My friend told me a story he hadn’t told anyone for years. When he used to tell it years ago people would laugh and say, ‘Who’d believe that? How can that be true? That’s daft.’ So he didn’t tell it again for ages. But for some reason, last night, he knew it would be just the kind of story I would love.
When he was a kid, he said, they didn’t use the word autism, they just said ‘shy’, or ‘isn’t very good at being around strangers or lots of people.’ But that’s what he was, and is, and he doesn’t mind telling anyone. It’s just a matter of fact with him, and sometimes it makes him sound a little and act different, but that’s okay.
Anyway, when he was a kid it was the middle of the 1980s and they were still saying ‘shy’ or ‘withdrawn’ rather than ‘autistic’. He went to London with his mother to see a special screening of a new film he really loved. He must have won a competition or something, I think. Some of the details he can’t quite remember, but he thinks it must have been London they went to, and the film…! Well, the film is one of my all-time favourites, too. It’s a dark, mysterious fantasy movie. Every single frame is crammed with puppets and goblins. There are silly songs and a goblin king who wears clingy silver tights and who kidnaps a baby and this is what kickstarts the whole adventure.
It was ‘Labyrinth’, of course, and the star was David Bowie, and he was there to meet the children who had come to see this special screening.
‘I met David Bowie once,’ was the thing that my friend said, that caught my attention.
‘You did? When was this?’ I was amazed, and surprised, too, at the casual way he brought this revelation out. Almost anyone else I know would have told the tale a million times already.
He seemed surprised I would want to know, and he told me the whole thing, all out of order, and I eked the details out of him.
He told the story as if it was he’d been on an adventure back then, and he wasn’t quite allowed to tell the story. Like there was a pact, or a magic spell surrounding it. As if something profound and peculiar would occur if he broke the confidence.
It was thirty years ago and all us kids who’d loved Labyrinth then, and who still love it now, are all middle-aged. Saddest of all, the Goblin King is dead. Does the magic still exist?
I asked him what happened on his adventure.
‘I was withdrawn, more withdrawn than the other kids. We all got a signed poster. Because I was so shy, they put me in a separate room, to one side, and so I got to meet him alone. He’d heard I was shy and it was his idea. He spent thirty minutes with me.
‘He gave me this mask. This one. Look.
‘He said: ‘This is an invisible mask, you see?
‘He took it off his own face and looked around like he was scared and uncomfortable all of a sudden. He passed me his invisible mask. ‘Put it on,’ he told me. ‘It’s magic.’
‘And so I did.
‘Then he told me, ‘I always feel afraid, just the same as you. But I wear this mask every single day. And it doesn’t take the fear away, but it makes it feel a bit better. I feel brave enough then to face the whole world and all the people. And now you will, too.
‘I sat there in his magic mask, looking through the eyes at David Bowie and it was true, I did feel better.
‘Then I watched as he made another magic mask. He spun it out of thin air, out of nothing at all. He finished it and smiled and then he put it on. And he looked so relieved and pleased. He smiled at me.
‘'Now we’ve both got invisible masks. We can both see through them perfectly well and no one would know we’re even wearing them,’ he said.
‘So, I felt incredibly comfortable. It was the first time I felt safe in my whole life.
‘It was magic. He was a wizard. He was a goblin king, grinning at me.
‘I still keep the mask, of course. This is it, now. Look.’
I kept asking my friend questions, amazed by his story. I loved it and wanted all the details. How many other kids? Did they have puppets from the film there, as well? What was David Bowie wearing? I imagined him in his lilac suit from Live Aid. Or maybe he was dressed as the Goblin King in lacy ruffles and cobwebs and glitter.
What was the last thing he said to you, when you had to say goodbye?
‘David Bowie said, ‘I’m always afraid as well. But this is how you can feel brave in the world.’ And then it was over. I’ve never forgotten it. And years later I cried when I heard he had passed.’
My friend was surprised I was delighted by this tale.
‘The normal reaction is: that’s just a stupid story. Fancy believing in an invisible mask.’
It didn't really hit home until I went to bed that night that they all died in that final battle...
Because, at the end of it all we get to see the sun finally rise after 10 years of night. We see Umbra waking up in front of the Citadel at first light
But we don’t see the remaining Chocobros at all, not even the sound of footsteps from any of them.
I was half expecting Gladio, Ignis, and Prompto at least appear on screen at the end welcoming the sunrise in Insomnia with Umbra. Or at least any of the trio showing up at at all.
So let me explain my thoughts because this is going to be a mess of a ride for me. Plus, I’m writing this for closure, this game left me a sobbing mess
I was so caught up in the moment when Noctis and Ardyn were in the crystal that this moment right here:
Didn’t hit me like it should until later that night.
At first you would think it was all simply symbolism, essentially Noctis projecting all the people that meant the most to him appearing in his final moments. In a way: it is; but not in a way that I thought at first.
But then it hit me, what if Gladio, Ignis, and Prompto are in there not because Noctis is thinking of them in spirit, but they are literally there in spirit?
Oh shit this is the part where I’m going to end up dead inside
Let’s all remember that Noctis, being the King of Kings is the only one allowed within the Crystal, and no one else. So Noctis has to absorb the 13 Kings of Lucis in order to take them with him within the Crystal. Because the Kings can’t go inside the Crystal by themselves, they needed Noctis as a vessel to get in.
And they did that through this soul crushing scene right here
Noct took the Kings with him via the Armiger, hence their presence in the Crystal.
so apparently you’ve been collecting weapons that will ultimately kill you in the end thanks dad
Luna’s presence makes sense too because her Trident is a part of his Armiger after receiving it from Gentiana/Shiva.
But remember: the Thirteen Kings of Lucis and Luna are all dead and that is their souls appearing within the Crystal
So what does that mean for the rest of our quartet?
They died in battle after Noctis ascended the throne, and the reason why the three appeared within the Crystal is because of this scene here
I don’t know about you guys but there was no way I was going to let Noctis leave the mortal plane without something to remind him of the more innocent part of his life so I picked Prompto’s first group pic:
I have a feeling most of us are sentimental fucks and probably picked one with all four of them in it too
So the game relied on its faith in us, the players, to pick a photo with the four of them present to some capacity. So when Ignis, Gladio, and Prompto died in battle, their souls followed Noctis along in the Crystal through his memento.
Long story short:
Gladio, Ignis, and Prompto were with Noctis even in spirit till the very end.
All my boyfriends are dead and so am I
Because this scene right here
Was the battle that ultimately kills the three of them.
Can I just say how unbelievably happy I am with all the canon lgbta+ representation in podcasts? Almost every podcast I can think of has at least one lgbta+ person, and they’re main characters.
To all the podcast creaters: thank you. It means so much to me.
okay, so in the very early stages of the original beauty and
the beast, gaston was an aristocrat. that eventually got scrapped, but oh what if it didn’t
so say gaston is the son of someone very high up in the
royalty chain, someone who’s parents are important enough that he spends an
awful lot of time at the castle? and our prince adam isn’t really down with
this whole ~being a prince~ thing, he’s a brat, like so many other kids are
brats (but these kids don’t get turned into beasts by random witches, like i’m
sorry but i’ll never not think that beast didn’t get the short end of the stick
there) and so he spends the least about of time possible parading about with a
crown on his head. he likes going outside, like riding his horses and playing
in the woods, and all sorts of other things that make his parents shake their
heads and despair at the inability to have another child, because their son is a small disaster.
and here comes gaston, who’s older and more long suffering.
gaston in naturally dramatic, okay, he likes being flashy and fun and loud, all
the things the son of a noble shouldn’t be. so by the point he meets adam he’s
listened to his parents, folded himself up nice and tight into this quiet boy
who just doesn’t want any trouble. adam loves
trouble. if he can’t find it, he invents it.
so he grabs onto gaston like glue, and gaston is irritated,
but he’s the prince, he can’t say
anything or his parents will kill him. so he lets adam keep dragging him out
horseback riding and hunting and rock climbing and all sorts of things little
noble boys aren’t supposed to do. they spare, and no matter that gaston is
bigger and older he never wins, adam always ends up pinning him to the ground
with his arm to his throat and he’d more irritated about it if the prince didn’t
look so delighted every time he won. adam loves all the animals that he’s not
interested in eating, and gaston tries to point out that it’s a little weird
how thrilled adam is to take down a deer when two minute later he’s trying to
entice a wolf to come closer so he can pet it, and also holy shit adam that’s a wolf what’s wrong with you
adam loves his staff, the people who do their best to reign
in this little terror but don’t try that hard, because the thing about bratty
kids is that they’re rarely brats all the time, as an adult you swing between
wanting to strangle them and finding them so adorable and charming your chest
hurts. so mrs. potts indulges him, likes the way he’s only ever really patient
while he’s playing with her son chip when he’s snuck into the kitchen to beg
her for some extra cookies. lumiere and cogsworth are his tutors and spend more
time arguing with each other than teaching him, and he’s delighted by that.
and so adam is this loud, exuberant little prince who slowly
but surely picks at gaston’s barrier until gaston almost feels like himself again,
and adam doesn’t do what his parents did. adam doesn’t make fun of him for how
much he cares about his hair, about how he hates dirt under his fingernails. as
long as gaston keeps following him into dangerous situations, adam doesn’t care
about much of anything, and gaston loves him for it.
and gaston’s on the cusp of teenagerhood when he realizes he loves adam, the prince, this is awful
and he immediately has a panic attack over it, he’s to be lord and adam is to
be king, it will never work, oh, and adam probably doesn’t like boys, and – oh my
god, all those schoolyard taunts about him being gay we’re right this is a nightmare.
he’d freak out about this properly and probably go charging
to the castle to confess his love in true embarrassing 12 year old fashion –
except his parents set him down, pale, and say, “they’re gone, they’re all
gone, the king and queen were found dead and the prince is gone and now a
monster lives in the castle.” and of course gaston takes this to the most
logical conclusion – a beast broke into the castle, killed the love of his
young life, and now he’s claimed the castle for his own.
this is gaston’s defining moment okay, this is the point
where he snaps and never goes back.
he rebels against his parents, refuses to fit himself back into the mold of the
perfect son, tries to live his life like adam would have wanted him to. that
means being exactly who he is and damn the consequences. he focuses on his hair
and his clothes and his looks, he pursues hunting because it reminds him of
adam, because so much of their friendship took place in the woods, covered in
mud and laughing. he pursues hunting because, one day, when he’s the very best
he’s going to go the castle and kill the beast that killed adam. and his
parents are furious about all of this and they disown him in favor of his young
siblings and he just. doesn’t give a shit.
so he moves to the town, and everyone loves him, of course
they love him. he’s loud and arrogant, but – he’s not cruel. he’s beautiful and brings in more pelts and meat than any
other hunter and gaston doesn’t miss the days of being a young lordling in the
slightest. but girls keep throwing themselves at him and he doesn’t know how to
keep refusing either outing himself or hurting their feelings, so he goes to
belle. belle, who is every inch as pretty he is. belle, who is smart and quiet
and kind in a reserved sort of way. if there’s anyone who won’t judge him, it’s
so he goes to her, and tells her the truth – that he only
likes men, that he’s not interested in advertising the fact, and asks her to
pretend to be his lady. and belle, kind sweet belle, agrees. she does it out of
sense of duty to help those in need, because nothing she knows of gaston says
she will enjoy this. but she’s proven wrong, because gaston was raised to be a lord of course he’s educated, just
because he doesn’t really care about any of that stuff doesn’t mean he doesn’t
know it. and belle can speak with him like she can no other, because gaston has
more formal education than anyone else in this village. and to their surprise,
gaston and belle become friends, become the closest of friends, and gaston hasn’t
known this closeness since adam, although it’s different because he loves belle
but he’s not in love with belle.
and one day belle and her father are out traveling and
sudden snowstorm forces them into the castle. belle knows there’s some sort of
monster that supposedly lives there, but it’s either the castle for refuge or
dying of cold outside, so into the castle they go. and instead of a hideous
monster there’s adam, the beast. he’s rude and gruff and calls them twelve
kinds of idiots for getting caught in a snowstorm in the first place. he offers
them a room before sulking back into his study, watching the last petal
threaten to the fall from the rose.
the castle is so excited to have guests, to have a young
girl that may be their saving grace, and beast doesn’t know how to tell them
that he likes girls well enough, but the only person he’s ever loved is a
prickly, stuffy little boy who used to wring his hands together whenever they
went looking for wolves. the storm doesn’t abate, and belle and her father
stay. beast likes belle, likes how much she loves his library and the courteous
way she speaks to all his staff even tho they’re all furniture, and he wishes
he could love her, she is a woman that deserves to be loved. but he can’t.
back in the village, gaston has had it. the beast took adam from him, and he wont allow that thing
to take belle. he rallies the villagers and goes marching to the castle,
determined to save belle and her father, determined to kill the thing that
so they storm the castle and he and the beast fight. belle
and her father rush forward to stop the rest of the angry village men, and
belle is screaming at gaston to stop, that things aren’t as they seem. but he’s
mad with bloodlust, with revenge, and he’s about to take the beast’s head off
with his axe when the beast lunges and pushes him to the ground, pinning him
with an arm to his throat. and the muscle memory is so sudden and visceral that
gaston freezes and stares at the snarling beast and whispers, “adam?”
and the beast blinks, and pulls back a little, and goes …… “gaston!?”
literally everyone is so confused, but they only get more
confused when gaston throws himself at the beast and there’s a rush of magic as
the last petal falls and the spell is broken. gaston sees beast for who he
really is, loves him wholly and completely in the way only children can, and
the curse is broken.
so gaston goes from having the beast in his arms to having a
man, and he kisses him, outing himself in front of the whole village and not
caring in the slightest. “i’ve missed you,” adam says, reaching out a hand to
cup gaston’s cheek.
his staff are people again, and the cloud of darkness that
had fallen over the castle is lifted. the old and irritable third cousin twice
removed who’d been running the country is more than happy to hand it back over
to adam, so happy in fact that he doesn’t question anything about this
incredibly weird situation.
gaston and adam were children with a children’s love, but as
adam gets his castle and kingdom up and running again, gaston is there. and
their love deepens, and strengthens, and becomes something much more real and
true than it ever was before. and gaston knows he can’t keep this, that adam
will need to take a queen and gaston won’t be able to be with him after that.
except no one told adam that, because he goes to belle who
just, never left the castle because she likes it and it likes her and her two
favorite people are here. and also they’ll pry her from that library over her
dead body. “hey,” adam says, “so, i’m kind of the king now.”
“i noticed,” belle answers, and doesn’t look up from her
adam considers closing it, but also considers that he likes
his hands attached to his wrists. “want to get married? we’ll need to produce
an heir or two, but beyond that you’ll get all the books you want and a whole
country to boss around.” one of the things adam had quickly learned was that
belle loved bossing people around.
belle doesn’t look up from her book. he hadn’t honestly
expected her too. “okay. I’m dating plumette. im going to keep doing that.”
“nice,” he says, because plumette is a lot prettier now that
she isn’t a feather duster.
so adam find gaston and tells him that he’s marrying belle,
and gaston’s whole heart breaks but it makes sense, adam and belle make sense
together, and he wishes he could make himself hate either of them but he can’t
because he loves them both. but then adam is talking about how belle will have
the rooms next to theirs, and gaston should probably stop paying rent for his
house in the village, he lives in a literal palace, come on now.
and gaston figures out that adam is planning to stay with him, that belle is his wife and queen in name only and and gaston will
continue to be the one in his heart and in his bed. adam is talking about how
they all really need to sit down and do something about the redistribution of
tax revenue, and they should probably do it before the wedding because
otherwise their subjects will only show up to throw fruit at them. gaston cuts
him off by pressing his king and love of his life against the wall and kissing
cogsworth and lumiere walk by and pause mid-argument to wolf
whistle at them before continuing on their way. gaston and adam end up having
to hold each other up as they laugh so hard they can’t breath.
“Too dark skinned”, “Ugly” “Not his type” “Angry” “Too Independent” “Masculine” these are reoccurring themes in all of the racist comments I have seen on twitter, FB, and here on tumblr, those comments are rampid throughout the social media pages that are promoting 7X12. These comments are simply a mirror of where we are as a country and society and frankly where we have always been. Black skin has been degraded and criminalized in a way that regardless of how beautiful our kings and queens are they are met with the societal shackles of what they assume true beauty is. The “not his type” crowd say they aren’t racist but don’t face the reason why they say their relationship “doesn’t look right” or makes them “uncomfortable”. The “she’s to angry” crowd use a decades old sterotype margilizing Michonne because of her initial introverted and independent status. Yes, us black women know how to fight and make it, that doesn’t make us “angry” that makes us survivors. The “Too Independent” crowd blindly believe that being independent doesn’t warrant the right to find true love and vulnerability. The one that bothers me the most is she’s “too masculine”….this comes from the same individuals who praise our dark skin and features on someone else but not when it comes on us naturally. No, black women don’t fit into your blonde haired, blue eyed standard of beauty but in turn that’s what makes us beautiful…I say that to say this, we see all these comments everyday, we experience the microaggression everyday but we must lift each other up and also lift Danai up in these spaces. Never internalize any of the negativity, TO ALL MY BLACK GIRLS YOU ARE MAGICAL, YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL, YOU ARE POWERFUL, YOU ARE A FORCE, YOU ARE ROYALTY. Danai Gurira, I adore all you are and all you inspire me and so many others to be. Thank you for your brilliance, thank you for your gifts. God bless you and God bless all my kings and queens. Godspeed 🙏