the true story of hansel and gretel

anonymous asked:

Can you recommend some good books for someone in a slump after finishing all the Outlander books? :)

You want me to recommend books? 😍😍😍

Now, for me, recommendations kind of depend on what kind of thing you’re looking for as well as what some of your other tastes include – i.e. the Outlander series is a good starting point, but I’d need to know more of what you like to give a truly effective recommendation. 

But, there are plenty of books that I can recommend generally, so…

Originally posted by arrowreactiongifs

Lenny’s Book Recommendations Masterlist

Highest recommendations are in all caps. Sorting by genre/category but in no particular order. Also including links to my reviews for the ones I have reviews for. If anyone ever feels like talking books, please, please, please don’t hesitate to drop by my inbox/chat me up. If you have questions, recommendations, etc. I am always ready to talk books.

*These are by no means the only books I recommend. If you send me a list of your 5-10 favorite books/series, I can probably give you a more specific list of recommendations (this is an open invitation to do exactly this; I love tailoring recommendations). 

Update: Newest additions are bolded

Young Adult Fiction

HUNGER GAMES TRILOGY by Suzanne Collins **cannot recommend highly enough** - dystopic young adult fiction at its best

Heartless by Marissa Meyer - Queen of Hearts origin story

The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer (second book is the weakest but all the rest are fantastic; Winter is my favorite) - if you like reworked fairy tales

The Selection Series by Kiera Cass (mostly just the first and fourth books though) - a bit of a The Bachelor/reality dating show but with a dash of dystopia

Graceling Trilogy by Kristin Cashore - some humans with magical/superhuman abilities; fighting against an oppressive ruler; fantasy setting

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher - intriguing narrative structure; does explore a teen’s suicide

HARRY POTTER SERIES by J.K. Rowling (cause duh) - wizard school shenanigans and defeating a dark wizard (if you aren’t already aware)

The Circle of Magic Quartet by Tamora Pierce - fantasy; four children brought up learning specific magical skill sets based on unique, elementally linked abilities

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson - teen girl’s struggles with school and friends after her rape

A COURT OF THORNS AND ROSES SERIES by Sarah J. Maas *recommended to me by @bonnie-wee-swordsman​/ @acotargaryen​; fantasy (very sex positive); a human is brought into fae territory as war appears to be brewing and threatening her own human territory as well; as the series progresses, themes related to consent and agency grow stronger in ways that are ideal for YA audiences; Book 2 (A Court of Mist and Fury) is the best as far as both content and pacing

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard - (I’m just starting Book 2) a bit of a cross between dystopic fiction and fantasy (so right in my genre sweet spot); Silvers rule over Reds but one Red girl threatens to upset that balance

Young Adult Historic Fiction

Mine Eyes Have Seen by Ann Rinaldi - John Brown’s raid on Harper’s Ferry as experienced through one of his daughters

A Break with Charity by Ann Rinaldi - Salem witch trials through the eyes of a young woman who knows the accusers

Sisters of the Quantock Hills Quartet by Ruth Elwin Harris - four sisters (artistically inclined) deal with the trio of brothers they love as WW I impacts their lives

ANNE OF GREEN GABLES SERIES by L. M. Montgomery **not really historic fiction as it was contemporary, but SUCH an important book/series for young Lenny** - an eccentric and imaginative orphan girl is adopted by an elderly brother and sister on Prince Edward Island in the nineteenth century

Time Travelers Quartet by Caroline B. Cooney - a teen girl stumbles through time to the Victorian era where she meets a young man and gets caught up in his family’s troubles

Summer of My German Soldier by Bette Greene - a young Jewish girl encounters a young German POW during WW II

Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse - a young girl’s reminiscences of family tragedy during the Dust Bowl; presented in poems, free verse

Non Fiction

What We Talk About When We Talk About Clone Club by Gregory E. Pence - bioethics and philosophy in Orphan Black

The Romanov Sisters by Helen Rappaport - the lives of the Romanov daughters with quite a bit about their mother as well; also a lot about the family’s life under house arrest and their ultimate deaths

Dead Wake by Erik Larson - the circumstances and events surrounding the sinking of the Lusitania

The Pope and Mussolini by David I. Kertzer - the relationship between the Roman Catholic Church under Pius XI and Mussolini as he rose and took power of Italy

Zealot by Reza Aslan - an exploration of the life of the historic figure of Jesus of Nazareth (what history has recorded as opposed to the Bible’s understanding of the man)

In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson - the rise of Hitler and the Nazi party in Germany as experienced by the American ambassador in Berlin and his family

QUIET by Susan Cain **an empowering MUST read for introverts** - exploring introversion, its many facets, and how business culture/society at large works for and against introverts

The Lost Painting by Jonathan Harr - the search for and discovery of a lost Caravaggio painting

THE DEVIL IN THE WHITE CITY by Erik Larson - looking at serial killer H.H. Holmes and the development of the Chicago World’s Fair; both in action at the same time and in the same area

War is a Force that Gives us Meaning by Christ Hedges - a look at nationalistic wars in the 20th century and the patterns, similarities between them

Eats, Shoots and Leaves by Lynne Truss - humor, punctuation, and history

Alternative History

The Boleyn Trilogy by Laura Andersen - what if Anne Boleyn had given birth to Henry VIII’s son after having had Elizabeth? A novel centered on that son’s reign and the friends he and Elizabeth have in common

The Tudor Legacy Trilogy by Laura Andersen (a sequel trilogy to The Boleyn Trilogy) - what if Elizabeth I had had an heir? Elizabeth’s marriage to Philip II of Spain is falling apart but she has her daughter Anne Isabel as her heir

Science Fiction/Dystopic Fiction

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood (LOVED the adaptation; definitely recommend checking it out along with the book) - looking at women’s lives when reproduction falls under state/government control

THE PARABLE OF THE SOWER/THE PARABLE OF THE TALENTS by Octavia Butler - environmental disaster ensues and chaos reigns but Lauren finds and creates a functioning community amongst fleeing survivors sharing her new and developing religion with them

MADDADDAM TRILOGY by Margaret Atwood (I seriously need HBO to get their shit together and get moving on the adaptation of this trilogy) - the world has ended as we know it thanks to one possibly mad scientist but some of humanity survived along with the humanoid species that scientist engineered

THE FIRST FIFTEEN LIVES OF HARRY AUGUST by Claire North - some people turn out to be capable of being reborn into their same life over and over; they can affect the world around them but largely agree altering things drastically should be avoided… but not everyone is willing to follow the rules

Lilith’s Brood (the Xenogenesis Trilogy) by Octavia Butler (not going to be to everyone’s taste, even for sci fi lovers, but I just LOVE Octavia Butler) -aliens save what’s survived of the human race but seek to adapt themselves so that they can continue a new race/species with the humans; those children face trials of their own as the generations continue to develop (really good series if you’re interested in gender identity/non-binary sexuality, etc.)

Fledgling by Octavia Butler - a young surviving alien whom humans mistake for a vampire must find her way after the rest of her family are destroyed but others of her kind consider her an abomination and want her destroyed too

The Space Between the Stars by Anne Corlett - science fiction lite; a virus wipes out nearly the whole of the human race leaving the survivors scattered across space (where population and government issues had forced many to colonize) fighting to find each other and decide what their collective future should be

Historic Fiction

THE KILLER ANGELS by Mike Sharra - the battle of Gettysburg through the eyes of some of the commanders on both sides

The Stargazer’s Sister by Carrie Brown - a novel about Caroline Herschel

The Girl from the Train by Irma Joubert - a little girl escapes one of the trains headed to the death camps in WW II Poland but after the war is transported out of Poland (which is falling under Communist Russia’s thumb) and adopted by a family in Africa

Orhan’s Inheritance by Aline Ohanesian - deals with the Armenian genocide during WW I

Vanessa and her Sister by Priya Parmar - a novel about the Bloomsbury Group, specifically Virginia Woolf and her sister, Vanessa

Poldark Series by Winston Graham - the lives and trials of a mine owning family in Cornwall in the late 18th century; social/class issues a central theme

Silence by Shusaku Endo - a 17th centuryJesuit goes to Japan to investigate apostasy of a priest there and witnesses the plight of the local Christians **I had no idea until now that Silence movie I’ve seen advertised briefly was an adaptation of this book**

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John le Carré - Cold War espionage in England; there’s a mole giving valuable information to the Soviets and he must be found before too much is compromised

The True Story of Hansel and Gretel by Louise Murphy - a novel about the concentration camps in WW II and two children who try and manage to escape

North and South Trilogy by John Jakes - two young men bond at West Point and their families become fast friends but as tensions rise and war breaks out, they’re on opposite sides of the Civil War

Literary Fiction

The Golem and the Jinnie by Helene Wecker *recommended to me by @dingbatland - two mythical creatures rooted in different cultures find themselves unexpectedly in New York at the turn of the 20th century

Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood - a young woman is accused of murdering her employer and coworker in the mid-19th century and is convicted but there are many who doubt her guilt (inspired by a true case)

ATONEMENT by Ian McEwan **my favorite Ian McEwan novel and a fantastic movie adaptation** - perspective and appearances matter as a young girl’s accusation changes the lives of her sister and the young man she loves with fall out that carries the family through WW II

THE POISONWOOD BIBLE by Barbara Kingsolver - a missionary brings his wife and four girls to the Belgian Congo in 1959 and it changes the family forever; the story is told in first person narration through each of the girls’ perspectives and is unparalleled

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time by Mark Haddon - an autistic young man tries to make sense of an incident that happened and what it means for his important routines

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden (currently my favorite recent release recommendation) - Russian folktales are woven into a story where the traditions of the rural outskirts of society clash with the power and will of the Church

The Star-Touched Queen Series by Roshani Chokshi - the daughter of a raja is rumored to be cursed but there is one suitor who wants her and brings her to a realm she’s only heard of in stories; rooted in Indian mythology; Book 2, A Crown of Wishes follows the sister of the lead from Book 1 as she accompanies a young (and powerless) prince to the Otherworld to compete in the Tournament of Wishes

The Life and Death of Sophie Stark by Anna North - a young film maker’s life and death are told and examined by some of the people in her life: former lovers, friends, acquaintances, family

MOTHER NIGHT by Kurt Vonnegut - a politically indifferent playwright who ended up working for the Nazis writes his memoirs while on trial for the role he played in the regime

Room by Emma Donoghue - a young woman and her son escape the man who kidnapped the woman and kept her in isolation for years but then must adjust to the real world again; told from the young boy’s perspective

The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison - a young, poor African-American girl grows up in Depression Era Ohio; explores race relations, societal concepts of beauty, etc. (Morrison’s first novel)

A Mercy by Toni Morrison - explores the origins of slavery in early America (1692), namely through the women living and working on a farm in Virginia (a group including immigrants, natives, and Africans)


The Yard by Alex Grecian - in the wake of Jack the Ripper, the new homicide division of Scotland Yard is under scrutiny but there also appears to be someone out to kill their detectives; interesting look at the early methods of both the detectives and forensic science

Cormoran Strike Series by Robert Galbraith aka J.K. Rowling (the second is my favorite cause I read revenge tragedies in one of my grad classes) - Cormoran Strike is a private detective in desperate need of paying clients; when a young woman shows up from a temp agency determined to do more than just reception work about the same time an old friend appears looking for answers in his famous model sister’s death, things begin to change for Strike’s business prospects

The Godfather by Mario Puzo - Italian mafia battles in New York following WW II

The Shining by Stephen King - a family settle into an enormous hotel in the mountains to live as caretakers there for the winter but the hotel appears to have other plans for them and especially the gifted son

The Millenium Trilogy by Stieg Larsson (but watch out for book four; it was ghost written after Larsson’s death a few years ago and is not based on his notes for book four) - a disgraced reporter looks for a project to work on while his infamy blows over but gets dragged into a decades old case; a young hacker with her own issues with the Swedish government and social work system becomes involved too and an odd partnership is born; later the woman’s personal and family history begin to cause problems and garner the public’s attention for the wrong reasons

AND THEN THERE WERE NONE by Agatha Christie - a group of houseguests arrive at a large and secluded island home for a weekend away but their host doesn’t appear to be present and what’s more, none of them have met him or her; when people start dying, those remaining begin to suspect one another

I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh - when a child is killed in a hit-and-run crash, the authorities investigating find themselves dealing with a confusing mess while a woman somehow connected to the case and who recently relocated tries to rebuild a life for herself 


The All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness (third book was my favorite) - a young woman who’s long denied her calling as a witch stumbles across an ancient and powerful text that just about everyone in the supernatural world (that she’s done her best to ignore) wants

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman - a man returning to his hometown for a funeral begins to recall some strange events from his childhood and the young girl he had been friends with

THE NIGHT CIRCUS by Erin Morgenstern **going to do a reread of this sometime this year** - magicians battle with one another through proxies but those two proxies form an unexpected relationship

THE CHILD THIEF by Brom - a very dark and intriguing take on the Peter Pan story that borrows some Avalon mythology, the accompanying artwork is amazing, even in digital form

LORD OF THE RINGS by J. R. R. Tolkien (I’m not a fan of The Hobbit though) - the ring of power must be destroyed to prevent a dark lord from taking over MiddleEarth and an unassuming hobbit is entrusted with the task

The Midnight Queen by Sylvia Izzo Hunter - a (wrongfully) disgraced student of magick meets up with a professor’s daughter who longs to learn and truths begin to emerge along with powers neither understand yet


The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas - Louis XIII’s musketeers seek to protect the country and their king from the machinations of Cardinal Richelieu

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas - a young man’s life appears to be falling into place before he is falsely accused of conspiring to restore Napoleon and imprisoned for twenty years; when he escapes, he seeks revenge on those who locked him away

North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell - when a young woman’s family circumstances force them to leave their home in the southern countryside and relocate to an industrial town in the north, she becomes acquainted with one of the mill owners and the poor conditions faced by the workers and their families; romantic, socio-economic, and philosophical tensions arise

PRIDE AND PREJUDICE by Jane Austen - bad first impressions can still lead to deep love and understanding… eventually

PERSUASION by Jane Austen - when a woman’s former flame returns, she laments the advice that she’d followed years before in breaking off their engagement but is it too late or does he still have feelings for her too?

CRIME AND PUNISHMENT by Fyodor Dostoyevsky **possibly my favorite novel of all time but it’s definitely not for everyone** - a young man firmly believes that the ends justify the means, even when it comes to murder… until he tries it and finds himself wracked with guilt; can he be redeemed and if so, how?

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy - a flirtation becomes an affair and a woman must decide how to handle her husband and her lover as her life changes against the backdrop of a drastically changing Russia

The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton - a young woman learns the hard way just how difficult it is to keep running in the circles of high society when one has no money and must rely on the generosity of one’s friends, especially when rumors start to fly

A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens - a family is threatened by the changing tides in revolutionary Paris and they fight to escape to the safety of London 

(**personally, my favorite Dickens novel is Our Mutual Friend but A Tale of Two Cities and Great Expectations aren’t as intimidating and are excellent for getting used to Dickens’ style**)

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck - a family is forced off their property by the banks and circumstances during the Great Depression and Dust Bowl, so they head west where there are supposed to be plenty of jobs in California but will they survive the journey and will those jobs still be there when they and everyone else in their situation actually arrive

The Moon is Down by John Steinbeck - a town is invaded in WW II and order is imposed by the invaders but it proves not to be as gentle as the invaders would have the people believe and the townsfolk aren’t as compliant as they first appear

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez - **you either love magical realism or you hate it; I LOVE it** - the story of the Buendía family and the town they founded, Macondo, where unusual things tend to happen

Guilty Pleasures

Virgin Series by Radhika Sanghani - a young woman wants to lose her virginity but her embarrassing experiences in the past and navigating societal expectations have her worried it will never happen **very funny and body/sex positive*

The Constant Princess by Philippa Gregory - a novel about Catherine of Aragon and her marriages to two princes of England, Arthur and then his younger brother, Henry VIII

The White Queen by Philippa Gregory - the first in her Cousins War/War of the Roses series (I need to 1. watch the Starz adaptation of this book and 2. get around to reading the next books in this series)

The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory - a novel about Anne Boleyn’s sister, Mary, who had an affair with Henry VIII first and then watched her sister’s rise and fall

some things never change (2/?)

continuing (finally) my OUAT S7 spec fic. this will have at last 4 parts; not sure exactly how many yet, but we’ll see how the ideas flow. I 100% do not expect most of this to happen, but a girl can dream! this chapter: Hooked Queen brotp and Captain Cobra, with a wee bit of Grandpa!Killian

part 1 | 2.5k

Lunches with his sister were always more dramatic than they needed to be. To be honest, Killian wasn’t completely sure why he put himself through them so often.

“Seriously, Killian. One date wouldn’t hurt you.”

“The answer is no, Regina; we’ve been over this.”

She sighed. “I know, I know. But she’s really sweet! She teaches the first-graders!”

“That’s fantastic, but I’ll have to pass.”

Regina harrumphed into her salad. They had this conversation literally every week: she wanted to set him up with one of her cute coworkers, and he wanted to be left alone. Out of a nervous habit, he twirled his wedding band with his thumb.

“You know that she wouldn’t want you to be like this,” Regina said quietly, placing her hand over his to stop the nervous fiddling.

“I know,” he admitted, and he did. But the few times he’d tried to go on dates, it just never clicked. Emma had been the only one for him, and it wasn’t fair to another girl to try to fill that void with something unattainable.

“I just worry about you, all alone up there at the bar.”

“I’m not alone; I have my regulars.”

“Customers don’t count as friends, Killian.”

“Since when? They did on Cheers.”

“That was a TV show!”

“I’ll have you know being a bartender is not a role for the introverted. People trust you with their deepest, darkest secrets, and come to you for advice.”

“You’re romanticizing it.”

“You’d know better if you ever stopped by.”

Regina just scoffed and continued eating, so Killian followed suit and bit into his sandwich. His big sister was right that his existence was a bit of a lonely one, but it at least wasn’t boring. He had fond memories to look back on and a livelihood he enjoyed. And he didn’t have false hope, unlike some people he knew, but he’d save that discussion for another day.

Typical Regina, she changed the subject anyway. “When’s the last time you talked to Uncle?”

Keep reading

On Writing Fantasy

In fact, I’m going to make a prediction: eight of the ten top-grossing films this year will be fantasy or science fiction. I’m pretty safe in making that bet: it’s been true every year for the past 20 years.

Yet many folks don’t recognize how important fantasy is in our lives.

I grew to love fantasy as a child, sitting on my mother’s knee, as she told me bedtime stories like “Jack and the Beanstalk” and “Hansel and Gretel.” I don’t think that I recognized that animated stories—cartoons like Bugs Bunny or movies like Peter Pan—were roughly the equivalent of those bedtime stories.

Yet fantasy permeates society and my love for it blossomed as a child—from bedtime stories to cartoon, from cartoons to comics and fables and myth, from myth to more contemporary fantasies in the form of novels.

So what is fantasy for? What good is it?

Quite simply, fantasy is what we as storytellers use to hold the attention of our audience as we prepare to tell them something important.

Whenever something strange is introduced in a story, it grabs the attention of the audience. Whether we speak of a haunted house, or bring out a ghost, or have a character sucked back in time as we introduce a strange conflict, that grabs the reader’s attention, but quite often the story carries lessons that are of more value than mere entertainment.

In Homer’s The Odyssey, we learn about the need for courage to face the future, but we also learn about the duties that soldiers owe to brothers, and the ethics of how one should entertain strangers in our own homes, and so on.

In the same way, fantasy today carries lessons for life. I have a theory about fantasy. I suspect that the human brain is incapable of storing most of the information that we need to know in order to really understand the world. So very often, ancient history gets stored under the guise of fable.

Let me see if I can explain it more clearly. Take an incident from your own family history, something far in the past, and try to examine what you really know about it. The truth is, you probably don’t know anything—just the fable.

Keep reading

There is much to love, and that love is what we are left with. When the bombs stop dropping, and the camps fall back to the earth and decay, and we are done killing each other, that is what we must hold. We can never let the world take our memories of love away, and if there are no memories, we must invent love all over again.
—  Louise Murphy, The True Story of Hansel and Gretel

Despite the photographic evidence, I’m still finding it hard to believe that last night actually happened. 

According to my camera, last night I sat in the second row at Carnegie Hall and listened to Neil Gaiman read “The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains”, an incredibly chilling and beautiful short story and my favorite thing he’s ever written, novels included. The reading was accompanied by the Fourplay string quartet, who were phenomenal, and the illustrations of Eddie Campbell, who is amazingly talented. Neil Gaiman also read his unpublished book “Hansel and Gretel” and sang at the end of the performance. (He has a wonderful voice. Because I really needed another reason to adore him.) 

It’s difficult to describe the depth of my joy and humility as I listened to last night’s performance. Neil Gaiman is special. “The Truth is a Cave in a Black Mountains” is a story that unfolds itself before your eyes, even without the aid of Campbell’s pictures. It’s a misty story, a layered story, a work of art and a true one at that. I’m so glad I got to hear it. 

As I sat in the second row I thought about stories and storytellers. We can’t live without either, really. I remembered again Gaiman’s speech at Rowan University, when he talked about writers and their ideas and how we don’t know where they come from so we are scared, always, that they might suddenly stop. I’m glad they haven’t stopped, not yet, and last night I was especially grateful that I have so much time left to write, almost a whole lifetime in fact. I hope that in that lifetime I can write something half as beautiful and honest as the stories Neil Gaiman writes. I hope that I can make at least one person feel the way his stories make me feel. I hope that I will be a good storyteller. I’m going to try my best. Like Neil, for me the world is made of stories, “when I look, that’s what I see." 

It’s all about the stories we tell ourselves…

This is mostly just me thinking out loud with my hands on the keyboard. So take it as stream of consciousness or something of that kind. It’s really nothing thoroughly thought through, but rather a collection of things that I keep mulling over in my head. So from here on out: I might not make a lot of sense, probably won’t answer a thing, but just pose tons more questions. You have been warned! :)

What I keep coming back to is how tightly the show has been structuring this season around stories and how slowly but surely every single story we get told gets proved not entirely true to completely false. In a way that has always been something SPN has dealt with since they always gave the lore and legends a few twists and turns along the way, but I feel like the second half of S9 and particularly this season it serves a broader narrative purpose and all of it centers around the myth arc.

To me the thread about stories has been made a big and important point in 9x11 “First Born” for the first time, which makes sense given it was the episode to launch us into the myth arc that centers around the Mark of Cain and how Cain tells Dean and Crowley the true story that the bible did not tell. The story of how he killed his brother not out of envy, but out of “love and care” and to prevent him from getting corrupted and a slave to Lucifer. In return he received a mark, became a “soldier of hell”, a bringer of “darkness and chaos” – which btw is one pretty awesome contrast to the one entity he owes the curse to: Lucifer – the light bringer.

In a way I had to think back on Cain’s whole story when mulling over “Hansel and Gretel” some more and how their story differs from the fairytale. Just like Cain didn’t kill Abel out of envy, maybe Hansel ate Gretel’s heart (there is something about this image that just kind of bugs me, but I cannot get to what it is about) thinking that way she’d be at peace (of course there is a long string of creepy problems to talk about here with the witches and Hansel’s relationship in relation to that – so I won’t), in heaven and for that willfully gave himself to the witch. One could even say he got a Mark of Cain of his own – a scarred face.

If you take these two stories as a mirror or parallel to the Winchester’s story, it poses some interesting, yet scary questions. Cain’s story was already “kind of repeated” (with some twists and turns) by Dean, question is, will we now see Sam take into account working with a witch believing it is the only way to save Dean? The signs of him possibly making a deal of some sort with Rowena or being vulnerable to a scenario of that kind have been there, so I wouldn’t be terribly surprised. But the question is: How would that break the toxic cycle of self sacrifice the Winchesters are caught in? Possibly not at all. Instead we know, the river ends at the source. I’m sure we all have our headcanons, I personally think if they are doing a really neat tie in it means Lucifer, in a broader sense I’d say it’s god it all ends with (especially now that we know god (Chuck) is alive and back), but given how this season has also highlighted fucked up family dynamics and crappy childhoods due to messed up parents it could also mean John Winchester – it’s highly unlikely though that will be the case.

Maybe it means going back to the start, for them to start over – like Tina was able to and like Dean wished he would have been able to – and do it all again, but different. “Alter the sigil, alter the spell”, alter the story you tell about yourself…

But it’s not just the stories of others that continuosly get rendered false, it’s the main characters addressing this very thing in relation to their own life stories as well. From Crowley telling Dean in 9x17 “Mother’s Little Helper” “Whatever you need to tell yourself to sleep better at night” in relation to Dean’s growing dependence to the blade and the powers of the mark Dean was not ready to admit to struggle with to Dean telling Cole in 10x07 “Girl Girls Girls” that “This was his story” and that he’s got one of those, too, but that those stories sometimes blind them and take them to dark places (a freaking amazing contrast that is painted in this one sentence within the show *bows down in front of the writers*). Storytelling - It’s a tool of reflection and projection at the same time. And with 10x05 “Fan Fiction” as well as 9x18 “Meta Fiction” the show has been delving pretty deep in terms of meta and addressing the pushes and pulls of creating content and story. Metatron said he is an entity of his word. While he loves himself some big talk, I think with this line he might have given away more than he wanted, a plan to destroy him and “destiny” all over again.

In 6x20 “The Man Who Would Be King” Castiel monologues about how they “ripped up the ending and the rules” and with that already playing with the notion of stories. Maybe in order to find balance, I think, because even after their biggest obstacle – the apocalypse – was averted nothing truly changed for the better. Maybe that is due to the big story having been derailed, but our main characters being to pre-occupied with “thankfully”” saving the world, but not picking up the pen themselves and write their own story, how they intend it to be. They are the paper, they are the ink, they are the pen, but they seem to have no idea or seem to be too afraid to start writing. Hansel said something important in that regard imo: “It was based on a true story, they just gave it a happy ending.” Maybe that is exactly the Winchesters’ problem. They only know how to write a tragedy while all of them desperately long for a happy ending.

WTNV Theories and Ramblings - Episode 76: An Epilogue

We always receive the story after the fact. This is one of the downsides of the radio and of media…or maybe it’s just the downside of living a linear, human existence. As the audience, we only get to experience the story after it’s happened. Even “breaking news” is reactionary, reporting on a thing that just happened. You can expand this into larger, existential territory: we experience our lives in real time, yes, but we process these events through memory (and thus, our memories fade or decay or become twisted through our subjective lens). In this way, everything we consume and process is epilogue, a rehashing of the events that already took place.

Ah, the human race. Always a day late and a dollar short.

It’s not all bad news, though. Today’s episode is quite literally an epilogue to the story we will receive in the WTNV novel. Isn’t that just like the creators to give the ending away before the main part of the story is even told?

It’s almost as if all that stuff in between doesn’t really matter. We are often told, erroneously, that it’s the journey that matters most, matters more than the destination itself. But in practice, the ending is the most important part. Yes, Sleeping Beauty, maybe you learned that true love conquers all, but now you have to live ever after with the prince that saved you. Oh sure, Hansel and Gretel, you defeated the wicked witch…but now you have to go back to the father who abandoned you, and won’t that be an awkward rest-of-your-life? In short, our experiences shape us, but we have to live in the ending.

Or, depending on whether or not we are the main characters in the stories of our lives, maybe we aren’t alive at all in the ending. And then we are really stuck there for good.

It’s an important reminder for us and, in true Night Vale fashion, it is tinged with just a little valley-of-the-shadow-of-death. We imagine our lives in the shape of the rise and fall of the Freytag pyramid:

And if our lives really were like that, of course you might think that the journey is important – all those events in the middle (the climax, in particular) are going to be life-changing. Joseph Campbell’s “hero’s journey” follows a similar structure, and the stakes are incredibly high for those who venture its path. But the truth is that our lives really aren’t shaped like that at all. For the most part, life is a straight line with minor variations and the occasional sharp rise or fall. Considering this, the importance of where we end becomes clear…because that’s where the line stops – the only real and true alteration the line ever experiences.

And those of you with mortal, corruptible forms may realize what the final ending for you is. Happy weekend thoughts, my angels!

I am reminded of There Is No Part 1: Part 2 – both episodes share a similar conceit. We enter into the narrative at its resolution and are left without any explanation of the rest of the dramatic arc. As in Episode 63, the effect of this technique is one of discomfort. We like stories. Narrative gives us comfort. 

Rob us of this is to rob us of a safety net. If you are a writer trying to create a catchy hook for your readers, you might commit this thievery in a small way – you might begin in the middle of the inciting incident or rising action. It’s jarring, but still a very safe narrative trick, to keep the exposition away from the audience.

However, if you were an existential/cosmic horror podcast, lopping off the first three quarters is a bold move that can create a sense of unease. There is a hole in our story, yet again, and we can only guess at what once occupied the space…and the answers are so tantalizingly closer, but still completely unavailable to us. The more obvious effect of this in An Epilogue is to drum up excitement for the WTNV novel, but it also presents some delightful irony. While this is technically an epilogue for the novel, it is also, simultaneously, a prologue, as it presents to us the only solid information we have about the plot of the novel. And is it ironic or is it completely appropriate that, even though the mystery surrounding The Man in the Tan Jacket is, ostensibly, solved…there is still a shroud around his story and the biggest gap in the episode is, as always, where he is concerned?