I’m not understanding why some people are confused as to why Danarius is featured in most fenhawke fic when literally Fenris seeks Hawke’s support when facing his sister, which in turn, streams down into Hawke being present when Fenris kills Danarius. It’s a huge element of why we see Fenris as we do. Fenris’ story and character are complex reads. It’s sort of a disservice to undermine that, in my opinion.
This isn’t me saying that fluff fic and fic entirely removed from that aspect of Fenris can’t and shouldn’t be created, but his character is built on the idea that his evolving identity is initially rooted in once being Danarius’ slave. Self-preservation, strength, survival and striving to coexist with his trauma so that he can healthily love someone to the best of his ability are strong goals in terms of character development. It’s a significant narrative that has a tendency to be butchered when you can see where Fenris’ narrative was handled with at least some consideration.
One of the best things about Fenris is how he settles into Kirkwall and instates himself as a part of something that is foremost his choice. It’s his choice to walk away from Hawke, and it’s also his choice to return. He jokes around, hangs out with friends, discusses faith and divulges very personal information about suicidal thoughts, becomes jealous, tenses up and snaps when his experiences are diluted, faces demons head on, faces his abuser head on, falls in love, experiences heart wrenching choices, laughs, flirts, gambles (and gets in the hole with it), indulges his curiosity, has moments of petty conflict, and he proves himself to be heavily diplomatic, intelligent and willing to continue learning and evolving his ideas. After leaving Hawke, he even pointedly spends his years trying to learn about himself and put his equilibrium first.
Fenris is an awesomely complex character study, and no, slavery and Danarius don’t define him. Abuse shouldn’t define a person. Though, it is okay for it to sometimes feel like it does, especially when you’re coming to terms, coping or simply seeking validation in your experiences. But his character isn’t given a chance to unfurl until he’s in a place where running isn’t the forefront of his focus and taking life by the reins is. He wavers, he copes, and he comes out of it with an abundance of autonomy.
So when you ask why people are inclined to focus on that part of Fenris, even if it’s not always graceful and dished out like a Pulitzer (Honestly, fuck that mindset. It’s fic and if you’re a discerning person, then you can tell when someone is earnestly trying. It’s a hard thing to write, okay?), then all of that is probably why. Fenris represents a lot to a lot of people, and mostly, it’s positive and inspiring but steps off that platform where Danarius is god awful hell.
To be clear, this isn’t in response to rape fantasy stories. That’s an entirely different topic I’ll never touch, but it’s the prevalence of Fenris’ pain in fic that I’m touching on. Pain is real. Pain is a part of the human experience, and some people prefer to delve into it rather than pretend it’s not real. Those aren’t fighting words for those who have to deal that way, but I think that’s what this issue boils down to.
The denomination of “regional” clothing is based in the notion of diversity according to social and geographic conditions, and other elements such as materials and practices, in way it contributes the comprehension of these specific types of clothing.
They are officiating clothes, linked to specific days or events and intractably connected to the idea of celebration. They bear a symbolism that walks hand-in-hand with religious practices, reflecting the culture of said region in a combination of elements that become easily distinguished between regions.
These costumes present themselves as a mythos, or a profound mythology, with its relation to a praxis connected to Catholicism. But they bear roots from the immense diversity of Portuguese history, from Muslim art forms that survived, and strived, through centuries, to ancient beliefs or superstitions, rooted in ancient pre-roman cultures, still alive today in many villages. They can be divided (1) in two great zones based on its polychromatic characteristics: as we get closer to the sea, women «enhance its polychromatic characteristics and complicate their clothing», as opposed to serranas, women from the ridges of the interior, that bear a more monochromatic way of dressing. This is evidenced through the wearing of the scarf, connected to the role of women in society: in serrana societies, of the interior, or the hillside of the country, women cover their forehead, whereas the coastline and south regions, where the sea is in direct relation toin the way of living, the forehead is released, evidencing more liberties of the role of women in its society.
Traditional costumes from Serra da Estrela, a type of serrana.
Costumes for romaria, male and female, from Póvoa de Vazim, a fishing town.
Five great elements can be pointed in Portuguese costuming overall (2):
1. The representation of affection, often a symbol crafted in some decorative element of the costume or adornment to be worn with the costume itself3. This affection doesn’t limit to representations of love, but also of grief in a much demarcated tradition of mourning, rooted in catholic liturgy (4).
A lovers’ handkerchief, or lenço dos namorados.
2) The proliferation of the usage of gold. Two elements play a part here, the first considering the financial security gold represented for lower-class people, since it could be pawned in a more desperate situation. It also secured the gold-bearer, usually the women being the most ostentatious ones, as the matron of the household, in a competitive spirit between neighbors. The usage of gold is so popular and traditional it maintains today, despite social class. The second element is of an intricate catholic inheritance, which we can trace back to the baroque era: the need to “distort” the body, which is to eliminate the sensual curves of the female body. As in the Iberian fashion of the 17th century women (5) found heavy gold and jewel decoration to cover parts of the body usually defined as sensual, such as the chest, this tradition passed on to popular costuming. A fine example of this gold usage is the minhota costume, where a certain “iconography” reads in a certain symbolism that traces back to the rocaille, particularly to queen D. Maria I, whose promise of raising a basilica if she bore a baron to the kingdom, resulted in Basílica da Estrela, a church to Sagrado Coração de Jesus, the Sacred Heart of Jesus, a symbol today popularized in minhota golden earrings with an asymmetrical heart. Many of these golden adornments can be traced back to interpretations or direct importations of jewelry wore by queens for different periods.
Example of heart-shaped arrecadas. Arrecadas are known of a few dominant shapes, mainly in gold (silver became popular only later, in a touristic fashion), of which the most beautiful in craft and better known are the Brincos à Rainha, the queen-style earrings.
3) Preference for linen and wool. Both materials are a strong symbol of a working class people, who both seek the best materials to guard them from the cold and find more accessible. Although silk was popular to a degree, it prevailed in nobility and aristocracy.
Two examples of a minhota costume: on the left, a bride and groom; on the right, a lavadeira (washerwoman). Notice the heavy gold wore by the bride on her chest.
4) The afore mentioned chromatic division between coastline and interior. While the colorful costuming of coastline societies reflected the festive spirit, the darker colors of the men and women living in the ridges translated the hardship of the work and lifestyle, as well the colder and aggravated climate.
A nazarene widdow costume, with the embuçada, the mourning veil.
5) Religiousness in costume ornamentation. Conceived mostly in accordance to the liturgical calendar, in a society where there is a saint for every day of the week and where birth, baptism, marriage and death were the most important moments of someone’s life, competition was vivid in festive costumes. During romaria (6), one dressed themselves to be seen.
The study of these costuming have only recently been more focused on from a scientific and anthropologic perspective. Through the eye romanticism, from Almeida Garret’s Viagens na Minha Terra (7) to the first naturalist and realist painter’s perspective, these costumes appear as a nationalistic embodiment of a people that withdraws its original intentions and usages from their context and gives them new ones. With the New Estate and the dictatorship, they were held as the prime example of the true Portuguese soul. But despite their interpretations, with new eyes on their study, they are cherished in their uniqueness and beauty, within the context of their creation, which translates the diversity of a festive spirit that is very different from region to region.
(1) According to Luís Chaves. (2) As proposed by Madalena Brás Teixeira. (3) As an example, in Minho exists a great tradition of adding hearts to one’s costume, particularly of bride and groom, of which the better known are the heart-shaped arrecadas, or heavy golden earrings made of filigrana, as well as the lenços de namorados, or “lovers’ handkerchiefs”, a white handkerchief with love declarations written in colorful embroidery (notable for being written with spelling mistakes, since they were made by illiterate people). Some of these elements even represent a sexualized tone, such algibeira de minhota, the “minhota pocket”. (4) As the costumes typical from Nazaré are an example of. These mourning practices, taken with extreme seriousness, were common in fishing communities, where often the man of the household would travel for months for fishing and their house depended on such. As a demonstration of perpetual grief, the embuçadas appear in this region, a covering of the face up until the eyes, of evident Islamic influence. (5) An example of such is the portrait of Queen Catherine of Braganza’s mother, queen Luíza de Gusmán. It was predominant in both Spain and Portugal. (6) Romaria is a devotional procession to a church or parish. Time, however, gave the word a connotation of “religious festivity”. (7) Published in 1846, the book travels along the deep Portuguese regions such as Santarém, exploring with a romanticized eye the peoples and their costumes in a realist tone, as, similarly, Eça de Queiroz will later do.
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