Tag Archives: fangirl

This is a fangirl post about Dr Strange

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And there will be SPOILERS! You have been warned! I finally watched it amidst a horrible cold that left me with the mother of all scratchy throats and slightly feverish. It was all very much worth it in the end!

I’m not gonna lie and say I haven’t been twitching impatiently about this movie since it was first announced on the rota. I’m not gonna lie and say I did not love the posters. I’m definitely not gonna lie and say that when this scene played on the trailer I didn’t cheer.

Αποτέλεσμα εικόνας για dr strange trailer screenshot

-looks around- Ok, I think this is enough to hide the spoilers from showing up on any thumbnail-sized previews or whatever. Now on to the proper stuff. My only actual contact with the character before this was the (admittedly meh) animated movie which -ironically- handled the exact same storyline. So basically going in on the theatre I knew the bare minimum about the character, that this was an origin story and that they had shamelessly whitewashed the Ancient One. I had this pipe dream of seeing him being played by Mako but unfortunately the film was made a few years too late. But let’s be real here. Uncle Iroh mentoring Dr Strange to the mystic arts would have been a gift. Not that Swindon was not badass on the role, just a pet peeve of mine I suppose. The character of Steven Strange (Doctor! Must not forget the title!) initially reminded me a little of Sherlock but I’ll have to rewatch the movie (what a tragedy, indeed!) to tell if that was character bleed or just me being used to seeing Benedict Cumberbatch as a detective. Although, with Martin Freeman officially on the MCU boat I am hoping for at least a reference joke at some point!

Other than any hypothetical character confusion, I liked Strange’s character. His arc was believable as a man of science thrust head-deep to the mystical and I liked that he kept his pragmatism and flexibility of morals (not sure if that’s the right word choice but there’s a French film playing in the background here and it’s hella distracting). The majority of characters were believable in the portrayals, except for Mordo’s Heel-Faced Turn in the end was a tad (ok, a lot!) out of nowhere. Especially accounting for the end-credit scene… I liked that the romance, what little was there, was not the central focus, and honestly I see these two more as friends than lovers. Also anyone who can receive surgical instruction by the astral projection of her patient without having a full-blown panic attack is a person worthy of admiration in my book.

Speaking of side characters that are full of win, I’d like to spotlight the Cape. Not only it looks awesome and it makes you fly but that thing has an attitude. And seems to be insanely protective of its owner. I’m really curious to learn who was its creator, but my money’s on Merlin. He just seems to be the type to enchant the leaving daylights out of a piece of fabric…. Favourite scene had to be after the Ancient One dies at the Hospital where it looks like the poor thing was actually trying to comfort him!

I’ll leave the discussion of special effects and the like to those who can offer more feedback than “That looked cool!” In my case they were, indeed, cool. And surprisingly not-migraine-inducing. Unlike Inception that my brother likened the film to. I resent the comparison! Leonardo diCaprio wasn’t nearly as charming! (My personal opinion, I don’t why I don’t like that guy but I just can’t!) Anyway, what else is there to talk about? The Cameo was awesome as usual, definitely top 5-worthy, and the mid-credits scene, oh the mid-credits scene!

—quick author’s note: I nearly fell off my keyboard from sleepiness at that point last night so I’m continuing now—

Now where was I? Oh yes, the mid-credits scene! The internet is already going on and on about a potential bromance between Dr Strange and Thor, and yes their chemistry was pretty cool. But here’s what I want to see:

My though favourite British actors (and Marvel characters), together, on screen, in character, snarking about their more hit-first-ask-later companions or geeking over some spell or other. The Avengers -Thor included- in a corner in various stages of shock because this is their supposed archnemesis and he’s conjuring floating cups of tea and talking multidimentional travel and the fine details of spellcraft with their newest member like it’s last night’s football match. And then Tony is like, “Screw this, I’m curious” and jumps in the conversation and next thing you know they need to be convinced that lightsabers are probably not a good idea against Thanos.

Anyone know any fics like this or do I need to dust my typewriter?

In which I reminisce past loves

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I’ve been in a bit of a fandom kick lately but my holidays are almost done so I thought I’d do one last fan-post before I become distracted by the new academic year. I’ve been mentioning Yu-Gi-Oh! on and off lately (and re-watching it for the matter) so I figured it was about time I did a post on it. What’s my history with the show that teaches kids that any problem can be solved with a card game? To start, I was in a strange age when I first watched it (miraculously catching it from the first episode). I was just hitting puberty and although I was never really a tomboy it appealed to me more than Winx Club (which was the only other cartoon airing at the same time). Looking back I can’t explain what it was that captured my attention. I was watching a re-dubbed version of the 4Kids dub, so it wasn’t like the dialog was riveting or anything. Even then I thought some of the lines over-dramatic and perhaps it was exactly that that I liked. At least the show sounded like it was taking its story and audience seriously. How many kids’ shows today do that? There were stakes -bizarre stakes no doubt, but still- and even us kids understood that the words “Shadow Realm” carried a certain weight to them.

I’m not ashamed to say that this was the show that gave me my first character-crush. Yes, folks! While other eleven and twelve-year-old girls were sighing over Orlando Bloom I was crossing my fingers and hoped that my favourite, standoff-ish character would be in this weekend’s episodes. No, I’m not gonna say any names. I will only say that he wasn’t the main character. Whether it was my flair for the dramatic or my newly-emerging, loving-all-things-fantasy side that spurred me on, I was devastated when they stoppe0d airing the show one season short. Life moved on however and for a few years Yu-Gi-Oh! remained in the back of my mind as the show I used to love back in grades 6 and 7.

In the meantime the internet took off big time and with it Youtube and all those other wonderful places where you can watch your childhood’s obsessions armed with Nostalgia Goggles and lots of Ben&Jerries. I was looking for somewhere to watch Naruto when I stumbled across a website that had the entire 4Kids’d version of Yu-Gi-Oh!, including the elusive season 5. I watched the entire thing in two weeks (I had school) and from there moved to the manga (which was delightfully violent if not poorly scanned at times). To my disappointment I couldn’t find the subbed version of the anime anywhere (I’m still looking in fact) but I made do with what I had. And what I did have was good headphones and an ever-increasing familiarity with fanfiction.net and its curious ways. It didn’t matter that there were only two hundred and something episodes to watch and that I had already screenshot all my favourite scenes in the manga because the available fanfics -even narrowed down to not including the more…disturbing ones- numbered the thousands. -fangirl glee-

I watched and read and shipped and searched for interesting AUs and had a new favourite every other week. Not character, mind you, but ship, which is kind of strange for me. I’m usually pretty solid on who I ship with whom. Of course my OTP was, is and will be Azureshipping but I don’t really rage against other pairings. Except for the really weird ones and Peachshipping. It reminds me FAR TOO MUCH of Kataang…. (Mum, if you are readig this ask me before you google them!)

But surely, you say, something had to change with the passing of years. I wasn’t the plucky twelve-year-old anymore, surely my understanding of the show had change. In a way it had. I was more interested in the subtleties of character development than in the question of which monster would blow which up. And that was in part what led to a slight rearrangement of my list of favourite characters. Sure, Seto Kaiba was still in the top five (shoot! I gave myself away here!) but the number one spot was claimed by somebody else: Yami Bakura. Big shock, I know. And before anyone makes any assumptions, no, it wasn’t his ability to make the freaking Joker look tame by comparison. It was something really small that many people probably missed. In episode 84, Dark Spirit Revealed (part 3), Yami B. is faced with the choice of letting his  host take a hit and possibly win the duel in progress or protect Ryou and watch his plan crumble…again. So far the character has been presented as a Bad-To-The-Bone so this should really be a no-brainer. But it isn’t. While the conundrum is being presented, the animation does a short close up to his eyes. For those who have not spent as much time as I have browsing trope pages and/or analysing books/movies/plays/whatever, a short explanation is in order. To my experience, this short of close-up is usually reserved for when a character is going through an internal clash of morals or other similar conflict. It is a very important clue to character motivations, especially when it is a character whose inner thought process is hardly explored.  It is doubly important when one considers that this short clip was kept despite 4Kids’ habit of removing clips left, right and center…

Where am I going with this treatise? It excited my curiosity at the time. Then I watched Season 5 and a lot of Yami Bakura’s actions made a looooooot more sense. And before anyone goes off at me about the whole “I am Zorc” line, I would like to point out that at the original timeline (not the Memory World arc) Thief King Bakura and Zorc were both sealed inside the Millennium Ring. After three thousand years living in close quarters with the Master of All Evil (in-universe) it would be no surprise that they would feed off each other. And there was certainly enough of the Thief King left to rage against the Pharaoh’s court in episode 202…I believe. Fangirl soapbox moment over. What I’m trying to say is that there was a serious story being told under all the cheesy one-liners. Perhaps it wasn’t delivered quite the way I wanted (Bakura being the only main villain in the show not get a chance for redemption even though he was the one most deserving in my opinion…) but they managed to deliver a high-stakes game in a way that showed they understood what they were writing. There was no easy solution and the tension was rising with every episode until the rather deus ex machina resolution. And even that didn’t bother me. Zorc was a villain that required this sort of ending.

So here is why I still like Yu-Gi-Oh! even after all these years. Nostalgia aside, 90s cheese aside, there was a good story being told. There were likable and sometimes even relate-able character (and how often can you say that in a manga where people have magical artifacts at their disposal?). And, all things considered, it was a rather gentle introduction to the mad, wonderful world that we call anime. Am I glad to have watched it. Definitely.

In which I talk fandom again

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It’s been a while since I’ve done this, hasn’t it? Just ramble about things that I like. Not anymore! So what’s up fandom-wise on my little corner of the world. Some old things, some new things, some unreleased things….Gods, I hate it when I find a cool trailer for something that is not even out yet! The trailer in question? This little nugget:

I am soooo pumped for this one! Maybe they will make Good Omens next! A girl can hope. And that’s not the only thing I am E.X.C.I.T.E.D. about. There’s Inside Out, Macbeth, Crimson Peak, Doctor Strange… Am I all over the place? Yes. Do I care? No!

I also finally listened to Cabin Pressure and wasn’t that a revelation! I’ve been meaning to give it a try for the past couple of years but couldn’t seem to find it anywhere. So I went ahead, took the plunge and bought the complete show in CD format. Did not regret it, I tell you.

And finally I’ve been revisiting one of my most loved shows from my childhood and early teenage years: Yu-Gi-Oh! I’m not even kidding. I’ve seen the show, I’ve read the manga, I’ve laughed with the parodies, I’ve browsed through Gigabytes’ worth of fanart and fics and videos. This was the show that actually inspired me to start writing in a more structured manner rather than winging it and hoping the end result would be coherent. (That was more the mange, mind, where there was a lot better build up than the anime…) So if you like my prose now you know who to be thankful to. I could go on and on about why I like this (very cheesy if you’ve watched the 4Kids’d version) show and maybe I will at some point in the future. For now though I will just sign off. And remember!

In which I ponder shipping

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A while back I wrote a post in defence of fanfiction. You might want to consider this one the whacky sequel. You see, shipping and fanfiction go hand-in-hand. And yet we don’t really pause to consider what compels us to assume that two characters would be a match made in Heaven? Is it that we see ourselves as one of the characters and want to give them the happy (aka perfect) relationship we might lack in real life. Is it that we believe that such a relationship would be beneficial to their character development? Is it plain and simple fanservice? Something else? All of the above? For me it would be all of the above. I have shipped characters because the relationship I saw developing between them was one I would like to experience in real life. I have shipped characters because I considered a romantic relationship between them an inevitable conclusion (coughAvatarcough). And yes, I have used the justification “But they look ADORABLE together!”. Fan wars aside, one of the cardinal rules of shipping is that if you can think about it, then someone out there is probably shipping it. (Of course that implies the existence of some rather disturbing pairings, but when you’ve hung out Fanfiction.net for as long as I have you learn to ignore them. Besides, I’m told Tumblr is scarier.)

Immature as it might be, I love shipping. I enjoy mapping out character interactions in general (which is why I cannot abide movies/series/books with more gunfire than dialog) but there is something about romance and the Molotov cocktail of contradicting emotions it causes that opens up so many possibilities. You know that scene in Moulin Rouge where they describe the premise behind El Tango de Roxanne? Yup, that at least partially sums things up for me. Even when considered through the cold lenses of science love is the product of a chemical instability. Well, to me, instability = chaos and chaos = interesting plot points. Why are romantic subplots casually inserted? Because it is an easy way to provide conflict and thus get the story going with new momentum if you hit a lull.

But I’m moving away from my topic: why ship? It’s easy if the pairing you support is considered cannon. Your actions then can be seen as building up to pre-established events. Heck! Implied pairings (you know the drill: long, longing looks, more shared screen time than what might be the norm, use of tropes usually reserved for romantic interactions…) get more respect than fan-made pairings. Fannon is what receives the heaviest fire. After all, if Word of God says two people are meant to be together, then who are you, the lowly fan, to say otherwise. Um…a fan? Besides, how often did you see a canon pairing and went “THE HECK?” I remember the first time I watched Big Bang Theory. It was a Season Two episode, I think, and I basically walked in on a scene between Penny and Sheldon. Something about their interaction immediately filed them under established pairing/will-they-won’t-they-situation. Imagine my disbelief when my brother, who had been watching the show for a while, informed me that Penny ends up with Leonard. I’ve watched the show on and off and I’m sorry, I don’t care what Word of God says, I stick by my initial assessment.

Romance has a different meaning for everyone. We carry over our experiences, our dreams, our expectations, and we project them on the characters. In a way (if you are not scared of giving your psyche an honest look) shipping helps clearing up what we do and don’t want out of a relationship. Granted, it’s also fun to speculate, especially in much-loved shows, but when it comes down to it even the most mindless of activities can teach us something if we actually bother to think it through.

In which I contemplate literature degrees

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Sorry guys. Looks like picking up speed for my uni assignments has left my creativity rather low. So I really don’t know what to talk about today. I suppose I could speak about my “aha!” moment. What is an “aha!” moment? It’s when you find yourself in a situation that you feel is absolutely perfect. Like all the tiny little cogs of the universe are -for once- oiled and you are perfectly in sync with them. I had a moment like that during my Chaucer seminar today. We were talking about the Monk’s Tale (which is a collection of paragraph-long, super-depressing stories) and suddenly it was like somebody had flicked a switch. The conversation went from lukewarm to brilliantly blazing and were jumping from linguistics, to theory of tragedy to theology to philosophy to classics like there was not tomorrow. And in the midst of (loudly) arguing the difference between hamartia and hybris I found myself thinking: This is why I picked this course. This is what I love doing. Finding all the little nuances in a text and analysing them, trying to see behind to what the author was thinking, what his time was like, how people think. It was beautiful. I wish I had more moments like that more often, but sadly studying something is not synonymous with being passionate about something and I’ve had my fair share of awkward silences in seminar groups because most people picked the module to fulfill a credit requirement and went bumped down to their second choice or whatever. And I’m not exempt from that. There have been books I was entirely unwilling to talk about because I disliked them so much I could not be asked to even slam them (I’m looking at you, Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man). I don’t expect people to like everything. Frankly, I would not be able to take seriously a literature student that claims to have “just loved, becauseohmygoshitwassooooolush*” every reading they were given ever. Critical thinking people. It’s not just a mode of dreaded assignments. It’s also a very healthy approach to books. Use it!

So yeah, not much else to say. I’ll probably be going on a rant on the subject of literature degrees at some point in the future, but for now I’m gonna make some tea and start with my next Chaucer reading. See ya soon!

 

*honest-to-goodness reaction of a fellow student regarding compulsory reading. I made sure not to bump on them in the library. The gleam in their eyes was too scary even by my -admittedly skewed- standards.

In which I consider fanfiction

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Went to watch the Imitation Game last night with a few friends. While we were waiting for the movie to start we got talking about fanfiction and how there doesn’t seem to be a middle ground on it. You either love it or hate it. (Conversely, there is also only very good or very bad fanfiction.) I’m a fanfic writer myself, so I think it’s rather obvious with which side I’m marching but it got me thinking. Why is it that people hate fanfiction? A quick google search yielded this result.  Yes, I bookmarked it on my laptop. Yes, I will be printing it out and checking out at least some of the books mentioned if only for solidarity’s sake.

I suppose people look down at fanfiction because of its fantasy-fulfilment element. I mean, the concept at its most basic is: How do I get these characters I love and place them in a different scenario? What would happen? How would they react? Writing good fanfiction is hard. Sure you already have established characters and backstories and in-universe rules (unless you go down the AU rabbit hole). Looks like the only thing you need is an original plotline, right? WRONG! Trust me when I say there is nothing harder than twisting a pre-existing scenario to fit your own ideas. That is, assuming you have any respect for the source material. And I include AUs on this generalisation. The best AUs out there are the ones that manage to subtly reference the original. It doesn’t have to be a big, neon-bright sign. But it needs to be there.

Although it is probably incredibly narcissistic of me, I will use my own fanfic as an example. I started writing it when I was fifteen. Why? Because I had just finished watching Avatar: The Last Airbender and was raging about the end pairings. Not a noble motivation, I know. But it got me thinking. Was there a way to change that without completely disrupting the flow of the original storyline? I read a lot of fanfiction (some good, some bad, some atrocious), rewatched the episodes most of them seemed to focus on an insane amount of times and pulled the Literature card. What is the Literature card, you ask? I did what every Literature student has done at some point: took something that was not a piece of literature and analysed the living, breathing daylights out of it like it would be my main coursework assignment. you can read a revised version of the result every Monday.

I had never written anything that long before. There had been short stories and bad poetry (and a couple of attempts at novels). I didn’t know how to go about shifting character motivations without completely giving them a retcon. So I used a proxy, an OC character, someone who could interact with the canon characters from the point of view of an outsider (there’s a reason why she is older and not-mortal) but at the same time be bound by the same rules as them, thus being assimilated to the story. Did I succeed? I like to think, yes. It took a lot of work, a lot of scraped scenarios, dialog scenes, characters that might have been included but weren’t. I didn’t want a whole new Avatar story, that had nothing to do with the original. (That’s why we have this cinematic nightmare…) I just wanted a small change in the last couple of scenes. Why didn’t I write just those scenes differently? Because unless you want utter fluff or PWP (no judging, they’re good in their own right), then you need to provide backstory. Let’s be rational: the whole hero-gets-the-girl concept is not only tired, it’s also more often than not downright contrived.

Of course this doesn’t always work out quite the way you thought it would. For every good fanfic there will be three following a similar vein but being downright atrocious. And you know what? I’m okay with it. Yes, I will my eyes and skip them when I’m looking for something to read. But that’s the beauty of fanfiction: that anyone, anyone, who loves a story can make it their own, show their understanding of how that world works and what the characters motivations are. There always be flops, coughTwilightcough50ShadesofGreycough, but there will also be beautiful pieces of work like Wide Sargasso Sea, the 1995 BBC adaptation of Pride & Prejudice (yes, I went THERE), Mists of Avalon and Euripides’ Helen.

So love it or hate, write it or read it, it’s up to you. Just please, for the love of all that you believe in, stay away from the Mary-Sues.

 

P.S. And go see the Imitation Game! It was AWESOME!

Pages flying everywhere…

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Last day in London and I am tireeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeed! And if I were a more reasonable person that would have meant finding somewhere cosy and spending most of the day there. Did I do that? No! Bookshops to see, museum exhibitions to gawk at and, busted ankle or no busted ankle, the day was fine and I’d take advantage of that. Which is why this post will be fairly short. At this point I am too tired to even put some shoes on and walk to the corner takeaway from some dinner. Nope, it’ll be a bubblebath and early night for me, thank you very much!

My day was fairly uneventful at any case. I had breakfast at this fancy place downtown, called Kahve Dunyasi. As someone who takes her chocolate seriously I can give them my seal of approval and a double thumbs up. Plus they serve hot drinks with chocolate spoons. Chocolate spoons! How cool is that?

Not my best photo, I admit.

Not my best photo, I admit.

From then it was round two of my bookshop spree and I discovered this tiny, tucked away place, Cecil Court. Less than 50 metres long but every other shop sold books. Glee! Joy! Money spent! I regret nothing! Haha!

Cecil Court and its many bookshops.

Cecil Court and its many bookshops.

From there it was back to the tube and all the way to South Kensington for a coffee break before my ankle gave away from right under me and then off to explore the Victoria & Albert Museum. No photos taken there, sorry to  disappoint. I was too busy gawking at medieval and renaissance works of art. So I’m a sucker for all things past-1789. Sue me! Unfortunately the museum was too large and interesting. I skipped some of the collections and figured it was time for lunch when I realised that I had to sit down and rest every ten minutes. -sob-

Back to Piccadilly for me then and off to Fridays because it’s been a while since I had a proper burger and I was craving it. Luckily kitchen was slow so by the time I was done eating I felt secure walking as well. I had been meaning to have a quick look around Regent Street, not for shopping, heck I half expected to be asked to pay to look at some of those shops, just for the experience. Last time I was in London and in that area I headed straight for the H&M but this time I took my time. (And limited myself to buying only one bath bomb from Lush.) Made it all the way to Oxford Circus and then it was back to the hotel and a well-needed rest.

And on a side note addressed to the guy that tried to chat me up outside the Trocaddero today: Asking for my phone number and offering to give me a ride to the airport (not my fault he assumed I was flying home when I mentioned leaving tomorrow), while STILL not having given me your name is not going to win you points buddy! In fact it will firmly place you in the creepy-category and it will definitely NOT break my heart to tell you I’m busy tonight. Jeez! Why is it always the random guys on the street that do this and not a nice guy at my uni that I would actually been willing to date?

uuuuum...why? Just why?

uuuuum…why? Just why?

Oh, hello there! Isn't he cute?

Oh, hello there! Isn’t he cute?