and certainly no one else who understands the need for such engagement

Words by Hiba Krisht. Hiba is Lebanese and Palestinian, as well as a scholar and brilliant writer, so when she talks about Palestinian welfare and discourse about Palestine, everyone should listen.

“I’m at the point where I can’t see how focus on the Israel Palestine question re: Chicago Dyke March is anything other than derailment.
I’d also like to say that perception that pro-Palestine sentiment here is being silenced *as a general trend* very much does not sit well with me because I believe the silencing to be happening the other way around, and think this is in fact a longstanding destructive feature of discourse surrounding the Palestinian cause. Also, I believe most of those engaging in defense of a pro-Palestinian liberation stance right now mean well but do not understand how much its framing decenters actual Palestinian welfare.

I will elaborate on both counts. I’m agitated from all sides about this and I can’t do brevity so bear with me I guess.

First, the derailment. It’s of particularly troubling sort because it falls into a larger pattern of whataboutism where what *should be* a case of clearcut antisemitism cannot ever be identified and unilaterally condemned by the left without also being hashed and rehashed in exculpatory ways "because Israel.”

This is ESPECIALLY troubling when:
- There is a persistent phenomenon that’s almost like a lefty inversion of the concept Israeli exceptionalism. Like a reverse- exceptionalism, whereby discussion of Israel’s transgressions are held to singular standards of scrutiny to the exception of other nations/populations with comparable and/or far more deplorable histories and actions and crises. And in that I am including all the unspeakable injustice and destruction the larger MENA region has wrought to Palestinians, and how accountability seems no concern there, in part *because* of eternal return to obsessive, unilateral focus on Israel as the central Palestinian issue.

- Cases of anti Muslim bigotry aren’t held to the same scrutiny. The fact that people will demur about antisemitism but not anti-Muslim bigotry betrays a terrible lack of self awareness re: double standards. I mean, if you want to go ‘head and make weak arguments about how religious symbols are politically wielded, I’m going to have to start wondering why you aren’t referencing the much more appalling and deadly scope of human rights abuses committed under Muslim banners whenever the question of banning Muslim symbols comes up. Which would be a clearly terrible argument, but maybe it’s worth reflecting why the same argument suddenly makes sense when it comes to Jewish symbols.

- Casual antisemitism often manifests as (among other things) conflations between Jewish symbols or beliefs / various Zionist ones / various Israeli nationalist ones. We ALREADY know the Dyke March incident to be an iteration of this problem. Now think about how fucked up what happened next is: the ban of a Jewish symbol at a public event based on a bigoted conflation is called out as anti-Semitic. Then, as a kind of precondition for defense against or acknowledgement of such anti-Semitism, people on the left apparently see fit to hold Jewish people accountable, individually and as a group, for *the same bigoted conflations targeting them*, basically needing Jewish people to declare their politics and/or unilaterally renounce Zionism – essentially acting as gatekeepers despite being outsiders operating from apparently rather reductive and narrow presumptions of Zionist politics, since they somehow have the arrogance of assuming they understand and can judge what any given Jewish person’s Zionist adherence entails and means based on the label alone???
Who the fuck else does this? Who the fuck else has to go through this? Do we have to establish and approve of the political and ideological leanings of Muslims in order to defend them against anti-Muslim bigotry, or do we engage in whataboutism re: the scourge of political Islamism in the Middle East to determine if Muslims have the right to display their religious symbols in the west?

Now the Palestine thing. And necessary conversations. And silencing and whatnot.

Even points that are so reasonable and evident they may well be tautologies by now, like 'Palestinians are entitled to basic human rights’, bear a different weight when made in these contexts. They don’t exist in vacuum, but carry the shadow of a discourse that already has huge issues with privileging particularly anti-Zionist or anti-Israel Palestinian advocacy no matter how tangential to the conversation, and never mind what else is minimized and derailed in the process.

I am not doubting the sincerity and concern of my friends who are struggling to express pro-Palestine sentiment while being confused by hostility right now, but I would urge a more thorough consideration of the relative space taken up by the respective conversations thus far, and to not confuse long overdue push-back from folks who have every reason to be frustrated and sick of derailment and semantic squabbles over definitions of Zionism every time anti-semitism comes up.

If it seems like there is rejection from the left when you want to assert a pro-Palestinian stance here, it is less likely to be because people have a problem with pro-Palestinian politics as such, and more likely to be because there is a salient point regarding how cavalier antisemitism already is today and how these patterns of derailment every damn time end up gatekeeping attempts to counter an insidious kind of racism that can and must be discussed without forcing marginalized people to jump through the Israel Blame Game hoops to defend their humanity. The Israel Palestine thing needs to stop hijacking conversations about antisemitism. Palestinian welfare does not suffer if people refuse to derail conversations about anti-semitism, but conversations about anti-semitism certainly suffer when what-about-Palestine pops up.

And that’s all besides the fact that no matter how well-meaning, this Palestine-specific whataboutism does not contribute anything appreciable to Palestinian welfare and is so oblivious in some ways it’s kind of heartbreaking to try to navigate through. I firmly believe that the kneejerk way the Palestinian Cause is held up like a trump card whenever convenient and the infuriating reverse exceptionalism with which the conflict is treated has been a firm factor in prolonging the crisis and exacerbating Palestinian suffering. I’m struggling to find the words for why it troubles me so much to see all these conversations stuck on questions of whether anti Zionism is anti Semitism because don’t forget Israel and what about accountability for Palestine.

Please. Please. Please try to understand that an anti-Zionist pro-Palestine liberation stance is not one that needs championing in the left, that nobody fucking lets us forget Israel when we try to talk about Palestine, and nobody stops talking about Palestine when anyone mentions Israel, and it hasn’t done shit for diaspora or territory Palestinians except turn us into a handy slogan.
Establishing a stance of basic advocacy for the rights and welfare of the Palestinian people is not what the discourse lacks, it is what the discourse needs to *move past* already. Everybody is well-versed and comfortable with the Israel Blame Game– it drowns out and supersedes everything else, and it’s everything else that Palestinian advocacy desperately needs.

This is something that frustrates me to no end because it’s not reducible to something like Israeli conduct being dealt with disproportionate scrutiny in the left *as such*, but as a function of urgency and relative space. When Israel overshadows discourse about Palestinian welfare even though it is Arabs who are responsible for the most staggering and horrific ongoing Palestinian abuses, we have a problem. And it can never be talked about or addressed because only Israel’s actions are viewed with agency and significance, and attributing Palestinian suffering to anything else is instantly condemned as insidious detraction.

So you can see how it is frustrating to go through the whole 'is pro-palestinian anti-zionism anti-semitic’ rigmarole when it is so often a distraction from more functional questions of Palestinian welfare.

Fact: There are kinds of anti-Zionism that are pro-Palestinian rights and that are also anti-Semitic. Fact: There are kinds of anti-Zionism that are pro-Palestinian rights and that are not anti-Semitic. Fact: There are kinds of Zionism that are consistent with upholding the rights and freedoms of Palestinian Arabs, and, fact: there are kinds that are categorically not.

Educated opinion: Not only is anti-Zionism the established and normative stance across most of the Middle East, but, if we’re being honest, probably the most prevalent and established type of anti-Zionism in the discourse is that which engages in solid pro-Palestinian advocacy while also falling into both gross and casual anti-Semitism. This is definitely the case in the broader discourse on the issue in the Middle East, and what’s more, there is next to no self-awareness of the anti-Semitic assumptions, myths, and bigotries, not to mention the historical revisionism, threading popular and political anti-Zionism in the MENA region and popular Palestinian and Lebanese culture as well. This is a problem, and one that will never be addressed as long as pro-Palestinianism and anti-Semitism are presumed to be wholly non-overlapping binaries by well-meaning leftists. It is both possible and necessary to acknowledge and mount critique of anti-semitic elements in pro-Palestine discourse while maintaining Palestinian advocacy. Acknowledging anti-Semitism in the discourse is not going to undermine the Palestinian cause. Again, people don’t need to be perfect moral agents to justify a defense of their humanity.

Educated opinion: Leftist discourse centering the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is overall entrenched in rigid, binary thinking and overwhelmingly leans pro-Palestine but in unfortunately too-basic, reductive ways. It already has an ideological rigidity problem. The discourse is such that to be pro-Palestine is to be above all transcendentally righteous: the lines of oppression and blame are clear and brook no further complexity; it is the cause no reasonable person can deny or fail to center in any conversation, and Palestinian advocacy is almost synonymous with condemnation for the Israeli crimes against the Palestinian people and aught else.

It is troubled with issues of allegiance and abstraction– maintaining certain principled stances re: the Cause is treated as an almost inviolable tenet for anybody who can claim to care about Palestine, despite the fact that the central narrative of the Cause pits the immediate welfare and prosperity of generations of living, breathing Palestinians against the memory of a Palestine that has not existed for decades and an abstract future promise of a right to return to a place that never again will be. The narrative may have once been in service of the people, but it has not been so in a long time. And it is only the narrative that is treated with sanctity by the most vocal champions of Palestine, and if it comes at the expense of Palestinian lives like in Yarmouk, so be it. Palestinian advocacy is more about condemning Israel than it is about supporting Palestine, and that is the problem.

It’s beginning to feel like despair, seeing how pro-Palestinian discourse is framed in terms of the questions of Zionism and anti-Zionism over and again, constantly centering and recentering the question of Palestinian welfare as a foil to Israeli aggression in broad nationalistic and/or existentialist terms, assuming unilateral causes, ascribing agency very selectively to regional actors, brooking no interrogation of Palestinian, Arab, or Muslim agency in the conflict, and obsessively resistant to moving past the past.

It’s been decades and Palestinians continue to suffer large-scale crises in basic resources, public health, trauma, and disenfranchisement, and they have largely been allowed to persist in the name *of* Palestine, at the hands of Arab regimes that shrug off all accountability in Israel’s direction, though for fifty years diaspora Palestinians in the larger Levant have been purely at the mercy of the Arab states housing them. We do not need to hear tired pro-liberation stances when it is those very stances that are used to justify keeping us holed up in Lebanese and Syrian refugee camps, stateless, in suspended animation, without civil rights or wealth or upwards mobility, dying slowly of poverty and deplorable living conditions and isolation if we’re lucky, and if we’re unlucky, until a guy like Assad comes along and murders, maims, starves, and makes refugees out of a whole city of us– and yet it is in the name of liberating Palestine that Assadist discourse proliferates, being anti-Israel, and Palestine’s catastrophe is only and ever subsumed into the crimes of Israel and not of those of Syria or Lebanon or Assad or Hamas or the PA or Fatah or the GCC states or anybody else.
When I want to talk about Palestinian advocacy, I want to talk about Assad and the nearly 200,000 Palestinians in Yarmouk camp that are now dead or gone or starving under siege and I want to talk about how the Lebanese state has made pariahs and a lost people out of *generations* of diaspora Palestinians practically quarantined in refugee camps because of petty sectarian concerns and I want to talk about the Palestinian political elite grievously frittering away resources and opportunities that could have prevented significant Palestinian suffering and death because of political feuds and a reckless privileging of a jihadi cause over popular welfare– but I cannot, because the justifications, distractions, conspiracy theories loop incessantly back to Israel. Which cements *my* concern that these conversations are not really *about* Palestinian welfare at all.“

Bad Match - Pt. 3/?

Series Summary: Bucky and the Reader are set up on a date, but things don’t go as well as expected.  

Pairing: Bucky X Reader

Words Count: 1926

Warnings: angst, self-loathing feelings, bad flirting, jealousy, Bucky still is kind of a jerk, drinking.

A/N: Thank you @imhereforbvcky for having my back. As always, english is not my first language, so you’ll find grammar mistakes and nonsenses. Sorry! There’ll be more interaction between Bucky and the Reader on the next one, I promise.

Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Part 6

The cascade of hot water falling on your sore muscles was everything you needed at that moment. While you were trying to relax your drained body, your mind was in a loop repeating the memories of the last few moments.

It felt like Bucky was about to kiss you when he had you pinned on the floor. You could swear you saw the anger leaving his expression, like he was looking, really looking at you for the first time…  You shook your head under the shower to expel these thoughts of your mind. He was not interested in you, he had made that much very clear on the first time you’ve met each other. Besides, when Steve and Sharon came close, he quickly dismissed you, not even looking at you anymore. Nothing had changed.

Keep reading


Quick Review of the True Crime Books I read in 2016 (Part 2)

(Part 1) (Review of books in 2015)

Invisible Darkness by Stephen Williams: This is one of the most unsettling books I’ve read, and I have a lot of mixed feelings about it. Starting with the good, it’s a very complete and detailed account of the relationship between Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka and their crimes. It also offers a good insight into the very controversial legal agreement between Karla and the prosecution, that ended with her serving only ten years despite being an active and willing participant in the rape and murder of three girls. The third act of the book, dealing with this, was one of the better things in the novel, although I wish the actual trial had been covered more in depth. As for the bad… I thought the rape scenes were excessively and unnecesarily detailed, and I felt like the author enjoyed writing those disturbing passages a little too much. His narration is also very uneven, especially in the first part; while I liked his subtle sarcasm while describing the legal proceedings and Karla’s life, he also made some strange time jumps that made it a bit confusing to know when things are happening. There are so many private scenes that he couldn’t have possibly witnessed that he must have made them up, which made me question a little the credibility of the whole book. Finally, his obsession with Karla turns her into a fleshed out, complex character, but the opposite happens with Bernardo, who seems almost a caricature with no real insight. I still feel like I don’t know much about him other than he’s a narcissistic, sociopathic idiot. Bottomline: A good introduction to this case, if you have the stomach for it, but you’ll probably need to complement with other books later (Thank you @adeadlyinnocence for recommending me this book).

Conviction by Juan Martinez: Last year I read Picture Perfect, which is the better book to learn about Jodi Arias and Travis Alexander and how their story ended with her murdering him. This book was an interesting complement because I enjoy the details of trials and this one in particular was a very intense and eventful one. Juan Martinez, the man who prosecuted Arias, describes in detail his investigation and strategy to get a conviction, and he certainly doesn’t pretend to be humble when detailing his role in putting her behind bars. There’s no new information or revelations that I hadn’t seen everywhere else. He’s also extremely biased and portrays her as the worst of the worst, he even talks of her “dark soul” at some point. I have to say, I personally didn’t mind that because I can’t stand Jodi Arias, but if you’re looking for a more objective look into her, you should stay away from this.

True Crime Addict by James Renner: I already wrote about how bad this book about the disappearance of Maura Murray is here, but to summarize: don’t waste your time with this narcissistic, self infolved piece of sleazy reporting disguised as “journalism”. The author is insufferable and seems to think we care about his life while offering nothing new to the actual case of Maura.

Bringing Adam Home by Les Standiford: I can only describe this book as “correct” but is not really very engaging nor memorable, despite covering a very famous and horrible case. The kidnapping and murder of Adam Walsh in 1981 and the many years it took to be solved was one that shook the United States and started many changes. I feel like this book doesn’t quite manage to portray those changes, mostly because it decides to look away from Adam’s parents and their struggle and instead it focus on the story of the detective that eventually gave sufficient evidence for police to close the case naming Ottis Toole as the killer. Toole’s story is also described in some chapters but again, it seems to only give a superficial portrayal of him.

Imperfect Justice by Jeff Ashton: This book was written by one of the prosecutors in the Casey Anthony trial, so it’s important to keep in mind we are seeing only one side of the story, and he certainly doesn’t hold back in showing her as the most manipulative and lying person on Earth. That being said, it’s really hard to see how this woman was found not guilty. Ashton explains all the evidence they had in detail and it’s very compelling, and tells about all the things going on behind the scenes. He also can’t hide his contempt for the defense lawyer (he openly admits he dislikes him) and for the jury too, whom he clearly blames for the ultimate decision of the trial. My only issue with this book is that I didn’t see much introspection or real analysis into why they lost the case.

Perfect Murder, Perfect Town by Lawrence Schiller: It’s so hard to find an unbiased analysis of JonBenet Ramsey’s murder, because so many people who’ve written about it have been “part of the investigation”, which makes it a big no no for me because we know that investigation was far from stellar, for many reasons that aren’t just the fault of the police. This book is hardly perfect (see what I did there?) but it’s a decent start to the case, because it details the investigation and the many inside shenanigans, the Ramsey’s version, the complicated dealings with the prosecution’s office and why they refused to charge the Ramsey’s, and also how the press covered the case. It doesn’t really give much perspective on other potential suspects and the title is misleading, since it suggests it will explore more the context of Boulder, the town where the murder happened, but I didn’t see much of that. I’d say this is an okay book to understand why this case went so wrong, but I don’t think it gives one convincing theory about what really happened.

Devil in the Darkness by JT Hunter: Israel Keyes is one of the most chilling and intriguing serial killers in recent times, not to mention there’s still a lot of mystery around him, so it’s a bit surprising he hasn’t been more deeply covered by other authors. This book is a decent attempt at it, and gives a good introduction into what kind of person he was before he started his crimes; not so much after. Because there are a lot of unconfirmed things in his story, including his victims, the book mostly dedicates time to his most infamous murder, the one of Samantha Koenig. The narration jumps back and forth between the time around that crime and Keyes’ past, with a lot of attention put into his relationship with the mother of his daughter, probably because she seemed to be one of the few people involved willing to talk to the author. I found this book a bit hard to follow at times, but I’d still recommend it if you’re interested in true crime.

The Cases that Haunt Us by John Douglas and Mark Olshaker: As you probably know, John Douglas is the guy that pretty much built the department of behavior analysis in the FBI and is one of the pioneers in profiling criminals. He makes sure to tell you that a hundred times in this book, because he can never flatter himself enough, although I get that the talk of his past experiences is important here to validate his opinions. This book covers famous unsolved or solved but controversial cases through America’s history (plus Jack the Ripper because who can resist) and in each one Douglas gives his point of view of the profile of the suspects, and whether or not they fit with the actual murderer. Lizzie Borden, the kidnapping of the Lindberg Baby, the Boston Strangler and the Black Dahlia are among the cases covered. I found his views in the JonBenet’s case particularly interesting because he got to be involved personally in it, and he got a lot of criticisim because he thought the Ramseys were innocent (and I have to say, strictly from a profiling point of view, I agree with his assessment). The book can get exhausting because the writing is very academical and not very fluid, but it’s also a good learning experience if you like investigations.

anonymous asked:

Valar Morghulis ;) I was just wondering, do you have any A:tLA fic recs, specifically Zutara ones??? Thanks!

Valar Dohaeris 😉

Sure! Here are some more of the gems this fandom produces


  • Together at the Horizon by @dragon-hearted-girl;
    AU After a century, the Avatar has still not been reincarnated, allowing the Fire Nation to continue its conquest of the world. A young Airbender befriends a Waterbender and Firebender, both of whom are living with a terrible curse. Formerly titled “Tale of the Grey Wolf and Golden Hawk”

  • i didn’t know i was lonely (’til i saw your face) by @raisindeatre;
    The “I hit you with my car and was the only one to visit you in hospital” AU I never thought I’d write. Or: how one car crash, one dancing bear, many, many crossword puzzles and a spot of accidental cohabitation lead to… well, if it isn’t love, it’s certainly something.

  • Love Story by lynny17;
    A meeting of nations years after the war leads to an unexpected romance as a love story unfolds. 100-word drabble series. Disclaimer: I do not own Avatar: The Last Airbender This is in response to the LJ katara zuko winter drabble challenge.

  • Jasmine and Souchong by @archergwen;
    It’s the Midsummer Festival, and Zuko’s lone night manning his uncle’s tea shop does not go according to plan. ‘He wants to stay like this forever. Just her and an empty tea shop, sugar and smoke on her breath.’

  • The Stalking Series by @emletish-fish;

    - Stalking Zuko: Katara has developed a new hobby. At the Western Air Temple she takes to stalking Zuko. Much silliness and shenanigans follow. In chapter 20: Katara and Zuko return home to the others. Katara hates the F word and she comes to a decision regarding Zuko.
    - Not Stalking Zuko: Katara keeps a journal of all the shenanigans that the Gaang run into. Chapter 49: there is much talk about the future - now that the war is over and everything is changing. Hakoda and Zuko talk. Katara decides that some things in life are worth the risk.

    - Not Stalking Firelord Zuko: The immediate postwar period from Katara’s ranty POV. shenanigans abound. Chap 24:Song arrives in Ba Sing Se. Shenaniagns ensue.


  • Thicker Than Blood by @akaiikowrites;
    “You have to love all the facets of their soul, or your love is pointless.” A Story of the Girl Who Bends Blood and the Boy Who Loves Her. –Zutara; semi AU; giftfic for dancingqueensillystring-

  • Rounding the Edges by @sadladybug;
    It can take some grit and hard work to grind out the sharp edges, but the effort can produce something that shines. A Zutara oneshot in which Katara learns a few new things about Zuko, including the fact that he may be very difficult to live without. Featuring unexpected teamwork, tense training moments, and more than a few awkward conversations. Canon compliant(ish), Book Three beginning sometime between TSR and EIP.

  • Tremors by CuriosityRedux;
    She’s free to choose- if she goes back to the Poles, if she travels, if she stays in the Fire Nation just a little bit longer. She can choose to go back to the life she would have led if she’d never revived the Avatar, or she can choose to forge a new path. And she chooses him. Oneshot. Zutara.

  • Eye of the Storm by @cowlicklesschick;
    There is a moment of calm, where the wind dies down and the torrents ease and soften, where thoughts can be heard louder than words. It is a moment of relief, but also of fear and preparation, because there always another side to every storm, and the calm never lasts for long. Zutara B3 immediately following the Agni Kai.

  • Wooing Zuko by @cabbage-foam;
    Immediately postwar. During a trip to Ember Island to celebrate of the end of the war, Katara feels the need to affirm her sex appeal. Her target? Zuko.

Drabble Series:

  • Inside This Ancient Heart by @somuttersthesea;
    “She and Zuko, on the other hand—she feels like they’ve been old forever, even though they’re still young enough by most standards. The baby in her arms coos and she shifts her gently, cradling her head and smiling, only to see a gratifying, toothless smile beam from rounded cheeks in return.“A series of domestic drabbles written for Zutara Week 2016.

  • On Love and Lust by @theadamantdaughter;
    A collection of Zutara drabbles and one-shots. Some smut, some not. NSFW chapters will be labelled as such. Heed the warnings and enjoy.

  • A Little Bit of This, and a Little Bit of That by @kangaroo2010;
    No matter the time, no matter the place, no matter the circumstances, deep down, they always knew they were meant for each other. A series of short pieces, written for Zutara Month 2015.

  • you and I will not be shaken by @beifonc;
    In which Zuko is an awkward barista, Katara is obsessed with ‘vandalizing’ her customers’ food, and they bond over a love for instant noodles and microwavable food. In which Zuko rambles about space at ungodly hours, and Katara is desperate to shut him up.A series of Modern AU oneshots or my excuse to write drabble and not work on my WIPs.

  • 31 Kisses by @darkelf19;
    A clumsy Zutara story told through 31 kisses. Written for Official Zutara Month 2016 @ Tumblr. Officially Zutara, but it could pass as any ship. Each chapter will be a perfect 100 word drabble. Enjoy!


  • A Week to Know You Again by @elledix;
    After the first year of their engagement, Katara felt she and Zuko were already drifting apart. In the Fire Nation, their time always belonged to someone else. Now, in the South Pole for Suki and Sokka’s wedding, they hoped to find each other again.

  • The Business Trip by @thispieceofwork;
    Zuko’s been gone for two long months and Katara has needs. Takes places between Ch 10 of Confused and the Epilogue. Some PWP fun.

  • Agni’s Fever by @sohhng;
    She decides that she loves him for both the fire lilies and the brimstone on his breath. Oneshot. Zutara. ‘Zuko’s hands snag around her wrists. His body is a long line of tension, and now that he’s reared up on his knees to match her stance, she notices that his chest is as bare as it is soaked. “You can’t even begin to understand what’s happening to me.”“I’m trying to understand,” Katara grits. “Isn’t that what you wanted from me from the very beginning?”’

  • A Challenge Met by @sharkflip;
    Katara and Zuko meet and reconcile during Day of Black Sun, with the outcome expected in a story written for Zutarotica. AU for the Eclipse.

  • Love Amongst the Embers by @mmmisora;
    After the Ember Island Players’ performance, and with the help of a little rice wine, Zuko and Katara decide to rewrite an alternate ending to their story. Oneshot, Zuko/Katara. Rated M.

Hope this was useful!  I’ve got another fic rec list here, if you want to check that out :)

Happy Shipping!

anonymous asked:

I remember your 5/20/80 rule and it was an awesome post to put perceived vocal audiences into perspective. I wonder if you'd be willing to revisit that idea from a different angle. Let's say the playerbase actually wanted to gain the ear of you/a gamedev to get something changed. What would be a meaningful way to get that to happen? I'm sure writing an angry message on my exit survey when I unsubscribe wouldn't be on the top of the list. Is there a way?

Sure there is. Devs love getting feedback, but we often have to sift the useful stuff from stuff that isn’t particularly useful. That’s one of the reasons we hire community managers. So here are some guidelines to making your feedback useful to us. Some of this might feel a bit counter-intuitive, but I guarantee you that this sort of feedback is the most useful to us.

#1. Speak for yourself

Don’t spend time telling us what the majority of our fans think. You really don’t speak for them and we have the data to prove it. But that’s ok! You don’t have to speak for everybody. Just tell us what you think. Believing you represent everybody else might make you feel like it carries more weight, but it really doesn’t unless you really do represent everybody. You’re already posting on a forum or social media or whatever, which already statistically excludes you from representing everybody. So just tell us what you think. I promise that we’ll listen.

#2. Speak honestly. Avoid hyperbole.

No, this feature did not give you cancer. No, this weapon is not the worst in the game. No, that other class is not our favorite pet class and we do not give them everything they ever wanted. The problem with parsing hyperbole is that it is basically hiding a grain of truth inside a ball of lies. When we have to sift out truth from the lies around it, it makes us grumpy.

#3. Speak about problems. Don’t propose solutions.

Players giving feedback often skip straight to their own proposed solutions and it doesn’t help very much. It isn’t that players who give feedback are bad or stupid - most of the hardcore players who provide feedback are very smart and analytical. The problem is that their proposed solutions often lack crucial context to make an informed decision. You don’t know the limitations we have to work within or the resources we have available. Just because some other game did it doesn’t mean we can do it too. It’s really hard for someone to come up with a feasible solution without knowing all of that information. Just tell us what you don’t like, why you don’t like it, and leave the solutions to us. We made the rest of the game, after all. Give us a little faith.

#4. Speak to a comrade, not an enemy

Remember that we all have something in common - we all like and believe in the game. We all want what’s best for it. Lashing out in anger isn’t going to make us more likely to do what you say. Threats are also not going to work. Threats to quit especially don’t work - the actual rate at which people who threaten to quit and follow through is so miniscule that it is almost unnoticeable. We are not trying to kill your family or destroy everything you hold dear. We want what you want - what’s best for the game. We are not your enemy, even if there are choices we made that you don’t agree with. We know that not everyone will agree with every decision we make, but nobody reacts favorably to being called names and told they’re stupid or incompetent.

#5. Speak with brevity

Refrain from posting enormous dissertations. Keep it simple and short. If you cannot explain the problem with a handful of sentences, you probably haven’t isolated it. This point tends to be related to #3 - usually, articulating a problem isn’t that difficult to get across in a sentence or three. It’s the solutions that tend to require a lot of explanation. Here’s the biggest issue with walls of text - the feedback will be distilled down by the community managers for the devs anyway. They’ll condense it all down to a list of bullet points and give it to us. So why not cut out the middle man and make it easier on them? They’ll certainly be happier if you do them the courtesy. 

#6. Speak without expectations

There is nothing you can do to guarantee that we will do what you say. You cannot argue us into doing what you want. You cannot force us to do what you want. You cannot “logic” your way into doing what you want. It is very likely that we won’t always acknowledge you individually, because there’s so many of you for each one of us on the forums that it’s just not particularly feasible. Also, don’t take dev or official responses to indicate the only posts we’re reading. The feedback that gets collected and passed on to us isn’t only gathered from those posts that garner official responses. The majority of the useful feedback won’t ever get an official response -most of us believe that the best way to acknowledge your feedback is to through the game itself (even though it is likely that changes are weeks if not months away… patches need to pass testing and cert, after all). 

And that’s basically it. I know that the fans that engage with the game’s community and developers are super passionate and only want what they feel is best for the game. If you didn’t care, you wouldn’t reach out. Believe me when I say that we devs feel the same way. Please believe me when I say that well-written, concise, and honest feedback is far more likely to reach us than anything else. I swear that’s the best way to get your feedback heard and considered.

Got a burning question you want answered?

Good End

This is one of my tributes for achieving 1000 followers! Thank you all so much! Enjoy! ^^

Read the bad end here.

Note: This is going to be LONG, so grab a snack / water.

WARNING: spoilers ahead. Please read at your own discretion.

Summer vacation.

The former Phantom Thieves were lounging around the attic in Leblanc; Akira had come to visit, and everyone had assisted him with unpacking in addition to tidying up the room.

Ryuji groaned. “God… it’s too freakin’ hot. Ain’t there any air conditioning in here?”

“My bad. I’ll go step outside,” Akira said, his face completely straight.

“What would be the purpose in doing such a thing? Is it not hotter outside than it is indoors?” Yusuke implored.

“Yusuke… I think Akira meant that it’s so hot in here because he’s hot…” Ann chimed.

“Thank you, Ann,” Akira replied smugly.

She sighed. “You totally took that the wrong way…”

“I’m afraid you set yourself up for that one,” Makoto added.

Ryuji abruptly gasped. “Hey, I got it! Why don’t we go to the beach to celebrate this guy comin’ to visit?”

“But he only just arrived…” Haru said pointedly.

“Tomorrow, then! C’mon, it ain’t a real summer unless we go to the beach.”

“Hm, he’s got a point,” Morgana agreed. 

Futaba vigorously nodded. “Yup, yup. Count me in!”

“I have no objections as well. The sea is a marvelous landscape, and I hear that the ice cream is on sale for a limited time this summer.” Yusuke began to murmur to himself about checking his savings.

“Well, since we all agree, we’ll wake up early in the morning and set off then. Are we good?” Morgana asked.

The decision was unanimous, and everyone departed to prepare for their adventure.

Akira and Morgana were alone that night. “It feels good to back,” the cat mused.

“Yeah, we made some great memories here.”

“Are you all packed up? We’ll have to wake up early tomorrow.” The boy nodded in response, and the duo happily fell asleep on their familiar bed.

Everyone arrived early as promised, and on Akira’s way out, Sojiro spoke to him. “You heading out?”

“Yeah, we’re going to the beach.”

The manager nodded. “All right. You kids have fun. And Akira… it’s good to have you back.”

Akira smiled and nodded. Before he left, however, he turned back to Sojiro. “Can I ask for a favor?”

Once Akira discussed this ‘favor’ with Sojiro, he and his friends took off in their vehicle. It was a quiet drive since most of them had fallen asleep, but when they arrived, the chatter never ceased.

The boys waited outside for the girls to finish up in the changing room, and then they set off in search for the perfect location to claim. After they unpacked, the girls applied sunscreen to each other, and Ryuji proceeded to drag everyone to the water.

“W-wait, the instructions on the sunscreen said to wait about 15 minutes before going into the water,” Makoto explained.

“Don’t worry about it, that stuff never works anyway.”

“Ryuji, did you even put any on?”

“Nope!” he replied happily.

The group playfully splashed about in the water, and half of them began playing chicken while the other half searched for seashells.

Ryuji and Ann were engaged in chicken, with Akira and Makoto holding them, respectively. 

“Don’t think I’m gonna go easy on ya. You’re goin’ down,” Ryuji taunted.

“Yeah, going down in history as a champion. But don’t worry, I’m sure there’s a spot with your name on it… in the loser’s section,” Ann retorted.

“You little…! C’mon, Akira; we can’t lose!”

“Is that… ice cream?!” Yusuke’s eyes widened and sparkled as he gazed at the nearby cart.

Ryuji fell into the water with a splash and somehow Akira teleported next to Yusuke. 

“Let’s do this, Fox,” Akira said, his eyes glinting with fighting spirit as he held his hand up.

“Right behind you, Joker.” The two high-fived and broke out into a sprint toward the ice cream cart, leaving a cloud of sand behind them.

“Abandoned for ice cream?!” Ryuji shouted in disbelief as he bobbed in the water.

The duo instantly returned with the cart. 

“You bought the entire cart?!” Ryuji exclaimed.

“I had extra money,” Akira explained, flashing a thumbs-up with a twinkle in his eye.

“Wh-whoa! Impressive,” Futaba mused.

Haru giggled. “That’s our leader!”

“Let’s take this to our spot! I bet Morgana will love this,” Ann beamed.

The friends savored their ice cream, and Morgana indulged in some as well. They had debated taking the cart with them since they couldn’t finish it all, but Makoto pointed out that someone was going to have to be left behind for that to work.

“It was nice knowing you, Inari.”

“Do not insinuate that I’m going to be left behind! I simply cannot allow myself to be parted from such a delicacy.”

“Then I guess you better eat up, or else I’m gonna nosh on all of it,” Futaba threatened.

“I won’t allow that!” The two engaged in an eating contest and they hastily finished off all the ice cream. However, they reaped the consequences as they grasped their heads and cringed from the ensuing brain-freeze. 

“Oh my, will they be all right?” Haru asked.

Makoto shook her head. “Let’s just leave them be.”

The duo decided to take a walk to burn off the calories they just consumed. They discussed other plans and events that they could partake in while Akira was still there.

“Anywhere is fine with me as long as I’m with you all,” Haru said cheerfully.

“I feel the same way,” Makoto agreed. “This will definitely be an exciting summer.”

“Yes, we’re already off to a great start. Hm… why don’t we go camping? I’m sure the stars would look lovely away from the city lights!”

Makoto gulped. “C-camping? In the d-dark?”

Haru smiled apologetically. “I’m sorry, I failed to remember your aversion to darkness.“

“N-no, it’s okay. It’s a fantastic idea. But could you, um… bunk with me?”

Haru’s hair bounced as she eagerly nodded and linked arms with Makoto. “It’s a deal! We should invite Ann and Futaba to join us in our tent, too. The more the merrier, right?” She glanced at Makoto knowingly.

The scarlet-eyed girl sighed in relief and smiled warmly. “Thank you for understanding.” The girls rejoined the group, chattering and giggling about silly things that would happen on the camping trip. 

Soon the day had reached the afternoon, and the friends decided it would be best to head back to Leblanc. The car was buzzing with their voices as they excitedly discussed the day’s events, as well as future plans.

“A campin’ trip?! That’s genius, Haru!” Ryuji exclaimed.

She nodded. “Thank you! I believe it would be a fascinating experience. What do you say, Akira?”

The raven-haired boy bobbed his head in approval. “Let’s head straight there.”

“H-hey, now, no need to rush,” Makoto added.

“Oh yeah, ain’t you afraid of the dark?” Ryuji asked playfully.

Makoto shot daggers at him through the rear-view mirror. “The amazing thing about the woods is that no one can hear you scream.”

“S-sorry, just a joke, won’t happen again!” he squeaked.

Everyone safely made it to the coffee shop and greeted Sojiro on their way to the attic. “I’m gonna close up shop early and leave the place to you kids since Akira asked me to. I better not return to the place being burned down,” Sojiro warned.

“Leave it to us, Boss! We’ll take good care of it!” Ann chirped.

With a grunt and a nod, he left the cafe, flipping the sign on the way out.

“You asked him to close the place for us?” Futaba asked Akira.

“Yeah, because we’re going to have a sleepover.” The group simply gaped at him for a moment. Then they cheered and tugged Akira into a group hug.

“Dude, you’re the best!”

“Oh my god, this is going to be so much fun!”

“Indeed. This will be my first sleepover…”

“I should text my sister that I won’t be returning home tonight.”

“This is gonna be a blast! Akira, go and make us some of that sweet, sweet curry!”

“Curry does sound delicious right now! A cup of coffee would compliment it perfectly, too.”

Akira grinned at the gaggle of exhilarated friends and agreed to provide dinner. They assisted him, of course, and the food actually came out very well. The team contentedly munched on it, complimenting Akira’s natural talent and generosity. He shyly rubbed the back of his head and thanked them for their aid. 

With their bellies now full, they bounded upstairs and engaged in party games such as truth or dare (which Haru was surprisingly adept at), board games, and cards. After they played, Akira put on a movie and retrieved spare blankets so that they could build a blanket fort. 

“Yusuke, you keep knocking the blankets down,” Ann complained.

“I-I apologize. It seems that I must be more cautious when I stand up.”

Eventually, the group had exhausted themselves, and they collapsed on the floor, cuddling with each other despite the heat. Only Akira remained awake, and he stared at the ceiling, lost in his thoughts. Never in his wildest dreams had he anticipated sharing his heart with so many people, nor that they would actually reciprocate his affection. 

Akira gasped as something slammed down on his stomach. It appeared to be the leg of one his friends. His eyes strained against the darkness to follow up the leg, only to discover that it belonged to Ryuji. Morgana was curled on top of the blonde’s back, and Ryuji’s arm was draped around Futaba’s waist, who had her head placed on Yusuke’s stomach. His lithe legs tangled with Makoto’s, and her arms were secured around Haru’s waist. 

Akira softly chuckled at the web of people scattered around the attic, and his heart swelled with fondness, for it was they who had accepted him, even when no one else did. He expected his time in Tokyo to be a living hell, and it certainly felt that way at times… but his friends became his salvation when the world had abandoned him. 

I almost forgot what this felt like…

Akira glimpsed once more at his companions before shutting his eyes. His finger reached up to snag the teardrop that had rolled out of one of his eyes, and he smiled to himself.

It’s good to be back home.

anonymous asked:

Hi, I hear someone saying that Hunger Games isn't immersive, and I was wondering what is an immersive universe and is it something I should be writing? And if so, how do I go about doing it? Thanks!

This is a perfectly fascinating question, and I think it deserves some time unpacking it. So, what is an immersive universe?

Immersive: relating to…images that actively engage one’s senses and may create an altered mental state; relating to activity that occupies most of one’s attention, time, or energy. (x)

What this boils down to is that an immersive universe is a world that so completely captures a reader’s imagination and attention that they may begin to daydream, lose track of time, lose a sense of surrounding, gain selective hearing, and all the other symptoms that come right along with being completely absorbed in something. “Immersive” can describe anything from a task requiring intense concentration (to the point that you block out everything else to facilitate that concentration) such as data entry, all the way to things like video games that so completely suck a person in that they lose three hours of their time without noticing it. If a game is immersive, it’s considered to be so well-designed, well-written, and well-executed that it draws the player in and allows the player to imagine themselves within the game. There are no oddities or awkwardness, things that distance the player or jolt them from the game. It’s a highly desirable aspect to any piece of fiction because you’ve created a world that appears seamless.

Consider the definition for world-building which I talked about back in Part One of that series:

World building: The construction of a world, especially a convincing fictional world for literature, etc.

If a world is so completely seamless that is becomes immersive, it could also be described as convincing, could it not? If your goal is to create a convincing world, then immersive should also be one of those goals. Alright, so immersive is a good thing–so good that it makes your readers want to come back for more. But how do we get there? What makes a piece of fiction immersive?

Your world:

So you’ve got a pretty unique world set up. That’s cool. How are you going to bring it to life on the page? In order for your story to be immersive, your audience has to be able to see it, live in it, understand it. That means that your job as the author to world-build effectively is paramount. You’ll need to figure out the delicate balance between your world-building within the narrative as well as your story. Sharing details about the world will help folks be able to envision where and who your characters are.

Describing characters and settings and pertinent political/cultural/religious/social details as needed without going too overboard will be key, since you want them to be able to understand the world without overloading them with too much of the nitty-gritty. Entice them before you dump a whole heap before them. Make sure the characters feel like they belong in the world you’re creating and that the world feels like it could conceivably exist. If you have a man toting a six-shooter in a world where so far only swords and daggers have been seen, your reader is going to feel a bit uncomfortable, and that out-of-place-ness will drag them right out of whatever immersion you were able to create before that. A woman in the 1300s whipping out a cellphone, for example, would probably be jarring enough for a reader to remember they’re looking at words on a page, not directly through a screen to their imagination.

Your characters:

If your characters aren’t interesting and believable as real human beings, your audience won’t see them that way. They’ll constantly be seated a bit further back from the story, rather than directly in it, because they don’t feel like their connection with the character is genuine, or that the character itself is genuine. This does not mean that all your characters need to be sympathetic, but the more understandable they are, the more relateable they’ll be (even if your readers can’t say, “That’s me!” they will still be able to relate in a way that’s perhaps more like, “I know someone like that.”). The more understandable they are, the easier it will be for your readers to imagine that character in other situations, which will help them to feel as though they’ve connected with your world.

Your style:

Think about the style of your storytelling, as well. First person is often thought to be the easiest to evoke an immersive quality since by virtue of placing the “I” in a reader’s mind, the reader will begin to associate with that character, but it’s certainly not the only way. Creating an engaging voice to your piece by picking words that create mood and tone will help the reader to feel the settings of the piece. (I’ve read some pieces that were so thick with suspense and humidity I could literally feel the damp on my skin and my hairs raise on my arm.) Alongside picking your words and creating your style, remember that using too many words that folks have to look up will pull the reader right out of the story and right back into their living room, looking for their phone. Overly complex writing styles will cause this, too. No sentence should have to be read twice to understand, so in your editing make sure there are no moments where you have to clarify to yourself how to read a sentence. Keeping your metaphors from being too outlandish will help keep from jarring a reader, too.

Remember that reader-experience is different every time: 

Look. You asked specifically about The Hunger Games and its immersive ability. I don’t have an answer for that one. While I never had a trouble envisioning the world, I also wouldn’t have called it immersive. I didn’t feel it. What would have helped with that? I don’t know, probably style for me. But for you and those you were talking with? Who knows. Maybe they were immersive for you. Maybe your stomach twisted when Katniss and Peeta held those berries; maybe you held your ear when those supplies outside the cornucopia exploded; maybe you dreamed of the mines of District 12. I don’t know. Like with all writing things, it’s individual and there’s no tried-and-true, right-and-wrong way to do any of this. Write with feeling, write with vision, write with passion and hopefully your audience will pick up on that, too. If your beta readers tell you it feels a bit wooden and they couldn’t lose themselves in it quite as easily, go back and look at some things. Tweak your style, first off–that’s usually the biggest road block to immersion. Right now I’m reading a story that’s very heavily stylized–very interesting in terms of execution, but not easy to dissolve into because of that stylization. Is that wrong? Maybe. Maybe not. It depends on the reader and how the story hits them at the time they’re reading it. Never dismiss the criticism, but never believe it’s the end-all-be-all about your story, either. I hope this has helped a bit, Anon. Good luck! -Pear

anonymous asked:

I ❤you and your writing. B + C met during a games night at mutual friends when they got ultra competitive over a game of Monopoly. It's only right that he proposes during a game of Pictionary with the gang. Except Clarke is so focused on trying to win, that the 'subtle' theming of all the clues (i.e. totally obvious films/books etc about love and marriage, especially picked by Bellamy) totally passes her by... Cue much hilarity amongst their friends, and much exasperation/love from Bellamy. ❤

Thanks for the prompt!! I tweaked it a little, firstly because I was going on memory and forgot it was specifically pictionary, and then secondly because the thought of someone proposing to me in public/in front of people genuinely horrifies me and I couldn’t bring myself to write it lmao. Hope you like it anyway!


“So, marriage.”

Bellamy drives off the road, blinking at the TV as Princess Peach zooms across the finish line while his screen is black, Waluigi falling into the abyss.

“Was that intentional?” He asks, finishing the race on autopilot and in twelfth place, as Clarke snuggles into his side and presses her smile into his shoulder.

“It was a conversation I’ve been trying to figure out when to have.”

“And you decided the last three seconds of Rainbow Road was the right time?”

“Two birds, one stone.” She tilts her head and smirks up at him, and he can’t help the way his irritation instantly disappears. She might be ruthlessly competitive, but he’s also like ninety percent sure she wants to marry him, and he can’t find it within himself to be upset about anything when he’s thinking about that. “So what do you think?”

“What do I think about marriage? In general?”

“Sure. And to me, specifically.”

“Is this you proposing?”

“No way,” she snorts. “You know I don’t half-ass anything, ever. If I propose, I’m gonna sweep you off your feet.”

He grins. “Fair point.”


“So–” He shrugs. “I don’t know. Marriage in general has never been a big dream of mine, mostly because I was pretty relieved Mom never married any of the guys in her life. It’s not like– It was still hard for her to leave some of them, but it would have been harder if there were legalities involved.”

Clarke kisses his shoulder again, nuzzling into him a little, and he puts his arm around her. “As a child of divorce, I can attest that the legalities don’t make any of it easier.”

“I guess I didn’t get the appeal of it for a long time.” He pauses. “But ever since we started dating… Well, I get it now.”


He kisses her hair. “Yeah. I want to tell everyone all the time how awesome you are and how awesome our life is together. It’s a lot easier if we do it all at once, with all the people important to us watching. And then everyone else can just take a hint from the rings.”

“Sappy,” she accuses, but he can hear the smile in her voice.

“Plus there are tax advantages and healthcare and stuff.”

“Well if it’s for tax advantages.” She straightens a little, still under his arm, and picks her controller back up.

“Hey.” He pokes her in the side. “You can’t just leave it at that. This is when you’re supposed to tell me what you think.”

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Practical Decisions (usuk omegaverse)

based off the prompt @mayumisatosan sent me: “betrothed princes” and i made it omegaverse cuz nobody can stop me. it was supposed to be a drabble but i got carried away, ops

The agreement was made before Arthur was even born.

It was a political decision made between neighbor Kingdoms that were tired of fighting over a small piece of land that at some point both of them claimed to be theirs. So it was decided that the land would become their official trading point. And to unite the land it was agreed they should unite their families also, and that was where Arthur came in. He was to marry the second alpha in line for the throne of the Fenix Kingdom, and they’d move to the newly created Trading City of Qensport and they’d administrate it.  And as long as they did it right, the Fenix and Rosal Kingdoms would live in peace with each other.

Arthur was basically born for that. The Queen gave birth to an alpha girl and a beta boy before he, an omega, was finally born. And by that time his fiancé was already four years old.

Arthur grew up with his entire life planned in front of him. He didn’t have much to look forward to. He was going to study, he was going to marry an alpha named Alfred, he was going to administrate Qensport with Alfred, he was going to give Alfred children so they’d serve the Kingdoms as well, and then if he was lucky he was going to die peacefully when he was old.

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peskipiksi-pesternomi-for-life  asked:

Hi, I love your writing so much! In the Obi-Wan is Dooku's padawan 'verse what happens during Naboo? Or Melida/Daan? How do they find Anakin? Thanks for answering!

“You are a terrible influence my padawan.” Dooku squeezed the others shoulder as he lead Obi-Wan off Melida/Daan even as the boy threw him a wide smile with his arm in a sling. “A terrible terrible influence.”

“We stopped a war.” Obi-Wan offered cheerfully in return as he limped beside his master.

“That we did. Now you get to explain to the council exactly how and why and you get to do the report.”

“But Master!”

“Fair is fair Obi-Wan, you are the one who wanted to stay.”

“You let me though.”

“Of course I did. Compassion is a tool of the Jedi and though your actions were less then desirable, it was the compassionate thing to do.” Yan smiled down at the other before sighing. “I do wish you weren’t so injured though.”

“Its alright.” Obi-Wan turned his head enough to give Cerasi a wave of goodbye, a small smile on his lips as the ramp raised behind them and the ship took of. “I like this outcome. It feels like the better one.”

Yan hummed before sighing and picking up the teen. “Indeed, lets get you to the medbay. I’m sure I can fix you up…mostly.”

Obi-Wan sniggered a bit. “You’re just worried about the healers scolding you again.” He teased lightly.

Yan rolled his eyes, holding the other to him a bit tighter. He’d never admit it but watching Obi-Wan move between volleys of blaster bolts and barely avoid explosions had been one of the more stressing moments of his life. Not even Qui-Gon bringing a damn poisonous reptile to their room and promptly loosing it had scared more years out of him.


“Qui-Gon no.” Obi-Wan placed his hands on his hips and glared at his linage brother, a sharp frown on his face that startled the man in question.

“What?” He blinked.

“I said no. You don’t put something like that on a nine year old. Choosen one? Prophecy? Just no. He’s a boy of the age of nine that you’ve taken from his mother. And yes it still counts as taken from him. I’ve been speaking to Anakin and I’m not happy with you and I will be telling Master what you did.” The soon to be knight said firmly.

“What exactly did Anakin tell you?!” Qui-Gon yelped. Manly yelp, yes of course manly.

“You won him in a pod race you had him compete in, as an added bonus with a hyperdrive, you had him separated from his mother and still haven’t had the decency to ask someone else to go get her which would eliminate some of his fears. You told him you weren’t there to save slaves and didn’t explain to him the reasons Jedi can’t involve themselves openly against the Hutts and believe me, Anakin would understand, he understands that Hutts are dangerous.”

The two stared at each other.

“…Summed up like that I sound terrible.”

“You do. And you are not to old to go over Yan’s lap you know. We will never be to old for that. Or to be stuck in a corner.”

“He ca-”

Obi-Wan raised his eyebrow. “No?”

“…Oh fine. But he needs to be trained.”

“Hidebound Councilors will not be convinced by a Chosen one argument. Convince them with how strong he is. Convince them with the trained darksider you encountered.” Obi-Wan reached up and rested his hands on his brother padawans shoulders. “Don’t put that kind of pressure on a nine year old Qui-Gon. Whatever you think about his future, live in that saying that you’re so fond of, live in the moment and see the boy who needs a hand to hold.”

Qui-Gon stared at him before giving a breathy sort of laughter that made him lean forward and bump his forehead against the others carefully. “When did you get so wise Obi-Wan?”

Sniggering a bit, Obi-Wan settled as two large hands mimicked his grip on Qui-Gon’s shoulders on his own. “By being around you and Yan, someone had to be smart in response to you brother padawan.” He winked.

“Are you calling our master-”

“Force no. Someone had to be the dumb counterpart to his smartness too.” Obi-Wan laughed warmly.

“…How goes things with Mace?”

“Carefully. I’m not jumping into a relationship with a councilor, least of all the Master of the Order. I told him I wanted to become a knight before I engaged in anything serious.”  Obi-Wan hummed, enjoying the closeness of the other and the warm hands on his shoulders.

“I see, good plan honestly. I was surprised when he told you of his interest if I’m honest. You were eighteen and a padawan after all.”

“I think he wanted to start courting me so I knew he wasn’t just interested in sex.” He mumbled while closing his eyes, letting his and Qui-Gon’s Force signatures meld together. It was a certain kind of intimacy that he enjoyed because of Qui-Gon’s connection to the living Force. He said as much.

“Yes you are do generally leave yourself to the Unifying Force.” The other chuckled before shifting a hand to stroke over the others short hair. “Yan tells me you still refuse to grow your hair out.”

“For now. Once I’m a knight I am certainly growing it out. Now please, remember what I said, don’t put pressure on Anakin with a prophecy. He’s already different enough that others will point it out if he joins us. Don’t let there be more.”

Qui-Gon rumbled and squeezed the others shoulders as they rested their foreheads together still. “Of course Obi-Wan, you don’t have to drill it into me anymore.”

“You sure? You’ve very stubborn you old gundark.”

“…I think Yan’s the gundark.”


Jealousy / Michael Clifford

Summary: Michael thinks you need to be reminded who you belong to. Do I need to say anything else?

Requested: “Can you do a part two to the recent Michael Clifford smut with orgasm denial??“

- I decided to detach this from the previous MC smut and write it as a one shot. Of course, feel free to read it as if it were part two. Enjoy!

Warnings: Dom!Michael, punishment, orgasm-denial

Word count: 3.4k 


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Unrecognisable Part 2- A Langst Post

(Hey guys part one can be found there! Also I want to apologise for this not being up sooner I wasn’t feeling the best last night but anywho here it is! Also once again a big thank you to Ana for the prompt, seriously she deserves so much love and kindness, also cookies! This got a bit long so the actual post can be found under the read more section.)

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monstermomma-blog  asked:

Can I get the companions and advisors reactions to discovering the inquisitors a vampire? Romanced too if you can?

Cullen: He’s more than a little frightened at first. Is this a new sort of abomination? How dangerous is a vampire? But then, he supposes that the Inquisitor has more than proved themselves by this point. If there haven’t been any awful instances yet, there aren’t likely to be. He will be much more cautious, though, and more reserved in his dealings with them. He’s met monsters enough to know that they sometimes wear the faces of good people. If Romanced: His first response is to recoil in disgust, but when he sees the hurt on her face he thinks through the reaction more. It’s a reflex more than anything else, he realizes. She hasn’t hurt him, wouldn’t hurt him, and has more than proven herself as Inquisitor. He asks her about her condition or state of being or whatever it is. He asks if there are specific weaknesses he needs to protect her from. He asks if she has greater strengths. He asks only because he wants to protect her. When he discovers that she needs to drink blood to survive but that the act is non-fatal and not at all related to blood magic, he promptly offers his own blood for her needs. If it will keep her safe and healthy and do no harm to him, why shouldn’t he?

Josephine: She’s… more than a little appalled. At first. She’s spent enough time with the Inquisitor to know that they mean no harm and this is just another facet of them, but she also knows that the public absolutely cannot know, under any circumstances. She has enough trouble trying the sell the Inquisition as a stabilizing force as it is, and this is a complication she doesn’t need. Otherwise, she’s mostly unaffected by the news, if a little more cautious. If Romanced: This was definitely not what she expected to hear. After all those times she moaned and giggled as her lover nibbled on her neck, she’s rather surprised to learn that they didn’t actually take any blood from her. But they would not, not without her consent. They don’t want to hurt anyone, she knows. A little shyly, and with some hesitation, she offers her blood all the same, if it is needed. Still, she recommends that no one else should know.

Leliana: Well, she knew something was off, but hadn’t actually guessed that it would be this, in particular. It’s not something she has experience with, though she’s met many strange things in her lifetime and travels. She asks a lot of questions, wants to understand, and make sure that the Inquisitor isn’t a danger to the Inquisition. Otherwise, she doesn’t really care.

Solas: Now that’s odd. He certainly didn’t expect that, of all things. Like Leliana, he knew something was off but couldn’t put a name to it. Especially not that one. He wants to learn, he wants to know everything about what it’s like and what strengths and weaknesses it provides. He asks if the Inquisitor can dream, and if it’s different, and in what ways. He asks if they were born or turned. He asks if they could change it or if they’ll always be like this. He asks if they could infect others. He really just wants to learn. If Romanced: He asks even more questions, and they have a little more to do with the state of her form and the changes in her body as well as her mind. He asks if she is safe as she is. He wonders if she seeks a cure. If she does, he seeks answers for her. If she is content as she is, he doesn’t push it. Unlike most of the other romances, he adamantly refuses to give her his blood for fear of what she might find in it and what it could do to her. How many ancient elves could she have tasted, anyway? He won’t risk that it might affect her in any way, or that she could learn anything from it, and so he refuses to sustain her.

Iron Bull: That’s just a little too demon-y for his tastes. He distances himself from the Inquisitor because of it, and likely won’t change that stance. He wants nothing to do with it all. Though if he becomes Tal-Vashoth he may eventually soften a little. They’re an outcast, after all, like him. It’s still a little too much like demons and crap, but he can sympathize a bit. If he remains in the Qun, he absolutely does not get close to the Inquisitor. If Romanced: Well… That’s creepy. But his kadan has proven that they’re not a demon, and not a monster, and that’s enough. He still takes a few steps back for a while to think about it all, but in the end the Inquisitor is still his kadan and he resumes their relationship. He doesn’t think to offer his blood unless he finds his lover in desperate need of sustenance. Only then will he realize that they need it, and he’ll give it freely. It’s kind of kinky when they take his blood during sex, anyway.

Sera: Nope. Nope, so much nope. Ew, gross. Not happening. Get away. Stay away. Don’t come anywhere near. She’s so disgusted that if the Inquisitor has low enough approval she’ll simply leave the Inquisition altogether. With higher approval, she’ll stay, but she won’t engage the Inquisitor herself. Ever. If Romanced: “This is really something you should have told me before, yeah? I mean, with all the stuff we’ve been doing? What if your bits could poison me? I mean, they haven’t, but still! You shouldn’t have told me. Inky, why didn’t you trust me? I mean, yeah, I would have been grossed out by it still, but you should have told me! Um… But listen… If you need any… Blood… I guess you can come to me. In an emergency. So… yeah…”

Dorian: Well, isn’t that fascinating! How interesting! Like Solas, he wants to know all about it. Coming from Tevinter as he does, he’s much less repulsed by it than most of the others. He wants to know if it’s magic at all or simply a state of existence. He wants to know how it happened. He wants to know what it can do. He’ll offer his blood just for the experience of being bitten. Probably only once, but still. If Romanced: That’s… That might have been nice to know earlier. But oh well. He still wants to know all about it. He also wants to know if anything changes if his amatus drinks only from him for an extended period. It’s not that he doesn’t want those lips touching another neck or anything. It’s purely for science!

Vivienne: Ugh, how uncouth. And a bit disgusting. It’s all too much like blood magic for her tastes. She’ll ask a few preliminary questions, make sure the Inquisitor isn’t a threat, and then mostly just keep her distance.

Varric: That’s… definitely one of the weirder things he’s ever seen. And he’s seen some pretty weird shit… Still, if the Inquisitor hasn’t gone on a bloody rampage yet, they’re not likely to. It doesn’t affect his opinion much.

Cassandra: Maker’s breath! She’s torn between an instinct to put her sword through the Inquisitor’s heart and hope that kills them and the knowledge that they’ve done nothing to deserve it, quite the opposite, in fact. She half-draws her blade before she thinks better of it. She gives the Inquisitor a stern warning not to hurt anyone in the Inquisition, and then mostly lets someone else deal with it. If Romanced: She’s a bit distressed, but doesn’t actually draw her blade at all. Her hand drifts that way for a split second, but she wouldn’t really do it. He’s proven himself, after all. She loves him. She couldn’t kill him, anyway. She wants to know if it’s safe, if he’s safe. Both to be around and for himself. Then she offers her blood if he needs it, if only to keep others from having to donate.

Blackwall: That is just about the creepiest thing he’s ever heard of. He’s more than a little repulsed, but can’t really muster any true disgust or hatred. After all, he’s carrying a nasty, dangerous secret as well. If Romanced: He can’t say he blames her for not telling him, after all that’s happened. He wants to know if she’s safe, if her condition will hurt her. He’ll defend her from anyone who would try to hurt her because of it. After all, she did that for him, once, when he would have been hanged for his crimes. The difference is that she hasn’t actively hurt anyone with it. He’ll give her his blood if she needs it, and not even feel all that weird about it. He’ll feel like it’s a way to bond more than anything else.

Cole: He knew, of course. But it doesn’t really matter. They don’t hurt anyone, so he doesn’t mind. He’ll even help find willing donors when the Inquisitor needs one. His own form doesn’t have what the Inquisitor needs or he’d offer himself just to make things easier, to help. If the Inquisitor wishes to find a cure, he’ll try to help. He’s not sure if he can. If they don’t like what they are, he’ll try to make it better. They’re not evil, after all. Just different. Sort of like him. If they’re content with what they are, all the better. He doesn’t mind.

‘The Fosters’ EP Unpacks That Heart-Stopping Finale And Dishes On Season 5

Can you breathe? Because we can’t. That terrifying season 4 finale cliffhanger of The Fosters has us reaching for a paper bag.

Callie (Maia Mitchell) took Christina’s place and is now stuck calling Diamond’s pimp Russell “Daddy” and counting the seconds until he gets as violent with her as he has with some of his other ladies. All the while, the lifeline Callie threw herself — getting her cop mom Stef to track her phone — went out the window (literally) when she placed it into Russell’s bag and he proceeded to hand the bag off to someone else. Meanwhile, Jesus now knows about Emma’s abortion… and that both Brandon and Mariana were keeping it a secret.

It’s a lot to digest. Thankfully, while one hand holds that paper bag, the other was able to dial executive producer Peter Paige to get some answers about what’s to come in season 5.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Callie’s in quite the pickle! Is there anything you can you tease about how she’ll get out of it?

Look, she’s in an impossible situation, but it’s not the first time she’s faced one of those. She’s a bright and empowered young woman and anything can happen.

EW: Is Diamond going to pick a side? Because I feel like the best way for Callie to get out of this mess would be for Diamond to turn and protect her.

I will say this: Diamond’s allegiances are still in question.

EW: Will she be back for season 5? For how long?

PP: She is in season 5, but I’m not telling you [how long].

EW: Is there a world in which Callie can be in a steady situation and not putting her nose in all kinds of drama?

The situation that Callie gets herself in in the finale becomes a real watershed moment for her and is really life-changing and forces her to look at her life in a way that she just has never quite done. That sets up her journey for all of season 5.

EW: How is Jude going to react to what Callie’s done?

PP: At a certain point, you’ve gotta stop going to the hardware store looking for milk. He knows who his sister is. And he’s got his own fish to fry, quite frankly. By the end of the premiere, Jude has his own fish to fry.

EW: Which kind of fish? More drugs? Sex?

Neither of those things, so I will leave you to wonder. But he does, in fact, put himself engaged in a difficult pursuit. … There’s also some Jude-Noah stuff, the continued development of their relationship.

EW: Talk about the choices made around the Jesus-Emma abortion story.

It was very important to us to do a story where a young woman gets an abortion and feels fine about it and knows it was the right choice for her. The ensuing drama around it is not around that question, it’s around who gets told and when. It’s around the commodification of information and how much it means to us to be included in big decisions. It’s really been about that for us and continues to be. And in the finale, it’s all hitting the fan, but it’s still even in Jesus’ fury; he’s not mad at what Emma did, he’s mad that he wasn’t told.

EW: Do you think there was even a way for her to consult him in the first place?

PP: I don’t. He had a meltdown because there was pepperoni on his pizza. I don’t mean to make light of it — he has a traumatic brain injury, which I think Noah [Centineo] is doing such an extraordinary job of portraying. He was literally not in his right head, and it takes time. And sometimes you never fully get your impulse control back. I just don’t think it was something she could add to his wheelbarrow. It was already pretty heavy and pretty full. I very much understand why she did what she did. And I understand why he’s upset that it happened. That’s the thing about life sometimes: It doesn’t matter how well-intentioned everyone is, people still get hurt sometimes.

EW: Are there going to be further repercussions for Mariana and her Twitter handle?

The dust from that has certainly not settled yet, for sure.

EW: Other than his role in the Jesus storyline, Brandon didn’t have much to do in these last few episodes. It feels a little like he’s on reset mode, so what can we expect from him next season?

I think he is on reset. Last season in the finale, Brandon had the moment of crisis, the moment of looking at his choices and having to decide what kind of person he intends to be, and this season has been that a little for him. He’s been a little retreated, he’s been a little bit pulled into his shell trying to figure out how to navigate the choices he’s made. That feels very true and very real, and season 5 is sort of about him poking his neck out of his shell again.

EW: Is that going to involve figuring out his school situation or the music therapist love interest who was introduced this season?

PP: Both those conversations are very present.

EW: Will the kids ever allow the grownups to leave the Anchor Beach board meeting?

PP: They’re not going to do so particularly willingly.

EW: So no time jump?

PP: Every one of those stories are in a moment of utter and complete crisis, so we are literally coming back three seconds after the finale ends.

EW: Nick’s dad is involved in that school story — are we going to see him return to the show?

PP: At some point we might.

EW: There was no AJ in the finale. Is he still going to be around much in season 5?

PP: We’ll see AJ again. Now that he’s not in a romantic relationship with Callie, we will see less of him for sure, but he’s still present in our world and there’s still stuff to be resolved and questions that we find quite interesting for him.

EW: What’s the state of Callie and Aaron?

Moving ahead, there’s some exploration of, what are Callie and Aaron doing? What are they sniffing around? What is that going to turn into?

EW: Final thoughts on what to expect next season?

PP: Season 5 is a little bit of a reset to our family, our home, and the sort of simpler and brighter and happier times that our family really needs.

The Fosters season 5 kicks off on July 11 at 8 p.m. on Freeform.


Let’s talk about White Aligned Races

Art by Matt Stewart

Mark Rosewater recently said that the dwarven experiment in Kaladesh was not a big success. This comes from a long line of Wizards trying and failing to find a White characteristic race. Now, it’s certainly possible that Wizards of the Coast just happens to be repeatedly finding races that people don’t particularly resonate with, but I honestly think they’re missing an important part of what makes the other characteristic races characteristic races. If you’ll bear with me, I’d like to explain why goblins, merfolk, elves, and zombies are great, and why kor, kithkin, leonin, dwarves, and aven fail to get sufficient love.

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BBRae Week: Day 4

Goodbyes vs Lips/Kisses

Woops, I did both. 

Raven felt strange.

Unfamiliar territory was a foreign concept to her these days thanks to growing up along with the Titans, and yet, she had never known this feeling before.

It wasn’t for lack of experience, though; she’d certainly had her fair share of relationships throughout the years, and had thus become accustomed to certain roller coaster aspects of such romances.

Yet, somehow, things with Garfield Logan were always different.  

[follow~, follow~, follow~ the cut! for more!]

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Camaraderie (SCC/Rosvolio Modern!AU One-Shot)

Modern!AU in the same thread as Migraine and Sugar Water (set before both)

First of all, there’s a scene in the show Snatch where Lucien Laviscount’s character gets a bit defensive over his best friend when his father lashes out at him, and is stopped from stepping in, and it gave me major modern!au protective!romeo feels. Just had to say that.

Second of all, this is something I originally wasn’t going to post tonight, because it refers quite a bit to another part that I haven’t written yet. After re-reading it, I decided that it (hopefully) makes enough sense to share with you guys. I thoroughly enjoyed the bit of bonding between them, I hope it came across to you as well as it did in my head.  I dunno, I am in a self-conscious mindset with my writing at the moment, so I can’t tell if it’s just me being paranoid or what.  I hope you like!

“Words can’t express how much I need this weekend away from school,” Juliet sighed.

“Oh please, you’re just excited for a weekend to suck face with your boyfriend without hearing your mother’s complaints about his family,” Rosaline retorted with a grin.  Her cousin scoffed indignantly, and shoved at her shoulder.  “Hey!  Driving here!”

“Seriously, Jules, I for one would like to see my boyfriend again before I die,” Livia added.

“Speaking of…is Paris at Romeo’s place?”  When Rosaline glanced at her sister in the rearview mirror, she couldn’t help but smile at the excitement on Livia’s face.  It was about time her sister found someone who would treat her right.

By the time they pulled up to the house where Romeo and Benvolio lived with Romeo’s dad, even Rosaline was practically vibrating with anticipation to hit the beach.  She honked twice, and chuckled when Mercutio bounded out to meet them.  Paris wasn’t far behind, an amused grin on his face which spread when his eyes fell on Livia.

Romeo and Benvolio followed a moment later, and Juliet jumped out to throw her arms around her boyfriend’s neck.  Rosaline rolled her eyes and watched Benvolio do the same with no malice in his eyes.  

Benvolio!” The shout came from inside the house, and the Capulet watched as the young man in question flinched involuntarily, jaw clenching and eyes closing once he straightened again.  Rosaline’s eyes narrowed, following his retreat until the door closed behind him.  As they waited she thought back on the years she’d known him…and came to a nauseating realization: Benvolio Montague was most certainly not the type to be skittish, but she had seen him so jumpy one other time, when Mercutio and Romeo had brought him to her bloodied and withdrawn.  The same man who’d given him those injuries had just commanded him with a single word.

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afirewiel  asked:

I get why Mr. Elton married his wife. She's rich. She comes from a wealthy family. Which begs the question, why did she marry him? She did she give all that up to become the wife of a country vicar? Was there seriously no one else that would take her?

Oh, I am so glad you asked. Essentially, it comes down to the fine distinctions and interactions between money (which Augusta Elton, nee Hawkins, has plenty of,) and class/breeding (which she has not.)

To start with, let’s examine what various people throughout the novel have to say of Mr. Elton, a handsome vicar of 26 or 27.

He is often described in the most glowing terms, even by those who are not Harriet and Emma while they (or at least Emma) are actively scheming for him on Harriet’s behalf–Mr. Woodhouse and Mr. Knightley are not alone in praising Mr. Elton’s virtues.

“…pretty, well-liked, gentle manners more than Knightley or Weston…”
“…good humoured, cheerful, obliging, and gentle.”
“…quite the gentleman himself, without any low connections…” with a “comfortable home,” and a “very sufficient income.”
“…good-humoured, well-meaning, respectable…” with useful knowledge of the world and a good understanding.
“…a very pleasing young man, a young man whom an woman not fastidious might like…”
“Mr. Elton had not his equal for beauty or agreeableness.”
“…reckoned very handsome…”
“Elton is a very good sort of man, and a very respectable vicar of Highbury, but not at all likely to make an imprudent match.”
“He knows he is a very handsome young man, and a great favourite wherever he goes…”
“…the handsomest man that ever was, and a man that every body looks up to…his company so sought after that he need not eat a single meal by himself…”
“…Never saw a man more intent on being agreeable. It is downright labour to him where ladies are concerned. With men he can be rational and unaffected, but when he has ladies to please every feature works.”
“Mr. Elton is the standard of perfection in Highbury, both in person and mind.”

[Emma herself says this last bit of praise to Jane Fairfax after the news of Mr. Elton’s engagement to Miss Hawkins. Granted it is prior to his sneering treatment of Harriet and Emma at the ball and Box Hill picnic, but he’s already given away his own pompousness and truly resentful nature by small hints…but there is yet a powerful public image of Mr. Elton in society which Emma’s privately growing dislike cannot hope to counteract. Again, in the interests of being neighbourly in such a small community, Emma is forced to tell polite fibs when it comes to somebody she cannot stand.]

While the vicarage is not so pretty nor grand as Hartfield or Donwell Abbey, it is nonetheless acknowledged to be a comfortable property–it would have been the home of Mrs. and Miss Bates, before the death of Mr. Bates, and so it is certainly a genteel home. In addition to this, it is noted that Mr. Elton also possesses some other independent property, and while it’s not specified what addition this is to his income, it is an added measure of security, and further cementing his place as a part of the landed gentry. His mother and sisters, moreover, are hinted to reside in London at least part of the time, and in no shabby fashion.

He’s young, widely acknowledge to be handsome, and his manners extremely pleasing, especially as he exerts himself to the utmost to please around ladies. While it is surprising to some that he should be able to secure an engagement to a young lady within four weeks, he must have been putting the pedal to the metal in Bath to woo the lady of his choice, and as Augusta Hawkins was apparently “easily impressed” and “ready to have him”, it must have been pretty easy to get her…but then she has her own particular reasons for wanting such a match as Mr. Elton, beyond his personal charms–chiefly, his position as a gentleman of property and a respectably genteel profession.

Now let us consider Miss Hawkins, who is to become Mrs. Elton–while Mr. Elton has first set his sights on Emma and her 30 000 pound dowry, he has also spoken of a large party of ladies in Bath, intimate friends of his own sisters, who each have 20 000 pounds apiece. It is also noted that if he has no success with Emma and her 30 000, he’d move on to a lady with 20 000, then 10…and so on.

As his match is made within four weeks of his departure from Highbury for Bath, he evidently skips the 20 000 pound option (or finds it impossible to secure quickly, if haste must be his object, as a clergyman cannot neglect his parish for very long holidays to go chasing after a wife, and his prime object then is to find a rich and admirable bride to flaunt in Highbury as soon as possible to prove his own consequence, rather than dwell in the shame of his rejection by Emma. Miss Hawkins is NOT one of these ladies who are friends of his sisters, as we later find out–she has ‘only’ 10 000 pounds to her dowry, though that is no paltry sum, certainly. Money, however, is not all there is to her. We know plenty of other facts about Augusta Hawkins, or can fill in with safe assumptions what is left vague:

She is initially rumoured to be “handsome, elegant, highly accomplished, and perfectly amiable”–now, as this is all before anybody in Highbury has met her, it’s meant to be taken with a grain of salt, and as her arrival rather proves that she is not elegant, nor all that accomplished, nor anything like perfectly amiable, though some other characters refer to her as being good-looking, there is certainly nothing like any glowing praise of looks which may be offered to other young ladies, like Jane Fairfax or even Harriet Smith, and it may simply be politeness making the most of average charms. I doubt Mr. Elton would have married an ugly woman, but in being damned by faint praise, I think we can safely assume Augusta Hawkins is nothing especially spectacular in her looks.

She is the “youngest of the two daughters of a Bristol – merchant…” whose parents are both now dead, and who is kept by an uncle “in the law line”, and not evidently at all distinguished. I’ve written before on the differences a man’s career might make to his apparent class-level, and a man “in the law line” without the distinguishing factor of being a well-to-do barrister, is not of the gentry. All of Augusta Hawkins’ money is very new, and entirely from trade–there is nothing to connect their family to the gentry except, now, the marriages of these two daughters. The elder, Selina, apparently made the more glorious match with Mr. Suckling, a man of leisure and property at Maple Grove. (Also, look at the given names of Selina and Augusta–both very fashionable Greco-Roman names, compared to the old English names of the other women in the novel–Emma, Harriet, Anne, Jane…even in their Christian names, the Hawkins girls are set apart to seem flashier, and ‘newer’, with a greater push for seeming grandiose.) Augusta’s endless talk of her high connections, her contradictory statements to attempt to hastily ingratiate herself with whatever genteel person (usually a gentleman) happens to be talking, her affected use of the bad Italian ’caro sposo’ to affectionately refer to her husband…all these things point to Augusta being desperate to make herself a place among the quieter, genteel folk of Highbury, having first seen her sister married into a barely-genteel-though-rich establishment, and now herself accepting a place as a wife to a man with a less impressive income, but a much more impressive pedigree and undeniable respectability.

We cannot be deceived by how much Augusta talks up Maple Grove and the Sucklings and her connection to them. Later on, she lets slip that Maple Grove was only purchased 11 years earlier, (she thinks just prior to old Mr. Suckling’s death, making the estate only technically In the Family for two generations, at a stretch,) while she is berating another family–the Tupmans, who come from Birmingham and have probably made their own fortune by trade or some other undistinguished but honest line of work, who bought West Hall near Maple Grove and now presume to address themselves to the Sucklings as equal neighbours–for being upstarts. The Tupmans are precisely what the Sucklings were only ten years previously, yet Mrs. Elton loves to talk of her sister’s people as though they are landed gentry of long standing. She talks of Maple Grove as a 'seat’, when it is simply a country house, no more, no less. Mr. Suckling has no title, nor does he own any other property. (If he did have any town-houses or other second-homes, I have no doubt we would hear no fucking end of it from Mrs. E.) But Mrs. Elton jumps at the chance to compare Hartfield to Maple Grove, to talk very generally of what the landed gentry are like, with their extensive grounds, etc.., though Emma, very much OF the landed gentry, privately disagrees with her presumptions. Augusta often hints at her intimacy with the Sucklings and such people as if it is to her credit, as well as talking a great deal of their TWO fashionable carriages–going so far as to mention the barouche-landau so frequently that it comes up three times in a single block of (presumably breathless) dialogue.

Augusta also sniffs at Mr. Weston’s story of how Mrs. Churchill was 'barely a gentleman’s daughter’ before marriage, only to now have swelled to even greater pride than was already in the Churchill family she married into–without seeming to realize that she herself stands a fair chance of doing exactly the same thing in the years to come–and worse, for nobody would argue that Miss Hawkins, for all her money and finery and put-on airs of breeding, was a gentleman’s daughter. No, her father was in trade–and while that is not in itself a mark against her, it highlights her own hypocrisy and clumsy, social-climbing ways. (Jane Austen’s father’s family were themselves descended from wool merchants, and only by his own education and his marriage to Cassandra Leigh, a comparatively-poor daughter of a more ancient line of genteel people, was his family admitted among the minor gentry. Jane would have been well-aware of the criss-crossing of social class lines and how 'good breeding’ could oftentimes be at odds with material wealth.) Augusta, digging for compliments and declaring she has 'a horror of upstarts’, cannot begin to fathom how she is hurting her own cause by her hypocrisy.

We know that Selina Hawkins married Mr. Suckling (himself scarcely a gentleman,) which was supposed to be a very grand match, for her. Augusta’s age is never specified that I can recall, but she seems very eager not to be left behind, though her sister has married, and apparently her connections to Maple Grove have not yet helped her to find another Mr. Suckling, there. In an effort to be wittily pert, she leaps at the chance to contradict Mr. Weston’s attempt to compliment the strength of ladies in general, and ends up giving a spirited defense to the notion that women are squeamish and weak creatures, and inadvertently disavowing that her sister is a fine lady–the precise opposite of what she wished to do, but she spoke so quickly that she cannot immediately think of a way to counteract it without sounding completely stupid, even to herself. Rather than listening and actually saying something sensible, Augusta rushes out to behave as she might have read or imagined a spirited, educated woman ought to do, and only succeeds in putting her foot in her mouth. (She’s a less-clever Miss Bingley who imagines herself a Lizzie Bennet.)

Augusta, before her marriage, still lives with her low-connection uncle in Bristol (despite her insistence that she’s spent months staying at Maple Grove, though Selina and Mr. Suckling have likely only been married less than two years by this point–the barouche-landau having been acquired only 18 months previous…possibly at the insistence of the new Mrs. Suckling?) Despite her principal residence being in Bristol, Augusta spends her winters in Bath with her friend Mrs. Partridge, whose acquaintance she offers to further with Emma in a broad hint that it would help Emma meet and catch a husband. Emma is, naturally, affronted at this suggestion, surmising that Mrs. Partridge is “probably some vulgar, dashing widow” who takes in boarders to help pad out her meager income. Though Bath was a spa town, and, given its southern location, probably had a fair amount of society throughout the winter months, the social season itself was more largely confined to the spring–the winter would be a cheaper and quieter season to spend in such a city, with many of its visiting residents there for their health, rather than strictly pleasure. That Augusta is regularly in Bath for the cheaper, less-social time of the year, even with a healthy dowry and adequate prettiness, is perhaps telling as to why she jumps at her chance to marry a handsome and well-set-up young gentleman! It may be that she appears to her best advantage when she is NOT surrounded in society by many gentleman’s daughters with greater assets than even she has got. Money, as she is well aware, isn’t everything–but it’s about all she’s got.

So much of Emma is an examination of how we let those around us affect our own views and behaviour. Compare Augusta to Harriet, who is certainly of lower origins, but whose sweet temper, obliging ways, and humble acceptance of who she is ultimately lead her to respectability and happiness when united with Robert Martin–only when Emma tries to drag her upwards in the world by marriage do things begin to go wrong for Harriet. Emma Woodhouse is certainly a snob, but I think the ultimate take-away from the cautionary tales of the novel is not 'know your place and never stray from it’, but to make certain that your aspirations are in keeping with what will do the truest good for you and those around you. In the end, it’s acknowledged that Harriet would have been a far better match for Elton than Augusta, as her personal virtues far outweigh the lapse of her birth and indifferent education, whereas Augusta’s riches and trying-too-hard ways endear her to absolutely nobody except perhaps the vain and pompous Mr. Elton–but their ardour is that of newlyweds, and those who wish to show off their marital success as a gloating snub to others, rather than anything like true affection.

Hey @da-qf I’m bringing our discussion to its own post because it’s now more of a general ‘issues with Clarke’s portrayal in Season 4’ thing which I think is interesting to talk about but I don’t want to clog up the OP’s notes with a topic that’s now pretty tangential to the original post.

You make an interesting point about Clarke’s non-Bellarke relationships being perceived as neglected by the narrative. You’re right to point out that in contrast to Bellamy, who had meaningful and even positive connections with other groups and individuals all throughout the season, Clarke was pretty remote. I actually disagree with you when you say that ‘deep down Clarke isn’t like this’, though – if you mean that she isn’t inherently prone to holding herself apart from her community, or to shutting off her emotions and ignoring her personal relationships unless they’re mission-essential. 

Clarke’s capacity to care deeply is one of her most defining traits, but she doesn’t express that as much in her interpersonal relationships as she does in her at-all-costs leadership and her drive to do anything to save her people – which is a labor of love. One of the reasons I think her bond with Bellamy has survived that tendency to isolate in ways that her friendship with Octavia for example has not is that they are genuinely vital to each other’s ability to lead well, and that is not the shipper in me talking but the character analyst. By Season 4, Clarke has accepted that she needs Bellamy as a humanistic counter point to her ruthless pragmatism, to root her schemes in their human stakes so she doesn’t go too far. He has accepted that he needs her to temper his emotional impulses with reason and perspective so that his excellent leadership instincts aren’t buried by his passions. 

I think Clarke’s psychological baseline is still ‘I bear it so they don’t have to’, but with Bellamy she has a leadership justification for allowing herself to be close to him that provides the jumping off point for everything else. I mean, I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the person she was arguably closest to this season besides Bellamy was Roan – he played the role of her co-leader at several points, and she’s learned that that kind of partnership requires/allows you to give a bit of yourself. Whereas her other relationships admittedly suffer by virtue of being ‘non-essential’ in a time where Clarke – understandably, I think – considers them a luxury she can’t afford.

I agree we’ll have to agree to disagree on several of your Bellarke points – I don’t think Clarke was out of character or that things moved too fast, but I can certainly empathize with how frustrating it is to see one character relationship given so much attention when your interest and emotional investment lies elsewhere. Clarke/Kane and Clarke/Octavia were pretty non-existent (although neither of those relationships have ever gotten a whole lot of attention, so I don’t think that can be blamed on this season’s Bellarke-focus). I loved what we got of Clarke/Raven and Clarke/Abby, but there needed to be more. And I was equally baffled by Clarke/Niylah. So I understand the sense of dissatisfaction that you feel. 

But I think Clarke’s failure to really emotionally engage with anyone besides Bellamy this season was actually a deliberate and important part of her arc; her progression towards becoming a more Jaha-esque figure. So entrenched in the idea of sacrificing for her people, so consumed by the debate and the rhetoric and the ethical tangle of it all, that she lost sight of (most of) the actual human beings she loves and is fighting to protect. Clarke ending up on that tower alone was a self-fulfilling prophecy in more ways than one. But I think the show knows that, which is why it looks like Clarke will become more of a heart figure in Season 5. There’s an imbalance that needs to be addressed. And as excited as I am about Bellarke next season, I am just as excited to see what I think and hope will be a version of Clarke that re-invests in her other relationships as well.

Fey is not an unusual cat.

Or rather, Fey is somewhat of an unusual cat, but when people say she’s unusual, that’s not what they’re talking about.  They usually comment on how much she communicates with me, and say they wish they had “a cat like Fey”, and then describe their own cats in terms that make it very clear that the issue isn’t the type of cat, but the type of relationship they have with their cat.

[Image description: Fey in bed with me and a lot of yarn while I hold a crochet project in one hand and she touches her paw to my other hand while we look at each other.]

Which is not necessarily their fault, but which is a completely different situation from Fey just being an unusual cat.

If Fey lived with them, they would rapidly discover that they didn’t have “a cat like Fey” either.  They would probably decide she was mean and standoffish and uncommunicative.  Because it’s not her, it’s them.

I can’t explain to anyone how to have a deep relationship with a cat or any other being.(1)  

But I can say that if you take any cat, and try really hard to listen to them and understand them and engage with them on the same level of emotional complexity that you would engage with a human being on, then you’re likely to get better results, and a better relationship with your cat, than if you treat them as food-devouring mousing machines who only like you because you feed them and are probably just faking affection to manipulate you.  Or even just if you treat them better than that, but not really taking them all that seriously.  

Taking a cat seriously is the first step to having the kind of relationship I have with Fey.  And I can tell you right now that it’s not Fey that’s unusual about our relationship.  It’s our relationship that’s unusual.  Put Fey in a context where she isn’t being respected or understood or seen as emotionally complex and a real actual being with thoughts and feelings about the world, and she’ll look like “just any other cat” to you, and possibly like a particularly mean cat at that.

Which is why it’s sad but almost funny to me when people tell me “I wish I had a cat like Fey, my cat is so mean.”  And then describe a situation where Fey would be twenty times as mean if she had to live in it, than their cat is being (when their cat is being mean at all, which isn’t always).

Mind you, I’m not a cat whisperer.  People try and call me that but I find that pretty offensive (to cats).  I do not understand all of what Fey tells me.  I don’t even understand a quarter of what Fey tells me.  Fey and I fight on a regular basis, we misunderstand each other constantly, and we get frustrated about our inability to get basic information across to each other in both directions, and sometimes that ends up as frustration with each other.

But seriously?

If you start with respecting the intellectual and emotional complexity of your cat, and the fact that your cat is your equal in terms of worth and value (equal doesn’t mean alike, so nobody blast me for using that word, I find that really irritating and I’m especially irritable at the moment because I’m sick).

And if you make a serious long-term good-faith effort to understand and communicate with your cat as who the cat is, not as who you want or imagine the cat to be. (2)  (This may take a lot of time if you’ve been projecting your own fantasies over the top of your cat, because your cat has doubtless noticed and responded to you in kind, and it will possibly take a long while to build trust.)

Then you have a good chance of, if not “having a cat like Fey”, having an amazing, fulfilling, complex, and demanding relationship with your cat, in ways you didn’t dream were possible.  Which is what people seem to mean when they say they “want a cat like Fey”.

[Important but somewhat lengthy footnotes below cut.]

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