okay i know i joke about esmeralda being this icon of femininity that teaches the other characters how to do their makeup or how to achieve the current fashions but something that just. hits different. about esmeralda and her connection with beauty/femininity is that it’s completely manufactured and generated: makeup is painted and removed, clothes are woven and sewn into garments, it isn’t a natural beauty or a beauty of purity but one that is created out of her own action (although she shares a lot of these generative, traditionally feminine symbols with Amenirdis like clothing, contrast this with Amenirdis’ natural state being the one of beauty and her illusory state being one of ugliness) in fact Esmeralda is specifically referenced as unnatural and unholy during her fight with Bainbridge:
“Impossible! No woman could captain a vessel. That would be unnatural, a violation of the laws of God and man. The…the Almighty would never permit it.”
granted he’s fairly drunk but there’s a line he crosses when he learns the captain is a female: it’s no longer an earthly issue of legal property rights or the physical altercation or even sailor superstition, instead his attacks are moral/spiritual and invoking God. he’s right in that Esmeralda is not a natural woman, existing in a “pure” state of womanhood or trying to portray that state falsely: she crossdresses, she wears makeup, she is indulgent and violent and lascivious. she is beautiful but she is the furthest thing from the eighteenth century ideal of the white, docile, English beauty; Jack thinks of her only as a lady but we know whatever class Esmeralda has is not due to her by birthright from Spain, with an indigenous mother she does not have the “pure” bloodlines of European class and the benefits that go with that. ( if she had them, it was at Don Rafael’s efforts, and her parents’ murders/the burning of his estate demonstrate colonial society’s resistance to that deviation ) her nobility as perceived by Jack is thus something contrived and manufactured outside of right of blood, law, or society. ( but more than an equal to theirs, thus exposing their own standards as contrived, but I digress ). she’s placed into a convent but instead of devoting life to god / abstinence / purity, she chooses masculinity: crossdressing, having sex with men, wielding a sword (read: the phallic symbol) and taking life rather than creating it. and yet she maintains sex appeal for men and unquestionable femininity:
“Jack began kissing her hands, short-nailed and strong from work, but they were well-tended and feminine. He could never have mistaken them for a man’s hands.”
in her hands –– which are the agents of creation and generation –– there’s masculine behavior (wielding a sword, tending ropes at sea) matched with feminine shape and behavior (managing her appearance, softness in care to self ). without going too much into it I think what I’m starting to get at is the Eve/Lilith dichotomy, and while Esmeralda absolutely does top Jack and see herself as more than equal to men I’m more interested in Lilith’s pursuit:
“The angels left God and pursued Lilith, whom they overtook in the midst of the sea, in the mighty waters wherein the Egyptians were destined to drown. They told her God's word, but she did not wish to return. The angels said, 'We shall drown you in the sea.’“
the sea is something feminine that gives life, to sailors it gives death. to Jack the sea means freedom and rebirth; to Esmeralda the sea has only ever meant blood, conquest, revenge, and death.
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sam’s all time favorite jily fics
now i read a LOT of jily, but here are the ones that stand out to me the most/are really long/i always go back to. i am most likely forgetting a bunch, and this tag has a TON of jily drabbles/oneshots/fics that i absolutely love and approve of, so definitely check those out. so its not to say these are the only ones i recommend, i just wanted to make a concise list :)
ok less intro more fanfic
okay i’m going to start off with the fanfic that resurrected my inner jily fic lover as it had been years since i was really into it. lizard is my ultimate favorite jily writer (if you’re reading this, i miss your writing terribly and i hope you are doing well!) so be prepared for this list to be a large chunk of their work.. and by all means read ALL OF THEM!
i love you (ain't that the worst thing you ever heard?) & Butterbeer Bludger and Other Disasters for All Gryffindors and Ravenclaws Involved by @lizardcookie 30k
now technically these are two parts of the same story. the second one is meant to be a missing piece from the first story. i accidentally read it first so i was confused asf, but still loved it nonetheless. i would recommend reading it in the middle of the first one for full effect, but tbh before or after works too
this is a friends with benefits au that is simply amazing. i am not even the biggest fan of the fwb trope but this fulfilled me in ways i cant even explain. just trust me on this.
i thought about this fanfic everyday after reading it for a good month. i still think about it/its universe frequently, and how much i want to read more from this story.
clearly i could talk about this all day, but this is already getting long as shit so lets move on.
properly improper by @lizardcookie 49.4k
this is a jily regency au, and oh my god it is perfect! i had never read any regency aus before but this made me want to read a million more. all of you that are currently thirsting over bridgerton and other period pieces will especially love this.. and even if youre not one of those people, you will love it too!
here's how it goes by @lizardcookie 20k
this ruined me... but in the best way possible. this follows lily and james through their last years at hogwarts. i just think it is so fitting and very them. to me this is canon.
Questions and Answers by @lizardcookie 5.6k
i read this when i was 14 and i loved it. i read this when i was 19 and i loved it. cute lil fic that follows lily and james going froms friends to lovers, without really realizing it.
let me prove it to you by @lizardcookie 4k
short lil fic where james and lily get in a fight and its lilys fault. i like this because its not often you find something where its lily in the wrong rather than james. this is so perfect and adorable it made my heart explode.
now i know that we as a society have progressed from ff.net but bear with me. i promise i wouldn't link them if i didnt think they were great.
The Cure for Insomnia by okieeiffel 3k
lily can’t sleep so she goes to bother james. there’s really nothing more i can say to perfectly describe this fic other than it makes my heart smile. so good. a classic all time favorite.
Diamonds In The Sky by Queen Nightingale 3k
this is a very intense fic that i just absolutely love. the writing style is so different than any jily ive ever read, and it is an interesting interpretation of their dynamic and relationship. its pretty dramatic and intense like i said, but i think you will like it.
A Collection of Lily and James by Queen Nightingale 8.5k
a three shot where lily wakes up in sirius’s bed, and drama unfolds. angsty but also funny, i absolutely love this fic and all three of their characterizations so much.
And the Wolves All Cry by monroeslittle 31.7k
this will forever go down as the most angsty, lengthy au ive ever read. and i mean that in the best way possible. be prepared for your heart to be torn out and put back in place. this is truly amazing, and so so unique. but beware, it is beautifully and intensely angsty!
Just Stay Here Tonight by moneroeslittle 38k
au where lily is a muggle but james is not. absolutely amazing. angsty and lovely in the best way. you will want to end petunia more than you ever thought possible.
The Early Morning Toast Brigade by @ghost-of-bambi 2.4k
a very fluffy fic where jily cant sleep and finds james to entertain her in the common room. so simple and effortlessly perfect. i used to read this every night before i went to bed when i was in middle school
now that we're on the topic of GhostofBambi
Shelf Awareness by @ghost-of-bambi 28k
i don’t know how i haven't read any of their new(er) stuff until now, but i am just so thankful that i did. shelf awareness is a jily muggle/library au that i thought about for days after reading. when i got to the end, it was wrapped up beautifully, but i found myself wishing for more because i fell in love with its universe. you will all love this.
Two Sides of the Same Coin by @ghost-of-bambi 7.6k
adorable jily two shot that tells a story of them on valentines day in the early stage of their relationship. lily is head over heels for her boyfriend. james is an idiot. its great.
Elevator Love Song by @bcdaily 16k (and coincidentally written for ghostofbambi!)
i’m sure youre all familiar with the amazing bcdaily, writer of famous fanfic commentarius. i read this the other night and i still cant stop thinking about it!!! muggle au where lily and james get stuck in the elevator at sirius’s apartment complex. it is perfect and just lovely.
Scenes from a Hogsmeade Pub by @bcdaily 13.6k
a five part story that follows james and lily through the years in a hogsmeade pub. i am still thinking about this, especially part four, daily. so so so so good.
The black hole, the light that fills it by @jiilys 3.9k
muggle au. lily is a broke poet. james just got out of an eight year relationship. beautifully done. i fell in love with this universe and wanted more!
Firelight Waltz by cgner 11.4k
au where lily and james weren’t together at hogwarts, and they get sent on a secret mission together for the order by dumbledore after they graduated. james is tired of lilys shit and lily cant get her shit together. i rediscovered this fic the other night and am so so glad i did.
you guys didn't think i would forget about smut, did you?
this is a shorter section but nonetheless imperative. also is mostly @lilymanaged because they are my absolute favorite smut writer, no one does it like them!
no need to show me round baby (I feel like I've been here before) by @lilymanaged 10.5k
i thought about this, FOR DAYYYYYSSS after i read it. jily college au. so fucking good.
got the right stuff (to fix you up) by @lilymanaged 4.9k
james and lily get in a fight and have a moment in the heads office.
such hot blood by @lilymanaged 8.3k
muggle/fwb jily au. takes place at a pool day with all their friends. simply amazing.
Coercion and Competition by @bcdaily 2.7k
lily finds james after a tough quidditch practice. SO GOOD.
to wrap this up, here are some of my favorite jily writers that you should all be following and can stalk their pages for some work you will definitely love!
@alrightginger @blitheringmcgonagall @gryffindormischief @bcdaily @lilymanged @ghostofbambifanfiction @lizardcookie @nah-she-didnt @thejilyship @jiilys @jilyss @women-inthe-sequel
additionally, check out the fic rec i made years ago on my old blog! i put a lot of these on this list too, but a lot of them i just haven't read in years so while im sure they're amazing i just couldn't remember enough to add them on here.
if anyone reads anything off of this extremely lengthy post, pls pls let me know how you liked it/discuss them with me!!!!!
okay bye now, and happy reading!
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