and he gives her hope that she has a greater destiny

Things I love about the original Star Wars trilogy:

  • I love the beginning. I love that first moment of anticipation in the blue letters of “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…” I love the explosion of music and excitement and adrenaline as the opening crawl begins, the immediate sensation that you have flown headfirst into something incredible. I love reading that Princess Leia races home aboard her starship, custodian of the stolen plans that can save her people and restore freedom to the galaxy and that it is a dark time for the rebellion and that Luke Skywalker has returned to his home planet of Tatooine in an attempt to rescue his friend Han Solo from the clutches of the vile gangster Jabba the Hutt

  • I love Luke’s journey. I love how at first glance he’s just an ordinary farm boy who dreams of a bigger destiny but who has to help his aunt and uncle, stuck on a barren planet he fears he’ll never get off of. I love his pain and his devastation when he loses his home even though he always wanted to leave it. I love how he gets caught up in a whirlwind adventure because of the arrival of two droids. I love how he’s brave and true and loyal. I love that a simple farm boy becomes a hero, that he rescues Leia and destroys the Death Star and joins the rebellion. I love how he’d do anything to help his friends, how he leaves Dagobah to save Han and Leia and how he goes to get Han from Tatooine. I love how he always idolized his father, how his jedi training was centered around the desire to follow in Anakin Skywalker’s footsteps, and I love his conflict when he learns the truth. I love that he won’t kill Vader even knowing the evil he’s committed and his determination to save the man he once was. I love that the greater destiny he always wanted comes to a fork in the road, and that he stands at the precipice of two fates: is he doomed by the legacy of his blood, or can he forge his own path? I love that he strays to the very edge of the Dark side, and I love that Luke Skywalker does not fall. I love when he says, “I am a jedi, like my father before me.” I love that the Light in him prevails.

  • I love Leia. I love that she’s a princess AND and a spy AND a rebel soldier. I love her cinnamon bun hair. I love that she stands toe to toe with the most feared man in the galaxy and doesn’t cower. I love that she’s so strong that she can withstand Vader’s torture and that she takes control of her own rescue. I love how she can shoot a blaster and command troops and fly the Falcon. I love that she doesn’t even abandon her post on Hoth when the Empire is on their doorstep and the command center is under fire and she’s supposed to already be on her transport. I love that she’s dedicated to bringing peace to the galaxy. I love that even though she seems tough as nails, she still feels and hurts and fears and cries and that her strength doesn’t come at the price of her humanity. I love that she doesn’t ever stop fighting–not when her ship is captured, not when she’s taken prisoner, not when her planet is destroyed, not when the man she loves is taken, and not when she’s shot on the battlefield. I love that she’s Luke’s sister. I love that it’s her message that brings him into the story. I love that brother and sister separated at birth are drawn together by destiny, and I love that she’s just as nuanced as he is, that their paths and experiences are balanced–that he must cope with the knowledge that the father he idolized is a monster, while she must deal with the revelation that the monster she hated is her father. I love that she is an Organa and a Skywalker. I love when she learns who she is. I love that she has the Force. I love, “That boy is our last hope.” “No, there is another.” I love, “You’re wrong, Leia. You have that power, too.

  • I love that Han is just a smuggler and a rogue who wants nothing to do with the rebellion or the Force or the fight for the galaxy, but he takes a job transporting passengers to Alderaan and gets swept up in the whole mess. I love how he’s not the selfless mercenary that he seems to be. I love how he claims to care about only money, but then he turns around to help the rebels at Yavin. I love that he has a conscience. I love that he can’t help but get attached to the dumb kid he picked up in Mos Eisley and the haughty princess who insulted him the second they met. I love that he volunteers to go out into the freezing conditions on Hoth without a second thought because his friend’s out in it. I love that he gets his clearance to leave but he won’t get out of danger when he knows that stubborn, crazy Leia isn’t safe yet. I love how he’s so smart and daring and can fly through an asteroid field and that he escapes from the Empire by hiding on a Star Destroyer right under the enemy’s nose and drifting off with the trash. I love, “Never tell me the odds.” I love that he doesn’t even think of himself when he’s about to be frozen in carbonite. I love how that smuggler that “ain’t in it for your revolution” becomes a general in the rebellion who would sacrifice his life for his friends. I love that Han doesn’t have the Force. I love that he’s just a regular person with an enormous heart that he pretends not to have who gets through thanks to his cunning and his stubbornness and his courage. I love that he’s a good man.

  • I love that a princess and a scoundrel find true love. I love the way they bicker and fight and drive each other crazy. I love how Han calls Leia ridiculous names like “Your Worship” and “Your Highnessness” and I love how Leia gives it right back to him. I love that neither of them are willing to admit how they feel. I love that they’re both afraid. I love the angst because Han has to leave and Leia doesn’t want to give her heart away to a man who’s going to take off, and I love that Han doesn’t want her to get hurt because of him and the bounty on his head. I love “Do you think a princess and a guy like me…?” I love when they finally kiss on the Millennium Falcon. I love that Han would do anything to protect her. I love that he tells Chewie to take care of her when he knows he’s probably going to die. I love their desperate embrace in front of Vader and Boba Fett and all the stormtroopers. I love that Leia leaves the rebel alliance to go rescue him. I love that Han was willing to step aside for her to be with Luke when he thinks that would make her happy. I love that they’re equals–that they’re both strong and smart and independent. I love that they have each other’s backs in battle. I love that they bring out the best in each other. I love “I love you.” “I know.

  • I love that the Millennium Falcon is the fastest ship in the galaxy. I love how much Han loves it. I love that there’s always something wrong with it and that Han and Chewie are always having to repair something. I love when Luke calls it a piece of junk and I love that Leia is always insulting it and I love that it becomes a part of them just like it’s a part of Han and because Han becomes a part of them. I love when it jumps to lightspeed. I love the cockpit and when they’re all in it. I love the gun turrets and the holochess table and the smuggling compartments and the circuitry bay. I love the blue light of the hyperdrive. I love what the Millennium Falcon represents.

  • I love the medal ceremony on Yavin. I love Luke’s yellow jacket and Han’s confident swagger and the look on Leia’s face when they march down the aisle. I love the music and the feeling of triumph. I love that Threepio and Artoo are there and that our sassy not-so-damsel-in-distress princess is rewarding the farm boy and the smuggler and the Wookiee for their bravery and their victory. I love how all of our heroes are together and how it cements the bond that has been forged between all of them. I love this ending to our first chapter.

  • I love the rebels and their hidden bases and their ragtag fighters. I love Rogue Squadron. I love the call signs. I love X-wings and space battles. I love watching them take down AT-ATs and AT-STs and TIE fighters and Death Stars. I love that the underdogs win. I love the look on Leia’s face when they hear Han and Chewie come back to cover Luke so he can destroy the first Death Star and I love General Rieekan shaking Han’s hand and the corridors of Echo Base and I love Admiral Ackbar saying “It’s a trap!” and that Mon Mothma is the leader of it all.

  • I love Dagobah. I love Luke training with Yoda. I love watching him learn to use the Force. I love seeing his vision in the cave, and the foreshadowing that his face in Vader’s helmet represents–that not only is Vader his father, but that this is what Luke will become if he falls to the Dark Side, as well. I love when Yoda lifts the x-wing out of the swamp. I love “Wars do not make one great” and “Do or do not. There is no try” and “Luminous beings are we.” I love that there’s mist and snakes everywhere. I love Yoda making Luke run around with him on his back. I love levitating Artoo and rocks and one-handed handstands. I love when Luke goes back in Episode VI and learns that he’s done with his training but that he must defeat Vader; confirms that Vader is his father then learns that Leia is his sister. I love how much he’s changed between when he first crash lands in the mud and when he leaves there for the last time. I love the mantle of responsibility that he must take upon his shoulders.

  • I love how Lando was in a tough position and tries to redeem himself by rescuing Han from Jabba’s. I love how Chewie is referred to as “The Mighty Chewbacca.” I love that tiny little Leia is disguised as the bounty hunter who theoretically took the enormous Wookiee down. I love “Someone who loves you,” and how Han reacts to the sound of her voice. I love Chewie running to hug Han in their cell. I love “Together again, huh?” “Wouldn’t miss it.” “How are we doing?” “Same as always.” “That bad, huh?” I love that Leia frees herself and strangles the vile scum who forced her into that degrading outfit and chained her to his throne like an animal or a decoration. I love seeing Luke’s green lightsaber in action for the first time. I love “Don’t forget the droids.” I love the relief.

  • I love the scene in the trash compactor and how all of them keep yelling at each other. I love when Han keeps shouting at Leia to get on top of it. I love when Threepio thinks they’re dying. I love that Han and Leia hug.

  • I love when Leia hears Luke call to her through the Force. I love when she makes Chewie turn the Falcon around to go get him. I love the ending of ESB, and how even in the wake of such turmoil–Han frozen and taken by Boba Fett and Luke losing his hand and his lightsaber and learning that Vader is his father and Leia losing the man she loves–it still leaves you with hope and determination. I love when Luke and Leia watch Lando and Chewie fly off in the Falcon. I love Lando promising her that they’d find Han. I love the final image of the rebel fleet and the crescendo of music and those final chills before the credits roll.

  • I love that the Emperor underestimates love. I love the battle between Luke and Darth Vader. I love that the moment Vader says, “So, you have a twin sister? … If you will not turn to the Dark Side, perhaps she will,” is the moment when Luke unleashes his fury. I love when Luke refuses to kill his father. I love when Vader refuses to let his son die. I love that Luke refused to give up on Anakin, and I love that Anakin Skywalker’s two final requests are to look upon his son with his own eyes and for his daughter to be told that Luke had been right about their father all along–that even after everything he’d done, there had still been good in him. I love that Leia can sense Luke’s survival. I love that Luke build’s his father a funeral pyre. I love the Skywalker legacy.

  • And I love the end. I love the final scene of the trilogy. I love where it leaves us. I love that our heroes have survived. I love that they bled and fought and sacrificed and cried and feared and hoped and that they come through it all. I love that they win despite the odds. I love that even though the war was long and hard and that all that evil and injustice seemed impossible to ever defeat, they do it. I love Luke and Leia hugging–brother and sister who loved each other even before they knew the truth, who’d been brought back together by fate and who together were the hope for the galaxy. I love that they found each other. I love when Han and Luke embrace like brothers, and the look of understanding as they grip arms and look into each other’s faces. I love their friendship–that what started as hiring a pilot in a seedy cantina has become this absolute, binding trust. I love the tenderness on Han’s face as he holds Leia to his chest, and the happiness and devotion on hers as she closes her eyes and smiles. I love that their love endured every conflict. I love that all three of them all got tossed together against their will and found belonging in each other. I love that last shot. I love Luke and Leia and Han and Chewie and Lando and Threepio and Artoo all together, smiling and victorious. I love that they’re family. I love that the story is one where hope can pay off. Where good can overcome evil. Where somewhere in a galaxy far, far away, a band of misfits–planetless princesses and smugglers with Wookiee first mates and starry-eyed youths from the middle of nowhere–can fight against adversity and win. I love the feeling in my chest that last second on Endor, knowing that those characters and what they believed in prevailed. I love Star Wars.
Musings about character arcs coming full circle in S7

I was recently rewatching 5X2 “Strangers” and subsequent episodes and I realized something about the character arcs that are finally resolving in S7. Basically the road map for several characters (5 characters) arcs is outlined when they walk into Father Gabriel’s church at the beginning of S5. Each character pauses at a specific area and focuses on something critically important to them and their development from S5 onward. I am putting these thoughts under a read more because it’s quite a bit of musing. 

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The most interesting thing about season 2b of Legends, to me, is how they’ve been subtly developing and reinforcing the very intriguing dynamic between Rip Hunter, Sara Lance, and Jefferson Jackson.

I don’t mean this in a romantic ‘ship sense (though I’d absolutely read that fic), but just in terms of general dynamic.

Raiders of the Lost Art had those lovely scenes between “Phil” and Sara, “Phil” and Jax (the script!!!), and Jax and Sara.

Turncoat, of course, set up the heartwrenching confrontation between Jax and broken Rip, with Sara’s life in the balance.  Jax having to use everything he’d learned about the Waverider against the man who’d taught him that knowledge.  Rip killing the one person who had been his strongest support.  Sara having to pull Jax back from killing Rip, for Jax’s own good.

Camelot, which directly paralleled Sara and Rip to their Guinevere and Arthur, a strong woman stepping forward to lead in place of the man she admires, when he is compromised and victimized.  Sara saving Rip, to his bewilderment.  And Jax’s beautiful confrontation scene at the end.

And we know from spoilers that it will be Jax and Sara going into Rip’s head, later.  They’re going to have a very significant role in Rip coming back to himself.  And that’s a lovely thought.   It was clear from early on last season that Rip was grooming both characters for different but significant roles (bringing Sara in on tough timeline decisions like Martin in Failsafe, setting her up to learn to fly the ship and navigate.  Choosing Jax as mechanic/engineer and trusting the majority of the ship’s systems to him.)  It fits to have these two characters be the ones to bring him back.

I am really intrigued by what this increased dynamic may mean for the future.  I honestly think that regardless of who goes by “Captain”, they’re setting up basically a leadership triumverate a.la Kirk-Spock-McCoy from the original Star Trek.

And it occurs to me that there really isn’t a better balance to have in a leadership trio.

We have Jax, the youngest and purest of heart.  He’s the innocent.  The one without blood on his hands.  But he’s also the calmest and wisest.  He’s the most forgiving of the crew when it comes down to it (he even got over his initial kidnapping AWFULLY quickly).  He is the moral voice, and the voice of hope and optimism.

We saw that particularly well in River of Time/Destiny.  It was Jax’s endangerment that nearly drove the team apart, it was Jax’s arrival that changed the tide in Destiny.  Jax is the one who keeps Sara going in Raiders, and wants to save Rip in Turncoat and even Camelot. He was the one upset that they were leaving Rip behind, and the only one of the crew willing to face Rip in the brig, out of the drive to protect the others.  His only real issue, I think, is that he sometimes lacks direction when it comes to his own initiative.

We have Sara, who probably has the bloodiest hands (though obviously not her fault), but the noblest heart.  She’s the one with the strength and fortitude to push past her demons and control her rage and bloodlust.  She’s the one focused on duty, responsibility and ethics.  

We saw that countless times during season one, when she would call Rip out on his more problematic decisions.  She’s also the one who reminds Jax that they can’t just make changes in the timeline even for good, because that’s not what they’d been tasked to do.  Sara’s biggest problem is when her impulses of duty and responsibility collide.  We saw it in Star City, and arguably even Left Behind.  We definitely saw it in Shogun, when she was so focused on extracting Ray and Nate from the problems they’d created/encountered, that she wasn’t paying attention to the preservation of the timeline. 

And we have Rip, who sees the big picture.  Possibly, he sees too much of the big picture, as his tendency toward questionable decisions, and occasional moral fluidity would demonstrate.  But Rip is the one who never loses sight of the greater goal, whether it’s killing Savage, preserving the timeline (and making sure certain rulers get conceived), or protecting the spear. 

He’s the one who pulls the team together, he’s the one who gives them direction and a plan.  He’s the one who gave Sara something to focus on instead of bloodlust and regret.  He’s the one who gave Jax a goal and purpose beyond just being Martin’s other half.  Rip’s main problem is that he is SO goal focused that it consumes him.  He needs to be reminded sometimes that there is something behind that goal.  People who need help.  People who deserve the truth.  Lines that shouldn’t be crossed.  He keeps too many secrets, and I sometimes think that’s less about distrust than just Rip forgetting that the rest of the team deserves to know what’s actually going on.  

It’s really funny when you think about it, how much they balance each other.  Jax’s humanity, Sara’s responsibility, and Rip’s direction.  They each hold 1/3 of a perfect leader. 

I really hope that the increased focus on these three characters in recent episodes means good things in terms of developing this in the future.

Fic Update: Courtship (6/7)

Fandom: Mass Effect: Andromeda

Chapter Title: Spiritually (read on Ao3!)

Pairing: Jaal Ama Darav/Skylar Ryder

Rating: Teen

Summary: Jaal’s family comes to Meridian, ready to ask questions and get some answers about the relationship between Ryder and Jaal.

Notes: Endgame spoilers here.

chapter one | chapter two | chapter three | chapter four | chapter five

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He decides to waste no time.

After Ryder leaves to have a video conference with Bradley, the new ambassador for the Nexus, Jaal sets out to find his true mother. His nerves are on edge; he supposes that’s to be expected. Never before has he participated in a tavoan for himself. He’s asked questions for several of his siblings, but that felt a great deal different. It wasn’t his love in question.

If his true mother thinks Jaal should end the relationship… She won’t, of course she won’t; Sahuna loves Ryder, understands how important she is to him. He shakes his head. Nothing sort of Ryder becoming the opposite of who she is now - steadfast and hardworking and above all, kind - will end their relationship.

She is the love of his life, of that he is certain. An alien, born more than six hundred years ago, who then crossed dark space to find him. So many chances to miss each other by an hour, a day, or a year, and yet they are together. And she loves him.

His true mother sits in the cafeteria, surrounded by family. They leave tomorrow morning and then in the afternoon, the Tempest will leave Meridian as well. Back to Kadara, he thinks with a shudder. Perhaps Jaal will finally take up Ryder’s offer to stay on the ship when they dock.

Jaal catches his true mother’s eye, and she nods. He waits at the entrance as she stands and excuses herself. More than one family member looks back at him, all with smiles on their faces. They all know exactly what he and his true mother will talk about. There are no secrets in angaran families.

“Let us walk,” Sahuna says, taking Jaal’s arm. “Perhaps outside.”

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The Tarot Card Symbolism in ‘Adventure Time: Stakes’

Around episode four of ‘Stakes’, something occurred to me: almost every single one of the vampires from Marceline’s past is named after a card from the Major Arcana of a Tarot Card deck. Not only that, but the entire mini-series is soaked in references to the cards and their meanings. This is my attempt to try and analyze at least the most obvious symbolism, though knowing the subtly of this show and my own relatively limited knowledge, it’s very possible/likely I’ve missed some things. 

But anyway, let’s get started with:

0: The Fool

The Fool is the very first card in the Major Arcana; it represents boundless potential and the beginning of journeys, something which distinctly mirrors this vampire’s role in Marceline’s story. He’s the first ‘main’ vampire that Marceline slays, the one which starts giving her the abilities to take down the others’. Notably, the traditional depiction of the Fool is of a young child with a dog, taking a step off of a cliff; a wonderful parallel to the young Marceline with her own dog, enjoying the power of flight for the first time.

3: The Empress

This card, as you might expect, depicts a regal woman- usually blonde- sceptre in hand, a picture of control. This is the card of female power, representing beauty, creativity, fertility, luxury, grace and love.

Obviously, the vampire with this name embodies certain aspects of this over others. This Empress is all about luxury, being served upon and drinking the finest of blood (with flecks of gold in it!) She literally controls others through mind control, and though Ice King is immune to those effects, he is insnared by her beauty (and her sexuality). 

Grace and love, though? Eh, not so much. However, the greater scope of the episode ‘The Empress Eyes’, is all about love. It’s about Marcy coming to try and save her old friend Simon, even though he (as always) doesn’t even realise he needs saving. At the end, it’s about her apologising for going out of face the vampires alone, and accepting her friends’ help and love.

5: The Hierophant

Sometimes called ‘The High Priest’ or ‘The Pope’,  this card usually depicts a religious figure with his hand raised. He represents religion, obviously, but also tradition and conformity. This, of course, perfectly captures the vampire with this name. He is described as an ‘old vampire’, rigid in following the traditions and rules of the past, even when they actively work against him in this new world of Ooo. He refuses to make a truce, or to switch over to a diet of red or even animal blood, despite now existing in a world with virtually no humans left. Ultimately, he is killed by his rules, burned alive after being thrown into a house (read: Jake) without invitation.

However, I think the Hierophant’s existence in the story plays a larger symbolism. ‘Stakes’ is, ultimately, a story of change. Marceline chooses to give up her vampirism, in order to give a chance to grow up and mature, only to discover herself frightened by the uncertainty of the unknown. She is then given a choice; conform to the old traditions, kill the vampire king and become a vampire again, or break the cycle. By choosing the latter, she affectively avoids the same self-destruction of the Hierophant.

Not that the Hierophant isn’t an entirely negative card. In fact, it can mean a call to spirituality, or advise someone about joining a group. Considering this story is about Marcy self-growth, and coming to accept her friends’ support and solidarity, it would be foolish to ignore this interpretation.

18: The Moon

This is the card of intuition, the subconscious, and dreams. This makes sense considering that throughout ‘Take Her Back’, Marceline is trapped in a coma, experiencing vivid dreams. This card usually depicts the moon over a pool of water, explaining why this his vampire made her home on a boat. This card deals with fears, securities and anxieties, which we see demonstrated in Marcy’s dreams. One, features Marcy herself, living in Bonnie’s cabin, having grown old and near dying, while the still eternally young Princess Bubblegum sings with her. This, presumably, suggests that Marcy wasn’t as unconcerned about giving away her own immortality as she pretended. Earlier in the episode, we also see her dreaming about Simon and Betty; now both cured, happily married and acting as the parental figures they were never able to be. It shows her own regrets about her inability to help her dear Simon. However, the purpose of the Moon card is coming to recognize your anxieties, and channel them into a positive way- an emotional healing. Having internalized the Moon suggests hopeful things about Marcy’s future.

4: The Emperor (The King?)

There is no card called ‘The King’; there is, however, one called ‘The Emperor’, which the Vampire King could have been thematically named after. It is the card of authority and structure, of father-figures. This embodies much of the Vampire King’s person. He is (or rather, was) the leader of the Vampires, and even after he expresses a desire to want to leave that role, he still does his best to guide and lead Marcy, to be a figure of wisdom for her.

And considering the sentiments expressed by the Vampire King, wouldn’t it make sense for him to the one vampire not expressly named after a Tarot Card? Which leads us to…

11: Justice

“I’m not afraid of the unknown! I have the power to change destiny! We are vampires! You weigh the scales of fate! Spill my guts, or face the unknown!”

Justice is the card of, well, justice- but also fairness, truth, and law. The Vampire King presents Marceline with a choice; she can do what she’s always done, and slay the Vampire King, even though he professes to have reformed. Just as the figure from the card holds a sword in one hand, Marcy holds a stake; but at the same time, she has a chance to deliver fairness. 

7: The Chariot

“My path runs straight into the void- on a sick, flaming chariot!”

The Chariot is the card of will, control, and determination. It depicts a man riding out on a chariot, away from civilization to find spiritual attainment. It is not difficult to see the clear parallels to VK’s decision in this episode; he is willing to face the unknown, in order to break free from the dark fate of being a vampire, and make his own decisions. 

10: The Wheel of Fortune

No, not the game show. 

‘By the way, I will not bite… but turning you would subjugate me to the Wheel of Fortune! For I am a king, not a hamster!’

The Wheel of Fortune is the card of cycles, of karma, of change, of good luck, and success. The themes of cycles, of fate- but also of the importance of change- are some of the most central themes of these eight episodes. See this first comment The Vampire King makes, when he’s trying to convince our heroes that he truly does wish to reform.

‘This is the Old Way… agents of darkness and light, in a tug of war. But now, a creature can step out of that struggle.’

Or again, later, this exchange he has with Marceline. 

VK: Tell me, what’s the one thing you’ve noticed about the world, since you beat me all those hundreds of years ago?
M: Everything repeats, over and over again. No one learns anything. Because no one lives long enough to see the pattern, I guess.
VK: But you’ve lived long enough.

VK resents the Wheel of Fortune, resents the cyclical nature of reality. He hates how he and everyone else in existence is forced to do the same thing, again and again, never learning or trying anything new. 

Marceline, ultimately, does see VK’s point. She cannot just continue doing things just because that’s how she’s always done it in the past, just because she’s afraid of the unknown. 

But this card is also about change, and that’s an element of it that both characters appreciate. The Vampire King, ultimately, wants meaningful change. Marceline, too, wanted the chance to grow up- to finally move past the unhealthy emotional state of arrested development she became trapped in when she was originally turned. The song of the mini-series, ‘Everything Stays’, is even about how change, though sometimes difficult to see, is inescapable.

Everything stays
Right where you left it
Everything stays
But it still changes
Ever so slightly
Daily and nightly
In little ways
When everything stays

8: … Marceline?

Even though it is never explicitly mentioned, I think there is at least one other Tarot card represented by ‘Stakes’; “Strength”.

In the final two episodes, The Vampire King asked to have his vampire essence removed from his body, so that he can become mortal. When this is accomplished, her returns to his natural state- an ordinary, tame, lion. Later, when his vampire essence is spilled, it transforms into a terrible dark cloud, vaguely shaped like a monstrous lion, which spreads destruction across the land. At first, Marceline refuses to fight, feeling exhausted and defeated, seeing no point in facing the uncertainty ahead. After an (accidental) pep talk from Simon, however, she finds her inner strength, and overpowers the vampiric lion spirit, taking it into herself. In the very final episode, she discovers that the Vampire King still resides in her- though whether as a literal, separate entity, or just some element of her subconscious, remains ambiguous.

So how about the eighth card of the Major Arcana, strength? Traditionally, this depicts a beautiful young woman, calm and peaceful, taking a lion by the jaws, subduing it. Often, above her head floats the infinity symbol.

Marceline finds her inner strength. She fights the lion, not with her usual anger and ferocity, but through peace and determination, and the lion yields to her. It comes under her control. And in doing so, she regains her immortal nature, having now finally been given the chance to grow, and to learn.

Marceline the Vampire Queen, too, is represented by a Tarot card. Strength.

anonymous asked:

Would love it if you wrote something Milathos jealous!Athos. Take that any way you will.

Hi Anon, I don’t like you =)I was supposed to be sleeping and then I read your message and I had all those thoughts and I had to write them down! And now I’m weeping bc I’m sad and happy over this story and I love you so much and thank you for the prompt that turned into a bit more then I thought it would be.

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Guild Wars 2 Lore: Sylvari

“ I will bear your pain, Sister.”- Caithe

Today’s lore post will be over everyone’s favorite salads, the Sylvari! I have been doing posts on each of the playable races so if you wanna read the others, just click the links for Charr, Asura, and Norn! Now I am fairly certain everyone here is up to date on current happenings in Guild Wars 2, BUT just in case anyone has avoided Living Story Season 2 finale, as well as major plot points for the Sylvari that are coming up in Heart of Thorns, there are major spoilers here. So if you wanna play the Living World Season 2 with no spoilers, or the ending, you’re gonna have to save this post to read later!

‘I. Live life well and fully, and waste nothing.’
The Sylvari are the youngest race in Tyria by a wide margin, the Firstborn first awoke in Tyria in 1302 AE, 25 years before the start of the Guild Wars 2 personal story. The start of the Sylvari goes back a bit further however, back to Guild Wars 1 actually, to when the Pale Tree is first planted. During the events of Guild Wars: Prophecies, a human solider, Ronan, stumbled upon a cave, and inside he found a tree that had several fist-sized seeds. He took one with the intention of showing it to his daughter, and was attacked by what he described as monstrous plant creatures, but he was able to escape. The location of this cave and tree has not been discussed or found since that day, even though some Sylvari have tried to find it. Ronan headed home with the seed, but once he arrived he had found his home destroyed, and his family slaughtered by the White Mantle’s Unseen Gods, the Mursaat. Distraught, he buried his family, and on their graves he planted the seed, and made a vow to never fight again. Some time later the centaur Ventari found Ronan and the two formed a friendship and set out to create a refuge around the growing tree for others weary of fighting to seek shelter. This place came to be known as Ventari’s Sanctuary, and welcomed all who laid down their arms, centaur or human. After Ronan passed away, Ventari kept watch over the budding Pale Tree, and before his death in 1180 AE he inscribed ‘Ventari’s Tablet’ a list of his life lessons and placed it at the base of the tree, with the hopes that travelers would read and learn from him, even after death. This tablet would go on to serve a greater purpose however, giving the Sylvari their moral code and ethics, and may have helped free the Sylvari from their original and sinister purpose.

‘II. Do not fear difficulty. Hard ground makes stronger roots.’
And so after Ventari’s death, the tree grew, and 100 years after Ventari’s death, golden fruit formed on the Pale Tree for the first time. Then, in 1302 AE the Sylvari Firstborn emerged from the fruit, the first of the Sylvari to walk Tyria. The first to awaken was Trahearne, making him the oldest of the Sylvari, leader of the Pact, and whose Wyld Hunt was to Cleanse Orr. The order in which the other Firstborn emerged is not shown, but all are treated with respect and reverence by younger Sylvari. The other Firstborn are, Aife, diplomat and archer, Caithe, mentor to new Sylvari players, member of Destiny’s Edge, her Wyld Hunt was to slay Zhaitan, Dagonet, Diplomat to Kryta, she also studies The Dream, Faolain, current Grand Duchess of The Nightmare Court, and former lover of Caithe, Kahedins, he tends to newly awakened Sylvari, helping them to understand their Dream, Malomedies, responsible for bringing mathematics to the Sylvari, he was also the first to encounter another race, the asura, he suffered terrible experiments at their hands, until they discovered he was sentient, and not a mindless creature, Niamh, she founded the Wardens to fufill her Wyld Hunt in protecting The Grove, Riannoc, he holds the sad distinction of being the first Syvlari to die, Wynne, First of the Night Blooms, and as such her Dream told her the terrible truth of the Sylvari, the last two of the Firstborn Sylvari have not been mentioned at all in the game, and as such their identities unknown. Among these 12 firstborn, Aife, Kahedins, Malomedies, and Niamh are known as the Luminaries, one of each cycle, Dawn, Dusk, Night, and Noon respectively, that act as the governors of the Sylvari, with the Pale Tree’s physical manifestation, the Avatar of the Tree as the leader, they are in charge of maintaining society, as well as developing political relationships with the other races. After the Firstborn were the Secondborn emerging in 1304 AE, notable members are Cadeyrn, founder of the Nightmare court, Canach, former member of the Consortium, and Ceara, who would later rename herself Scarlet Briar, and terrorize Tyria and unleash a dangerous force. Afterwards Sylvari began emerging from the Pale Tree at an increasing rate. 

‘III. The only lasting peace is the peace within your own soul.’
Most Sylvari are connected to each other, and the Pale Tree, through The Dream. The Dream is a state of consciousness that Sylvari experience before awakening. It contains the pooled knowledge and experiences of all the Sylvari, through this Dream they learn about the world, and history of their race. The Dream can also reveal, however cryptic, the future of a Sylvari, usually manifesting in what is called a Wyld Hunt, a call to destiny for some Sylvari. The Pale Tree itself is not fully aware of what The Dream actually is, instead she refers to herself as the custodian of The Dream, making sure that each Sylvari born is equipped with the knowledge they need to survive once born. Once the Sylvari emerge, their connection to The Dream is very weak, but their experiences are added to The Dream for sylvari not yet born to experience and absorb once they emerge. This connection to The Dream is also theorized to be the cause of the Sylvari’s ‘immunity’ to Elder Dragon corruption. If a Sylvari were to be put through the same process that would corrupt another being, they would simply die, instead of being turned. The Nightmare Court are made up of Sylvari that have a different interpretation of The Dream, they believe that Ventari and his tenets have affected the Sylvari’s development, and turned them away from their true nature, that of The Nightmare. The Nightmare is encountered at the edges of The Dream and contain the dark thoughts and experiences of the sylvari, and is present within each Sylvari. For most. this darkness is just a part of being alive, for others, it consumes them, and turns them to the court. The Nightmare Court seeks to destroy Ventari’s Tablet, ‘freeing’ the Sylvari, and turning the Pale Tree to nightmare. To this end, the members will commit dark and evil acts on other Sylvari, the goal is so that these acts will get transferred to The Dream from their victims, and grow the Nightmare that emerging Sylvari experience. Another faction of Sylvari, known as The Soundless, have decided to remove themselves from both Dream and Nightmare. They do not wish to be brought into the pressure or burden of The Dream, and through mental exercises and meditation they are able to minimize their connection to the Pale Tree and other Sylvari, though they will never fully be rid of it.

‘IV. All things have a right to grow. The blossom is brother to the weed.’
The Sylvari’s young nature leads them to be very honest and direct with meanings, taking many things at face value. The Dream creates so many similarities between the Sylvari, that they are constantly trying to learn new things, to help create a unique identity for themselves. Their naive nature also leads to a very limp grasp of things such as emotions, where many Sylvari are known to say out loud something that would have been avoided in conversation by other races. They’re concept of death is also seen as disturbing to other races, treated more with fascination then dread, and seen as something to be embraced. Another confusing part of Sylvari culture may be the views that Sylvari have for one another, while all coming from the Pale Tree and may be considered of the same family, most treat each other as distant relatives, rather than siblings. Also, despite all of them coming from the Pale Tree, lovers are still found among them, for Sylvari, love is viewed as spiritual and eternal, regardless of the physical form it takes. Sexuality is also viewed as a natural part of life, believing that as long as love is entered into with good will and joy, gender doesn’t make a difference. The human forms that Sylvari has been stated that it is based off the Pale Tree’s memory of Ronan, and her abstract ideas of human biology. Though it is replaced with plant materials, such as bark replacing skin, and golden sap instead of blood.

‘V. Never leave a wrong to ripen into evil or sorrow.’
Although the Sylvari have had most of their existence from a single view point, and being viewed as the innocent optimistic plant folk, recent events have lead to a shift in not only how others view them, but questions for themselves. All Sylvari know they are all born of the Pale Tree, but during the course of their personal story, a Sylvari player choosing to follow Ventari’s tenet of ‘Where life goes, so too, should you.” discovers the existence of a Sylvari, not born of the Pale Tree. Malyck is a Sylvari that is not of the Pale Tree the other Sylvari are from, and he has no memory of his tree. He claims to have no connection to The Dream, or other Sylvari, and his first memory is waking on the bank of a river, and about two weeks later, the Nightmare Court started hunting him. When brought to a Sylvari Seer it is determined that it is indeed the truth, he is not of the Pale Tree, but that he is from another, and that the seed that bore the Pale Tree is just one of many. He cannot be considered soundless however, he does not feel the Dream, but he does have a “great sense of distance, and loss.”, Trahearne then wonders if his Tree even had a Dream to guide him. Even without the Tenets and Pale Tree to guide him Malyck still seems to hold many of the same ideals as the other Sylvari, however he is much less trusting, and is more prone to revenge. The player rescues him from the Nightmare Court, keeping his existence a secret, the fear being that if discovered, the Nightmare Court might set their sight on corrupting his tree. After he is rescued, he heads west into Magus Falls, with a promise to find his people, and return with an army to help fight the Elder Dragons.

‘VI. Act with wisdom, but act.’
Other events in Tyria have led to distrust of the Sylvari, and the revelation of their ‘true’ nature. Shortly after the defeat of Zhaitan, various rogue factions had teamed up to assault Tyria, examples being the Molten Alliance being forged between Dredge and Flame Legion, and the Toxic Alliance between the Krait and Nightmare Court. These were seen as random actions, until it was revealed that the broker for these alliances was a Sylvari named Scarlet Briar. A Secondborn originally named Ceara, she first revealed herself after attacking the Queen’s Jubilee with her Watchknights. Though she was repelled, she was still in command of a formidable army through the various alliances she had forged. She then set about dropping probes all over Tyria, searching for something, and finally she found it in the ruins of Old Lion’s Arch. She assaulted Lion’s Arch with all of her forces, destroying much of the city, and killing many of the citizens, and although she was eventually slain it appeared to be too late, she had found what she had been looking for. As she lay dying, her ship, The Breachmaker, which had been drilling into the bay in Lion’s Arch, struck what is now known as a Leyline, sending a surge of magical energy out towards the jungle, and found its target, and with a single roar heard all over Tyria, The Elder Dragon Mordremoth now stirred.

‘VII. From the smallest blade of grass to the largest mountain, where life goes—so, too, should you.’
After Scarlet’s attack, the player with their newly formed group of allies, ventured towards the Magumma Wastes, instructed to investigate after receiving another message from a mysterious source only known as E. Once there the wreckage of the Zephyrite’s grand flying city ship was found, having crashed from the sky. It is discovered to not be an accident, but intentionally brought about by one of their own, a Soundless Sylvari named Aerin. While working to stop him before he killed the Master of Peace, leader of the Zephyrites, it is seen that he is talking to some unseen force, and once killed, only more question’s remained. The players and their allies lament that another Sylvari is the cause of more destruction, and are determined to find out the truth. While searching a nearby town for clues they find out nothing about Aerin, instead the origins of Scarlet’s madness. Revealed in journals written by her, it tells of nightmares she had constantly. Seeing a sea of darkness, and a entity calling out to her, she also claimed to hear whispers coming from the forest, she then refused to sleep. Finally, one night, after finally falling into slumber, she witnessed the entity directly. It showed her images of death, destruction, and destiny. After this, Ceara seemed to become more fearless, and was determined to learn more, and to put an end to the entity. While studying under an Asura named Omadd in Drytop, she was exposed to his invention, a machine that ‘opened her mind’ to the Eternal Alchemy. Once inside the machine, she viewed what she believed to be the Eternal Alchemy, and parts of her own mind, but as she got further in, she heard the Pale Tree’s voice for the first time in years, begging her to not go forward, after a second of hesitation, she pressed onward, and what she saw changed her, and broke her sanity. What she saw is unclear, but what has been revealed is that when she viewed the open threshold of her mind, something looked back at her. Once she exited the machine, she killed Omadd and took the name Scarlet Briar, after the red thorned vine seen chocking the Pale Tree in her vision. With this revelation, the player moved forward, finding the Master of Peace with the secret the Zephyrites had been hiding all this time, the last egg of the crystal dragon, Glint. The egg was promptly stolen by Caithe and she quickly disappeared with it. To discover her motives the player relives her memories thanks to the Pale Tree, and in them the truth of the Sylvari race is revealed, along with Caithe’s darkest secret. The Firstborn named Wynne learned in her dream that the Sylvari are servants of the Elder Dragon Mordremoth, born from it, and tied to its future. She revealed this secret to Caithe as she was to be tortured by Faolain, and begged Caithe to kill her, knowing she would break under it. Caithe killed her, keeping the secret to herself, knowing Faolain would use it to turn more Sylvari to Nightmare. Caithe confirms these truths to the player, but once again disappears with the egg, she does however assure the player that they are both on the same side. The secret origins of the Sylvari would not stay that way for long, as The Pact had just launched a preemptive invasion of the Magumma Jungle, hoping to destroy Mordermoth and its forces before it could fully awaken. This initial attack was a disaster, as not only the jungle itself fought back, but some of the Sylvari members of The Pact experienced The Calling, and turned on their allies, now fighting for the Elder Dragon. They destroyed The Pact ships, and now the faith of The Pact, and what is to become of the race as a whole, now rests in the heart of the jungle.

Alright guys! Next week I’ll wrap up the lore posts for the playable races with a post on humans! see you then! And as always if you have any suggestions for other lore posts please feel free to drop us an ask!

-Karn Vileclaw

PRO SASUSAKU DATABOOK QUOTES:

Databook 1 (Haruno Sakura’s Profile):

  • “Sakura’s feelings towards Sasuke has been unrequited since childhood. Despite having to handle tough training and missions, she also gives her all in love - certainly she might be an ideal among the girls. Watching her, I can’t help but root for her!”

Databook 1 (Haruno Sakura’s Profile):

  • “Sakura’s goal is to have Sasuke notice her… for him to turn around and really see her.. so that he might fall in love. Little does she realize that this goal acts as a powerful weapon in her arsenal, constantly motivating her to sharpen her skills as a shinobi so she can impress Sasuke during every task and mission!”

Databook 1 (Haruno Sakura’s Profile):

  • “True love conquers all! When Sakura is assigned to the same squad as Sasuke, she jumps one step ahead of Ino, her rival for his affection! Hoping to immediately start taking advantage of this opportunity, she decides to make the first move and approaches Sasuke with her most alluring smile!”

Databook 1 (Haruno Sakura’s Profile):

  • “"Sasuke is dead…?! Her heart was torn between her shinobi’s duties and pure love.”

Databook 1 (Uchiha Sasuke’s Profile):

  • “Though until then he had taken no notice of either love or friendship, after meeting with Naruto and Sakura, Sasuke begins to accept them as nakama, even if only little by little. In Sasuke’s eyes, before he even notice it, he and Naruto became mutual good rivals capable of boosting up each other’s skill - and also, when his heart was about to be swallowed by Orochimaru’s wicked cursed seal again, he was rescued by Sakura…”

Databook 1 (Uchiha Sasuke’s Profile):

  • “Sakura willingly and bravely calms the rampaging Sasuke under the influence of the cursed seal. Sakura’s heart, thinking of Sasuke, devours the wicked power.”

Databook 2 (Uchiha Sasuke’s Profile):

  • “Growing distant, towards darkness.. the one to appear before him as he began to leave was Sakura. To the back of a Sasuke that tried to face away from what was left behind, Sakura desperately conveys her feelings. Bright and earnest feelings - feelings that did not want to lose Sasuke. The one who filled his lonely existence with the emotion called love was Sakura. But as expected, Sasuke cannot respond to those feelings. Sasuke was only able to leave a single word of thanks as a parting.”

Databook 2 (Uchiha Sasuke’s Profile):

  • “Friendship and love, a future filled with warmth. But as long as he is there, he cannot make his dream come true. This is why he throws away a future with his friends. To make dreams of revenge a reality…”

Databook 2 (Haruno Sakura’s Profile):

  • “A parting with a loved one that tears at her heart. Sasuke left the Leaf Village. Sakura’s heart did not reach him. Naturally lonely and peace loving, for Sakura, the loss of one teammate causes her great pain. Thus, if that person is someone she loves, the pain is greater. So she shouts out her love which goes unheeded, squeezing the words out of her throat. It’s as if this is her imprisoning destiny.”

Databook 2 (Haruno Sakura’s Profile):

  • “A New Beginning. Sakura who swears to begin anew. This is her resolution to bring back Sasuke by her own self. No matter how hard the journey, Sakura will never give up….”

Databook 3 (Haruno Sakura’s Pofile):

  • “There’s a saying: "Turning hardship and grief into nourishment is what makes a sakura, a cherry tree’s flower, so gorgeous”. Indeed, Haruno Sakura, a kunoichi from Konoha grew up beautifully out of the sorrows she’s experienced. The death of a close one, then the parting of ways with the person she loved… But whenever she was hurt, she faced forward, and tearfully vowed to become stronger. Those sorrows engraved into her heart, her predispositions as a shinobi will certainly prove even more fruitful, as she’s obtained apprenticeship under Tsunade, the legendary kunoichi. The day when the entrancingly graceful, fully bloomed sakura flower dances upon the battleground is close at hand!“

Databook 3 (Haruno Sakura’s Profile):

  • "Sakura knows that in the shinobi world, one must pay a suitable compensation to obtain something. Despite this, if she could recover Sasuke… and the daily life that were lost, Sakura would gladly make any sacrifice. And that resolve gives Sakura the strength to open a way towards the future.”

Databook 3 (Haruno Sakura’s Profile):

  • “Upon thinking about Sasuke, regret tightly grips her heart, and strength invades it at the same time!”
Love and sacrifice, in Stevenbomb 2.0 and beyond - the future of Pearl, Lapis Lazuli, and Connie

“Everything I ever did, I did for her  Now she’s gone. But I’m still here. Sometimes I wonder if she can see me through your eyes. What would she think of me now?” – Pearl, Rose’s Scabbard

I’ve worked out what, for me, made Sworn to the Sword (and the ensuing episodes) such a gut-punch. The very short version: self-sacrifice doesn’t work, and does more harm than good – loving someone (and fighting for them) is most often destructive when there’s a power imbalance. This essay considers the theme of self-sacrificing love in Steven Universe (with particular reference to Pearl, Lapis Lazuli, and Connie) and offers some ideas about how it will develop.

The tragedy of Pearl is that she sacrificed herself, again and again, and at the end of it all she still lost Rose Quartz. She gave so much – and has been left with a vast, sucking emptiness. Yes, she’s got Steven – but just over a decade of looking after a human child, one that’s only just beginning to understand anything about his Gem heritage, is not an adequate replacement for over 8,000 years of devoted companionship. She spent millennia being a knight for the woman she loved, and she’s only had a fraction of that time to learn to be a mother. (No wonder she still panics and messes things up, even while she’s the most traditionally ‘maternal’ of the Mom Squad.)

Pearl’s love for Rose was many things.[1] Some of them are described by Pearl herself in Sworn to the Sword – “completely dedicated to a person and a cause. Brave, selfless, loyal – a knight!” But it was also intense, all-consuming, possessive, and jealous. We’ve met this before in Rose’s Scabbard – Pearl is obviously distressed at the idea that Rose might not have trusted her with all her secrets (“But not from me! I was the one she told everything!) to the extent that she lashes out at Steven (“What do you know? You never even met her!”). We also see this in the flashback episodes with Greg, subtly at first (I can sing!”) and then much more forcefully:

“You’re just a phase. You know that, right? … You can’t fuse. Fusion is the ultimate connection between Gems. And you. Are not. A Gem.” – Pearl, We Need To Talk

But what has become increasingly clear as the dust settles from Stevenbomb 2.0 is that Pearl’s love for Rose was, above all, defined by self-sacrifice. I believe that this theme will come to constitute a major part of the coming season, and we’re just at the point where it’s about to ramp up. What we’ve seen so far of Pearl and Rose’s relationship is an illustration of the destructive power of self-sacrificing love – not just for the lover, but for the beloved, and for the people around them. So when I say the tragedy of Pearl is that she sacrificed herself repeatedly and is still left to face a world without Rose, it goes deeper than that. The truth that Pearl has to face is this: no matter how much you sacrifice for someone, and no matter how many times you do it, you still can’t save them from their own choices. And that’s a brutal thing to learn, especially after thousands of years of sacrifice.

“Back during the war, Pearl took pride in risking her destruction for your mother. She put Rose Quartz over everything: over logic, over consequence, over her own life.” – Garnet, Sworn to the Sword

Earlier, I was talking to a friend about how Sworn to the Sword leaves me crying every time (and how I can’t stop watching the damn thing, or get the song out of my head). He said that surely Pearl chose to help Rose bring Steven into the world and move on to the next stage of her/his life. But did she? I can’t imagine Pearl wanting Rose to disappear – but I can imagine her supporting Rose in that decision, because Rose wanted her to, and she only wants what Rose wants. And Rose chose to end her life on Earth with Pearl – a life which, for Pearl, was the only reason to remain on Earth. (No wonder Pearl feels lost and abandoned. No wonder she gets PTSD symptoms when she’s reminded too strongly of Rose, or given the slim chance to reach Homeworld again.)

So where is this theme going? I think Stevenbomb 2.0 has sown the seeds for an important arc about love and sacrifice, by setting up some key parallels between characters. In Sworn to the Sword, we see the contrast in how Pearl and Connie relate to the idea of being a knight; and in Chille Tid, Lapis Lazuli’s “Steven! …. just let me do this for you!” echoes Pearl’s “why won’t you just let me do this for you, Rose!?”

[Here’s a gorgeous image by labjusticaholic​, highlighting how these moments mirror each other.]

Both Lapis and Pearl, to a greater or lesser extent, seem to believe that they are most valuable not for who they are, but for what they can sacrifice. Pearl has spent millennia fighting for Rose under the motto of “I am nothing” – even if, paradoxically, it was for someone who (presumably outisde the context of battle) “made [her] feel like everything”.  And now, she not only wants to do the same for Steven (as the bearer of Rose’s gem), she wants to teach Connie to do this too – even though, as a human, sacrificing her life would be permanent. As for Lapis, for all of her recent life she has gone from prison to prison: first inside the mirror, then aboard the ship, and now in a self-imposed prison where she is literally giving up her selfhood (“We’re Malachite now”) in order to subdue a dangerous Gem whose containment requires Lapis’ constant struggle and attention. But where Pearl is focused on sacrifice for Steven due to “[his] legacy, [his] destiny”, keeping him safe because “[he’s] too important”, I think that Lapis is motivated by a sense of affection for, and obligation to, Steven himself. This is the boy who talked to her, freed her from the mirror, showed her kindness where the other gems wouldn’t, and healed her even after she’d stolen the ocean and gravely endangered all his loved ones. She doesn’t care about the Crystal Gems (and dismisses their caring for humans), and the Homeworld she dreamed of returning to has become strange and hostile – so all she has left to care about is the human kid who briefly made her feel cared about and listened to.

And yet… Steven doesn’t want sacrifice, from anybody. He wants Connie to fight by his side, rather than be his human shield; he wants Pearl to be happy rather than riven by grief and believing she is “nothing”; he wants to set Lapis free even though it means he’ll need to face Jasper again. At the end of Sworn to the Sword, Pearl takes this on board and agrees to teach both Connie and Steven how to be good knights; however, it looks like Lapis will take longer to convince. Or perhaps it’s not a matter of time, but a matter of who is doing the convincing. And this is where I think Connie will come to the fore, in terms of how this theme develops on the show.

Connie and Steven treat each other as equals, despite Steven’s magical destiny. Their friendship is a strong one based on mutual respect. The new intro sequence shows Connie wielding Rose’s sword, and Steven wielding Rose’s shield – in my opinion, a clear implication that eventually we’ll be watching Stevonnie wield both at once. (I’m pretty new to engaging with the SU online fandom community, and have been mostly busy having ~feeeeelings~ about Pearl in the Stevenbomb aftermath, so I don’t have a lot of meta/analysis to link to on this topic – please feel free send me links to some and I’ll put them up!) But hey, here’s some awesome fanart of them doing just that, because it looks SO PERFECT.

[Art credit: yamino​. This image is also being sold as a t-shirt!]

Essentially, I think the non-hierarchical bond between Connie and Steven will do important work for modelling what a healthier version of Steven’s relationships with Pearl and Lapis could look like. I’ve said (in an earlier post) something along the lines of  “Connie/Steven could be Pearl/Rose ‘done right’ ” – so I want to make clear that I’m not aiming at super-gross implications of Perfect Hetero Relationship Shows The Freaky Queers How It’s Done (which is just NOPENOPENOPE), and in fact what I’m getting at is more specifically to do with the non-romantic parts of their relationship.[2]

Connie: Please, I want to learn! I mean, I don’t know what’ll happen in the future, but if something dangerous comes along, I don’t want to be a burden, I want to help! I want to be there for Steven, to fight by his side! The Earth is my home too. Can’t I help protect it?
Pearl (with big wibbly tearful eyes): Oh… okay! If that’s how you feel… we should get started!

Connie: Did… Rose make you feel like you were nothing?
Pearl: Rose made me feel… like I was everything.

I love these two interactions between Pearl and Connie, which bracket Sworn to the Sword. My hope/expectation is that this a beginning of a new dynamic – where Connie’s humanity, and the freshness of her experiences, can actually be an advantage over the long-lived Gems with their ingrained habits. While we still don’t know a great deal about Homeworld, I think it’s reasonable to conclude that it has quite a rigid hierarchy, and that neither Pearl nor Lapis were near the top. Being brought up in a system which tells you that you’re worthless – or just that you’re worth less than others, because of who/what you are – and having that cemented through hundreds or thousands of years of experience… is likely to result in internalising that system. I am worthless. I am nothing. I suggest that Connie’s experiences – as a young woman living under patriarchy, as a person of colour living under racism, as a lonely and socially-awkward bookworm– are quite likely to have included being told that she is worth less than others, because of who/what she is. But she’s had a lot less time to internalise them, and for all her life she’s had a counter-example close by: her mother, Doctor Maheswaran.

I’m envisaging Connie as a driving force behind Pearl and/or Lapis Lazuli fighting back against their conditioning and rediscovering a sense of self-worth. In my personal future-headcanon, Connie (whose oratory in Sworn to the Sword moved Pearl to tears!) gets to deliver an awesome speech about how one of the things her mother taught her was that “the world is full of people saying you’re not good enough, not strong enough, not smart enough – but those people are wrong. They’re just saying it because they’re scared of how powerful you could be if you ignored them.” Connie’s message to the Gems continues: “You are valuable as who you are right now. No more sacrifices. Please. Save yourself, and then save the world.”

I think this could be a really powerful way of demonstrating that human beings are just as “extraordinary” as Rose says – a pre-teen human girl having a kind of insight that millienia-old alien warriors lack. And Connie wouldn’t just be a catalyst for Pearl and Lapis reclaiming their power – I’m certain that in the coming war against Homeworld, she is going to be very powerful and significant in her own right: not just as a combatant, but a strategist.

(Going out further on the limb here – if the Gem caste theory is correct, and there are many iterations of every type of Gem, then Connie and her family (as people from the Indian subcontinent) might well have even more insight into caste systems, and living with or breaking free of them. I think it would be really interesting to link oppressive structures on Homeworld with oppressive structures here on Earth – but this is absolutely not my area of expertise, so I’ll leave this idea to be debunked or expanded on by people who actually know what they’re talking about when it comes to caste systems. Edited to add: of course, the Maheswarans might have lived in America for generations and thus not have any recent experience of the caste system - I’m not making assumptions about this, just positing ideas.)

I have some thoughts brewing about how, while Steven and Connie can serve as a kind of role model for Pearl and Lapis, Garnet could be serving in turn as a role model for Steven and Connie, specifically in the context of Stevonnie and fusion… but I think that’s a topic for another time, as this is pretty long now!

So, a quick round-up of what I think:
- love and self-sacrifice becomes an increasingly significant theme in the series
- parallels between Pearl, Lapis, and Connie will be emphasised
- Connie’s non-hierarchical relationship with Steven, and Connie’s insights into unlearning internalised structural oppression, will be key to demonstrating to Pearl and Lapis how they can support Steven without destroying themselves in the process

… and that’s all for now, folks!

If you made it this far, thank you so much for reading! I’d love to hear your thoughts on it :) Also,  I wrote this laaaaate at night and I realise it gets a lot less ‘scholarly’ towards the end, but I figured posting it as-is is better than procrastinating over making it perfect…

Footnotes:

[1] Although it’s not the focus of this post, I want to make it very clear that I think Pearl’s love for Rose was requited – Rose’s tenderness to Pearl in Rose’s Scabbard, “Rose made me feel… like I was everything” in Sworn to the Sword - or at the absolute goddamn minimum, that Rose repeatedly encouraged Pearl’s affection (per We Need To Talk). I don’t think their relationship was healthy, but it was real and it was loving despite all the ways in which it was also fucked-up. Reading material:
nnylittleauggie : highly satisfying screenshot demonstration of how damn queer We Need To Talk was
fairymascot​ : longform analysis of We Need To Talk
louchananalysis of Rose as playing Pearl and Greg off against each other, and loving them both
[2] I don’t think Steven and Connie are (currently) in a romantic relationship and I am really enjoying that the depiction of their friendship isn’t playing up an annoying will-they-won’t-they at the expense of their characterisation (*cough cough Hermione and Ron cough*).

Style notes:

- I use “Gem” to refer to the characters/species and “gem” to refer to their actual shiny bits of rock (or oyster excretion in the case of Pearl, I guess)
- American readers - I’m a Brit, so most things that look like spelling mistakes probably aren’t. (I have been using ‘mom’ rather than ‘mum’ because I think the words are more like dialect variants than alternate spellings, and the idea of Steven saying ‘mum’ instead of ‘mom’ just feels a bit wrong?)

Wedding day (Requested)

*Y/N Pov*
Today is going to be the most beautiful day in my entire life. I was excited as hell and I’ve waited so long for this day to come. I woke up in the morning with Justin, my fiancé, by my side his arms wrapped around me. A smile flashed over my face and I decided to just lay there and enjoy the moment. Around ten minutes later I finally got up and went to the bathroom. I brushed my teeth and washed my hair before I got dressed. As I finally was ready I went downstairs and made some breakfast. I set the table and headed back to our sleeping room to wake Justin up. I softly kissed his lips until he opened his eyes and looked at me. He smiled immediately. “Good morning beautiful”, he whispered and stroked my cheek before leaning in for another kiss. “Good morning baby. Breakfast is ready”, I answered after the kiss and he told me that he’d get ready so he got up and I went back to the kitchen.

After we had breakfast Kendall came by to pick me up. I gave Justin a goodbye kiss and he told me that he was excited. “So am I.” I smiled at him and left with Kendall. We went to her house where Hailey already waited. I gave her a hug and then they immediately started doing my hair and my make up. I told them they should get a makeup artist but they wanted to do it all by theirselves so I let them. It took them around one and a half hour to finish but as soon as I looked in the mirror I saw that it was worth it. “Girls, you did a great job! I’m looking amazing”, I admitted full of joy and gave both of them a hug. “Thank you!” Kendall left the room and came back with my wedding dress. We choose it together and I really love it. They helped me to put it on and once again I looked at myself in the mirror. I really felt like a princess and I was sure that Justin would love it.

The time came when we had to head off to the church. In front of it they both have me a last hug before going in and taking their seats. My mother and my father who have waited for me came over. My mom looked so happy and so did my dad. She gave me a hug and almost started crying. “You look so beautiful, Y/N!”, she said and tried to calm herself. She went in because my father was the one passing me to Justin. “I love you my little princess”, he whispered giving me a kiss on my forehead. I smiled because I was so happy. “I love you, Daddy”, I replied.

The music started playing which was the sign for us to walk in. I linked arms with my Dad holding the bouquet in the other hand and then started walking in. Everyone stood up and all eyes laid on us but I just looked at Justin who was waiting for me at the altar. He smiled so bright as he saw me.

We finally got to him so my father gave him my hand. They hugged and then he took a seat next to my mother in the first row. “My beautiful bride”, he whispered in my ear what caused me smiling brightly.

We sat down and the vicar started to talk. “Dearly Beloved, we are gathered together here in the sign of God – and in the face of this company – to join together this man and this woman in holy matrimony, which is commended to be honorable among all men; and therefore – is not by any – to be entered into unadvisedly or lightly – but reverently, discreetly, advisedly and solemnly. Into this holy estate these two persons present now come to be joined. If any person can show just cause why they may not be joined together – let them speak now or forever hold their peace.”

He paused for a moment but then resumed.

“Marriage is the union of husband and wife in heart, body and mind. It is intended for their mutual joy – and for the help and comfort given on another in prosperity and adversity. But more importantly – it is a means through which a stable and loving environment may be attained.

Through marriage, Justin and Y/N make a commitment together to face their disappointments – embrace their dreams – realize their hopes – and accept each other’s failures. Justin and Y/N will promise one another to aspire to these ideals throughout their lives together – through mutual understanding – openness – and sensitivity to each other.

We are here today – before God – because marriage is one of His most sacred wishes – to witness the joining in marriage of Justin and Y/N. This occasion marks the celebration of love and commitment with which this man and this woman begin their life together. And now – through me – He joins you together in one of the holiest bonds. This is a beginning and a continuation of their growth as individuals. With mutual care, respect, responsibility and knowledge comes the affirmation of each one’s own life happiness, growth and freedom. With respect for individual boundaries comes the freedom to love unconditionally. Within the emotional safety of a loving relationship – the knowledge self-offered one another becomes the fertile soil for continued growth. With care and responsibility towards self and one another comes the potential for full and happy lives.

By gathering together all the wishes of happiness and our fondest hopes for Justin and Y/N from all present here, we assure them that our hearts are in tune with theirs. These moments are so meaningful to all of us, for “what greater thing is there for two human souls than to feel that they are joined together – to strengthen each other in all labor – to minister to each other in all sorrow – to share with each other in all gladness.

This relationship stands for love, loyalty, honesty and trust, but most of all for friendship. Before they knew love, they were friends, and it was from this seed of friendship that is their destiny. Do not think that you can direct the course of love – for love, if it finds you worthy, shall direct you.

Marriage is an act of faith and a personal commitment as well as a moral and physical union between two people. Marriage has been described as the best and most important relationship that can exist between them. It is the construction of their love and trust into a single growing energy of spiritual life. It is amoral commitment that requires and deserves daily attention. Marriage should be a life long consecration of the ideal of loving kindness – backed with the will to make it last.”

Again he stopped because it was time for us to exchange our vows. We stood up and Justin started to talk. “Y/N, we know each other for so long now and I love you with all my heart. You’re the reason why I am smiling and happy. You’re making me a better person and therefore I’d like to thank you. I’m so proud to call you my girl and very soon my wife. My beautiful loving and caring wife.” I felt the tears filling my eyes but I tried not to let them out because I had to talk now. “Justin, you’re the best thing that ever happened to me and I want to thank you for helping me whenever I needed you, for supporting me whenever I was down and for just giving me your love because it’s the most valuable thing that I own.” I finished talking and I wasn’t the only one almost crying. My parents had tears in their eyes and Justin had tears rolling down his cheeks as well but I couldn’t hold them back, either. The vicar continued his speech and turned to Justin.

“Do you Justin Bieber take Y/N Y/L/N to be your wife – to live together after God’s ordinance – in the holy estate of matrimony? Will you love her, comfort her, honor and keep her, in sickness and in health, for richer, for poorer, for better, for worse, in sadness and in joy, to cherish and continually bestow upon her your heart’s deepest devotion, forsaking all others, keep yourself only unto her as long as you both shall live?”, he asked and everybody now turned to Justin. “I will”, he answered looking at me with a smile on his face.

The vicar was now talking to me. “Do you Y/N Y/L/N take Justin Bieber to be your husband – to live together after God’s ordinance – in the holy estate of matrimony? Will you love him, comfort him, honor and keep him, in sickness and in health, for richer, for poorer, for better, for worse, in sadness and in joy, to cherish and continually bestow upon him your heart’s deepest devotion, forsaking all others, keep yourself only unto him as long as you both shall live?” I nodded and smiled while looking at my lovely future husband. “I will.”

“May I have the rings, please”, he asked and so
Justin’s little sister and his little brother came over to us holding the pad with the rings. They were sitting right next to Pattie, Jeremy and Erin in the first row and we were so happy to have them with us on our journey. We exchanged our rings and I had to admit that Justin really did a great job in picking them because they were the most beautiful and probably the most expensive rings on the planet. I would be happy with some cheap ones, too but they were just so awesome.

The vicar took the rings and continued. “As a token that you will faithfully perform these vows, you will now exchange rings.
The ring is an endless circle: a symbol of the covenant you are making here today.
As you place the ring on your fingers say:
<As I place this ring on your finger, I pledge myself to you. I am yours.>” He gave us the rings so Justin started placing the ring on my finger while saying this sentence. I did the same thing and then the moment has come when we finally could share a kiss as married couple. Everyone applauded and in this moment I was so happy. We slowly walked out of the church and waited for our sedan to come in front of it while everyone congratulated us.

We partied the entire evening but to be honest I was so happy to finally be home in the evening. I got undressed and laid down in my underwear because I was so tired. As soon as Justin was ready he came over so we cuddled. “I love you so much, Mrs. Bieber”, he mumbled smirking a bit before he gently kisses my lips. I rolled my eyes but anyways it was fucking cute. “I love you too my husband”, I responded. Smiling I continued our kiss for a while but we both were tired of this beautiful but strenuous day. “Good night, beautiful”, he whispered kissing my forehead before he closed his eyes. “Good night, baby.” I hid my face in his crook of the neck and thought once again about this amazing day before I fell asleep with a big smile on my face.

Wedding dress and wedding rings coming up

Line by Line: A Study of Hook’s Dialogue in Every Episode - 2.06 Tallahassee pt 2

Continuing my examination of Killian’s dialogue, especially where it concerns prediction or foretelling of future events, being the voice of truth or reason in the face of direct opposition, or just having a greater awareness of events based on his enhanced perception and human insight. These are of course my own interpretations of his dialogue, I’m sure others have different thoughts and I might forget things.

I obviously have ALOT to say about this episode, and he has a lot of very important lines, so I’m splitting this into multiple parts:

Previously: 2.06-Tallahassee pt 1

2.06- Tallahassee pt 2

_____

Emma: Don’t think I’m taking my eyes off you for a second.

Hook: I would despair if you did.

I left Emma’s line in for context, but I feel like a lot of us are very familiar with this quote, and it has lead to many a painful gifset.

This line, to me, is actually extremely significant both in terms of this individual episode, but throughout their relationship in a variety of contexts.

Despair is a big trigger for Killian for both his vengeance and just his bad decision making in general. Despair from loss in particular, such as the loss of a loved one or a beloved object (Liam, Milah, The Jolly Roger), or the loss of an avenue for the completion of his vengeance (Ursula). As well as just general despair related to being seen as, or feeling, unworthy (Bae’s rejection, his father’s disregard, etc). Almost every low point or villainous act in Killian’s life is related to despair which is why the theme of hope is so important for him in particular.

In this episode they begin their journey with Killian’s hope (I was hoping…) and they end it with Emma literally taking her eyes off him by walking away and leaving him behind, prompting his return to despair and thus to the track of his vengeance.

As we go through the motions of their relationship this is a prevalent motif, with Killian gradually handling this better and better as he moves further and further along the path of redemption, pulling himself further away from that despair.

This is repeated a few times, in varying degrees. When he feels he’s lost her to Neal he propositions Tink, when he is forced back to EF he sacrifices Ariel’s happy ending for The Jolly Roger, when he loses her to the DO he makes an ill-fated bargain with Zelena, etc.

A lot of people credit Emma with his redemption but it’s more that the hope Emma brings into his life pushes away the despair that is a catalyst for so many of his bad choices. It is the lack of despair that allows him to make better, more heroic decisions, not Emma herself, just the light and hope she instills in him that help keep the darkness and despair at bay.

That’s not to say he is without hope during these darker times, just that the direction of that hope gradually changes to “lighter” things, whereas his hope at the peak of his vengeance is literally murder. I know this seems a bit strange, but once Killian has purpose he never gives up. 

Never. 

Even at his darkest times he always has that drive. Even when he is literally dying he has hope for Emma’s future, and that he’ll get to see her reunite the blades of Excalibur. 

And that kind of determination REQUIRES hope, one way or another, this interaction just marks the beginning of a shift from the hope for a finite endgame to hope for a future. 

It will take him quite a bit to get there though.
 
Hook: First beanstalk? Well, you never forget your first. You know, most men would take your silence as off-putting, but I love a challenge.

One of the things I always talk about with Tallahassee is how hard they beat you over the head with the blossoming romance aspect of it, or as a journey of two potential love interests. It starts with, (as all happy endings do) “I was hoping it’d be you.”, our first indication that Hook is approaching Emma from a level of interest that is more than a potential alliance.

This line is the second indication this is a romantically under toned adventure. 

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Fic: Better Angels [Percy, ensemble | T | 2700 words]

[AO3 | FFN | More Fic]

Percy knows a thing or two about losing the battle but winning the war. They all do.

Vox Machina, in the aftermath.

[SPOILERS FOR EPISODE 64.]

Better Angels

He sits for a while in the workshop he used as a boy, head tilted toward the faint drumming of rain on the stonework outside. He should by rights be working, should be feverishly assembling new projects, new ideas. New weapons. Instead he sits cross-legged on the soot-stained floor, workbench looming above him like a monolith, and lets his thoughts spool out from their tangled wad of thread.

He fought a war, once. That is to say, he’s nearly certain it was a war he fought for all those years when he was sinking alone in the shadows. He says softly, to the air, “To engage in war is the last refuge of someone who knows they have already lost the battle,” and, “War is a shift in perspective that places defeat at the head of a long line of future victories,” and, “Make no mistake, a war is an illusion we all maintain to keep from losing hope at the things we’ve already surrendered.”

“Fear,” he says, finally, “is the shield we prop up against the atrocities we commit.”

He smiles, then, and presses a gasping laugh into the palm of his hand, face flushing and eyes watering with the force of it. He remembers Anders, fussing fastidiously with the parchment and books laid out on his desk, speaking those words with a flippant wave of his hand, remembers leaning into his own scroll and scribbling determinedly, as though siphoning the knowledge from the air around him would make it relevant, would make it matter to a boy whose greater destiny was only ever going to be the wasteful personification of the Idle Rich. Remembers the kick of the List in his hand, the snap of a gunshot fading into the rustling clamor of shadow.

The rains tapers off, eventually, and he pulls off his glasses to rub at his eyes with the blackened, frayed edge of one sleeve. He stands. Goes to find the others.

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Mild Star Wars Spoilers

So here’s the thing, if you’re going to ship Reylo (Kylo Rey? Kylo Ren x Rey? Idek), please, at least do so in a way that is true and respectful to the characters. Don’t give me some 50 Shades bullshit where Rey enjoys being physically and mentally tortured and finds it a kink. Don’t devolve her character to someone whose only purpose in the ‘ship is to ‘fix’ him, who can forgive the torture and his sins easily, who falls for him as instant as he takes his mask off. Don’t give me emo trash about two tortured souls who slip into darkness together. Don’t make her a creature at his mercy who, even worse, enjoys it!

Give me independent Rey, who condemns his actions, who hates him for them, or pities him, until he gives her reason not to; who focuses on her training and the tasks at hand rather than pining or spending most her time wondering about him. Give me redemption Kylo, struggling with his choices and decisions, who /regrets/ and knows deep down the wrongs of his actions, but who strives for power and respect, who comes to revelations about his behaviour, who doesn’t make weak excuses for it all. Give me the Kylo who was intrigued by 'the girl from Jakku’, who herself almost seems legendary. Give me the Rey who has purpose and determination, hope and loyalty, and who knows how to fly and fix a Corellian YT-1300 light freighter she found in a junk yard.

Give me Rey who won’t put up with Kylo’s outbursts of rage and destruction, who would fold her arms and raise a brow in an 'are you done yet’ way, making him look like the rebellious temper tantrum teen he is.

Give me consequences, like Kylo haunted by her nightmares because he dared to force his way into her mind, Storm Troopers who don’t respect him because he implied the use of rape (physically and mentally) in his torture techniques.

Give him chances to /earn/ her respect, her forgiveness and to learn about each other.

Give him a chance to grow up and grow beyond these behaviours, knowing they were wrong.

Give me a hero/villain arch nemesis arc, where they are reluctant to kill one another, where they are aware of a greater destiny, and where things aren’t as black and white as good and evil, but where things are not forgiven and forgotten so easily. Where 'I could teach you’ is just as easily countered with 'you could leave this path’, while the strength and resolve of their fight remains.

Give me a slow burn, where changes in character and relationship are gradual. Give me them forced to team for survival, neither quite trusting the other, fingers forever ghosting over sabres as they argue about rights and wrongs.


Give me all of these things and more…

But most of all give me a 'ship which is well rounded and not based on sexualising non-consent, torture and abuse of both mental and physical aspects. Do not give me a 'ship where these things are easily excusable and forgiven because of an instant 'connection’, and do not give me a ship where either character is cheapened to make way for lust and 'love’.

The Power of Mabel

There’s been a lot of talk about Dipper in the Gravity falls fandom lately, and nobody can be blamed for that. Heck, even I wrote a stupidly-long post about his potential path to the dark side, and the foreshadowing can be hard to deny. I mean, it’s been going on for quite some time now and having a message in a canon book of “this kinda sounds like a supervillain manifesto” pretty much seals the deal at this point.

However, it’s important not to miss another bit of heavy foreshadowing in Gravity Falls, one that I see a lot of in the show but don’t see it talked about a lot in the fandom - the destiny of one young Mabel Pines. 

You see, Mabel is destined for great things; far greater maybe than even her brother. Their stories are intertwined but she may bring the redemption for all the main characters in Gravity Falls. Because as Mabel herself stated, nothing is stronger than the power of MABEL, and we may just get to see what kind of power she wields, which may be more than previously imagined.

*In which Lauren rants about a Little Shooting Star that Could*

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[ Obscenely Long Discussion Post about Early Stevenbomb ]

Under the cut, it’s long and unnecessary. Let me preface everything with this:

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An Open Letter to the People Who Made JMo Apologize

To all those people angry at JMo for criticizing Neal’s character, for talking about his betrayal of Emma, and saying that he needed to be redeemed, I see you.

I see you for what you are.

You claim that you care about Emma’s character, and then completely ignore Emma’s feelings on the matter because what Neal did was “justified” and “August made him do it!” and “He didn’t have a choice.” You think that having a reason for ignoring Emma’s agency, for making a decision about her life and how it should go without consulting her, and abandoning her to god knows what kind of life and situation (because this was a girl who was stealing and conning to get by), makes up for the devastation he caused.

You completely ignore the fact that Emma was looking for a home and thought she had found it with Neal. She was IN LOVE with him, and he did the worst thing anyone could do to someone who already felt abandoned. He gave her hope and then he took it away. Neal made her realize that love was possible for her, and then he showed her what her love was worth: nothing. One moment, she’s planning on going to Tallahassee and having a real home like she always hoped for, the next she’s staring at a cop, waiting for Neal to sweep in like Prince Charming and kiss her nightmares away. And as she sat in that jail cell and the reality of the situation truly sunk in, she made a decision. Y'all talk about Neal having no choice, but what he did literally stole Emma’s choice, because now she’s in prison, pregnant, with no money and only the knowledge that the man who she loved not only left her, but sent her to prison for a crime that he committed. She feels used and hurt; SHE IS BROKEN, so she does the only thing she can to protect herself: she decides not to ever let anyone get close enough to hurt her again.

Fast forward to the very difficult birth of Henry where she is CHAINED to a bed because she’s a criminal and she is alone with no one there to hold her hand, no one to tell her it’s going to be okay, no one who LOVES her, and it hurts because at this point, she is probably certain no one ever has, and the doctor is telling her she can change her mind, she can keep this baby, but she can’t even LOOK at her own child because there’s a chain on her ankle and a hole in her heart, and what does she have to offer him? Nothing but her love, and Neal has already proven to her that that isn’t enough. So she listens to her son cry, clutching the bed for support because she’s abandoning him too and she never wanted to do to anyone what her parents did to her, what NEAL did to her, but she KNOWS that the only way he’ll be happy is if she’s out of the picture.

Fast forward again to ten years later when Henry shows up at her door, begging her to come home with him. And she looks at this boy and realizes that the only thing she has ever done right is fucked up. She couldn’t be a mother to Henry because she KNEW she would fail him and she wanted his life to be better than hers, but he has what she always wanted: a family, and he’s MISERABLE. She gave him his best chance and it didn’t work out, so now she is faced with a decision: to leave and hope that things work out, or stay in the life of the boy that she wanted to protect from herself.

So she stays and fast forward to the curse breaking and Emma realizing that her parents didn’t abandon her, that they gave her up to protect her. And these are people she’s come to know, come to love as her family even before finding out that they are blood related, and she feels betrayed, even more so because she knows them so well, and she realizes everything that she missed out on. On having these wonderful people in her life. And then she thinks of Henry, thinks of how she did the same thing, giving him up to protect him and she hates herself even more because she’s come to know him too. She knows he loves her as much as she loves him, but she’s hurt him irreparably. Because no matter how much she is in his life now, he’ll always have the memory of her NOT BEING THERE.

And then we move on to her finding Neal in NY. She’s looking at the man she loved so much (and that she still loves despite everything), and she’s probably thought about this reunion so many times, but she’s looking at him AND SHE’S SO HURT, but the first words out of his mouth are, “I don’t understand. What are you doing here?” She’s spent ten years with the pain he caused her ever present in the emptiness in her life, and with those first words, he makes it clear that he’s wiped his hands of her. He doesn’t “understand."Why would the girl who loved him want to ever find him? Why would the girl he left without saying goodbye ever reenter his life? What is she doing here?

What is she doing here?

She’s listening to Neal try to brush off her questions. She’s watching him lie to her, treating her like he would one of the people they used to con together. And when she demands the truth, she’s listening to him get angry at her for bringing his father to him - realizing that her pain is not his primary concern and that he thinks he has the right to be angry at her for bringing a man that he never told her about to him.

She’s laying her feelings on the line, asking him if he ever cared about her at all.

And he concedes to tell her everything, but they can’t do it out there because he "spent a lifetime running from that man, I’m not gonna let him catch me.”

And Emma demands that he tell her there, but he laughs off her demands, and says, “A bar’s better. Don’t worry you can keep yelling at me when we get there.”

He’s joking with her, laughing at her pain.

“Did you know who I was when we met?”

“If I had I wouldn’t have gone near you.”

And for Emma, it’s a punch to the gut to hear him say that. It’s a denial of all the love she felt for him, of everything they shared. It is ABSOLUTE PROOF that her love is not worth anything. If he knew who she was, he wouldn’t have risked himself. Emma Swan, as she truly is, is not worth the risk.

“Come on,” she says, her expression trembling - and she’s not saying it because she doesn’t believe him, she’s saying it because she DOESN’T WANT to believe him. She doesn’t want to believe that her love wasn’t enough. Her words are a plea.

“Come on…Come on what? I was hiding. I came here to get away from all that crap.”

“So you were just using me? You just needed someone to take the fall for all the watches that you stole?”

“I wasn’t using you. When we met I didn’t know. I found out.”

“How?”

“When I went to sell the watches, I ran into a friend of yours. August.”

“You left me. You let me go to prison because Pinocchio told you to?”

“Emma-”

“I loved you.”

“I was trying to help you.”

“By letting me go to jail?”

“By getting you home.”

“Are you telling me that us meeting was a coincidence? Because how the hell did that happen if it wasn’t in your plan or your father’s?”

“Think about it, he wanted you to break the curse. Us meeting could’ve stopped it. Maybe it was fate.”

“You believe in that?”

“You know, there’s not a ton about my father that I remember that doesn’t suck, but he used to tell that there are no coincidences. Everything that happens, happens by design. And there’s nothing we can do about it, forces greater than us conspire to make it happen. Fate, destiny, whatever you wanna call it, the point is, maybe we met for a reason. Maybe something good came from us being together.”

And Emma stares at him, silent. Suddenly, her whole life has been out of her control from the beginning. That people have always been deciding the course of her life. Not only was she the destined savior, but all her pain, all the heartache that she’s felt was meant to be. She was never meant to be happy. She was never meant to feel love. And yet, maybe something good came from us being together. And she stares into his eyes, sees Henry’s face in his, and thinks about that crying baby that she couldn’t look at. She thinks about that young boy, begging her to stay because his mother doesn’t love him. She thinks about Henry, believing in her despite her abandonment, Henry, loving her so much that he cursed himself to make her believe. She thinks about her son, dying in a hospital bed, and her pain because she can’t save him, her son who she’s failed so much, who she should’ve believed in from the very beginning, dying.

“No,” she says, “Not that I can think of. I just went to jail. That’s it.”

 "Doesn’t matter now, I’m over it, and you.“

"Why do you wear the keychain I got you?”

She touches her hand to her neck, to the weight she’s worn so long that she forgot it was even there, surprised at his question, angered that he would ask her that, as if he had any right to demand that she explain anything to him.

As if he had any right to ask whether he mattered to her anymore.

She rips the chain off her neck, says, “To remind myself never to trust someone again.”

And it’s that moment where Emma Swan realizes that she will never be over him. She will never move on from the pain he caused her because it will always be alive in Henry’s grin, in the memories of birthdays spent alone, of moments passing mothers and their children on the street and wondering what Henry looked like when he was that small. She loved Neal, will always love Neal because she was happy once, with him, and he gave her Henry and helped her find her parents. And she can forgive him for leaving her, but in that moment, she’s already closed the door on her heart to him. She leaves the swan necklace on the table, the “reminder” because she doesn’t need it anymore. Knowing that Neal never searched for her, knowing that her love for him was not enough to overcome “fate, destiny, whatever you wanna call it,” she has all the reminder that she needs.

You can talk about Neal “deserving” forgiveness all you want. You can talk about how he left her to help her, hell, you have canon to back you up.

BUT HOW DARE YOU TALK ABOUT JMO’S RESPONSE AS IF EMMA’S FEELINGS DO NOT MATTER? HOW DARE YOU CLAIM THAT JMO IS AWFUL OR HOOK/COLIN OBSESSED OR JUST TALKING OUT OF HER ASS WHEN SHE SPEAKS ABOUT EMMA’S FEELINGS INSTEAD OF NEAL’S?

“She’s definitely more vulnerable, more open, and for the first time in her life, believing in people who have proven that they’re gonna show up for her and that they’re gonna participate in her life and they’re not gonna let her down.”

I don’t care what you think about JMo talking about Neal’s betrayals. I don’t care if you don’t think that they were betrayals. What I care about is this: that EMMA SWAN believes that he wasn’t someone who would be there for her and that EMMA SWAN doesn’t see future happiness with Neal, only a reminder that she put her trust in someone, and they let her down.

Okay, so.

There is (probably understandably) a LOT of negativity and depression on my dash right now, and my inbox is basically nothing but worrying. Honestly, I’m not really in the right frame of mind to deal with this right now, as I have been having (unrelated to OUAT, but this current drama isn’t helping) a pretty bad depressive downswing for the last couple days; I was physically unable to get off my bed or do anything yesterday and I’ve barely eaten since Sunday. I’ll be fine; it happens. However, I still want to say a few things.

1. If we’re completely wrong about how this arc ends and it’s just nothing but bleakness and misery, then OUAT isn’t about what it’s been about for five seasons. And that means the WRITERS blew it, not the fandom. Which, despite our gripes with the various storylines, hasn’t happened. There has never been a moment when the show pulled out the carpet and was like “hahaha you were dumb to think it was really about faith and hope and love, we’re cynical and sarcastic now.” After all, isn’t one of the major issues people have with how often the villains (i.e. Regina and Rumple, at least from what I see the most) are redeemed and forgiven, even if we think they haven’t narratively suffered enough or whatever? How is that possibly going to be any less the case with Killian, a fan and writer favorite who the showrunners and network ADORE?

2. There is a difference therefore between being absolutely, to-the-detail right about predictions, and thematically right about predictions. Were we correct, as we were speculating earlier, that Emma had given Killian her own heart to save him after Arthur tried to kill him, and this was what turned her dark? No. But we WERE sure as hell right that Emma’s drastic action to save him after Arthur tried to kill him was what turned her dark. We were thinking along the right lines: that her love for him was going to be her overriding motivating factor. And now, as I’ve said, we’re still thinking that Killian’s love for Emma is going to be stronger than the darkness, because that is what five seasons of the show, and this arc in general, has been demonstrating. We could be entirely wrong about how that plays out (and I said in my meta that Door #1, Killian tricking the darkness, and Door #2, Killian having genuinely given in and having to turn away at the last instant, were equally probable). But once again: difference between to-the-detail accuracy, and thematic accuracy. I have seen nothing to convince me that CS is not going to beat this, and I’m sticking to that.

3. The midseason finale is, in the words of Lana Parrilla of all people, a big Captain Hook episode. Whatever happens, no matter what roles the others play, is centered around him. Plus, the entire strife between CS has come as a result of Emma not giving Killian a choice. I just do not believe that we’re going to see multiple flashbacks dedicated to Killian’s choices in the past, when he became Captain Hook, and then nothing about his choices in the present: that he has to be killed by Emma against his will (and if so, why did they already show us a scene in the promo proving that he could just poof away if he didn’t want her to stab him with Excalibur) and then rescued against his will or with unclear reasons. In short, that in a storyline that, despite its pain, has focused intensely on Killian’s motivations, hurts, fears, and past, the anger he still feels at his past and his losses, his disbelief in himself as a hero, the ways in which Emma has wounded him emotionally despite her good intentions, and the entire culmination of his character arc, that he is just going to be a pointless prop for it. That his wishes won’t matter at all, that we get no explicit statement of his mindset, that we see him do nothing, as I said, but function as a piece of set dressing. I still don’t believe they’re going to get him out of the underworld right away if there’s no hope or hint he still is himself, however deeply buried and how long it takes to appear. That he still believes in the future with Emma and wants her to come rescue him, to save him the right way.

4. Brigitte has told Hook fans to “hang in there.” She promised a while ago that there would be the good kind of crying for the midseason finale. Eddy has also said that CS fans should keep watching. They’re not saying that if this ends as a trainwreck (and also: THIS IS THE MIDSEASON FINALE. THE STORY IS ONLY HALFWAY OVER). 3x11 was heartwrenching, yes, but it ended on a place of hope. I just fail to see how this can’t do likewise.

5. Re: Colin’s interview. I don’t put a whole lot of stock in it. Yes, it’s entirely possible that Killian has really given in (in which case there are a LOT of plot holes that need explaining, and we’ll have to wait to see what is filled in in the finale). But he also went out of his way to stress that Emma has replaced Milah as the love of Killian’s life, that what he feels for her is entirely different and greater and stronger, that they’re kindred, that Milah is in the past, that in short, love remains stronger than revenge in Killian’s heart, and specifically his love for Emma. That maybe the two Dark Ones still can love each other (I mean, that “maybe there isn’t, maybe there is, watch and see!” was PURE “maybe he kind of likes her” Colin-ese.) And he’s still not spoiling anything in an interview meant to get people hyped up and holding their breath heading into the finale. He’s just not. 

6. We’ve seen this plot with Killian before, in 2x22. When he was brought to the brink of having his revenge, but it would cost everyone’s life and destroy Storybrooke. And then… he finally changed his mind, turned around, came back with the bean, and started on the hero’s path. He was genuinely committed to it there as well, but he changed his mind. So even if Dark!Killian IS as dark as it seems, the entire point of where this is leading is for him to do it again with the ultimate stakes.

7. Again: Still not buying that an episode entirely about Killian and his choices in the past has none of his choices in the present day, and no volition of his own to fulfill his ultimate destiny, especially when everyone is going to save him. If so, they done screwed up, and for better or worse, I just don’t believe that’s the case. If people get on OUAT’s case for being TOO good-hearted with its villains, why do they now think the pattern will be broken for Killian and CS is suddenly ended halfway through its focal season? When they’ve taken every opportunity to hint that it WON’T be?

I can’t stop people worrying and expecting the worst. I’m scared myself; I fully expect it’ll hurt like a mother. But I am ultimately and firmly hopeful, not just for this season but for 5x11 specifically, and I’m not basing that on slender fangirl straws or delusional misinterpretations, but on a solid and extensive base of evidence, past events, and thematic predictions.

So.

Mild Star Wars Spoilers

koochielala:

So here’s the thing, if you’re going to ship Reylo (Kylo Rey? Kylo Ren x Rey? Idek), please, at least do so in a way that is true and respectful to the characters. Don’t give me some 50 Shades bullshit where Rey enjoys being physically and mentally tortured and finds it a kink. Don’t devolve her character to someone whose only purpose in the ‘ship is to ‘fix’ him, who can forgive the torture and his sins easily, who falls for him as instant as he takes his mask off. Don’t give me emo trash about two tortured souls who slip into darkness together. Don’t make her a creature at his mercy who, even worse, enjoys it!

Give me independent Rey, who condemns his actions, who hates him for them, or pities him, until he gives her reason not to; who focuses on her training and the tasks at hand rather than pining or spending most her time wondering about him. Give me redemption Kylo, struggling with his choices and decisions, who /regrets/ and knows deep down the wrongs of his actions, but who strives for power and respect, who comes to revelations about his behaviour, who doesn’t make weak excuses for it all. Give me the Kylo who was intrigued by ‘the girl from Jakku’, who herself almost seems legendary. Give me the Rey who has purpose and determination, hope and loyalty, and who knows how to fly and fix a Corellian YT-1300 light freighter she found in a junk yard.

Give me Rey who won’t put up with Kylo’s outbursts of rage and destruction, who would fold her arms and raise a brow in an 'are you done yet’ way, making him look like the rebellious temper tantrum teen he is.

Give me consequences, like Kylo haunted by her nightmares because he dared to force his way into her mind, Storm Troopers who don’t respect him because he implied the use of rape (physically and mentally) in his torture techniques.

Give him chances to /earn/ her respect, her forgiveness and to learn about each other.

Give him a chance to grow up and grow beyond these behaviours, knowing they were wrong.

Give me a hero/villain arch nemesis arc, where they are reluctant to kill one another, where they are aware of a greater destiny, and where things aren’t as black and white as good and evil, but where things are not forgiven and forgotten so easily. Where 'I could teach you’ is just as easily countered with 'you could leave this path’, while the strength and resolve of their fight remains.

Give me a slow burn, where changes in character and relationship are gradual. Give me them forced to team for survival, neither quite trusting the other, fingers forever ghosting over sabres as they argue about rights and wrongs.


Give me all of these things and more…

But most of all give me a 'ship which is well rounded and not based on sexualising non-consent, torture and abuse of both mental and physical aspects. Do not give me a 'ship where these things are easily excusable and forgiven because of an instant 'connection’, and do not give me a ship where either character is cheapened to make way for lust and 'love’.

anonymous asked:

Actually, my problem with the mid-season finale is that we didn't get the "talk". I wanted to see Hook telling Emma face to face that he's been lying to her with the hand situation. And Emma's reaction. I just love Hook so much and I felt as if I missed his development on that part. Or maybe I'm just spoiled and want more Hook rather than Emma XD. What's your opinion?

I think that conversation is coming. I don’t think Emma was in a place to have that kind of conversation. I don’t think she’s ready to address it. And really he didn’t 100% lie about it. He did say Rumple gave it to him, which is true he did just you know because of blackmail. I really think Emma’s the kind of person to not want to deal with it. She’s more in a place where she’s so happy she has him alive. She’ll deal with his less than honest behavior later. 

Honestly I want her to find her phone in Gold’s shop and hear the message Killian left for her. I don’t think she’ll get mad at him at all. I think she’ll be disappointed that he didn’t tell her the truth from the start. But here the thing. Killian’s intent even though he was being foolish by blackmailing the Dark One of all people, he had good intentions. He was trying to be a whole and complete man for Emma. And the second he believed that his hand might corrupt him and turn him back into the vengeful angry man he’d been he willingly gave it up even at the consequence of being the Dark One’s bitch for half the season. If anything Killian gets a pass on this as a whole because not only did he get consequences directly correlated to his blackmailing for the hand, he was also corralled into indentured servitude and forced to imprison beacons of light magic (yes Blue has light magic, shady as she is) into the hat at Rumplestiltskin’s behest. He’s more than had his comeuppance for his fib to Emma and the blackmailing fiasco. 

I think Emma’s going to see it that way. She’ll express her disappointment that he didn’t tell her the truth, or come to her sooner before his heart was taken. But I don’t see her dragging it out or being vicious like she was in Kansas to him before sacrificing her powers for him. She loves him. She’s not really admitted that to herself or anyone else for that matter because loving someone brings a lot of pain. Nearly everyone she’s ever loved or had the potential of loving either romantically, friendship wise or familial has caused her some amount of pain in her life. No seriously let’s take a rundown shall we?

  1. Snow and Charming: as much as she loves her parents and has accepted them it will always sting her to know that her parents gave her up to go to TLWM alone with really no one to protect her and watch over her.
  2. The Swans: where she got her last name. Her first taste of a family and they gave her back when they had their own child. Like she was just a stand-in until they had someone biologically related.
  3. Lily: her first real friend who acted like they were two of a kind when really Lily had a home and a family who loved her but it just wasn’t what the teen girl thought she wanted. Emma felt betrayed and as a result got launched back into the system she was trying to escape.
  4. Ingrid: They had a great friendship and relationship from what we saw in the flashback until Ingrid messed it up with trying to get Emma to display her magic. Emma wasn’t ready to understand her greater destiny and being pushed like that led Emma to think Ingrid didn’t love her, but was just a whack job who saw her as a meal ticket just like all the other foster homes she’d been in.
  5. Neal: Face it SFers Neal caused a great deal of Emma’s emotional issues. Granted she already had a lot of them to begin with but that emotional wall that comes with being afraid to fall in love? Look no further than the son of the Dark One himself.  I never hated Neal nor do I think he deserves half the hate he gets but still his mistakes did cause a big portion of her wall to be constructed.
  6. Graham: losing him, through not fault of his own made it much harder for her to believe Henry and it took her longer to accept the reality of the curse. Had he survived, Emma might have gained the hope she needed to believe Henry that much sooner.
  7. Walsh: A man she actually admitted to Hook who she loved and was considering marrying turned out to be nothing more than a pawn of the WWoW and used to keep tabs on Emma. 
  8. Every other guy/married guy/one night stand: each of these guys that we’ve been alluded to have indirectly hurt Emma by not seeing her more than just a piece of ass. Emma might have seen them the same way but it makes it no less hurtful.

Literally the only three people Emma loves that haven’t done this to her are Baby Neal her brother and he’s a baby so he doesn’t entirely count, Henry and Killian.

Henry, who almost died thanks to the apple turnover and Emma never mentioned that again btw (never once mentioned how she could be angry at Henry for risking his life to get her to believe). Emma has never really emotionally dealt with that except for admitting she loved him and breaking the original curse with a TLK. She never really talked about it or vocalized anything about it. That’s why I think Emma’s not going to want to address Killian’s almost death.

Killian has proven himself worthy of her time and time again. However he makes mistakes, just like Emma makes mistakes. Emma got really mad at him in S3 with the whole kiss curse thing because she was still struggling with trusting him and she was concerned he was working with Zelena. Emma knows for a fact that Killian had no choice but to do the Dark One’s bidding after his heart was taken. I can see Emma getting mad at him about the blackmail but I don’t see her really getting all that mad at him. He got his comeuppance for that ten-fold with almost losing his life and all that indentured servitude business. I really don’t see Emma wanting to address it more than just giving him an opportunity to never do it again and giving him a chance to redeem himself by being one of the people to release everyone from the hat. I think that’s the emotional closure they’re going to go for on that arc and we’ll see that come March. 

The episode itself wasn’t about Killian or Emma. It was firmly about aligning the heroes and aligning the villains. It was a clear line that was drawn in the sand or well the town line for that matter. We had the OQ scene because we needed to see Regina struggle and then align herself with the heroes. Her struggle is going to be apparent in 4B because she’s not done growing and she’s not fully accepted her role as a hero, yet. She’ll get there and she’ll probably backslide again. And then we had Belle and Rumple. Belle realigned herself with the heroes and separated herself physically and emotionally from Rumple. It also was about Rumple aligning himself with other villains.  That’s one of the reasons why we didn’t get the emotional fall out from Killian almost dying. I do firmly believe that Emma shoving his heart back into his chest was a kind of payback for nearly dying on her. She may not have said it but you could see that she was a bit pleased with herself.

OUaT, Story Telling..

J.K. Rowling Style

A while back a read a meta by, @colyssa I think, and she mentioned how Harry Potter was a series of 7 books where everything between book 1 and book 7 was “filler”. Combined with having just read that someone thought to remember how it had been mentioned by OUaT people (I have no source and no receipt. It’s not that important to my writing, only to it being a catalyst for me to write this) they needed 7 seasons to tell the story they wanted. I thought that “Why not?!” OUaT is a fairytale told the way J.K. Rowling told HP. Everything is clues that will suddenly makes sense in the end.


A/N: None of this is fact. It is my speculation, my interpretation. Everything from 5+ is guessing. This is speculation writing on drugs basically.

I am no expert on Harry Potter, this is written from memory and quick googling, if anything is incorrect I apologize and if you tell me, I will fix mistakes.

This also ended up more jumbled than I’d hoped, I hope it makes sense. It was originally a part of another meta/speculation I’m working on, but it became too big, so I split them, and this is by itself.

A soulmate is not a true love. A soulmate is someone who comes into your life and serves an importance purpose for your self development, and then you part ways. - Important to remember during this.

I won’t much parallel characters or ships directly, besides the protagonists. The core of the stories aren’t romance, the core of the stories are the battle of light vs dark.

Harry Potter had multiple layers and romance and ships, but that wasn’t the base of the story. OUaT has multiple layers and romance and ships as well, but the base of the story isn’t it.

HP was about the boy who lived, who lived on to be the boy who defeated Voldemort.

OUaT is about Emma who escaped the Darkness, who will live on to defeat the Darkness.

Harry was the key to defeat Voldemort. The key to defeat OUaT Darkness is (also a “one”. A yin yang force aka Regina and) Emma.

As I am SQ af, I read the show as such, and will put a SQ spin on it.


Part One

We are given the premise of the story.

We meet the orphan protagonist at an important birthday of their life. A birthday that will take the orphan back to their roots. They’ve lived their lives, so far, in a world they don’t belong in, alone, because their parents did what they could to give them their best chance, at choice that resulted in them growing up without their parents, without knowing where they come from, without knowing why.

On this specific birthday a person knocks on their door and barges into their life and tells them their origin. Thus taking them back to their world, the world where they have a destiny to be the savior, to defeat the evil.

We learn about many people, and the other world, and how they fit into the story told so far.

We are told about the evil that was the reason for the orphan’s upbringing.

We realize the orphan will be the person to defeat the evil at some point (in the end)

We are shown the importance of certain magical objects: Mirrors, Jefferson’s hat. Regina’s ring. Wands. Apples. The book.

(Mirror of Erised. The Sorcere’s Stone. Wands. The snitch. etc.)

Other objects and creatures we are introduced to without it having a real relevance yet.

(Emma’s yellow bug. Emma’s baby blanket. Rumbelle’s chipped cup. Regina’s tree necklace. Regina’s apple tree. Emma’s circle necklace. Henry’s scarf)

(Dragons, centaurs, invisibility cloak, Ron’s rat Scabbers)

“Uniforms”:

Harry in his Gryffindor robes, his glasses, his scar

Emma in her red leather jacket, her circle necklace, her tattoo

This is our protagonist. This is the person who shall be part of the last battle against evil.

Voldemort is the evil Harry will have to fight

The Darkness is the evil Emma (and Regina) will have to fight.

In the end of 1, Voldemort/Darkness fails to get rid of Harry/Emma. Voldemort/Darkness works through another person Quirrel/Regina

Part Two

Our orphan is now well aware of their origin and the world they came from, and are now once again a part of.

The orphan learns about the evils of the past. How Voldemort uses evils of the past (the chamber of secret’s and the basilisk) to mess with the present. How Darkness uses the evils of the past (Cora) to mess with the present.

Regina’s redemption begins for real.

More important magical objects are introduced

(Gryffindor’s sword. The basilisk and it’s tooth. Fawkes the Phoenix. The Whomping Willow. The flying car.)

(The diamond trigger. The dagger. Magic beans. The Jolly Roger)

New people are introduced.  H00k, H00d, Neal.

New people are introduced. Gilderoy Lockhart. Dobby.

Part Three

The protagonists interacts with a soulmate. Someone who will be there for a while, be important to them now, have meaning to the furture. Harry meets Sirius. Emma interacts more with H00k. Regina interacts with H00d.

A little time travel, because why not (doesn’t much change anything as much as let’s them see things in a new perspective).

Our protagonists gets to see their own power be greater than they thought possible. Harry produces a patronus. Emma and Regina move the moon.

Part Four

Things begin getting darker. Evil is shown in a new more blatant way. A death has great impact to our protagonists.

Voldemort’s sign is shown in the sky. Darkness creeps into Emma as it in the same time leaves Regina more and more.

In the end evil inhabits a new form. Voldemort arises again. The Darkness takes hold of Regina, but Emma sacrifices herself and takes it instead.

Cedric Diggory dies. Cruella De Vil dies.

Part Five

From now on, everything written is speculation. I obviously don’t know what will happen, I’ll be taking clues from HP to guess what could happen.

Part five is game changer. People start getting ready for the final battle. The protagonist learns of a prophecy. A soulmate dies. It gets dark.

In HP the Order of the Phoenix is re assembled, they’re getting ready for the final battle. Harry learns of the prophecy.

The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches … born to those who have thrice defied him, born as the seventh month dies … and the Dark Lord will mark him as equal, but he will have power the Dark Lord knows not … and either must die at the hand of the other for neither can live while the other survives … the one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord will be born as the seventh month dies

Sirius dies in the end of 5.

People of Storybrooke will see darkness they’ve never seen before. They’ll start getting ready for battle. Protagonist Emma will learn of a prophecy while in Camelot that she feels needs for no one else to know (hence the memory curse). 

My guess is Emma finds out how she and Regina are connected. How they are “of one”. She’ll learn in the end, the Darkness can only be defeated if she dies as well. Emma carries part of the Darkness in her since she took on the curse.

I can’t decide if only one of them will have to die or they both will. Or if only one, which of them it has to be. But because Emma has part the Darkness in her right now, I’ll go with her.

Initially I thought the prophecy would be that only Emma and Regina together can defeat the Darkness, and the Darkness can only prevail if it defeats both Emma and Regina. Which also, if we continue HP style, Darkness couldn’t be defeated as long as Emma and Regina lived.

I’m torn.

Anyway, Emma will carry the burden of that knowledge alone for now as Regina isn’t ready to learn yet.

I’m guessing the soulmate to die will be H00k. I base this on his death in Operation Mongoose and on him giving Emma his “protective” ring. But I’m also guessing this might not be of importance, or happen, until season 6 and that H00k will stay around until then. *

Regina’s soulmate, H00d, will leave her for Zelena. OR Regina will leave H00d for her family, Henry and Emma, and Hood will then go to Zelena. (This could also be delayed ‘til season 6)

Part Six

They’re getting ready for the final battle and clues on how to defeat evil is being collected. Protagonist goes on an important quest to learn answers. The importance of a ring is explained. Someone prominent dies.

(Dumbledore and Harry going after the locket) (Emma and Regina goes on a quest for answers?)

The ring Dumbledore wore in book 6 ended up being the death of him. The ring had been owned by multiple people, it’s origin was it was part of the Peverell brothers’ way to hide from death.

Voldemort used the ring as a Horcrux. When Dumbledore took the ring to destroy, it ended up destroying him as well (it would have either way). It’s origin, as the resurection stone, was then used by Harry when he went to defeat Voldemort.

H00k’s ring’s origin we don’t know yet. It’s been implied it has been part of a way to cheat death.

The second last person to possess the ring/stone died. That was Dumbledore and H00k. The last person to possess it was Harry/Emma

*H00k’s ring will probably be a part of three magical objects Emma and Regina will need, perhaps indirectly, in the final battle against the Darkness. 

It could also be important only now as an ingredient to be used at some point, as I’ve speculated before.

Harry Potter had the Peverell brothers magical objects: Invisibility cloak, Elderwand, Resurection stone.

Dumbledore had posession of all three at some point in life. It could be speculated H00k will have possessed all three objects Emma needs for her plan/to defeat Darkness. Excalibur, the ring, the?

Part Seven

Traveling for clues and the final battle between dark and light begins

In the end Harry learns Voldemort can’t die as long as he lives. In the end we know Voldemort only killed the part of himself that lived inside Harry. Harry returned to kill him.

So in the end, someone has to die. I really can’t decide if it should be Regina, Emma, or both. We’ll continue to go with Emma. 

Regina learns they can only defeat the Darkness if Emma dies as well. And as Emma sacrifices herself to end the Darkness, Regina takes a leap of faith and sacrifices herself for Emma. And because “Love, True Love, is magic and not just any magic, but the most powerful magic of all” they’ll be reunited.

Emma: “How did you know that would work?”

Regina: “I didn’t. But I had hope”