a girl is created to serve only as a plot device

anonymous asked:

If the Arthur series were to get a feature film (eg Powerpuff girls, SpongeBob, Hey Arnold, Rugrats) what do you think the plot, tone etc should be like? In detail please?

Following release from prison, Binky Barnes violates his parole by traveling to Elwood City to meet his partner-in-crime and friend Molly MacDonald to propose a caper. The two go to Crown City to pitch the plan to wealthy friend and former casino owner Muffy Crosswire. The plan consists of simultaneously robbing the Bellagio, The Mirage, and the MGM Grand casinos. Muffy’s familiarity with casino security makes her very reluctant to get involved, but when she starts to think of it as a good way to get back at her rival and father, Ed Crosswire, who owns all three casinos, Muffy agrees to finance the operation. Because the casinos are required by the Gaming Commission to have enough cash on hand to cover all their patrons’ bets, the three predict that, on the upcoming night of a highly anticipated boxing match, the Bellagio vault will contain more than $160,000,000.

Binky and Molly recruit eight former colleagues and criminal specialists: Arthur Read, a young and talented pickpocket; Buster Baxter, a casino worker and con man; George and His Dad Lundgren, a pair of gifted mechanics; Alan “The Brain” Powers, an electronics and surveillance expert; Francine Frensky, an explosives expert; Nigel Ratburn, an elderly con man; and “The Amazing” Sue Ellen, an accomplished acrobat. Several of the team members carry out reconnaissance at the Bellagio to learn as much as possible about the security, the routines and behaviors of the casino staff, and the building itself. Others create a precise replica of the vault with which to practice maneuvering through its formidable security systems. During this planning phase, the team discovers that Binky’s ex-friend, Prunella, is Ed Crosswire’s secretary. Molly urges Binky to give up on the plan, believing Binky incapable of sound judgment while Prunella is involved, but Binky refuses.

When the plan is put in motion, Binky goes to the Bellagio in order to be seen by Ed, who, as expected, has him locked in a storeroom to be beaten by a bouncer called Rattles. Rattles, however, is a friend of Binky’s, and he allows him to leave through a ventilation shaft, to meet with his team in the vault. Arthur poses as a gaming commission agent and reveals to Ed that one of his employees is actually Buster Baxter, an ex-con. Arthur and Buster stage a faux confrontation in Ed’s presence so that Arthur can steal the vault access codes written on a piece of paper in Ed’s jacket. Sue Ellen is smuggled into the vault by the Lundgrens to assist in triggering the explosive from the inside. Nigel sneaks explosives into the casino vault by posing as a wealthy international arms dealer who needs especially secure safekeeping for his valuables and then pretends to have a heart attack that draws the security men’s attention away from the vault monitors, and is subsequently treated by Molly posing as a doctor.

Francine activates a stolen EMP device to temporarily disrupt the casino’s electrical power, allowing Arthur and Binky to drop down the elevator shaft undetected. As Ed attempts to restore order following the power outage, Molly anonymously calls him on a cell phone that Binky had earlier planted in Prunella’s coat. Molly tells him that the vaults are being raided and that all the money will be destroyed if Ed does not cooperate in loading half the money into a van waiting outside. Ed observes video footage of the vault that confirms Molly’s claims and complies in moving the money but orders his men to follow the van after it departs and calls a SWAT team to secure the vault and the other half of the money. The SWAT team’s arrival results in a shootout which causes the incineration of the half of the money left in the vault. After assuring Ed that the casino is secure, the officers depart at Ed’s insistence.

Ed’s men following the van discover it is being driven by remote control, and that, instead of money, it contains duffel bags full of flyers advertising The Sugar Bowl. Ed realizes that the vault video feed he had been watching was pre-recorded, as the vault floor in the footage lacked the Bellagio logo, which had only recently been installed. A flashback reveals that Binky had used the vault replica to create the fake video Ed had seen. The rest of the team posed as SWAT officers and took all of the money in the vault when responding to Ed’s call for police assistance. Ed then returns to the room where he left Binky and finds him still there, apparently still being worked over by Rattles, leaving him with no way to connect Binky to the theft. As Prunella watches via security surveillance, Binky tricks Ed into saying he would give up Prunella in exchange for the money. Binky then says, “All right. I know a guy. We were in the joint together. Anybody pulls a job in the western US, he knows about it. Give me 72 hours. I’ll find out who took your money”. Ed orders his men to escort Binky off the premises and inform the police that he is violating his parole by being in Crown City. Prunella leaves Ed and exits the hotel just in time to see Binky arrested. The rest of the team bask in the victory, silently going their separate ways one-by-one. When Binky is released after serving time for his parole violation, he is met by Molly and Prunella, and they drive off, closely followed by Ed’s bodyguards.

the tri. plot megapost _ Chapter 1

This is the Project I’ve been working on for a while. Basically, it consists in me rewatching Chapters 1-4 and writing out every.single little plot detail that may or may not become relevant later on. It’s divided into Chapters to make it more readable. I’m doing this for Reference purposes, but I figured it may be useful for other people as well.

I may insert the ocasional note/comment, but otherwise this list will be completely objective. Feel free to add anything I may have missed.

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Why We Love to Hate Popular Chicks on TV

So I’ve been thinking too hard about Chloe Bourgeois from ‘Miraculous Ladybug,’ and I had to write out why she and her fellow queen bees were so interesting to me. That train of thought led me to writing this meta post about teenage girl bullies in fiction.

 I’m not a fan of the “Alpha Bitch” name for this trope on TvTropes, and queen bee is too cutesy, so I’m using girl-bully instead. It’s not a perfect replacement, but hopefully I’ll be able to make my argument all the same.

Characters mentioned include Chloe Bourgeois, Pacifica Northwest, Gretchen Wieners, Quinn Fabray, Cordelia Chase, Trixie Tang, and Rachel Green. The focus here is Western television.

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Rhetorical Devices

I found my notes from AP English Language (actually one of my favorite classes ever) and thought some people might benefit from the definitions in there. A few are common knowledge and a few are probably things you’ve never heard of. Examples included! The ordering isn’t completely logical, but here you go.

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The Significance of Double H in Mawaru Penguindrum

Double H, our favorite idol duo of Mawaru Penguindrum, is at face value in the beginning of the anime, some little mascots the viewer recognizes on the subway who continue to pop up with every episode. They are always featured on screens in the subway for public service announcements called “Today’s Slogan”. However, each one of their announcements is relevant to the plot of the specific episode each is featured in. I want to analyze each one of the announcements to detail why Double H is crucial to understanding Mawaru Penguindrum’s themes.

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The Women of Disney’s Star Wars

On April 7, the first trailer for the first non-sequential Star Wars film, Rogue One, was released to great fanfare.  Focused on the main character Jyn Erso, played by Felicity Jones, and the trailer featured her recruitment by the Rebel Alliance to uncover and stop the Empire’s new super weapon.  The trailer is just over 90 seconds long, but based on the dialogue between Jones’ Erso and rebel leader Mon Mothma, it passes the Bechdel test of two women discussing something other than a man.  Most were ecstatic, but a vocal and extremely small minority of male fans immediately complained about yet another female lead to a new Star Wars film.   If these fans were surprised by this development, then they have been paying relatively poor attention to the management of the greater Star Wars franchise in the last couple years.

Outside of the cinematic universe, the piece of the Star Wars universe with the largest reach is undoubtedly Star Wars: Rebels, which currently airs on DisneyXD and wrapped up its second season on March 31st with the hour long season finale, “Twilight of the Apprentice.”  “Twilight of the Apprentice” promised to resolve a number of storylines from Rebels’ sophomore season, such as whether the character Ezra Bridger would succumb to the Dark Side in his pursuit of power or if the Jedi would find a means to defeat the Inquisitors, who have hounded them and the rebels nonstop.  However, perhaps the biggest storyline of finale was one that began eight years ago under a different television title, The Clone Wars.  This is the storyline of Anakin Skywalker and his padawan learner, Ahsoka Tano. 

Over the course of the animated hit The Clone Wars, set after Attack of the Clones, fans were treated with sideline seats to Ahsoka Tano’s growth from a somewhat annoying young girl into a mature and quite skilled Jedi, and throughout this time period develop a close emotional relationship with her mentor, Anakin.  By the conclusion of the show, Tano, accused of disloyalty and then cleared by the Jedi Council, made the incredible decision to simply walk away from the Jedi Order, and significantly, away from her close friend, Skywalker.  Tano’s place in Anakin’s heart and subsequent departure on the show play an important role in helping to appreciate why the character ultimately turns to Palpatine and against the Jedi in Revenge of the Sith.  More importantly, Ahsoka Tano has come to represent a greater effort of introducing more female characters into the Star Wars universe.  The undisputed climax of the Rebels’ finale was a dramatic confrontation between Anakin Skywalker, now Darth Vader, and his former student.  This spotlight on one of the most dynamic women characters in the Star Wars franchise, along with the release of the trailer for Rogue One, makes for a great opportunity to examine the expanding roles of women in Disney’s present day Star Wars canonical universe.

In the Original Trilogy, there is an incredible absence of women characters, much less lead women characters beyond Princess Leia Organa.  Beyond Leia, A New Hope featured Aunt Beru, whom we hardly had time to meet pouring blue milk before she was rendered a smoking skeleton in the deserts of Tatooine.  The Empire Strikes Back brought us a female member of the Rebel Alliance essentially in the role of Star Trek’s Uhura, who sat by a console monitoring the Galactic Empire’s approach to Hoth Base.  Finally, in Return of the Jedi, the high leadership of the Rebel Alliance was handed over to the solemn and radiant Mon Mothma who was given a moment to speak during the briefing for the attack on the Second Death Star.

Leia’s own role in the films varied, seemingly as if the writers could not quite figure out what to do with their leading lady after A New Hope.  In the initial Star Wars, Leia upturned the trope of damsel in distress, hijacking her own rescue after Han and Luke fumble their attempt and who wielded a particularly deadly aim with a blaster.  In The Empire Strikes Back, however, while portrayed in the position of rebel leader, for much of the film her role is delegated to commentating on Han Solo’s antics and then voicing a distrust of Lando Calrissan.  Only at the very end of the film, Leia essentially hijacks another rescue attempt and takes a dominant position, literally taking a seat in the captain’s chair of the Millennium Falcon.  Finally, in Return of the Jedi, she’s granted the successive opportunities to be a bounty hunter, a bikini-clad slave, a soldier on the ground on a special forces-esque mission, the first rebel to meet a talking bear, and then be dressed in exquisite Ewok brand leathers as a guest of said bear’s tribe.  While Leia is allowed to put her fatigues back on for the final climatic fight, it’s still an occasion where she’s soon sidelined with an injury leaving everyone else to save the day.  The Princess Leia of the Original Trilogy possessed a number of wonderful attributes, but rarely was she really allowed to demonstrate them in action in the Original Trilogy.  Things improved some for the next starring female character to appear in a major Star Wars installment.  

Padme Amidala, Queen and Senator of Naboo, was introduced in The Phantom Menace and through the first two films of the Prequel Trilogy was generally portrayed as an assertive, take charge leader of her people and just as handy with a blaster as her future daughter.  Though, by the final installment, Revenge of the Sith, Padme’s character was pushed aside and limited to an emotional plot device to Anakin Skywalker’s fall to the Dark Side and the birth of the Star Wars franchise’s famous twins.  The last glimpse we have of Padme is her funeral, summarily killed off by George Lucas purely for the sake of tragedy and to complete Anakin’s conversion to Darth Vader (this we know because originally Luke and Leia’s mother survived childbirth as revealed by Leia’s touching reflections of their mother in Return of the Jedi).  Following what may be tantamount to the worse treatment of a major female character in the Star Wars franchise, a surprising shift occurred several years later and on a much smaller screen.

The Clone Wars television show coincidentally premiered in movie theaters in the summer of 2008 then assumed its intended run on the Cartoon Network the following fall where it would remain until 2013.  Introduced from the beginning of the series set between Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith was the tween-like character, Ahsoka Tano.  Assigned to Anakin Skywalker by Yoda in an effort to teach the rising Jedi Knight more responsibility, Tano superficially appeared at first to be another female character created to purely serve Anakin’s character development.  Though, this would soon prove not to be the case, as Ahsoka was granted her own development into a more interesting and well rounded character.  At the same time, another female character was introduced, a symbolic dark twin to Ahsoka Tano in the service of the villainous Count Dooku.  Her name was Asajj Ventress.  

Introduced as a new antagonist for our Jedi heroes, Asajj entered the Star Wars universe a veritable equal to Anakin Skywalker, if not Obi-Wan Kenobi, despite being officially an apprentice to the Sith Lord Dooku.  A daughter of the Night Sisters, also known as the Witches of Dathomir, they are a matriarchal society of empowered women who draw upon the Dark Side of the Force through mystical magic-like abilities.   One of the greatest antagonists of the Prequel Trilogy, Darth Maul, was a creation of the Night Sisters, and so too, his similar in appearance brother, Savage Oppress. In short, the Night Sisters for much of The Clone Wars are among one of the more powerful factions, albeit small in number.  Throughout the course of the show, both Asajj and Tano eventually find themselves questioning their loyalties, be it to Dooku or the Jedi Order for different reasons. Similarly, both end up walking away from each of their respective homes as a result of both emotional character growth.

Asajj outgrows her apprentice-master relationship with Dooku, who ultimately tries to betray and kill her.  Over the course of her appearances in the show, Asajj ultimately is shifted from villain to neutral character.  The conclusion of The Clone Wars, after the purchase of Lucasfilm by Disney, did not end Ventress’ story.  Six screenplays, prepared for episodes that were canceled, were ultimately transformed into the novel Dark Disciple by Christie Golden.  One of the first publications of the new official canon, it concluded the character arc of Asajj Ventress by having the former Sith apprentice sacrificing herself to save a fallen Jedi Master.  It’s an ending that carefully threads the idea of ‘women in refrigerators,’ wherein female characters are needlessly killed solely for the purpose of furthering the plot or emotional growth of a male character. In Dark Disciple, her death results in a Jedi Master, whom she had developed a romantic relationship with, being saved from the Dark Side, but it also follows the completion of her own character arc to the Light Side which began in The Clone Wars.  

Just like Asajj Ventress, Ahsoka Tano’s character arc was incomplete when The Clone Wars was canceled.  Her presence on the show ended after she walked away, not just from the Jedi Order, but from Anakin Skywalker despite his urgent pleas that she reconsider her decision.  From student to teacher of child-sized padawans, Tano’s character emerged independent of the Jedi Knight she was assigned to and for a significant fan base, her fate became something of grave importance against the established history of the Star Wars universe, a history in which virtually every Jedi was killed by the time of A New Hope.  It was a mystery left agonizingly unsolved until the conclusion of Rebels’ Season One.

The Clone Wars not only introduced two of the strongest female characters in recent Star Wars history in Ahsoka Tano and Asajj Ventress, but it featured a number of other strong women, including Padme Amidala, who resembled and exceeded her portrayal in the Prequel Trilogy.   One specific storyline included Padme dealing with a husband, Anakin Skywalker, fraught with over protectiveness and a belief that she could not defend herself if needed (both of which Padme excellently handles.).  Additionally, other female members of the Jedi Order are given their own storylines and agency.  The role of women in the Star Wars universe was already significantly improving to that as heroes and equals of their male counterparts when Lucasfilm was purchased by Disney.  Thankfully, the momentum did not stop.

As a matter of convenience and clarity, the Star Wars canon officially endorsed by Disney has been discussed.  This is not to say that there have not been excellent representations of women in the Star Wars universe prior to the Disney acquisition. A sterling example, known to many long time Star Wars fans, is Mara Jade, an equal to Luke Skywalker and one of the first new characters introduced in the old Expanded Universe. Nonetheless, the focus is now on the universe now strongly marketed and one which, unsurprisingly, is one where women find themselves as the heroes of first Star Wars films since Revenge of the Sith.  It’s a new universe which encompasses film, novels, television, and comic books.  In all four, women have taken a larger role and focus as protagonists and antagonists.  This includes Rebels, the animated successor to The Clone Wars.

Wherein The Clone Wars had one lead female protagonist in the form of Ahsoka Tano, Rebels doubles that number to two, Sabine Wren and Hera Syndulla.  They represent two out of five members of the crew of the Ghost, a group of rebels around which the show revolves.  Both are strong characters.  Sabine wears the armor of the warlike Mandalorians, the same race as the major fan favorite bounty hunter Boba Fett.  As a Mandalorian, Sabine is instantly recognizable as a fierce warrior and additionally, she’s shown to have a skill and penchant for explosives.  Her martial prowess is balanced with a rebellious artistic flair, which exists as something of a contrast to the other female lead character, Hera.  The owner and captain of the Ghost, Syndulla is a twi’lek, an alien race that has been associated with slavery ever since Jabba the Hutt sent a twi’lek slave to her death in his rancor pit in Return of the Jedi.  

As the previously most well known twi’lek was dressed in skimpy clothing that rivaled Leia’s own enslaved attire, Hera’s own appearance exists as rebuff to that presentation, as a full flight suit often with a pair of overalls over it.  The only skin visible is her face and the tendrils which fall from the back of her head. Arguably the leader of the group, Hera often acts as the source of common sense, when not displaying a miraculous ability behind the controls of her ship.  As Rebels proceeded into Season Two and the group formally joined the Rebel Alliance, Hera is promoted to a leadership role over a fighter squadron. Neither of the women are defined by relationships to male characters on the show, though Hera enjoys a deep friendship with the Jedi Kanan Jarrus.  Ostensibly, Rebels is a show about Ezra Bridger, a point of view character for younger viewers and his gradual education in the ways of the Force against the back drop of the growing rebellion against the Galactic Empire.   However, it’s truly an ensemble show with every crew member receiving individual episodes dedicated to their own background and character growth, including the women.  As a matter of course, the show routinely passes the Bechdel Test.  And then, it returned Ahsoka Tano to television.

Revealed in the Season One finale, Rebels brought the now adult aged Ahsoka Tano to the show as a reoccurring character to strengthen the Jedi/Force user storyline that ran concurrently with the desperate search for a new home for the growing Rebellion.  Tano’s introduction was also accompanied by the entry of Darth Vader, a frightening nemesis to the rebels and leash holder to new Force wielding villains, the Inquisitors.  Multiple times as the season progressed, Ahsoka was presented as one of the most skilled Force users on the show – handily defeating enemies on her own.  At the same time, the show embraced the tension between the presence of Anakin Skywalker’s former padawan and the fallen Jedi. Tano’s own character journey through the season was her self-discovery of Darth Vader’s true identity.

It was no surprise, then, that the biggest anticipated moment of the Season Two finale was a much hyped duel between Ahsoka Tano and Darth Vader.  For many, there was but only one way for the confrontation to end, the death of Tano. This expectation wasn’t grounded in a ghoulish desire to see Vader claim yet another victim, but on two different beliefs: 1) Luke Skywalker has to be the last of the Jedi by Return of the Jedi and 2) Anakin Skywalker’s transition into Darth Vader would not be complete until the final piece of his past was destroyed.  To say fans were surprised by the result of the duel is to put it mildly, as Ahsoka Tano lived.  Though proof of her survival was limited to a blink and you missed it moment in a closing montage of the episode, the reactions were mixed among the fan based. Some were greatly relieved, but others felt as if Rebels had elected to skip the serious ramification of apprentice and master, and had wimped out of the proper ending to the season.  The problem with this perspective was that it failed to treat Ahsoka Tano as a character unto herself and not simply a plot device in the evolution of Darth Vader.  

A re-examination of Season Two, adopting it as a story about Ahsoka Tano coming to terms with her decision to abandon the Jedi Order and leave her close friend, Anakin Skywalker, results in her survival making complete sense (per the Jedi issue, the writers repeatedly emphasized in the show that Ahsoka was no longer a Jedi).  The duel with Darth Vader was not intended to complete Anakin Skywalker’s journey, but Ahsoka Tano’s.  In a masterful stroke, the writers of Rebels made the most anticipated moment in recent Star Wars fandom revolve around a woman’s character development likely knowing full well that it would be criticized.  While the question of whether Ahsoka Tano will reappear in Rebels’ Season Three, women characters continue to appear in another medium: Marvel Comics.

The purchase of Lucasfilm by Disney not only resulted in the cancellation of The Clone Wars, but it terminated the longtime partnership between Dark Horse Comics and the Star Wars franchise. Under Dark Horse, the Star Wars Expanded Universe had been explored from the Tales of the Jedi set thousands of years prior to the Original Trilogy to Dark Empire, a limited series which helped to resurrect Boba Fett in the first wave of post-Return of the Jedi Star Wars stories, but like many of the novels and other Expanded Universe stories existing prior to the Disney acquisition, it was almost all relegated to ‘Legendary’ status, and now the illustrated storytelling of the Star Wars universe was placed in the hands of Disney’s own Marvel Comics.  

Marvel unleashed the first of its Star Wars comics in January, 2015, and ever since has been featuring a growing number of women characters across its various titles.  The self-titled Star Wars series opens with Leia right in the middle of fight and on equal ground in terms of assignment and task as her previous would-be hero, Luke Skywalker.  Throughout the issues which now number seventeen, Leia is presented as the best of the character that shined the brightest in the Original Trilogy.  She’s a leader and a fighter.  A mini-series was released the same year which took issue with Leia’s symbolic presentation at the end of A New Hope, as a woman left to hand out medals to others.  Beginning almost immediately after the closing ceremony, Leia rejects the Alliance’s desire for her to stay under close guard and protection, to essentially remain a symbol of the Rebellion, and departs on a personal mission to find and rescue the surviving people of Alderaan.  

Teamed up with a fellow survivor of Alderaan and female rebel fighter pilot, Evaan Verlaine, Leia seeks out multiple pockets of Alderaanians across the galaxy.  It’s a strong partnership and women continue to appear in positions of leadership throughout the five-issue limited series, be it the manager of a musical group or the suspicious leader of an illicit organization of Alderaanians. Incidentally, many of the male characters in the series are either subservient to women or antagonist intent on capturing Princess Leia.  Female representation on the pages of Marvel’s comics did not conclude with Leia’s mini-series, but continued in the currently running Star Wars title with the introduction of Sana Starros, a smuggler and alleged wife of Han Solo.  Sana is beholden to none and returns after her first story arc appearance to become part of a trio of women intent on retaking a prison under siege.  Part of that trio is Dr. Aphra.

Described as a rogue archaeologist, Aphra might be described as a mix of Indiana Jones with a technological genius obsessed with weapons of varying levels of horrifying destruction.  First introduced in the ongoing Darth Vader series, she’s unsurprisingly in awe when Darth Vader, part man, part machine, and extremely terrifying, finds and orders her to aid him in his personal mission to find the identity of the X-Wing pilot who destroyed the Death Star at the Battle of Yavin and to restore his prominent place within the Imperial hierarchy.   Though bound in service to Vader by threat of execution, the amount of time Aphra spends with Vader is surprisingly low, as accompanied by the sadistic droids Triple Zero and BT-1, Aphra sets off on her own to accomplish her assigned missions.  Routinely, Aphra displays intelligence, fearlessness, and just outright awesomeness across the pages nominally dedicated to the story of Darth Vader and is given time and space amongst those inked and colored panels to have her past and motivations explored.  Arguably, Dr. Aphra might be one of the most interesting characters, male or female, introduced in the new Disney overseen Star Wars franchise.

Women have also had prominent roles in other Marvel titles, such as the mini-series dedicated to Chewbacca and Lando Calrissan. In Chewbacca, the world’s favorite wookie is partnered up with a brave and bold teenager, Zarro.  A daughter who refuses to give up on her enslaved father, Zarro is fearless in the face of increasing odds that rise from scheming local bad guy to captain of an Imperial star destroyer.  In the other limited series, Lando, two major characters are female. One, a mysterious helmed bounty hunter of frightening ability and on Emperor Palpatine’s speed dial, revealed only at the end of the series to be a woman.  The other, an alien Ugnaught named Sava Korin Pers, defies any obvious gender assignment by appearance and is identifiable as female through sheer use of pronoun.  Sava is not the only woman in the series to exist independent of any visual assignment, as another major character is one half of a pair of acrobatic cat-like warriors hired by Lando for a heist and again, only revealed as female by dialogue near the end of the story.  Not by coincidence, even a passing female character, an Imperial governor at the beginning of the series is not allowed to simply become a sexual conquest seduced and fooled by Lando in pursuit of an ancient, valuable artifact.  Instead, Lando confesses his intentions to the governor and provides her the opportunity to decide whether her affection for the smooth talker outweighs her duty to the Empire.  She chooses the former.

Since Marvel’s assumption of the Star Wars franchise in comic book form, there have been approximately nine titles released over the last year and change.  In every title, women have either played significant roles or have actually been lead protagonists, such as Shara Bey, an A-wing pilot for the Rebellion in the post-Return of the Jedi set Shattered Empire or Jedi Master Depa Billaba, the mentor for Rebels’ hero Kanan Jarrus in the twelve part mini-series covering his past. In short, any reader familiar at all with Marvel’s Star Wars line of comics should not be surprised by prominent female roles appearing elsewhere in the Star Wars franchise.  The same would be true of any readers of the new Expanded Universe novels released in the same time period.

Arguably, the first major expansion of the old Star Wars Expanded Universe came as the result of a number of successful novels, such as the Timothy Zahn Trilogy.  Now on the threshold of a new expansion of a reset Expanded Universe, Disney has overseen the release of a series of novels which reflect the same dedication to women characters.  One of the first novels released, A New Dawn by John Jackson Miller, featured a number of women in leading roles, such as Hera Syndulla (the same from Rebels), but also Rae Sloane, an Imperial Captain who appears later in another important role in the Chuck Wendig Aftermath series.  Wendig’s Aftermath, in addition to including Sloane, has two female protagonist in the form of Norra Wexley, a former fighter pilot for the Rebel Alliance and the bounty hunter Jas Emari.  Other titles had leading women characters.

Dark Disciple by Christie Golden, mentioned earlier, concluded the story of Asajj Ventress, of The Clone Wars.  Lost Stars by Claudia Gray introduced Ciena Ree, a gifted pilot and tragic character doomed by her allegiance to her culture’s honor bound society to serve the Galactic Empire to the very end.  Star Wars: Battlefront – Twilight Company by first time author Alexander Freed, highlighted two female characters, Brand a former bounty hunter turned rebel and a deserting Imperial bureaucrat Everi Chalis.  Twilight Company, likewise includes the unique side story of Thara Nyende, a female storm trooper.   Perhaps the only problematic treatment of a female character is found in Heir to the Jedi by Kevin Hearne.  In this post-A New Hope story, Luke Skywalker is teamed up with Nakari Kelen, the daughter of a wealthy businessman.   Kelen is developed well enough as a character, but ultimately dies as a means to allow Luke to finally come to emotional terms with the death of Obi-Wan Kenobi, his aunt and uncle, and others.  Thankfully, it’s much more of an exception than the rule.  Planned releases in 2016 include more titles either about or at least heavily involving women, such as novel dedicated to Ahsoka Tano and a release of a prequel or side story to the Jyn Erso headlining Rogue One.

Thus, the release of Rogue One’s trailer, which unabashedly announced that the next hero of the Star Wars universe would be a woman, comes as little surprise to anyone who has been paying attention to the Star Wars franchise across its varied mediums.  Be it cinematic with Rey from The Force Awakens, televised with Hera Syndulla, Sabine Wren, and Ahsoka Tano, novelized with Norra Wexley and Ciena Ree, or in comic book form with Dr. Aphra, the present and future of the Star Wars is one decidedly determined to place women in and on the same footing as its male characters.  It began with the princess who gazed defiantly at the black armor clad villain who towered above her aboard the Tantive IV and now continues across a variety of titles in every format.  Eventually, the next Jyn Erso will be introduced with little commentary about her gender, but as just one more hero of a franchise known for female role models. That day is sooner than many might believe.

A Campaign for Diversity

Once upon a time there was a princess … No, seriously. This princess lived inside of my head and I wanted capture her on paper. You see, I’m an author of romance and Young Adult stories, and characters like this princess are constantly making their presence known inside my head, just begging to have their stories told. This particular princess inhabited a medieval/fantasy type world, similar to George RR Martin’s Westeros (the realm of Game of Thrones). With excitement I began plotting, researching, and outlining her story, an epic tale of love with a man from a rival family, one her own kin have feuded with for generations. There would be battles, there would be castles and kings, and there would be beautiful medieval fashions to be described in ravishing detail.

There was only one problem with the princess and her story. The princess was black. The world she inhabited was filled with characters fitting every color on the ethnic spectrum—a much needed device in Fantasy fiction. Why was this a problem, you might ask? The Fantasy genre needs heroines of color; it needs people of color, period. A strong, smart woman of color in this genre … where is there a problem?

The problem wasn’t with the black princess, or the person who created her. The problem was with the appalling lack of images that could accurately and beautifully portray this princess on the cover of her book. When searching for her likeness on stock image sites, I could not find her. There wasn’t a single photo of this black princess in her flowing, regal gowns, holding her head high. In fact, there were very few photos of women of color, and when I did find them, their quality was not on par with similar photos of her white counterparts. To make things even more difficult, her love interest, the man from the other clan whose love is forbidden, was white. This left me tasked with finding a beautiful photo of a mixed race couple, both in resplendent historical dress. Actually, I needed three, as this princess’ story has stretched itself out to the length of a trilogy.

When there were none to be found, I struck out to create my own images. With the help of my father, a fashion photographer and editor of Encore HD Hair Magazine, and two models who very generously donated their time and faces to my venture, I was able to conduct my own custom shoot. Overseeing the costuming and posing, we were able to produce quality images for use on my covers and advertising media … photos that I felt proud of.

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It would seem that this story had a happy ending. It did, though it was more like ‘happy for now’ instead of ‘happily ever after’. Why? Because there still exists an egregious lack of diversity on book covers, a fact that has always weighed heavily on me.

There is a movement happening in the publishing industry, and all you have to do is search the hashtag #WeNeedDiverseBooks to see it unfolding. People are hungry for stories filled with diverse characters … characters who look like them. There are authors and publishers out there committed to making that happen, book by book.

With that in mind, I began to think of how I could help my fellow authors. While speaking with them at various book conventions, or in online forums, I felt their frustration over the lack of images on stock photo sites portraying women of color, plus sized women, and interracial couples in classy, beautiful ways. As a woman who writes a lot of Fantasy and Historical books, the burden becomes even greater.

No one ever seems to think to put a medieval Victorian era gown on a black woman and take stunning photos of her. No one ever seems to think to portray people of color in futuristic, fantasy, or sci-fi style shoots. Even websites that cater specifically to book cover images are failing in this regard.

Thus, the idea for Mosaic Stock was born. As I mentioned before, my father is a fashion photographer and magazine editor. With his resources and contacts, we have the necessary goods to offer authors and publishers a place to shop for book cover images that color the full spectrum of diversity. Our goal is the change the face of books, one cover at a time. We are in the planning/developing phase, with hopes to launch the site summer of 2015.

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Here is where you, the person reading this blog post, come in. In order to fund our first two mass photo shoots and get Mosaic Stock up and running, we are currently running a Kickstarter campaign. We have until March 30, 2015 to reach our goal of $5,500—which would cover the cost of renting studio space large enough to accommodate the shoot, costumes, and hair and make-up artists to ensure that our models look their best. Within our first shoot, we hope to shoot several models in various genre themes, so that when we launch, authors and publishers will have a wide range of choices for their book covers.

If you believe we need diverse books, if you want to see more books with girls that look like you on the cover, and if you want to be a part of making a change in the publishing industry, I hope you will consider donating. There are lower and higher level donation tiers suited to every person and their level of willingness to give and resources. Remember, if we do not reach our goal by March 30, Mosaic Stock will not get its funding. But, I am confident that this will not happen. As a community of readers and writers, we can come together to make positive change.

As well, there are some awesome rewards for both readers and writers alike for your contributions. Everything from ebooks to paperbacks, all donated by fellow authors who want to reward people that join this campaign for diversity. For authors free stock photos and book cover designs are on the menu. Visit Kickstarter by clicking here to donate, and remember to share via Facebook, Twitter, or your favorite form of social media once you have. Together, we can change the face of books!

Check out these samples of our photography, some of which will become available on the Mosaic Site, but mostly serve as proof of the quality we are capable of.

Cami, Davina, and the Problem With Women on The Originals

The Originals is a television show that has always had profound issues with it’s treatment of and representation of women. It’s a topic that I and many other people who have critically examined the show have discussed in many different instances and in many different ways, and the sheer volume of criticism that has been levied against the show’s portrayal of women speaks to what an enormous issue it is. But, regardless of your opinion on the show, it’s characters, and what it’s done in the past it seems like everyone can and is agreeing that they’ve taken these issues to an astoundingly unacceptable level. In this past episode they killed two women. Two women who have been main characters on the show since the show began, who were killed violently, who’s deaths exist now solely to serve as plot devices for the love interests they left behind, and who are only the latest and most high profile in a list of dead female characters that is just about as long as the list of female characters that have ever existed on The Originals. And that’s not okay.

This entire episode is, on it’s surface, meant to be an ode to Cami as a character. But, what is readily apparent from everything that actually happened on the show, it’s really an ode to Cami’s role in changing Klaus as a character. And while my opinion on Klamille has always been clear, I don’t want to make it sound as if it’s wrong to acknowledge the impact that one character has had on another, especially if that character or relationship arc is coming to an end. But it’s extremely problematic when the impact of a relationship eclipses the character itself, and it’s even more problematic in an instance like this because it fundamentally alters the weight given to Cami’s death and how the audience is meant to see it. The problem here isn’t just that Cami is dying, it’s that she’s dying because of Klaus, and that we’re all supposed to think that it’s relatively okay because Cami has somehow “fulfilled her purpose” in the story line. It equates the importance of Klaus’ progression as a character with Cami’s LIFE. It tells the audience that Cami, a character who has essentially become the female lead of the show in this past season, has as much value to the story as something that will motivate the male lead’s story line for the next three or four episodes. Regardless of how you feel about Cami as a character, I think the problem is obvious. 

But beyond that, what I find even more disturbing is everything that has happened before Cami’s death. Cami was made the lead during this season and given the arc that was supposed to define her as a character, only for her to be fridged twice. Cami has been a supporting character who was tangentially involved in a few plots in the first two seasons, and then in the third season she was pushed to the forefront and her character arc WAS the plot, and somehow the writers managed to make BOTH climaxes of that plot into CAMI’S DEATH. And just… why?! Why leave your female characters by the wayside and give them no significant development until you decide to kill them? She has been the primary love interest of the male lead for the entire run of the show, so why did she only become worthy of this level of attention when violence committed against her was going to become one of Klaus’ primary motivations going forward? Hurting female characters is bad enough, but The Originals went out of it’s way to relish in Cami’s destruction as much as it possibly could, and still somehow ensured that the major impact of her loss would be Klaus’ pain instead of her loss.

And as if this wasn’t bad enough, Davina’s death is almost worse to me because it was so dismissive and cheap. Davina has been a main character since the start of the show, she’s arguably the most powerful person on the show entirely, and her murder is just a footnote of the episode tacked on at the end of Cami’s obituary. Not only that, but it’s actually really violent. I think the writers were aiming for a really big shock moment with that, but I simply CANNOT believe that none of them for one second thought, “hey, maybe writing a death where a teenage girl is violently murdered by her out-of-control boyfriend is a pretty disturbing image to present to a mostly female and fairly young audience”. And just… why in the world would you ever do that? The writers had to go very far out of their way to create a scenario in which Kol would believably kill Davina (hell, it’s barely believable that he even COULD kill Davina given the fact that she’s always held her own against an Original before) and there were dozens of other characters who logically would have and could have killed her instead of him, and yet Kol is the one pulling the metaphorical trigger. Why?

Well, the obvious reason is the exact same that it was for Cami. Because making Kol the one to do it ensures that they’ll be able to maximize his manpain. And I have to say, while the issues with Cami’s death are difficult to top, I think they actually did manage to top it with Davina’s death in a few ways. One, which is the most obvious to me, is the one I just mentioned. Presenting a scenario where a woman is violently killed by her love interest is a profoundly disturbing image to present to an audience, regardless of the context. But also something I find really bothersome is how the characters are weighted against one another. Remember how I made the comparison between Klaus and Cami, and how the death of the pseudo female lead is being treated as if it matters as much as the character arc for the male lead for a few episodes’ time? Well when it comes to Davina and Kol that chasm is even more extreme. Now, I am a huge Kol fan, I lobbied for his presence on the show from the minute the show was announced, however in the context of the actual show itself he is not a hugely important character at this time. He’s only become a significant presence this season, and Davina has appeared in FIFTY more episodes of The Originals than he has. And yet… Davina’s death is worth whatever angst the writers will squeeze out of this for Kol. So much of her characterization had to be erased, so much of the story line had to be altered, all so Kol can feel sad about being the unwilling puppet in his girlfriend’s death. And we have no legitimate explanation why. 

Something else I find very interesting about both of these deaths is the way that the characters were treated in the context of the story, and how common this pattern seems to be on The Originals in terms of how the show frames victims and victimization. What I find very curious about the hows and whys of Cami and Davina’s deaths is that their deaths really fall under the umbrella of that old fiction writing stereotype of “if you want to hurt a woman hurt a woman, and if you want to hurt a man hurt a woman”. I mean, Cami isn’t killed because she’s Cami, she’s killed because Klaus likes her and Lucien knows that. She as a person is irrelevant to the scenario, she’s just an object that the writers are putting in between Klaus and Lucien to make their grudge have some kind of weight. But then contrast that with Davina’s death. Davina is the target of the ancestors, and Kol is almost the “Cami” of the scenario, he’s just the object that exists between Davina and the ancestors. But despite the similar setup and dynamic the female characters are the characters that are actually dying, and the male characters are the characters we’re meant to sympathize with most and view as the victims. 

And this kind of leads me to some of the broader problems that The Originals has with the way it treats women. Because Cami and Davina’s deaths are probably the most extreme examples of this “hurting a woman to hurt a man” issue that the show has had, but they’re certainly not the only examples. The number of women on the show who have been harmed or even killed as a direct result of their relationship to a love interest is staggering. By my count there are 10 female characters who have died on The Originals who’s deaths have been directly related to the characters they were in relationships with. And, even more disturbingly, THREE female characters on The Originals have been murdered BY THEIR LOVE INTERESTS. And not only do the women vastly outnumber the men when it comes to these issues (as far as I’m aware, no male character has been killed by their love interest, and two male character’s deaths were directly related to their love interests), but the women who are affected by these prejudices are far more important characters than the male characters affected. For instance, the top three female characters on the show in terms of episode count have ALL been killed at some point as a direct result of their relationship with a love interest (Hayley’s death may not have stuck, but were it not for her relationships with Klaus or Elijah she never would have been killed), and ALL of their deaths were used to fuel angst for the male characters. In contrast, the only male characters who’s relationships contributed to their deaths are Jackson and Tim. 

And this is something that applies nearly across the board, both in terms of the volume of characters killed and the importance of the characters who have been killed. I always knew that The Originals was unfairly skewed in favor of their male characters, but until I actually looked at the numbers I had no idea how skewed it really was. At first glance it might have actually been encouraging, the gender makeup of the cast of characters who have appeared for more than one episode is actually 32 women and 28 men. But, of those 28 men, 13 of the characters have died. Do you know how many of the women have died? 28. That’s right, The Originals has as many dead recurring female characters as they do recurring male characters, period. And as I said before, the three female characters who have appeared the most in the show have all been killed (although frankly the distinction isn’t even that necessary given that nearly EVERY WOMAN on the show has died, period). And the “most important” male character that has ever been killed off? Jackson. Hayley, Cami, and Davina have all died, and the “top three” male characters who have bitten the dust are Jackson, Diego, and Aiden. Does something seem a little askew there?

And the thing of it is, the writers spend an inordinate amount of time trying to defend their writing failings with all manner of excuses, and frankly there are a lot of fans who back them up on that. The show is about the supernatural, the show is very violent, the show is about violent characters, the show has to have real stakes so people have to die, etc. However, there is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING IN THIS WORLD THAT CAN EXCUSE OR EXPLAIN THIS KIND OF GAP. The number of women on the show who die is more than double the men. The number of women who are killed because of their romantic relationships is FIVE TIMES AS MANY as the men. And this is something that has been going on for the ENTIRE run of the show with no sign of improvement. I mean Jesus, if anything I think we can all agree that it’s actually getting WORSE. 

Regardless of how anyone feels about Cami and Davina as characters, about their relationships, or about the show itself, I think there are certain things that are completely undeniable at this point. The writers constantly defend themselves on the grounds of creating the art that they need to create, but they’re creating a television show that is meant to entertain it’s audience. And what couldn’t be clearer is that murdering women is a vital part of this creation. These writers need to understand that murdering women is not artmurdering women is not entertainment, and quite frankly anyone who believes that it is should not be creating art or entertainment. I have no doubt that this trend will continue and I have no doubt that one of the few women who have escaped death in this show so far will be killed before the show ends, if not before the season ends, and I have no doubt that my complaints or the complaints of others will have no effect on the eternally deaf ears of the writers. However, what they’re doing is not okay. I am not okay with it, many other people are not okay with it, and the writers need to know that we’re not okay with it.  

I was talking with a colleague today about Stranger Things and I realised that one of the aspects I loved most about the show was how the children were portrayed. 

So often in TV shows I personally find the writing for children of that age really lacking. They are either entirely plot devices or they only serve to create unnecessary conflict of the “but you’re not my real mom” variety. And frankly, to me that’s just really annoying and quite stale.

Over and over again I have found myself rolling my eyes at the scripts for kids. Because so often it has felt like the writers have never actually ever spoken to a kid. Or, to a large degree, they underestimate children’s intelligence or capacity for empathy. Also they underestimate the magnitude of kids’ problems which leaves you with shows where the main plot is fighting aliens or vampires or whatever and the kid is whining about something like not being able to have an ice cream, and this is inevitably a device that is only meant to lurch the plot forward for the adults. You know, when little Johnny decides to brave 20 vampires for that stash of Ben and Jerry’s and then dad needs to go save him.

Stranger Things is so wonderful because not only does it capture that same innocence and friendship of movies and books like Stand By Me etc it’s also because these kids are well rounded. They care for each other. They have empathy and they worry about their friends. They have interests and in jokes and little rituals. They fight because they care. They know what’s important and they are not treated as plot devices. Their friendship feels important because it is, their interests feel important because they are. 

It really to me feels like someone actually sat down with 12 year old kids and really spoke to them and got inside their heads, took them seriously as people. Their interests are never derided, their insights are never dismissed.

And Eleven, sweet lovely Eleven. She was so much more than just some strange little girl who can do things with her mind. I just wanted to hold her and give her a warm bed and as many waffles as she wanted and tell her she was safe forever.

I’m just so impressed by how they pulled this off and I really hope some other showrunners writing shows that have children in them learn a thing or three from this.

anonymous asked:

omg do hunger games

1. Favorite scene of the series.

Probably the scene where Katniss is looking at Peeta’s drawings and sees the one of herself in silver because like WOW, WOW, YOU TAKE THIS SHIV AND YOU PUT IT IN MY HEART AND IT HURTS SO MUCH BUT IM SMILING BUT IT HURTS and like, as much as Mockingjay is the hottest of hot messes, the Katniss/Peeta Hamlet/Ophelia realness is probably my favourite thing in the series idek their relationship/joint arc is so complex and flips so many ya relationship conventions and gender norms on its head and i love it and them so much soooo much

2. Favorite villain

Probably the Careers - if they can be counted as ‘villains’. MORE ON THIS LATER~

3. Least favorite “main character”

I don’t consider him a “main character” really but, like. Gale. More on this in #12

4. Favorite “sidekick”

Again, not really a sidekick series? As far as secondary characters go, I pretty much like them all - Finnick and Annie would probably be my favourites.

5. Character you love to hate.

CAREERS LET’S TALK ABOUT THE CAREERS. Child soldiers literally raised to fight and DIE in the games and told that it’s the only thing that matters, only to get into the arena and realise how precious their lives are and how they’ve been wasted by their parents and society just before they die ITS SO FUCKED UP IT IS LITERALLY THE MOST TRAGIC THING and i looooved the extra Careers stuff in the movies because like, THESE KIDS PROBABLY GREW UP TOGETHER AND TRAINED TOGETHER AND THEY BAND TOGETHER KNOWING FULL WELL THEY’RE ALL GONNA TRY AND KILL EACH OTHER IN THE END let’s talk about Clove/Cato let’s talk about how hopeful they must have been when the Capitol said a pair of tributes could live LETS TALK

6. Favorite friendship

HAYMTICH/KATNISS/PEETA MESSED UP VICTORS IS EVERYTHING TO ME TBH. I love their relationship so much and how theyre like, I CARE ABOUT U SO MUCH IM SO MAD ABOUT IT because there is that connection there of being the only people who understand what it’s like to survive the games and even though they resent that connection and the suffering it’s caused, they’re obviously really glad to have each other and to be able to support one another? And like that just goes double for Haymitch who has had to mentor these kids for years and years just to watch them die, and then suddenly get this pair that not only both survive but like START AN ENTIRE REVOLUTION and he’s been pretty much not caring about anyone for like, 20 years and then suddenly TWO REALLY DUMB DANGER PRONE KIDS HE CAN’T HELP BUT LOVE katniss and haymitch taking their pain over losing peeta out on each other is so much it is SO MUCH

7. Friendship that never felt real to you.

Look. You know that kid you’re best friends with when you’re little, and you run around together and you make mud pies and you hang out at each others houses, but then you get to high school and you make other friends and the old friend doesn’t and they get real fuckin whiny, and real fuckin angsty, and you end up not inviting them to your bowling alley birthday party and they get really upset and tell your mum, and then the two of you never talk again but because you live in the same town you still see each other sometimes and make awkward eye contact before looking away and pretending it never happened? That it Gale and Katniss.

8. Favorite wise-guy/jokester character


9. Least favorite villain

I really feel like in this series - and in most dystopias, tbh - the villains are really underdeveloped. Like, what the protagonist is fighting against is ~the regime~ and the villain is just kind of a face for/the embodiment of that regime and so we don’t really get to know them as a person? I feel like the humanisation of the enemy/bringing them down to the same level as the protagonist is an interesting and underused plot device in dystopias. Anyway, I guess I’d have to say Snow? Or Coin, idk we don’t really know either of them and can only judge on the shady shit they do. One of the things I really like about the Hunger Games movies is how they show us more of Snow and behind the scenes of the Capitol dictatorship, which I really think was missing from the books.

10. Least favorite book

MOCKINGJAY OH LORD JESUS SAVE ME FROM THIS HOT ASS YA MESS. I get what she was going for, I really do, but jfc this was just a badly structured book. Frustratingly small in scope, terrible to like half or even more than half the characters - just all over the place, seriously. So much of this series’ world and secondary characters are so poorly developed and just lacking in detail, idk I find it really takes away from my enjoyment of the series.

11. Talk about a character with a bad story or character arc.

WHERE TO START LITERALLY WHERE TO START. Shoutout to Johanna, Prim, Gale (yes. even Gale) and a trillion others but this one has to go to Finnick and by proxy Annie because like YOU DIDN’T FUCKING NEED TO TAKE THIS ONE SUZANNE AND YOU KNOW IT, I GET IT THE FUTILITY AND SENSELESSNESS OF WAR BUT LIKE YOU ALREADY TOOK ENOUGH FROM THEM like Finnick was prostituted out by the Capitol for YEARS and you implied that Annie was sexually tortured by the Capitol and they were both battling with mental illness and probably ptsd and a whole host of other traumatic shit and they actually carved out a place in the world together where they could be HAPPY but oh no, FInnick has to go get eat by a bunch of rabid ANIMALS like they were messed up enough for it not to be a happy ending which u are so clearly against!!! You suck on the real

12. Character that just pisses you off no matter how much you try to like them.

I am not about stock characters. I am not about Nice Guy assholes who give girls ultimatiums because they feel insecure in their relationships. I am not about personality-less, barely there for two thirds of the series, mainly seen through the memories of the protagonist 'love interests’ that are meant to bring drama and tension to an already complex and dynamic romantic relationship and thus I am not about Gale Hawthorne, ever, in this life or the next.

13. Plot device used too much


14. Favorite character death scene

I didn’t /enjoy/ it, but I think the most significant/best written death in the series is definitely Rue’s. It hits you right when it’s meant to and is just the most chilling and sobering proof of the brutality of the Games, and you can see how it changes Katniss and how it, in turn, changes the reader. Much more poignant and cleverly crafted than the endless stream of death in Mockingjay (I know, I know, the pointless savagery of war, deaths that serve no purpose, IT WAS STILL A HOT MESS OF A BOOK I WILL STAND BY THIS FOREVER).

15. An abandoned or unanswered plot line that will always bug you.


fixingood  asked:

Could you have believed what the writers laid on us? I mean, transclone! That's awesome, man. (Spoilers, obvs).

I’ve seen it and now I believe it. I didn’t think that they would go there, but indeed they have. And now we’re left to process this lovely dude with the chinstrap and mullet. (And today we learned one thing that not even Tatiana Maslany can rock and that is a bad mullet) 

My very long, rambling, analytic thoughts on Tony’s character are under the cut. Do with them as you will, but this is really just my personal opinion on a lot of this stuff and how he benefits our plot and how Tony may be perceived by less involved OB viewers.

Keep reading

Rehashing the CARYL Evidence - The End Game!

USS CARYL started season 4 full of expectation, positivity, enthusiasm and renewed gusto of hopefulness for both Carol & Daryl and their “special relationship”.

Hints and allusions to their deep bond and developing feelings have been present in the show for three seasons and naturally our expectations were geared toward further development and perhaps even a clearer definition of what they really mean to each other!

I loved being a member of a group of people who chose to look at an unconventional relationship others may have dismissed, between two people who don’t know how to be together in a world that makes everything so hard, but still try and figure out how to best love each other anyways!

The Walking Dead has always given us crumbs and pieces of CARYL AND has been pretty consistent in reminding us of the potential Carol and Daryl’s love could have…BUT making it painstakingly difficult to make all their pieces fit together…
However what it has always given and provided so generously is sweet, promising HOPE!

Then season 4 and Scott Gimple happened to us…

The season 4 finale is now upon us and USS CARYL although worse for wear, with fewer passengers and a little less gumption than what we started out with is still proudly sailing!

Hard-Core Carylers are still here and I am definitively one of them!

With so many losing hope (with good reason), jumping ship and wavering in their faith I wanted to share with you my own CARYL blueprint and tell you why I am still hanging in there and why I will cheer this on until the very end…

The signs and encouraging clues are definitively still here BUT are once again subtle and shrouded in secrecy - HOWEVER aren’t Carylers already used to that?

*Season 4 promotional material included clear and promising hints at a more developed CARYL relationship, showing the new closeness between Daryl and Carol in the trailer and promo pictures!

We all know the iconic picture of Daryl with his arm around Carol and the kind of buzz it caused!
Of course it turned out to be a backstage photo but the fact that it was included in the media promotion indicates quite strongly that both the show runners and AMC are quite aware how popular and important the CARYL pairing really is!

It was a great way to tease the audience and perhaps even hint at what it’s still to come…

**”30 Days Without An Accident” Premiere episode is said to have “seeds” applying to every characters story arc this season and CARYL got not one, not two but three specific “relationship-like” lines - “Just Remember I Liked You First”, “You Are Gonna Have To Learn To Live With the Love” and the adorable “Pookie”

The clear meaning and definitive implication of those statements is perhaps not fully clear yet BUT the underlying message of what the writers were trying to convey is that Daryl’s loyalty (even without romantic feelings) should be centered on Carol herself because she was the initial force that brought him to a place where he could have a home, a loving family and a purpose.

“You Are Gonna Have To Learn To Live With the Love” could be Carol’s way of reminding him that even when he isn’t on “top of the world”, when his actions are not the “greatest” or he “screws up”, the love that she and the others feel for him will not simply be turned off!

The CARYL bond is cantered around unconditional acceptance, which means that even when and if he feels unworthy, he will have to accept the mere fact that flawed as he is, he is loved anyway!

Hint - After He Comes Back From Joe’s Group!

***Media Promotions and Interviews - Show Runners and Cast Members

What CARYL lacked in screen time and interaction was attempted to be rectified by statements to the press on several occasions and it seemed like there was a new quote related to Daryl and Carol almost every week!

Now, personally I am of the opinion that we shouldn't have to read articles in order to understand the emotions of a character on screen BUT I can slightly justify it this time because there were extenuating circumstances in the plot (killer arc, banishment) that the producers felt needed more coverage in order to remind and clarify the importance of the CARYL bond!

The Carol and Daryl relationship was continuously mentioned and validated by TPTB, Norman Reedus and even Andrew Lincoln. Essentially CARYL received more coverage and acknowledgment this season than ever before!

Gale Ann Hurd stated that CARYL implications could be the number one spoiler of the season!

There was talk of “twin tragedies” that Daryl will have “weighing on him” in the wilderness, one of them being him “losing Carol” again!

Kirkman himself implied Carol’s importance to Daryl when he was asked to comment on the Deth non-ship, saying that the chances of Daryl and Beth romance were slim because among other things “Carol was still out there”…

Like it or not we can’t deny that these people (including Norman Reedus) went out of their way to comment on Carol and Daryl - why do it if there is no CARYL?

****Deth Non-Ship

I have already commented about why I believe that Deth is simply not happening and why I feel like Beth herself was simply used as a plot device, serving to not so subtly contribute to Daryl’s Man-Pain and perhaps create some shipper controversy!

Yes it was written with ambiguity in mind BUT the writers clearly molded Beth as a young teenage girl who clearly saw Daryl as an “older adult” (EK words not mine)!

This pairing was also specifically shot down by Scott Gimple on Talking Dead with “I wouldn’t even entertain that” and supported by other interviews later on.

Whether their dynamic was introduced to gauge public response, add more tension among the fans or simply cater to the “un-determinate age” actor Deth is pretty much a moot point right now.

As Yvette Nicole Brown already said “Nobody Wants To See That”

***** Carol Peletier Returns and Melissa McBride Blows Us Away

After the utter catastrophic failure what is known as “Karen and David Killer Arc” and Carol’s prompt banishment Team Carol and CARYL fans made their displeasure known bad even the general audience was divided on Rick’s decision!

Bringing Carol back in such a triumphant, badass and positive way (saving Judith and the kids) was received amazingly and Melissa McBride’s acting chops blew everyone away through her performance, proving once again just how big of an asset she was to the show and it’s cast.

Carol completed her heroine transformation without relying on a man to propel her story or define her strength which means that now more than ever she is no longer someone that needs saving - in fact she is now at point where she can lead and save others on her own!

Carol now doesn’t need Daryl anymore BUT she definitively still wants him!

******CARYL Reunion and Rick vs Daryl Showdown

Farmer Rick made a colossal mistake (IMO) when he sent Carol away into exile after her confession that she killed Karen and David to try and save the group, which not only went against the council hierarchy but it also jeopardized his relationship with Daryl.

The confrontation scene was delayed to increase the suspense, then left open-ended due to the governor attack and the audience has since been reminded by TPTB and Norman Reedus that the conversation is not over and that Daryl was/is unhappy about the course of events!

The importance of that scene and it’s dialogue makes it clear that Daryl and Carol were very close and that Rick (perhaps even Daryl) underestimated the depth of the CARYL bond.

Hints about completing that scene, suggesting that both Daryl and Carol would be “very happy about their reunion” and the fact that Carol will be bringing Judith back to the Grimes family ALL imply that the CARYL outcome could be a very positive one!

How positive remains to be seen!

The culmination of all the evidence, all my interpretations and my determined optimism all point to a happy CARYL resolution!

The seeds planted in episode one of this season are yet to play out, which along with the conclusions and natural progression of a relationship makes me feel confident that Carol and Daryl although changed will find a way back to each other…

USS CARYL will continue to sail but which direction it ends up taking is still unknown!

But I still believe…