or grandmother

something i always forget but then am delighted to remember is one time in the seventies my grandmother went to an art history lecture at the met and the lecturer put up a slide and was like “this is a very dope statue, no???? anyway one of the bronzes is missing :(” and my grandmother was like, “…..hm”

and then during the Q&A very politely put her hand up and said, “hello i have good news!! i know where the missing bronze is” and the lecturer was like, “come again please?” and my grandmother went, “yeah, it’s on my dining room table, do you … want it?”

anyway it’s in the met now but please take a moment to imagine being like, a tired art historian who’s teaching a poorly-attended art history lecture for the general public and some random woman in the audience raises her hand and instead of asking you about why watercolors are pretty just reveals to you the location of a famous missing statue

Aziraphale and Crowley stand in the crowd until they both feel Jesus taking his last breath. And Crowley makes to leave but Aziraphale grabs him by the wrist and he doesn’t say anything, he just keeps his eyes on the dirt and his head bowed and he just hopes Crowley can understand because he can’t be alone right now and he can’t accept his part in this and he can’t understand and this time, somehow, ineffable just tastes like dirt in his mouth so they go back to where Crowley is staying and they drink and they don’t talk until Aziraphale can barely see straight and he finally asks Crowley what he did that was so bad that he was Fallen. And he’s never asked before and Crowley wants to be snarky but Aziraphale looks so confused and wounded that Crowley just tops off his wine and says. 

“Asked why they needed to suffer.”

And that’s the moment Aziraphale feels the first threads of something inside him breaking.

Because he’s been wondering that himself.  

It frustrates me how indigenous religions are often just considered “spirituality” by mainstream white Americans. these traditions are deeply rooted in community and do have a formal structure. many of them even require intense initiation! stop delegitimizing these groups so you can appropriate from them :/ because they don’t fit your christian-centric understanding of religion.

RR CRIT: East Asian Representation

I’m not sure whether or not this is the right time to jump on the bandwagon of RR Crit when there is already so much being debated, but as an East Asian, I have definitely noticed several things this fandom and Rick might have got a little off or wrong about our cultures, or just portrayed them in a negative light which may fall into stereotypes. Please note that this list may not cover every single point worthy of criticism regarding the East Asian characters of PJO/HoO/ToA.

Note: I live in Hong Kong and am ethnically, culturally and nationally Chinese. The Japanese aspect of this post may not be 100% accurate and I rely on my limited knowledge and TV Tropes on this part. I also rely on the Traditional Chinese translation to help me.

Chinese

FRANK ZHANG

  • The renditioning of his Chinese name is incorrect. In SoN, his grandmother calls him “Fai Zhang”, which is incorrect on several different levels.
  1. The name order: Chinese names are presented as surname first, given name last, not the Western order. Japanese names are also rendered this way in Japanese (but in Western order in Western media), Korean names are rendered the same way, and even Hungarian names are like this. Dude had one job and couldn’t even do it right.
  2. The romanization method: Zhang is obviously a pinyin/post-PRC takeover rendition of 張/张, while Fai is likely to be in either Wade-Giles or isn’t Mandarin Chinese altogether - I suspect Cantonese, which I made a theory for. The “different romanized topolects in one name” thing is not unheard of in Hong Kong, where I’ve seen “Mando-surname, Canto-given-name” combinations (disregarding the form of Mandarin romanization used - I’ve seen both pinyin and Wade-Giles), but it most certainly is uncommon. I can get more into this later per request - send in an ask and I’ll give all the legal name combinations for romanization in Hong Kong that I’ve seen.
  • It is more of a consistency issue than anything, but in-universe, Frank apparently didn’t know how to read Chinese more than his own name. With a grandmother like his, how did he go over fifteen years without learning to read Chinese? He also lived in/near Vancouver, a city with a large Chinese population. How could he not know!?? And within two weeks, he somehow knew enough Chinese to read off a tourist Google Maps in Rome. How did he teach himself to read Chinese, a difficult language for Westerners to master, within two weeks? Even if many foreign names are transliterated into pinyin in Chinese, he would have to recognize the characters used in the transliteration, know the pinyin for the words, be able to transliterate the name, then guess the Western name of the place, all without the use of a computer? That’s not possible if you’re a newbie to any form of Chinese, in spite of what I wrote in Remembrance (my fanfic).
  • The “Amazhang” Pun: This is more of a fandom issue than anything, since it’s never used in canon. The “a” in Zhang sounds more like a non-rhotic “ar”, and the “zh” is like a nasal “j” sound with rolling tongue. Whenever I see that pun, I have to force myself to say it in the Western pronunciation to get the pun - it’s more of a pet peeve than anything, but still.
  • Why is he so underrated? Once again, a fandom thing. Why is he the least popular out of the Seven in the fandom? I’m not sure if racism has anything to do with this or not, but my point stands. Why is he so underrated in the fandom? But then again, he is underrated in canon too, sometimes the inadvertent butt of jokes and gags. Dude, uncool.
  • The whole Love Triangle From Hell thing… still not cool.
  • The “Ghost Month” thing: I as a city person… don’t care about the Ghost Month as much, and neither do much of my family, and we are “Westernized” Chinese people at that. The quote “Tell me it’s a coincidence we’re searching for the Doors or Death during the ghost month” (HoH Ch10) seems a tad ooc and superstitious. Some Chinese people are very superstitious, but for someone who was primarily raised in Western and not Chinese culture, that is just… weird. Contradicts previous characterization. Dude can’t even stick to one characterization, even if it’s a shitty characterization. And ANOTHER point regarding the “ghost month” is that it refers to the seventh month on the LUNAR calendar (Western calendar - starts in mid to late July or even August), not July (Gregorian calendar). Specifically in 2010, the so-called Ghost Month wouldn’t start until 12 July because that’s the first day of the seventh lunar month, but the conversation where they talked about the Ghost Month took place on 5 July. Gods, I thought being raised in a place with such a large Chinese diaspora would have taught you the difference between the two calendars. At least the celebration of Tuen Ng Festival, aka Dragon Boat Festival needn’t be brought up in canon as it took place days before SoN began, instead of during the bulk of the plot, or I’d have to register another complaint.
  • (taken from the post of @queenangst) His arc: The bigger part of his HoO arc is becoming more confident, yes, but it also involves getting pretty buff and tall. (Personal jealousy because I am also Chinese and am very, very short - maybe it’s the northern genes? Northerners are taller than southerners, but Frank would be tall even for a northerner…) Slight fatphobic implications here because he basically “lost his fat” to become buff so as to get his character development (physically). I don’t deny his character got some development, but the way it was physically represented is kind of fatphobic AND unnecessary.
  • (taken from the post of @housemartius, specifically from the reply of @pipersgay) Descriptions: “Baby man” and “panda”… yeah, that’s not very nice in hindsight. And I’m quite sure 16yo Chinese folks wouldn’t have much of a baby face, especially when they’re raised in a healthy environment where their growth wouldn’t be stunted by poor nutrition and therefore puberty would start earlier. The best canon-compliant explanation would be that he’s a late bloomer, but I don’t think late bloomers mean THIS late in most cases (taken from the post of @lesbiansism). Also, Rick… sumo wrestlers are Japanese, not Chinese. Stop promoting Interchangeable Asian Cultures.
  • (taken from the post of @housemartius, specifically from the reply of @alfie167) Despite having Western relatives, he has little to no on-page interaction with them in BoO - everything takes place off-page and honestly, it would have been interesting to see their interaction, because family really matters to the Chinese.
  • His lack of dyslexia: Yeah, it’s cool to know it is possible that some demigods don’t have dyslexia, but he is East Asian… maybe you should have picked a different and/or another demigod of a different ethnicity to play this part (as well). Also, in case you are wondering, East Asian kids can get learning disabilities too and in Hong Kong, kids with dyslexia receive some forms of support like more time to finish their exams and printing assessments and maybe assignments in larger font for easier reading, or so I vaguely recall.
  • Being raised more Western: Chinese people, especially in the diaspora, are pretty proud of their heritage overall. And Vancouver, a city where Frank and his family live in/near, houses a large part of the Chinese Canadian diaspora. Dude was basically raised in Chinese culture and/or multicultural society and hardly talk about it. How Frank managed to not go 16 years without much regard for all of THAT Chinese culture exposure and not mention it before MoA (starting with the Chinese handcuffs thing), I have no idea. Dammit, Rick, you did something similar with Piper, so no wonder you messed up here.

GRANDMOTHER ZHANG

  • The lady interchangeably uses Mandarin and Cantonese. She seems to mostly use Mandarin, but there was one point in SoN where she calls Juno a gwai po, which is an explicitly Cantonese way of derogatorily referring to a white woman who is middle-aged or older. How the lady came to know Cantonese, a southern topolect, when her ancestors are from Gansu, a northern province where residents speak Mandarin, I cannot be certain. I made a theory on this months ago, where I use immigration patterns to suggest she is descended from Gansu residents on her father’s side and Cantonese immigrants from her mother’s side, but it is definitely not canon and I would like Rick to explain. Refer to my Chinese Culture tag for the theories and headcanons about Frank’s name and family history.
  • Her name: Disregarding even the immigration theory, it is not possible for Zhang to be her maiden name, or at least, it probably isn’t. This implies that her husband is surnamed Zhang, and presumably died before he made an impact on Frank’s life or even before he was born. But most Chinese people still go by their maiden names after they get married, so I might be able to get away with this by citing Carrie Lam, current Chief Executive of Hong Kong (and hated by a decent chunk of the population), as an example - Lam is her married surname, while Cheng is her maiden name, and she has chosen not to go by it, and that is understandable. But I am not a big fan of this because of how uncommon it is in real-life usage (as well as the example mentioned above being a possible contributing factor), so we are back to square one for this. [On top of her maiden name debate, we don’t know her given name either. It is understandable that Frank exclusively refers to her as “grandmother”, even in narration, because that’s the respectful thing to do - always call someone of higher standing than you (Confucianism is a huge part of Chinese culture and hierarchy is a big thing) by their title. But you can’t live with someone for 15 years without knowing their real names. And funnily enough, no one in this fandom has given her a fanon name. I’ve definitely thought about it and cannot decide on anything.]
  • Her encouraging Frank to pursue a (future) relationship with Hazel: It’s not really about Hazel’s age here, but Frank’s - the old lady is really traditional, but where I live, where ethnic Chinese people make up over 90% of the population, dating before university is frowned upon, because it takes time away from studying (education is highly valued in the Sinosphere), making dating a very 18+ thing, while Frank was 16 in SoN. The best explanation I can give is her being raised in a Western country (Canada) affecting her view on romance, when in Western countries, teenagers dating is perfectly acceptable behaviour. Even now, I have reservations on most of the cast being in a relationship at all - I made a post on this a little while back.
  • Her unknown current status: Is she alive? Is she dead? Who knows! Canon never says.
  • She reminds me of Mulan’s grandma in Disney (1998 movie), and it’s a little discomforting in hindsight because of the Expy trope.
  • (taken from the post of @lesbiansism) She’s more stern and cold. Though there definitely are Chinese parents and guardians who prefer to practise tough love, it’s about time to quit the stereotype, because Chinese parents and grandparents do come in all shapes and sizes - loving parents, abusive parents, stern parents, entitled parents, parents who aren’t perfect but try their best, parents who are obsessed with their kids’ grades, parents who are human.
  • Comparison with Aunt Rosa: This happened during Chapter 10 of HoH, referring to the death honouring customs of different cultures. Saying that the two would have got along… well, Rosa was literally abusive to her nephew. Not a great comparison, in hindsight.

EMILY ZHANG

  • We don’t know much about her.
  • She is a minority, and she is dead. Not exactly great.
  • We don’t know her Chinese given name either. It’s not as important of a point, but as a Chinese person, it matters. And I don’t see anyone giving her a name either… if anyone wants to give these two Chinese ladies Chinese names, I can definitely give a couple of pointers.

SHERMAN YANG

  • Only assumed to be Chinese from his surname.
  • From the little we know about him, the dude tried to bully a 12yo girl. Doesn’t make a good impression at all, even if you’re just a minor character.
  • Once again, surname pronunciation, where “Yang” in Mandarin sounds closer to “Young” than “Yank”.

BILLIE NG

  • Why I put her as Chinese is because of her surname, Ng, which is a rendering of several surnames in southern China, depending on the topolect. The traditional Chinese translation uses 吳, which is a Cantonese surname, and I headcanon her to be a Hongkonger like me, but it would also be interesting if she were from Macau, because Macau is more underrepresented in media than HK. She also happens to be a fairly overlooked character and has very few fanfics about her. But canon never states her to be Chinese, which is disappointing.
  • Hair dye: Many of us do not dye our hair, or not to her extent. Hair dye is sometimes used to lighten our dark hair to brown or reddish brown, or is used to hide greying hair from ageing; and hair dye is already frowned upon in Chinese culture by some because it “damages” the body given to us by our parents (ancient Chinese philosophical stuff, which is also why many Chinese people refuse to donate their organs after passing away). Her dying her hair BLUE is already unusual, and she is just in her teenage years! I do strongly support self-discovery as a teenager, but for this girl, I really hope that the dye is temporary and not permanent.
  • Makeup: It is not to say that the use of cosmetics is discouraged in modern China, since many skin-lightening products are sold (pale skin symbolizes being rich enough to not toil in the fields and get a tan, back in the old days), but makeup is usually to look natural and subtle and not be say, a clown. Seeing a likely East Asian girl with golden makeup is definitely a tad jarring, to say the least.
  • Apparel: Most teenagers do not dress like K-pop stars, not in the US, not in East Asia - we wear normal clothes like jeans and T-shirts. If they want to emulate pop stars, fine, they might go and learn Korean to understand their songs and stuff, but they wouldn’t really do so in garish, “weird” ways like wearing a freaking silver coat. Also, wearing that in a Death Race? Impractical as heck - it might get dirty, and it would practically be a monster magnet since it’s so distinguishable. [And since HK is farther south than most of the US, it is definitely less cold here and I’m surprised she’s not kitted out in parkas and/or down coats if she hasn’t lived there for long, though NYC being less humid than HK might make winters more bearable.]
  • The whole K-pop thing in general: Timeline wise, I don’t think K-pop gained traction in HK or the world in general before 2012 (Gangnam Style), and ToA presumably took place in 2011. The gap isn’t as big as other things like Love is an Open Door (2013) and Hamilton (2015+), but it’s still there, but even I’m not so sure of this point, as I can barely remember anything from my childhood in general (I was about 8 when Gangnam Style became a thing). Culture wise, Rick might have accidentally helped promote Interchangeable Asian Cultures - for the record, South Korea is a three-to-four hour flight from Hong Kong and/or southern China. It’s a whole different country. Implications are not really good here, okay? Someone even assumed that she’s Korean when she “dressed like a K-pop star”, but her surname indicates that she’s a Chinese person who speaks, or is descended from someone who speaks, a topolect/regional speech/“dialect”!
  • “Wisp” of a girl: It could imply being a “soft and delicate” Asian girl (stereotype).
  • We barely know anything about her.

Note to the fandom: I did not feel that represented with Frank, mainly because he’s a canonical northerner, and one not as connected to his heritage at that. As a Chinese southerner… this is why I basically adopted Billie recently and have been part-time using her for projecting into the Riordanverse, partially because she barely as a canonical personality.

Japanese

GENERAL ISSUES

  • Do the Japanese characters in the series also have Japanese names? Many Chinese people take on Western names because it functions as a nickname and is more convenient for Westerners who cannot speak Chinese, but Japanese people rarely do this and many stick to their Japanese names.
  • All these characters have Japanese surnames but are not confirmed to be Japanese. Smh…

ETHAN NAKAMURA

He is not necessarily good rep for East Asians entirely, because he functions as an antagonist, and though “diverse” antagonists is always a bonus, being the one (1) East Asian in a book series with a mostly white cast while also being antagonistic carries some pretty unfortunate implications. And he also died. Not cool.

DREW TANAKA

Another East Asian with antagonistic tendencies. The most we know of her is that she is the go-to mean girl with the vanity and the heartlessness, which doesn’t paint a very nice and sympathetic picture. She also doesn’t have a lot of brains, which definitely goes against the “nerd” stereotype, but falls into the “Asian Airhead” trope. Also, her trying to get together with Jason, a guy who is most likely white… more unfortunate implications come flying out of the woodwork. And her lack of character development is… a little disappointing, tbh.

ALICE MIYAZAWA

We barely know her. The little we know about her is that she’s a daughter of Hermes who enjoys pranking. Yeah, that might subvert traditional Japanese values, which places emphasis on hard work and persistence, and I am not sure if it is Rick’s place or mine to break the party up. [I do not speak for Japan, and I am 100% not sure how accurate this is for Japan, but here in HK, we aren’t big on pranking.]

Unclear

MICHAEL YEW

We don’t even know if he is East Asian or not, since Yew can be a Western surname as well as an Eastern one, but for this, I am going off of the traditional Chinese translation again, which renders his name like an East Asian, and his surname with the specific transliteration of 尤, and the physical description of his hair and eye colour (dark hair, brown eyes) definitely sounds East Asian to me. Which begs the question of what kind of East Asian he would be - Han Chinese (specifically from Fujian, another southern Chinese province), Han Taiwanese, Mongolian, Miao (a subdivision being the Hmong people as Westerners would know them), or even Taiwanese Aboriginal. Personally, I am inclined to go with the non-Han minorities, because they are also underrepresented in media - archery is a traditional sport in Mongolia, some Miao people wield crossbows, etc. but I am not certain if this would help enforce stereotypes rather than break them. Personally, I would want more input from the fandom over this issue.

Also, he’s kind of dead. That speaks for itself, and worse still that he is the first named casualty of the Battle of Manhattan.

MRS. CHASE

She is not exactly portrayed as sympathetic when concerning Annabeth and her childhood, not with disregarding her fears and not treating her equally like her blood children and stuff. And also the evil poc stepmother of our white protagonist - even more bad implications.

Conclusion

While any prejudice against East Asians in the Camp Half-Blood Chronicles is not as apparent as other cultures, there are definitely points in time where I would raise an eyebrow at Rick’s decisions in regard to them.

On top of this, in this entire effing list, only 3/10 of the characters are confirmed East Asian. THREE OUT OF TEN. It’s like queerbaiting but with racism instead of homophobia. At the same time, other than one (1) East Asian protagonist with less development, insight and attention placed on him than the rest of the cast, all the other East Asians are either dead, antagonistic, and/or minor characters to the point few acknowledge their existence. As Oversimplified would put it, “Dude, uncool.”

I personally doubt this list is complete, so if anyone wants to point anything out to me, I would gladly respond via inbox or notes section, and add any other suggestions given. Also, even if this list contains many headcanons and theories and canon complaint reasoning, it does not excuse Rick’s bad writing on his part - as a canon-sympathetic person, I try to explain things in-universe, while as a canon-critical person, I criticize the meta reason why I had to explain such things in-universe and more.

I hope you gained a little more insight on the situation from this post. Even if the East Asians of the Riordanverse are more overlooked, being overlooked by itself is a form of racism and I seek to help correct all of this. My East Asian fam has been done dirty by Rick, though perhaps to a less significant extent than many others, but I believe it’s about high time someone pointed this out.

New life goal:

I will become grandma energy. Imma take up needlepoint, crochet, and knitting; have a ridiculous amount of paper back books; I will be baking somethin scrumptious every day bro. My house will eternally smell like cookies. Imma have that grandma lace decor all over my home. I must become..

✨ultimate grandma✨

Little Ways to Bring Sustainability into Cottagecore. 🍄📚☀️📖☕️

•Make your own bread/baking/food (especially things that can only be found plastic wrapped)

•Make your laundry detergent and dish soap, or buy eco friendly ones

•Buy in bulk with your own containers

•Use glass and metal containers to store things in, as opposed to plastic

•~*C O M P O S T*~

•Buy local and trade with neighbours to keep business small and purposeful

•Reuse, repair, and repurpose old stuff

•Spend more time outside and less time wasting electricity

•Permaculture gardens!!!

•Go thrifting and antiquing before buying new

•Buy cute lil totes (especially from local artists) and stop using plastic bags

•Be mindful of what you’re consuming. Food and fashion wise, and otherwise. Take note of what you truly want or need.

•Hang your clothes on a line to dry

•Learn to hem and mend your own clothing

•Educate yourself on water conservation (especially in gardens)

& I understand: when people say the tongue

is the strongest muscle in the body, they mean it is strong enough

to hold an entire history on its back & still sing.

Brandon Melendez, from “Etymology of Absence, Ending in My Grandmother Singing “México En La Piel”,” Gold That Frames the Mirror

I had to drive my mom’s car to Seattle and back. The bad part? I’ve never driven a car in my entire life, the gas and brake kept switching pedals, I live 3 hours away from Seattle, I wasn’t wearing my glasses,and my grandmother was in the front seat telling me everything I was doing wrong. Plus, when I got to Seattle I had to drive straight back because grandma forgot her handbag.