everything he has ever done, the good and the bad, he has done for love!
claws in your back; julien baker / 14x12 / which witch; florence + the machine / 14x13 / the heart is a muscle; gang of youths / 15x09 / samaritans; idles / 15x14 / they wanted darkness; frank iero / 15x19
[meta] In what ways are you similar to your character? In what ways are you different?
[meta] Mina and I are, of course, both Fae. That's definitely one similarity that we have that's pretty prevalent. However, I'm not a nix. I'm a
No, but actually, there's quite a few similarities between myself and Mina. I like breaking off chunks of myself and putting them in my characters. It makes them more real. And while I'm a bit more similar to someone like Nadia, Mina and I have a lot in common as well. For starters, we're both incredibly anxious, and neither of us are good at standing still. She's only ever known moving around, though, and that's what keeps her going. But I've only ever really lived in one place, and sometimes I can't stand it. We've both got to keep moving, though. We both dwell on things a lot, though I think she's a lot more visible about it. I try to come off as a lot more unaffected in my daily life, whereas Mina is StressedTM on broadcast constantly. We both have a passion for musicals and learning, though I do not enjoy math. We both like singing, though her singing voice is much nicer than mine. We both really enjoy seafood. We'd both do anything for the people that we love. We've both had to figure out for ourselves as to what love means to us, not just someone else's idea of love. We're both terrified of relying on people, worrying people, needing people. Mina's so stubborn, so afraid to show who she really is to other people, and I understand that a lot.
I'm not nearly as excitable as Mina is. My sense of humor is a bit more dry, a bit darker and blunter. Mina's is a lot of soft teasing, and I like to tease, too, but I'm really sarcastic, and sarcasm generally alludes Mina thanks to it essentially being little lies :/ I don't own nearly as many knives. I cannot play the piano. I'm not a polyglot. I don't see duty the same way that Mina does. Unlike Mina, I do actually have a shred of self-preservation. I'll do a lot for the people I care about, but I'm not gonna break myself over and over again and keep going. I also have an understanding of the fact that not all people are good, and not all monsters are evil.
I'm sure we have a lot of other similarities and differences, the pool shark and I, though I didn't cover them. This was a really fun ask. Thanks to who sent it!
Wtf im thinking about gast venom and wtf. You know how in Clôture he’s looking for somewhere to die, and how he’s originally like ‘idgaf about this riliane brat, the people who hired me are getting wrecked and i have no personal investment so im outta here’ up until allen begs to hire him to keep defending his sister (ironically this ends up almost having him kill germaine, Allen's other sister, instead)
And as we know ‘im trying to save my sister’ is one of if not the only motivation that gast will sympathize with deeply enough to consider it worth dying for, so he agrees. And obviously in canon this ends with gast and allen both dying. Which I find kind of unsatisfying, bc Gast really died for nothing in the end, bc he didn’t stop Germaine from capturing the princess, Allen did by being her doppelganger, which he could’ve done anyway.
So basically I just had the thought. What if, in an alternate timeline, Gast had succeeded at reclaiming the Venom Sword? And what if he knew how to use it?
Someone had to be executed at the guillotine, or the fighting in Lucifenia would’ve never stopped. But what if the real twins had both worn Allen’s clothes, and escaped out different exits of the castle?
What if Gast’s heritage, which was nothing but a source of pain and shame his entire life, ended up allowing him to have the noble, meaningful death that he craved? He believed combat was his only skill, what if he was proven to have worth beyond that as a fighter in his final action? And he remained an undefeated swordsman, whose sudden disappearance became the stuff of legend?
Of course, if Allen survived, Riliane may have never grown as a person or truly regretted her actions. That could take the whole next chapter of the story in another direction. Or perhaps, they lose track of one another, and Riliane doesn’t know about the Venom Sword, and when she finds out that the ‘princess’ has been executed, she draws the wrong conclusion, and mourns him anyway. Maybe Allen is injured and becomes an amnesiac like Gakusha, knowing that he’s forgotten someone important, trying to find his way back to who he should be. Maybe by the time he and Riliane find each other, they’re middle-aged and she’s long-since settled into her role as an orphanage nun and adoptive mother. Or maybe they never find each other, or he learns their story when he’s successfully tracked down by the children from Reach for the Stars.
I don’t know! I just thought this idea was interesting, and that Gast deserved more narrative closure than he really got.
I mentioned this on Twitter last year time is going by way too fast, but I wanted to write something a bit more organized because I really love this neat detail.
When watching the P3 opening, I always assumed this was just water. But the storyboard of the opening (scans kindly shared by Heya_Moka at Twitter) specifies that these droplets are actually meant to be a tear.
Knowing that, it suddenly became obvious to me that this is Aigis' tear. The shape even is identical, just inversed. The description also fits perfectly, because it is indeed a single tear that falls from Aigis' eyes.
Even more telling is the fact that Aigis herself shows up directly after this in the opening.
In hindsight, it feels so obvious now that I don't know how I never noticed it before.
The fact that Aigis' tear shows up right as Makoto's face is covered by "Remember you will die, Remember your death" and that the "liquid" [her tears] pools at his feet is just 😭
To make this even more poignant, the images juxtapose Aigis' nature as an Anti-Shadow Weapon (the shot is extremely similar to the one we see when she fights Ryoji) with her human heart by representing the later with her blue dress of all things - the very dress that is canonically associated to her meeting with Makoto.
But that's not even all there is to it. The Foreshadowing continues at the end of the opening, too.
Makoto is going up the stairs to meet his fate - to seal Nyx, to find The Answer to life with everything that entails - while Aigis can only watch from down below as he leaves her behind.
Not only does this foreshadow their tragic fate, it also serves to symbolize that Aigis is the one to witness the end of his Journey and the one to carry on his will for him after he is gone, not to mention foreshadowing that she will later take on those same stairs to find The Answer to Life, too.
She is once again seen wearing her blue sundress, a reminder of her heart and of her connection to Makoto.
Lastly, something that isn't in the storyboard but that I still found interesting is the closing shot with Makoto and Orpheus. Because the way Makoto clutches his face reminds me of his expression when he first summons Orpheus... but it's also very similar to the way Orpheus clutches his own face when he first comes to Aigis.
All in all, there is a lot of Aikoto foreshadowing in that Opening and I absolutely love it!
I understand people saying it doesn’t make sense for Loki to get tossed around so easily in the show, but consider: I really like seeing Loki get tossed around
(also I do think it can make sense, TVA’s employees were apparently all created by the Time-Keepers for the specific purpose of doing those jobs so there’s no reason to assume they’re human just because they look human, especially considering how many nonhuman-but-completely-human-looking species we’ve already seen in the MCU; I’m sure the TVA deals with lots of different species at hugely varying strength levels, so I don’t actually find it far-fetched that Hunters in particular are a match for Loki physically...and yes, the people tossing him around in episode 2 were ordinary humans but they were also being possessed by somebody who is not an ordinary human, so I don’t think it’s unreasonable that they also had access to superhuman strength while they were being possessed)
manifesting for s5 that Christopher starts to have a crush on someone from school and when he tells Eddie about it, Eddie is all like "oh, I thought you were just friends" and Chris just looks at him and rolls his eyes "yeah, but (he/she) is my best friend" and that gets Eddie thinking about his own best friend and that maybe there's something more that he's been denying himself for years and holy shit I'm in love with my best friend
One sec, let me just... dig through this massive pile of sobbing lovestruck metas I've already... oh man there were some under the couch too... phew I've done a lot of these.
So along with just general gushing, I've already covered why he is definitely a runaway and not an Institute infiltrator, my thoughts on his friendship with Cutler and how he talks about it now, why the cut ending of Blind Betrayal was dumb garbage that ruins his character, and why it's okay that Danse doesn't turn from his loyalty to the Brotherhood five seconds after he's traumatically removed from it.
So this time I'm just going to talk about his personality and how neat it is.
Danse seriously comes off as every inch the uptight Brotherhood bootlicking asshole that he seems to be at first glance. At first. Yes, Danse has been immersed and thriving in Brotherhood culture for well over 10 (closer to 15) years and so deeply steeped in it that it seems like there's little of him left untainted by it. Yes, he's bigoted against synths and echoes the standard BoS distaste for ghouls. Yes, he eats, breathes, sleeps, sweats, and bleeds Brotherhood, and he is fully willing to die for them if the need arises.
But even before the events that completely rock his foundation, Danse is struggling under the very system that he's serving in. He canonically suffers from PTSD, and is too much a workaholic/too busy to take the time to care for it. He's watched friends, mentors, and squadmates die in truly horrible ways, and he's starting to question whether it's all been worth it.
Sadly, Danse isn't confident enough in himself or his own principles to see what he's actually questioning, so instead he turns all his uneasiness into self-doubt. He doubts his own capabilities as a leader and blames himself for the deaths of Recon Squad Gladius. He says that his own mentor Paladin Krieg never asked questions, and wishes that he was good enough a soldier not to ask questions either. He apologizes that the Sole Survivor "had to see (him) at his worst" (ie: expressing emotions and humanity) and is thoroughly unused to the concept of someone liking him or being his friend on his own merits and not because of the BoS.
Beneath the soldier and the steel and the (really, really) offputting bigotry, there is a lot to like about Danse. He's a gentleman. He's polite, he's honorable, he has a strong sense of duty. He likes to help people and he likes serving a cause bigger than himself. He's interested in machines and history, muses about pre-War activities like fishing, bowling, going to live concerts, and seeing movies. He likes beer. He has a sense of humor so dry and deadpan it's easy to miss that it's there. And he also has his own code of ethics separate from what the BoS has implanted in him, more compassionate and philanthropic than anyone would expect from a BoS soldier.
(See: Billy the ghoul kid, the USS Constitution quest, the Minutemen, and the Covenant quest-- in which Danse is vehement that Dr. Chambers must be stopped, even though her torturous experiments target "the enemy." It's more important to him that this barbaric cruelty be stopped than that it find a way to "catch" synths.)
So the nature of Danse's character, really, is recognizing what in him is his own, and what was planted there by someone else. Who is the man separated from the Brotherhood? What does he feel to be right in his heart, and what has he been TOLD he should feel?
This is brilliantly illustrated in Blind Betrayal. Because what Danse needs to come out of it alive is, quite simply, the reminder that his feelings exist. Beyond what the Brotherhood told him, beyond what the Institute or anybody else may have programmed into him, Danse is his own person and has his own feelings. He is outraged by the accusation that his pain, his sorrow, his pride, his joy, and his loyalty were not natural parts of him, and that all of the sacrifices he's made over the years weren't his own choice. This is the point on which he finally turns on Maxson, and the spark he needs to find the will to live as his own man, despite the orders that he must die.
After Blind Betrayal, we get the chance to meet a fledgling new Danse who's been stripped of everything that's ever meant anything to him. He's traumatized, lonely, questioning everything about himself, his thoughts, and his body-- but for the first time in a long time, he has the chance to be himself, and the chance to choose who he's going to be. The open nature of the game's world and storytelling means that we don't get it illustrated for us in the game itself, but given his softening stance on synths and steps he makes towards accepting his own nature, I think it's fair to say that Danse is on his way to being a better man once all is said and done.
In other words, he is a Strong Flawed Sad Tragic Himbo Whom I Can Save With My Love, Bethesda was directly targeting me with his personality, and I love him to bits.
because wolves are presented in such a good and positive light in tolkienverse right? oh wait-
my bad finrod died fighting a dragon. and it was a dragon that bit off beren’s hand, then killed him. and it was of course the same dragon that went on a rampage across beleriand and killed huan. sauron’s servants were dragons, not wolves and he himself was wont to take the shape of a great dragon, certainly not a wolf. and of course sauron and morgoth’s armies went to battle riding dragons, most certainly not wargs. where did i even get such silly notions from? i must have read the wrong books. only dragons bad, wolves always good!
moving on of course what could have possibly made people think that daenerys and dragons are essential to win the battle for the dawn and the targaryens are the central piece to a prophecy about saving the world from the literal apocalypse? what in the world?! unbelievable! there is certainly nothing in the books that might suggest this! right?
Sam rolled onto his side, eyes wide as the Other shrank and puddled, dissolving away. In twenty heartbeats its flesh was gone, swirling away in a fine white mist. Beneath were bones like milkglass, pale and shiny, and they were melting too. Finally only the dragonglass dagger remained, wreathed in steam as if it were alive and sweating. Grenn bent to scoop it up and flung it down again at once. "Mother, that's cold."
"Obsidian." Sam struggled to his knees. "Dragonglass, they call it. Dragonglass. Dragon glass." He giggled, and cried, and doubled over to heave his courage out onto the snow. - A Storm of Swords, Samwell I
"We knew all this. The question is, how do we fight them?"
"The armor of the Others is proof against most ordinary blades, if the tales can be believed, and their own swords are so cold they shatter steel. Fire will dismay them, though, and they are vulnerable to obsidian. I found one account of the Long Night that spoke of the last hero slaying Others with a blade of dragonsteel. Supposedly they could not stand against it." - A Dance with Dragons, Jon II
We will see, Jon thought, remembering the things that Sam had told him, the things he'd found in his old books. Longclaw had been forged in the fires of old Valyria, forged in dragonflame and set with spells. Dragonsteel, Sam called it. Stronger than any common steel, lighter, harder, sharper … But words in a book were one thing. The true test came in battle. -A Dance with Dragons, Jon XII
"No," the old man said. "It must be you. Tell them. The prophecy . . . my brother's dream . . . Lady Melisandre has misread the signs. Stannis . . . Stannis has some of the dragon blood in him, yes. His brothers did as well. Rhaelle, Egg's little girl, she was how they came by it . . . their father's mother . . . she used to call me Uncle Maester when she was a little girl. I remembered that, so I allowed myself to hope . . . perhaps I wanted to . . . we all deceive ourselves, when we want to believe. Melisandre most of all, I think. The sword is wrong, she has to know that . . . light without heat . . . an empty glamor . . . the sword is wrong, and the false light can only lead us deeper into darkness, Sam. Daenerys is our hope." -A Feast for Crows, Samwell IV
He asked Sam to read for him from a book by Septon Barth, whose writings had been burned during the reign of Baelor the Blessed. Once he woke up weeping. "The dragon must have three heads," he wailed, "but I am too old and frail to be one of them. I should be with her, showing her the way, but my body has betrayed me." -A Feast for Crows, Samwell IV
If indeed this first fortress is Valyrian, it suggests that the dragonlords came to Westeros thousands of years before they carved out their outpost on Dragonstone, long before the coming of the Andals, or even the First Men (…) Septon Barth's claim that the Valyrians came to Westeros because their priests prophesied that the Doom of Man would come out of the land beyond the narrow sea can safely be dismissed as nonsense, as can many of Barth's queerer beliefs and suppositions. -The World of Ice and Fire - The Reach: Oldtown
"I'm not stupid, ser." Egg lowered his voice. "Someday the dragons will return. My brother Daeron's dreamed of it, and King Aerys read it in a prophecy. Maybe it will be my egg that hatches. That would be splendid." -The Mystery Knight
Rhaegar took no interest in the play of other children. The maesters were awed by his wits, but his father's knights would jest sourly that Baelor the Blessed had been born again. Until one day Prince Rhaegar found something in his scrolls that changed him. No one knows what it might have been, only that the boy suddenly appeared early one morning in the yard as the knights were donning their steel. He walked up to Ser Willem Darry, the master-at-arms, and said, 'I will require sword and armor. It seems I must be a warrior.'" -A Storm of Swords, Daenerys I
"He has a song," the man replied. "He is the prince that was promised, and his is the song of ice and fire." He looked up when he said it and his eyes met Dany's, and it seemed as if he saw her standing there beyond the door. "There must be one more," he said, though whether he was speaking to her or the woman in the bed she could not say. "The dragon has three heads." -A Clash of Kings, Daenerys IV
Heraldic banners had long been a tradition amongst the lords of Westeros, but such had never been used by the dragonlords of old Valyria. When Aegon’s knights unfurled his great silken battle standard, with a red three- headed dragon breathing fire upon a black field, the lords took it for a sign that he was now truly one of them, a worthy high king for Westeros. -Fire and Blood - Aegon’s Conquest
“In some sense he (Aegon the Dragon) saw what was coming, three hundred years later, and wanted to unify the Seven Kingdoms to be better prepared for the threat that he eventually saw coming from the North. The threat that we are dealing with in A Song of Ice and Fire.” -GRRM (x)
And he looked past the Wall, past endless forests cloaked in snow, past the frozen shore and the great blue-white rivers of ice and the dead plains where nothing grew or lived. North and north and north he looked, to the curtain of light at the end of the world, and then beyond that curtain. He looked deep into the heart of winter, and then he cried out, afraid, and the heat of his tears burned on his cheeks. -A Game of Thrones, Bran III
Perched above her, the dragon spread his wings and tore at the terrible dark heart, ripping the rotten flesh to ribbons, and when his head snapped forward, fire flew from his open jaws, bright and hot. She could hear the shrieks of the Undying as they burned, their high thin papery voices crying out in tongues long dead. Their flesh was crumbling parchment, their bones dry wood soaked in tallow. They danced as the flames consumed them; they staggered and writhed and spun and raised blazing hands on high, their fingers bright as torches. -A Clash of Kings, Daenerys IV
"… don't want to wake the dragon …"
The red door was so far ahead of her, and she could feel the icy breath behind, sweeping up on her. If it caught her she would die a death that was more than death, howling forever alone in the darkness. She began to run. -A Game of Thrones, Daenerys IX
"… want to wake the dragon …"
Ghosts lined the hallway, dressed in the faded raiment of kings. In their hands were swords of pale fire. They had hair of silver and hair of gold and hair of platinum white, and their eyes were opal and amethyst, tourmaline and jade. "Faster," they cried, "faster, faster." She raced, her feet melting the stone wherever they touched. "Faster!" the ghosts cried as one, and she screamed and threw herself forward. A great knife of pain ripped down her back, and she felt her skin tear open and smelled the stench of burning blood and saw the shadow of wings. And Daenerys Targaryen flew. -A Game of Thrones, Daenerys IX
"I am the sword in the darkness. I am the watcher on the walls. I am the fire that burns against the cold, the light that brings the dawn, the horn that wakes the sleepers, the shield that guards the realms of men. I pledge my life and honor to the Night's Watch, for this night and all the nights to come." -A Game of Thrones, Jon VI
"They never came in force, if that's your meaning, but they were with us all the same, nibbling at our edges. We lost more outriders than I care to think about, and it was worth your life to fall behind or wander off. Every nightfall we'd ring our camps with fire. They don't like fire much, and no mistake. When the snows came, though … snow and sleet and freezing rain, it's bloody hard to find dry wood or get your kindling lit, and the cold … some nights our fires just seemed to shrivel up and die. Nights like that, you always find some dead come the morning." -A Dance with Dragons, Jon XII
"To go north, you must journey south. To reach the west, you must go east. To go forward you must go back, and to touch the light you must pass beneath the shadow." -A Clash of Kings, Daenerys III
We should have twenty trebuchets, not two, and they should be mounted on sledges and turntables so we could move them. It was a futile thought. He might as well wish for another thousand men, and maybe a dragon or three. -A Storm of Swords, Jon VIII
(i would like to highlight in this particular chapter, in which jon wishes for a dragon or three, he is defending the wall against an army with unnumbered soldiers that attack in the night, and they fight until dawn comes. does that ring any bells?)
That night she dreamt that she was Rhaegar, riding to the Trident. But she was mounted on a dragon, not a horse. When she saw the Usurper's rebel host across the river they were armored all in ice, but she bathed them in dragonfire and they melted away like dew and turned the Trident into a torrent. -A Storm of Swords, Daenerys III
Ok so I can't stop thinking about Gus' reactions in escaping expulsion. Like, look at him wincing here!
In this scene, they hadn't found out about the expulsion yet, but he still looked like he was expecting some big blow, though probably not a physical one.
Why is that? My best guess come from Something Ventured, Something Framed. There, Gus says that he's never been in detention before. Makes sense then that he doesn't have very much of a reference point for what's going to happen.
Or does he? At the end of that ep, Gus has to talk to Bump, who ends up stripping him of his membership in the HAS. Not a very good first experience!
Then, there's this scene:
Luz is moping, Willow is saying goodbye, but Gus has skipped straight to worrying about his dad. And that's the part I can't stop thinking about.
My best guess is that Mr. Porter has high standards. That would explain Gus skipping ahead a couple grades and not really getting into trouble before -- he doesn't want to disappoint his dad.
(something that may or may not tie into this-- Gus saying "I come from a long line of dweebuses" when eda calls Hexside a place that raises dweebuses. It's a bit of a stretch though)
But living off the land?
Is Gus getting into a spiral of worry? Is Perry actually more strict than we thought? Both? I just don't know how to interpret that.
Okay so I have some Thoughts™ about the Blight parents and their relationship with Amity after Escaping Expulsion.
Odalia is by far the more obviously abusive and easy to understand of the two. She isolates Amity from her friends (see: blackmailing her into cutting ties with Willow and getting the trio expelled from Hexside), gaslights her (see: ordering her to Bump's office and then criticising her for not being in class instead), and is extremely controlling (see: forcing her to dye her hair green to match her siblings). These are all textbook signs of abuse that are very clear to the viewer.
But most disturbing of all is the necklace that Odalia makes Amity wear which allows her to telepathically communicate with her at any time. It was part of Amity's casual outfit in the first season, and she even has it in the flashback in Understanding Willow, which means that Odalia has been using it as a way to exert influence over Amity for most of her life. What makes it such a horrifyingly accurate depiction of emotional abuse is that since only Odalia and Amity can hear what's being said, it's basically a physical metaphor for how that kind of manipulation is often almost invisible to people on the outside.
Then there's Alador, who's a little more complicated. At first he seems far less threatening, given how clumsy and easily distracted he is. For most of the episode he really doesn't have a strong presence, with a couple of exceptions. He actually puts his foot down and demands that Odalia keep her promise, which makes it appear as though maybe he might have more of a moral compass. However, he doesn't do anything to prevent the trio's expulsion or stop the demonstration himself despite admitting that Luz has a point, and near the end of the episode there's a moment which hints at his real motivation.
He says that Amity is getting stronger, specifically “strong enough to become a Coven head some day.” This implies that rather than genuinely wanting what's best for Amity, he's simply recognised that Odalia's more heavy-handed approach is pushing Amity away, and thinks that giving her some freedom will make her more likely to do what they want in the end. If that is indeed true, then he could end up being the smarter and more dangerous of the two despite how he initially comes across, which would fit with him already having been shown as equally responsible for ending Amity's friendship with Willow in the past.
Anyway, my opinion might change as the Blight parents get more screen time, but for now that's my impression of them based on what we've seen so far.
wwx was very thin at the time. between losing his core, and the poor conditions he ended up losing a lot of his initial weight and strength. thus, he wore more layers, and despite contrary belief--- i do believe he wore his robes closed to hide the fact he was so grossly underweight.
he wore his robes like a corpse. crossing his lapels from right to left. partially as a silly little joke, and also symbolically. feeling like he himself had died in some way when he was thrown into the burial mounds. also suspecting he would die soon enough, and saved people the trouble.
he was in constant pain. some days it was easier, other days not so much. it was chronic and despite wen qing’s best efforts, she could not get the pain to subside for any more than a couple hours a day.
the burial mounds spoke to him a lot. he could often times be seen talking to the spirits that resided there. usually alone-- otherwise he would do his best to ignore them, for the sake of what little face he had left.
ive mentioned it before, but this was a time when wwx lied constantly. to everyone and anyone he could. he pretended to be fine, to spite the naysayers, to make the wens feel less guilt for their situation. he tried hard every day to make sure he didnt ever let out how bone tired he really was.
fun ( ? ) factoid of the day: kaey feels a lot of self-assigned guilt ( I say self-assigned cuz kaey also has a lot of guilt due to things aleksey claimed he was responsible for ) concerning the other touched that aleksey attempted to train. he feels bad that he could never save or protect them. he feels bad that he never stopped aleksey; not for his own sake ( he's convinced he could take it ) but for theirs. kids he couldn't help, stopped trying to help the older he got because he knew how futile it was.
he feels guilty for all the times he told them that cooperating made it better. he feels guilty for all the times he ignored what aleksey did, how removed he became. he feels complicit, just as responsible as aleksey. he feels all the guilt and remorse than aleksey could never feel. he feels guilty even though he tried so hard for so long to help them; he feels guilty because he stopped.
he even feels guilty about julienne. because he should have known that aleksey would target tristan when julienne was gone. kaey feels like he should have done more to protect them both, even when he saved them both.
that's why kaey is not a savior. hes not an angel. hes alive only out of the gut-wrenching need to make amends.
can i just. ramble about the lost prophecy for a moment. my most loved and simultaneously detested chapter (ok well. the forest again is up there but that one’s just...fucked up. in a genuinely disturbing way. happy to talk about that any time too tho lmfao). anyway im going to put my thotstm under a cut because i have a lot of them but yeah im just Thinkng
anyway like - i dont actually dislike dumbledore as a character, but this chapter is like...the largest of many moments where i really question why he’s the moral centre of the series...uh, you could make an argument hes not, but then what are your other options? harry? snape? like...no, i don’t think that we need a “moral guide” in any story, but undeniably the narrative suggests that dumbledore’s morals are the Ultimate good, which is why it’s, like...something harry’s willing to die for. but he says in the lost prophecy to harry “five years ago ... you arrived at hogwarts neither as happy nor as well-nourished as i would have liked, perhaps, but alive and healthy. you were not a pampered prince, but as normal a boy as i could have hoped under the circumstances.” let’s not forget that in this very same book harry’s uncle quite literally strangles him - and that’s, you know, five years after his arrival at hogwarts. of course, there’s the fact of them learning in cos that he’s not supposed to do magic outside of hogwarts, but it is mentioned that the dursleys kind of like...backed off of harry in certain respects after he went to hogwarts, because they were afraid of magic. well, anyway, dumbledore also says right after this “five years ago you arrived at hogwarts, harry, safe and whole, as i had planned and intended. well - not quite whole. you had suffered. i knew you would when i left you on your aunt and uncle’s doorstep. i knew i was condemning you to ten dark and difficult years.”
what’s really interesting to me is that like...when he says this, harry doesn’t respond. what he does respond to is when dumbledore says he left him with petunia because she was lily’s last living relative: “she doesn’t love me. she doesn’t give a damn -” and dumbledore interrupts with “but she took you. she may have taken you grudgingly, furiously, unwillingly, bitterly, yet still she took you.” this is also the moment we learn that dumbledore was the one who sent the howler to petunia at the beginning of this book, and what did that say - “remember my last.” so...yeah, honestly? i’ve always found it kind of weird that the dursleys kept harry around, especially after he went to hogwarts. from what all of what dumbledore says here, it sounds a lot like they were threatened into taking harry. or. petunia was, at least. and in the very beginning of dh, there’s that moment where petunia looks back and harry thinks she looks like she has something she wants to say to him, but she doesn’t. this always felt kind of, like...strange. even if she did love her sister, it wouldn’t make that much sense for her in that moment to be thinking of lily, whom she hadn’t seen in, like, twenty years, when she had been housing harry for sixteen. if anything, it’s just that she (parallel to snape? lol. which, unrelated really but interesting - love in the prince’s tale how every time we see snape talking to dumbledore about harry he’s saying he’s just like his father, until dumbledore tells him harry has to die. and then he calls him lily potter’s son. just interesting. but anyway. i digress) never bothered to see harry as anything but lily’s son, but i really feel like...yeah, okay, they clearly had issues, but i don’t get the impression that petunia blames lily for forcing harry into her life. blames her for dying, maybe, but...dumbledore was the one who brought harry there. dumbledore gave her the mysterious letter. when she gets that howler, she’s described as, like, pale and shaking - clearly very afraid. she doesn’t show much concern over voldemort at, like, any point. even in dh, she’s not arguing against anything like vernon is, but she’s not exactly telling him why they oughtn’t be. which leaves me to think that the person she’s afraid of if they kick harry out isn’t voldemort (after all, she’s not stupid. it’s entirely logical to conclude that voldemort would leave her and her family well enough alone if they cut harry off entirely. sure, the wards protect them too, but realistically they’re probably not at any higher risk than any other muggles. in the lost prophecy, dumbledore says that voldemort chose sirius because kreacher had informed them that sirius was the person harry loved most. it wasn’t merely a matter of him being harry’s godfather. the emotional attachment was highly relevant in that decision). rather, i get the idea that she’s afraid of dumbledore.
and this makes sense, right? because in this chapter, the whole time, he’s talking about a plan. he had a plan. he had a plan, and he ruined it by caring too much about harry’s wellbeing. implying, of course, that the only way he could follow through on this plan was to neglect harry’s wellbeing. he says here that he hadn’t wanted harry to suffer at the hands of the dursleys, no, but there is the suggestion in his dialogue (and this is something that comes up in the beginning of hbp too, when he comes to privet drive. he says something about how the dursleys did better by harry than by dudley, because by spoiling dudley they made him unkind or whatever. this one really pisses me off lol but - whatever. not the point) that he would rather harry have been abused than spoiled and arrogant. i’m not the first to say it, and i can see why people disagree, but i really do think dumbledore’s plan relied on harry being abused. it makes a lot of logical sense. and i don’t think it’s a coincidence that the person dumbledore gives the task of telling harry he has to die to is snape, whose background is very similar to harry’s in this regard. an abused kid is a lot less likely to value his life...especially if one of the only adults who ever cared for him is the one saying it’s better if he dies.
and, okay, no one else does either and that’s just on weird narrative choices for the sake of plot convenience imo, but i do think it’s significant that dumbledore never really disparages harry for not trusting adults. he finds him after he faces quirrell, sure. fawkes saves him in the chamber of secrets. dumbledore suggests using the time turner. he comes to the ministry. but he praises harry for doing things on his own. in many ways, he sets him up to do so. he doesn’t even suggest trying to find a way to get harry out of the triwizard tournament. even in this specific chapter, when harry can’t look at him because he feels so guilty over having gotten others hurt or worse, his tone is described as kind, and his gaze is not “accusatory.” only in hbp do we really see dumbledore working with harry on something (when they find regulus’s locket) - and he does this with the awareness that he’s going to die, and harry will be left to do everything that remains on his own. interestingly, harry does feel betrayed by dumbledore when he sees snape’s memories. but it’s so fleeting. he forgives him just as fast. it seems that he wholly believes that dumbledore didn’t want him to die - it was just necessary. but dumbledore did at least try to give him a way to stay alive, with the hallows, if lily’s blood tying him to voldemort turned out to not be enough. harry’s entire life was planned out by dumbledore, and in the end he still forgives him, because he thinks dumbledore just didn’t have any other choice.
which is like...a huge gripe i have with harry potter in general, actually. there’s this ongoing theme about choices. right from when harry chooses gryffindor over slytherin (not about to say this was a bad narrative choice, but the impact of the story would’ve been a lot more significant if he had bee in slytherin imho but whatever) but time and time again we see like...sure, voldemort chose harry over neville, but otherwise...there’s only one interpretation of the prophecy. there’s no other way to rid harry of the piece of voldemort’s soul he’s carrying than for him to die. snape must be the one to kill dumbledore. it just seems misplaced, with this big theme of the power of choice, for so many things to just...only have one solution. and ironically, you know - in ootp before they go to the ministry, hermione says harry has a “saving people thing,” and in gof ron said he had a “hero complex” or something, right? and voldemort knows that too, but so does dumbledore. and when harry dies, dumbledore says he has a choice whether to pass on or go back, but he adds, too, that he thinks more people might be saved if harry goes back. so i think, honestly...that wasn’t a choice at all. and i think dumbledore knew that too, which is why he said it. but it’s funny, obviously, when everything else he did was to ensure harry would be willing to die...but in this moment, he wants him to live. in a way, i think that’s almost more cruel, to be completely honest. make him accept something, and find peace in it, then turn it back around...yeah. there sure are things worse than death, dumbledore. it’s what you did to this literal child lmfao.
anyway, back to the chapter in question, though. the line harry has about petunia sticks out to me, but so does this one, when they’re talking about sirius: “people don’t like being locked up!” and then he says “you did it to me all last summer,” but what really gets me about this is that harry wasn’t exactly locked up, then; he was just cut off. nobody was telling him anything. he felt trapped, and alone. but he had been locked up. in the cupboard under the stairs, in dudley’s second bedroom...i mean, in cos he was very literally locked up. to the point of needing to be broken out. and what’s really interesting to me about ootp as a whole is that, like...people are calling harry crazy, right? they’re saying he’s some sort of delinquent. that he’s dangerous and disturbed. and isn’t this exactly what the dursleys told people about him? isn’t this their entire cover story for where he goes to school? “st brutus’s secure centre for incurably criminal boys.” a “first rate institution for hopeless cases.” they tell him from the time he’s young that his parents were, like, unhinged drunkards who got themselves killed in an accident that was all their own fault.
here’s another thing - harry is really defensive of cedric’s death. for someone who was fed lies about how his parents died for ten years, that makes a lot of sense to me. his aunt and uncle lied to him about the circumstances of his parents’ deaths in such a way that robbed them of their honour and bravery; harry isn’t going to accept anyone doing the same to cedric, especially considering that they were all three murdered by voldemort personally, and that all three were momentarily revived by the priori incantatem. similarly, there are a lot of instances in this book where harry wants to turn to sirius, thinking he is the only person who could understand how he feels having his name smeared in the papers. and here, in this chapter, he puts his situation parallel to sirius’s again - in saying they were both “locked up.”
so, the interesting thing about this to me is that this whole time, harry is angry about sirius. he’s angry that sirius died. they’re talking about how sirius hated being locked up. they’re talking about how it’s dumbledore’s fault that sirius died. in this moment, harry is blaming dumbledore for sirius’s death - and as soon as he does, he turns it back on himself. when he says “you did it to me all last summer,” he’s no longer talking about dumbledore ordering sirius to stay in grimmauld place. now, he’s talking about dumbledore never reaching out to him after his fourth year. he’s angry at dumbledore for what dumbledore did to him. my points above are to say, essentially, that the things in this book that make harry so angry are not merely a matter of being angry at being called a liar or worse, or on behalf of cedric. he’s angry because the wizarding world has begun treating him exactly as the dursleys always did. and dumbledore is the very persona of the wizarding world to harry (and probably plenty of others; he’s pretty powerful and influential, never mind being headmaster of their school). he accuses dumbledore of locking him up. but the only ones who actually “locked him up” were the dursleys.
this isn’t the only place where certain things pop up that make me really stop and kinda go oh for this reason. there’s a line in dh, actually, while harry, ron, and hermione are on the run where harry thinks that he’s the one who’s dealing with their lack of food the best, because “he had endured periods of near starvation” in his time living with his aunt and uncle. it’s a total throwaway. by the next paragraph, it’s irrelevant, and it never comes up again. this specific line in the lost prophecy, “people don’t like being locked up,” is really grim to me. harry’s not talking about sirius here. he’s talking about himself. and dumbledore’s reaction to this is also really...something.
“dumbledore closed his eyes and buried his face in his long-fingered hands. harry watched him, but this uncharacteristic sign of exhaustion, or sadness, or whatever it was from dumbledore did not soften him. on the contrary, he felt even angrier that dumbledore was showing signs of weakness. he had no business being weak when harry wanted to rage and storm at him.”
and from here, he springs into his explanation, right? about his plan. but this specific passage does read like genuine remorse to me. maybe he’s feeling the pressure of having made the mistake of not telling harry anything, since it is ultimately his lack of knowledge that moved him to the ministry, but i think it’s significant that he’s reacting specifically to harry’s line about being locked up. and that he starts talking not first about the summer harry mentions, but about when harry was eleven. and he says harry had suffered in those ten years. he says he knew he would. if he’s showing remorse here, then...he’s feeling remorseful over what he felt he had had to put harry through for the sake of his plan. he’s feeling remorseful for leaving harry in an abusive situation.
i have no doubt that dumbledore cared for harry. if it’s not obvious anywhere else, then it certainly is in this chapter. he says “i defy anyone who has watched you as i have - and i have watched you more carefully than you can have imagined - not to want to save you more pain than you had already suffered.” then a little later “i have watched you struggling under more burdens than any student who has ever passed through this school.” we know from when they talk in dh that dumbledore considers harry a better person than he was. i think it’s easy to see, from dumbledore’s perspective, exactly why harry is so impressive to him. he holds the one quality dumbledore couldn’t, though he obviously wanted to: selflessness. he says so here, too, when he talks about what sacrifices he might be making by trying to maintain harry’s happiness, something he, dumbledore, wants for him. the end of this chapter, too, really strikes me for this: “you may, perhaps, have wondered why i never chose you as a prefect? i must confess...that i rather thought...you had enough responsibility to be going on with.”
but harry is, in essence, what dumbledore made him into. he’s explaining it all here, just to say, in the end, that harry’s fate is "kill or be killed.” and in dh, he says in snape’s memories that he suspects harry has already guessed, or at least knows on some subconscious level, that he’s a horcrux. by this point, the end of harry’s fifth year - it’s highly likely that dumbledore has already come to this conclusion, at least in part, himself. he implies it in snape’s memories, when they talk about harry needing to learn occlumency. he says something about knowing harry well enough to know that he won’t leave anything unresolved in the end, that harry isn’t like that (which is something he has in common with snape in the end; we see snape very dedicated to ensuring he has followed through on every last one of dumbledore’s orders, and he only dies once he has given harry his memories as was his “duty.” interestingly, they both also put all their faith in dumbledore, then feel betrayed when they learn that dumbledore hasn’t been completely honest with them but still follow on his orders anyway, for the sake of the greater good, even though they know dumbledore used them). looking at this in terms of child psychology, though...it’s abundantly clear that harry is very desperate to have adult figures in his life that he can trust, and who in turn trust him - but at the same time, he doesn’t want to be treated like a child, because he didn’t have a childhood.
anyway, my greater point here is this - harry is actually extremely affected by the dursleys’ abuse and he and dumbledore both know it is dumbledore’s fault it happened at all. but harry forgives him, and has a hard time blaming him at all, really, because he also knows dumbledore loves him, and the thing he wants above all else is to be acknowledged and loved for who he is. it’s why he doesn’t like being kept out of the loop, it’s why he can’t stand being “locked up,” or otherwise somehow stifled. and when dumbledore is talking about how much harry has suffered, so much more than any of hogwarts’s other students...that’s acknowledgement of everything he caused, and he does display real remorse for it here imo. but it doesn’t alter his plan. it doesn’t change anything. considering that dumbledore let his love for grindlewald blind him before, it’s no wonder that he’s a person, now, who values the “greater good” even above those he loves - because he does love harry, and even though harry often doubts this i think there’s never really a point where he doesn’t know on some level that it’s true too - but what’s really interesting is that harry, at this point, is not like that. i mean, he’s just played right into voldemort’s hands because he only cared about saving sirius, never mind that he knew it was a trap. the only person, in fact, that harry doesn’t mind sacrificing for the greater good - or the good of other people, those he loves - is himself. that’s why it’s so easy for him to forgive dumbledore in the end, i’d say.
but, yeah. i think this chapter is just...so interesting. and painful. it’s the moment, for me, where we most see how affected harry is by everything. it’s this huge culmination of his angry throughout this whole book, yes, but it’s more than that - it’s things he’s been repressing since he was a small child, anger at an abusive situation, guilt and confusion over what happened in the graveyard, and, most importantly, i think, grief for himself, which is placed equivalent in its parallel to his grief for sirius. it’s very fitting, too, when sirius was, after all, his last hope of having a family, or at least a parent, that was his own. before harry’s hearing, they talked again about harry living with sirius (in this case, if he really was expelled from hogwarts). it’s something they both want, but can’t have - and it’s something that no one else has ever offered to harry. sirius dying takes that away from him, and so his reaction to sirius’s death is not just about sirius, but also about a ten-year-old boy who had spent all his living memory (except, of course, for the memory of his mother being murdered) living in a cupboard and being told he was a freak and a waste of space. who didn’t know anything akin to happiness until he went away to hogwarts, where his life was put in danger again and again but at least here, finally, people cared about him. and it’s something most victims of abuse have to experience at some point (usually as adults, in the case of abused children). it’s a very, very poignant form of grief. and it’s cyclical, too; it doesn’t just “go away,” like any sort of grief or trauma. when i read this chapter, this is the grief i’m seeing. i think it’s why sirius’s death is the one that affects him the most, of all of them (dumbledore’s too; the mentor figure, the headmaster of the only place he ever called “home,” which he knows after dumbledore dies that he can never return to).
Anatomy of A Scene
Teh Is Not An Actor: One Scene Two Ways and some thoughts on what it says about our protagonist
- What's wrong? Why are you back to this again? Put the meaning into the character's action. Remember this, in Akin's world, there is no Oh-aew. Forget Oh-aew. Because there's only one person you need to think about.
- No. Me. Use the feelings that you had with me yesterday. And put them into the scene. Understood?
I Promised You the Moon, Episode 4: Inside Out
Director: Meen Tossaphon Riantong
Cinematographer: Koi Boonyanuch Kraithong
Cast: Billkin Putthipong Assaratanakul, PP Krit Amnuaydechkorn, Oab Oabnithi Wiwattanawarang, Jewly Porntip Kitdamrongchai
I love duality in film. Basic, I know, but I'm fascinated by it. Parallels, callbacks, repetitions, mirroring, flashbacks, do-overs, dual perspectives, two handers...I love them all. So I think a lot of the scenes I gravitate to embody this sense of two things telling you one true thing. In this scene, the two things are the two takes of the cursed play, before Jai intervenes and after.
The physicality that Billkin has created for Teh is so specific. Teh's nervous energy, the tension in his shoulders, always hunching, the tactile fidgeting, the restless eyes...this kid is wound SO tight. He can't ever get out of his own head unless somebody goes in and drags him out. Oh Aew used to do that for him but in this scene Oh Aew is simply another stressor for Teh. He simply can't do this with Oh Aew watching him, because he's lying to Oh Aew and guilty about it and fixated on not letting Oh Aew see.
Jai gets that immediately, and in a quick and dirty fashion goes in and drags Teh out, gives him something else to fixate on, something more useful to the scene. And as he does that, Teh relaxes. His body softens, his movements become more languid, his eyes focus instead of darting. The fact that Billkin can give us these two takes playing Teh as Akin, so two levels down, acting as an actor (Teh), and that actor also playing a role (Akin), is just...how is he only 21 and playing at this level?
I'm gushing over the acting, but I want to ask some meta questions as well. Are we supposed to believe that Teh is a good actor? Because he can't seem to make certain types of feeling believable unless he actually feels them. I know method and this whole idea of immersion in the character is supposed to be this elite technique, but I'm with Laurence Olivier on this: My dear boy, why don’t you just try acting? Acting is about pretending to be a character and making the audience believe. Teh can't pretend it seems, at least when it comes to making certain character emotions believable. And I think that's a function of the fact that Teh's own emotions are a complete mystery to him, so how can he understand his character's? If Teh is really going to become an actor, if this is truly his dream and not just something he has to do because he has nothing else, he will have to put real, sustained effort into understanding himself, knowing himself, which he has done basically everything to avoid across this entire story.
As MOOP draws to close, there’s a few things I want to say about it.
Namely, even with Xemnas being the Big Bad of the fic, the story is not really about fighting Xehanort with knowledge gained from the future.
It’s about Isa and regret about treating people who didn’t deserve it terribly in middle of his own rage and anguish, trying his best to use another chance to turn his actions around. About Isa dealing with the toxic environment that shaped him in his developmental years, loaded up with the hindsight of it doesn’t have to be this way. It can be better.
Even as the relationship between Axel and Isa has immensely struggled, the aim of endgame is to create a new environment where one of them does not have to die in order to apologize to the other.
Isa has always been trapped in patterns of the past, in his own regret and self-hate. Moon Out Of Phase opens up a chance for him to escape those patterns to have new friendships (and even romantic relationships) with people he was too closed off to try with before.
Now, other people are going to see different things in this fic. That’s really how everything operates, when it’s put up for others to behold it. But for me, MOOP is about a man in the grips of depression learning that there is a tomorrow for him and that other people do care about him, outside of shared history. That even in misery, you can be kind and that kindness makes a difference.
Maybe I’ll come back to this universe at some point. But as far as I am concerned, the story I was trying to tell with MOOP is just about accomplished. Because I was never telling a story about a Keyblade War fixit with time travel.