Open Thread: Squirrel on Fence


So there was this squirrel lazing on the fence in a way that begged to be photographed, but I didn't have my camera.  It was in the house.  The squirrel stayed there for the longest time, and eventually I had reason to go into the house.  As expected, this made the squirrel disappear.

I brought the camera back out anyway.  There were 9 squirrels running circuits, and while none adopted the brilliant pose of the one I'd wanted to photograph, one did at least stop to hang out at the same spot.  Thus the above picture.

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Friday Recommendations!  What have you been reading/writing/listening to/playing/watching lately?  Shamelessly self-promote or boost the signal on something you think we should know about - the weekend’s ahead of us, so give us something new to explore!

And, like on all threads: please remember to use the "post new comment" feature rather than the "reply" feature, even when directly replying to someone else!

Narnia: The Trumpet at Last

[Narnia Content Note: War]

Narnia Recap: Shasta has united with the Narnian army and Corin has strong-armed him into being his "bodyguard" for the upcoming battle. Obligatory note about racism, intent, and Lewis is here.

The Horse and His Boy, Chapter 13: The Fight at Anvard

Alright.

Deep breath.

We're going to try to finish this chapter today. I'm sorry it's taken so long.

I've struggled with this chapter because it feels fundamentally wrong. All the elements that have got us here have been summarily discarded and the result is a literary mess. We have an Animal army and yet so much of this battle has nothing to do with the Animals on the Narnian side. We have a besieged castle and yet so much of this battle has little to do with siege warfare or any sort of castle defenses on the Archenland side. We have a Helen of Troy who is a crackerjack shot with a bow, and yet she is Sir Not Appearing In This Battle.

This battle ought to combine all the elements we've seen thus far into a glorious crescendo of literary beauty. Bree, the war stallion, should be here--as should Aravis, in her brother's armor. They should be vital and necessary to the story, using their knowledge of Calormene tactics against the invaders. Instead they are Chekov's Guns who go unfired, and all their knowledge of battle and tactics and hunting could've been replaced with an interest in knitting for all the impact it has. Susan is shoved into a closet. Some token effort is made to reveal Shasta as the True King, but since he looks exactly like Corin, the only real mystery to the reader is why it took everyone so long to work out the bleeding obvious.

This is, in short, a climax which is flatly anti-climactic and all we can do is slog through it.

Open Thread: Giant Lego Giraffe (three)


For the second time I went to the theater that grew up after the Assembly station on the Orange Line was planted.  The first time I went we weren't quite sure where it was and someone told us that it was by the giant Lego Giraffe (which is in fact made out of Duplo bricks.)

So, as this picture clearly demonstrates, I have now seen the movie Wonder Woman , which can stand as the first "Friday Recommendation".

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Friday Recommendations!  What have you been reading/writing/listening to/playing/watching lately?  Shamelessly self-promote or boost the signal on something you think we should know about - the weekend’s ahead of us, so give us something new to explore!

And, like on all threads: please remember to use the "post new comment" feature rather than the "reply" feature, even when directly replying to someone else!

Repost: If Only They'd Planted Ginkgo Biloba

[Ana's Note: By popular demand, this is a re-post of an old deconstruction, partly to have content while I struggle with my ongoing disability challenges and partly so that newcomers can comment on old conversations.

The original post is here. I have not edited the content.



Narnia Recap: The children have been pulled back into Narnia and have found an abandoned castle with apple trees for sustenance.

Prince Caspian, Chapter 2: The Ancient Treasure House

Last week we talked about an ongoing world-building problem with Narnia: namely, how much the children remember about their adventures therein. This is not a trivial point to me, since it's on this question that hinges a great deal in terms of the Problem of Susan. After all, if some magic muddles the children's memories of Narnia, she can hardly be blamed for thinking of the whole experience as a child's dream game. And if magic doesn't muddle their perceptions and memories, then we are justified in asking how all this zig-zagging between Narnia and England and all this living of two lives concurrently is affecting the children emotionally and mentally.

Open Thread: Echoes of Architecture



When space is at a premium buildings have no gaps between them and as a result something is left behind when one is knocked down, burned down, stomped by Godzilla, abducted by aliens, or accidentally transferred to another dimension.  Outlines of where one building touched the next remain even after one or the next (but not both) has left this reality.

They linger for all to see.  If one only looks.

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Friday Recommendations!  What have you been reading/writing/listening to/playing/watching lately?  Shamelessly self-promote or boost the signal on something you think we should know about - the weekend’s ahead of us, so give us something new to explore!

And, like on all threads: please remember to use the "post new comment" feature rather than the "reply" feature, even when directly replying to someone else!

Open Thread: Beast of Burden


Rumor has it that if you pass through a magical portal you'll find a land where time moves at a different speed and all the farm equipment can talk.  Well the machines at least.  The talking scythe lives in a different plane of existence altogether where it raises its little sickles (which it produced by parthenogenesis, don'cha know?)

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Friday Recommendations!  What have you been reading/writing/listening to/playing/watching lately?  Shamelessly self-promote or boost the signal on something you think we should know about - the weekend’s ahead of us, so give us something new to explore!

And, like on all threads: please remember to use the "post new comment" feature rather than the "reply" feature, even when directly replying to someone else!

Writings: Rabadash's Ride

[This post was previously posted on my Patreon blog.]

Regular readers of my blog will be familiar with my Narnia deconstructions, which are currently on The Horse and His Boy right now. I'm not having the easiest time of it, to be honest. The text is incredibly racist, whether on purpose or not, and Lewis had gotten very sloppy indeed at this point in the series even as regards basic fundamentals of writing like "sensible plotting" and "consistent characterization". All of these problems--Bad Writing and Bad Racism--collide in the person of Prince Rabadash, the violent angry suitor (and man of color from a country literally called "Calormen") who wants to steal Queen Susan away from Narnia to be his "bride".

I won't go into the racism of this trope here because I've beat that particular dead horse heavily enough on my blog, but one thing I have noticed is how much more sense Rabadash would make as a victim of abuse rather than as a mustache-twirling villain. He doesn't make sense as a villain; he was supposedly able to pretend at honor and worthiness when he lived as a guest with the Pevensies in Narnia, yet couldn't keep up the act when Susan visited him in Tashbaan with the intent of hashing out their betrothal contract. In the book, the Narnians see his change in character at home as evidence of his 'true colors', but it seems so much more likely to me that Rabadash behaved well in Narnia because he was happy and he behaved badly back home in Tashbaan because his abusive father is in close proximity and Rabadash is therefore under considerable stress.

After Susan pretends to be on the verge of accepting his proposal as a bluff so the Narnians can flee on their boat under the cover of night, Rabadash instantly (and correctly) blames her despite this characterization not fitting with his ego or his supposed affection of Susan. Reader Anton Mates pointed out that this bad characterization (i.e., having a direct line to the author to know who did what when and how) also contributes to the underlying racism in the book:

(THAHB) "But I want her," cried the Prince. "I must have her. I shall die if I do not get her--false, proud, black-hearted daughter of a dog that she is! I cannot sleep and my food has no savor and my eyes are darkened because of her beauty. I must have the barbarian queen."

(Anton_Mates) I'm surprised that Rabadash loves Susan and yet automatically blames her for instigating the flight of the Narnian delegation. Why does he think that she's in charge? You'd think he'd prefer to assume that it was her jealous brother who spirited Susan off, while she totally wants him and is pining to be rescued. But I guess he's eviller this way.

This stuck with me, and I wanted to write a fic where Rabadash is a flawed victim of abuse who assumed Susan was carried away from him rather than fleeing him by choice. I also wanted to write a Susan with agency and the ability to recognize that though her choice to flee was the right one, the consequences of that choice are things she can manage as a competent and wise queen (rather than, as in the book, being left at Cair Paravel to never be heard from again while the men sort things out with violence). This fic was the result. I think it is a little rough around the edges, but I hope you enjoy reading my "fix" for these events.


--THE RIDE--

He flies past Anvard, leaning hard into the neck of his horse as he urges her on. The gates to the castle are closed, a fact he notes with relief as they race onward. Thank Tash.

Rabadash had never planned to take Anvard. He'd offered the tiny walled home of the Archenland kings as a jewel to dangle before his greedy father, knowing that without the lure of acquired land and looted riches the Tisroc (may he live forever and his gout plague him eternally) wouldn't approve this expedition into Narnia. Rescuing the woman Rabadash loved from the hands of her treacherous brother wasn't enough reason to rouse the Calormene army into action. So Rabadash promised a castle he never planned to deliver and now Tash granted him justification for the actions he'd already decided upon: the castle must be passed by for there was no way to breach the walls once the gates were close. On now to Narnia.

Narnia. The word was ginger on his tongue: sweet, but followed by a burn that left him scalded and craving more. Barbarians, all of them; they had only the most basic amenities and lived like children who had grown to maturity without the slightest inkling of civilized living. They drank murky water drawn from their courtyard well at dinner, and didn't know to wash their soiled hands with cloths dipped in boiled and scented water before eating. Their food was simple: dark, crusty breads and game meat they hunted themselves, with only a pitiful selection of fruits or pastries. Wind sliced through the rough stone walls of their castle during the long harsh northern winters, and though the freezing air was hardly a bother to the strange Animals who inhabited the court, it cut to the bone any human not wrapped in a thousand layers of fur.

He should hate the backwoods little country, so shabby in comparison with his home. Yet he had found unexpected peace when he stayed there. The deprivation of all luxury grated on him, yes, but in many ways it was like camping with his soldiers on campaign: rough, but a roughness that made him stronger for surviving it. Every morning after a restful night's sleep, he woke praising Tash for the blessed quiet of the court. In Narnia he was far from his father's prodding words laying snares around him, far from cringing servants who spied on him, far from grasping nobles who carried tales about him. For the first time in his life Rabadash felt able to relax, laughing as the mood took him and cheering for the other fighters at the jousts held in his honor. No enemies angled knives for his back in Narnia, for there was no point to be had in killing or disgracing him. He was a guest, and with that came freedom unlike anything he'd ever tasted.

Then, too, there were the Animals! They had unsettled him at first, the way the Horses spoke back when he admired their beautiful fine flesh. One saucy mare had even made him blush when she told him to keep his eyes to himself. Rabadash was not accustomed to being addressed in such a manner, yet that was the way here--Animals spoke as freely to kings and queens as though they were equals. Perhaps, in the logic of fairytales, they were. He came to like them all: the Tortoise who bested him at every chess game; the Cat who spun stories into the dark winter nights; the Squirrel who served as court jester and squeaked truths no one else dared utter from the ceiling beams. The creatures were lords and ladies in their own right, and Rabadash could only stare and admire. He liked the Animals, even when he did not understand them.

This land, the land his horse's hooves now pound furiously over, welcomed him into its heart. He had come to love the emerald hills as much as he loved their queen. And her brother--her treacherous, traitorous, scheming brother--had stolen his love from him, stolen Susan and all of Narnia in one fell swoop, carrying Rabadash's hopes with him across the sea. Fury blinds him for a heartbeat, red spots dancing in front of his eyes. It's the same fury he felt when the Tisroc (may he live forever in a barrel of nails) executed his favorite servant just to relish the impotent pain in Rabadash's face, and for much the same reason now.

He has spent a lifetime letting corrupt kings rob him of his joy. He won't stand aside now and lose Susan and Narnia.


--THE SIGHTING--

The ship is in his sights as the gangplank hits the dock. He urges his horse forward, breaking away from the host of riders thundering behind him. His mare is exhausted, he can feel her flanks heaving under him panting for breath, but he's so close. He's not a moment too soon, he must get to Susan before they can lock her up in that dreary castle. She hates confinement, she's never happier than when she's riding with the wind whipping through her hair, he can't bear to imagine her trapped in one of those cold stone towers.

Rabadash is set to swing her into the saddle behind him and ride, ride, ride back to Tashbaan and freedom, when the delicate royal foot that steps out onto the gangplank he gallops towards isn't hers at all but her brother's. He can't pull up short; his momentum is too great. For a moment he's tempted to draw his sword and lop off Edmund's head in a heartbeat but he knows if he does that Susan will never be his. King Peter would demand satisfaction for the death of his brother, and Susan could never look at him the same way. If the blackguard is to be engaged on the field, he must be captured and not killed.

Any element of surprise is gone; Edmund is close enough to see the whites of his eyes as Rabadash wheels his mare around in a tight arc. The sound of his troops behind him is a glorious orchestra of strength; beating hooves and gleaming metal song as swords are drawn. When his mare pulls up short he dismounts in a single fluid movement, his own blade leaping to his hand and meeting Edmund's sword in the air between them. They hold, steel kissing steel, and lock eyes as Calormene troops and Narnian warriors array themselves on either side. A tense almost-silence fills the valley, broken only by the snorting of horses and a single tiny gasp as Susan--his beautiful, perfect Susan--leans over the railing of the ship and glimpses him.

"Prince Rabadash." Edmund's voice is cold and haughty, his eyes filled with the self-righteous indignation he thinks makes him seem older than he is. Rabadash is not impressed; the Tashbaan court is filled with aging patriarchs who wear the look better. "To what do we owe the honor of your... visit?"

He lingers over the last word as though they won't all catch his sarcasm otherwise; if Rabadash weren't so angry he'd be tempted to roll his eyes. The youngest Narnian king is always so certain his veiled insults are too subtle to catch if he doesn't call attention to them. Rabadash presses his sword harder against his opponent's, trying to steady his breathing. "I'm here for my bride, dog."

Anger flashes in the younger man's eyes. "She's not yours, Rabadash. She will never be yours. Our sister isn't a prize for you to claim as your own."

The muscles in his sword arm tense with the need to lash out. So the Narnian king thinks Rabadash isn't good enough for his sister? He's just another worm who thinks the sun shines from his ass. Bad enough that the Tisroc belittles him, baits him, longs for him to die on campaign so he can elevate one of his brothers in his place; for this low-born upstart to call Rabadash his inferior is too much to bear.

"You treacherous, two-faced villain!" He spits the words in the barbarian king's face. "To take her from me when she was on the cusp of signing our betrothal. I will teach you--"

"Rabadash!"

Her voice, clear as a ringing bell, calls down to him from the ship above. He'd been waiting to hear her without realizing he was doing so, ears strained for her cry of joy on being rescued. Yet even as his heart leaps to hear his name in her mouth, he notes with some confusion that the joy is missing. Understandable worry fills her voice, but something else; more like anger. Surely her anger isn't directed at him?

He tilts his head to show he's heard her, though his eyes never leave the treacherous snake whose sword touches his own. "My lady, be brave! My men and I are here to rescue you."

"I don't need rescuing!" Her voice is a sharp shout, then a softer call as she struggles to compose herself. "Rabadash, I left you. Edmund didn't carry me away. I thought-- I thought you'd realize!"

Impossible. He can't fathom it, can't begin to believe her for even a moment. For her to be the instigator of all this, everything he knew and believed until now must be wrong. She would have had to lie to him, to put on an act, to pretend their betrothal was all she longed for even while she plotted to fly from him forever. He would never have fallen for so many lies: the dozens of falsehoods in her face, her carriage, her smiles and laughs and tilts of her head. She's lying to him now, she must be; a single lie in this moment against impossible hundreds in their shared past.

"It's not true!" His voice cracks and he struggles to shove all emotion away, anxious that his men not see. "They're making you say it. He's making you say it." Murder flashes behind his eyes, the hot red spots that block out the rest of the world, the rage his father brings out in him, rage now focused on Edmund the betrayer.

No one is certain who moves first. The assembled Narnians roar as Rabadash lunges for their king, while the Calormen shout as Edmund strikes out with his naked blade. Metal clashes with metal and the sound of combat rings over the valley, battle sweeping out in the wake of the two princes as Calormen troops surge forward and Narnian guards leap to meet them. Above it all, Susan yells words lost on the wind.

Rabadash fights with an intensity his opponent cannot match, the face arrayed against him blurring through a sheen of tears the prince can never admit to shedding. He strikes and parries and strikes again, throwing himself into battle against the father who has hurt him, abused him, dominated him since he was old enough to walk. Not this time, he silently swears with every stroke. Not this time. Edmund is driven back under the ferocity of his attacks, giving ground until his foot slips and he sprawls on grass and mud and heather, sword upraised against the flurry of blows.

Above the duelists, fair hands clutch a drawn bow as another set of tearful eyes watch the fight below. Queen Susan waits until the last possible moment to release the missile that will kill her suitor and save her brother. Her fingers tighten before release, and she feels a breeze stir her hair and kiss her cheek. Years of practice cause her to adjust for the breeze even knowing it makes no difference at this short distance; the arrow she looses will skewer the Calormene crown prince in the span of a single heartbeat. Their countries will go to war, people will die, and a man she liked--and, at least for a time, had thought to love--will die at her hand.

Yet the wind picks up, stirring her hair until it slaps her neck and twists around her bowstring. Strange weather, when before the skies had been so clear. On the wind came a scent--a smell she hasn't caught in years but would know anywhere; a rich blend of sunlight and meadows and youth and strength and warmth and love and fur. No, not fur but a mane. Her frantic eyes abandon her target, leaving her brother to his fate without conscious thought, driven to search the hills rimming the valley for a glimpse of gold. Where is he?

She isn't the only one seeking. Beneath her, the battle stills and the clashing sounds die away as soldiers leave off from the fight to twist their heads this way and that in search of the scent. It is everywhere: undeniable, powerful, and demanding undivided attention. Edmund struggles to his feet while Rabadash twists to look behind him, his curved sword lowered and forgotten in his hand. "What is that? What... is that smell?"

There! A flash of golden fur, the hint of a mane. And then, oh he stands there. Aslan, the lion king. Framed in the morning sunlight, gold and glowing, as regal and real and perfect as she remembers. His eyes gaze over the field, seeming to look upon each creature there, his expression calm. Was that judgment in his eyes or love? Susan isn't sure, and the stab of emotion in her heart on seeing him is as much pain as pleasure. She feels laid bare before him, all her fears and hopes naked for the world to see. Her ears hear the clatter of her forgotten bow and arrow falling to the deck; on the field below her, swords lower and drop from shaking hands.

"What... what is it?" Rabadash's astonished whisper reaches her on the wind even as his own sword droops to drag the ground. The king of all Animals stares them down, then turns and walks into the bright sun. Yet even in his absence that sweet poignant scent lingers over the field.


--THE SOLUTION--

The Calormen are ushered into Cair Paravel as "honored guests" until a solution to the problem at hand can be found. No one has the heart to fight after that fleeting glimpse of Aslan, not when their hearts still pound and their hands shake, but attempts at negotiations break down almost immediately after he leaves.

Rabadash is angry and confused, asking a thousand questions about the strange lion he saw on the cresting ridge. He is unsatisfied by the offered answers: "king" means little to him in a country which already has an extravagance of two, and "king of kings" is a flowery appellation that means even less. Edmund is little help, turning introspective and quiet in the wake of the lord who crowned him so long ago when he was but a child and--or so some called him--a traitor of Narnia. His eyes occasionally flick to the Calormene prince who argues with the Narnian courtiers, as if measuring the differences between them and unsure of his own scales.

Susan is silent as well, but in grief; she withdraws to her rooms as soon as she can respectably do so without causing more offense than has already been given. When she fled Tashbaan with joy in her heart at being free, she'd been so sure she was doing the right thing. Now, in the face of the lion she has longed for and yet not seen since her childhood, she feels adrift. Could she have made another choice? She can't see one in the tangle of politics and snares of men, but perhaps she has been an adult far too long. Maybe it takes the mind of a child to cut through what is polite and political to arrive at the truth. Perhaps at long last she understands why she and her siblings were crowned as children: not in spite of their youth but because of it.

Lucy is left to play host to the visitors, but this is a part she plays well and gaily. She chats happily with Rabadash, expresses delighted amazement at hearing how Edmund and Susan fled Tashbaan under the cover of night, and is so thoroughly determined to view the entire thing as a wonderful adventure that anyone at the table with a lingering grievance is forced to give way to her passionate cheer. Lucy the tomboy, the prankster; her persona as the merry gay queen comes naturally to her, but it has political value of its own; what man of nobility can continue to frown and take offense when so fine a lady laughs and claps and cheers at what has occurred? She finds sport in everything, and thus turns grievous political missteps into a shared joke.

After an unsatisfying dinner ends on cool terms for all involved, Rabadash gazes around the guest room they have left him in and wonders if this is to be his prison. It would make a better prison than a guest room, at least by the standards of guest rooms in the palace of his father, but as a prison it is far from the worst he's seen in Tashbaan. Perhaps he can convince his father to pay the Narnians to keep him here in exile, paving the way for the succession of his younger brother; the Tisroc (may Rabadash never see him again) might warm to that idea. Then again, when paying for a problem to go away, he's more likely to opt for a permanent solution. Rabadash would prefer not to be assassinated in his sleep.

He is startled from his reverie when a knock on the doors to his suite of rooms is followed by the announcement "Queen Susan of Narnia" and she walks in. Her hair is loose and unbound and beautiful; she is as lovely as the day she left him, the evening of the morning when she all but promised to marry him and his heart had soared with happiness for one of the few times he could count in his life. She is also alone.

"Susan?" He takes a step towards her before stopping, the tiny flinch in her eyes like a backhand to his face. Hands at his sides, trying not to tremble, he waits and pushes down his fear, his anger, his anxiety. She left him, she lied to him, so why does he feel so guilty?

"Rabadash." She uses his name at least, not the formal "Prince Rabadash" falling from Edmund's tongue when he deigned to speak at dinner. "I believe I owe you an apology. When I left you-- When we sailed away, I thought you would understand why. I realize now you did not, and I am sorry for the pain I caused."

He's angry with her, he wants to be angry with her when anger is so much less painful than sorrow, but his heart twists at her gently halting tone. Has someone made her say this, or does her conscience drive her so terribly as to fill those soft eyes with guilt? He wants to comfort her but the distance between them makes that seem impossible. "I don't need an apology, Susan, I need to understand why. I was so sure Edmund stole you away. To keep us apart." Fresh anger rises in him. "I rode across the desert to rescue you."

Susan nods, weariness in her eyes mingling with the guilt; the tired look of one who feels bereft of the words to explain her pain, a look he knows well. "I know, Rabadash. I am sorry. I appreciate the thought, I do. But you should have known-- Surely you must have realized I am not my brother's pawn. Edmund is my dear younger sibling, but he could never have carried me off. In your passion for me, you have underestimated who I am and what I am capable of."

Ire ripples in his heart. "Better that I should overestimate your virtue," he points out, his voice taut. "I did not imagine you would lie to me, deceive me like that! Why, Susan? Tell me! Why leave me on the eve of our betrothal?"

"Because I do not want to marry you!" The words burst from her throat, frustration overriding her gentility. "Rabadash, I thought that would be obvious! When a woman flees her lover rather than marry him, that tends to mean she does not wish to marry him, yes? Or are things different in your country?"

He blinks at her, astonished and unseated, like a man thrown from the saddle. "But you did," he protests, one hand making helpless little gestures in the air. "I know you did. You came to Tashbaan with marriage in mind. You loved me. What changed?"

She sighs and sinks into a chair by the fireplace in these cold rooms. "You did, Rabadash. You changed. I did love you when you were in Narnia. When you were here, you were kind and gallant and pleasing in all things. I saw a man I could respect and cherish, one I thought I could love until the day I died. A kindred soul I could share a lifetime of joys with. But when we came to Tashbaan to settle the contract, I saw--we all saw--your casual cruelty, your unkindness. I could not contract to you any more than I could with your father."

The comparison sends him reeling, stumbling back a step and falling to sit on the massive bed that strikes his legs from behind. "My father? I am nothing like my father."

She studies him from her chair, those gentle eyes seeming to strip his skin away to bare his soul. "You are not him," she murmurs, almost unwillingly, "but you seem to share much in common with him, Rabadash. I... I thought you had deceived us all, playing a game of pretend here and returning to your true self in Tashbaan. Now, I am not so sure."

"Because I rode to save you?" Hope can't kindle in his heart so hard on the heels of her accusations, but he can remember what hope feels like and imagine he might feel it again one day. Yet she shakes her head.

"Because Aslan reminded me of something long ago. Of another young man everyone said was evil, but who'd been hurt and twisted by someone with power over him. A boy who needed saving." Her voice softens and she seems faraway, and somehow terribly lonely. "Aslan was willing to die for that boy. That's how much he believed in him."

Rabadash doesn't know what to say to this. He knows little more than the name of Aslan the lion king, embodied in the shape of the creature he saw on the ridge. Queen Lucy spoke much over dinner about the lion, declaring his sighting to be a great blessing and a mark of favor for their visit--but he can't see how an Animal, and a stranger at that!, has anything to do with him or his character. "Susan, I'm... not a little boy," he points out, almost gently, not wanting to intrude on her reverie yet compelled to honesty with this woman he loves so much.

Her beautiful lips curve in a smile, rueful and laughing. "No," she agrees, her voice almost merry beneath her lingering sadness. "You are not. But... Rabadash? Were you... happy here? Before, when you stayed as our guest? I thought you were, but then I came to convince myself that was an act. Can you tell me the truth of your feelings for-- for us? For me?"

Breath catches in his throat so hard he almost chokes. "I love you, Susan." That is easy; that has never been in doubt in his mind. "I wanted to marry you. And this land. I know I don't understand it, all the Animals and your Lions and your dozens of kings, but I love it anyway. I love the weird, wild, tangled beauty of it." He bites his lower lip. "And I love the way it curves around your gentle perfection, as much as part of you as your hands, your hair. I... yes, I was happy here." Away from his father, away from the court of Tashbaan, away from a million plots and judgments and cruelties. A whispered desire that he didn't know until it reaches his ears: "I... wanted to stay here. As long as I could, anyway."

Tears glisten in her eyes and she hesitates, the fearful pause of someone who isn't sure of their decision. But when her lips part, the words are freely given, an offer that plants the tiniest seed of hope in his heart. "Rabadash, why don't you stay with us now?"


--EPILOGUE--

There are not volumes enough to record the history of Rabadash the Peaceful, the most beloved of Narnian consorts. After his famous ride across the desert and meeting face to face with Aslan, he settled into the Narnian court and became friend and advisor to High King Peter. A war with Calormen was briefly risked when the Tisroc ordered his son home and Rabadash refused, but tensions defused when the prince renounced his claim to the Calormen throne in public to many high and noble witnesses. A younger brother was elevated in his place and the Calormene people regarded their lost prince with a mixture of pity and romanticism; it was said that none who met Queen Susan of Narnia could truly denounce the lovelorn boy's choice.

Queen Susan and Lord Rabadash were betrothed two years after his ride, and wed on the following summer to much joy in their kingdoms. The children anticipated from their union would settle the question of Narnia succession once and for all, and relations with Calormen improved when the Tisroc recognized the value of his royal grandchildren as heirs to the northern kingdom. Archenland, too, drew closer in bonds of friendship to their northern ally, for their Queen Aravis was also of good Calormene stock and on close terms of friendship with Lord Rabadash.

The other Pevensies--Peter, Edmund, and Lucy--professed themselves pleased with Susan's choice. Peter greatly relied on his advisor for help navigating the customs of the southern kingdom, and Edmund came to consider Rabadash a good friend and beloved brother in time. Lucy adored him most of all, and was fond of taking rides with him; a pastime she demanded early and often, since Susan's pregnancies kept the four monarchs from their previous habits of hunting together on the borders of the western forest. But though Susan's happy condition kept the monarchs close to home at Cair Paravel, the country seemed the better for it and were grateful that the addition of Lord Rabadash to the family caused their kings and queens to settle more gracefully into adulthood.

The firstborn child of Queen Susan and Lord Rabadash, Princess Rasaleen, would succeed her mother many years later, when Queen Susan died peacefully in her bed at the celebrated age of 101. But that, dear reader, is the subject of another volume entirely.

Open Thread: Tiny Wax Person


Because who needs snow when you have cheese that comes sealed in wax?

I do note that while the traditional "stack of three shapes each progressively smaller, huge pointy nose, arms that don't match the rest of the aesthetic" style has been maintained from the clear snowman roots of the concept, the progressively smaller shapes making up the body and head are rounded cubes with some irregularities, not balls.

This was a creation of the munchkin weasel.

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Friday Recommendations!  What have you been reading/writing/listening to/playing/watching lately?  Shamelessly self-promote or boost the signal on something you think we should know about - the weekend’s ahead of us, so give us something new to explore!

And, like on all threads: please remember to use the "post new comment" feature rather than the "reply" feature, even when directly replying to someone else!

Time Quintet: Turkey Dinners and Light Promises

[Wrinkle Content Note: Fascism, Hypnotism, Captivity]

Wrinkle Recap: The kids have gone into a very big building, asked questions of strangers there, and are now being detained by a random man.

A Wrinkle in Time, Chapter 7: The Man with Red Eyes

I realized today I haven't been including recaps at the top of each entry in this series like I do with Narnia. I apologize and have added a recap now, though coming up with the recap was a bit jarring. I'd not noticed as a child just how much this sequence feels like a railroaded plot from a harried dungeon-master.

The kids were dropped on a hill and told to wander around until something happened. They walked through a village, interacted with a couple of NPCs, then came to a city that seemed strangely featureless except for one enormous building that is bigger than the biggest thing ever. They went into the imposing building after pursuing a line of logic familiar to most gamers: why is the building there if we're not meant to go into it? Then they asked an NPC who they are and what they do here and the NPC is now taking them to the level mini-boss (The Man With Red Eyes) and the boss behind the mini-boss (IT).

Unfortunately for our children, they're about to learn why you need to grind a level or two before you meet up with the boss. All that magic equipment on your character sheet will only get you so far.

Open Thread: Hardware Moose


I don't know much about hardware moose, but I think that when the antlers fall off people harvest the tools and such then sell them in the store this representation of one was on the outside of.

This was seen between the rhododendron droppings and the bus station.  I had to go a bit out of my way to get a decent shout because there was initially a parking lot between me and it and all the cars and such were in the way.  The green bag is mine for most intents and purposes and one of the wonderful things about not being stuck on crutches is that I can allow a bag with wheels to take most of the weight while I pull the thing with a crutch-unencumbered hand.

This was taken on my longest walk since breaking my ankle.  It's not back to normal, but it is worlds better now (and definitely still improving.)

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I spent a while debating with myself whether to have the usual Friday open thread this week since the emergency back up open thread has barely been used, what with it being less than two days old.  It's probably a sign that when an open thread is getting long in the comments we should break out an emergency back up open thread sooner than happened this time.

Anyway, I obviously did finally decide to make this thread, it would be weird if you were reading this and I hadn't.  What I figure is that the other open thread can be a place to continue the discussion of comics with all of the thorny territory that implies (bad accounting, unfair practices, racism, and Nazis, and not-really-Nazis-{but-totally-Nazis}, canceling popular series starring POC, and so forth) as well as the Dresden Files and all of the thorny territory that implies, and maybe also mixing up names and words and such, though that's a good deal less thorny.

This thread, by contrast, can be for everything else.  You know, like every other open thread.

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Friday Recommendations!  What have you been reading/writing/listening to/playing/watching lately?  Shamelessly self-promote or boost the signal on something you think we should know about - the weekend’s ahead of us, so give us something new to explore!

And, like on all threads: please remember to use the "post new comment" feature rather than the "reply" feature, even when directly replying to someone else!

Open Thread: Rhododendron Droppings


I'm not even sure what to say.  It was all over the sidewalk.  For a value of "All over" that means "under or adjacent to a rhododendron.

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Wednesday Something!  We're in the middle of the week and already got over a hundred posts in the Friday open thread.  Apparent'y we have much to say.  Converse on.

And, like on all threads: please remember to use the "post new comment" feature rather than the "reply" feature, even when directly replying to someone else!

Narnia: Horses and Horses

[Narnia Content Note: War, Threat of Rape, Centaur Sex (sorry) ]

Narnia Recap: Shasta has united with the Narnian army and Corin has strong-armed him into being his "bodyguard" for the upcoming battle. Obligatory note about racism, intent, and Lewis is here.

The Horse and His Boy, Chapter 13: The Fight at Anvard

The Narnians are marching to war and all I can think is how non-fantastical their army is. We have humans, dwarves (who are apparently the same size as humans, since a fourteen year old boy can wear their armor), giants (who are nonspecifically large humans), and Horses on which the humanoids all ride--so far a pretty normal medieval army. Lewis then waves vaguely in the direction of Talking Animals by including Dogs, Bears, and a few Big Cats, but that honestly doesn't seem very impressive to me?

Feminism: Poor Relations and Early Concerns

I wrote this Storify after a new book was announced on Twitter. If anyone can help hook me up with an ARC when they come out, I'd be obliged.

Full storify under the cut. [Content Note: Forcible gender reassignment surgery on cis people.]

Open Thread: Jar Lid


Technically, I suppose, it's a picture of the entire jar in which the lid is obscuring the rest of the jar.  I was only trying to get a shot of the lid, you can only see the lid, so I'm going with "Jar Lid".

Not my jar or my lid; saw it at my sister's house.

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Friday Recommendations!  What have you been reading/writing/listening to/playing/watching lately?  Shamelessly self-promote or boost the signal on something you think we should know about - the weekend’s ahead of us, so give us something new to explore!

And, like on all threads: please remember to use the "post new comment" feature rather than the "reply" feature, even when directly replying to someone else!

Narnia: Truffaut Was Right

[Narnia Content Note: War]

Narnia Recap: Shasta has united with the Narnian army and Corin has strong-armed him into being his "bodyguard" for the upcoming battle. Obligatory note about racism, intent, and Lewis is here.

The Horse and His Boy, Chapter 13: The Fight at Anvard

We didn't have a Narnia thread for April and this is honestly because I think this book has broken me. I don't mean it has made me sad or upset (though it surely has done so in the past), but I mean that it just doesn't work. Trying to analyze this book as a piece of fiction is like trying to explain a fever dream according to the rules of conventional storytelling. This book was not written to those rules because its author didn't care about conventional storytelling.

I'm honestly not sure what Lewis' intent was writing this--the best faith interpretation I can give this mess is that he'd gotten this far and people wanted more so he tried to give them something entertaining in as short a time and with as little effort as he had to spare rather than turn them down and send them away empty-handed--but we can say fairly certainly that things like Coherent Plot and Consistent Characterization and Not Breaking The World-Building With Impossible Details were not high on the list.

Repost: Susan, Problems of

[Ana's Note: By popular demand, this is a re-post of an old deconstruction, partly to have content while I struggle with my ongoing disability challenges and partly so that newcomers can comment on old conversations.

The original post is here. I have not edited the content.



[Content Note: Body Mismatch, Hostility to Consent, Mental Health]

Narnia Recap: "The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe" has finished and we are now reading "Prince Caspian".

Prince Caspian, Chapter 1: The Island

There is a Problem with Susan.

The Problem isn't one that is immediately obvious to everyone. It's not one that is always agreed upon by everyone. And it might not even be one Problem; it might be a whole host of them. But there is a Problem nonetheless with Susan, and there's no sense in trying to avoid it any longer. 

Open Thread: Ornamental Fence Bottom


At eye level and above the fence around Lincoln Park in Portland (once home to Occupy Portland) is a very simple utilitarian design of square metal upright bars connected by a single crossbar.  If one keeps their eyes up the only particularly interesting thing to see, other than rust patterns, is the "posts" between the fence sections (holding up the sections.)  Those are somewhat taller, have a footprint of a regular octagon and eight bars to match, also two octagonal cross loops.  Truly a sight to behold.

In other words, it's a fairly boring fence.  It's not ugly, and it can be appreciated, but it seems to be a place where utility almost completely triumphed over style, with the only concession to style being, "I suppose we could do something different with the posts since they're completely different constructions anyway."

If, however, one looks down, that changes.

It's not as if there are spectacular friezes depicting the mythological history of Portland, Maine or the life of Lincoln, there's just a repeating pattern of circles and lines.  It is, however, something different.  Instead of the straight vertical and horizontal lines that characterize the higher fence sections and the posts, there are multiple sizes of circle, 45 degree lines, variable depth, and, well . . . style.  Right at the bottom.  So your ankles will get a nice view.

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Friday Recommendations!  What have you been reading/writing/listening to/playing/watching lately?  Shamelessly self-promote or boost the signal on something you think we should know about - the weekend’s ahead of us, so give us something new to explore!

And, like on all threads: please remember to use the "post new comment" feature rather than the "reply" feature, even when directly replying to someone else!

Art: Aniyah and Miyuki 4Evah

The wonderful and talented @layahimalaya has drawn Aniyah and Miyuki from Survival Rout and I am now the proud owner of an Aniyah-and-Miyuki themed notebook from her store, as one does. I had to share because I haven't stopped happy-squeeing yet.

I really love everything about this but oh-so-especially Miyuki's in-betweenie size. I love xer so much. And I love how carefully Aniyah is being held and holding in return; I know her spine hurts her today. (Because mine sure does.)

These two characters are my heart.


Asking for help

Hello there; I'm your friendly neighborhood Kristycat! I don't post as often as I used to, but I'm still here lurking around!

I find myself in a small crisis. Due to some factors beyond my control, my household is going to have basically zero income for the next few months; we have a little money saved up, but not enough to see us through the summer by a long shot. It's a little scary; I've spent the last few days quietly, calmly panicking.

However, what I DO have is a backlog of random writing! At Ana's suggestion, I've gone ahead and set up a Patreon account in order to trade stories for money. It's at https://www.patreon.com/kristygriffingreen - please take a moment to check it out, and if you can spare a pledge, even a small one, I would be extremely grateful!

In a shamelessly blatant effort to tug at your heartstrings and incur your pity, I will now include a picture of my child and a quiet mention that her fifth birthday is going to take place during the aforementioned lean months.


(Added note: I'm not too proud to beg for charity if it comes to that, but that's not what this is. The things I write are actually really good - and this is coming from someone who has low self esteem about everything. So if even I think they're good, they're actually good, lol. A few bucks a month isn't a bad deal.)

Open Thread: Where not to buy anvils and catapults


I had to stay with my baby nephew, so I didn't go inside this famous institution with the others, but I know from years of watching Wile E. Coyote (Super Genius) that buying anything from them is a very bad idea.  It always goes wrong.  Always.  Yet, somehow, they manage to stay in business.

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Friday Recommendations!  What have you been reading/writing/listening to/playing/watching lately?  Shamelessly self-promote or boost the signal on something you think we should know about - the weekend’s ahead of us, so give us something new to explore!

And, like on all threads: please remember to use the "post new comment" feature rather than the "reply" feature, even when directly replying to someone else!

Writings: The Swordsmith's Daughter

[This post was previously posted on my Patreon blog.]

March! Ages ago, I stumbled across this Tumblr post and it has haunted me ever since.

thefairyknight: Just once I would like the mentor's beautiful daughter to actually, sincerely hate the hero's guts.

Like, not like 'belligerent sexual tension' hate his guts. Not 'learn a valuable lesson about resentment and gets over it' hate his guts. No, just straight up, 100%, wouldn't-piss-on-you-if-you-were-on-fire, the-sound-of-your-name-makes-me-puke-a-little-in-my-mouth hate his guts.

And my entire kingdom for a story where she 'helps' him train and then goes and hands a detailed list of all of his weaknesses and strategies to his rival like 'kick his fucking ass'.

technoturian: Alternatively, how about the 'hero' is actually the villain, because it turns out that the mentor not trusting his own daughter's capabilities enough to let her be the chosen one and instead granting phenomenal cosmic powers to the first rando farmboy who comes along actually wasn't the smartest idea he's ever had.

thefairyknight: Yes this a good addition

In honor of these two wonderful minds, I present this fic for the first of our March stories: The Swordsmith's Daughter. [Trigger Warnings] I tried to keep the story light, but living with the threat of sexual assault is mentioned, along with the usual triggrey things that come with overlords and oppressive regimes. There is mention of sex that is not desired but submitted to in service to a goal. Additionally, there is an ailing parent who dies of natural causes.

Review: Pride and Prejudice (Manga Classics)

Manga Classics: Pride & PrejudiceManga Classics: Pride & Prejudice
by Stacy King

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

MANGA CLASSICS: Pride and Prejudice / B01LW0JIK6

I love a lot of Jane Austen, but I've always been the odd one out in English major circles for not caring much for Pride and Prejudice. I liked the plot just fine, but I never could get around not liking Darcy. At all. Even a little bit.

No, no, come back! The thing is, despite the fact that he's very proud and reserved and shy and such, it did feel like he spent so much of the novel being rude to Elizabeth that it was hard for me to stomach the turnaround later. This manga adaptation of P&P does an excellent job of overcoming that barrier for me by adding that most powerful tool in the actor's toolbox: facial expressions. We're able to see Darcy's embarrassment, chagrin, and regret as actions unfold and I find I like him so much better when his cutting remarks are accompanied by a wincing expression as he reflects on what he's just said.

Overall, I feel this is an excellent adaption of the source material and I stayed up late reading until the end, which is quite a feat given that I already knew the ending! The art is gorgeous, especially for Elizabeth and Jane, and I feel that the supporting characters and side panels are well-depicted in ways that better foreshadow Darcy's concerns (which make his actions easier to stomach, understand, and forgive). I will add that there are some cutesy "chibi-style" panels where Mrs Bennet is a little tiny doll waving her arms around; nothing manga fans won't be used to.

The only thing I did not like is that Mr Collins is drawn in a very strange style and he stands out against the more realistic characters; I realize we aren't supposed to like him but his cartoonish appearance in contrast to the others made his arc difficult to enjoy. It was just very jarring. I considered taking a star off for that, but the rest of the book is so good that I think it overcomes that fault. I'll say 4.5 stars, rounded up.

NOTE: This review is based on a free electronic Advance Review Copy of this book provided by the publisher through NetGalley.

~ Ana Mardoll

Writings: Finding Out The Hard Way

[This post was previously posted on my Patreon blog.]

Recently, @DynamiteComics was called out on Twitter for featuring an upcoming cover which included the words:

"She was a He! I found out the hard way!"

I do not know the exact context of these words (the comic isn't published yet), but based on the cover, the tweets in response to the call-out, and the history surrounding those words, it seems DynamiteComics were trying to evoke an "old-school" feel of gritty transphobia in exploitation mags with stories intended to scandalize and titillate readers. The words "I found out the hard way!" conjure a situation where a man is pursuing a sex with a woman only to find her genitals aren't to his expectations: in other words, a trans-panic narrative that is still regularly used to justify the vile and inexcusable murders of trans women.

In short: This is transphobia and I urge folks to tell @DynamiteComics how inappropriate this is. They've said the words have been removed from the cover and they are having a meeting over the incident, but they need to hear this isn't okay with their readers so it doesn't happen again. It shouldn't have happened at all.

But this incident got me thinking on what would be an actual "hard way" to find out someone is transgender. Too often our coming out experiences are described in terms of the impact on others: authors focus not on the trans person coming out but on a cis person's hurt feelings at the world not being how they expected. This is a problem of framing. The "hard way" to find out someone is trans shouldn't be a way that centers a cis person's hurt feelings; this narrative teaches us that it's better to stay in the closet rather than risk "hurting" a cis person with the revelation of our identity. That's a pile of garbage we will not further indulge.

But if hurt cis feelings aren't the "hard way" to find out someone is trans, what is? Well, the obvious answer is a conversation held during a pirate battle on a boarded galleon. That is the "hard way" to find out someone is transgender, because pirate battles are hard. Alternate scenarios involving ninjas are also acceptable, as are pirate-ninjas.

Now you know, and knowing is half the battle.

Writings: The Wish-Giver

[This post was previously posted on my Patreon blog.]

I spent the week watching people fight TERFs on Twitter and occasionally wading in when I could. One of the things that bugs me most about TERFs is the bigoted and frankly nonsensical belief that a woman who is born with a vagina is somehow more special than a woman who had to go out and get herself one.

I made a joke about how trans women with vaginas went out and "fought a dragon" for that vagina, and then... well... this happened. I gave myself feels and The Wish-Giver was born. I hope you enjoy reading it; I needed this, to be honest. All typos are because I was crying too hard to see my screen at points.

Open Thread: Glass Octopus


I finally found primary camera.  I'm away from home (watching a baby) and have no relevant cords.  Here's something that I bumped into on the internet.  A hand crafted --for the value of "hand crafted" that involves, "glass is too hot to touch when it can actually be crafted"-- glass octopus.

I think that's all I'll say because "no relevant cords" includes the power cord and my computer is telling me, repeatedly, that it's going to cut out due to lack of power any moment now.

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Friday Recommendations!  What have you been reading/writing/listening to/playing/watching lately?  Shamelessly self-promote or boost the signal on something you think we should know about - the weekend’s ahead of us, so give us something new to explore!

And, like on all threads: please remember to use the "post new comment" feature rather than the "reply" feature, even when directly replying to someone else!

Time Quintet: Grammar Nazis

[Content Note: Mention of WW2, Fictional Portrayal of Fascism, Racism]

A Wrinkle in Time, Chapter 7: The Man with Red Eyes

Hey, everyone! I was going to write this sooner but then trans stuff happened on twitter and I got sucked into a black hole. I've shared my Storify account with you here before, yes? (I hate using storify after that one time they set a stalker on me, but it's still the best tweet aggregator out there.) Anyway! We're on Chapter 7 which is honestly a good chapter because things start happening again, so I'm really excited and also I just had a lot of sugar. Let's do this!

Open Thread: Double Boxed Cat


I give you my cat ... in box, which is inside another box.  Also bits of the massive mess in my house visible in the background.

She was actually significantly cuter before I turned the camera on, but the noise woke her up and I think it's a rule that, no matter how cute they are regardless, cats and babies/small children must move into a less cute position whenever a camera is pointed in their direction.

Secondary camera is still really helping me get pictures for these threads.  Not the most inspiring pictures since I'm mostly stuck in one room, but pictures none the less.

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Friday Recommendations!  What have you been reading/writing/listening to/playing/watching lately?  Shamelessly self-promote or boost the signal on something you think we should know about - the weekend’s ahead of us, so give us something new to explore!

And, like on all threads: please remember to use the "post new comment" feature rather than the "reply" feature, even when directly replying to someone else!

Pending Paperback: Survival Rout!


This is now a physical thing that will soon be available! In order of how much I get in royalties (which is not much and that's okay but that's why the price is so high, I'm really sorry about that but Print-on-Demand is expensive) here are links:

CreateSpace: Link!

Amazon: Link! (This one might take a couple days!)

Libraries: Maybe? If you ask your librarian?

Remember! If you are a Patreon of $25 or higher, I will send you a signed copy free in the mail! I just need to know your address! Which you may not want to give me, and that's okay too! In which case, I think I can send you an unsigned copy via Amazon without me seeing your address, but you'll have to set it up via a wishlist.

Open Thread: Ducktopus


As mentioned elsewhere, I've been playing Kingdom Hearts.  When I saw Donald's attempt to blend in with the underwater world, I knew exactly what this week's open thread picture would be.  Probably would have been better if I hadn't had a bivalve mollusk in the background.

Anyway, Donald here has eight limbs total meaning only six legs, so the he'd be a hexapus/sexapus (depending on if you like Greek or Latin) but Ducxapus doesn't have the same ring.  I attribute his tentacles being non-equally spaced to the magic being . . . less than perfectly stealthy.

Goofy was a dog-turtle and Sora was a totally mammalian merperson, his lower half seemed to be somewhere in the vicinity of dolphin-ish.

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Friday Recommendations!  What have you been reading/writing/listening to/playing/watching lately?  Shamelessly self-promote or boost the signal on something you think we should know about - the weekend’s ahead of us, so give us something new to explore!

And, like on all threads: please remember to use the "post new comment" feature rather than the "reply" feature, even when directly replying to someone else!

Writings: Arrow's Flight

[This post was previously posted on my Patreon blog.]

February! An ace/aro patron requested a short story about a fantasy princess who doesn't want to wed but is facing pressure to do so. Content notes for capitivity and the threat of forced marriage, but I tried to keep this piece light and hopeful. May it bring you joy, and blessed be to you for your paronage.

Small acts of activism: Did you know that "aromantic" is not in the Merriam-Webster dictionary? (Search link here.) Please consider contacting the dictionary here and asking they include an entry for aromantic. Sarah Elkins has a Twitter thread here on why dictionary support for orientations is so important. Thank you!

Narnia: Prophetic Interlude

[Narnia Content Note: Childbirth, Death, Kidnapping, Sexual/Domestic Assault]

The Horse and His Boy, Chapter 14 [Briefly Skipping Ahead]

Okay, I know I'm skipping over Chapter 13 and most of 14, but we have to talk about Shasta/Cor's kidnapping or I'm going to keep melting down over it, as per this last post. First, we have a timeline which gehayi was awesome enough to track down for us:

   In Chapter 1, Arsheesh tells the Tarkaan that he found baby Shasta "in that same year in which the Tisroc (may he live for ever) began his august and beneficent reign[.]"
   In Chapter 8, Ahoshta Tarkaan says, "[U]ntil the year in which your exalted father began his salutary and unending reign, the land of Narnia was covered with ice and snow and was moreover ruled by a most powerful enchantress."
   Therefore, Shasta was born the year that the White Witch's winter ended. The Narnian timeline says that the Witch's winter ended in the year 1000, and that Susan and Edmund visited Tashbaan in 1014.

Open Thread: Lost Hat


I really do need to dig up primary camera to get to the pictures on it.  This was one of the first pictures taken with secondary camera.  I lost the hat not long after the bus trip.  It made it off the bus, I'm pretty sure, but I'm less confident that it left the bus terminal with me.

I keep on losing my hats.  I should probably buy more than one at a time so when I lose one I don't have to trek into Portland to buy a new one.

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Friday Recommendations!  What have you been reading/writing/listening to/playing/watching lately?  Shamelessly self-promote or boost the signal on something you think we should know about - the weekend’s ahead of us, so give us something new to explore!

And, like on all threads: please remember to use the "post new comment" feature rather than the "reply" feature, even when directly replying to someone else!

Narnia: As Like As Two Twins

[Narnia Content Note: Racism, Rape, Kidnapping, Abuse]

Narnia Recap: Shasta has crossed the mountains into Narnia. Obligatory note about racism, intent, and Lewis is here.

The Horse and His Boy, Chapter 12: Shasta in Narnia

We've been in Chapter 12 for awhile and that's partly my fault, but there's just so much to absorb and I'm struggling to tear through it. Today is going to recap some of the points in the last post because (a) there's a lot to recap and (b) I was on some new prescription medications last time and not as lucid as I would have liked. So let's try this again.

Shasta wakes up, meets some Talking Animals, and is taken home by a family of Dwarves so that he can rest and have some solid food--important, since he's been awake for what feels like three days now and hasn't really had a decent meal that wasn't travel rations stuffed in a bag or cold fruit scavenged straight from the orchard back in Tashbaan.

Index: The Maze Runner


The Maze Runner


Source: Reading With A Vengeance
Label: The Maze Runner

» The Maze Runner: Chs 1 - 2
» The Maze Runner: Ch 3
» The Maze Runner: Chs 4 - 6
» The Maze Runner: Chs 7 - 9
» The Maze Runner: Chs 10 - 12
» The Maze Runner: Chs 13 - 15
» The Maze Runner: Chs 16 - 18
» The Maze Runner: Chs 19 - 21
» The Maze Runner: Chs 22 - 24
» The Maze Runner: Chs 25 - 27
» The Maze Runner: Chs 28 - 32
» The Maze Runner: Chs 33 - 37
» The Maze Runner: Chs 38 - 42
» The Maze Runner: Chs 43 - 52
» The Maze Runner: Chs 53 - 62

Note: Last updated 03/30/2017.

Repost: Lion-Witch-Wardrobe, All-American Rendition

[Ana's Note: By popular demand, this is a re-post of an old deconstruction, partly to have content while I struggle with my ongoing disability challenges and partly so that newcomers can comment on old conversations.

The original post is here. I have not edited the content.



Narnia Recap: We'll be doing a couple of film adaptations before moving on to Prince Caspian.

The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, American Adaptation

So last week I kept referring to the modern remake of "The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe" as "the American version". The Americanishness of the version is probably disputable: the producer and co-screenwriter is from New Zealand, the children actors are from England, and according to IMDB the movie was filmed in the Czech Republic. But the movie was produced by Disney, and darned if this isn't one of the Americaniest book adaptations I've ever seen. Hold onto your hats: this isn't the book you've spent the last year reading.

I'll be fair: I actually want to like some of the changes here. It seems to me that someone on the script writing team felt that even the BBC version wasn't kind enough to Edmund, and they took great pains to make Edmund more sympathetic than he sometimes is in the book. Where I think this falls down, though, is that instead of playing up the fact that Edmund is a child, it seems like the screenwriters didn't feel like that was Manly enough so instead they played up that Peter is kind of a jerk. Oookay, we'll see how that goes.

But! Oh-dear-sweet-jumping-fried-okra, the screenwriters clearly felt that with Edmund wearing the totally-misunderstood cap, we needed a new Pevensie villain, so Susan is pushed into the spotlight with DOUBTING THOMAS and GREAT TEMPTRESS tattooed on her forehead at various moments. They've done this by taking Susan's general sensible advice scattered throughout the book to the tune of "gosh, this place doesn't seem so great, are we sure about this?" and twisted and turned this into Susan trying to push Peter into accepting deals with the devil. Despite the fact that Book!Susan was the first person to agree with Lucy that they had a responsibility to save Mr. Tumnus.

Dear Screenwriters: When you read a children's book published in 1950 and decide it's not sexist enough, you are doing it wrong.

But enough of my ranting; let's just dive in.

Time Quintet: Planet Death Bat

[Content Note: Child Abuse, Christian Hell]

A Wrinkle in Time, Chapter 6: The Happy Medium

Okay! We've been stuck in Chapter 6 for a while, but now things are going to start happening! The children have been dropped off on a planet (Camazotz, "death bat" from Mayan mythology, cultural appropriation discussed here and here), given ill-defined gifts of dubious usefulness, and sent on their merry way to bumble around until they find Mr. Murry.

Does everything make sense? No. But things are happening and that's exciting!

   “Come on,” Meg said impatiently. “Come on, let’s go!” She was completely unaware that her voice was trembling like an aspen leaf. She took Charles Wallace and Calvin each by the hand and started down the hill.

Meta: New Indexes

I've been reading Will Wildman's analyses of Orson Scott Card's work again this week and I link to those a lot on here, so I'd like to do a "blog roll" type thing on my Index page that links to other deconstructions. Sort of a "if you like this, you might like these" type of things.

I know we have a lot of deconstructions in our community and I am probably not going to be able to gather them all up myself, but if you would like to compile and send one to me, I will add it! Here is the format I'm using in HTML, if you want to send me one to post. 

» <a href="URL">CHAPTER 1</a>, POST TITLE
» <a href="URL">CHAPTER 2</a>, POST TITLE
» <a href="URL">CHAPTER 3</a>, POST TITLE

Index: Fifty Shades of Gray


Fifty Shades of Gray


Source: Something Short and Snappy
Label: 50 Shades of Grey

Fifty Shades of Grey
» Announcing a Bad Idea!
» 50 Shades of Grey, Chapter 1
» 50 Shades of Grey, Chapter 2 in which I wonder WHYYYYYYYYYYYYY
» 50 Shades of Grey, Chapter 3 in which the characters act like aliens
» 50 Shades of Grey, Chapter 4 in which characters stop making sense.
» 50 Shades of Grey, Chapter 5. The chapter that makes me hate all the things.
» 50 Shades of Grey Chapter 6, which was written with the help of my good friend Jolly Rancher vodka!
» 50 Shades of Grey, Chapter 7, in which we get closer to the banging.
» 50 Shades of Grey, Chapter 8, in which they finally start banging.
» 50 Shades of Grey, Chapter 9, in which there is more banging.
» 50 Shades of Grey, Chapter 10, in which I spend a lot of time screaming at my computer.
» 50 Shades of Grey, Chapter 11, in which we all get bored to death by EL James.
» 50 Shades of Grey, Chapter 12, in which there is more banging, but not enough to make me like this chapter.
» 50 Shades of Grey, Chapter 13, in which I can't get over how bad a writer EL James is
» 50 Shades of Grey, Chapter 14, in which WHY DOES THIS NOT END YET?
» 50 Shades of Grey, Chapter 15 in which I am too drunk to come up with a good title.
» 50 Shades of Grey, Chapter 16 in which I just want the entier cast to STFU
» 50 Shades of Grey, Chapter 17 in which the author seems super cool with rapey-culture
» 50 Shades of Grey, Chapter 18 in which there is lots of banging :)
» 50 Shades of Grey, Chapter 19 in which we meet the family!
» 50 Shades of Grey, Chapter 20, in which Grey is basically a rapist.
» 50 Shades of Grey, Chapter 21, in which the characters have moments of not being awful.
» 50 Shades of Grey, Chapter 22 part 1, because this chapter is really long you guys.
» 50 Shades of Grey, Chapter 22 part 2
» 50 Shades of Grey, Chapter 23
» 50 Shades of Grey, Chapter 24 which is all references all the time.
» 50 Shades of Grey, Chapter 25
» 50 Shades of Grey, Chapter 26 - THE LAST ONE ZOMGZOMG
» 50 Shades of Grey - Recap


Fifty Shades Darker
» 50 Shades Darker, Chapter 1
» 50 Shades Darker, Chapter 2
» 50 Shades Darker, Chapter 3
» 50 Shades Darker, Chapter 4 in which they ruin Ice Cream.
» 50 Shades Darker, Chapter 5 in which I am so defeated I had to split it into 2 parts Part 1
» 50 Shades Darker, Chapter Part 2 in which Erika feels cheated because there is no sex.
» 50 Shades Darker, Chapter 6 in which I have a very special surprise for you all.
» 50 Shades Darker, Chapter 7 in which Erika wants to know WHY THIS CHAPTER IS EVEN FUCKING HERE part 1
» 50 Shades Darker, Chapter 7, Part 2
» 50 Shades Darker, Chapter 8 in which Erika decides Grey being a warlock is canon
» 50 Shades Darker, Chapter 9 which is boring.
» 50 Shades Darker, Chapter 10 in which Erika writes a post on Pi day.
» 50 Shades Darker, Chapter 11 in which Erika contemplated curling up into a little ball.
» 50 Shades Darker, Chapter 12 in which the book pretends to have a plot.
» 50 Shades Darker, Chapter 13 which is blessedly short.
» 50 Shades Darker, Chapter 14, which was supposed to be a guest post, but Erika felt it was inhumane to make someone else do this chapter
» 50 Shades Darker, Chapter 15 brought to you by the brave Alex!
» 50 Shades Darker, Chapter 16 in which Erika gives up halfway through and tries a new approach.
» 50 Shades Darker, Chapter 17 brought to you by Chris!
» 50 Shades Darker, Chapter 18 in which the book pretends to have a plot again
» 50 Shades Darker, Chapter 19 in which Erika is grateful for it being short
» 50 Shades Darker, Chapter 20 in which meh
» 50 Shades Darker, Chapter 21 in which there is a lot of super boring sex.
» 50 Shades Darker, Chapter 22 in which IT'S OVER OH THANK GOD IT IS OVER


Fifty Shades Freed
» 50 Shades Freed, Prologue, in which its shortness is the nicest thing I can think to say about it
» 50 Shades Freed, Chapter 1, in which, wait--we're skipping the wedding?

Note: Last updated 03/28/2017.