all. Bearing in mind that when I say "traditional romance novel", I mainly mean Harlequin-style romances, and I mostly read fairly modern ones (it depends on the selection at garage sales.)

In a romance novel, the decision to change is often hard, because you have to recognize that how you're acting is hurting other people. However, the actual act of changing is easy. I'll describe the plot to one I read fairly recently. Maybe content warnings? It had PTSD and alcoholism.

Poppy marries a PTSD survior, and when he realizes that he acts out when he's drinking, he stops drinking. He won't sleep in the same bed with her initially (he worries about hurting her during a dream), but after life-changing event (I think she's kidnapped? I forget) he realizes that he's hurting both of them by refusing, so he sleeps in the bed with her. In both cases, he has to make a dramatic life change, and it's a huge novel struggle to get him to the point that he wants to make the change. But once he does, the change is fixed. He never struggles with wanting to drink once he quits, and he never hurts her when he's sleeping.

This is why I dislike the "fundemental character change" type of romance novel. People don't change instantly just because they want to, and I dislike reading a book where it seems easy. That's why I love the "misunderstanding keeping them apart" trope best. If what's keeping you apart is that he thinks you're lower class than you are, so he thinks getting with you would be beneath him, and you're mad at him because he treats you like you're lower class when you're not, then having a reason to change your behaviour and actually changing can be the same event.

So that's why I would dislike it if it was a fast redemption, like so many romances I read.

If it was a slow redemption - one of growing together, and learning hard lessons about each other - I don't think it would be a traditional escapism romance as I see them. It could be a very good book, but I don't think Twilight would be escapist romance any more.

chris the cynic said...

I'm not a romance fan regardless, but I hate plots that revolve around misunderstanding or unnecessary secrets or any of the kinds of plots where the whole thing could be solved by a straightforward honest conversation.

If a story's conflict could be resolved by saying:

Character 1: I'm [whatever]
Character 2: Oh, I though you were [not-whatever]
Character 1: That explains everything.
Character 2: Doesn't it just?
Story: Happily ever after.

Then congratulations, I hate you all.


Second I've spent a lot of time comparing start of the book Bella to start of the series Tsukasa*, because I see a lot of similarities. there. Tsukasa approaches healthy in an inconsistent, at times backsliding, process that takes the entire series (about six months) to the point that at the end he's ready to start trying to live a normal life.

I doubt a well portrayed process for Bella would be any quicker. If we're assuming that Edward is involved I'm betting on slower.


* I'm torn between thinking that I need to get more regular in updating ,hack posts, and thinking I should just give up because no one seems to read them anyway. The most recent ones weren't exactly of the best quality. The next few don't look like they'll be any better.

Smilodon said...

To be fair to the romance, the plot was actually more complicated than that. That one was actually a play, She Stoops to Conquer. As I remember it, the heroine realizes that the hero has crippling social anxiety when dealing with ladies of his own class. However, he mistook her for a commoner in the first act, so she purposefully continues the misunderstanding (despite her irritation over being mistaken) so that they can interact.

A lot of novels that I really enjoy are about people slowly learning to overcome their foibles and be happy with other people. But when I think of my favourites, I always think of ones where people learn to be friends and escape their isolation. Harry Dresden and Karen Murphy from the Dresden Files. Sherlock and Watson from the BBC production. I don't know why I can't come up with ones from the romance world - it ought to be more prevalent - but I don't think it is. Slow painful development just doesn't fit with how I think of that genre.

Maybe it's because it's better as a backdrop to a story- look how Dresden has to learn to trust Karen to fight werewolves - but it doesn't work as the entire story - look how Dresden needs to learn to trust Karen to find True Love. I never really thought about why romances seem to skip that part of the story.

Ana Mardoll said...

I hate those too. And since we're being tropey today:

Ana Mardoll said...

Also, I am so sorry you're not feeling .hack reader love. I REALLY enjoyed what I did read of the beginning and then got swamped. :( I feel bad, because I was one of the ones who was all "yeah, do that there thing, I'll read!" I really do keep meaning to catch up, but I get farther and further behind.

chris the cynic said...

I follow here, Slacktivist, and some of Slacktiverse and I have trouble keeping up with everything, it doesn't surprise me people don't have time to keep up with what I write. Well, I also keep up with Will, but that's just because Will is easy to keep up with (his content is good, but his output is low.)

And then every so often there will be a new comment and I'll get excited, and it turns out to be spam. Or one time I saw that Brin had commented on one of the posts and I thought it would be wonderful, and it turned out she was just letting me know I'd screwed up a tag.

So I'm coming up on three posts where my commitment to try to approach things in chronological order, combined with diffuse storytelling, has me worrying I'll end up saying nothing worth reading, and then I wonder if anyone is reading anyway.

I think I get more people wondering in from google because a post randomly has their chosen keywords if not their desired topic, than I do coming to read the .hack stuff.


Anyway if you do get back to reading it, and you have the time and spoons, please say something. It doesn't matter if the post you're reading is six months old, I'd love to hear your thoughts instead of spending all my time talking to myself.

Ana Mardoll said...

I will. I will comment more! I nearly left a comment on your blog last week, but the login thingy ate it somehow and I'd forgotten to copy-pasta. A big problem though -- and it seems like this is true for a lot of folks here -- is that when you're using an rss reader to read on the go, commenting is less easy. But I shall remember to leave a comment. *grins*

Smilodon said...

I read your .hack deconstructions. For whatever reason (I don't know why), your blog is one that I prefer in large bites to little nibbles, so I don't read it regularly - I go through weeks of back posts all at once, every so often. And even if I come up with something interesting to say (rarely), I always feel really stupid posting on a thread that's weeks old. I'll try to comment more, if reviving long-dead threads is a thing.

chris the cynic said...

Lonespark had a comment eaten too. I don't really know what to do, I know nothing of computers.

chris the cynic said...

When in doubt, comment. Some people may have problems with dead threads being resurrected, I have trouble getting live threads in the first place. On the off chance the post you have something to say about is one that already has comments, comment.

I am in no danger of being overrun with comments, and have no problem with you responding to something from back in the mists of ancient history.

Ana Mardoll said...

There doesn't seem to be a commenting engine out there that is entirely problem free. Which is odd, now that I think about it!

Brin Bellway said...

I'm torn between thinking that I need to get more regular in updating ,hack posts, and thinking I should just give up because no one seems to read them anyway.

For what it's worth, I've stopped reading them until after I watch the show, at which point I'll go back and read them all. Don't know when I'll get around to that.

Or one time I saw that Brin had commented on one of the posts and I thought it would be wonderful, and it turned out she was just letting me know I'd screwed up a tag.

Aw, I make you hopeful. I like that. Sorry I couldn't realise those particular hopes.

(I think I'm going to bump up watching .hack in the to-do list. I've allowed the chunk of time I used to set aside for television to be swallowed up by whatever I happen to be doing at the time now that Daily Planet's off for the summer. I'll try not to let that happen anymore.)

Silver Adept said...

I've watched all of.hack//sign, and enjoyed the characters. Let me put your blog in a tab so that I remember to check and comment more. I know how difficult it it's to gather a reading audience, and all I do is repost news links and occasionally vent and fume.

chris the cynic said...

Venting and fuming is an important function of the internet. Especially since most of the time I need to vent and fume it's about the people who I know in person, so I can't very well vent and fume at them.

Silver Adept said...

I understand that feeling quite well. Sometimes the people you need to blog about the most are the people who read the blog. Or are people who could make things very difficult for you in real life if they ever traced it back to you.

chris the cynic said...

My ability to vent was limited quite a bit when my sister noticed I had a blog, though as far as I know she doesn't pay much attention. It just seems like tempting fate to make a new post venting wrt her. And I worry about any of my relatives finding it and reading through the archives. I haven't said anything I think shouldn't be said, but things will be much easier for me if certain people don't read them.

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