london-blitz

I was tagged by @stepantrofimovic to write about my WIP’s.  So…confession time. I marvel at people that actually start writing their ideas. I don’t always actually get to the point where I BEGIN writing them. Kudos are much deserved to those who do. That being said, I’ve got a few. 

First off as already mentioned by @linguini17 The Heart Grows Fonder: a series of letters between Fred and Win of Endeavour during 1940-41. This one has had me reading all kinds of primary documents about the London Blitz. It’s been super interesting to write. 

Next, I’ve been dithering around about finishing Hymn, Chant, or Song of Praise, the fic that was my answer to the question of what Morse was hallucinating about during Canticle. I might be picking this one back up today.

Then there’s the fic I started writing well over a year ago. The first fic I ever wrote and it’s still not finished. :/ I wrote right up to the point where I’d have to get into the elaborate back story. Then I stopped. Some day. It will be finished.

Currently in terms of fics that are actually in process but not posted yet I’m working on a short Grantchester/Endeavour piece inspired by this post from @kivrin. It’s been delightful!

As far as ideas go there’s lots but here are the ones that are foremost in my mind:

1. Lewis casefic- Hathaway goes undercover as a priest.

2. The seven times Martin failed his flight exam- the circumstances surrounding each one. (but I’ve never written anything for that fandom!)

3. The story behind Lix winning the desk off Freddie in The Hour.

4. Hobson/Innocent…in a way…

So, there’s my procrastination chronicled. 

I’m tagging @glimmerice, @kivrin @zabbers and @jomiddlemarch

3

Gotha Bomber Plane

In the autumn of 1916 the Germans began to equip with the Gotha twin engined bomber.  Of a pusher layout, these aircraft could fly at 15,000 feet, above contemporary fighter’s maximum height.  With a range of 800 km (500 miles) and a bomb load of up to 500 kg (1,100 lb), the Gotha’s were designed to carry out attacks across the channel against Britain.

A group of four squadrons was established in Belgium, and they carried out their first bombing raid towards the end of May, 1917.  This 22 plane sortie, against the town of Folkestone, caused 95 deaths.  In mid June a force of 18 Gothas attacked London in broad daylight.  They were met by over 90 British fighters, but not one Gotha was brought down.  This bombing raid caused 162 deaths.

On the 7th of July 1917 over a hundred defensive sorties were flown against a 22 plane Gotha raid.  In this case one Gotha was shot down, and three were damaged, at the cost of two fighters shot down by the Gotha’s defensive gunners.  It was only when the RFC began to equip their home defences with Sopwith Camels that the Gothas began to suffer serious losses and were forced to switch to night attacks

Gotha G.V Stats

Top speed: 87 mph (140 km/h)

Range: 522 miles (840 km)

Weight: 6,038 lbs (2,739 kg)

Wingspan: 78’ (24 m)

Length: 41’ (12 m)

First flight: 1915

Engine type: Mercedes D.IVa

archiveofourown.org
All was quiet...Until the bombs started - PinkPunk010 - Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (Movies) [Archive of Our Own]
An Archive of Our Own, a project of the Organization for Transformative Works
By Organization for Transformative Works

Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (Movies)
Rating: Not Rated
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Newt Scamander/Porpentina Scamander, Tina Goldstein/Newt Scamander
Characters: Tina Goldstein, Newt Scamander, Baby Scamanders
Additional Tags: WWII, The first night of the Blitz, Newborn Scamander, Tumblr Prompt
Summary:

From a tumblr prompt:

Newtina & Newborn at the start of the Blitz.

@pernicious-gaze your prompt!

A bomb crater in South London, 14th of October 1940. The German bomb penetrated the road and exploded in Balham Underground station, killing 68 people. The double-decker bus that’s still visible amid crumbling tarmac is the No 88 bus. It fell into the crater afterwards because it was travelling in black-out conditions.

Having grown up in DC, statues of various dead guys on horses are basically background radiation, or they were before I became Hamilton trash and started noticing them again. Now it’s like every time I turn around there’s a Founding Father looking at me like I personally disappointed him, and it’s getting a little unnerving.

Although: as a result, I sort of want to write a magical realism thing where that can really happen. Where if you do something they would have disagreed with strongly enough, the statues climb down off their columns and lumber down Mass Ave to the Russell Building or the Capitol, where they stand on the sidewalk, arms crossed, glaring into the window of whoever’s just introduced legislation that offended them. They don’t speak, or attack anyone, or damage anything– well, they do tend to bump their heads on low-handing streetlights, sometimes, but that doesn’t count. Mostly they just stand there, mournful, accusing, for everyone to see.

Sometimes lawmakers can talk them around, convince them they’re not actually betraying the political ideals of their predecessors. Politicians who are good at this tend to have much, much longer careers than the ones who aren’t. Politicians who piss off the wrong statues seldom get reelected.

George Washington rarely budges, and when he does it’s front-page news, nationwide. Madison’s always been easier to talk around than most. Hamilton spend more time off his plinth than on it, but he cools off fast. Jefferson holds grudges, to the point that hardly anyone worries too much about making him mad. 

It’s not just politicians, either, and they don’t always come to life in anger. Joan of Arc’s bronze horse will shiver to life in Malcolm X Park, sometimes, and carry her off to join protest marches, when she thinks their cause is just. Gandhi walked with Iraq War protestors. The Spirit of American Womanhood, outside Constitution Hall, danced on the day that Roe v. Wade was decided, and when Obergefell vs. Hodge went through, Eleanor Roosevelt taught a clumsy Lindy to Baron von Steuben. 

Lincoln has only risen from his seat once since he was put there in 1922, and that was to nod in solemn approval at LBJ from the White House lawn.

Some cities rarely put up statues, and many have taken theirs down. Paris has a great many artists and writers memorialized, and curiously few politicians. In London, during the Blitz, Nelson shinned down his column to help dig people out of collapsed buildings, until he was broken to pieces himself; he stands atop the column again today, reassembled, but has never moved since. In the last months of the Soviet Union, a desperate Communist Party had the statues of Moscow chained in place. These days, Monument Avenue in Richmond is punctuated with  a long series of empty plinths and bare columns. 

But DC keeps theirs, and keeps building more.

Hellsing & Vulnerability: Alt. How Sad is Alucard?

Gentlemen… I am a nerd.

Case in point: during my lunch breaks, instead of surfing Facebook—something I save for the comfort of my couch—I am on the TED talks website. Nothing makes my day like learning something new; I would take infinite college courses if they didn’t cost a dime, no matter how stressful the workload would be. Give me a lecture on anthropology or ancient history and I am happy as a lark.

Recently, my lunchtime lecture was given by self-proclaimed researcher-storyteller Brené Brown. It was entitled “The Power of Vulnerability”, and I highly recommend you view it [link here], if you’re interested in human nature like I am. Anyway, so I’m sitting there, half-reclined with the door to my classroom locked and fully engrossed in both the video and the sandwich in my hand, when it hits me. I’ve heard of inspiration washing over people like a wave, but when I get it, it’s like an arrow straight to my brain: sudden, unexpected, and I can’t think of much else afterwards.  

My brain sent a single thought through my head, one that made me stop chewing and run it through two or three times to make sure I’d heard it right: Alucard’s greatest fear is vulnerability.

Emotionally, that is.

Well, wait, I countered myself, taking another bite of my sandwich. Who isn’t afraid of vulnerability? It’s sort of a given: we don’t want to let anyone else—who can do harm—into the deepest, most secretive part of our souls. But then, as I thought more, I realized that although we as humans try to hide it, vulnerability also has a little habit of sneaking through.

Humans, as a species, are amazing. My favorite thing to learn about is universal experience. For example, all nations seem to have the odd occurrence where a child’s father tells corny jokes that often fall flat, but are funny because they fall flat. But dad jokes aside, universal experience bleeds into vulnerability like pink on a white dress. You don’t have to know someone’s language to know that they’re smiling because they’re happy, or covering their eyes and cowering because they’re afraid. Body language, facial expression, the look in their eyes—it all goes without saying, no matter who you are or where you’re from. Isn’t that amazing???!

(Clears throat) Since I was supposed to be talking about Hellsing, I’ll use an example from the manga/OVA. Also—do I even have to mention spoilers at this point? It should be assumed, but even so: spoilers!

The scene I’m thinking about is not Alucard, but rather his master. When Walter shows up on the streets of London, dressed in conveniently found leather and sporting some impressive age reducing cream, everyone is astounded. Seras gasps dramatically, Alucard smiles like he always does, the Iscariots go “No, no, don’t step there!” collectively. But what always got me was Integra’s reaction. Not immediately, though she does kind of waste her nicotine on the bloody ground, but afterwards, when Alucard asks her what he’s supposed to do—kind of. That one page became one of my absolute favorites in the manga, and it’s an excellent jumping point for our talk about vulnerability.

See, Hirano didn’t have to say “Oh, she’s super sad. That was her butler and kind of her second dad and now he’s thrown their relationship away to fight another dick also dressed up in leather”. He didn’t need to say it. She says it all without a word in edgewise about it: clenched fists, watery eyes, a tightness in her stance that suggests fighting back tears… she’s in despair. When you see a panel like this, it’s all too easy to remember that she’s a young 20+ woman who just lost the last person she could theoretically call family.

Heartbreaking, but what’s my point? Think about it. She was in the middle of a war, her house is on fire, vampires are trying to bite her, she was unofficially kidnapped and held hostage by a bunch of weirdos working for the Vatican, and she remains calm and cool. Her breaking point only comes when something cuts her to the core, something that she can’t deal with without instantly having to fight against the tears that would show everyone—enemies included— “hey, I’m hurting emotionally, I really need comfort and reassurance.”  

POINT #1: Vulnerability shows when a person feels a pain so great that it strikes a chord within their soul. Remember it, bookmark it: it’ll come back up later.

Another big thing, that I didn’t really think about until Mrs. Brown touched on it, was that the only people who don’t feel shame are the ones who lack the ability to connect empathetically with others. Now, I know you just read that and thought “Wait, weren’t we talking about vulnerability?”, but trust me on this. It’s just another point I’m making.

Now, let me ask you this: What is the defining term between the words psychopath and sociopath? Most people put them on the same lines, but there’s a major, major difference. That term is conscience. Psychopaths lack a conscience. They feel no sense of right or wrong about what they do. They can’t connect with others. Sociopaths, according to experts, have a weak conscience. They feel guilt or remorse, but it’s not strong enough to guide their hand like it might be in the average person’s mind.  

Now, Mrs. Brown found in her research that the underlying cause for shame, for people saying ‘I’m not ___ enough, I don’t deserve love or happiness” is excruciating vulnerability. The people who were ashamed of themselves were also afraid to let their inner selves show to the world. And the only people who don’t feel shame are psychopaths, who lack empathetical connections with others.

Point #2: Sociopaths can feel shame; therefore, they can feel vulnerable. You can probably see where I’m going at this point, right?

Last point: Mrs. Brown, in her findings, talked about something called “numbing vulnerability”. She talked about how humans will try to numb the emotions that they don’t like or agree with, the ones that cause them pain or go against what they consider their morality. Think of monks and nuns giving up pleasures for devotion, that sort of thing. But humans can’t just numb things that make them suffer. When they do, it starts numbing other things, too. You can get rid of shame, of guilt, disappointment, but at what cost? Joy, gratitude, happiness.

POINT #3: Those who chose to fight against vulnerability, become miserable.

Think of the London Blitz, or as I call it: manga catharsis. Everyone—Iscariot, Hellsing, Millennium: they all blew up, shot a man or two, got their emotions out, and if they lived they went on with their lives. SAY THAT I’M WRONG. Out of all the people that could have cried their eyes out there, which one of them did? (looks at camera like the office) Which one of them had a complete screaming, crying meltdown and showed a surprising amount of true vulnerability to a dying man as well as like, fifty other people who were just kind of hanging back and watching it all play out?

It wasn’t Seras, I’ll tell you that much. T_T;

Let’s take our three main points and apply them to the 600-year-old… uh… guy.

Point 1: Why did he have that fit in the first place? Catharsis, I tell you! Anyway, he was angry at Anderson for becoming a… plant thing dude. Ugly. He was mad at Anderson for turning ugly. (coughs) But if we take that point into thought, Anderson’s ugliness—okay, the nail loophole—cut him so deeply that it struck a chord within him, and he couldn’t help but rant and rave against what had happened. And, we can assume that unlike Integra, it went so deeply that he couldn’t stop the tears in time. Why? Because—and this is a bit of conjecture, but I think I can safely say—what Anderson did hit on a source of deep shame for Alucard, shame that he hadn’t been strong enough, brave enough, whatever enough to stay a human and instead became a vampire.

Summation: Alucard has the ability to feel emotions, and these can be forceful enough to provoke a reaction from him.

Point 2: Alucard is, I believe, a sociopath. Prevalent more in the manga, and subtle in the anime/OVA, he does appear to have the ability to connect with others. In the manga, he’s seen joking around with Walter, teaming up with Seras to tease Integra, getting along with Pip in a business-like way, and you can even go so far to say that he has an—albeit unhealthy—connection with both Anderson and the Major. Of course, it’s sometimes possible for people to fake these connections, but I don’t think that’s the case BECAUSE of his breakdown in London.

As stated earlier, to feel shame and vulnerability, to be burdened with emotional pain, is a sign of someone who has morality and can form relationships. Now, that’s not saying he’s a good guy—not at all. As a sociopath, any emotion he feels that gets in the way of his ultimate goal is easily ignored. He might feel guilt, shame, pain, or remorse for his actions, but he simply chooses to do it anyway and probably doesn’t bother to consider it more than a minute or two.

Another example is his and Seras’s little spat in the hotel room. She argues that the people he killed are humans, innocent of anything other than following orders. He shouts at her, yanking her up by the collar and yelling in her face. Then, when she starts to cry, he puts her back down and is more subdued. Now, there’s two ways I look at this: firstly, his expression when he sees her tears. He looks, in the OVA at least, almost shocked that she’s crying, and then seems to rethink his actions. Now, he wasn’t rethinking the killing, per say, but instead he felt something about making her cry. This leads back into the ability to make connections. He felt—bad?—about her tears, so he promptly stopped the offending action and reformed his behavior to something more acceptable: a quieter tone, placing her back on the floor, backing away to give her space. A psychopath wouldn’t care that he’d made her cry, having no emotional connection to her. But Alucard cared enough to stop the behavior, which means that he cared enough about her to at least think “I should not be doing this to this person. Let’s stop and do something else.”

Summation: Per the clinical definition of a sociopath, Alucard has the ability to both make meaningful connections with others. Whether he makes those connections or not is up to him.

Point 3: Throughout the manga/OVA, a close observer can see Alucard fighting against himself—and his emotions. When he dreams about his demise at the hands of van Helsing, he cries in his sleep. However, upon waking he is apathetic about the experience, dismissing it as “a dream; it was nothing”. He feels disgust and anger when a guard kills himself, rather than let Alucard rip him apart while alive. He speaks out against monsters “like me[himself]”, pleading with Anderson to stay human even if it costs him his life. He demeans himself at different times, often in soliloquy or as an undertone to a sentence.

This provokes the question: Does Alucard consider himself worthy of happiness? The answer is probably no, he does not. He shows himself to be very self-critical of his past choices, although he accepts all of them for what they are. However, instead of learning from his past and starting over a new leaf, he remains on the same path of death and destruction. One can assume that he might feel trapped by his own actions, unable to rise up and overcome to begin life anew. This might be why he waits for someone to kill him—a punishment that would, ultimately, free him. This would be a miserable, endless existence, one of self-loathing and an eternal feeling that he is, and always will be, beyond any sort of redemption.

Summation: Alucard’s shame and constant fighting against his own emotions has caused him to turn bitter against the world, as his existence is a cold, bleak realm of misery.

Now for the (deep, echoing voice)

 REALM OF OPINIONS:

If all of the above is true, and can be said about Alucard, here is what I think. Alucard would view his vulnerability as something weak and useless, to be despised and ignored for as long as possible. In short, I think that he would consider vulnerability to be something wholly

human

, and that as a monster he has neither need nor inclination for exposing that side to others. As a human, he was taken at a young age and abused, which set the foundations for what would have otherwise been a happy, healthy adulthood. Surely as a prisoner of the sultan, any weakness would have been mortifying to show to his captors. Even now, as a servant to the Hellsing Organization and British Empire, he would feel it better to hide any emotion that he truly felt behind a mask, so that they could have no ammunition to use against him if the time arose. This does not, however, stop him from at the very least forming a social bond with a few select people, even if they remain outside the field of acquaintances. It is shown through the manga, anime, and OVA that although he walks with both feet in the lawless side of existence, he has the ability to be polite, civilized, work with others, be a teacher, understand the implications of his actions, tease others, even laugh and cry. Despite hating the human part of himself, it is still a core element of his being. I leave you now with questions and thoughts: you are more than welcome to continue the discussion in the comments, PM me, reblog, etc. In fact, if you liked this read, please reblog it so that others can see as well! If Alucard can feel vulnerable, what other situations might he willingly/unwillingly show it? Men are automatically expected by society to be more aloof and emotionless than women, though it is not the case in the slightest. How might this also play a factor in Alucard’s psyche? Is this another part of the reason he loathes himself?If he were ever willing to step back and take a look at himself, or even go to therapy, how would that affect his behavior? As a sociopath, would he make a willing change, or would therapy only further complicate things?


I also want to do a talk that’s more about my fanfiction side of things, which will be coming up VERY soon. I hope you enjoyed! Please let me know what you think! I leave you now, with a quote from the TED Talk that Mrs. Brown gave, that I think sums it up nicely.


But there’s another way, and I’ll leave you with this. This is what I have found: To let ourselves be seen, deeply seen, vulnerably seen … to love with our whole hearts, even though there’s no guarantee — and that’s really hard, and I can tell you as a parent, that’s excruciatingly difficult — to practice gratitude and joy in those moments of terror, when we’re wondering, “Can I love you this much? Can I believe in this this passionately? Can I be this fierce about this?” just to be able to stop and, instead of catastrophizing what might happen, to say, “I’m just so grateful, because to feel this vulnerable means I’m alive."