favorite tales of characters

Why we enjoy Sarah J Maas’s books:

Alright! So I finally got through all of the survey responses. I got over 300! However, I did have to throw out over 50 as many people decided to check more than 5 for likes or dislikes. And I don’t think google forms lets you limit the number they can check? Anyways, it’s fine because I still have 254 usable responses and tons of lovely quotes/thoughts/rants from all of you!!

I’ll put the data charts up top and then the long answer responses below, divided into sections.

So clearly, we are overwhelmingly here for the female characters, the character growth, and the romance. But we also like the morally grey characters, the world building, and the representation of PTSD, abuse, and mental health issues. 

I’m sorry that is so tiny, but basically, we overwhelmingly dislike the lack of diversity in terms of PoC and LGBTQ character and we also have some issues with world building, magic, and seeing our favs do problematic things. 

Also 18 of your hate Celaena lol (I love her and I know that putting that answer in there as a selection was petty af but I cannot help myself. It was all for a good laugh)


Alright, so most of us feel negatively and positively about the fandom. But a solid chunk, 34%, feels positively most-all of the time. Which is great. We are doin okay friends. Only 5.5%, 14 people, felt like the fandom affected them only negatively. 

So we clearly are here for enjoyment and escapism. And pain. 

Also, I apologize for the wet dreams one but THIS FANDOM LOVES SMUT I HAD TO PUT IT ON THERE OKAY

So 70% of the ppl reading to enjoy things and find it easy to ignore the things we dislike. 


And the long answers:

Enjoyment:

Some of us really enjoy the way she writes characters—she really makes us really care with backstory and character development:

“When I finally decide to shut the book, it takes me a minute to forget that the characters aren’t real. I’ve fallen in love with almost every single one of her characters because they’re so authentic; they go through hardships, they love, they fall out of love, they get angry, they grieve deeply, but most importantly, they GROW. I’m so impressed with who Feyre and Aelin have come to be as women over the years. The familial love that bonds the characters together is also something that I really connect to. They really would do ANYTHING to protect each other.” anonymous

“She delivers types of characters and points of view that other YA writers haven’t done. She pulls of tropes without making them boring. She isn’t afraid of calling characters out for doing the wrong thing.”- @the-heir-of-terrasen

“I think SJM’s character development is her biggest strength. I haven’t connected to so many characters in a series since Harry Potter. She is good at showing rather than telling when it comes to several moments of key character building, especially for . That I am so emotionally invested in such a wide variety of characters across two series is a testament to her gift.” -anonymous

“Her use of description and narrative really is eye-opening to the world of the characters in the most subtle of ways. She knows how to wield a character’s experiences and history to cleave new paths in their personalities, and thus makes ever-changing, ever-growing characters that are so much more relatable than most other fantasy books. Not to mention that her villains are just as mysterious and wicked as her protagonists, making even the antagonists realistic to the point of you *screaming* at the book for whatever the character has done this time.“ - @cynical-minds-for-cynical-times

“The Connection to the characters. I don’t relate so much as I do just care very, very deeply about them. I LIKE them, even if they aren’t likable people?” @squaddreamcourt

We also really enjoy how morally complex the characters are:

“What I love about SJM is that she doesn’t make things prettier than they are. She has not created a perfect world, with those perfect good characters finding a perfect happy ending. Instead she created a world that has loads of problems we’re also facing in our world and she shows us how layered and well thought out characters are dealing with them. Her characters grow and the emotional impact of their deeds is not shrugged off. I love it how everything they do has consequences and how the heroes make mistakes and bad decisions and how the villains do good things sometimes. What I love is that it’s a fascinating world with fascinating characters that gives me an unique view on our world.” @acourtofhopeanddreams

“The characters are very well-rounded and dynamic. Almost every character has a motivation for what and why they’re doing what they’re doing, which is something some villains lack in other stories. You find yourself hating the characters, but still enjoying the parts that they’re in because they are so realistic in their mannerisms and motivations.” anonymous

Her books help us deal with personal issues, and we also seem to enjoy how relatable or realistic the personal relationships between the characters are:

“I feel like her books help me a lot, for one thing because they make me feel excited and enthusiastic about something which I think everyone needs more of in their life. I also love the platonic and romantic relationships between the characters because they educate me about abusive relationships, healthy relationships, and the complications of friendships etc. I love this because I feel like it helps me understand myself and the people around me better emotionally, and puts my own personal experiences with other people in perspective. I also find a lot of the things that go down between the characters help me feel more secure about my personal life, and they help me accept myself for feeling the way I do about certain things. Also, I love just love reading them because I find them really fun and enjoyable.“ - @ashryverblue

“I enjoyed the way she wove my favorite fairy tales together and wrote compelling romance. I also connected to the characters and appreciated how she prioritized female pleasure in sex.“ - @sarahviehmann

“The representation of mentally ill and abused characters and their arcs that deals with their past and their issues that isnt “love fixes everything” -anonymous

“also like how they don’t have the common ‘no body likes me because I’m ugly I’m so sad boo ho’ because I never really related to those characters. I want to read about someone who is confident in their body and with their skills, and not someone who is whiny and needs someone to hold their hand through everything.” @a-book-love

“Feyre’s struggle with abuse and PTSD in ACOMAF was relatable and her growth is inspiring. I love her relationship with Rhys and the understanding and respect they have for one another. I love Rhys and his Inner Circle - they’re funny, kind, intelligent, strong, witty etc. I like that Rhys, Mor, Az, and Cassian are abuse survivors - it gives me hope. I love how supportive they are of one another. Of course, I love the magic and world-building in the series but the characters and their relationships are what stand out to me the most in this series.” @pencilsfulloflead

And some of us are here for the drama (myself included):

“Honestly these are the most dramatic books I’ve read, which I love. My favorite thing about fanfiction is how character focused they are, all the big sweeping emotional gestures, all the angst and drama. Give me all that shit. SJM’s books give me that but with original characters/a new world/etc. which allows me new content with those same tropey, dramatic things that I love, with good writing. “ anonymous

“GOD I WISH I KNEW, I HAVE ALWAYS CONSIDERED MYSELF BEING HELD IN THIS FANDOM AGAINST MY WILL AND BETTER JUDGEMENT. I guess I’d say the characters– while I wouldn’t call them “relatable” necessarily– are engaging, and the light fantasy trappings, digestible (though not refined) prose, fast pace, exciting-if-not-necessarily-logically-sound plot twists, and heightened drama create an exciting tableau/ fertile ground for indulgent romance narratives/ heavy interpersonal dramas, which SJM does well. There’s also lots of side characters/ unexplored plot or world-related threads prime for creative exploration that make the world fun to explore as a fic writer.“ @valamerys

“The books have an element of wonder to them; my jaw was wide open during the scene in HOF when all the witches drummed for Abraxos and during the Weaver scene in ACOMAF. Aelin never fails to make me laugh, and on the flip side, her story in HOF is my absolute favorite.” @screaming-at-billiards

And finally, this little snippet that I thought explained why most of us read for the female characters:

“that the women don’t need men to be powerful”


Dislike:

So we clearly have some issues with the diversity…

“Two black girls died for white pain (Dorian/Sorscha and Aelin/Nehemia) in back to back books.”

“I would like to see more POC and LGBT characters because I feel like with the powerful messages and arcs these characters go through it would be beneficial not only to the storyline (with experiences like racism and LGBT discrimination to add to their issues and how they deal with them) but to how people read the book.”

“She messed up big time with ACOWAR and how poorly she treated Mor’s trauma.”- anonymous

“I can’t think of a general thing I dislike about Sarah’s books. I know lack of/poorly handled diversity is an issue but as a straight white female I tend to let others speak on this as I don’t feel like it’s my place to say whether or not POC/LGBTQ+ characters are represented well/enough. Other than that there are plot points, conversations, small things, etc. that I wish had gone differently but that’s my nitpicking and personal preference.” anonymous
“Primarily it’s the lack of representation and understanding of diversity, but recently with acowar I felt she became too busy and it was a bit rushed and unfinished.” @fcyrearcherxn

“Eh I wish it [descriptions of skin color] was clearer so ppl would stop drawing illiryans white” @acourtoffeyreandaelin

And some of us have issues with world building…

“Sjm seems to think about a lot of things while writing, but she doesn’t think them all the way through. For example, the magic system, the references to mythological characters/creatures from multiple cultures and smashed together, etc. I get the sense that even if she has to outline for her publisher, there is still so much that just isn’t thought about with enough attention to detail.“ @abookandacoffee


How dislike affects our reading:

Some of us are not affected by the things we dislike:

“Not at all really, if anything it just fuels fanfiction.” anonymous

“Literally not at all. Even if there are things I dislike, I still love the characters and their stories.” anonymous

“they mildly irritate me until i get over it about 4 minutes later” anonymous

“not much tbh, I just skipped that shit lol” @squaddreamcourt

Some of us were disappointed by acowar and the world building issues it raised affected our enjoyment:

“It makes me cringe when I read it, and honestly all the issues in ACOWAR made it harder for me to get into. Some illogical (even with magic in place) things in the end battle made it impossible for me to focus on the end of the book, cause I still couldn’t get over how little sense what had just happened made. Which was the opposite of ACOMAF, I couldn’t get enough of that book.” - @nightinsurgent

Some of us are negatively affected by the way SJM has handled certain issues:

It [ Mor’s trauma in acowar] honestly ruined the entire book for me and I try to pretend like the third book isn’t even canon.” -anonymous

“Sometimes it can put a downer as I’m a POC I can sometime realise I can’t fully relate to all characters but usually i brush it off as I realise that all books have faults.”-anonymous

And some of us feel guilty for enjoying these books despite the issues:

“I have at times (particularly after major online discussions) felt guilty for taking pleasure from something that hurt another person’s feelings.“- anonymous 


How the fandom affects our enjoyment:

Some of us love the fandom and how it leads to deeper understandings of the story:

“I LOVE fandom. It makes me feel like I’m part of something and that I have people who are there for me. It also gives me new ways of obsessing about the series, and I love seeing other people’s interpretations and feelings about the books, especially when they point out things that I haven’t noticed before. It just gives me a deeper, richer reading experience and it’s like I’m always partly in the world of the books, because I’m always thinking about them and in that sense they never really leave me and are always a part of me.“ @ashryverblue

“WE RIDE AND DIE TOGETHER SO NOTHING IS TOO PAINFUL WHEN YOU HAVE EACH OTHER” -anonymous

For some of us, fandom really affects how we enjoy the books and how we think about certain aspects and characters:

“I’ve always been a critical reader but I wonder if I didn’t have a medium to see, read, and interact with my criticisms that I would let them go easier.”- anonymous

“I can mostly ignore it but sometimes it makes me feel shame for liking the books as much as I do. I also can get past it because I think some people are way to harsh and expect perfect characters which is not what I’m here for. Also, even if improvement in terms of representation is slow at least sjm has made some changes which is something most authors would never do.”-anonymous

“I get to see both sides of all the arguments and my own opinions are sometimes changed based on an argument someone might present considering any topic, which expands my horizons and makes it more enjoyable for me.” @angrydinosauryouth

“I don’t think I would care about Suriel’s death so much if it wasn’t for this fandom who made him a drama loving queen. Things like that” @jmaas-books-lover

We are disappointed with the fandom recently:

“At first I loved how we were all interacting, but the fandom has grown so negative and condemning of any differing opinions. I don’t mean people being called out others for saying abusive characters are not abusive, but people seem to go to war over inconsequential opinions that don’t harm anyone.” @nightinsurgent

“The ACOTAR fandom in particular used to be really lovely and amazing, and there are still groups with whom that is still true. Everyone let people think about and enjoy what they wanted as long as we weren’t perpetuating or justifying abuse, and it was a very supportive environment. It’s less so, now, and people are defending the text just to defend it, which is frustrating to me both as a fic writer AND a reader.” @sarahviehmann

“What gets at me is the clouds of negativity… And it seems really  hard to avoid sometimes, especially in such a small fandom. And when a few vocal members, who otherwise make good stuff, get very negative it gets worse…”

Some of us love the books despite what the fandom has to say:

“The fandom itself doesn’t affect my love of the books, I make my own opinions about them. But the fandom is severely affecting my enjoyment of being a part of the fandom.” @miladyaelin

Some of us enjoy parts of the fandom, but have serious issues with how the fandom reacts negatively to certain aspects of the books:

“Parts of the fandom really make me happy and allow me to discuss my thoughts and feelings about the books. There’s an amazing community of people. But there is a huge part of the fandom which really, really negatively affects my experience through heavy, harsh, and often unnecessary criticism. That’s not to say that we shouldn’t be critical and shouldn’t discuss the issues in her books, but there’s almost a frenzy about it now to the point where those of us who enjoy her books are made to feel bad about it. Yes, she has problems. But there has been significant improvements that no one seems to want to acknowledge. The second something new is released it’s torn into shreds and if you have a different opinion then you’re wrong. (For example, how Morrigan’s coming out was handled. Everyone has been saying how bad it was and how Sarah really messed it up, but I’m bisexual and I now really relate to Mor and the way she came out and her reasoning for not doing so before was incredibly real and believable to me. It seems that a lot of the people (though obviously not all) who criticise the lack of diversity in SJM’s books aren’t actually diverse themselves and are just on some sort of crusade to make themselves look like better people.) Why can’t some of us just enjoy a book for what it’s worth?” anonymous

75 Conversation Starters

My friend was asking me for things to keep conversations going and i came up with a whole list of questions to ask people, so i decided to put them here incase any of you have trouble keeping your conversations interesting

  1. Biggest fear?
  2. When do you want to get married? Do you want to get married? 
  3. What is your dream job?
  4. What do you want to major in in college?
  5. Where do you want to go to college?
  6. If you could marry one celebrity, who would it be?
  7. Where is your dream vacation?
  8. Which of the Seven Wonders of the World would you go see?
  9. Do you always want to live where you do now?
  10. If not, where do you want to move to?
  11. What’s your favorite cereal?
  12. Favorite flavor of poptart?
  13. Do you like rollercoasters?
  14. What’s your favorite soda?
  15. Who is your favorite fairy tale character?
  16. What’s your favorite horror movie? or do you not like horror films?
  17. What’s your favorite holiday?
  18. What do you notice first about a guy/girl?
  19. What’s your favorite pizza topping?
  20. What did you have for dinner last night?
  21. Who do you look up to?
  22. Most embarrassing moment?
  23. Coffee or tea? Or neither?
  24. What superpower would you have?
  25. Favorite video game?
  26. Favorite video game counsel?
  27. What’s the best thing that happened to you this week?
  28. What’s the best thing that happened to you today?
  29. Do you sing in the shower?
  30. What would you do if you had 24 hours to live?
  31. What’s your favorite commercial?
  32. What was your favorite birthday?
  33. If you could have a zoo animal as a pet, what animal would you have?
  34. Do you want pets in the future?
  35. Do you have pets now? What kind? How many?
  36. What kind of pets do you want in the future?
  37. How many kids do you want?
  38. What would you name the pets or kids?
  39. What is your favorite Halloween costume that you have worn?
  40. What was the last thing you thought about before you went to bed?
  41. What’s the most beautiful place you’ve ever seen?
  42. What’s your favorite fruit?
  43. What’s your favorite dessert?
  44. What’s your best talent?
  45. What’s your favorite Dr. Suess book?
  46. What’s the longest you’ve gone without sleep?
  47. What TV series world would you love to live in?
  48. What’s the last trip you went on?
  49. Do you like Chinese food?
  50. Do you like Mexican food?
  51. What’s the weirdest food you’ve eaten?
  52. Have you been to state fair?
  53. What’s your favorite candy bar?
  54. What’s your favorite candy that isn’t a bar?
  55. What kind of car do you want to drive?
  56. Who do you go to for advice?
  57. Are you afraid of heights?
  58. Are you afraid of small spaces?
  59. Are you afraid of spiders?
  60. Are you afraid of snakes?
  61. Have you ever been to Disney World or Disney Land?
  62. If so, would you go again?
  63. What’s your favorite school subject?
  64. Favorite teacher?
  65. When do you usually go to sleep?
  66. Where is a weird scar on your body and how did you get it?
  67. Who can always make you smile?
  68. Have you ever dyed you hair?
  69. Have you ever gotten a concussion? If so, how?
  70. What are three good things that happened to you today?
  71. Who is your best friend?
  72. Which friend have you had the longest?
  73. Are you a night owl or a morning person?
  74. When do you usually wake up? 
  75. What do you think about most often?

I might add more if i can think of some

So I’m late to the party but...

I usually don’t make theory posts, but I was rewatching A Tale of Two Stans for the sixth time and I just noticed something.

I always thought Ford was writing in journal three. How is he writing in journal one? I always saw ford as the kind of guy who would write in a journal until he had LITERALLY no space to write in left. He isn’t writing in invisible ink either!

(I know they aren’t the same pens but they look incredibly similar) If journal one is ANYTHING like journal three, where the heck does Ford have the free space to write in it?

I think most of us assumed (or at least I did) That ford was writing in journal three in the page he titled “Against all odds, I’m Back” but later on that entry, he says he’s in his old study.

Which is NOT the portal room. 

I really don’t have any ideas as to what he wrote (or where he found the room to write it in the first place). Do you guys have any ideas about this? I haven’t seen posts pointing this out before and I’m really curious.

2

Yvonne Strahovski arrives at the Red Carpet for the Rockie Awards Gala Cermemony during the 2017 Banff Media Festival at the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel on June 13, 2017.