On Sunday evening I was upset, not because Johnlock hadn’t become canon, but because it was just a genuinely bad and disappointing episode, not to mention season finale, in my opinion. There were plotholes and illogical leaps and dropped story lines all over the place, not to mention reverting our beautifully crafted characters back to a level way before this season, despite of the beautiful development we’ve seen in John and Sherlock in TLD.
But now… after seeing people on my dash who are just so crushed because Johnlock didn’t happen… I mean, I was expecting it too, but apparently it meant a whole lot more to some people than it did to me.
And I’d like to tell those people that I’m sorry. I’m sorry we were denied positive, well written representation once again. I’m sorry that the represtation we got was only through villains. I’m sorry they dragged mental health into the story in such a despicable way. I’m sorry all our female characters were reduced to further a man’s story once again. I’m sorry that we were once more let down by two white men. I’m especially sorry we were let down by someone who’s queer himself. I would have expected this kind of horrendous queerbaiting and sexist writing from Steven Moffat, but I am actually going to be blaming Mark Gattiss all the more for it. Because he should know, what under- and wrong representation feels like. He should know. Yet he still agreed to do this.
I don’t care if they Reichenbached their own show. I don’t care whether they think it was actually a great finale. I don’t care whether or not we will get a fourth episode. All I want is some explanation to what they were thinking. Because we’re not wrong. We can’t be wrong. Sometimes the fandom theories are far-reaching, yes. But there is a ton of canon material in the show to support Johnlock. Lines, looks, mirrors, metaphores… things that can’t have been put there by accident. Things that we thought were there to build up to something beautiful. Things that in the end, were dragged through the mud as cheap jokes aimed at queer folk.
I want them to give us some kind of explanation to why all of those things were there and why they would keep going with it, even when they became aware of how much this meant to many, many young queer people. Because they could have stopped giving us hints and teases and more subtext. They could have. But they didn’t. They continued to string us along and get our hopes up. “Love conquers all”. “Sherlock Holmes is in love, but with who?”. Putting the “I love you.” into the trailer. These were deliberate, cruel choices and I want them to answer for it.
I want them to be aware of the way this is affecting young queer people, the way I am aware of it, seeing them on my dash. There is not just confusion and anger. There is hoplessness. There is despair. There is people doubting their own perception and ability to understand a story. There is suicidal thoughts. And it breaks my heart to see this.
Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat are to speak at the Cambridge Union on the 20th of January. I hope they will be faced with the anger, despair and upset they have caused.
I wasn’t this upset about Johnlock not becoming canon on Sunday. But now I am. Because I can see what it is doing to the people around me. And I’m scared. I’m scared about the number of blogs that will stop updating and about the reason behind it.
But please. Please remember. This fandom has some of the best artists and writers I’ve ever heard of. Some of the most creative and thoughtful and kind people. Don’t give up. If you’re denied representation, go out and make it yourself. Keep writing your stories, keep making your art. Just please keep going and show them how it’s supposed to be done.
Every single critique of disney I see in art and culture is always the same boring superficial commentary without offering literally anything new to the table. Like there’s so many opportunities to criticize disney as a corporation and a major cultural influence but everything I see boils down to “what if disney…….was DARK!?!?” as if they struck gold and were the first person to ever make that kind of observation
A friend and I had a conversation which I have edited and turned into a sort of essay. Explanations are indented in this manner.
Friend: Can I complain to you about represtation of Jews in
media? American Media, that is. So, I was watching this Idea Channel video
(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VALaI9HpmUw) and I was like, yeah every
minority is getting their time in the spotlight, by Jews are still off to the
side. It’s like the world is saying “The world is diverse! But Jews are
still all white and assimilated” /Only defined by the Holocaust (i.e.
Magneto)and/or Israel. But that’s totally untrue! If, Ms.Marvel is awesome for
being the first Muslim character to headline a comic (which she is), why not so
with an openly Jewish Jew?
DAO was so completely about introducing us to the world of Thedas. The origins, and the fact that we could play as pretty much any typical type of role one might have within the Ferelden borders (apart from a human commoner or chasind/avvar) was definitely a part of that, but I think the companions played a large part too.
Many of the companions in DAO are kind of stereotypes of some part of what they represent within a Thedosian context. Even those who aren’t are still representatives of some aspect of Thedas.
Morrigan is pretty much exactly what the chantry wants you to think every apostate is, so she gives you a good idea of who the general populace thinks aoostates are.
Without her or someone like her, it would have been harder for DA2 to subvert the Thedosian idea of who apostates are. Anders, Merril, Behany and potentially Hawke are such different people, and different from Morrigan, thus showcasing that as are apostates.
Sten acts exactly as he ought to according to the Qun, he’s very much the whole game’s representant of Qunari, so he had to be someone who believed strongly in the Qun to work well as that when no other Qunari really play a role in the game.
So in DAI they can do Iron Bull since they’ve already introduced us to “typical” Qunari in the previous games.
Oghren is a standard fantasy dwarf, who they introduced first to give you an idea of dwarves in this setting. If they hadn’t had a “typical” dwarven companion first, Varric would not come off as so atypical as he’s meant to.
Wynne seems pretty typical of your average, non-rebellious circle mage. She serves as the introduction to circle mages in general (unless one rolled an Amell or Surana, of course, but still).
Zevran is probably (on the surface) a lot like the stereotypical impression a Fereldener or Marcher might have of Antivan people, and so he expands the world a bit that way.
Of course they really don’t do much with this, if memory serves almost every Antivan that’s encountered in the first two games fits the stereotype. Josephine doesn’t exactly, but she’s not a clear departure from it either. But yeah he was our introduction to the existence of Antiva and of the Crows.
Leliana sort of serves as an limited introduction to Orlais and The Game and that whole world, as well as to the Andrastian faith.
Of course she also dose a lot of exposition about the world and it’s legends, again giving us some basic insight into the world that more interesting things can be done with later (like Ser Aveline and how Hawke’s Aveline feels about that, for example).
Alistair gives us an insight into what the average Fereldener thinks. His reactions to Morrigan are the clash between common societal values and someone in violation of those.
Now Shale doesn’t really serve a function like this, probably because they’re DLC and thus wouldn’t really work as an introduction to anything. One could argue they introduces us to golems and ancient dwarve society, but that’s already touched upon in The Anvil of the Void (and hasn’t really been taken much further, apart from (possibly? I have yet to play it) The Descent DLC).
Some of the companions in Awakening are like this as well.
Justice is our first introduction to spirits as conscious, potentially benevolent beings. He carves the way for Cole, who is an atypical spirit because he has corporal form. Justice set up “this is what it’s like for a spirit in the waking world” and Cole broke those rules.
Velanna was probably conceived as “extremist” to showcase what kind of sentiments Dalish hold against humans. This was, of course, explored in Nature of the Beast, but, if nothing else, Velanna is the first Dalish elf we really get to know and so she speaks a lot about what has been done to the Dalish.
Merrill’s willingness to leave her clan and live among humans becomes atypical with this context, although of course Merrill is still very “elfy” and speaks a lot about Elven history.
Anders, of course, is already a subversion of both Wynne and Morrigan, but he’s also the first true representative of unsatisfied circle mages, which is so par for the cause by DAI that Vivienne becomes a subversion, but in DAO itself, there really wasn’t a prominent, non-villainous character like that.
I do think that all of this is what made it possible to have more varied and nuaced characters in the later games. I mean of course many of the characters still serve purposes like this, that is why we have characters from so many different countries, but there are also many of the more recent characters who don’t carry the weight of represting a whole chunk of the worldbuilding.
Solas can get away with being ill-defined (pre-Trespasser) because of all the elves and apostates that came before.
Varric, Iron Bull and Sera get to diverge from the "typical” dwarf/Qunari/elf.
Cole and Vivienne get to break the “rules” of being a spirit/being a circle mage, while we still understand that those rules exist.
Basically solid worldbuilding provides the chance for subversion of in-story archetypes.