mystical connection

tlj spoilers

people: Reylo didn’t happen! sure they had a mystical intimate force connection and sexual tension in an elevator and fought side by side and he betrayed snoke for her and then basically proposed, but they didn’t end up together so none of that counts.

also people: rey and poe introduced themselves cordially to each other so obviously that’s going to be the ship in ep 9

washingtonpost.com
His Paula Deen takedown went viral. But this food scholar isn’t done yet.
Michael Twitty’s mission: To evangelize about the African roots of Southern food.

Wow this guy is amazing uhhhhhh uhhhhhh such awesome work

-blogger at Afroculinaria.com

“Twitty is deeply engrossed in both the African American and Jewish food traditions. “Blacks and Jews are the only peoples I know who use food to talk about their past while they eat it,” says Twitty, 38.”

“From Richmond it was a short jaunt to Colonial Williamsburg, where Twitty spent the week lecturing, conducting training sessions and cooking in period costume at three of the living history museum’s venues. In all his talks, Twitty emphasized the impact of chefs and cooks of African descent on shaping American and Southern cuisines in colonial times and after.”

“At a conference he met the scholar Robert Farris Thompson, author of “Flash of the Spirit,” a book about the influence of African religions on African American art that helped him see that “soul food” was, among other things, a spiritual term describing a mystical connection between humans and the animals and plants they eat.”

“He cooked and he gardened. He studied heirloom seed varieties, some that had been brought from Africa and some that had been carried from the New World to Africa and then, on slave ships, back to North America, among them okra, black-eyed peas, kidney and lima beans, Scotch bonnet peppers, peanuts, millet, sorghum, watermelon, yams and sesame. He called those seeds “the repositories of our history” and wrote about them in a monograph published by Landreth Seed in its 2009 catalogue.”

“Twitty’s embrace of all the various parts of himself — African, African American, European, black, white, gay, Jewish — sometimes raises hackles, as does his habit of speaking his mind. An article he wrote in the Guardian on July 4, 2015, suggesting that American barbecue “is as African as it is Native American and European, though enslaved Africans have largely been erased” from its story, elicited scorn and worse: Many commenters were outraged by his idea of barbecue as cultural appropriation.”

anonymous asked:

who is lady ragnell?

Called Dame Ragnelle in the source material (”The Wedding of Sir Gawain and Dame Ragnelle”), a fun fairy-tale-ish bit of Arthuriana and one I read in retold form as a kid and have loved ever since.

So King Arthur kills a deer while out hunting in a land with strong mystical connections, as one does when one is a legendary king. A knight appears, by the name of Sir Gromer, and objects to this life choice. He tells Arthur that in a year’s time, he has to return to the same spot with an answer to the following question:

What is it that women most want?

If Arthur doesn’t have an answer–the right one, mind you–Sir Gromer will cut his head off.

And Arthur, because he’s an honorable fellow and it never occurs to him to say “fuck that, peace out, I’m the king of the land and if you want my head you can come fetch me,” instead says “oh shit” and goes home, where he kind of broods about it.

Into this story walks Sir Gawain–he of The Green Knight fame, one of Arthur’s core knights in the legend (and Arthur’s nephew in many versions of the tales)–and he asks Arthur why he’s so sad.

Arthur tells him, and Gawain sensibly suggests traveling around asking various women what they desire most, which is at least slightly more useful than sitting around brooding, so they do it! The survey results, as one might imagine, are inconclusive when they compare notes, because even a millennium ago dudes didn’t seem to realize that women are distinct human beings with different desires and ambitions even when those dudes are a king and a knight who are legends for their nobility BUT WHATEVER.

Anyway, they’re fucked.

And when Arthur rides out into the woods to brood about this, into the story walks Dame Ragnelle, The Ugliest Lady Arthur Has Ever Seen. (In other versions of the tale, because there are non-Arthurian versions, she’s called The Loathly Lady.)

She tells him she has an answer to his riddle, but she’ll only give it to him if Sir Gawain consents to marry her.

Arthur is feeling pretty desperate, so he brings it up to Gawain, hating to ask it of him, but knowing Gawain is loyal and will do it. Gawain says yes, even when Arthur says “seriously, buddy, when I say The Ugliest I mean it,” so when he goes out to meet Sir Gromer and Ragnelle stops him on the way and says he’s in trouble unless he tells her Gawain is hers to marry. Arthur feels pretty shitty about it, but Gawain said yes, so he relays this answer, to Ragnelle, and she gives him an answer:

Choice. Women want the power to make choices about their own lives and selves.

It’s better than any other answer the survey returned, so Arthur relays it to Sir Gromer, who says “god damn it, my sister gave you that answer but it’s legit so I guess you keep your head THIS TIME” and lets him go free.

Arthur goes back to the palace, and there’s much rejoicing, but Arthur isn’t rejoicing too much, because now his nephew has to marry The Loathly Lady, who shows up and insists on the bargain being met.

Gawain, being a stand-up guy, marries her, and after their wedding feast, where Arthur’s whole court pretty much stares at her very rudely, takes her back to their chambers, where he vows to himself to treat her as if she were desirable, which … go you, buddy? I guess? And when he looks up at her after deciding that, suddenly he’s looking at the most beautiful woman he’s ever seen.

Ragnelle explains she was cursed to wear that form all the time until a good knight would marry her, but that now, for half the day, she can be beautiful. She puts the choice to him: would he have her beautiful at night, in their bed, and have the court make a mockery of their marriage by day? Or would he have her beautiful by day, when everyone could applaud him for breaking her curse, and ugly at night?

We all know the answer, of course, and so did Gawain: he told her, in the end, that it’s her life, her self, and she should be able to make that choice for herself, not him.

Which, of course, in the way of fairy tales, is what breaks the spell, so she can be her beautiful self all the time.

And they all lived as happily as anyone ever manages in Arthurian legend.

Basic Numerology of 0-9

In this post I will be going over the basic numerology for the numbers between 0, and 9. Understanding these numbers in a metaphysical manner can allow you to bring the energies of these numbers into your practice to strengthen your magickal working. This can be done by understanding the meanings, and associations that these numbers have, so that you can bring them together to form other numbers, or to act out your intention with their metaphysical properties by casting out their meanings, and energies into the universe. This will be a very quick overview that will not go to in depth, but will provide just some basic knowledge about the numbers and the energies that they possess.

0 ) Zero is a number that is greatly associated with the act of being. It also corresponds to cycles, unification, oneness, and source itself. It is a very powerful number that is associated with spiritual energy, and empowerment. Zero is also connected to the unlimited potential, and power inside all things. When zero is combined with other numbers it empowers the numbers that it is attached to.

1 ) One is the number that brings the energies of new beginnings, positivity, and the strength to face those beginnings. It has to do a lot with fulfillment, love, intuition, power of will, and other strong raw emotions. It is also associated with more negative emotions, and aspects such as aggression, arrogance, selfishness, weakness, and narrow-mindedness. The number one is also greatly Associated to the god and the masculine aspects of energy. The number one is a very powerful, and passionate number, and will bring these energies to whatever it is connected to.

2 ) Two is connected to the energies of communication, relationships, and interactions. It represents the charms, balance, and harmony in connections between constructs. It also corresponds to the exact opposite such as indifference, dependency, and a lack of balance. Two is also greatly connected to the goddess, and the feminine aspect of energy. This number is greatly associated with connection, balance, and harmony, and will bring these energies to whatever it interacts with.

3 ) Three is a very powerful number that is associated with joy, creativity, inspiration, and intelligence. This number is also associated at times with the goddess, and the ascended masters. It is the number of magick, understanding, and luck. The negative aspects that it possesses are such things as disharmony, indifference,  impatience, Intolerance, and unfocusedness. 3 is also known to be the number of witches, and the unknown.

4 ) The number 4 is connected to such concepts as loyalty, devotion, mastery, hard work, high morals, stability in the inner wisdom. It is a number that is associated with the angelic realms usually being connected to the angels. The negative aspects of the number 4 are such things as laziness, and dullness. In Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, and Japanese it is a homonym for “death” and also carries those energies.

5 ) 5 has to do alot with powerful ideas, individuality, life, lessons, vision, change, and momentum 5 is greatly associated with the five elements, and the powers that they hold. The negative aspects of the number 5 are thoughtlessness, restlessness, and discourse. 5 is a very fast-moving energy, because of this it is even more greatly associated with the element of fire, and can become very chaotic at times.

6 ) 6 is greatly connected to unconditional love, families, parenthood, idealism, healing an emotional balance. 6 vibrates at a very loving frequency that is great for emotions, and relationships. 6 also resonates with spiritual attributes and awareness. This number is also very grounded in the physical, and is nurturing, and faithful. The negative aspects of 6 are impracticality, shallowness, and selfishness.

7 ) 7 has to do with knowledge, truth, and spirituality. It is also said to be a very lucky number and is greatly associated with the divine, and higher truth. 7 is also connected to mysticism, esotericism, religion, occultism, and many other spiritual practices. It is greatly connected to the energies of collective consciousness, and the higher planes of existences. The negative qualities of number 7 have to do with cowardice, betrayal, and negative social interaction.

8 ) 8 has to do with career, business, success, wealth, prosperity, management, and self-confidence. This is a very powerful, and dominant number that does what it can to get things done. It is a number of law & order, and the universal principle of karma. The negative energies that the number 8 is connected to are energies that are condescending, demanding, snarky, and greedy.

9 ) 9 has to do with  the energies of wisdom, helpfulness, creativity, and completeness. the nines energy is all about helping, and working with others to better everyone’s experience. It is a very selfless number that goes out of its way to do what it can to help. This number also has to do with life purpose, and spiritual enlightenment. The negative qualities of  9 have to do with egotism, arrogance, self-pitying and a condescending nature.

*slips in through @crystalsoul16‘s door and leaves this before slipping back out*

HAPPY BIRTHDAY KAI!!! Sorry this is a day late…but I hope you like it ^-^ Here’s to another year of fawning over our wonderful, smart and talented husbando <3

Okay this is my second time connecting MM to a musical but

I’m watching a “Two Player Game” animatic (by trash cass) and the guys kind of look like Yoosung and Saeyoung because I have a problem and I can’t help but imagine it as the two of them. And it’s super cute in my head until all of the sudden I remember “Michael in the Bathroom” and now I’m crying. Ahhhhh

Originally posted by eohrs

Originally posted by yuushiki

amanita is fuckin ride or die like if my girlfriend told me she had a mystical connection with seven other people all around the world and there was an evil corporation out to lobotomize her i would probably hesitate a bit but amanita is immediately on board and ready to help fight bpo

anonymous asked:

So if Zen is suppose to be the love for mc why is seven canon end? O.o

VERY GOOD QUESTION. I can’t believe I’ve never explicitly addressed this.

Also before you guys start reading this, I’d just like to say that this is probably the most I’ve thought and worked for a post, so it would be so nice if you guys could voice out your own opinions and tell me your take on this.


Firstly, I’d like to debunk something that to this day, a lot of people still believe. This is regarding the 707 Reset Theory.

Most people believe that Seven is actually the true ending based on the main game because out of all of the RFA members, he breaks the fourth wall the most. This leads us to believe that he is aware that it is a game. From here, the theory branches out to say that Seven actually loves you in every route and has to suffer through watching you fall in love with all of these other characters before you finally get to him.

The theory caused the creation of many beautiful fanart and excellent mini-fics and headcanons about our darling 707, and because of this, we all slowly stopped seeing it as just a theory. After all, it is very convincing. Even I believed it for a long time.

Some people raised the theory that the other characters also loved MC in every route, another convincing one being that Jumin is also aware of the reset, but ultimately the 707 Reset Theory remained the most popular because his route is the suggested last route, and his good ending allowed us to access the Secret Endings. But at the end of the day, just like all the other theories regarding MysMe, this is not canon. Cheritz has never confirmed it.

This means that the 707 Reset Theory is just a popular theory.

Moving on to the DLCs. The Christmas DLC, in my opinion, was pretty light-hearted. There isn’t anything particularly eye-catching that could bring rise to a theory.

Then, we get the Valentine’s Day DLC. They’re After Endings of the main routes. Nothing much can be said about this DLC either, but some people did start to get suspicious about Seven’s character in his After Ending. Irrelevant to the points I’m currently trying to make, so we’ll save that for another post.

Finally, we have the April Fools DLC, which totally caught us off guard because we thought it would be another light-hearted DLC. Instead, we’re given the Epiphany ending, where it is confirmed that among all the RFA members, only Zen is real, and he is trapped in another dimension where he can never get to you. He then confesses his love for you. Because this is a DLC where you don’t get to choose you’re own route, it becomes canon that no matter what, Zen is in love with you.

This one ups the 707 Reset Theory because 1) Zen does the ultimate fourth wall break and 2) he outrightly confesses his love for you through the screen. No hinting, no beating around the bush, just straight up “I love you”. And we have to take note that he doesn’t say this to the MC. He says this to you.

He genuinely loves YOU, in the form of MC or the player.

I’ve tried to come up with my own conclusions based on this fact, and here’s what I have.

It’s very obvious that the MC in each route has a different personality. For example, the MC in Zen’s route is slightly different from the MC in Jaehee’s route. Each RFA member falls for an MC with a particular personality. However, by addressing YOU, Zen is ultimately saying that he loves you as the player, and not as a character in the game.

MC is a bunch of different people in different routes. She loves different people in different routes. She’s just a puppet. Zen even says in the Epiphany ending that he knows all your answers are pre-determined. It’s clear he didn’t fall for the character in the game. He fell for the girl playing the game.

So you know what? Maybe Seven is the true end for MC, a game character. But you, the player, you’re the true end for Zen. Does this make sense?

This isn’t the end of what I’m trying to say. Let me continue with the April Fools DLC.

This DLC also allowed Cheritz fans, those who’ve played Nameless, Dandelion, and Mystic Messenger, to make connections between these three games. From here, we realise that the 707 Reset Theory isn’t completely wrong, but it isn’t completely right either.

Yes, Seven is aware that it is a game. That is why he breaks the fourth wall. But it’s not necessarily because he’s the canon end. It’s because he is a wizard. He represents the game maker. We are given evidence of this multiple times in chatrooms when he talks about being a wizard. This wouldn’t make sense if you don’t know the background of the other Cheritz games. It all links up.

Taking elements from the 707 Reset Theory and the newest Zen theory, there is a huge, HUGE chance that Zen is the canon end. Again, this is not confirmed by Cheritz, so it remains a theory just like the 707 Reset Theory, but as of now, it is the best-supported theory and quite frankly, it’s the one I believe.

Very long-winded because I wanted to cover a lot of things in this answer, but to summarise, Seven isn’t the canon end. None of them are the confirmed canon end. However, the most possible canon end currently is Zen. This could change in the future if Cheritz decides to release more MysMe DLCs, though I doubt they will any time soon (not huge DLCs at least) because they’re currently working on The Lynn Project.

Speaking of which, this is also something I think we should all take note of. The Lynn Project, which is the current game Cheritz is working on, was actually started way earlier, I think in 2015. However, Cheritz put it on hold because they decided to create and finish Mystic Messenger first. There’s got to be a reason for this. I’m sure The Lynn Project will answer even more of our questions. After all, all of Cheritz’s games link up, which I really applaud them for. What amazing storytelling.

So yeah, there you have it. Nothing is set in stone. Unless explicitly said by Cheritz or stated in the game, all the theories we have so far are just speculation and we’re all just trying to contribute more and more evidence to the theories we support to make sense of the game.

I’ve read a lot of Mystic Messenger theories, and I’d have to say that the best one I’ve encountered is this theory, which links all three games together and supports the “Zen loves you in every route” theory. It explains a lot and is very well-evidenced.


I hope I’ve answered your question sufficiently. I kind of went all over the place but it’s the only way I can really explain this :)

4

Hoo Boy the backstory for these is kind of bizarre.

It all started with jokingly asking, “So when do the [??? as Mob’s Twin] AUs start rolling in?” Welp, @unpepper and I both had a lot to say about how that would go and we wound up each making a ???-as-a-human character for that purpose.

The resulting characters were Kageyama Eiji and Shigeru.

Everything else under the cut because it’s LONG.

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The College Years - Freshman Year (Chapter 8) - Stiles Stilinski

Author: @were-cheetah-stiles

Title: “The Worst Party Ever”

Characters: Stiles Stilinski, Scott McCall, Malia Tate, Isaac Lahey, Cora Hale, Lydia Martin, Jordan Parrish, Hanna Simmons, Sarah Millin, Simon Brewster & Reader/OFC

Warnings: Fluff, underage drinking… if that’s something people care about.

Summary: The pack goes to a house party.

Chapter Seven - Chapter Eight - Chapter Nine

Originally posted by inveens

“Hey Scott, my roommates and I are outside, and Stiles said he went out for ice, can you let us in? I don’t want to just walk in to this person’s house..” You said into your iPhone. “Okay, great, thanks.”

“So is Scott cute?” Your roommate, Hanna, asked.

“Yea, he is, and he’s single too. He’s kind of not over his ex though which actually really sucks, because he definitely deserves better.” You replied.

“And how did you meet all of them again?” Sarah, your other roommate, asked.

“Oh, Scott sits next to me in Western Civ. and we just started hanging out.”

“But Stiles is the one you like?” Hanna confirmed.

“Yea.”

“What kind of name is Stiles anyway?” Sarah questioned. You looked at her, furrowing your brow and then shrugged. You didn’t actually know the answer to that question. You intended on finding out.

Keep reading

anonymous asked:

You write all the best ASOIAF meta so I have to ask, any thoughts on the Reeds? They are inexplicably my favorite and I wonder what you think of them.

You’re too kind, anon. Thank you! I quite like the Reeds. I find their place in the narrative really fascinating in a way that transcend their character arcs. I mean, individually they rock, but the way the text handles their introduction and the place they occupy in the Starks’ overall story is extremely compelling to me.

Look at how GRRM handled their introduction. We’ve been hearing about Howland Reed since AGoT as the only other survivor of the Tower of Joy and someone whose relationship with Ned sounded was deep and strong. It was not just that Howland was present for one of the most traumatic events in Ned’s life, one that haunts Ned throughout the book till his very end, but there is also a pointed intimacy in the description of the event that frames the relationship Howland enjoyed with the Stark siblings and the care he displayed for both Lyanna and Ned. Howland was there to take care of Ned as Ned shut down in his grief over Lyanna’s death, he was the one who eased Lyanna’s hand from Ned’s grasp, and I have no doubt that he took on the bulk of the effort of preparing Lyanna’s body for transport and any other needed task, something that must have been excruciating for him in light of his own personal friendship with Lyanna. That profound care Howland showed to the Starks as friends and not merely liege lords is compounded by being a holder of the secret of Jon’s real parentage, something that forms a certain bond between him and Ned as the two people who loved Lyanna fiercely enough to essentially commit treason to save her child’s life. I think Howland’s obscurity and the hardship of trying to find Greywater Watch makes people forget that had the truth about Jon’s parentage come to light, Howland’s life would have been in danger alongside Ned’s. The man was not just holding a secret for a friend, he was endangering himself by doing it.

But Howland is not the Reed GRRM chooses to shape our view of the house though, instead it’s Meera and Jojen that we meet first. The first interesting about this is how Meera and Jojen’s relationship with Bran doesn’t only reflect Howland’s relationship with Ned and Lyanna, but House Reed’s historical relationship with House Stark in general as well. The loyalty of House Reed to the Starks has been made a point even in TWOIAF, and as we see, Meera and Jojen really embody that loyalty. I’d be remiss if I did not speak about the historical weight that Meera and Jojen’s oath of fealty has which truly communicates the enormity of House Reed’s loyalty to the Starks in an oath that is hands-down the best oath of fealty I’ve ever heard. This is our first introduction to any member of House Reed in current time, and their oath is not only one that sets them apart from other loyal Stark vassals, but it also holds the weight of history and thousands of years of loyalty and trust between House Stark and House Reed, while also acknowledging the true spirit of feudal vassalage oaths and their reciprocal nature and how the Starks historically upheld it. Look at how meaningful it is.

“To Winterfell we pledge the faith of Greywater,” they said together. “Hearth and heart and harvest we yield up to you, my lord. Our swords and spears and arrows are yours to command. Grant mercy to our weak, help to our helpless, and justice to all, and we shall never fail you.”
“I swear it by earth and water,” said the boy in green.
“I swear it by bronze and iron,” his sister said.
“We swear it by ice and fire,” they finished together.

Allow me to go on a little tangent here because I just love that oath. This is an oath that is steeped in history, both personal and political. Note that Meera and Jojen’s first appearance is during the harvest feast, which is pretty symbolic considering that they were pledging everything to Winterfell, hearth and heart and harvest, trusting that Winterfell will reciprocate with protection and generosity and justice and friendship because that’s what Winterfell has done for thousands of years. It takes profound trust to say “here, we’re prepared to yield everything up to you. We only ask for mercy, help and justice” and knowing that trust will be rewarded. There is an acknowledgement here to thousands of years of good faith and the personal responsibility Winterfell took to look after their vassals through the worst winters. This is House Reed displaying the fierce loyalty that marks its members’ actions, while reflecting the reason the Starks garner such deep loyalty from their vassals. It is, first and foremost, a show of conviction and gratitude, because the Starks are not only known for upholding their solemn duties of protection as feudal lords, but also sharing Winterfell’s beneficial higher technology to ease the suffering of their people in winter in what can only be described as sheer generosity and kindness. They gave residence in the winter town as a right to their people so they could personally care and provide for them. They gave them justice and safety so trusted that the Liddle keeps talking about how different things were when there was a Stark in Winterfell, and the return of the Starks is treated as a symbolic restoration of order in the North. It will be alright when the wolves comes again.

I can spend a lot talking about that oath tbh but I don’t want to derail the conversation too much. I’ll just say that, unnoticed by many, we got our first inkling of ADWD’s Northern storyline and the first reminder that the North Remembers even before we actually heard that specific phrase. Link Meera and Jojen’s oath with Wylla Manderly’s passionate speech about how the wolves “nourished us and protected us” to the Liddle’s conviction that “when there was a Stark in Winterfell, a maiden girl could walk the kingsroad in her name-day gown and still go unmolested, and travelers could find fire, bread, and salt at many an inn and holdfast.” The groundwork for the story about Northern loyalty and Ned’s legacy, the explanation of the reason behind it is all laid in Bran’s chapters in book two and three. The Starks earned that indispensable place they hold in Northern history; they cared for their people, so their people cared for them back. The oaths of loyalty are personal to the Northmen because the Starks’ oaths of protection are also personal.

Those riveting declarations of devotion and faithfulness to the Starks that mark ADWD go back to ACok, it starts with Meera and Jojen Reed. We shall never fail you, they declare and then go on to be a steady source of guidance, support and protection for Bran. It’s Jojen Reed that assures us in no uncertain terms that “the wolves will come again” and that’s huge in what it tells the audience. Hang on. Don’t lose faith. That decency and morality and honor the Starks displayed will be rewarded. No, this is not a story about how honor gets you killed. The Starks honored their oaths, and their bannemen will honor them back.

That same sentiment is reflected in Howland’s actions with Lyanna and Ned which was built on a relationship formed when the Starks stood up for him at Harrenhal, Lyanna by charging into the foray to defend him and later riding in the tourney in his name, Ben by offering to help him find armor, and Ned for offering him a place with them, pretty much inviting him to their pack. I tend to see the Reeds as almost kin to the Starks if I’m being frank, which relates to how I also see them as the guardians of the Starks’ magical side, whether directly or symbolically. Their safeguarding of the Starks’ magic ranges from Jojen’s tutelage of Bran and his encouragement for him to seek the three-eyed crow, to Meera taking on the task of his protector through the journey so she could ensure that he does make it to where he is supposed to go, to both Reed siblings coming to Winterfell with the specific mission of saving Bran and setting him free of the chains from Jojen’s dream, to Howland assisting in protecting Jon who has his own magical destiny. The Reeds are protectors - protectors of secrets, protectors of magic (House Reed has its strong mystical connections, including Jojen’s green dreams and whatever magical knowledge Howland gleamed during his stay on the Isle of Faces so it’s a fitting role), protectors of magically-inclined individuals, protectors of Starks. Howland saved Ned’s life during the rebellion and helped conceal Jon Snow, while his daughter provided for Bran and Jojen and offered physical protection and emotional support during the journey to beyond the Wall, and his son displayed staggering strength and courage in his persistence to get Bran to the three-eyes crown, even knowing that his end would be in that cave and subsequently struggling with consuming depression. It is more than appropriate, then, that the Reeds’ geographical location and dominion over the Neck makes them the protectors of the entire North from enemies from the south.

You’re in luck! I, @khaleesi, read so much Gothic romance my senior year of college. “I want to do my thesis on it!” I said, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and still believing that academia didn’t frown strongly upon anything amusing. “No one will take you seriously!” said my advisor. “Oh,” I said, and did Restoration drama instead because I am nothing if not a rebel. “If anyone asks just claim you studied the Romantics,” sighed my advisor.

BUT I READ THEM ALL (I.E. A LOT OF THEM) ANYWAY AND IT’S COMING IN HANDY NOW ISN’T IT, PROFESSOR?! HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!*

*my thesis advisor was a delightful man and I love him very much and he was great

Gothic romance as a genre is more commonly referred to just as “Gothic literature,” but that’s boring imo and doesn’t really get at the crux of the thing, which is CONSUMPTIVE DRAMATICS IN LOVE. 

Ultimately, Gothic romance stories are about the human mind – what’s hidden, what lurks in dreams and the subconscious, and what version of ourselves we are when we are quite alone. 

There are several important tropes that crop up again and again in Gothic romance (though bear in mind some have all of these, some only have a couple, and some may have combined them):

A creepy enormous (sometimes derelict) castle. This is the primary setting of all good Gothic romance. Usually, it symbolizes the subconscious mind, though whether it’s the subconscious mind of the heroine, the villain, or a general commentary on the human subconscious mind depends on the book you’re reading.

Our Heroine, a distressed woman who is all alone: She will probably be sobbing, terrified, screaming, hiding, or shaken, and sometimes all at once! She has been abandoned – intentionally or not – by her protector(s). She might be an orphan, or she might have been brought to the creepy enormous (sometimes derelict) castle by a protector who then goes “I’m going to get help, stay here!” and is summarily murdered. Or she might have been brought there by her husband, who turns out to be a traumatized abuse victim/have his former wife locked in the attic/may or may not mean her harm; then, the abandonment happens because she expected a certain person and got quite another. If you want to put a fine point on it, she is abandoned by her sense of peace and well-being.

She usually won’t be in distress for the entire story – Gothic romance heroines usually get their shit together and figure out what’s going on, take a stand, go down into the basement and turn all the lights on, or get flung off a cliff by a man who is literally Satan. Hey, can’t win ‘em all.

Oppressive, tyrannical male. Sometimes her father or guardian (not necessarily her protector! different!), sometimes the owner of the creepy enormous (sometimes derelict) castle, who has authority over the heroine in some way and is trying to force her to do something intolerable, like marry him or commit a crime.

White Knight/a dude who is not as oppressive or tyrannical as the other dude. The White Knight is not as common as you might think, but I’m including him anyway because he’s fun. Also, he’s exactly what he sounds like – someone who comes along to rescue Our Heroine. Sometimes the two men are conflated and become one character, a White Knight with a terrible secret. 

Creepy and/or skeletal and/or murderous servant. Primary job is to skulk around with a massive key ring or other symbol of authority over That Which Is Locked Away. May or may not be obsessed with someone who died traumatically before the heroine turns up. 

Various omens, portents, visions, and supernatural occurrences. Sometimes a likeness of somebody will fall over and portend their death. Sometimes Our Heroine will have a dream about what’s to come. Sometimes a ghost will appear and rattle some chains and give her a good scare – right into the secret back room where there’s a coffin. Ghosts are usually symbolic of buried impulses or memories, or they could represent the id if they hang around the house a lot making noise and destroying things.

The Castle of Otranto (Horace Walpole, 1764) Man’s son gets crushed by enormous falling helmet. Man decides to avert ancient prophecy by getting a divorce from his wife and marrying a younger woman (typical). Man fails in a truly spectacular fashion. (This is considered the first Gothic novel.)

The Mysteries of Udopho (Ann Radcliffe, 1794)  Beloved daughter loses everything, is given to hateful aunt, meets a man who feels a ~mystical connection~ to the natural world.  Blood-spattered hijincks ensue. Ann Radcliffe is the Queen of Gothic romance and is also known for The Italian.

The Monk (Matthew Gregory Lewis, 1796) This book is so fucking complicated it’s impossible to condense to a single paragraph, but it is Important so I’m including it. Don’t let the complexity scare you – it’s batshit insane and very entertaining. *Stefon voice* It’s got everything. It’s got NUNS. It’s got ELOPEMENT. It’s got DRAMATIC SUDDEN DEATHs. It’s got INEXPLICABLE ROMANTIC ENTANGLEMENT. It’s got SATANIC WITCHES TRYING TO CONVERT PROFLIGATE MEN. It’s got SATAN HIMSELF. Run, don’t walk.

Northanger Abbey (Jane Austen, 1817) This is a satire of Gothic romance and it is hysterical.

Wuthering Heights (Emily Brontë, 1847) Man adopts orphan. Orphan makes man’s son wildly, violently jealous. Orphan and man’s daughter fall in love. Everyone is absolutely fucking awful to one another, and no one ends up happy. When it first came out, Wuthering Heights was deeply polarizing, as many contemporary critics believed that the mental and physical cruelty depicted were too stark. It also challenged literally every Victorian ideal: misogyny, religious hypocrisy, social class… You name it, Wuthering Heights is coming to tear it to shreds.

Jane Eyre (Charlotte Brontë, 1847) Orphan child is treated horrendously by everyone except her benefactor, sees ghosts, is sent off to a school for poor and orphaned girls. More awful things happen to her, like having her friend die in her arms of typhus. Becomes governess for a young girl in the home of one Mr. Rochester; fires go out, things move of their own accord, and a terrifying woman rips her wedding veil in two. This one is a marriage plot as well as a Gothic romance, so there is a wedding at the end, but it’s up to you to decide if it’s happy.

Rebecca (Daphne Du Maurier, 1938) Young woman marries older dashing man who is also very sad. Sad dashing man likes her just the way she is even though she feels insecure because she keeps getting compared to his dead wife, who was Perfectly Perfect in every way, and whose PRESENCE still LINGERS in the SPOOKY CLOSED PORTION OF THE HOUSE. Rebecca has one of the most horrifying creepy servants of all time. I would be her for Halloween every year except nobody would have any idea who the hell I was.

Here are some of my other favorites that I highly recommend, but don’t necessarily come up on the average rec list for this genre.

Zofloya, or The Moor (Charlotte Dacre, 1806) This book is so racist and also the wildest literary ride I have ever been taken on. Satan shows up to fling somebody off a cliff. Dacre herself said that Zofloya was about morality, but there’s an argument to be had that it’s also about the kinds of things we choose to punish women for.

Carmilla (Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu, 1871-72) LESBIAN VAMPIRES. I repeat, LESBIAN VAMPIRES.

Villette (Charlotte Brontë, 1853) Famously passive protagonist encounters possibly-dead nun again and again, falls in love-hate with famously chauvinist professor, describes the three years he was away at sea as “the happiest years of my life.” He might die at the end. It’s ambiguous.

Now go forth and gorge yourself on the gorgeous melodrama of Gothic Romance!

Spoilers

A Klaroline soulmate AU! with a twist. Inspired by that tumblr post. 

Caroline gets her soulmate mark when she’s five. She traces over the letters as they etch across her skin, a tickle of gold that has her giggling as the lifelong ink fades to black.

Then she sees the final word of the first sentence that her one true love, her Prince Charming will say to her and she gasps in horror.

“Mommy! Mommy!” Liz Forbes looks up from the kitchen table where she’s leaving through case notes and when she notes the sudden scrawl across her daughter’s left wrist she laughs to herself. It’s an old game of Caroline’s by now, to imagine the first words her soulmate will ever say to her. It’s getting longer and more outlandish the older she grows but it’s still pretty cute.

However rather than the typical delight her little actress feigns ever time, Caroline looks horrified instead. Oh shit. Liz immediately checks her daughter over for injuries and can’t see anything so she practically dives out of the chair so that she can embrace Caroline the second she gets close enough.

“What honey? What happened?”

“My mark came and it’s scary!”

“What? Now Caroline,” Liz starts, getting annoyed that Caroline’s taken the game to dramatic lengths now.

“Mommy look!” Caroline says with the haughty impatience that makes her the lead when she, Bonnie and Elena play Princesses. The little girl grabs her mother’s hand before Liz can read what Caroline’s written on her skin and drags the woman’s hand across her skin. It doesn’t smudge at all, and that script is far more elegant than something a five year old could write.

A true smile blossoms on Liz’s face, Caroline’s cries forgotten “Sweetie, that’s wonderf-“

“Mommy!” Caroline reprimands getting annoyed now. She stomps her little foot “Look”

So Liz twists round so she can see Caroline’s soulmate mark properly and the pit drops out of her stomach, thinking of the hidden history of Mystic Falls and how she’d hoped to keep Caroline as far away from it as possible. Death, blood, fear. It seems they will be a part of Caroline’s future anyway. Maybe a trip to Sheila Bennett is in order after all.

I can’t believe Dumbledore died!

Whoever Dumbledore was, it was understandable as to why Caroline had reacted with horror. After smoothing Caroline’s curls, mind racing as Liz tried to think of the name Dumbledore, any connection to Mystic Falls and coming up short, she packs Caroline into the car and heads to Bonnie’s grandmother.

Sheila sees a lightning struck tower and a billowing cloak, a flash of green light but no more. It does nothing to assuage Caroline or Liz’s fears.

They spend years trying to find out about a Dumbledore but any reference comes from old manuscripts, years ago. Unless it has something to do with a mystery Caroline will become tangled in during her later years, the Forbes come up empty.

Then the first Harry Potter book is published.

Mother and Daughter stare open mouthed at each other across the duvet where Liz had been reading Caroline the story as her new bedtime story.

All those years, all that concern over a book character. Caroline throws the book against the wall, declaring that Harry Potter has been spoilt forever. After that, Liz does some subtle flicking and finds out that Dumbledore does not die in the first book. Meaning he will die in whatever comes after.

Caroline also starts wearing a cuff around her wrist hiding the mark after someone who is halfway through the book on a bus shouts at her about spoilers. It’s rather isolating being the only child not to read Harry Potter, to know the plot before its even published.

But she manages. She remembers never to mention it when Harry Potter crops up in conversation and does eventually read the books, wondering when she’ll read the fatal words, hear that shout of disbelief.

It never comes.

Then Harry Potter and the Halfblood Prince is announced. Everyone’s talking about something shocking in the book. She had thought it would happen in the last one, but that had surprisingly turned out to be Sirius Black. Enzo is the one to text her, a snapshot of the page telling her she can finally take the fucking cuff off. So she tweets it to J.K. Rowling herself who graciously thanks her for keeping the secret all these years and sends her a bunch of goodies to make up for having the books spoiled for her.

Then she, Bonnie, Elena and Enzo watch The Half Blood Prince in theatres. Of course they all know what’s going to happen and all of the others know that Caroline’s soulmate mark contains the spoiler. Clearly whoever she’d destined to be with is a complete pain in the ass. Not only had he spoiled one of the world’s most famous franchises before it had even been published he hadn’t read the books. She’d somewhat dramatically ripped off the concealing cuff when the other three hadn’t believed that she’d known.

They’re wiping at their eyes as they file out of the cinema, discussing the difference between book and screen when a British man’s voice rings out across the lobby in surprise. The lightening tower, the green light, it’s all as Sheila had foreseen.  

“I can’t believe that Dumbledore died!”

The four friends freeze in surprise. Caroline whirls round, eyes scanning the room for the source of the exclamation. A downright gorgeous blond man, talking animatedly to two blonde women who going off the resemblance have to be his sisters, while three other men walk behind them nodding.

Caroline doesn’t even think about using her indoor voice when she screeches in incandescent rage “YOU! IT WAS YOU!” jabbing her finger into the air at him to direct her accusation.

He might be one good-looking son of a bitch but he had destroyed the magic of Harry Potter for her. He’s going the fuck down. Just as Caroline and the others had, the blond asshole, who she has referred to as Dursley for years and his entourage freeze.

Evidently, they are all well aware of what words are tattooed on Dursley –bastard’s wrist.  A tall, dark haired mischievious looking guy in the back dissolves into laughter and Caroline’s soulmate kind of drifts across the sticky carpet towards her. He looks like a runway model but he’s watching her with a kind of dreamstruck awe on his face.

He stops in front of her. Looks at his wrist and then back at her. A wicked, crooked smile grows on his lips, eyes dancing.

Oh fuck me. Caroline thinks. The colour of her thoughts takes a deeper, crimson hue. And he’s English. Fuck me. Caroline licked at her lips, nibbling unconsciously on the bottom one.

The blonde, chiselled Greek God in front of her stopped and his eyes stained a deeper shade of navy.

“That’s really not how I imagined those words being said” His voice was painfully husky, though at his words Caroline came out of her lust filled haze with a clunk.

The (apparent) love of her life had not only ruined Harry Potter but also reduced her to a puddle of goo after causing her to make a small scene. Not for the first time, Caroline considered what her life would have been like if she’d just become a nun as she’d seriously been considering at the height of Harry Potter when she couldn’t say anything.

So she slaps him.

If what-his-face hadn’t looked in love before he certainly did now.

“My name is Klaus” he says, pointed and edging closer.

“Caroline”

“Enchante”

“Charmed”

“That’s what it means” His smart mouth was as bad as hers. Oh boy.

Case in point the next thing that comes out of Caroline’s mouth is “You ruined Harry Potter for me” its whispered in a sort of bewildered betrayal. Klaus looks as if he’s about to object before he evidently remembers that soulmates get their marks at the same time.

His mouth does a little ‘oh’ of understanding.

And that’s how Klaus ended up taking Caroline to Harry Potter World by way of apology for their first date.