Death of The Author (the author is Neil Gaiman)

Guess who’s got free time, a bunch of knowledge about literary theory she isn’t gonna need for a while and a lot of emotions about Good Omens.

Me. It’s me. What were you expecting?

Now before anyone thinks I am talking about the literal death of Neil Gaiman FEAR NOT I am talking about the literary concept of Death of The Author. Mr. Gaiman is perfectly fine, as far as I know. He is posting to Tumblr at least. Death of The Author is the idea that an author’s intentions should not be regarded in an analysis of their work. Only the text itself matters.

Different authors have different opinions on this. J. K. Rowling is obviously not on board with the concept, John Green is and I could talk at length about both of them but Lindsay Ellis did it better, so just check her out.

No, as I said I am having a lot of emotions about Good Omens right now. So I want to talk about Neil Gaiman.

The thing with Good Omens is that a lot of people have interpreted the relationship between the two lead characters (an angel called Aziraphale and a demon called Crowley) as romantic despite it not being explicitly stated in the text (both the book and the show). People are quite invested in the idea. “Ineffable Husbands” (great Shipname btw) is the number one trending ship on Tumblr right now. And honestly… I am people. I am invested.

Now you might be saying: “Wait Kade. This reminds me of another TV-Show, best described as bible fanfiction, where people are interpreting a romantic relationship that is not explicitly in the text and that you were really invested in it. Pray tell oh Goddess of Unhealthy Obsessions how is this not you falling for queerbaiting again?” Well dear hypothetical reader, the difference between Good Omens/Ineffable Husbands and Supernatural/Destiel is…Neil Gaiman.

The marketing team, actors and writers for Supernatural have always hinted at a romantic relationship between Dean (human/demon but only for like five episodes) and Castiel (angel) but also made it clear that there will never be on-screen confirmation. Neil Gaiman states (and I am quoting): “anything that happens on screen is canon, and anything that happens offscreen is valid headcanon”. All there is to Good Omens is the text and any interpretation of the text is valid. And quite honestly the interpretation of Good Omens as a love story is not far fetched. If you have not seen the show then go now and watch the first twenty minutes of episode three. Crowley and Aziraphale’s relationship can easily be interpreted either way and there is nothing in the text that encourages or decourages a particular reading. Now I of course love me some explicit queer representation but what Good Omens is doing right now is just as fantastic. Because straight people, cis people, homophobic people ARE INTERPRETING GOOD OMENS AS QUEER. Because the writing and queer coding is so well done that this show is being interpreted as a positive queer story by people who aren’t trained to notice the signs. And Neil Gaiman is doing his part by not discouraging anyone’s queer headcanons and instead calling them all valid which is not a thing creators usually do and which I respect him for immensely. Now he does make a clarifying statement here or there but always points back at what is in the text.

the pitsnake said gay rights

I also really love how he always reminds everyone that angels and demons don’t have ganders, because yes, thank you.

In conclusion: Neil Gaiman is using Death of The Author to allow his work to be interpreted in a very queer way and that is a very good and subtle way to help out queer representation in general.

Also David Tennant is fantastic in Good Omens and I can not believe that I have written 600 words without mentioning him once.

Kade out. Happy Pride Month everyone.

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

It has been some time since I read a book in one night. It has also been some time since I read something so uniquely beautiful.

This book is beautiful. It’s not “fantastic” or “spectacular” because those imply grand sweeps of emotion and epic battles and so forth. Ari and Dante is quiet, calm and lowkey. Beautiful.

The plot takes places from the summer of 1987 to the summer of 1988. Dante and Aristotle are both loners, both weird in their own way, who meet in 1987, become best friends and spent the rest of the year trying to discover who they are (aka. The Secrets of the Universe). And yes it’s also about them figuring out if they are gay, but at the same time it’s not. Ari is our P.O.V character and his inner monologues rather revolve around his anger issues and family drama than the tired trope of “am I gay? Am I not gay? Ahhhh internalized homophobia” (so basically fanfictions). There is a bit of pot smoking and beer drinking but no falling into a pool, emerging and cry-sobbing I’M GAAAAAAAAY (the day I stop making fun of Alex Srangelove is the day I die, or the one I turn into a nicer person).

So the first 107 pages of this book are slow. Benjamin Alire Sánez gives you time to get to know his characters and teaches you all the symbols (rain) and themes (dreams) he will use for the rest of the story. However when I say “slow” I don’t mean “boring”. I mean “I would forever read descriptions of hot summer days and people getting the flu if they were written by this guy”. And then comes the both metaphorical and literal car crash and the story seems to pick up some pace only to slow down and dive deep into Ari’s inner monologues again. Again, not “boring”, beautiful. There is no grand epic to be found here, just a small low stakes story about two boys (I’ve been watching Daredevil lately, I’m not used to low stakes anymore. I love it.)

But let me just talk about Ari for a bit. I love how I can relate to him. Note that he is a mexican-american boy in 1988 and I am a German girl in 2018. Relating to Ari went from “haha he hates himself moooooood” to “he is describing exactly how I felt at that unique point in discovering myself, he is putting words to things I couldn’t (and wouldn’t)”. I love Ari and I hope everyone who is (or was) Ari finds their Dante. Also I am adding Dante to the long list of characters I want to protect from the world. Sánez writes amazing characters, that feel incredibly real. Not just Ari and Dante, everyone.

So what’s next….ah spoilers. If you want to read this book and haven’t yet, skip this paragraph. I am not gonna go that deep, I’m just gonna pick apart one line from the first half. “I love swimming…and you”. Dante’s childish declaration of love comes quick and out of nowhere and is not only perfectly in line with his character but also wonderful. I put it up there with “Won’t you share this story with me” and Katniss’ monologue on Peeta and flowers. It seems so funny out of context, but believe me, it works so well.

Also realistic dreams. No long narratives or copious amounts of forshadowing. Ari’s dreams are short, confusing and simply underscore the internal debates he is already (beautifully) having.

And finally, this book ends perfectly. There is no “20 years later” epilogue and no will-they-wont-they cliffhanger. The novel ends carrying the exact emotional note it has from the beginning.

He whispered, “Someday, I’m going to discover all the secrets of the universe.” That made me smile. “What are you going to do with all those secrets, Dante?”

Representation

One of the bigger regrets of my life is that I didn’t get into Doctor Who as early as I could have.

I started watching the first season at age eleven but stopped after a few episodes because I was traumatized by “the Empty Child” and I didn’t touch the show again until I was fifteen. And even then I skipped the first season. So you see, I still saw Doctor Who and I absolutely love that show but I missed something.

Eleven year old me thought she was straight. Fifteen year old me knew she was queer. Season one has a lot of Jack Harkness episodes.

I did not see any queer representation in child or youth media until I was about thirteen and read the Mortal Instruments. And while I love Magnus and Alec with all my heart and they will always be my first gay characters and my first ship, they were gay men (I know Magnus is pan, but take a wild guess what they could out of the audibook version of “Bones”, if you guessed their whole relatonship, you’re right). I can’t tell you for the life of me who my first bi/pan character was.  I had to label myself without having a point of reference. It took me until this year to find Viktor from “The Antagonists”, the first and only character I ever found to label himself as pan.

So I dove into Torchwood. I binge read the Antagonists. I cried out of sheer happiness when Brendon Urie came out and I realized that we are being heard, that the term “Pansexual” is spreading.

Just imagine all the confusion and pain (not knowing who you are sucks) I could have saved myself if I had only seen something that represented me earlier. There was no queer representation in the media of my childhood (don’t come at me with Sesame Street or Harry Potter).

Shows like the first season of Doctor Who are important.

Kids need to see themselves. Give me gay and bi and pan TV kids show characters. Genderqueer characters. If kids are supposed to learn about the world through those shows, that includes learning who THEY are.

I crave the day where I can see this and it doesn’t make me cry, because it’s normal.Where this isn’t big news. Where I don’t have to search for my representation anymore.

Derek Landy has my undying respect for realizing that there was no queer representation in the first nine Skulduggery books and then making Demon Road, Ressurection and Midnight really queer. The thought that there will be kids reading these books and loving them as much as I did AND getting their representation astounds me.

Retroactively saying “ahh yes but you see character x was gay all this time” or “well i tought of them as a gay couple” isn’t representation. Representation is writing queer characters and acknowledging they are gay within the medium.

I was lucky to grow up on some great children and young adult media. I had Kim Possible, Phineas and Ferb, Avatar (three cheers for Toph!) and Harry Potter and I love all of those. I just wouldn’t have hurt (and made my later life a lot easier) if I had seen people like me.

LET ME TELL Y’ALL ABOUT THIS BOOK SERIES

I was gonna go on an analytical rant on how some Shows I love because i admire the craft and some Shows I love because I am emotionally attached to them but NO NO NOPE THERE HAS BEEN SOMETHING I HAVE BEEN NEGLECTING TO TALK ABOUT SO LET ME TELL YOU ABOUT THE ANATAGONISTS BY BURGANDI RAKOSKA.

This book series is giving me life Right now, let me abandon my forced eloquent language  cause DAMMIT I AM IN LOVE.

It starts as a superhero Story told from the villains (Minnie and Victor) perspective and develops really interestingly from there, with a lot of great backtory and lore.

These books are designed to be inclusive and that is a Thing to love in itself. Victor is the first character I have ever seen/read that labels himself as pansexual. Minnie is the first Protagonist in a wheelchair that I have ever experienced. Felix has an incredibly meaningful character arc. Then all the characters are also 100% flawed yet still lovable. Victor is my fave here but daaaamn Nicolas is the ultimate example of a character just being everyones Dad and It’s adorable. Also Perry is a Darling and deserves the world. Then there is the ships, which actually happen. Decent development, no Long drawing out, no queerbaiting. Nicolas and Perry are an amazing example for an established relationship, Minnie and Victor develop beautifully and Rachel and Morgan are some great Background lesbians. And oh my god my dudes the Humor. I will not type out the 2 straight pages of puns on the word “head” (although they are Incredible) but just have this Scene:

Nicolas gave his wife a peck on the cheek. “Sweetheart, can you grab me a pan?”, Perry asked. He walked over to Victor and picked him right up out of the Chair. Victor retained his crossed arms and frown. Nicolas didn’t even struggle as he carried his brother across the kitchen and placed him on the stovetop.

It proceeds with Perry proclaiming that Victor is “too salty” and then it gets a callback TWO BOOKS LATER. In fact I could pick up any book in the series, open it on a random page and find a great line. In fact i will do that now.

Book One:

She passed the familiar faces of nurses and doctors who cheerfully waved and declared that it was good to see her. Minnie thought that it was a rather Twisted thing to say in a Hospital.

Book Two:

“Good morrow”, Victor eloquently said “Your most Beautiful and Generous Majesty Queen Gwenevere. Tell me, how goeth Sir Lancelot?”

Yes he is Talking to the actual Gwenevere, this series is also completetly crazy. Book Three:

Minnie apologized for apologizing.

Book Four:

He handed her the bottle and said: “Keep it. You and Victor can enjoy. Or you can Smash it on top of his head when he’s annoying you.”

Book Five:

Minnie also noticed that Alexo was there; she cared About him so Little that his mere existence often took her by surprise.

Book Six (my favourite this far):

“I’ll be a fantastic retail worker. I’ll go there right now and I’ll come home with a smile on my face and an Apron on my Beautifully sculpted Body. You’ll see. I’ll be the best retail worker in the history of capitalism.” 

The writing still may not be your Cup of tea (that’s a refernce) and the pacing goes REALLY fast. But at least check them out if only to support an Independent author.

This has been me yelling About the Antagonists. It was a lot less actual yelling then I thougt so…

I FUCKING LOVES THESE BOOKS. VICTOR IS MY DARLING. NICOLAS IS AMAZING. PERRY DESERVES THE WORLD. I SHIP FELIX WITH FREDDY MERCURY. MINNIE IS AN AMAZING PROTAGONIST AND ANTAGONIST. I AM DOWN FOR PAN PUNS AND HEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS GO AND READ THESE BOOKS.

 

 

The Rains of Castamere

SPOILERS!! SO MANY SPOILERS FOR SEASONS FOUR TO SIX!!

So I have been doing some catching up on Game of Thrones lately, which is a nice way to say that I sat in my room, wrapped in a thousand blankets and at the same time playing Minecraft for hours. However I am halfway through Season 6 now and I noticed a thing.

We all remember “The Rains of Castamere”. You know that song that was everywhere Tywin Lannister went in Seasons Two, Three and Four? It is an original song from the books, that also appears in the Show and since it was composed in his honour pretty much Tywin’s theme song. So from the Moment it was introduced it played whenever Tywin did something significant, which was all the time. However it also appeared when his children Jamie, Cersei and Tyrion did something significant in the Lannister Name and also at Events where None of them where present such as the Red Wedding. How can one ever Forget the Moment when it starts playing there and I distinctly remember how it continued playing into the credits.

So by the end of Season Four we got the Rains as a well established sign of the Lannister power but at the end of Season Four something else happens too. Tyrion shoots Tywin. The Season Ends and Season Five starts at Tywins Funeral and as we see his Body we can faintly hear the song in the Background. And then it disappears. For the whole Season it never Plays whatever Cersei, Jamie and Tyrion do. And now in looking back I realize that Season Five was not a great one for the Lannister Family. Cersei lost her grip on the Iron Throne, Jamie had to watch his daughter die and Tyrion was pretty much not a member of the Family anymore.

So I was thinking that the song had died with Tywin but then it came back. In the begining of Season Six Jamie gives a speech that I loved since I first saw it in a Trailer. He tells Cersei “All they have taken from us we will take back and more” and as he says it in the Background the  Rains Of Castamere Play. It’s the Shows way of saying GUESS WHO’S BACK,  BACK AGAIN and it goes back to appearing when a Lannister does something inpressive.

So in conclusion… this Show has some brilliant Music choices, is a great Show and I am Lannister Fangirl.

Kate on the Hunger Games: Team Peeta

Recently I got to rewatch the movie adaptions of my all time favourite book series, Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games novels. This and binge watchig of some fitting YouTube content created the urge to blog about it, a lot. But there are so many themes that I am gonna divide my ideas into a series of Blog Posts entitled “Kate on the Hunger Games”. I am gonna assume you have read the books or seen the movies in the way I write these Posts, so SPOILER ALERT!

I have decided to start with the one that everyone alway complains about having become a central theme in the movies media reception. I am talking of course about the Katniss-Peeta-Gale Love triangle.

I totally get that the love triangle isn’t what is memorable about the Hunger Games stories but godammit I was twelve when I first read the books. I still assumed that every good book had to have a love story (apologizing to the Aromantic community at this point) and didn’t get that standing up for shit and making your life not-suck may be more important. So my friend who was “Team Gale” and I who was “Team Peeta” started debating them all the time. My friends arguments were that Gale was much cooler and mine were that Peeta was much cuter. We were good at arguments as you can tell.

In the following years along with my feminism and my gay grew my ability to underline my standpoint with fitting arguments. So now I’m gonna use that to go all “Team Peeta” on you.

Number One: Gale is a fucking jerk

While a case can be made that Katniss failed to pick up on Gale’s fairly obvious feelings for her before he just attack kissed her at the start of Catching Fire, she had much more important shit on her mind. Like surviving for example. She didn‘t believe Peeta either until he told her to her face. So Gaaaale… just kissing the girl you like so you to have done it “at least one time“ is a dick move. Appart from the borderline sexual harasment it‘s also a nice way to screw up the girl suffering from some heavy PTSD who is gonna have to believably pretend she loves another guy for like EVER and make her feel guilty about things she has no fucking influence on. That kiss helps Snow imensly in pressuring Katniss to keep up her and Peeta’s love story.

Gale just doesn‘t stop whinig about Katniss having faked a romance with Peeta on national television, except her making very clear to him REPEDEATLY that she did it to survive. Exspecially considering in how much of a means getting justified by a cause mindset he falls during Mockingjay, he should stop bothering her about it. Leave the poor woman some space!

It is of course really not fair on him but it is on none of them and all Katniss ever does is trying to protect everyones lifes so Gale‘s feelings getting hurt in the process is a bad but unavoidable side effect. It‘s not like Peeta gets spared either, he just never complains about Gale the way Gale does over him. And to be fair Gale actually does complain more in the movies then he does in the books.

Number Two: She never wanted to be with Gale anyway

Katniss mentions again and again that her feelings for Gale are platonic and that she sees him as more of a brother. While she at first doesn‘t have feelings for Peeta either, she starts developing them over the course of Catching Fire.

While at the beginning of Catching Fire no one, including Katniss herself, beliefs the love story from the first book, by the beginning of Mockingjay most people do. Snow himself decides to torture and hijack Peeta while it would have been much easier for him to kidnap and torture Gale who was in District Twelve at the time of the games and not nearly as much in the public eye. Finnik later pinpoints the moment he and probably Snow too started believing that Katniss really loves Peeta, when he recounts her reaction on him nearly dying in the arena.

Number Three: Peeta is the one she can‘t survive without the most

In Mockingjay Katniss overhears a conversation between Gale and Peeta, where Gale first whines that she never kissed him like she kissed Peeta THAT ONE TIME and then both of them agree that she is gonna choose the one she can‘t survive without the most.

Katniss, at least in the book, gets offended by that statement but it holds some truth. Up until the death of Prim Katniss‘ every descision is either determinded by ensuring the survival of herself and those she loves („those she loves“ being mostly Gale, Prim, her mother and Peeta) or revenge on Snow for the things he has done to her and this very same group of persons.

The plot shows that Katniss does not need either of them to survive but that Peeta is the one that can help her heal. She manages to get out of her depression after Prims death purely by herself and her hate for first Snow and then Coin. After she kills Coin she attempts suicide, which Peeta manages to stop and then tries to slowly kill herself trough Morphine but finds hope again in music, a reorcurring theme in the books, and comes back into life on her own AGAIN. Afterwards it is Peeta not Gale that goes back to District twelve and they both help each in other recovering from their traume, just like they comforted each other during the Tour of the Victors in Catching Fire.

Gale‘s personality, beliefs and company can never help Katniss as much as Peeta‘s which leads me to…

Number Four: Symbolism

Gale and Peeta are set appart in their aesthetic, personality and philosophy.

Gale is descrbibed in the book as looking very similiar to Katniss, so much so they can pass as cousins. He also resembles her in many other ways having lost his father in a mining acccident like she did and sharing many of her beliefs and feelings. Much like Katniss Gale is also a skilled archer, though not as much as she is. They both despise the capitol and want to protect their familys. In book one Gale proposes to flee trough the woods and Katniss turns him down because she thinks their families wont make it. In book two the roles are reversed and Gale insists on staying to protect the district. Katniss sees Gale as someone who like her, is on fire. Over the course of the story he develops an “ends justify the means“ mentality and a deep hate for the capitol. He is not afraid to use violence even from the start when he tells Katniss that there wont be a diffrence between shooting people and shooting animals.

Peeta is described as looking more similar to Prim and Katniss’ mother, with blue eyes and blonde hair. He grew up welthier than Katniss, but with an abusive mother. He is much calmer than her and not as much of a fighter. While he is exceptionally strong, what helpes him survive in the games are his charisma and painting skills. He isn’t a fan of the capitol either, but doesn’t have as strong a bond to his family as Katniss and Gale do to theirs. Peeta tells Katniss that he doesn’t want the games to change him as a person and they don’t. It takes torture and science to make him cruel and even then he comes back to his more gentle personality. Katniss conects him to hope and dandelions.

At the end of Mockinjay Kantiss says (sorry if this quote is not accurate I am translating from my german copy):

“That I don‘t need Gale‘s fire, which is fed by rage and hate, to survie. I have enough fire of my own. What I need is the dandelion in the spring. The bright yellow that symbolises rebirth and not destruction. A promise that life goes on, regardless of our losses. That it can be good again. And only Peeta can give that to me.“

She sees in the end that while fire is what helped her trough the games and the war it isn‘t what she needs to heal. She needs to hope that Peeta stands for.

 

If you disagree with me feel free to leave a comment. I love a good discussion as long as anyone stays respectfull.