literally posting this cause i want sympathy for my bruised knuckle and sore knuckle bone lol and also cause even tho i look a mess, i feel good ya know? like stop being ashamed of messy days, love yourself you deserve it
Wow, thank you! Gabriel is one of the characters that I find most intriguing to write, so this a compliment I’m happily going to take and cuddle rather than doing the modest flailing thing over it. :) Especially because this means I can go YES ISN’T HE INTERESTING at you.
So basically, YES, ISN’T HE INTERESTING? is the reply. I’ve actually tackled him from a bunch of different angles: in some where he’s a relatively minor character, like Decency and Desire (the Regency AU), there’s not an awful lot more to him than ‘fun and snarky with occasional flashes of bitterness because SOMETHING HAPPENED THERE and he doesn’t have it all under control so he can be a bit unstable’. Which is, after all, a reasonable surface-level presentation of the character: you don’t have to see it all at once, or to see it all in the same way in every story.
But you’re right - I think we do, in fandom, tend to go a little too far in that direction with Gabriel: turn him into the comic relief, the short guy, the one who loves sugar (and porn) too much, the one with no emotional depth. He’d love you to believe all that, of course, and he sells it well, but the author can’t forget what’s underneath the surface - the strength (of the archangel, of all those years of learning to be many other things, of just him as a person even with the power stripped away) and the weakness (some from his family, some from… well, any number of things that have happened since then. Never forget the age, even when he does - and the otherness. An angel is not just human+grace, after all: they are something altogether different.
Even if the show doesn’t always remember this either.
When it comes to AUs… hm. If it’s all-human (or similar) I think there always still has to be something different about him, something that sets him (and possibly the other angels) apart from everybody else. In March-Stalkers Mighty, of course, the angels are a different species, and Gabriel has sort of made himself a different species even to them by moving between angel and human society, and by being an archangel (with all that means, including his fluid gender status). So nobody, even his own brother(s) - or Gabriel himself - really knows what he is. In the Nature and Kynde ‘verse, well, everybody’s an angel, but he’s the alpha - and he and his brothers still literally come from outside. As they do in the Narnia ‘verse as well, of course… not that he’s actually appeared in anything that’s been published so far (coughcoughDCBBcough). This hasn’t been a conscious choice on my part - I only just realised it thinking over it - and it’s not invariably true (I’m thinking of Firelight, where they’re all just schoolkids, albeit very incestuous ones), but there’s always something, I think, that positions Gabriel outside of what the story establishes as ‘normal’. Even in Decency and Desire, where he’s definitely part of society, he still manages to repeatedly position himself outside of that, whether it’s by marrying an Indian woman (and then moping when she leaves him), or by lending young Charlie books of Sappho’s poetry to encourage her to think ‘hey yes, actually, I am attracted to girls’.
I think the most important thing ot remember as an author is that we can like him without having to approve of every choice he makes, or even agreeing with anything he thinks at all. He is essentially immature, in the sense of the spoiled kid who never really had to grow up, and therefore selfish - but on the other hand he is immense and aged and has this vast weight of tragedy behind him, plus he’s always just about to crack a bad joke, and that’s always a tricky balance to strike. Even for him. I do think that in the future of the March-Stalkers ‘verse, with Sam and Gabriel travelling on the road alone together and encountering Various Random Fantasy Roadtrip Adventures, Sam will see aspects of Gabriel both grander and far more vicious and petty than he thinks exist. And will there ever be childish domesticity arguments there…
So yes, basically, every story I write with Gabriel in it has me trying on a differnent version of him for size. MSM!Gabriel is very powerful but broken, and there was one point at which I had to manage things very carefully to keep him from seriously trying to kill Dean (and he would have succeeded); IHI!Gabriel is me fixing canon up to the end of season 5 and coming out much stronger; in both Nature and Kynde and the Narnia ‘verse he has a relatively stable family situation and years of experience in a position of responsibility, which is a challenge, because it means I have to make him feel like Gabriel without being a complete mess, and I like my messy Gabriel (ALTHOUGH if I do end up writing for the Gabriel Big Bang this year it will be set in that verse and will break him again, muahaha); the Purgatory verse had him rebuilding himself in a far more literal way, and I’m still not really sure what version of himself he would have ended up as once they got out into the real world, but that’s very much about negotiating the relationship between power and identity and other people and memory, all of which are a crucial but awkward part of who Gabriel is as a character; and, well, then there’s the Oberon!Gabriel/Puck!Dean PWP where both of them really, really like that kind of power play.
And then of course there’s Your kind prison, which… well, when I finished writing it, I said “I think I’m done writing Gabriel now”, because it felt like I’d worked him out. What I was aiming for there (and felt like I achieved, though YMMV), is… well:
He isn’t nice. He is motivated to save his family, but he considers not bothering. He has been sitting around deliberately ignoring the world for years and even when he sees them falling he almost doesn’t help; and he’s not just rude and snarky to the boys because he is filling the role of a sassy side-kick but because they aren’t that important to him, and their part in his story is relatively small. Even if, by the end, he might be tempted to stay a little. There’s a lot of him that we can relate to and admire, but there’s a lot more that we can’t really endorse whole-heartedly - even if he’s persuasive enough that we want to.
So I’d boil it down to: love him, but feel free to not approve of him, and hell yes, let him be dark if that’s where he wants to go: just remember he’d be the first to joke about it. And probably would think he’s completely justified, because he’s the one with the broader perspective here, right?
Anybody else want to chime in, as author or reader? What makes Gabriel himself, for you? lysanatt, ladydrace, auroramere… oh help, I hate making people lists because I know I’m forgetting some crucial gabriel folks but it’s past midnight and my brain is switching off. Please consider yourselves tagged!
Hello! How are you? I’m good. It’s been a while since I wrote something and tonight I feel like being personal, you see. Basically I’m in that messy and confusing crossroads in life. Oh man. My mind is seesawing about the future, moving, jobs…things like that. But have you ever read The Alchemist? The one quote that always sticks out to me goes along the lines of “when you really want something, the whole universe conspires in helping you get it”. And I really believe that, with a little motivation and hard work of course hoho.
Today I spent the whole day looking at cherry blossoms. A lady walking her small dog spotted me taking photos in the street and walked me to a park around the corner. Trees taller than telephone poles were lined around the perimeter of the park and it was especially beautiful since the flowers were in full boom. From far away, the white blossoms looked like clouds. I met other people with small dogs at the park. They were all very kind.
The day after tomorrow a friend is taking me hiking! He is an avid mountain hiker and I’m a just a town walker, so I hope I can keep up. Nature is very mysterious to me. Have you ever looked at plants up close? The tiny patterns and shapes, even the colors and gradients…like how does it even create something so intricate. But the most mysterious thing is how healing nature is. If you’ve looked at trees and felt at ease for no particular reason then you know what I mean.
Well I’m going to sleep hahaha!! Thanks a lot for being here. It seems like I didn’t thank you for that in a very long time.