James Ironwood and Darth Vader
A long time ago, in a town probably close to where I live now -- I've moved a lot during my life but never went far -- I watched the original Star Wars trilogy on VHS when I was a very little girl.
I vaguely remembered it. Growing up, I never really was a Star Wars fan. Didn't care about it before it became a Disney property, and certainly didn't care about it after. But some time in the year 2020, that oh so gloriously miserable year, I watched the original trilogy with my sister. We watched it on Disney+, so it was the newest version, I imagine.
I honestly enjoyed it. I really did. Now that I'm older, I was able to appreciate it for what it was and I can't believe there was ever a time that Star Wars didn't exist.
But then, eventually, at a Half Price Books store, my sister and I found something interesting. A VHS box set.
Of the original trilogy. Nearly brand new, but obviously old, as telling by the fact that they were video tapes. Oh, and it also came complete with coupons that expired in the 90s.
We got it for 10 bucks.
The original Star Wars trilogy has met its fair share of edits throughout its existence, but we recently learned that our new old copy -- which we started watching on May the 4th because we’re nerds like that -- was hardly edited since the original original version, if edited at all. Han shot first.
But that's not what this post is about. I just wanted to give a little of my backstory in regards to Star Wars so that I can show my basic understanding of the series. You may be wondering why I titled this post "James Ironwood and Darth Vader". Well we'll get into that now.
Darth Vader was once described as being "more machine than man". General James Ironwood was once described as losing his humanity with every organic body part that he lost. If you've been around these parts, you have seen people say, or you have said yourself, that this comment about Ironwood is insensitive and ableist.
Because it is. Becoming disabled and/or losing your organic body parts does not make you less human, and your replacement parts or aids are not "extra", as Yang Xiao Long would try to have you believe. So much for her arc of accepting her mechanical arm as part of her, huh?
So why are we upset about the comment about Ironwood but not the one made about Darth Vader? Both men may or may not believe that they are less human than they used to be. Other characters may or may not believe that as well. So what's the difference?
The difference is that Luke appealed to Vader's humanity. He believed there was still a human being in there, and he believed it till the very end. And it paid off.
No one, literally no one, not even his right hand Winter Schnee, whom he had been a father-figure to (as Vader was Luke's father), appealed to Ironwood's humanity. No one tried to convince him that he was human no matter what. Nobody cared. He didn't have a Luke Skywalker to believe in him. Ironwood's allusion was the Tinman, not because he didn't have a heart (he did), but because he didn't have anyone else's. Nobody cared about Ironwood in the end, none of the characters were written to even try, not even Ozpin, the one person who has been shown to care about all of humanity and was once one of James’ closest friends and allies.
Vader and Ironwood were both human, even if others did not view them as such. Both died human, but only one was recognized as human in the end, and it wasn’t Ironwood.
Crwby tries to make R W B Y be a lot of things, and I’m quite certain Star Wars is one of them. But they completely miss what makes Star Wars, and other media R W B Y copies from or is inspired by, special. You can have a character who some may see as "more machine than man". The mistake lies in whether or not you as the writer and creator, see them as human, and when you don't have anyone try to appeal to that character's humanity, that's when you come off as uncaring, unsympathetic, insensitive, and ignorant.
And that's where you’ve failed.
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Trans Mages Week 2021
DAY 7 - sun/moon, fantasy/fairy tale
I have nothing to say for myself except that I wanted to write something weird for this prompt. XD
The universe was timeless, a thing that was not bound by the constraints of human or even godling understanding. It birthed us at its own whims, an explosion of light and darkness, heat and ice. We were formed and manifested, being set into the orbits of our existences and left to develop in our own ways.
Agatha was a beautiful constellation, all light and glimmer, something that everyone wanted to watch and worship. Penelope was the stern rings of protection around a planet, collecting space debris and summoning storms of calculated chaos.
I was darkness and a cold distant object of reflection. Something beautiful to behold, but never touch. To be touched hurt.
But as the eons passed, I decided that some things hurt worse.
The golden sun was life to all in this part of the world. Beings depended on him for their very existence and in turn worshiped him in gratitude. He sang beautiful songs, like all stars did, and sent them off to his beloved so far away.
Sometimes Agatha would send him a song back.
We danced together, the sun and I. It was an intricate one, years of practice having perfected it. Words were never really shared between us, not after the first century or so. Some worshiped him and some worshiped me, but it wasn’t ever really the same because he was the life giver and I was merely his mirror.
I was cold and had no heat of my own. No light. No life.
Death and dust were my realm, cold and lonely save for the pittance the sun shared with me. He was so far away.
Penelope would say that I complained. She was much further away but never had the same problems with the sun I did. And then she’d say that Agatha was even further away, and I would turn my dark back to her once more, refusing to hear more.
Simon, the sun, shone brightly enough to warm the corners of the galaxy, and yet he could still keep the planet alive. We would dance around, keeping the odd little rock wobbling on its course, offering the creatures such strange things as time and seasons.
They would write their histories, mostly not very accurate, and record the movements of the universal agents. They created as much as the realms of their minute and limited consciousnesses allowed, and sometimes I would watch with curiosity.
There was records of a dance, a dangerous one where my silver eyes caught the light of gold and where he stretched out his rays to brush against my cold hand. The planet shook, ice melted, climates changed, and the beings were almost no more.
He balked from me, and I dared not look at him again.
But not touching was agony.
We continued our dance, again and again. His songs to Agatha began to wane when it became clear she was no longer interested. She danced with no one but herself and had decided that she was more than happy with that.
Things were different between us now. An unwanted stone visitor had come our way and I had felt the sun’s fear for the planet. His dance was filled with agitation, with concern for them, and I ached. I was cold, but I was also hard, a protector in my own right. I caught the stone in my bosom, felt his hateful heat and cracked more deeply than I ever had.
I did not dance for a moment, days for the beings below, and he watched me with bated breath.
Beings such as I would sometimes return to the universe as we came. Light and darkness, cold and heat. Sometimes we broke out of our constrains and roamed beyond the galaxies. Fiona was off traveling through space now, paired with the twin collapsed stars and eating up portions of the universe gluttonously.
But I did not break away or flee. I swallowed the pain, crushed the stone into fine powder, and began my own shaky dance once more.
He danced with me again, but I dared not look into those golden eyes. Not while I wept glittering tears and shrouded my face.
Simon did not sing for anyone anymore. He warmed and danced, quiet and steady. The planet bloomed and prospered, only whispers of remembrance of the days the moon and sun stood still. Penelope tried to talk to me, but I kept silent. It was colder and I wanted to suffer alone.
And one day he wasn’t there anymore. I could feel the warmth of the sun, but it wasn’t Simon. It was an empty star, something I had heard of but never seen. One who whispered poems on repeat and died slowly.
I cast my eyes all over the universe, looking for him, frightened and lonely. Had he seen enough of my disfigured face? Had he grown tired of our dance?
Then the tides called my name, whispering for me to come. I looked to the planet and in wonder saw him walking along the shore. He was every bit of light as he had been as the star and I heard him sing a song for me.
A moon is helpless to the desires of his sun.
We knew it then, and would know it forever more. I was doomed to crash into him. It would destroy everything he loved, it would hurt us both, and yet there was no other outcome.
But for that moment, for these flitting years, we could be content. My being stretched down to the planet and into his outstretched arms.
And when we touched in that moment it did not hurt. Our lips met and it was as if nothing else mattered. He put a hand to my waist, and this time when we danced, my eyes never left his.