journey parallels aside i love it and i wanted to share

Chapter IV | Tell Me - A Harry Styles Uni AU

Main Story page is here.

Song for the Playlist - Guys My Age by Hey Violet

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Word Count - 4500…ish

“What part of ‘I have nothing to say to you’, do you not understand?” She asked as she stopped abruptly and turned back around to face him.

“No, see I get it, Eden,” he took a step onto the stairs to become taller than her again. “But you’ve got to let me explain to you-…”

“You made it perfectly clear how you felt. Have a great fucking new year, Harry. Now, if you don’t mind, I’d like to come back down in half an hour to get my food in peace. Goodnight.”

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Incompatibility (Part II)

It’s nice to know I’m being called delusional for saying Jon and Dany are incompatible. First of all, I’d like to say that like everyone else, I assumed Jon and Dany were “Ice and Fire” when the series started. I thought it was the obvious outcome for them to get together. That was until, somewhere around season 4 Dany’s character started shifting towards a very murky territory in terms of commanding and ruling. I still brushed it aside thinking she just needs a good Hand to level it out. She got Tyrion and it helped only a little. (I don’t think they were able to complement each other’s strengths and make each other stronger and sharper as a team.) But then, the differences between Jon and Dany started becoming more and more obvious are the show went on. It’s easy to pull out the feminism card but there’s a part where social justice even when helpful seems patronizing because of privilege. That’s where Dany falls for me. 

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Snape is neither unequivocally good nor bad, and that is what makes him interesting: an analysis


Fan conversations about Severus Snape in the Harry Potter series are very polarized. There are fans who are very sympathetic towards him and others fans who think he is the worst, to put it in simplified terms. I can’t help to think both of these stark sets of opinions are wrong and I really wish fans were more willing to analyze Snape’s role in the overall story (rather than just his individual actions) and what they mean thematically and symbolically. So here we go…

We’re supposed to draw specific parallels between Harry, Snape, and Voldemort. In Deathly Hallows, Harry specifically refers to the three of them as the lost boys of Hogwarts. They all are (1) half-blood wizards with (2) not-so-great home lives (3) who have some particular magical talents (4) who find a place and home at Hogwarts.

Now the connections and similarities between Harry and Tom Riddle have been pointed out explicitly since at least Chamber of Secrets. However, this is also the book where Dumbledore tells us that it is our choices, far more than our abilities, that determine who we are. Snape fitting into the comparison with Harry and Voldemort is only uncovered in the last book, when his full backstory is revealed. Because there is so much going on in that book, including just what’s going on with Snape, this nuance gets overlooked in the analysis of the Harry Potter saga.

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On Parallel Structure

Or, Finn is the redemption of Obi-Wan, Rey must turn to find her own path, and Poe is… there…. I guess?

One of the distinct advantages of the trilogy structure for Star Wars is the clear mapping of character roles onto each other, and the repeating cycle of themes. Lucas referred to it is a rhyme scheme rather than a direct reference. There are similarities across the trilogies and characters that are meant to be evocative of what has come before, both in terms of audience viewing order and in-canon events.

With TFA and now TLJ, I think we can conclude that it has become less of a rhyme scheme. The PT and OT told inverted stories. The OT is about a band of scrappy freedom fighters who discover deep truths about themselves, the galaxy, and the Force, eventually securing the peace and bringing redemption for one of the worst, most lost souls in the galaxy. The PT is about a band of elites who, believing the understand great truths of the galaxy, blind themselves to their own failings and the flaws of the power structures they inhabit, and then kind of just fuck up all over the place, murder, and die. The new trilogy very clearly tells a story more similar to the OT – even aside from, say, a new Death Star and a new Empire and a new Rebellion, we have character roles that map more clearly and story arcs that are laid out before the characters.

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Gotham 3.20 How The Riddler Got His Name

As I watched it, and some random observations here and there.

Previously on Gotham.

The Court of Owls plotline helpfully condensed in 5 seconds. Fake Bruce – and how can he save Gotham.  He‘s apparently only part of the plan - with Jim the other part. Katherine asks if Frank knows what happens if Jim fails.  Bruce and Selina seem pretty over due to Bruce not telling Selina about her mother’s plan.  The pier. Ed doesn’t love Oswald.  He loved Isabella.  Bang. Splash


As always, long post will be long - reaaally long.  There are likely to be rambling digressions. Gobblepot may appear (although I welcome all shippers and non-shippers alike :)).  There will be naked favouritism and naked not-favouritism.  Broader comments at the end on plotlines and parallels and general direction.


We see a scientist enter a raised glass lab in which Ed is lurking with a gun

Greetings, professor


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EVE BORES YOU SERIES: Anything for the Laughs - a Look at Eric and Donna

Oh, Eric and Donna. Unpopular opinion - I actually ship them on the same level as Jackie and Hyde, if not more at times. The other two have their own meta pending eventually, in this one I’m about to discuss the heights and the (steady) lows of Eric and Donna’s relationship season by season. Let’s begin.

Budding romance in the garden of friendship - season 1

Ever since the pilot Eric and Donna have been presented as the original Alpha couple of the show. The foundation on which their relationship is built is that of friendship, which both allowed the romance to develop organically and gave us some hilarious situations about them trying to cross the line between friends to lovers. Their dynamic is so entertaining to watch because it mirrors the innocence that comes with your first teenage romance (well I never had it but I have an idea). Everything just goes so awkwardly for them - their first kiss, their first make out, their first date… Everything. And that’s what’s so endearing about them - they’re completely life-like and relatable. More so, their well-rounded friendship allows them to actually discuss these things and work through them as a well-functioning relationship and not brush them aside (cue Jackie and Kelso).

If we’re on that subject, I believe Eric and Donna’s dynamic was a nice parallel to how unhealthy and toxic Jackie and Kelso’s relationship actually was. While Eric, being a hormonal teenager, obviously expressed it in some cases, he still respected Donna as his partner, unlike Kelso, who Jackie was even afraid to tell about her pregnancy scare. Also, I’m really glad that the whole original Eric/Hyde/Donna love triangle idea was dropped cause I’ve had enough couples ruined by those. It still left a bit of a bitter taste in my mouth for both Hyde’s character and Eric and Hyde’s friendship.

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Final trailer!!! Oh! My! Gosh!!!

Okay: THOUGHTS. 

It seemed like it in other trailers, but this trailer makes it clear that they are making some changes to adhere closer to the original fairy tale. Namely:

  • Belle’s father is now caught picking a rose from the Beast’s garden, and is imprisoned as a “theif”
  • The Beast’s library isn’t just some remnant of his living in a castle, he’s actually well-read. 

The second (if it turns out to be the case and the Beast’s line in the trailer isn’t just his lying), as many will know, is a huge departure from the Disney original. The Beast being basically some bookish Tiger man is something found in various versions of the classic fairy tale

but was something swapped in the Disney version. Disney chose to make Belle the bookish one, and instead chose to the leave the Beast almost entirely uneducated. In fact, they chose to have him be illiterate, and in the Disney version, Belle reading to the Beast, and teaching him to read, has been a major iconic part of their journey towards each other. 

But here’s the thing, I don’t hate this change? I can see reasons to hate it. The Beast being illiterate added to the sense of his abandoned/mistreated past, the prevailing headcanon that he was openly neglected or abondoned by his royal family for one reason or another, and basically left to be raised by a castle staff who were not allowed to say no to him. The lack of love and lack of discipline, plus being turned into a monster as a child, leading to him growing up to be the person he is today. 

A family who cared about him would have tutors who insisted on teaching him things a prince (even one who isn’t set to inherit the thrown, as that’s never established - he might be tenth in line) should know. His being illiterate implies some angst. 

But, on the flip side, it does make sense that a royal would be educated. It makes more sense that they would be than that they wouldn’t be. And more that that, this is someone who’s been socially isolated in a castle with no peers since they were eleven years old. The Beast and Belle both having taken refuge in books when they felt like they couldn’t connect with the rest of the world is something for them to bond over. 

I’m of two minds. I simultaneously like the nod to the classic fairy tale, like the shared interest between characters, like the ways it makes sense for the character (nobility and isolated would lead to reading), and like the additional point of distinction between Gaston and the Beast. 

On the other hand, my main criticism of it would be (aside from it being a departure that I’m sure some Disney purists will be mad about), is that while adding one kind of distinction between the Beast and Gaston, it removes another? 

Both the Beast and Gaston are initially demanding of Belle, with no regard for her wants or her autonomy. To both Gaston and the Beast, Belle asserts herself and demands respect. Gaston responds by more aggressive pursuit and violence. The Beast responds by 1) rushing out to follow her and saving her life and 2) taking a step back to learn attempting to be kind, before eventually entirely respecting her freedom. Similarly, both Gaston and the Beast don’t know much about books and don’t share Belle’s interest. Gaston responds by mocking Belle’s interest and telling her she should take on his interests instead. The Beast responds by taking an interest in her interests, and trying to learn more about them. 

Basically the story is one of two assholes who the same woman stands up to, and the the point of distinction between them is their response to being called out on their bullshit. And the Beast already loving reading does undermine that parallel. 

BUT- The trailer goes out of its way to emphasize that this movie is about The Beast having to put in the work to Learn How To Love.

I and a million others have talked before about how the characterization of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast as a story of a girl who ~changes~ a monster into a good person with ~the power of her love~ is a gross misreading of the story. The Beast loves Belle before she loves him. That’s not speculation, it’s textual canon. The instance their love is reciprocal, the spell breaks. Their love isn’t reciprocal until the end. Before then, Belle is a prisoner. The Beast saves her life, is kind to her, enjoys her company, gives her nice things, goes on a romantic date with her, and then he let’s her go. And says outright he has to let her go specifically because he loves her. The message is clear, none of the rest of that stuff can really be love without respect for the other person’s right to say no and walk away. Meanwhile, Belle can’t love him until after she’s been let go and willingly returned as a free agent, not a prisoner. The message again, is very clear. You can’t say yes to being in love unless you have the freedom to consent, which means the freedom to say no if you choose. She couldn’t love him while a prisoner. 

So anyway, the journey of the Beast being the one who has to learn to love has always been inseparable from a journey about learning to respect others and learning to respect consent. And this trailer’s added emphasis on that is really promising to me. 

Especially when combined with the whispered, “I will escape I promise”. In the animated movie, we get the sense that Belle intends to keep her word initially, and only changes her mind and tries to run after the Beast mistreats her. Belle’s intention to escape injustice immediately in this version further demonstrates that she never had any strategy of trying to “save the beast with kindness” or change him. That she always thought he was out of line, and always intended to do something about it. 

That thrills me.

Also! Confirmation that this movie is taking the route of the musical in at least one choice: when the last petal falls, the castle staff will become truly inanimate. As if the ticking clock of the rose petals (nice job Disney, that wasn’t in the fairy tale and it has always been a great addition) wasn’t already high stakes enough.

Also interesting: we see Cogsworth and Lumiere telling Belle that will happen when the last petal falls. In the animated film, while Belle knows the castle is enchanted, we get no indication anyone has explained the nature of the enchantment or rose to her. I do wonder: Does this mean they will tell her what breaks the curse? That’s a lot of pressure to put on one girl. I always appreciated that, while deceptive, there was no “you HAVE to love him or we’ll be cursed forever!” pressure put directly onto Belle in the animated film.

I love that we still get the shot of Belle considering just getting on the horse and riding away after the Beast saved her life. Stolkholm syndrome my ass. But I also love how it’s followed by Belle’s “You have to help me, you have to stand”. It’s just? So sweet?

The sets look amazing. The dancing looks gorgeous. 

I have one last question though:

What is this? Some magic map?

Does it, perhaps, relate to the idea of “adventure in the great wide somewhere”?

!!!!!!!!!!

It’s not Easy Being Green:  A Zelena Mills Character Study, Part V

Continued from Part IV.

The shift in tone from 5A to 5B in the relationship between Regina and Zelena is always going to be one of the most difficult things to reconcile in universe because in some part it can only be explained by an out of universe understanding that the writers had decided to kill off Robin Hood and as such they were no longer invested in a story that pitted Robin as the good and decent man against an unfit mother who wasn’t putting her child’s best interests first.  With that said if you are going to do serious character analysis you can’t hand wave and say “well the writers changed their minds” even if that’s what you think happened.  

Zelena began the season talking about her child not as someone that she wanted to love and give the world to but as someone who would finally love her as no one in her life had.

That is an incredibly sad statement on her deeply sad life, but it is also at odds with the way the show portrays positive parenting.  Unfailingly good parents put the needs of their children first even at loss to themselves and the fact that the show’s biggest example of a terrible parent explicitly says that she is harming her child–Zelena in a thematically important moment–in order to give herself her best chance.

So it is a huge marker of the shift in Zelena’s character when she realizes that she is not automatically what is best for her daughter.  This comes about not just in an intellectual understanding of the threat that Hades might pose, but also in a moment of realizing that she has hurt her child even unintentionally.  A realization that mirrors her sister’s own surrender of her own plots and a moment of self realization after she has unintentionally hurt Henry.

After Our Decay there really isn’t anymore room to discuss if Zelena loves her child in a healthy way.  She is no longer looking for her child to provide the support and love to her but instead is making the active choice to give her daughter up in order to protect her.  She will want her back of course, this is not a termination of parental rights, this is a desperate plea by a mother to her enemies in order to protect her child.

This is the moment when the show puts a flag in this relationship and says that Zelena is acting in good faith as a parent.  Just as they did with Regina at the end of season one when they make it clear that whatever else she was, the Evil Queen loved her son deeply, and it also touches back to the times when Regina has told Zelena that she hoped that the unconditional love for a child could help her find peace.  It’s also worth noticing that this moment is a turning point for Regina and Zelena as well.  Regina watches her sister give up her child for her best chance and she knows the pain of that because she has done it herself.

It is the moment when Regina embraces the idea that perhaps she can have a sister in Zelena and if we’re looking at a parallel to Regina’s relationship with Snow it would be the equivalent of Snow’s renewed faith in Regina after the events of Neverland.  Now Regina is never going to be Snow White.  They’re going to handle their relationships and reactions differently.  But from that moment on Regina begins to try to invest in the idea of being Zelena’s sister.  Something that Zelena herself wants but also doesn’t trust.

The idea of trust (and particular trust in Zelena) begins to be woven as a recurring theme in her relationships with people.  No one trusts Zelena (for good reason) and having someone trust her is something that Zelena values above just about anything 

Regina:  I think… I think you have another love to find.
Zelena:  What are you saying?
Regina: Hades. Go to him.
Zelena: You trust me?
Regina: Maybe you can change him, too.
Zelena: Thank you, Regina.

I’d even be inclined to say that Zelena so values being trusted by others that when someone shows genuine faith in her (and not simple wary acceptance that they have no other choice) that Zelena develops an incredibly strong bond of loyalty to that person.  Peoples simply haven’t ever believed in Zelena.  They’ve pretended to (the witches of Oz) or they’ve dangled faith in her (Rumple) but actual belief has been lacking.  And just as young Zelena dreamed of helping people with her magic I think that adult Zelena dreams of having someone believe in her.

And when that happens she’d burn the world down for that person.

This is I think related but actually distinctly different from Regina’s character journey because she had someone who repeatedly expressed faith in her and that faith was not strong enough to act as an anchor point in Regina’s psychology of self loathing.  In this case Zelena’s sense of self is much stronger than her sister’s was.  Or is given that Regina recently tried to literally murder part of herself.  I think that difference of self confidence actually springs from their identity politics.  Zelena calls herself wicked and it is a rejection of a society that has told her that who she was was bad and evil her entire life.  Where as Regina rejects the label evil because it was never the way she saw herself but rather a label imposed on her and used by herself only in moments of deep self loathing (or political expedience).

[As an aside it is also worth looking at the language Regina uses to speak to Zelena about her own darkness and the language she uses to describe hers.  She wants Zelena to fight her instincts not because Regina thinks that Zelena is a bad person but because I think Regina believes that fighting them is ultimately possible and that she desperately wants support on that road herself.]

The positive support between the Mills sisters is deliberately contrasted in the narrative with the relationship with Hades.  Before I get too far in this part of the meta discussion I should say that I actually think the show lost it’s way in it’s thematic use of True Love with the story of Hades and Zelena.  Not because I doubt that Hades loved her, he clearly did, but because I have difficulty accepting an idea of true love that tries to isolate and exclude the people Zelena cared about.  Hades knew that Zelena loved Regina and I wrestle with the idea that he could love her with any sort of purity and want to take that relationship away.  Love can be selfish but true love should not be.

As such I think the narrative gets quite messy when you try to navigate what the show was trying to tell us about Zelena, Hades, and Regina in in the course of that romance.  Regina says she wanted so much for Zelena to find love (though she has mostly expressed this as love with her child).  But I think that there is something incredibly tragic about a woman who at her core doesn’t believe anyone could love her.  That the very idea is ridiculous.  And long term for Zelena’s character I think that is the take away from her love for Hades.  That she was a woman who believed herself beyond love so much that she rejected even the notion that it could happen.

This actually touches base on a repeated use of Zelena by the writers to address criticism of the show’s narrative.  There have been repeated instances in which direct criticisms of the show have been placed in Zelena’s mouth to the effect of the narrative saying that they represent some sort of bitter misreading of the narrative to be slapped down by Regina with the “proper” reading of the show.  The two biggest examples come from 4.20 where the complaint that the female characters stories were being turned into finding happiness in a man:

And in 5.16 when criticism of the parents on among the cast running off to the underworld to save Hook against the best interests of their children:

Neither of these instances actually convince anyone who doesn’t already believe in the show and sets up Zelena not as the unreliable narrator as the show very clearly intends, but rather as a subversive truth speaker who against Regina’s self delusion.  I am not saying that I agree or disagree with Zelena or Regina in these instances (in fact I agree with Zelena in one and not the other) but the ham fisted use of her character in this way creates a divide in interpretation of her character.  The one the show intends and the counter-show interpretation.

Now that is not to say that there isn’t actually written subtext Zelena’s character that questions if the heroes really represent the side of good.  I think that’s wrapped up in her vision of what being wicked means to her and is shared and mirrored in other parts of the show.  But it’s a slippery slope that can lead to interpretations of the show that go against clear narrative intent.

Because Zelena rather clearly isn’t actually rejecting the idea of being good or even being heroic.  There is a recurring theme in season 5 of Zelena expressing self doubt that she can be a good person.  In fact the more open she becomes to the idea of trust the the more open she is to expressing these self doubts.  

And it’s not simply Regina’s faith in her sister where the show sends this signal.  Robin says it himself.  That everyone has the capacity to change 

Now there are a lot of people in the fandom who have expressed frustration with what they saw as the speed of which the relationship between the Mills Sisters develop and attribute it to “an afternoon playing with each other when they were kids.”  I think this is a misreading on two counts.  As this extremely long and drawn out meta demonstrates the building trust between Regina and Zelena does not occur over the course of an afternoon playing when they are children.  It’s well on it’s way by the time they get those memories back.

But what those memories do provide Zelena is two key pieces that fit into her existing psychology and allow her to let go of decades of resentment against her sister.  The first is that Regina chose her.  She chose her as a sister over power and influence.  The first person to want Zelena in her life was her sister. 

And the second thing she learned was that all of her assessments about what Regina “got” out of being Cora’s daughter were shattered.  Over the course of that afternoon Zelena watched Cora verbally berate Regina (there is an instance right after Zelena heals Regina as well) and dismiss the things that Regina wanted and valued for her life.  While 5.19 may have had the adult Mills sisters accept their mother’s posthumous apologies for her mistreatment of them it also shattered all of Zelena’s assumptions about Regina as the woman ungrateful for the “gifts” of her childhood.

And that relationship development allows for Zelena to prove her own true love.  For her sister.  It allows her to look at Robin’s dead body.  To listen to Hades a man she has true love for.  And to listen to her sister saying that true love is sacrifice and making the choice to sacrifice her own happiness for her sister’s life.

It’s hard to come up with a more spectacular example of true love in the show’s history than that.

And that leaves open a lot of questions about where Zelena’s character development goes from there.  Back in season three Rebecca Mader talked about her character’s end game and I think her own character analysis has been proved true.

Zelena isn’t interested in power or evil or causing pain in the long run.  She wants a peaceful happy life.  

She is certainly not interested in becoming a hero.  Heroics were young Regina’s thing before her fall.  Zelena may have wanted to help people but she was always more laid back.  But alas for her this is Once Upon a Time and she’ll likely find herself drawn more and more into the company of heroes as the narrative goes along.

The other thing I would expect to continue is the expanded range of people in Zelena’s world (as opposed to pawns).  Robin joined the ranks of people by the end and her choice to name her daughter after her father demonstrates the respect she finally had for him.  She (somewhat weirdly) seems to have decided that Dorothy and Red are people.  Which begs some hilarious questions about what might happen next time Zelena and Dorothy cross paths.

Belle:  And I… I thought that I had time on my side. I guess I don’t.
Zelena:  That’s not necessarily true. There may be a way.

And perhaps most randomly of all Belle has entered the realm of person to Zelena.  I think by being morning sick and expressing fear for her child’s safety, something Zelena could recognize and sympathize with.  

[I know there is a view among some corners of the fandom that giving Belle the sleeping curse was an attempt to punish Rumple but I think that mistakes her not caring to be polite or show her dislike of Rumple for an explanation of her motivation for giving Belle the sleeping curse.  Zelena hates Rumple.  She and Rumple have a history and she isn’t above hurting him just to hurt him.  But She’s already made her point with him and in the long term she seems to have moved past her obsession with proving to him that he threw her away wrongly.  Whatever crush she may have once had on him is also very clearly over.]

There isn’t a lot of evidence that Zelena sees the Charmings, Emma, or even Henry as fully rounded people yet.  Which leaves open room for hilarious head canons about what happened on that 7 hour car ride between New York City and Storybrooke with the entire group in Rumple’s Cadillac.  

Interactions that haven’t happened yet on Sense8...

…and how I want them to go. There are 28 possible one-on-one combinations of eight people, and the show hasn’t been able to give us all 28 in one season. That’s okay. But there are some combos I really want to see in future seasons or in fanfic/fanart. Here are the pairings who haven’t had real conversations yet in Sense8, and what I envision those pair-ups would be like.

Capheus and Wolfgang: These two would have an uneasy relationship, I think, because Wolfgang is so deeply embroiled in a violent criminal underworld, the very world that has given Capheus nothing but grief. And Capheus’ optimism does not fit into Wolfgang’s worldview at all. They would have a very hard time understanding each other, but that’s exactly why it would be interesting for them to share a screen.

Kala and Nomi: I want to see these two be super scientific and nerdy together. With their brains combined, they could really strike a blow against BPO. Nomi would also advise Kala to be herself and not marry Rajan just because it would make her parents happy.

Capheus and Will: Will has indirectly helped Capheus in the past, though I’m not sure they know it. I really want to see this interaction after all the inherent racism of Will’s storyline with Deshawn and his “gangbanger” friends. Will would do well to better understand the perspective of the colonized.

Sun and Wolfgang: This will be very interesting because these two could help each other a lot, but also reinforce each other’s worst tendencies. Both rely too much on violence as an emotional comfort and a way to solve their problems. But Wolfgang was abused by his father and could help Sun recognize the abuse her father inflicted on her, and stop feeling obligated to protect her shitty family. Sun could teach Wolfgang how important it is to have principles and to stand by them.

Kala and Lito: FOLLOW YOUR HEART. That will be Lito’s message to Kala. If there is anyone in the cluster who can convince Kala to cast aside her family’s expectations and choose the man she truly loves, it’s Lito, who would move heaven and earth to keep Hernando. I so want Lito to give Kala the most romantic speech ever.

Nomi and Sun: Oh, Nomi could be so instrumental in helping Sun recognize that what her father did to her was abuse, because Nomi understands that some parents don’t deserve their children. And she could be instrumental in getting Sun out of prison, and helping her find a new life for herself afterward.

Capheus and Lito: Okay, these two would be SO FUN together because Capheus loves action heroes in the movies and Lito is an action hero in the movies! I could so see Lito showing Capheus his movies and talking about what happens behind the scenes. Lito could teach Capheus about subterfuge and Capheus can teach Lito to accept things as they come and be more genuine. What adorable nerds! This could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Kala and Sun: Kala can be such a sweet ray of sunshine. She would be just the right person to visit Sun in her cell and show her around Mumbai and show her what it’s like to have a family that’s actually worth her loyalty. And they would have so much to say to each other about family and duty and being successful women in male-dominated industries.

Riley and Nomi: If Will is the dad of the cluster, these two women are the mothers – Nomi because she is the mastermind who can arrange everything behind the scenes, and Riley because she seems to be the most tapped into her sensate powers. When these two finally come into their own as a team, together, Whispers had better run for the hills.

Wolfgang and Will: Oh, please tell me Will gets another Blue Screen of Death face when he meets Wolfgang. Yes, Will bb, you had sex with him and you liked it, you can deal. But on a more serious note, Wolfgang is a career criminal while Will is a cop down to the bone. It’ll be a long journey for Will to truly accept Wolfgang as another aspect of himself. At the same time, I think he’ll feel an urge to protect Wolfgang from the consequences of his actions, and I think we all know how much Wolfgang will like that. These two have a rocky road ahead.

Capheus and Nomi: Oh gosh I just want something like in this fic where Capheus shares with Nomi what it’s like to have a mother who gives totally unconditional love. I would also love it if Nomi figured out a mission that Capheus could do in Nairobi for the cluster – like investigating those counterfeit drugs Kala’s company is so concerned about.

Kala and Riley: These two cinnamon rolls! I would love to see this interaction because I think Riley’s trajectory is to become a symbolic “mother” of the cluster in the way Angelica was, and I think Kala would be great at helping Riley accept that role, and affirm for her that she is not a failure as a mother and a woman.

Sun and Will: I think we’ll see a lot of parallels drawn between these two at the beginning of S1 because they’re both imprisoned – literally for Sun, and Will in his own mind – and need help to get free. They’re also both rootless, in that neither have a job waiting for them when they get free. I think once they’re out of their respective prisons they’ll have a lot of empathy for the other’s plight.

Nomi and Wolfgang: Nomi is a person who has overcome the influence of toxic, violent masculinity in her life to be the woman she wants to be, and left the criminal life behind her. Wolfgang is a person still deeply in the sway of toxic, violent masculinity who believes he’s too broken to be anything but a criminal. I think Wolfgang will be a painful reminder to Nomi of her younger years and everything she’s worked to overcome. But if she can overcome that pain, there is so much she could give him.

Riley and Lito: There is so much Riley could teach Lito. Lito’s S1 arc has been to discover the courage of his heart: that he is not just a coward who lives in a world of lies, but a man who can pursue a true and noble calling. Riley is a woman who knows her own strength, and the measure of herself, and she could convince Lito of the well of strength that is within him, too.

Kala and Will: They’ve interacted indirectly, each helping the other in a time of need, and when they really get to talk one-on-one I want it to be the same. I think Kala is the key to rescuing Will from his current situation, since she’s the pharmaceutical expert. She can repay him back for saving her from the fanatics at the temple of Ganesha. I really want Will to learn how powerful a person Kala is.

Wolfgang and Riley: Riley and Wolfgang are very opposite: Riley had a loving family and lost it, while Wolfgang never had a loving family and doesn’t believe he ever could. I think Wolfgang would tell Riley to move on, because she can never get back what she lost, but that’s not the right answer. The right answer, for both of them, is to build a new family that can protect each other no matter what. But I think it will take a long time for Wolfgang to accept Riley as the symbolic “mother” of the cluster, because he doesn’t believe he can have one.

Poor Steven

Bubbled was a great parallel between Steven and his mother. In the previous episode he found out that Rose Quartz did something he fully believed she would never do. He never wants a gem to be completely killed, ever, and after Bismuth, he believed his mother, whose gem and legacy he inherited, thought the same thing.

He’s nearly always gotten to know his mother through Greg’s eyes, at which point Rose was fully in love with Earth and its organic beings, with short lifespans and bodies that change minute to minute, day to day, across millenia. But the war was a long time before Greg knew her, and it may have changed Rose into that doting, caring gem we know her as. As in, she used to be different, more ruthless.

I think it’s probable that Rose’s decision to not let the Crystal Gems shatter anyone came out of the demise of Pink Diamond. It happened, and it was what made Rose realise that murder was a step too far for her rebellion. She’s not human. Empathy comes naturally to us, and that’s what Steven represents. But gems struggle with it. Things like sympathy are shown to be alien to Homeworld gems, so it seems like Rose putting down Earth’s coloniser for good was a turning point she came to regret, leading her to call it off-limits for her army.

Steven didn’t know this, so to him it makes his mother feel like a hypocrite. But I think her appreciation for life came as a direct result of being someone who took it away. It’s hard for Steven to accept his mother was a murderer, but Bubbled is about his journey to understanding why.

He’s in one of the most hopeless scenarios we can contemplate - drifting aimlessly through space. He’s polite and civil to his Ruby passenger, even though she is dangerous and blames him, because he’s safe in his bubble. When the Ruby says she ‘just wanted to see Rose Quartz’, he can’t resist using that to try and gain her favour, not realising the Ruby means she wanted the chance to defeat Rose Quartz. So in an offer of trust, he tells Ruby about his connection to Rose, and he avoids phrasing it as “I am Rose Quartz”, but says that he “knows where she is”…

Acknowledging this connection must feel more wrong than ever after what he knows she did, and he has yet to come to terms with the idea that in fighting a war, his mother caused someone to die. But he does, thinking the Ruby might respect him. The Ruby rebukes him in disbelief and even calls him “crueller than Rose Quartz” for the attempted deception. Ouch.

Steven spares no effort to help this Ruby. He uses a skill he’s never tried before - extending his bubble shield in a specific direction. He shares his only protection with someone who is still an enemy. All so he can heal Ruby’s gem. Gem healing is a completely unique power and nobody on Homeworld has probably ever been healed, but Steven loves using it to help others.

And, realising that it really is some form of Rose, the Ruby tries to poof Steven. Ruby doesn’t know what it’ll do to a half-gem, half-human. Ruby, like Jasper, blames Steven for what his mother did. Ruby doesn’t know how she can even get back to Homeworld with it - there’s basically no way. But she doesn’t care, and Steven’s reasoning with her after those kindnesses crucially doesn’t work. She says “I’ve made up my mind”. She would unknowingly kill Steven. But Steven realises that even after apologies, kindness and sacrifices, he can’t change someone’s mind. So he acts in self-defense.

Ruby may not be dead, but she’s going to float off in space, alone. Steven did everything he could before resorting to it. But for his own life, and for everything he means to the Crystal Gems, he had to do something against his morals, and throw another gem aside, ignoring his instinct to help her. He had no other choice. Like Rose, he was far from home, being attacked, and just like how Pink Diamond was dedicated to destruction, this Ruby made it clear she was dedicated to hurting him.

Steven bubbles himself with rose petals and accepts that once again, a Rose Quartz did what was absolutely necessary, because war makes people do these things. Sometimes people want to hurt you and what you stand for, and sometimes, you have to take action against them.

Rose lived with her choices for five thousand years and then decided to become Steven, to make someone with a gem’s strength and a human’s empathy, who might be better than herself.

“She didn’t always do what was best for her… but she always did what was best for Earth.”

Daryl Dixon Walking Wounded

Doesn’t Daryl get to grieve?

There are so many people incensed by the fact that Daryl will be grieving for Beth. I’m not talking about Beth fans or Bethylers being happy (as happy as can be in this situation) with the idea that Daryl is feeling Beth’s loss, illustrating her worth and showing how much he loved her. It is other factions and people being all outraged by the idea that Daryl might be shedding a tear for Beth or mourning his loss of Beth, the woman he let in and bonded with. It seems like this belligerence is getting worse and worse as we move forward towards the coming episodes where Daryl’s devastation in regards to Beth becomes evident, but this general attitude was around just following the mid season finale as well. Whether it was members of a different ship or even some media outlets that disliked Beth or had other biases, people were asking “When is Daryl going to get over what happened to Beth”, “How long is it going to take for Daryl to get back to normal”, or even “What are the chances of Daryl and Carol getting together?”

I understand that not all people who watch The Walking Dead liked Beth. I understand that not everyone liked the idea of Daryl and Beth being together. Some people hate the bond that developed between Beth and Daryl. I understand all of this, but the thing is, if these people are asking questions about when Daryl will get over Beth, that means they are interested in Daryl and therefore have to care about his character. Daryl has evolved dramatically as a person over the course of the series, and Beth brought him to the height of his humanity. Viewers seemed to like Daryl’s evolution, but there are those individuals who only liked his character growth until Beth became an integral part of it. As soon as Beth affected Daryl and his emotions, helped him believe and hope, he was out of character. I diverge. The point is, if you like Daryl’s character and plan to continue to like Daryl’s character if Beth is dead, you can’t erase all the moments Daryl and Beth had together, the impact she had on him, and the loss and pain he is feeling because of her death. For the sake of the character and the love you bear towards him, whether or not you hated Beth and the love he had for her, you have to acknowledge that Daryl, as he has become, is going to grieve and mourn for her. Beth is a part of Daryl’s story now whether she is dead or alive. Beth is part of who he is. She is inseparable from Daryl. Wanting Daryl to move on mitigates what Daryl has become. It is a disservice to Daryl and is journey. Just give him a chance to feel…to be sad…to mourn…to grieve.

All of this outrage and belligerence over the idea that Daryl is mourning Beth and the fact that it might take a long time for Daryl to get over her, if he ever does, made me start to think about how Daryl handles grief…how he has responded to loss in the past. Just to start off, I thought about Daryl and Beth, how Daryl responds to having Beth stolen from him at the end of “Alone”, how shattering and heartbreaking that was to watch. He was completely and totally physically, mentally, and emotionally broken, and she wasn’t even dead…just taken. I think that Daryl is pretty adept at handling physical pain, and he probably prefers physical pain to emotional pain. Physical pain is something that just he has to deal with. It doesn’t involve anyone except himself, and Daryl’s past has been painful; he’s just used to it. Emotional pain, on the other hand, involves something bad happening to or hurting someone he cares about, perhaps even something he can’t prevent or alter, like Beth’s kidnapping or Hershel’s death. Okay, that is a discussion for another time, We have seen from all the way back to Season 1, that despite Daryl’s rough, tough exterior, when he experiences something emotionally painful, he gets emotional himself, but there have been differences in how he responds to emotional pain as it relates to other characters he shares relationships with.

Even though Daryl’s character was pretty surly in Season 1, we get a good grasp on how he processes pain with the events surrounding Merle. When Daryl first finds out that Merle was left handcuffed on the rooftop in Atlanta, he gets confrontational to say the least. At that point, the audience doesn’t know the complexities of the relationship between Merle and Daryl; they have only seen Merle and Daryl independently, never interacting, but there is clearly a strong sense of loyalty that Daryl feels towards his brother because of their blood tie. Daryl initially reacts in a manner that the viewers would assume a character like Daryl would after finding out that his brother was left to die. He throws his string of squirrels and pretty quickly goes into fight mode, pulling his knife.

Once Rick and Shane get Daryl sufficiently settled down and Shane lets him out of the choke hold, it is as if Daryl actually processed what has happened, the knowledge has set in. He shifts into “get it done” mode, demanding that Rick tell him where Merle is so he can go and retrieve his brother. In that moment, at the end of his demand, Daryl’s voice breaks. It may be insignificant if the small stumble had been from another character, but for a character like Daryl, first being introduced into the series, that moment of emotionality gives insight into the part of Daryl that the other characters rarely get to see…what he is feeling inside. Daryl’s attachment to Merle and what he perceives as an extreme loss is further illustrate by Daryl’s emotional episode (not a true falling to the ground crying Daryl breakdown, but still…) in front of Rick, T-Dog, and Glenn when he finds Merle’s severed hand on the roof. I may be wrong, but I think this is the only time that Daryl has an emotional episode in front of the group…an emotional episode, not a purely angry episode driven by emotion (until Beth).

Moving on to Season 2, Daryl has two extreme losses, Sophia and Dale. I would consider Sophia’s death as having more impact on Daryl because of the parallels that exist between Sophia being lost an Daryl having been lost when he was little. Searching for Sophia wasn’t for Carol; it was for Sophia because she was an innocent, a child, and Daryl didn’t want her to be like him, having no one looking for her or caring about what happened to her. On a deeper level, I think that it was for himself too, so Daryl could reconcile himself with what happened in his past and somehow make it right. After Sophia is put down at the barn, despite the fact that Daryl looked for her, he was unable to save her. This sends him into shutdown mode. He removes himself from the community, lashes out at Carol when she comes to talk to him, and refuses Lori’s request to go after Rick, Glenn, and Hershel. He is angry, he is shut down, but he doesn’t break down the way he broke down with Merle. I am not saying that the loss of Sophia didn’t have a huge impact on Daryl, just that his responses, were for some reason, very different.

I think Daryl carrying out a mercy killing on Dale was something entirely separate, but still, it was a loss for him. I don’t doubt that Daryl was torn up about what he had to do, but I think that he handled this moment differently because, 1. Dale’s situation was entirely and absolutely out of his control. Dale was a grown man who Daryl had no responsibility to protect. 2. Dale was in a situation where there was no choice. He knew he was dying. The choice was either die quickly or suffer. Dale asked for the mercy of a quick death, and Rick was going to carry it out. Daryl was perceptive enough to know how affected Rick was, and he put aside his own feelings and personal well being to accept the responsibility of Dale’s death to spare Rick. He made a sacrifice, something Daryl is willing to do.

Dale’s death did a lot to pull the group together, and for Daryl especially, it seemed to be the act that really solidified his place beside Rick. We don’t get any private moments with Daryl after Dale’s death to see how he reacts, but we do see him with Shane, Andrea, and T-Dog when they find the walkers on the farm and go ballistic on them while Rick’s eulogy for Dale is being voiced over. In this moment of release, we see that Daryl once again is responding to loss with anger and violence.

In Season 3, several scenes are shown were Daryl actually thinks Carol is dead. When they are going through the tombs after the walkers invade the prison, Daryl finds Carol’s scarf, picking it up, and accepting it as proof of her death. He didn’t have a strong reaction in that moment, but they had all suffered so much loss. In another scene, we see Daryl alone, putting a Cherokee Rose on Carol’s “grave”, and while he looks sad, I would interpret his countenance as accepting. While I found this a beautiful tribute, Daryl putting the Cherokee Rose on the grave in remembrance, I didn’t feel Daryl in extreme pain being broken by Carol’s death.

The only moment where I interpret Daryl as having a strong reaction to Carol’s fate in Season 3 is when Daryl, Carl, and Oscar are clearing the tombs, and after Oscar and Carl go back, he sits beside the door Carol is behind, driving the knife into the concrete floor. Although we never really know if Daryl assumed that Carol was a walker waiting behind that door, the viewers were supposed to infer that. That moment had to be disturbing for Daryl, the thought of having to put down a member of his group, his friend. Despite what Daryl must be feeling, it does not culminate in an emotional breakdown before he opens the door and finds Carol alive.

Also in Season 3, Daryl is faced with one of the most difficult losses that he had probably ever faced up until that point. He finds Merle turned, and is forced to put down his own brother. Merle was his last blood relative alive. Even though Merle subjugated and was abusive to Daryl his entire life, they were still brothers, there was still that bond. Daryl realized that Merle died trying to save him and the people Daryl now saw as his family, and essentially sacrificed himself for his brother and the possibility of the life Daryl could have with them. Merle died doing the most decent, selfless thing he had ever done, and Daryl was left to put him down. The scene was heartbreaking and devastating, Daryl stabbing Merle over and over and over again, lost in grief, anger, pain, the entire gamut of emotions he was feeling as a result of Merle’s death. In that scene, the viewers are given Daryl’s first complete emotional breakdown. Daryl is actually falling down and crying in despair, and I think it was powerful, a testament to what Daryl was capable of feeling.

The second half of Season 4 saw Daryl at one of his lowest points ever. He lost everything, everything except Beth. He felt personally responsible for everything that was lost, everyone he thought was dead, and he only had one person to remind him of what life had been before, that one reality that he had to protect and hold onto. Before the later events in “Still”, after the prison fell, Daryl is just in angry shutdown mode, noncommunicative and aggressive, very similar to the way he was after Sophia died. He didn’t want to track. He didn’t want to do anything except survive, and, in extension, keep Beth alive. Keeping Beth alive didn’t, however, mean keeping her happy.

Daryl’s breakdown concerning the loss of the prison and his perceived responsibility for Hershel’s death began with anger and Daryl lashing out at Beth, the only other person who was there with him.

But Beth stood up to Daryl, and Daryl let go.

He had another complete emotional breakdown, crying and all.

The difference between this breakdown and the first total emotional breakdown that the audience saw at Merle’s death was that Beth was there to see it. Beth was there to comfort Daryl, to be strong for him as he let go, to hold him and let him know it was okay to feel, no one was judging him.

That is an extreme emotional journey in and of itself. He allowed someone else to witness him at his weakest point…see his weakness in a world where weakness gets you killed. Daryl allowed himself to find comfort in someone else’s strength, and Daryl didn’t once try to pull away after Beth embraced him. Daryl let Beth in.

For Daryl, the most devastating loss comes when Beth is stolen from him. After he let someone in completely, shared himself and all his flaws with Beth entirely, let her see him at his lowest, formed a bond that he has never shared with someone, his world was turned upside down when she was taken. Daryl’s reaction to Beth’s kidnapping was comparable to his reaction to Merle’s death. Daryl chases after a car that he has no hope of being able to keep up with or even track.

Even after he loses sight of the car, Daryl keeps running until he literally comes to a crossroads and has no idea which way to go. He chases Beth because he can’t not chase her…he can’t give up on her, she means too much to him…everything. When Daryl can literally run no more, he falls down and breaks down just as he did with Merle.

He shows the same type of emotion towards losing Beth as he did towards his brother’s death…Merle…his blood. That shows just how strongly Daryl feels for Beth, and that was just after her kidnapping.

The images above are comparable to Daryl’s reaction to Merle’s death after he stabbed Merle, put him down, and realized the reality of what happened. Merle died, and he fell down, broken.

Once again, the above state Daryl is in was prompted by Beth’s kidnapping, not a final death even though the outlook would have been dire. Daryl was completely broken. If we look at the other person in his life that Daryl thought died, Carol, and the moment that he showed the most emotion towards Carol’s “death”, we get something closer to Daryl’s shutdown angry survival mode which he exhibited after the prison fell.

Daryl’s grief towards Merle’s Death/Beth’s kidnapping is strikingly different from his initial reaction to the fall of the prison and to Carol’s “death” in season 3.

Even though Daryl can no longer look for Beth, her loss weighs heavily on him. When Joe’s group finds him collapsed in the road, Daryl goes into reckless abandon mode, sucker punches Joe while entirely surrounded by the Marauders because, in that moment, he doesn’t care. He literally has nothing left to lose.

After being accepted into Joe’s group, we are reminded just how much Daryl is still thinking about Beth and the influence she has on him in several scenes:

1. Len provoking Daryl: Len taunts Daryl about a girl having him messed up in the head, and even just at that comment, Daryl looks like he is about to snap, but he starts to walk away. Then when Len continues to provoke, telling Daryl that the “little ones” never make it very long…Daryl goes for his knife, and I am very sure that Len would have met a horrific end if Joe hadn’t shown up and intervened.

2. Len’s Death: After Len was killed by the Marauders and Daryl stopped by his body on the way out of the building, Beth’s influence was felt in that moment where Daryl almost covered up Len’s body. I don’t think that Daryl shows a character flaw in that he didn’t cover up Len in the end because he didn’t deserve that act of humanity, but just the fact that he considered the gesture is testament to the impact Beth has on him.

Daryl’s heartbreaking conversation with Rick about being with Beth for “awhile” and when he says “she’s just gone” reminds the viewers just how much Daryl is missing her. Daryl isn’t one to talk about people or things he has lost. He doesn’t open up like that often. Daryl could have easily left Beth out of his discussion with Rick in “A”, but instead he said Beth’s name, shared a small moment of grief with Rick instead of internalizing what he was feeling.

Accepting what happened to Beth wasn’t an option. He accepted what happened to Carol when he thought she died in the tombs at the prison. He was sad, but he accepted it. He was forced to accept what happened to Merle, putting down his own brother, but he quickly got over the loss of his last blood relative. He couldn’t accept what happened to Beth. Beth’s influence was to great, the loss to severe for him just to write it off and not be affected by all the things that reminded him of Beth, hit a nerve regarding his relationship with her, or sharing even a small amount of his emotions with Rick.

When I first considered the idea of Daryl’s response to grief in the course of the series and how he responded to Beth being kidnapped (all of these considerations being before “Coda”), I was so excited to see how Beth and Daryl’s storyline played out in Season 5…what I knew was going to be a beautiful reunion. If the writers were so intent on showing Beth’s impact on Daryl while she was with him and focused so clearly on how her loss tore Daryl apart, I knew that the point from where Daryl continued to process her loss to the point where Beth and Daryl were reunited was going to be monumental. I guess from that standpoint, what I expected was partially delivered. Daryl’s first line of the season was about Beth: “Black car with a white cross painted on it. I tried to follow it…I tried…She’s alive.”

Daryl was broken when he saw Rick and Carl reuniting with Judith, knowing that the only person from their group who hadn’t reunited was Beth…the girl he loved and the one person he completely and entirely opened up to…his person.

At the church, all he needed to remind him of losing Beth was the sound of a car speeding by on the road, running out on blind faith, rewarded by a sign that could lead him to Beth.

He took off in the middle of the night, dropping everything, not even thinking about who and what he was leaving behind because it didn’t matter…it was Beth.

Daryl was driven by faith and hope…all of which were broken in the end…Daryl was broken. Daryl’s response to Beth's death was beyond heartbreaking from the moment he instinctively blew Dawn’s brains out…

…to the seconds after when he fully and truly realized what happened…that he’d lost his life…

The only person Daryl ever cried in front of was Beth after the fall of the prison. But he cried for Beth in front of everyone. He broke for Beth. He carried Beth out of Grady Memorial a defeated shell of a soul. She gave him the start of a life he never imagined for himself, maybe something he never even knew he wanted.

With Beth gone, part of Daryl is gone too…it’s going to be darkness. He lost his life…what is he fighting for?

With the devastation of the midseason finale, moving forward, right now, as depressing as it may be (if Beth is really dead), I think seeing how Daryl grieves, how he works through or doesn’t work through losing Beth is what I am going to be watching for, just more validation in regards to how much Daryl felt for Beth…how much he loves her. Despite the fact that I am finding it hard to have faith in TPTB if Beth is dead dead, who chose to set up Daryl and Beth only to have a devastatingly tragic end to throw Daryl back into darkness, I think they are fully aware that they can’t take back all of the beautiful moments that happened between Daryl and Beth. The events and emotion that were established between them cannot be erased, and therefore Daryl’s actions and responses to losing Beth have to play out accordingly.

Beth’s comment to Daryl in Season 4B, “It wouldn’t kill you to have a little faith,” is now so sad and ironic. Daryl, the most hopeless and arguably most cynical character with the least reason for hope at the start series allowed Beth to teach him about hope and faith. He came to have hope and faith for a future with Beth. He had hope and faith she was alive, and she was…she was just gone too soon. Daryl’s faith and hope killed him in the end…on the inside.

I am not going to speculate on the clips that we have seen of Daryl from the previews for this half of the season even though he looks despondent because what they show can be deceptive. There are some things we do know that hint at what Daryl might be going through-feeling. At the end of episode 5 x 9, the only shot we got of Daryl in the episode directly following Beth’s death is of Daryl at Tyreese’s funeral when he gives the shovel to Sasha. For some reason, TPTB decided to only show us a short glimpse of Daryl’s profile, but that, his body language, and in the way he is presented, Daryl seems despondent…shut down. From the funeral scene, we know Daryl is broken, and I don’t think anyone can really say at this point that his state is brought on by Tyreese’s death.

I thought that it was suspicions that so little was shown of Daryl and his emotional state in 5 x 9, but I think this is just teasing what is to come for Daryl. For whatever reason TPTB put off giving the audience Daryl’s grief, but it’s coming…like winter.

There is another aspect of episode 5 x 9 that may be even more indicative of Daryl’s grief, clearly pointing to his current state. That is his lack of presence with Rick and the group members who went to Noah’s home. I don’t expect Daryl to be by Rick’s side 24/7, and it actually makes sense that Rick and Daryl, if there were two separate groups functioning at different levels, would be separated. Daryl has been Rick’s second since the end of Season 2. Logically, Rick would be heading one group while Daryl would be leading the other. The thing was, Rick was communicating with Carol via radio in this episode. I know that Rick has a newfound respect for Carol since he thinks that he owes Carol his life for helping them escape from Terminus, but I do not think that would change the entire leadership schema of the group. The only reason Daryl wouldn’t be in charge of the other half of the group, answering Rick on the radio, is because he is incapable of functioning at that level because of losing Beth. Now, whether that means Daryl is in total shutdown mode not functioning at all, or he is out in the woods alone, distancing himself from the group, crying, grieving, taking his aggression out in other ways, his life is being dictated by Beth’s loss. According to Greg Nicotero on The Talking Dead, there is a very concrete amount of time that has passed since Beth’s death…17 days. I don’t know if there is any significance to 17 days or if it is just a number they came up with regarding how much time has passed, but it has been 17 days and Daryl is still grieving. In their world, the portion of The Walking Dead world that the audience gets to see, 17 days can be the entirety of the season. I think it is safe to say that Daryl isn’t getting over Beth anytime soon at all.

People who hated Beth and hated that Daryl and Beth bonded want to know when Daryl is moving on…when he will get over Beth’s death…trying to mitigate Beth’s importance to Daryl. That is one of my fears. The sooner Daryl gets over Beth, the easier it will be for people to say that Beth meant nothing to him even though I know that isn’t true and won’t ever be. I think the people that hated Beth and Daryl and Beth together are afraid too. They are afraid to see just how important Beth is to Daryl. I don’t think the question should be “When will Daryl move on?” or “How long will it take Daryl to get over Beth?” Anybody with a heart and insight on what it is to be human and love should be wondering “Will Daryl ever get over Beth?” or even “Will Daryl be able to make it?”

Daryl isn’t just walking wounded…he’s walking dead…on the inside…

anonymous asked:

How do you think an arc paralleling the one after Aogiri with Hide taking Rize's place would work/be? Also, when on earth will we get to see the real Rize?

I think that as of now, with chapter 86, we just reached the final stages of the Star phase of the Fool’s journey (x and x for reference). Precisely, these: 

His faith in himself and the future is restored. He is filled with joy and his one wish is to share it generously with the rest of the world. His heart is open, and his love pours out freely. This peace after the storm is a magical moment for the Fool.

By taking the role of the OeK from Eto’s and Arima’s hands, Kaneki has found his clarity again. He will share something with the world, and that something will be the seed for a revolution that, in his intentions, will change the wrongness of the world from its core. 

But, the next phase in the Journey is represented by the Tarot of the Moon, and with it comes another challenge: 

What effect could spoil this perfect calm? Is there another challenge for the Fool? In fact, it is his bliss that makes him vulnerable to the illusions of the Moon (18). The Fool’s joy is a feeling state. His positive emotions are not yet subject to mental clarity. In his dreamy condition, the Fool is susceptible to fantasy, distortion and a false picture of the truth.

The Moon stimulates the creative imagination. It opens the way for bizarre and beautiful thoughts to bubble up from the unconscious, but deep-seated fears and anxieties also arise. These experiences may cause the Fool to feel lost and bewildered.

I already gave my two cents about what I think will happen during this phase. For better clarity, you can read my thoughts here. But, making a short summary, I think that Kaneki isn’t ready to start a revolution, yet. He’s been set up for a role he didn’t want and motivated by the resentment against V and against what the CCG stands for by his despair for Arima’s loss. 

To say it with Dazai’s words, Kaneki is not ready for revolution because he currently lacks love. This isn’t even his revolution. It’s Arima’s and Eto’s, two of the most violent characters of TG. So, as the tarot suggests, he’s setting himself up for delusion. 

So why do I think that all of this is relevant for your question about Hide? Well, because I think that we won’t get to see him just yet. Maybe not even in this phase of the Journey. 

I think that the Moon phase is supposed to be a parallel to TG and specifically to Kaneki’s search for Rize. Back then, his agency was also fueled by the thought of having some sort of power. He thought he was strong enough, and that he would eventually use that strenght to find the answers he was searching for. 


But in the end, finding Rize only opened a whole new can of worms full of self doubt, which made him question the legitimacy of his path and his resolve for the future. 

I think that Rize and Hide already parallel each other, in a way. Rize is a symbol of Kaneki’s ghoul half, while Hide of Kaneki’s human one. Aside from that, both of them once had the role of fuels for change in two opposite situations. The hallucination of Rize, his ghoul half, was what gave Kaneki the final push forward to kill Yamori and accept his inner ghoul. The hallucination of Hide, his human behalf, on the other hand, was what gave Kaneki a reason to chose to live and to pursue his own path using his empathy and his good heart as his strongest weapon, which ultimately resulted in the suicide of Arima (and thus not death by Kaneki’s hands like in Yamori’s case), 

What I’m trying to say is that as of now, Kaneki lacks Hide’s influence. He already has Rize’s, but I think that he needs something to counterbalance his own self-destructive tendencies. 

So basically, right now Kaneki is about to enter the Moon phase, which will make him face a challenge; again, using the tarot’s interpretation words:

The Moon stimulates the creative imagination. It opens the way for bizarre and beautiful thoughts to bubble up from the unconscious, but deep-seated fears and anxieties also arise. These experiences may cause the Fool to feel lost and bewildered.

What are Kaneki’s deepest fears and anxieties? Up until now, they have been that of becoming a violent person by pursuing the steps of his parental figures who were also abusers and thus violent people themselves, and that of not being able to save his loved ones (and also that of being the major cause for their downfall, but this was implicit in his fear of violence). 

And up until now, what is his biggest regret? Who are the two people he thinks he’s killed by his own two hands, despite it not being true? 

Yep, Amon and Hide. Hide technically has not yet been confirmed to be alive, but that’s just semantics at this point. If it wasn’t obvious before, now the canon confirmation that Kaneki and Hide’s children play was foreshadowing of the current plotlline should convince the remaining disbelievers that Hide will have a role in all of this (as the “witch’s servant”, whatever that means). 

As I see it, Hide could fit in the current events in two ways:

1. He will show up during the next phase of the Fool’s Journey, the Sun, which has been described like this:

It is the lucid clarity of the Sun (19) that directs the Fool’s imagination. The Sun’s illumination shines in all the hidden places. It dispels the clouds of confusion and fear. It enlightens, so the Fool both feels and understands the goodness of the world.

In this light, Hide’s and Amon’s influence, his canonical pillars who have always kept him grounded, could be seen as the two necessary aids who will bring out that “Love” he’s currently lacking and who will set thing back into perspective for him so that Kaneki can pursue his own revolution, and not Eto’s or Arima’s. 

2. Hide, being the Witch’s servant, will temporarily betray Kaneki, and thus be part of the Moon phase (and appear sooner than expected). In this light, he could be a parallel to Rize also as the catalist for Kaneki’s crisis which will lead to a new clarity of mind and a stronger resolve to set things right. 


Of course, this is just a prediction and as such I could be completely wrong about all of it. But if you have any thoughts (supporting or not this theory), feel free to add up! o/ 

anonymous asked:

It's funny, à lot of ppl i know who read bleach also share thé sentiment that 'it should have ended with aizen' idk, i find it funny that we all chose thé exact same moment

Well, so long as one can live with a sad ending, it’s the cleanest, most well-wrapped ending in the series. The conflict is over, the characters are moving on. No, Ichigo and Rukia can’t be together anymore, but we got a nice parallel to their meeting with their goodbye. Even the Ichihime ship wouldn’t be able to complain because with Rukia out of the way, there’s nothing to block their ship as far as fanon goes. That aside, the conflict with Aizen was there from the start. There was backstory, the Soul Society arc and the Hueco Mundo arc tied well together, even if the Hueco Mundo arc got a little slow. The characters were fleshed out, though still abundant, and the final battle was a good show. No, we wouldn’t have gotten all the answers–like about Isshin’s time as a shinigami, etc, but that last bit with the final move explained Ichigo’s powers and why he had them (inherited)–it was nicely wrapped. And based on the Shiba/Kaien stuff we did know, it wasn’t that hard to kind of infer some of what happened in the past–we had enough to make sense of it and that’s all we needed for Isshin’s history. 

It was sad, but it was well done. 

Now, if one wanted a happy ending, we also had a place for that too, if you really couldn’t take the sad ending *points to the end of the anime* The end of the Fullbring arc gets Ichigo his powers back, expands a bit on the human side of things, cool. It’s a good victory lap if you want something not quite so sad. Everyone’s there, the ship wars go on, it’s great. Honestly, while skipping the filler, watching the bleach anime is a pretty good way of getting the story, and it ends at a good enough spot if you want a happy ending. The fullbring arc, while unnecessary, is an appropriate tack-on. The anime got it right and I’m glad it ended when it did.

The rest is just… The Soul Society arc and the Hueco Mundo arc were linked. It all made sense. There was foreshadowing, there was explanation, there was tension. The last arc just felt like a forced story to keep everything going. The explanations were confusing–even for the Bleach universe. The characters were ooc. Ichigo became even more “special” and overpowered than he already was, but lacked the story to make it believable (even with his mom, which was interesting, it was still ridiculously staged–I’d much rather Isshin had just fallen in love with a regular human and called it a day). And that was all I gathered from what little of it I read. Plus this ending was just… Compared to the Aizen ending, or even the Fullbring ending, it’s just insulting–to the characters and their journeys. It was unnecessary, and if there’s anything that can kill a good story, it’s including that which is not needed–continuing when it should have ended. There was no heart in the final arc because there wasn’t enough development in the conflict and characters for me to care. Like when Ishida betrayed–it was so ooc after everything they’d been through that it wasn’t believable. Everyone knew he wasn’t really bad, lol, so it was just a big show of waiting for the inevitable. It was just… silly. 

As far as I’m concerned, Bleach ended a long time ago. I’ll watch the anime. That’s an ending that I can swallow.

Originally posted by tudoqueeimagem

Of Dragons and Wolves: The Parallel Journey of Daenerys Targaryen and Bran Stark

Written by: MoIaF & Queen Alysanne

Essay I: A Magical Awakening & A Magical Journey

Introduction

Perhaps the two most magical characters in the Song of Ice and Fire are Daenerys Targaryen and Bran Stark. These two extraordinary characters have given us some of the most interesting moments in the series from the birth of the dragons to the weirwood visions; from a treacherous journey across the unforgiving dessert of the Red Waste to a quest through the frozen tundra of the far North, we have seen through their eyes the awesome capabilities of magic as well as the awful consequences of it.

It would seem that on the surface their stories have little to do with one another, other than being children from rival families; however, they have more in common than most people think. As we delve through their arcs we begin to notice that there are many similarities, similarities that are very unique to the two of them. Both suffered near death experiences which allowed the ancient magic within them to be awoken, they have both struggled with coming to terms with their new reality as a greenseer and a dragonlord, and their adventures have expose them to things they could never have imagine.

These essays will focus almost exclusively on the magical aspects of Dany and Bran’s arcs and therefore we will not be delving too deeply into the character profile. Instead, we will discuss their shared magical experiences and how they help us, the readers, to better understand their arc as well as the magical aspects of the Song of Ice and Fire.

A Magical Awakening

In the World of Ice and Fire nothing is without a price and that most certainly includes magic. The magical awakening of Dany and Bran came with a very steep price that they both still lament, yet it was paid nonetheless. Here we will focus on the moments that triggered these awakenings: Dany’s fevered dream and Bran’s coma dream.

Let’s begin with a brief summary of their arc as they lead up to their magical awakening.

Bran

Bran is the first POV we are introduced to in A Game of Thrones, his father has taken him to view his first execution, that of a dissenter of the Nights Watch. Bran proves to be a very observant child and fills us in on what is happening but he also introduces us to his family, his brothers Robb and Jon and his father Eddard. The chapter ends with the discovery of the direwolves.

When we encounter Bran again in his second chapter he’s about to go climbing, his favorite thing to do. He tells us about how much he loves to climb, how he feels on top of the world, how he’s never fallen, how he gets to see Winterfell in a way no one else does. As Bran is about to start his climb, his direwolf howls at him as if in warning but Bran ignores him.

While exploring Winterfell from its rooftops Bran encounters a scene which will change his life forever. As he’s observing the queen engaged sexually with her brother he is caught, and thrown from the top of a tower. Miraculously he survives but falls into a deep coma, when we return to Bran’s POV once again, he’s dreaming.

Daenerys

We first meet Dany as a shy and timid girl whose only family is an abusive brother who is about to sell her to a Dothraki horse lord for the promise of an army. She is an extremely observant girl and details to us where she has been living, what she sees, and how she can read others and their intentions much better than her older brother.

Before her wedding day to khal Drogo, Dany experiences her first dragon dream, a frighting dream for her. She is being abuse by her brother like in so many other times before but suddenly a real dragon appears and she finds herself alone face to face with the dragon. On the day of her wedding she receives three dragon eggs as a wedding gift. As she beginning her harsh life with the dothraki, the lifestyle begins to take a toll on her. She begins contemplating taking her own life but on the same night she contemplates this she has her second dragon dream, in which the same dragon appears once again to her but this time instead of frightening her it heals her with its fire. This helps Dany greatly and she is able to bear her new life.

As time progresses she grows close to the dragon eggs and also becomes pregnant. Towards the end of her pregnancy khal Drogo becomes ill from an infected wound, in her desperation she asks the maige whose life she had rescued to help her husband with her magic. As the maige begins to chant Dany begins to experience labor pains and goes into labor, she loses conciseness from the pain and when we encounter her again she is dreaming.

Fly or Die!

In his dream Bran is falling from a great distance, he tells himself he will awaken before he falls but the crow flying next to him tells him he must fly or he will die. While in Dany’s dream she is walking down a long corridor at the end of which she sees her red door. Bran needs to fly away while Dany needs to run towards.

Their dreams are different but they share many of the same themes: fear, loss/forget, urgency, and transformation. The first thing we notice is the fear, Bran is afraid of falling and hoping against hope that he will wake up before he hits the ground, while Dany is afraid of what lays behind her as she tries to get away from it.

Fear

We are all afraid of dying and Dany and Bran are no different. After Bran’s fall and Dany’s miscarriage they both go into deep dream, dreams that are more than dreams, dreams where life and death are in the balance.

Bran III AGOT

“The ground was closer now, still far far away, a thousand miles away, but closer than it had been. It was cold here in the darkness. There was no sun, no stars, only the ground below coming up to smash him, and the grey mists, and the whispering voice. He wanted to cry.”

~*~

“I’ll wake up when I hit the ground,” Bran told the bird.

You’ll die when you hit the ground, the crow said. It went back to eating corn.

Bran looked down. He could see mountains now, their peaks white with snow, and the silver thread of rivers in dark woods. He closed his eyes and began to cry.“

The crow urges him to fly but Bran insist that he cannot fly, he does not know how, he does not have wings. Bran keeps on hoping that he’ll wake up from his dream before he hits the ground but the crow won’t let him believe that, the crow makes it clear that he’s fly away from his eminent death.

Now let’s look at what Dany experiences:

Daenerys IX AGOT

"She was walking down a long hall beneath high stone arches. She could not look behind her, must not look behind her.

The last dragon, he whispered, thin as a wisp, and was gone. She felt the dark behind her. … The red door was so far ahead of her, and she could feel the icy breath behind, sweeping up on her. If it caught her she would die a death that was more than death, howling forever alone in the darkness. She began to run. … don’t want to wake the dragon She could feel the heat inside her, a terrible burning in her womb. ..”

Dany is running away from the terrible darkness that wants to engulf her, she knows if she looks back she will be lost (thus her motto “If I look back I’m lost”). Death for her would be a painful never-ending purgatory. She says that if the darkness catches her she will howl along in the darkness, while later in Bran’s chapter he describes death as “…reached for him, screaming.” A fearful thought for both, death here is animated; it’s reaching them, trying to catch them to give them an eternity of suffering.

As they are both fighting for their lives, they know that if they don’t survive this, they won’t survive at all. Both Dany and Bran are aware in a way that these dreams go beyond any dream they’ve had before, that there is more to what they are experiencing, thus enhancing their fear of what might happen if they are unable to get away.

It’s interesting that they both see death as darkness on an ice cold torment. Death as I mention earlier is animated, it’s not the sedentary darkness we are told about. Although there are many antagonist throughout the story the magical antagonist happens to be a group of beings who love the ice cold and the darkness, sentient beings who traffic in death.

*Tears
As we are discussing fear I just wanted to point out a curious comparison between the tears Dany and Bran’s shed in their respective dreams.

While Bran is so cold that his hot tears burn:

He looked deep into the heart of winter, and then he cried out, afraid, and the heat of his tears burned on his cheeks.

Dany is so hot that her tears steam:

She wept for her child, the promise of a sweet mouth on her breast, but her tears turned to steam as they touched her skin.

Loss / Forget

As a consequence of their experiences they both lost something, Bran lost his ability to walk again while Dany lost her family. During their dreams they are both faced with what they have lost, Dany sees her brother, husband, and child while Bran gets a glimpse of who might be responsible for his fall.

Bran III AGOT

“Bran was staring at his arms, his legs. He was so skinny, just skin stretched taut over bones. Had he always been so thin? He tried to remember. A face swam up at him out of the grey mist, shining with light, golden. “The things I do for love,” it said. Bran screamed. The crow took to the air, cawing. Not that, it shrieked at him. Forget that, you do not need it now, put it aside, put it away. It landed on Bran’s shoulder, and pecked at him, and the shining golden face was gone.”

Here the crow urges Bran to put those thoughts behind him, remembering what happen won’t be useful to him now. He has to focus on putting away that memory he cannot dwell on what happened, at that moment he has to learn how to fly, that is all he should focus on. Forgetting and putting this out of his mind is the only way he can survive at the moment. There are more important things for him to face, like life or death.

With Dany we see her facing her losses:

Dany IX AGOT

“Viserys stood before her, screaming. “The dragon does not beg, slut. You do not command the dragon. I am the dragon, and I will be crowned.” The molten gold trickled down his face like wax, burning deep channels in his flesh. “I am the dragon and I will be crowned!” he shrieked, and his fingers snapped like snakes, biting at her nipples, pinching, twisting, even as his eyes burst and ran like jelly down seared and blackened cheeks.

~*~

Drogo held her in strong arms, and his hand stroked her sex and opened her and woke that sweet wetness that was his alone, and the stars smiled down on them, stars in a daylight sky. “Home,” she whispered as he entered her and filled her with his seed, but suddenly the stars were gone, and across the blue sky swept the great wings, and the world took flame.

~*~

Her son was tall and proud, with Drogo’s copper skin and her own silver- gold hair, violet eyes shaped like almonds. And he smiled for her and began to lift his hand toward hers, but when he opened his mouth the fire poured out. She saw his heart burning through his chest, and in an instant he was gone, consumed like a moth by a candle, turned to ash.”

Throughout her dream Dany encounter, her brother, her husband, and her son, she sees her brother die once again, she sees her husband fade away, and she sees her son destroyed by the fire. These three people are hugely important to Dany, they represent the only family she has ever known and she is forced to face their deaths. She grieves for them but knows she must continue that she cannot stop. She hears Jorah in the background whispering “the last dragon” and she continues onward despite her grief.

Dany and Bran have to face these temptations, for Bran is about knowing the truth of what really happened to him and for Dany is facing the loss of their family. Having to face these highly traumatic events can be paralyzing, these events were life altering yet putting those things aside, as they did, shows a great deal of strength from both Dany and Bran.

*Sun and Stars
There is no sun, no stars for Bran, they are already gone:

“There was no sun, no stars, only the ground below coming up to smash him…”

Dany gets to have them for just a moment before they are taken away:

“She saw sunlight on the Dothraki sea, the living plain, rich with the smells of earth and death…. and the stars smiled down on them, stars in a daylight sky… but suddenly the stars were gone, and across the blue sky swept the great wings, and the world took flame.”

Urgency

As their dreams progress they begins to build up momentum, Bran’s falling more rapidly, Dany’s running faster and faster, death is gunning for them both. The urgency is not only their fear of what may lay in the darkness but also they are both being urged onwards by others.

Bran III AGOT

“Now you know, the crow whispered as it sat on his shoulder. Now you know why you must live.

“Why?” Bran said, not understanding, falling, falling.

Because winter is coming…

~*~

There was nothing below him now but snow and cold and death, a frozen wasteland where jagged blue-white spires of ice waited to embrace him. They flew up at him like spears. He saw the bones of a thousand other dreamers impaled upon their points. He was desperately afraid.

Can a man still be brave if he’s afraid? he heard his own voice saying, small and far away. And his father’s voice replied to him. That is the only time a man can be brave. Now, Bran, the crow urged.

Choose. Fly or die.“

All at once Bran is bombarded with his fears, his loss and the terrible knowledge that awaits him. Time is running out as he’s falling quickly onto the icy death waiting to embrace him. Bran has been afraid to fly, because he doesn’t believe he can, he doesn’t believe in himself. But the crow who has been urging him to fly, finally tells him to choose, he either flies or he dies.

Daenerys IX AGOT

"Ghosts lined the hallway, dressed in the faded raiment of kings. In their hands were swords of pale fire. They had hair of silver and hair of gold and hair of platinum white, and their eyes were opal and amethyst, tourmaline and jade. “Faster,” they cried, “faster, faster.” She raced, her feet melting the stone wherever they touched. “ Faster! ” the ghosts cried as one, and she screamed and threw herself forward.”

Dany had been running from the terrible cold death behind her but now she is racing urged on by what appears to be her ancestors. Faster they yell at her, like with Bran; time here is of the essence. Dany can feel this urgency, unlike Bran she’s not afraid because she doesn’t believe in herself, she’s afraid of what’s coming for her, she’s afraid she won’t reach home before the darkness engulfs her.

Why the sudden urgency? Well, it’s like what the Three-Eyed Crow told Bran, winter is coming and they must be prepared. There is not time to waste; the carefree life of summer has come to an end. We should note that Bran is being urged on by his future mentor, while Dany is being urged on by her family (and Quaithe*). For Bran his abilities as a greenseer will define him, while Dany is defined by who she is, by her family, her heritage.

*There is an interesting phrase used at the end of this dream that we will see repeated in Dany’s last chapter in ADWD:

AGOT:
“After that, for a long time, there was only the pain, the fire within her, and the whisperings of stars.”

ADWD:
“Quaithe?” Dany called. “Where are you, Quaithe?”
Then she saw. Her mask is made of starlight.
“Remember who you are, Daenerys,” the stars whispered in a woman’s voice. “The dragons know. Do you?”

Note that in the first instance the stars whispered after she had become a dragon and in the second they are reminding her of whom she is, a dragon.

Transformation

The lives they once knew are gone, never to come back again. Dany and Bran now have to embark on a new path. In their dreams they become a Dragon and a Winged Wolf, although they are temporarily weakened by their trials, they have also been strengthen by them.

Bran III AGOT

“Death reached for him, screaming.

Bran spread his arms and flew.

Wings unseen drank the wind and filled and pulled him upward. The terrible needles of ice receded below him. The sky opened up above. Bran soared. It was better than climbing. It was better than anything. The world grew small beneath him.

“I’m flying!” he cried out in delight.”

As he comes face to face with death itself Bran chooses to fly, he chooses to live. He let go of his fears and learned to believe in himself, in a way he also learned to believe in the impossible. Transforming himself from a boy to a Winged Wolf he gained something better than his ability to walk, as he says, flying was better than climbing. At this moment Bran feels literally on top of the world, however, when he wakes from this dream he will struggle greatly with his inability to walk. Although the magical awakening has happened the transition and transformation will take a lot more time.

Daenerys IX AGOT

And Daenerys Targaryen flew. wake the dragon The door loomed before her, the red door, so close, so close, the hall was a blur around her, the cold receding behind. And now the stone was gone and she flew across the Dothraki sea, high and higher, the green rippling beneath, and all that lived and breathed fled in terror from the shadow of her wings.”

As she is racing down the corridor she is so hot that she’s melting the stone beneath her feet. She throws herself forward with a scream and she is transformed; now she is a dragon. She so wants to reach that red door, the idea of home is such an integral part of her and her identity; it is what she wants in her heart of hearts. As Dany embraces her inner dragons she goes on to wake actual dragons from stone, but like Bran her transition also takes time. It won’t be until the very end of ADWD that Dany will come to fully embrace her role as the Mother of Dragons. Of note when Dany finally accepts that she is the Mother of Dragon she also changes her way of thinking, sense the moment of her fevered dream she had told herself that if she looked back she would be lost, however, at the very moment she accepts who she is she changes her way of thinking, she tells her self that to go forward she must go back.

As Dany is flying she mentions how everything that lives ad breaths runs in terror from the shadow of her wings (i.e. Drogon “The Winged Shadow” Targaryen). Bran expresses a similar sentiment while warged into Summer in a later chapter, he says: “He was strong and swift and fierce, and all the lived in the good green world went in fear of him.” This reminds us that magical can be great but it can also be terrible.

The magic has now awakened within Dany and Bran; they have both learned to fly. But this is just the beginning for them; the transition from their magical awakening to the acceptance of their gifts and responsibilities was a journey for the two of them. We will now look at this journey and where it has taken them and what they have learned along the way.

A Magical Journeys

The magical journey the Dany and Bran undergo is very much in the model of a heroes journey. They get the call, they refuses and finally they learn to accept it. In contrast to their characters Dany journey is taking her closer towards home while Bran’s journey has taken him far away from his home. We will look at their magical journeys through the initial phases of the hero’s journey.

The Call

In the typical outline for the heroes journey, The Call To Adventure is usually described as: “Something shakes up the situation, either from external pressures or from something rising up from deep within, so the hero must face the beginnings of change.” As it so happens both Dany and Bran experience both external pressure, Bran’s fall and Dany’s miscarriage, as well as internal, Bran’s coma dream and Dany’s fevered dream.

Daenerys’ Call
Dany’s journey as a dragonlord begins with a dragon call. Right before her wedding to khal Drogo Dany has a dragon dream in which a black dragon appears whiles she is being attacked by Viserys in the dream.

Daenerys II AGOT

Yet that night she dreamt of one. Viserys was hitting her, hurting her. She was naked, clumsy with fear. She ran from him, but her body seemed thick and ungainly. He struck her again. She stumbled and fell. “You woke the dragon,” he screamed as he kicked her. “You woke the dragon, you woke the dragon.” Her thighs were slick with blood. She closed her eyes and whimpered. As if in answer, there was a hideous lipping sound and the crackling of some great fire. When she looked again, Viserys was gone, great columns of flame rose all around, and in the midst of them was the dragon. It turned its great head slowly. When its molten eyes found hers, she woke, shaking and covered with a fine sheen of sweat.

This call is the beginning of a series of calls by the “old powers” trying to push Dany in the right direction, to help bring the dragons back.

The second call is during another dragon dream where the black dragon miraculously appears once again and heals Dany after a series of painful days of riding. Afterwards, she begins to connect with one of the eggs, the one that shares the same coloring as the dragon that Dany saw in her dream. When she touches the egg, it feels warm to the touch which seems very strange to Dany.

Daenerys IV AGOT

“I was,” she answered, standing over the dragon’s eggs that Illyrio had given her when she wed. She touched one, the largest of the three, running her hand lightly over the shell. Black-and-scarlet, she thought, like the dragon in my dream. The stone felt strangely warm beneath her fingers…or was she still dreaming? She pulled her hand back nervously.”

The dream is yet another clue that the old powers have awoken and are trying to awaken the magic within Dany. The calls became stronger as the series progresses, to the point where it started to manifest through Dany.

Daenerys VI AGOT

Was it madness that seized her then, born of fear? Or some strange wisdom buried in her blood? Dany could not have said. She heard her own voice saying, “Ser Jorah, light the brazier.” “Khaleesi?” The knight looked at her strangely. “It is so hot. Are you certain?” She had never been so certain. “Yes. I…I have a chill. Light the brazier.”

Just as Dany said it was almost like the old powers acted through her at that moment, giving her the instinct to perform an action she had never learned from anywhere. The old powers were calling but she had not yet answered.

Bran’s Call

Ban’s call begins early in his story. After he is thrown for the tower at Winterfell he is contacted by the Tree-eyed Crow through his coma dream. His call to adventure, however, becomes more serious in A Clash of Kings when his powers begin to manifest through his bond to Summer and his wolf dreams. This is later amplified with the arrival of Jojen Reed to Winterfell. The old power, The Children of the Forrest, are working with the Tree-eyed Crow who in turn is communicating through Jojen the need for Bran to accept the call.

Bran IV ACOK

“Sitting cross-legged under the weirwood, Jojen Reed regarded him solemnly. “It would be good if you left Winterfell, Bran.” “It would?” “Yes. And sooner rather than later.”

Jojen also tells Bran a dream which seemed to be from the Three-eyed Crow.

Bran IV ACOK

“Jojen’s eyes were the color of moss, and sometimes when he looked at you he seemed to be seeing something else. Like now. “I dreamed of a winged wolf bound to earth with grey stone chains,” he said. “It was a green dream, so I knew it was true. A crow was trying to peck through the chains, but the stone was too hard and his beak could only chip at them.” “Did the crow have three eyes?” Jojen nodded.”

From the dream it seems as if the Three-eyed Crow’s call is for Bran to leave Winterfell. His intervention in pecking the pecks seem to point that out and the chains not being broken shows that it is up to Bran to answer his call despite the intervention from the Three-eyed Crow.

Bran’s call to leave Winterfell also seems to manifest itself through his wolf dream at the start of A Clash of King’s, in his dream Bran/ Summer yearn for freedom to leave Winterfell.

Bran I ACOK

“Winterfell, he remembered, the sound coming to him suddenly. Beyond its sky-tall man-cliffs the true world was calling, and he knew he must answer or die.”

The call to both characters involve different things. For Dany is the call the awoken the dragons once agin, both the literal dragons and the one inside her. For Bran is to go to “the true world” beyond the Wall in the deep North and take his place as a greenseer.

Refusal of the Call

As with most call’s the is a refusal, the outline tells out that:“The hero feels the fear of the unknown and tries to turn away from the adventure, however briefly. Alternately, another character may express the uncertainty and danger ahead.” Both Dany and Bran refuse their calls out of fear of the unknown.

Dany’s Refusal

Dany refuses the call on three different occasions. Dany’s first case of refusing the call occurs after she has her second dragon dream. When she connects the similarity between the black dragon and the black egg and feels the strange warmness of the egg. This makes her back away the chapter reads: “she pulled her hand nervously” which indicates her mixed emotions of doubt and belief with this encounter.

She refusal the call for the second time after she puts the eggs in the brazier:
Daenerys VI AGOT

She watched until the coals had turned to ashes. Drifting sparks floated up and out of the smokehole. Heat shimmered in waves around the dragon’s eggs. And that was all. Your brother Rhaegar was the last dragon, Ser Jorah had said. Dany gazed at her eggs sadly. What had she expected? A thousand thousand years ago they had been alive, but now they were only pretty rocks. They could not make a dragon. A dragon was air and fire. Living flesh, not dead stone.

For a second she had hoped that she could hatch the dragons, after realizing she could not she is filled with disappointment and dissolution. Giving up the thought as a silly idea.

Finally, Dany’s third refusal is a bit unorthodox. After hatching the dragons and becoming the Mother of Dragons she tries to lock away her dragons. Faced with what the dragons are capable of she becomes afraid once again. She thinks to herself:

Daenerys II ADWD

“Mother of monsters. What have I unleashed upon the world? A queen I am, but my throne is made of burned bones, and it rests on quicksand…I am the blood of the dragon, she thought. If they are monsters, so am I.”

Bran’s Refusal
Bran like Dany also initially refuses the call. When Jojen suggest that he must leave Winterfell in order to open his third eye and that this is a requirement in order for Bran to break his chains. Bram, however, ignores him.

Bran IV ACOK

Summer got to his feet. “I don’t need to see so far.” Bran made a nervous smile. “I’m tired of talking about crows. Let’s talk about wolves. Or lizard-lions. Have you ever hunted one, Meera? We don’t have them here.”

Bran’s dislike for Jojen also played a role in him refusing to accept the call.

Answer to the Call

Finally, Dany and Bran eventually accept to answer the call. The outline tells us that the “Heroes may also need to answer Calls to Adventure where physical lives and even the fate of the world are at stake. These Heroes must learn to accept the sacrifice of life and limb for the service of others.”

Dany Answers the Call

After Dany’s fevered dream she finds out that both her unborn son and her husband khal Drogo have died. From the dream and all the events she has gone through she puts the pieces of the puzzle together and believes that it is her calling to hatch the dragon eggs.


Daenerys X AGOT

“She told herself that there were powers stronger than hatred, and spells older and truer than any the maegi had learned in Asshai. The night was black and moonless, but overhead a million stars burned bright. She took that for an omen. No soft blanket of grass welcomed them here, only the hard dusty ground, bare and strewn with stones. No trees stirred in the wind, and there was no stream to soothe her fears with the gentle music of water. Dany told herself that the stars would be enough.”

By using the maegi, and Khal Drogo as a sacrifice Dany performs a ritual to hatch the dragon eggs. This also shows that she had accepted her call and now believes all her previous encounters with her dragon eggs happened for a particular reason.

Daenerys X AGOT

“She had sensed the truth of it long ago, Dany thought as she took a step closer to the conflagration, but the brazier had not been hot enough. ……This is a wedding, too, she thought. Mirri Maz Duur had fallen silent. The godswife thought her a child, but children grow, and children learn.”

The ritual works and three dragon eggs are hatched. The hatching of the eggs marks the beginning of a magical journey for Dany and her dragons.

Dany once again is faced with answering the call while lost in the Dothraki sea. After another important epiphany, which she received through her Vision Quest, she finally comes to truly accept the call:

Daenerys X ADWD

“She stank of blood and sweat and fear, but none of that mattered. “To go forward I must go back,” she said.”

She was ready to embrace her role as the Mother of Dragons and continue her journey now as a fully bonded dragonlord.

Bran Answer the Call

Just like Dany, Bran also comes to acceptt his call. From one of the quotes above we see that Jojen told Bran that he must open his third eye in order to break the chain. This is also similar to what the Three-eyed Crow also told him to do. Despite Bran’s initial refusal to listen to Jojen he eventually opens his third eye.

Bran’s third eye opening is marked by his growing control of learning to warg Summer.

Bran VII ACOK

He closed his third eye and opened the other two, the old two, the blind two. In the dark place all men were blind. But someone was holding him. He could feel arms around him, the warmth of a body snuggled close. He could hear Hodor singing “Hodor, hodor, hodor,” quietly to himself.

Bran also leaves Winterfell, which symbolizes his chain being broken and him accepting his call.

Bran VII ACOK

“At the edge of the wolfswood, Bran turned in his basket for one last glimpse of the castle that had been his life. Wisps of smoke still rose into the grey sky, but no more than might have risen from Winterfell’s chimneys on a cold autumn afternoon. Soot stains marked some of the arrow loops, and here and there a crack or a missing merlon could be seen in the curtain wall, but it seemed little enough from this distance. Beyond, the tops of the keeps and towers still stood as they had for hundreds of years, and it was hard to tell that the castle had been sacked and burned at all. The stone is strong, Bran told himself, the roots of the trees go deep, and under the ground the Kings of Winter sit their thrones. So long as those remained, Winterfell remained. It was not dead, just broken. Like me, he thought. I’m not dead either.”

Bran leaving Winterfell is the beginning of his magical journey, he is accompanied on this adventure by Summer, Hodor, Meera and Jojen Reed.

Conclusion

The magical awakening of Dany and Bran is shown as a microcosm of their magical journey. Their dreams were maps that helped guide them on their journey. Although they are both devastated by the price they had to pay, they learned how to become stronger because of it. Like most journeys theirs were a learning experience, preparation for what’s to come. By the end of ADWD Dany and Bran have come to truly accept who they are, this is an important moment for the two of them. Accepting themselves will allow them to head onto the next phase of their journey, whatever that may be.

I, Witness

We’re back.

Was that the best episode ever? No. But it had a huge list of tasks that it had to accomplish – explain what happened during the time jump, work on mending the breach between Crane and Abbie, re-introducing us to Jenny, introducing Pandora and Betsy, plus a case of the week – and it did it all ably along with some wonderfully moving bits and some laugh-out-loud moments. If this is what we have to look forward to, I can’t wait to see what’s next. Let’s get into it:

  • OH HEY NO FAKEOUT COLD OPEN. What a pleasant surprise! And this really was the right way to start things. It was a passing of the torch, of sorts, Headless giving way to the new baddie in town while ably demonstrating that however bad Headless is, Pandora can whup his ass with a song. And even though Headless is off the table for now (though he can come back!), it felt like this was acknowledging what made Headless a great villain, as opposed to what he became. So even if we don’t get him, I hope we get that feeling back. 
  • The song Pandora sings, “Who Killed Cock Robin?” is, like the song she sings later, an English nursery rhyme about birds. It lists a number of birds. Interestingly, it could be a recounting of the death of Baldur in Norse myth, which basically involves Baldur (god of light) being murdered by Loki (god of mischief, not Tom Hiddlestone) with an assist from his hapless brother Hoor. So, maybe something to keep an eye on.
  • Does Pandora’s box remind anyone of the Ghostbuster pack thingies? Just me?
  • Current sexuality; Abbie smashing dudes in the face with a trash can lid.
  • Then Abbie goes from beating him in the face to reassuring him, telling him he’ll be protected, advocating for him because, of course, she’s been in shoes not so different from his. God I’ve missed you, Miss Grace Abigail. Throughout this episode we have moment after moment reminding us of Abbie’s greatest strength: her empathy. And it’s beautiful.
  • THE SWELLING ICHABBIE THEME WHEN ABBIE LOOKS AT CRANE FOR THE FIRST TIME. The fact that she has to laugh and look away lest this becomes something too deep too fast. The Romantic Lead look on Crane’s face when he sees her! 
  • So it seems that Crane did tell Abbie in some way that he was going to “clear his head,” and just never came back. That’s better than just leaving. You’re marginally forgiven.
  • “I required solitude. Then it became a habit. A deeply regrettable one.” Don’t we all know this feeling? You need to be alone, to heal, to remember who you are, but then it becomes easier and easier to be an island. And by the time maybe you don’t want to be alone anymore, you’re too far from shore to find your way back. This is very believable to me, especially for someone grieving.

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Emma + jails : opening the cage and finally going home

I was talking the other with Montana, Giss, Ash and Gia, and it’s about time I post this meta, because even though I already talked about it here The Beautiful Swan  I think it deserved its own post because the parallels and point are quite interesting and legit I think.

Warnings Heavy in Emma Swan (duh) heavy anti ST, but also heavy in Captain Swan feels. And a tons of pictures to illustrate my point.

Emma has always been in jail in her life, quite figuratively and literally speaking, Neal sent her to jail and she spent her time after that locked in her own jail : her walls, high and impossible to get past them.

This cap under here, is quite representative of Emma’s relationship with Neal, in this scene (and you wont make me believe that she wasn’t as much in a cage as he was, it’s a pretty good sum up of who she is deep inside, a lost girl, trapped in a cage, crying because her whole life she got abandoned. She’s trapped in a cage and trying to get out by letting the pain and the scars behind (that was the point of the whole Echo Cave)

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Also, I will pass on the times Emma was in jail in Storybrooke, not because it’s irrelevant to the point I’m trying to make here,  but because Gia will maybe come out with a meta herself and I wouldn’t want to talk about that here, but I’d also rather focus on those times very much linked to her freeing herself romantically and fully for good.

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The episode There’s No Place like home opens with this one scene, Emma against the bars, again, that is not made for nothing, (always remember that there’s people who think about those things, that the camera is there for a reason filming this one angle for a reason, and in this case, it’s everything)

Emma is behind bars because Neal is taking her to this attraction park to go to a merry go around. Not only it’s in itself, the symbol of innocence, but it’s a way to tell the viewer, this is Emma being an innocent woman, right before she is put behind bars.

Neal 

does put her behind bars, he opens the door of what will become Emma’s cage, he makes her enter there and he even goes to the point that he makes sure she is secured, am I saying she’s chained? In a way she is, he makes sure she is secured here and he takes her gloves - which we know MRJ used as a way to make us remember of that one movie where a guy did the same before manipulating the girl.

(My mom thought he was going to kill her with her own gloves, that says it all.) It’s not meant to be a nice scene for them

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We know how the story ends, with Emma in jail, her trust betrayed and her heart broken, she is literally behind a cage, behind bars, and Neal put her in the cage.

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Now moving on to the next scene 

We see Emma in a cage once again, this time, she is dressed like half a princess, half a peasant, she is once again in jail, only that this time, the end is more definitive : death.

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It’s quite interesting how Emma is holding the ring with hope and dreaming, it reminds me of another scene

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Sure, there’s a difference between a pregnancy test and a ring, though, I cant help but think that in both case, the ring and Henry brought Charming or Snow, and Emma home, to the one they loved. But not only. (of course, the first to one tell me it’s a romantic ST parallel is going to get slapped in the safe because no, that’s fucked up and so horrible at so many levels but moving on)

Emma is holding the test lifeless, she is not hoping, she is like dead inside, her face is nothing but blank and lacking emotions, she is like dead inside, locked in cage.

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Now back to the finale

Emma is holding onto the ring, onto her parents somewhere out there waiting for her, holding onto Hook - there’s no way Emma doesn’t believe or know that he will be coming for her. There’s no way she doesn’t know that, anyway, back to Emma in her jail, she holds onto everything she learned to believe in, because of her son, because of her parents, because of her mother, even because of Killian and then:

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Emma frees herself, this isn’t about Neal and Emma sharing a bond, it’s Emma opening her cage by herself, freeing the cage Neal put her in, that is what this is about, this isn’t a true love thing, oh Neal taught her how to get out, this is about Emma freeing herself from the cage Neal put her in. Emma is freeing herself, it’s like she learned the lesson and she grew up, it’s time for her to go and stop being locked in jail forever.

Nobody saves me but me.” That’s one badass quote if you ask me, and there’s no much to say about that, I said it all above, and Emma sums it up with one line, she did save herself, no one else did.

 

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However, I would like to remind you of one scene in Tallahassee, because after this scene where Emma frees herself, Killian looks at her with pride face because she did it herself, and he never ceases to be amazed by this woman;

I told that to Gia last night, but Killian was coming for her, and that, means a lot, because like I said, she knew he was coming, even though she was faster, it’s important to know that she wouldn’t have rotten in that jail forever and died, someone was coming for her - unlike Neal.

I can’t help but think of that one scene in Tallahassee - Killian gave her the keys of her freedom, not as in, she couldn’t do it without him, but he put her in the trails so she could get her way back to herself - which again, he hasn’t stopped doing since the moment they met, right here, he tells her to try something new, trust.

He tells her to try again, to give her trust to someone. She’s capable of it, and he knows it. That is, what their relationship is about, Jennifer Morrison pointed it out herself, he tells her she can do better, and I want you to be better, because you deserve it and I accept you for who you are, who you truly are.

And AGAIN, Emma and Killian are in front of a cage, so it’s even more important, Emma back then is in that cage (hello episode where she’s framed in jail because of Neal) and she is there, with Killian, standing in front of a cage, outside it, the door open.

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Which leads me to the next point, the last jail, the one Rumplestilskin puts both of them in, because lbr here my friends, this is a jail, it looks like a jail, it’s where Rumple puts the baddies he can deal with and all the bad magic.

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Again, I was talking about Tallahassee and that one scene where Emma gets called out by Killian on her lack of trust, and here he is again, calling her out, to free her out of her last jail, to tell her no this isn’t the real problem, this is you not wanting to accept who you truly are.

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Emma gets called out again, and she knows it, but that’s because he knows her so well, and it’s like they are back to the first day of their relationship : Killian seeing through her. And telling her to do better for herself.

And the amazing thing is that where Emma remained silent  the first time, Emma talks.

Not only she picked up the pieces of her heart and got freed, but Killian here is making her go to a whole new level : accepting that one part of her she always had a part to accept her magic.

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And it works, because Emma realizes everything, she tells him she did find home in Storybrooke, in a speech where she doesnt realize, or maybe she does, that it’s not just Henry who brought her home, it’s him, literally and openly doing that in the beginning, he was bringing her home, and it’s her realization, it’s her finding out about it, but it’s Killian telling her, giving the keys to this journey she made since she met him

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Unlike so many other times, this revelation isn’t one that is painful, it’s like a balm on old scars, it’s something good and not painful, . She is emotional, she is vulnerable with Killian, but the difference to those times with Neal, it’s that Emma ends up broken, crying, feeling miserable, hopeless, and every single, Emma is forced to confess something, she is put in danger.

Emma and Killian in this jail (aside from the fact they could be stuck forever there) aren’t in danger, she is not in danger, if she doesn’t have to say anything, but she is doing it because she knows it’s okay with him. There’s trust, there’s honesty between them but mostly he is safe. He’s a confident.

And it works, because Emma opens a portal with her magic.

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Emma opens a  portal to go back home, which is something they were supposed to do in the first place together back at the giant’s.

Emma does magic because she trusted Killian with her heart this time, she made magic, and she opened a portal to go home, to take them both home.

That’s the last cage and she freed herself, thanks to him and his help, thanks to the keys he gave her, little impulses he gave her all along.

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So in the end, Emma got put in jails all her life, by Neal, all along, and the finale was showing us that once again, nothing romantic there, just a girl, an innocent one getting locked behind bars, stuck in jail, losing her dreams, her innocence, and being stuck her whole life about it.

Hence why the metaphor of the Swan, the ugly duckling turning into that one majestic Swan, Emma freed herself, on her own, but because of her true loves, because of her mother, because of her lover, Killian, because he gave her those keys to find her way back home. And by doing that, not only the pirate is a hero bringing the lost girl home, but he also helped the woman he loved to get back to her true self and make her embrace who she is. That is what love is supposed to do, the way Charming did,  not he only made Snow feel like she belonged somewhere, or made her believe in love, he made her a princess again, he made her a queen, he made her more than a bandit, he helped her reveal her true self.

Much like in 3x02 where  Charming gave her a fake sword to believe in her own power and her own skills Killian did the same, he gave her keys to finding her way back to herself, and that is what he did all season.

Emma is now free, a mother, a savior, a woman capable of doing magic, a pirate her own special way, but most importantly she found home,n she was brought back home.

CARYL After "Coda" - 'I'm Still Here'

Team Prison launched a rescue plan to get two very important people back into whatever semblance of safety they give one another when they are all together and the plan that was ultimately chosen, while merciful in nature carried a strong sense of uncertainty and danger from the get go. However it should be noted that the entire operation was one formulated to preserve life on both sides of the standoff and one that ultimately made Carol and Beth’s safety a priority and end game.

Daryl Dixon surprised everybody when he opted to back Tyreese’s “bartering” idea over Ricks outright violent approach to the situation but we now know that the reason behind that was Daryl’s realization of just how much he stood to lose if tragedy struck.

At the end of “Consumed” Daryl witnessed Carol being taken away from him yet again and as he heads back to the church for reinforcements, we saw his expression becoming more resolute and more determined to do whatever it takes to get Beth and Carol back again.
Daryl’s legacy has chiseled his mindset into one of never giving up, never leaving a man behind and never faltering in his resolution to keep those he cares about close to him.
He searched against hope for Sophia even after everyone gave up that she could be found and he was more than willing to search for and rescue Glenn, Maggie and Andrea from Woodberry.

The guilt he carries about not finding Sophia in time continues to haunt him even 3 seasons later but after having been reunited with everybody again, the hope that people can still be found and saved had reawakened and bolstered his spirit enough to ensure that he fully commit to the best plan they could muster.

Carol had told him that she wasn’t sure if people can be saved anymore and one can reasonably assume that with her taken, that thought is one of the things weighing on his mind as they are figuring out a plan of action.

Daryl would want to prove Carol wrong and just as he had been determined to fight to bring her back emotionally after Terminus, her physical safety was but a mere extension of that resolution.

In a way this was a test for the small glimmer of hope he had been nurturing ever since against all odds she came back from the dead and fell right into his arms just a few days ago. If anybody could coax Carol back, away from the torturous ordeals she survived in the wilderness, it would be Daryl and in his mind bringing her home was one way to do just that.

Unfortunately for the group, the plan crafted for safety turned disastrous inside Grady Memorial Hospital and Beth made a move, thinking she was saving Noah and the rest, that ultimately cost her, her life.
Beth stabbed Dawn - Dawn shot Beth and Daryl shot Dawn.

The tragedy of it all, aside from losing Beth, was that it didn’t have to happen the way it did. The exchange had taken place and in fact both Carol and Beth were safe on the other side and just as things looked like for once Team Prison would get a happy ending, everything fell apart.

The episode ended with “heartbreak” and despair as Daryl presented Maggie with Beth’s dead body. A young life was snuffed out needlessly and chances are her loss will have a huge impact on the entire group in the second half of Season 5 as they all come to terms with what happened and why.

The conclusion of the first half of this season seems a bit anticlimactic for Carylers if only because the progression of CARYL started out strong and continued to progress even stronger in the first 6 episodes BUT there are some very BIG positives we can take away from all the time Carol and Daryl spent together so far and that includes the brief moments in this episode as well.
The dramatic death obviously overshadowed everything else in “Coda” as it should but ultimately the events during the “hostage exchange”, Beth’s demise and the groups reaction to it, that spells out some CARYL hope as we go forward.

The important thing to keep in mind before we proceed with further discussion is that the very essence of CARYL has always been unconditional support, unconditional acceptance and unconditional understanding, on both ends.

The bond Carol and Daryl have repeats the same push-and-pull, yin-yang kind of dynamic, where they both take turns being there for one another, offering support and love regardless of what they might be facing at the time.

It’s this back-and-forth mentality that had Daryl stepping up to the plate to keep an eye on Carol and in his own way make her feel cared for and understood.

As she crumbled under the haunting burden of the residual effects of The Grove and the banishment, it was Daryl that held a silent vigil over her without pressuring her or asking for explanations until she was ready to give them.

He constantly reminded Carol about the fact that they can “start over” with each other and he desperately wanted her to see that no matter what she might believe not everything good about them gets “consumed” by this world and that he knows who she really is on a very deep level no matter how much she tried to isolate or hide.

Just as he was starting to break through and they started to reconnect, TWD put a stop to their happiness and Carol was once again “gone” and Daryl was forced to helplessly watch as she disappeared.

Daryl and Beth bonded together after the prison fell and she was indeed kidnapped and taken practically right under his nose so aside from the fact that his personality dictates for him to be relentless about finding her, he would also feel great responsibility and guilt over her being “gone” under his care.
As soon as he had a lead to follow Daryl naturally went after it.
Beth meant a lot to him and the group as a whole, which was rather obvious judging by everyone’s reaction to her death but her loss resonated most with Daryl and Carol because this could be viewed on their parts as more of a personal failure since they were the ones with unique relationships with her.
To Daryl, Beth represented hope and faith that there are good things still left in this world and seeing how her death was very up-close-and-personal for him the devastation on his face was not just expected but pronounced even further as he was the one that shot Dawn after Beth fell.

This is also a moment where Carol steps forward towards him.

Mere minutes before this took place Carol was in a wheelchair, visibly wincing with pain from her injuries, after having been unconscious for an extended period of time BUT despite all that and despite the pandemonium that erupted, Carol managed to get herself up, walk up to Daryl as he has his gun raised, having taken the shot, and deliberately try to pull him back away from the epicentre of death.

The look on her face is one of sheer devastation, matching Daryl’s expression as well AND just like that once again we see the reversal of the CARYL roles in action AND it is now Carol’s turn to be there for Daryl who will undoubtedly be lost in the feelings of failure and grief in the near future.

The tragedy and how they deal with it will give Carol and Daryl an opportunity to meet on the same playing field for the very first time - he lost Beth while Carol lost Lizzie and Mika AND it is this shared common pain that will unite them in their grief and the healing process, which they will be dealing with together and at the same time.

There is a reason why their fate wasn’t revealed just yet and why Daryl hadn’t pushed the conversation about them further, even when Carol herself brought them up. That emotional mine field was left untouched and I expect it will most definitely be related to how they end up healing from the raw wounds of Beth’s death.

Navigating through feelings of failure and guilt is a very profound painful journey that will undoubtedly test their emotional boundaries and limits, meaning that there is most likely a lot of angst coming for the group as they try putting the pieces back together again and coming to terms with the consequences of what had happened to all of them. Daryl and Carol in particular will be tested and their own relationship might change as they are brought closer together through the experience.

CARYL tension will be unavoidable but as Carylers already know - angst between Carol and Daryl always results in progress, growth and moving forward, which basically means we welcome the circumstances of it with open arms.

The first half of Season 5 and especially “Consumed” was used to establish the mutuality of Carol and Daryl’s relationship and show that Daryl was both willing and capable of being Carol’s emotional touchstone in the midst of turmoil.

The little moments they shared were all meant to fortify their connection and remind the audience of just how close these two characters are and just what the basis of their relationship really is. The storyline parallels were set up to point out that Carol was there for Daryl before and that Daryl was now returning the favour to Carol because at this point in their journey it was him that was more emotionally and mentally equipped to support and watch out for her well being.

After “Coda” I imagine we will see them going back to the yin-yang duality of their bond as they meet halfway and acknowledge the full extent of what they’ve been through.
They just might be on equal playing grounds at this point in their mentality and thereby their relationship has much better chances of progressing further into a different category of human connection.

Facing mortality with someone as young and hopeful as Beth may be the thing they all need to finally accept the notion that time is of the essence and that waiting around to act or to love someone is not just unrealistic but also foolish to put off.

The last words Carol said to Daryl were “I’m still here” and seeing how TWD is a huge fan of foreshadowing I can’t help but think of the promise that statement holds for CARYL…
After everything Daryl has lost and squandered away - Carol was the one “still here”, the one still “trying” and the one person he simply can’t to lose…

The hiatus and the upcoming weeks will bring more press and attention focusing on “Coda” and while I can understand the frustration and doubt creeping into everyone’s mind, stemming from the preview and the lack of more CARYL in the MSF, I want to simply remind my fellow Carylers that everything that happens on screen happens for a reason.
There is a reason why it was Carol to approach Daryl when he shot Dawn and there is certainly a reason why a huge storyline like the aftermath of Lizzie & Mika hasnt still been cleared up, especially when it comes to Daryl and Carol.

The evidence leads me to believe that the reason just might be that Carol and Daryl’s shared pain over losing people will be the key factor in their mutual healing and their pulling together even more.
Simply put - they will need each other more than ever before as they push through this emotional hurdle in their way and re-invent themselves once again as survivors and as a family.

The biggest and most important thing we can take away from “Coda” is that both Daryl and Carol came out of it ALIVE!

CARYL On My Lovelies - The Best Is Yet To Come

Love XOXO

Sanja

'Captain America: The Winter Soldier' reaction

It’s been almost a week since I saw the advanced screening here and I’ve already gone a second time so I think I can manage words now? Though most of my thoughts are basically a CAPslock explosion (gettit gettit CAP? ok I’ll stop)

basically I’m pretty impressed with Marvel right now

SPOILERS BELOW

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The Essence of My CARYL

All CARYL shippers have their own unique reasons why they love Carol and Daryl’s relationship and whether their bond is seen as platonic or potentially romantic there is obviously something between them that touched each and every one of us enough to compel us to celebrate their magic and share what we love about them.

That’s actually what I love the most about the CARYL community - we all have different appreciation points when it comes to their relationship and there are always little missed details pointed out by others that never fail to renew my excitement about them both.
I am not an overly sentimental person but I am someone that cherishes small, meaningful moments shared by people who genuinely care about each other that ultimately build a connection that in the end becomes something special, something bigger than life even…and CARYL to me is exactly that.

What Carol and Daryl share has the potential to be timeless and already possesses all the hallmarks of a love story that changes everyone that has enough sense to recognize its depth and it’s possibilities. Even those that deny CARYL agree that Carols presence changed Daryl Dixon for the better and non-shippers alike have openly acknowledged that there is a certain “something” between these two that albeit undefined continues to have a hold on them both.

Perhaps the biggest “proof” or validation of CARYL if you will, is the fact that it doesn’t really need any - the connection between Carol and Daryl is recognized by the majority of TWD fans despite the fact that the story-line hasn’t given their relationship any kind of “physical” confirmation nor are we given any specific open “love declarations” from either character. That being said the show itself, the specially crafted emotional scenes and the palpable chemistry on screen between the two of them have all been more than enough to inspire huge numbers of fans and even mainstream media to openly and routinely refer to CARYL as one of the TWD “couples” or “duos”.
The mere fact that other ships are threatened by CARYL and Carol herself essentially confirms it’s existence and power
Carylers don’t need a “physical sex scene” or repetitive affectionate gestures to know that Carol and Daryl share a deep, impenetrable bond capable of bolstering them both and bringing out the best “version” of themselves together.

One of the most common questions in my ask box are inquiries about what my favorite thing is about the CARYL dynamic or what made me decide to start shipping Daryl and Carol in the first place. My instinctual and perhaps too easy of a response would have been to talk about the moments that moved me the most or scenes that had me intrigued and ultimately convinced me that the connection I was picking-up on ran much deeper than the basic “I care about you” vibe. 

As I explored the possible answers with which I could define what CARYL means to me I started to realize that narrowing it down to a specific interaction wasn’t going to cut it because my own love affair with this relationship wasnt so much about a “moment” between them but more about the nature of the unspoken bond they have with each other.
What I love about Carol and Daryl is the effect they have each other, the parallels in their personal transformation, the evolution of their bond together and the uncanny effortlessness in their communication from the very beginning.

Everything in their history dispels the notion that either of them would be able connect with others easily, let alone be open with them BUT from the very beginning the ease with which they recognized, understood, accepted and not just allowed but actively seeked out one another, spoke volumes to the effect they could have on their own emotional journey. Despite their personal pain and perceived shortcomings they were able to be vulnerable in front of one another and build on the unconditional aspects of a relationship which they most likely didn’t have before they got “together”.
The acceptance, understanding and reliance between them had profound effects on themselves, their relationships with the others, their motivation for doing things and their continued growth into people they were never free to be before.

The thing that always struck me when it came to the effect they had on one another and the natural closeness that resonated even when they shared scenes with other characters, was the lack of dialogue between them.
Here we have two individuals “together” that seem to simply get” one another on a very deep level and yet most of the scenes devoted to them rely more on subtle body language, soft gestures and meaningful glances than actual spoken words. The dialogue that is included for them is always short, poignant and heavy, without a single word or phrase wasted and usually heavy laden with metaphors or symbolism.

To illustrate my point I reviewed several important CARYL moments and sure enough the pattern and emotional connection between Carol and Daryl is more than palpable but still quiet and usually punctuated by non-verbal communication.
Everything actually said out loud has a very specific purpose however once the “unspoken” cues come into play the words themselves seem like an afterthought.

- The Daryl nod-grunt-stop combo
- “Every bit as good as them”;”I can’t lose you too” and “Sophia wasnt mine” 
- “Stay Safe”;”Nine lives, remember” and “She’ll understand” 
- “I liked you first”;”Gotta be” and “What about Carol” 

Aside from their own “personal” moments there are multitude of shared scenes together in which they are almost always standing next to each other and in which Daryl “watches” over Carol from the sidelines.


The parallels and this “proximity” between them was evident and set up even in Season 1 at the quarry and then at the CDC. Norman Reedus has mentioned several times that “damaged, insecure people gravitate toward one another” and while the motivation behind the closeness may have started as unconscious curiosity of seeing one self in the other, as time progressed the “watching over” transformed into protectiveness and maybe even unspoken attraction on both ends.

Carol herself has been quite open to being a guardian of Daryl’s emotional needs and as the little more vocal party in that relationship she’s actively cushioned and made attempts to build up Daryl’s self-worth, helping him see that he is valued, appreciated, important and so much more than he himself believed he could be.

The Dixon’s are not used to accepting affection, praise of being told they are “men of honour”, they don’t talk about their feelings or ask uncomfortable questions, they are impulsive and terribly prone to assumptions, they are not used to having people fight for them let alone in spite of them and that’s exactly what Carol did for Daryl - she had intimate knowledge of being underestimated, pushed down, abused and unloved, she recognized the symptoms of that very same existence in Daryl AND was determined to break that cycle with him because with the bad she also recognized the good he could become if only someone believed in him until he believed in himself.

Carol did all of this before people were even comfortable having a conversation with feral Daryl and in turn she was the first person Daryl looked in the eye and had any kind of physical or emotional contact with her.

Season 2 Daryl was a Dixon adjusting and fighting his own desire to believe the side of life and side of human relationships Carol was showing him was possible even for him - he could matter to other people and other people could matter to him BUT he had to let them first, allow people in and hear them. Carol did all this through her stoic presence, telling glances, proximity and physical persistence, soft body language cues and very few lines of dialogue.

Daryl Dixon might have had a hard time adjusting to being on the receiving end of Carols attention BUT that doesn’t mean he wasn’t reciprocating to what was starting to bloom and build between them…in his own way of course!


Consider the search for Sophia!
Daryl was looking for a lost little girl and wanted her found like everyone else BUT he wasn’t acting like just another member of the haphazardly-thrown-together search party, the lengths he went to find HER and the “extra” efforts he directed at Carol tell a different story.

This was somebody with clear social and inter-personal issues, a guy who by all intents and purposes had no healthy relationship experience and zero knowledge how to connect or comfort anyone, let alone a woman, AND yet out of all of them HE was the one who went out of his way to care about Carol’s own emotional state (unprompted) and HE continuously found meaningful ways to reassure HER that Sophia will be found unharmed by HIM.

Small changes in body language, the “feel-better” tone of voice when he addresses her and the sudden, albeit rusty, reassurance events he volunteers and seems strongly compelled to engage in, all start to reveal that Daryl Dixon is connecting with Carol by his own initiative and was entering uncharted “feeling-type” territory in response to her presence.

This was a guy who barely said a few sentences at the same time to the others and here he was picking flowers, searching for Rose bushes AND while he didn’t know the right words to say to renew her hope Daryl borrowed the Cherokee Rose legend to say it for him. 


Character development and relationship growth convincing and powerful enough to earn a relationship label without physical confirmation and minimal verbal affirmation doesn’t happen very often - CARYL was remarkably a “thing” without having to say that it was and ultimately that’s what I cherish and appreciate about it the most.

The little beats that are usually taken for granted in other “cookie-cutter” TV romances are what we see and celebrate with so much fervor and anticipation…

That’s why CARYL is special to me!