Readers’ Advisory: The Ghosts of Christmas Past. Madelynne Ellis

*Parts of this RA post first appeared on my Goodreads page.*
I was pleasantly surprised to find this installment in the series. A Gentleman’s Wager was my first foray into stories about polyamory, and I’ve since been fascinated with well-written, nuanced stories of poly relationships. Phantasmagoria is still one of my favorite books of all time, because it really allowed me a space to be incredibly turned on and incredibly invested in these characters relationship, a style of relationship that I had never encountered before. In fact, I love the entire series. So much so, that I have them both in print and e-book. This story is more of a character study of Vaughan and Lucerne. Of course, Bella features. This story, much like life, wouldn’t be the same without her, which is something both Vaughan and Lucerne come to terms with in this entry.
Bella, Vaughan, and Lucerne still have a lot of growing to do, but I was heartened to see  Vaughan finally admit, out loud, that he loves Bella.  Vaughan has been my favorite character. I’ve been moved by his struggle to express his love for Lucerne, tolerate his and Lucerne’s need for Bella, and walk the ridiculously thin line between being a notorious rakehell but alive and hanging from the gallows for being gay. Since Phantasmagoria, it seems that he’s allowed himself to be softer, recognized those parts of him that were cruel in response to society and not necessarily inherent character traits. He’s insecure and jealous and lashes out because of it, a fact which is very clear in this story.
He loves Lucerne, deeply and desperately so. But it’s only these last two months without him, I think, that have allowed him to see clearly. He was blinded by his obsession with Lucerne, so consumed with pursuing him for eight years, that when he finally got a chance at a relationship with him, he spent the time afraid of losing him. Then, confronted with Bella, and Lucerne’s affection for her, he struggled. He saw her as an obstruction, at first, then as a necessary means to an end. He tolerates her, though enjoys her passion and lust, only because being with Lucerne necessitates being with her. After two years, though, he was not ready to admit that he was falling for Bella, causing all sorts of strife within the relationship, especially after 1789 Christmas, in this story where he admits that he’s afraid (he doesn’t use that word) that Bella is only tolerating his presence and relationship with Lucerne, and if Lucerne marries her, Bella will oust him, at worst, and, at best, only allow ‘supervised’ play time between them. Something that is just not true.
I am more than a little annoyed at Lucerne, but I see where the time away from Bella and Vaughan, especially, has allowed him space to breathe and come to terms with, not only his love for Bella, but his love for Vaughan as well, and how intimately intertwined his feelings for them are. He’s beginning to be more honest with himself. He’s definitely the more bisexual of the two gentlemen, but his clinging to Bella was more a response to society and what he should do as a gentlemen who has ruined the reputation of a lady of good standing than a rejection of everything good he could have with Vaughan, though there is some of that as well. In this story, we learn more of the first incident that led to the action of Phantasmagoria. I feel for Lucerne, truly, but I really need him to step up. I need him, in the last novel, to really commit to advocating for himself. He doesn’t lack confidence in any area but in his dealings with Bella and Vaughan. We see him, in this story, trying to get some of his own back and, ultimately failing because he is still wrestling with the social mores that tell him being gay is unconscionable and marriage is necessary.
There’s some internalized homophobia there as well. It has been clear throughout Lucerne’s development. Lucerne is never quite all in with Vaughan and Bella. Maybe its the fear of death? There’s a moment Vaughan alludes to in this story of the day Lucerne admitted, without faltering, that he had feelings for Vaughan. A fleeting moment, where Lucerne felt brave enough to say it aloud. It’s something he shies away from. You see it all throughout AGW and this story. He loves Vaughan. He wants Vaughan. He fears Vaughan and everything that love and desire entail. The fear, though well founded, has to be overcome. Not to say that he should declare it from Buckingham Palace. I don’t want him dead. But, and this story takes some steps towards this, he shouldn’t be ashamed of loving a man nor afraid to admit it to his partners.
Bella, to her credit, has always been the most honest and communicative of  the three. She has never shied away from what she wants, in the bedroom and in her relationship with the boys. She is brutally honest with herself, recognizing that Vaughan will never love her the way she loves him, the way he loves Lucerne. She is committed to Vaughan, though. She’s all in, unless and until he decides he doesn’t want her. There’s some annoyance with her too. It comes across most especially here. During a scene with Vaughan, and involving a glass dildo, she’s goes on a rant about how he never takes her “as nature intended”, meaning PIV intercourse. She complains that since they are estranged from Lucerne, there is no reason that Vaughan should avoid it. In Phantasmagoria, it is established that that particular brand of sex is Lucerne’s responsibility. Vaughan, though, doesn’t enjoy PIV intercourse nearly as much as anal, so he doesn’t do it. What annoys me, though, is Bella’s use of the phrase “as nature intended.” She has a whole paragraph of internal thought about missing it, despite Vaughan keeping her well satisfied otherwise. WTF, Bella?!
There is hope, though. Lucerne misses them terribly. He dreams of them; cannot truly imagine a fulfilling life without them. Vaughan is, slowly, coming to terms with his feelings for Bella and, vaguely, recognizes the negative effects of his single-minded pursuit of Lucerne. Bella hasn’t really dealt with what it meant to her that Lucerne left them. In fact, she does a fairly good job of not talking or thinking about him, which I hope will become a major part of The Serpent’s Kiss. The three of them really need to talk, not just fall into bed (or the rug or the great hall table or the breakfast room sideboard or the sitting room settee). Lucerne needs to set boundaries, Vaughan needs to be honest about his feelings, and Bella needs to admit that Lucerne walking out on them hurt her.

 

This felt like an interlude, important to character development, but not the main story, much like Indiscretions. Oh, and it was too short. I would happily read many more stories about these three and their friends, who I’m hoping make a return. It would be really interesting to see Emma, Lyle, and Darleston (of Her Husband’s Lover) interact with Bella, Vaughan, and Lucerne. What would that look like, these six people navigating a society that says their love is unnatural and punishable by death, literally? Would they figure out the dynamics of the other?
I’m still invested in these characters, love Madelynne Ellis to pieces, and I eagerly await The Serpent’s Kiss. 
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What does it mean to grow up?

post finals deschanel

I’ve been feeling reflective lately. It’s probably a product of my being almost finished with grad school and getting ready to embark on the main course of my life. But I’ve been thinking about life, about relationships, about what it means to grow up, about what it means to make it. Is there a point in life where you think, “Yes. This is it. This is what I’ve been waiting for. This feeling. This moment”? For some people, I think this is a very tangible thing. I think they can look back at their life and pinpoint that exact moment where this thought, or a version of it, resided in their mind. I haven’t reached that point, but I imagine, I hope, that one day I will get to experience this. Until then, I sit and wonder. What does it mean to grow up? And, how do you know when it’s happened?

I can’t remember where I heard or saw the quote “Be gentle with your friends.” It’s probably something I made up or adapted from quote about being gentle with one’s parents, but still. It’s been on my mind. The other day, I’d intended to talk to my best friend about something important that happened to me. She was busy, as happens, so I told her we could talk later. Perfectly reasonable, right? Two days later, she asks if I still want to talk or if everything was ok. I told her, sure everything was fine. We’ve been friends for almost ten years, she knows when I’m lying. She asked if I was sure, and I said yes in that text tone that means drop it or this will end badly. Because by then, I didn’t want to talk about the thing anymore. It had made me mad, and I was not in the mood to retell the story again. I was still mad about it, but I was done talking about it. She made one more attempt to get me to talk, and I had to physically walk away from my phone for a while before I could answer. I dislike it when she continues after I’ve made it clear that we’re not discussing whatever it is.

In my time away from the phone, though, I started to think. I’m annoyed. Why? Because I wanted to talk to her and she was busy? That happens. That’s life. Deal. I’m annoyed. Why? Because I’m still pissed about the thing that happened? There’s nothing I can do about it now, and talking about it just pisses me off more. I’m annoyed. Why? Because I’ve had no interaction with a human who wasn’t a virtual stranger in over a week? Living alone, even temporarily sucks. I need meaningful interactions with people I care about and who care about me. I realize this, and not having this makes me cranky. It’s not her fault I’ve been alone for almost ten days. There was literally no reason to be so pissed at her.

Eventually, I calmed down enough to express myself in a way that wouldn’t punish her for trying to be a good friend, that wouldn’t push us into a fight, but that did make clear that I would not be discussing the thing at all and that I would get over it or not eventually. Is that growth? Is that a marker of being an adult, knowing when to engage? Knowing when you’re experiencing heightened emotions that may or may not have anything to do with the current situation and acting according to the situation rather than the emotion? Recognizing that ignoring the problem does not make it go away. I was tempted, seriously, to ignore her and not talk to her until the next time I had something to say/share/ask or she texted me for whatever reason. But that’s petty, and I knew I couldn’t do that to her. I kept thinking about the phrase “Be gentle with your friends.”

Someone once said that I am incapable of self-reflection. I beg to differ. Just having this blog is an exercise in self-reflection. That moment, though, when I stepped away from the phone and chose not to engage was also an exercise in self-reflection. I knew I wasn’t actually mad at her, because there was no reason to be mad at her. She hadn’t done a thing to me. I was experiencing my own problems, and she just happened to be there. A few days later, I got caught off guard by Mother Nature, and recognized why I’d been more peeved that usual.

However, that brings me back to my original question, “What does it mean to grow up and how do you know when it’s happened?” I recognized in that moment that I’d done something very adult. I was frustrated. I took a step back. I reflected. I responded. How often do we actually do this and recognize that it has happened? In that moment, I realized that I had become an adult. More than turning 18, more than turning 21, more than being able to vote, drive a car, get an apartment, plan a wedding, interact with disgruntled patrons. More than anything, I recognized in that moment that I could be, that I was an adult. I’ve had other moments that have made me question, realize, and come to terms with my adulthood, and I may talk about them, but this moment was profound.newgirl adult

What was the moment you realized you were an adult?

Ai Medo Blid Au

Ok. I’m in mourning. I am mourning fictional characters for the hundredth millionth time in my life. When Opie died on Sons of Anarchy, I couldn’t even get through the next episode. That happens in Season 4. I haven’t watched a full episode of SOA since. I did catch the last ten minutes of the series finale, though.

Now, though, I’m mourning my favorite minor character, Zoe Monroe, and my favorite recurring major character, Lexa kom Triku, Heda of the 13 clans.

I totally understand why Lexa died, even the way it happened. Why? Because we saw her fight. She’ll fight dirty if she has to, because as unafraid of death as she was, she was not about to welcome it without a fight if she had anything to do with it. An accidental bullet wound to the gut, though, is something she couldn’t predict, couldn’t guard against, couldn’t fight. I’m heartbroken by the death of this character, but I’m willing to see where the story goes because of it. There was a reason the writers agreed to let the character die. I’m sure we all can guess what it is, but I’ve been seeing a lot of hate from the Clexakru. I know we’re in mourning, but this wasn’t a case of the actor wanted out, so death was only option. (See McDreamy. I’m still mad, Shonda! I’m still mad about Lexi and Mark and Calzona, but that’s not what we’re here to talk about.) This was a case of plot and character development. Several characters are about to be devastated, and have to find a way to move past Lexa’s death and the consequences. Clarke already is. Octavia’s trust in Clarke is hanging on a very thin thread, and I would love to see the conversation or understanding that occurs when Clarke announces the death of Lexa as the reason she wasn’t where she’d planned to be. Indra was already feeling sorry for herself, feeling as though she’d put her trust in the wrong sky person, again. Lexa was of her clan. How long have they, Lexa and Indra, been together? How much do you want to bet that Indra trained Anya, who trained Lexa? Now, they’re both dead. What must that feel like? Kane and Abby, how will they react when they find out? Pike? I don’t give two shits about Pike, but he is currently still the Chancellor. Will he whoop with joy and use it as further fuel for his hatred? Lexa herself. We know where she is, even as her physical body is dead. ALIE 2 is the source of their “death is not the end” rhetoric, so she’s most likely in the City of Light. (Pause. Seriously?! Virtual fucking reality? I’m actually very interested to see how this plays out. Are the place ALIE calls the City of Light and the place Lexa is the same place? Does ALIE2 have a different version of the City of Light since that code is the upgrade/better version of ALIE for which ALIE searches?) But I digress. How will she feel, wherever she is? (That’s an existential question if ever there was one about life after death) I wonder if we’ll get to see Lexa wherever she is. I’ve seen spoiler photos on tumblr, so it will happen, but still. Will it be only in that episode or will she pop up again at some point before that? Even better question: How the eff does Clarke get there?!

If you can’t already tell, I have a lot of feelings about Lexa, in particular, and the Ladies of The 100, in general. There is so much there, all the actors are amazing at conveying so much in so little screen time. Which leads me to Monroe. Oh, Monroe. From my first time seeing her French braid to the look of pure pain on her face as she died, I have wanted to know more about Zoe Monroe. How did she get into the Sky Box? Why was she so comfortable with a gun? I think the grand total of her screen time can’t be more than an hour. Katie Stuart must have put so much thought into who Monroe was and what made her tick, that she had a huge impact on the show and the fandom. I am pissed at Bellamy, for many reasons, but mainly for being the reason Monroe is dead. Yes, Monroe is grown and made her own choices, but think about it. Monroe would do anything for the remaining hundred. These are people she lived with and fought beside for longer than we know. They were her family. She willingly stood against Bellamy at first. She knew it was wrong to slaughter innocent people, but he convinced her somehow that it was for their own good. He was her general, and she couldn’t stand against him…or his warped logic. (Seriously, WHAT THE FUCK, BELLAMY?! Ugh, I have so many thoughts about him, even as I know that talk he had with Clarke had to happen the way it did, I am angry that he allowed Pike to prey on his insecurities and untreated trauma. He’s not back to “Whatever the hell we want”…he’s worse. But this is not about Bellamy. I’ll get to him whenever Octavia beats the shit out of him.)

I think I’m done…for now. I just really needed to get that out.

In peace may you leave this shore.

In love may you find the next.

Safe passage on your travels, until our final journey on the ground.

May we meet again, Monroe.

Yu gonplei ste odon, Lexa kom Trikru. Reshwe.

Photos from The 100 wiki.

The Struggle is REAL

Six years ago, I would not have been able to write this in public. I live with, fight with, argue with, suffer from depression, and sometimes a bit of anxiety.

Hi.

I haven’t been able to write, really write, in three weeks. I haven’t really been able to do much of anything, homework included, for a month. The day I wrote the Mouthful of Forevers review was the day I got some really not great news. It hit me in the chest, put me on the ground, and I’ve been struggling to get back up again ever since. I live with, fight with, argue with, suffer from depression, and sometimes a bit of anxiety. In 2009, I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, complicated by a bit of PTSD. Six years later, I’ve been downgraded from BPD to Unspecified Depressive Disorder. I’m depressed a lot. It doesn’t take much. Procrastinating, being overwhelmed and wanting the world to slow down so that I can catch up. Getting really bad news. Having to attend a surprise funeral. All of these things have happened in the past year, and when I think I’m over them or recovering from them, something else happens.

On that day in late August, I was called self-centered. I was called manipulative. I was called infantile. I was told that I have no coping mechanisms, that things that would normally not affect a mentally healthy/stable human would send me on a spiral into depression and suicidal ideation. I was called a lot of things, none of them positive.On top of that, I was said to be incapable of introspection and self-examination. Even worse, it was said that my choice of career, librarian, was a manifestation of my pathological need to be isolated, yet accepted. [Someone doesn’t know a thing about 21st century libraries.]

Already, I’d recognized that I was beginning to feel lower than normal, that I was becoming overwhelmed with my responsibilities, that I needed and was ready to go back to therapy and get my life in order again. I was setting plans in motion. Then this happened.

Six fucking years of work almost destroyed. Six years of getting up everyday, going to work everyday, going to school every day. Six years, off and on, of journaling when I felt extremely low. Six years of talking myself out of depression. Six years of self-realization, self-actualization. Six years of making attempts to talk to strangers in the hopes of making new friends, which I hate doing. Six years of going after things that terrify me, like grad school and a library job and a promotion. Six fucking years of trying to better than I was at 18 years old. I was shaking. I was angry. I was near tears. I wanted to lay down and not get up again. I wanted to crawl into a whole and never come out. I wanted to drink every bottle of wine in my house, and I have a lot of it.

Instead, I told my mom. Instead, I grabbed three bottles of water and drained the first one in ~45 seconds. Instead, I texted my best friends, one who knew me before, one who knew me after, and two I see on a regular basis. I read off all the traits, and asked them. Because I don’t think that I am any of those things above. I recognize that I have the capacity to be. I’m human, dammit. But I work, actively, at not being those things. I work at being an adult every fucking day. Then again, I am incapable of self-examination, so they said.

Every answer came back, “Uhm…no. Where is this coming from? Are you ok?” In that moment, I wasn’t. I was not ok. I was barely safe. I was hanging on by strength of will alone. It was a long night and even longer day after, because I went to work. My entire world had been rocked, but I went to work the next day. I have been going to work every day.

I am actually really proud of myself, because six years ago, I would not have been able to write this in public. I would not have recognized that I was on a downswing. I would not have reached out for help. I would not have had emergency triage with four friends on three different sets of text messages simultaneously. I would not have recognized so soon that I was letting these words rule my life and ruin my self-perception.

Even now, I’m struggling. My participation in class is slipping. My dedication to my job is fading. But I will not be that girl anymore. I have wallowed in this trench of self-loathing for a month. I have given this process, this person, entirely too much power over my life. I have had enough. I love being a librarian. I love learning and I love the 3.9 GPA that comes with it. I have coping mechanisms, including coloring, going to the gym, reading, journaling, and web-surfing. I recognize that I have the capacity for a whole host of negative emotions and traits, yet I work at not giving in to them. It’s not easy. I lean, heavily at times, on outside support. But I am determined to be better, always and in all ways, than I was at 18 years old.

Thanks for listening. Until next time

Dalai Lama’s Instructions for Life 4

Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck.

Instruction four from the Dalai Lama is about appreciating the L. We would all rather have a win in everything that we do in life, but that’s not possible. I could say that life’s not fair, deal with it. But we know that. We know that bad things can happen to good people, good things can happen to bad people, and that even if -insert ultimate being here- has master plan, we can never understand it. What we don’t often focus on is all the good things that can come from a missed or lost opportunity. The most obvious is the lesson. What have you learned about yourself from not getting that thing you wanted? Often when I wouldn’t get chosen for a position after a job interview, I would wonder what I did wrong. Sometimes it was my outfit. I hate suits, like with the fire of a thousand suns. I can’t pull them off. So I would wear outfits that were separates. It took forever for me to find a black dress that looked good on me. It had the benefits of only being one piece, and all I would need were tights and shoes. Perfect. I wore it to the interview that got me my promotion. 🙂

Another good thing that can come from not getting what you want is the opportunity to do other things. I’ve told you about my YA class and that my absolute disgust for my professor lead me to pass on applying for a position in the YA department at my job. Sure, I would have gotten to do a lot of cool things as a YA associate. I would have been able to design programs that reached out to the troublemakers in our library. I would have been able to do displays in the YA section. I would have been able to try new  things and expand my skills. I can do a lot of that now, but not to the same degree as I would have been able to as a YA associate. Not going for that job has given me rest. In the summer, librarians are running around like chickens with their heads cut off. We try not to show it, but summer reading, summer programs, and general summer bodies in the library take a lot out of us. After my one summer program, I have been privileged to just help or observe on the sidelines. I’ve gotten to participate in the craziness that summer brings to library, but also be a bit removed. There are also parts of my job that I love and would hate to give up. I’m on the collection development team. I get to select the books that come into the library. I wouldn’t be able to do that in YA. I oversee the Twitter platform team of our social media committee. I would only be able to half the stuff I do now. I help out with meeting rooms, making sure people are adhering to our regulations. I wouldn’t be able to do that either. I love my job. I love the people I work with. Even though I’m adult services, I help out with YA things whenever I can. I’m going to be taking on new responsibilities soon, as well. I applied for the ALA Emerging Leaders program. I would not be able to do any of that if I didn’t have my current job.

These are only examples of recent times when I didn’t get what I want. But I want to show you that not getting what you want can lead to wonderful things. What are some times that you didn’t get what you wanted, but great things or new doors opened for you as a result?

Dalai Lama’s Instructions for Life 3

In the Dalai Lama’s Instructions for Life, Rule 3 is as follows:

Follow the three R’s:

Respect for self

Respect for others and

Responsibility for all your actions

 I have struggled with this entry, hence the long stretch in the series. On the one hand, it is monumentally simple and self-explanatory. Even non-religious people should be able to see the benefits of making this rule a part of their lives. On the other hand, it feels too simple. I feel as though I should much more to say about this. His Holiness is not saying you have agree with everything everyone says or does. He’s not saying you have to love your neighbor. –I could get into all the different definitions of love, and even pinpoint for you the exact type of love to which I think Jesus is referring, but that’s for another post.– He is simply saying to respect the people around you. Respect that their outlook on life is different, or similar, to yours. Respect that they know what is right for them in that moment. Respect that they are autonomous human beings. It’s not hard.

The hard part comes in taking responsibility. It’s scary being an autonomous human being. It’s scary being an adult. But own up to your mistakes. Own up to your triumphs. Take care of yourself and your bills and your pets and your space. Understand that your actions may be hurtful to others. That is inevitable. Be sincere in your explanations and apologies. Move on when necessary.

Thoughts &Musings: Friendship

Originally, I thought this would be a one-off post about random thoughts on friendship. Then, I remembered a few things. 1) I have BA in Philosophy. Thinking deep thoughts is kinda my thing. 2) I have many thoughts and can really wax on, wax off about friendship and relationships. Mr. Miyagi would be proud. 3) Why not write these constantly circling thoughts down where someone else can read it and get comepletely and utterly confused maybe gain some insight?

So, what’s on my mind today? A few things actually, but mainly, friendships on hiatus and what makes people decide to go on hiatus and return from hiatus. It all started during a conversation with someone who has seen me at my lowest point. Several times actually. And I’ve seen the same of her.  Anyway, we were talking about an upcoming event, texting, and in comes this aside. She tells me that she’s really glad that we’re friends again, and she missed us. So, I replied back with “Yeah, this is nice.” There’s a very long story here, like two years worth of instability, upheaval, and emotions, but that’s not the point. The questions that this friendship has raised for me have been nothing short of life-altering. And the slow crawl back to each other, relearning things we’d forgotten, learning new things, has added even more.

What makes a relationship worth saving? What makes it worth keeping? How does a friendship survive emotional upheaval, accusations, physical and emotional distance, and all sorts of other destructive behavior? How is it that someone I gathered really close then shoved away, someone whom I worked so hard to stay away from for my own sanity, someone who refused to leave me but couldn’t stay, is still here nearly four years later? Do we test our friends? Try to see how far you can push them without actually pushing them away? I did all of that. Why?

I have tried to write this post so many times, and everything comes out wrong. Every time, I think about friendship in relation to this person, things get heavy and muddled. I don’t really know why I did what I did. I don’t have a reason for it, other than to say that back then, I was afraid. I was afraid of everything. I was afraid of feeling too much. I was afraid of not feeling enough. I was afraid of relationships. I was afraid of people. I was terrified of getting hurt.

It takes a lot of love and patience and honesty with oneself and with each other to make this or any friendship work. You have to really want to be friends as adults to be willing to put in the work that adult friendships take. Since it seems as though neither of us can imagine life without other–been there, hated it–we’re stuck with each other.

Thoughts&Musings: Younger

Have you seen that new show on TVLand? It’s called Younger, and it stars Sutton Foster, Debi Mazar, Hilary Duff, and Miriam Shor. Sutton Foster (you might know her as Fiona from Shrek the Musical) plays Liza Miller, a 40-year-old divorcee, who is trying to get back into the publishing business after being a stay at home mom. She needs a job, but she can’t compete with all the younger girls straight out of college. Her best friend Maggie, played by the ever gorgeous Debi Mazar, suggests she try to pass as a 26-year-old, fresh off a service trip to India, to cover the gap in her resume. 26-year-old Liza lands an interview and a job with Diana Trout, played by Miriam Shor, the head of marketing at Empirical publishing house. On her first day, she meets an editor, Kelsey, played by Hilary Duff, and the two become fast friends, with Kelsey vowing to support Liza and help her out.

That’s the gist of the show. It asks a few heavy questions, like can you really go on pretending to be 26 indefinitely? What about pre-26 relationships? How do you explain you’re relationship with your best friend, who is now supposed to be fifteen years older than you? How do you explain your actually 20-something daughter to your new friends? What happens when you get a boyfriend who is literally half your age? The show is genuinely funny, but there is a heart to it, and I think that is what people are connecting to. It’s easy to see oneself in the characters. Things we have done, would never do, wish we hadn’t done.

I kid you not, this show has become a social thing for me and one of my friends. We text each other during commercials about what happened during the segment. We comment on how outrageous some things are, how we can see ourselves doing something from each character. We mostly comment on how it is that we relate more to a show about a 40-year-old women pretending to be our age, than to shows that are made by and geared toward people are age. It’s an interesting thing. She and I have decided it is because our priorities, our value systems, our motivations aren’t reflected in the 20s culture as it is currently represented by tv. We are old school. We know what we want and how to work to get it. We party, sure, but we get up in the morning and go to work. We have also given up on partying mid-week.

I did notice, during this last episode, that I have made a comment about Debi Mazar at least once per episode. Without fail. It is either about how great she looks, how I had no idea that she’s 50 years old, how timeless her style is, all positive things. Debi Mazar continues to be one of  my major, all time girl crushes. Since Beethoven. I’m not even joking.

The only major bummer I have about this show is that it’s only 30 minutes long. Unlike most half hour shows, though, the pacing on this one is going swimmingly. Half hour shows are usually plagued with going too fast, trying to unravel the plot in 10 minutes, character development seems rushed, ugh. Not Younger. It feels even, unhurried. I like that about the show. Who am I kidding, I love pretty much everything about this show.

Thoughts&Musings: Jus dren, jus daun (The 100)

As if the photo up top didn’t give you an idea, this post is mainly about Lexa and her decision to betray her alliance with Clarke. Also, LOOK AT THAT WOMAN! *sighs* This is the moment I fell in love with Lexa. Anywho, I was driving around today with my mom, and was struck by an epiphany. I haven’t read any of the commentary on this show aside from what pops up on my tumblr feed, which is the sole reason I started watching the show anyway. It’s possible that everything I’m about to say has been said before, but I wouldn’t know. So, here goes. Stay with me till the end.

Source: tumblr and The CW

As if the photo up top didn’t give you an idea, this post is mainly about Lexa and her decision to betray her alliance with Clarke. Also, LOOK AT THAT WOMAN! *sighs* This is the moment I fell in love with Lexa. Anywho, I was driving around today with my mom, and was struck by an epiphany. I haven’t read any of the commentary on this show aside from what pops up on my tumblr feed, which is the sole reason I started watching the show anyway. It’s possible that everything I’m about to say has been said before, but I wouldn’t know. So, here goes. Stay with me till the end.

I know all of our Clexa feels are still recovering from the finale. Personally, I self medicate with fanfiction. {See Chrmdpoet’s this heart, fossilized and silent (once was tender & once was violent) on fanfiction.net.} But hear me out and let’s discuss, if you want. I’ve been thinking a lot about Clarke, Lexa, and the betrayal. The very first thing Lexa says to Clarke, “So you’re the one who burned 300 of my warriors alive.” Grounder ways demand blood for blood. Jus dren, jus daun. This plays out constantly. Finn massacred 18 innocent people at TonDC. He was supposed to be burned alive and suffer cuts from each surviving member of the village, before being granted the release of death by the Commander’s sword. Lincoln explains this lesson as Clarke scrambles to find a way out of Finn’s execution. “If death has no meaning, life has no value.” For being accused of poisoning Lexa, Raven suffered a portion of the thousand cuts, which would’ve ended in her death, before Clarke proved her innocence. For admitting treason, Lexa executed Gustus. For attempting to murder Clarke, at that point accepted, at least by Lexa and the leaders of the 12 clans, as Commander of the Sky People, Lexa sentenced Quint to death by Clarke’s hand. (To be fair, he dies by being eaten by a mutated gorilla, but you get my meaning.)

Why do we think that she has forgotten about the 300 burned on Clarke’s orders?

Because of the blossoming romance between her and Clarke, you say. Nope. Lexa believes love is weakness. Moreover, the last person she loved was tortured and beheaded. So being Heda’s beloved is a dangerous thing, doubly so, if the beloved is also a commander. That’s not to say there isn’t something there. There definitely is. (Aside: did anyone else get the feeling during Clexa’s public interactions that the rest of the room fell away, and only a small part of Lexa’s brain remembered that there were people around?)

Because she protects Clarke from Quint, you say. Nope. True, after incapacitating Quint in the woods, Lexa essentially says that she fights Clarke’s battles (or at the very least passes judgement). In the scene before this, though, in council chambers (which happen to be a metro station), Lexa lets Quint have his say for the death of his brother at the drop ship before calling an end to it. But by now the alliance is sealed. Finn is dead and the 18 he murdered have been laid to rest. Lexa cannot allow thoughts of the 300 burned warriors to distract her at this stage. She needs Clarke. She needs her knowledge of the inside of Mt. Weather, just like she needs Bellamy to stay alive as the inside man and disable the acid fog. (Thought I wouldn’t go there about the missile on TonDC. You thought wrong)

Just as the missile hit changed Clarke, showed her how far she would and would not go to protect her people, it did the same for Lexa. It was hard for her too. So when given the opportunity to save her people trapped under the mountain with no more bloodshed, she takes it. It has the added benefit of satisfying jus dren, jus daun re: the 300 burned warriors. Lexa’s people for Clarke’s people. Alliance or no alliance, that transgression could not be passed over. To have to sacrifice her almost love to duty is a price Lexa is ready and willing to pay, because her responsibilities to her people come first. She would rather have Clarke alive and hating her than dead by her own hands.

It does give an interesting dimension to the Clexa relationship/dynamic. Both women have now done something they would otherwise not have done, even at the worst times of war: murdered innocent people, both actively and passively. Lexa and Clarke knew exactly what would when they escaped TonDC. 250 people died, and they let it happen. To save their people. Clarke knew that shifting the lever would irradiate 320 (??) men, women, and children, including allies. It is something you can see reflected in her’s, Bellamy’s and Monty’s eyes. But they did it anyway. To save their people.

Uneasy lies the head the wears the crown. (Shakespeare, Henry IV, Part 2).

I’m interested to see what happens in S3, especially given Alycia Debnam-Carey’s commitment to Fear the Walking Dead. I am comforted by the fact that the character Lexa isn’t dead, since this is the kind of show where death is permanent. Hallucinations notwithstanding.

That’s all I’ve got for now. I am willing to engage in healthy discussion that does not disrespect the personhood of he/she/they who are speaking.

Until  next time

P. S. I just got the reference to Polis. All this time, I’ve been trying to figure out where Polis is located in the altered landscape that is DC, MD, and VA in The 100. I kept thinking south from DC, but nothing south of DC even all the way down in the boonies Virginia has ‘polis’ in it. Then it hit me. Annapolis. The capital of the Grounders, Lexa’s seat of power, is none other than the capital of my home state, Annapolis, Maryland. (Give me a break. I marathoned the entire series in the one and half weeks immediately following the original airing of the finale.)

Thoughts & Musings: The 100 (TV series)

Recently, I’ve been watching the TV show The 100. I blame tumblr entirely, especially the tumblr lesbian community. Their gifs of Clexa, the ship name for Clarke Griffin and Lexa, Commander of the Tree People aka Grounders, are what made me start watching. Now, tumblr is known for being ahead of the curve on some things, but it can also be wrong. The 100 languished in my Netflix for a few weeks. I took a chance. Warning, spoilers ahead.

Recently, I’ve been watching the TV show The 100. I blame tumblr entirely, especially the tumblr lesbian community. Their gifs of Clexa, the ship name for Clarke Griffin and Lexa, Commander of the Tree People aka Grounders, are what made me start watching. Now, tumblr is known for being ahead of the curve on some things, but it can also be wrong. The 100 languished in my Netflix for a few weeks. I took a chance. Warning, spoilers ahead.
It has been my best and worst decision ever. I finished the entire series, currently at two seasons, in two weeks. I have holds on all three books in the series, by Kass Morgan, just so that I can mark them off as read for the reading challenge “A book based on or turned into a tv show”. In watching the show, though, I was struck by many things. Again, tumblr got it right.
1) The female characters on this show are excellent. Clarke, Raven, Octavia, Monroe, Harper, Lexa, Indra, Maya, even Abby. These women are strong, passionate people, able to make hard decisions and live with the consequences. They’ve passed the Bechdel test numerous times, and I choose to overlook those conversations involving Bellamy, because he’s Octavia’s brother, and the season two conversations about Finn after the massacre of TonDC. I could write a paper on each of these women.
2) The female friendships/relationships. There is caring and respect between these women that make hard conversations and betrayals and differences of opinion that much more difficult to bear.

3) In a nice reversal of what typically happens in an ensemble cast tv show or movie, the male characters, while not utterly useless, are used to showcase the badassness of the female characters. I swear the only purpose Lincoln serves is to develop Octavia.
​4) Like The Hunger Games series, ​The 100 is about choices, decisions, and having to live with those decisions. We watch as Clarke struggles with her decision to kill Finn. We see the conflict and hurt in Lexa’s eyes as she kills Gustus and as she leaves TonDC after the missile strike. We listen to Abby’s pain as she comes to grips with what she’s taught her daughter by example, kill the few to save the many. Even Bellamy and Finn have moments. Bellamy isn’t as ruthless as he would like others to think he is; he was horrified at what Charlotte did with his words. Finn went berserk, could barely face what he’d done in the village. He tried to justify it to himself, to Clarke, but he couldn’t.
I could go on, but I choose not to at this moment. I’m sure I’ll have more to say later, probably about all the possible ships this show could produce, the ships this show has produced, why Paige Turco is so effing skinny, my thoughts on the cast, etc. Clearly, I have much to say.