old scrubs

  • Inside Makoto's mind: Wait, is Haru into me? Quick, make a bad joke and see if she laughs.
  • Makoto: Did you hear the one about the skeleton who couldn't go to the party? He had no body to go with!
  • Haru: *laughing* That's really funny!
  • Inside Makoto's mind: Well, that's not a fair test... That joke is hilarious.
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Happy 42nd birthday, Zach Braff!
April 6, 1975

6

and one day i will look back on all of this and smile, because my burns will have soothed and the cuts will be nothing but silvery scars. i will have stopped the sadness from spreading to my fingertips, and all that was colorless will be bright again. i will have bathed myself in new love, replaced the old and scrubbed it all from the cracks and crevices of my soul. i will have locked the inner voices elsewhere and taught them to love instead of hate. one day i will be whole again.


but today is not that day.

—  and then it’s gone

Most if not all readers probably remember the following story, told by Ser Axell the night before Stannis’ fleet was set to take Davos to Lord Wyman Manderly:

As the salmon was being served, Ser Axell Florent had entertained the table with the tale of a Targaryen princeling who kept an ape as a pet. This prince liked to dress the creature in his dead son’s clothes and pretend he was a child, Ser Axell claimed, and from time to time he would propose marriages for him. The lords so honored always declined politely, but of course they did decline. “Even dressed in silk and velvet, an ape remains an ape,” Ser Axell said. “A wiser prince would have known that you cannot send an ape to do a man’s work.”

The symbolism of the story is apparent on its face, with Davos explicitly thinking after that he was “as much a lord as [Axell], and a better man”. Typical of a haughty Florent, Ser Axell sought to emphasize how little changing one’s outward appearance served to make one a member of true nobility; an ape is an ape, even in velvet and silk, and no lord would dare betroth his daughter to an ape. The story serves as an important thematic beat for Davos as he approaches the Merman’s Court: Davos has long struggled with his identity as onion knight turned lord and Hand, but facing Lord Manderly, Davos has to believe that he is legitimate enough an envoy of his king to treat with the Lord of White Harbor in his own hall. Stannis did not merely dress Davos up with a “string of titles” to parade him as his pet lord; he rewarded Davos for the loyalty and honesty Davos already possessed, making him in name what he already was in character.  To be sure, the story bears an obvious message, but it is a message which works with its teller and its subject.

What I did not realize is how that message returns in a more subtle way at the end of ADWD. After Gerrick Kingsblood - purported descendant of King-Beyond-the-Wall Raymun Redbeard, a man eager to tell everyone of the royal blood in his veins - comes through the Wall with Tormund Giantsbane, Jon agrees to present the would-be king and his three red-haired daughters to Selyse Florent. In the following chapter, as Jon goes to Selyse and her court to present his idea for the mission to Hardhome, Selyse has her Florent uncle bring Gerrick in to her court:

“Let us speak of other matters. Axell, bring in the wildling king, if you would be so good.”

“At once, Your Grace.” Ser Axell went through a door and returned a moment later with Gerrick Kingsblood. “Gerrick of House Redbeard,” he announced, “King of the Wildlings.”

Gerrick Kingsblood was a tall man, long of leg and broad of shoulder. The queen had dressed him in some of the king’s old clothes, it appeared. Scrubbed and groomed, clad in green velvets and an ermine half-cape, with his long red hair freshly washed and his fiery beard shaped and trimmed, the wildling looked every inch a southron lord. He could walk into the throne room at King’s Landing, and no one would blink an eye, Jon thought.

“Gerrick is the true and rightful king of the wildlings,” the queen said, “descended in an unbroken male line from their great king Raymun Redbeard, whereas the usurper Mance Rayder was born of some common woman and fathered by one of your black brothers.”

It’s exactly the same. Not that Gerrick is an ape, of course (Jon thinks of him as a fool, but he was at least wise enough to come with Tormund Giantsbane through the Wall), but that Axell is doing precisely what he derided in that nameless Targaryen prince. Axell has effectively taken a wildling for a pet royal: he and Selyse have dressed him up in the discarded clothes of a king, and are now forcing her courtiers to treat Gerrick as the “true and rightful King of the Wildlings” (and, lest anyone miss the story connection, Selyse thereafter announces that Gerrick’s eldest daughter is to be betrothed to her “beloved Axell”). Gerrick, as Tormund Giantsbane would tell anyone who would listen, is no true royal, no more than the prince’s ape was; he is descended not from Raymun Redbeard but from Raymun’s younger brother, who fled the Battle of Long Lake rather than be killed. To wildlings looking for a king, as Jon thinks, that descent matters about as much as claiming descent from Raymun’s horse - and yet there is Gerrick, looking “every inch a southron lord”, being acknowledged as a prince.

That’s what I love so much about this pausing to detail Gerrick’s dress and daughters’ betrothals; I’m almost certain GRRM intended it as a callback to Axell’s story. This moment highlights how much of a hypocrite and villain Axell Florent truly is: a man who would denounce Davos Seaworth as an ape in velvet, and yet treat a wildling newly come from beyond the Wall as an equal to any of Selyse’s assembled southron knights. Indeed, Axell actually goes beyond the prince of the tale: while the lords offered the ape’s hand for their daughters would always politely decline, Axell has openly accepted the hand of his pet king’s daughter. Again, the message is more subtle here than it was toward Davos, now emphasizing Axell’s hollowness. Axell Florent might have an ancient name and a queen for a niece, but Davos was correct to say that he is the “better man”; as it was convenient for Axell to mock Davos without Stannis there to protect him, so it is now convenient for Axell to say that a wildling is a rightful king, and take a wildling “princess” for a bride. By taking the time to describe Gerrick’s new royal dress and daughters’ betrothals, GRRM reminds the readers that the story of the prince and his ape cuts both ways - a reflection on Davos’ identity struggle, but an underlining as well of Axell’s reproachable character.

I swear I didn’t forget Lack-Two’s bday yesterday, just like all the other bdays lately they’re just in my finals/exams season in my schooling, so I haven’t had time to make them all something proper for their bdays QvQ So I’m hoping these sketches will suffice hhhhh

Sleep Easy, Little One

AO3

Rating: G

Summary: Stan will do anything to look after his little family, no matter what.
And right now there’s a little girl who needs someone to tell her there’s no such thing as monsters.

AN: Fluff! I needed to get some fluff out. An old memory I have that very much fits Stan and Mabel.

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