This is an old, very frustrating argument for Gruvia fans that shouldn’t even exist anymore. This post also shouldn’t exist because I am refuting something Juvia didn’t actually do, but this is what it’s come down to, sadly. The bottom line is that Juvia can not redeem herself for an issue that Mashima-sensei, the author, doesn’t believe exists (aka the non-existent stalking).
I. The amount of times Juvia watched Gray and why
Juvia did not stalk Gray EVER, but she did hang in the background. He and the guild had been the enemy. If she had walked right up to Gray and his friends, there would have been a backlash. It’s natural that she was afraid because of the damage she helped inflict. Despite this, she formed an affinity to Gray and Fairy Tail which she carefully approached to the best of her ability.
As it also shows in her memories, Juvia had a well-established history of being shunned because of her rain which further led to her tentative approach. Additionally, given the rejection and shunning of the past, Juvia lacked the developmental opportunity to refine social engagement. There was no malicious intent in her actions. She was afraid of being rejected again, so she kept her distance.
And in fact, Juvia and Gajeel’s presence in Fairy Tail DID cause a backlash. Laxus and the Raijinshuu did get angry when they found out two former Phantom Lord members who had attacked the guild were allowed to join.
Yet, both Juvia and Gajeel made up for their former transgressions already against the specific members they had targeted by protecting them. Juvia protected Gray from Simon, and Gajeel protected Levy from Laxus. That was supposed to be their redemption…IT WAS THEIR REDEMPTION. As stated in the first paragraph, in bold this time: Juvia can not redeem herself for an issue that Mashima-sensei, the author, doesn’t believe exists (aka the non-existent stalking).
Ultimately, Juvia did approach Gray when he was by himself to ask what he thought about her joining Fairy Tail. This was their first direct meeting after they met in Chapter 56. Indirect encounters include chapter 67 where she observed from afar and delivered a bento and chapter 75 where we see her watching Gray and the rest of team Natsu at the resort.
It was at this point that Juvia approached Gray properly when she finally caught him alone, and they went to get drinks together. It’s supported by the manga that Juvia joining Fairy Tail would have caused a backlash, as even Gray was wary of her joining because of the things that they did, but he personally did not mind her joining. Juvia then spent the rest of the arc openly helping Gray and his friends in the Tower Of Heaven.
At the end of the arc, when Erza asked after Juvia, Gray was the one who knew her name, and where she had gone. Once team Natsu returned to FT, Juvia became a member, and Gray was quite happy about it. After chapter 75 Juvia has never in the manga followed Gray without his knowledge again until chapter 416, where she came to apologize for what happened to Gray’s father.
When Gray seemed dismayed that Juvia had followed him to his parents grave, she immediately apologized.
In fact, Juvia has apologized a few times within the series when she thought she upset Gray, including in 413 Days when she apologized for fearing that she ruined Gray’s day of mourning. But, in fact, Gray ended up also apologizing to her, because he thought it was his fault. He profusely apologized to her in chapter 416 as well while sobbing in her arms.
II. Gray’s feelings
If Gray was so uncomfortable and disliked Juvia’s presence, the above scene would not have happened. He appreciates and is grateful for Juvia always being next to him, which by default completely annihilates the claim that he is disgusted by her. This is obvious because we see the change in their relationship throughout the course of the manga, on panel. I repeat, Gray likes the fact that Juvia is always by his side and wants her there.
Furthermore, Juvia’s comedic advances and Gray’s reactions (which have actually become softer/changed) are exaggerated on purpose. Japanese love this type of humor use in their mangas. It’s meant to be lighthearted, not give off an awful message regarding a pairing. As with many shounen, panel space is often limited for character interactions, so “dramatic” presentations are necessary for conveying points. Mashima-sensei has only ever portrayed Juvia’s love as a positive thing for both characters. Her love for Gray has saved not just Gray’s life, but also the lives of others on multiple occasions.
While it’s true Mashima-sensei loves using Juvia for comic relief from time to time, it’s important to not let the jokes outweigh the serious moments. In reality, we are not supposed to put so much stock into comedy. Adding to the fact that Juvia’s fight with Meredy proved her love for Gray to be genuine, there’s another factor some people seem to miss.
In the final chapter of the Tartarus arc, Juvia was about to give up on her love for Gray because she believed she did not have the right to love him anymore. She truly thought it was for his sake, and was prepared to be hated by Gray forever. An obsessive person or crazy stalker would never do this. But Juvia did, expecting this would ruin any chance she had with Gray, and was positive she would be loathed. However she knew confessing what she did was the right thing to do and came clean. Here, Mashima-sensei is showing the difference between an unhealthy obsessed individual and someone who’s love is selfless as they put the other person’s feelings above their own. Above all, Gray didn’t let Juvia give up on him. He embraced her, thanked her, and cried in her arms.
Chapter 499 speaks for itself, so I really don’t see the need to touch upon it other than the fact that the Japanese raw text confirms that Gray does see Juvia as more than a friend, aka, a love interest. As if his actions in the chapter and prior to weren’t enough. Double suicide in Japan is one of the most romantic acts of love based on samurai history.
III. The definition of a stalker
a person who harasses or persecutes someone with unwanted and obsessive attention.
a person who harasses another person, as a former lover, a famous person, etc., in an aggressive, often threatening and illegal manner.
Neither of the above definitions describes Juvia’s character. Juvia would be the last person in the world to harass or threaten Gray in any way. The two times she watched him were harmless and there were justified reasons behind them. Back to the definition; Juvia doesn’t need to do any of these things, because she is Gray’s friend, and at this point, so much more than that. She’s a partner, they go on missions together, socialize together, and have even lived together.
Real cases for stalking often involve the stalker having control over their victim, sometimes employing fear in a desperate attempt to maintain control, which Juvia has NEVER done. Admiring someone from afar is not the same as stalking them, especially when you don’t have the courage to talk to them. That’s why Juvia quickly threw the bento in Gray’s hands without trying to be noticed. She wanted to do nice things for him, but couldn’t do them directly out of nervousness. That’s not what stalkers do. And of course, as stated above, Juvia was about to give up on Gray. Stalkers aren’t willing to give up their ties with the person.
Juvia does not need to “stalk” Gray. She stands proudly by his side with no reluctance from him.
And even more importantly Gray has never expressed any adversity to Juvia’s presence. If anything, he has expressed the opposite. Gray of his own accord hangs around her. And Gray had mentioned once in 338 that he would say no to the things he dislikes from then on. Yet he had never said no before, nor after that statement. In fact, he contradicted his own statement later on by eating the bread Juvia offered him, and holding her hand in comfort during the Tartarus arc.
We also have to keep in mind Gray falls under the tsundere character trope, which means his actions often contradict his words, and as stated above, his adverse reactions are often played off comedically, because he is not being honest about his actual feelings. Juvia’s earnest feelings towards Gray usually cause the cool and collected character to lose his composure. That’s the joke.
Juvia is often labeled a stalker while we look past Gajeel crucifying Levy or Jellal trying to murder Erza. All of these things occurred at the beginning, but have ceased to be current habits. That’s character development. It’s one thing to not like a ship because of the dynamic. But it’s a double standard to hail the development of one ship and ignore another. People simply cannot move passed Juvia’s first impression, and that is sad.
Every pairing has its shtick, such as Natsu touching Lucy inappropriately and breaking into her house, and Levy hitting Gajeel often. Humor is completely subjective, that’s true, however it’s obvious what Mashima-sensei intends to fall under the umbrella of humor, and that absolutely includes Juvia’s antics and Gray’s reactions to them. Saying they aren’t meant to be funny is just being purposely oblivious and contrary. You don’t have to think it’s funny to know it’s meant as a joke. Gruvia gets condemned by the fandom the most when it comes to their particular aspect of humor, and that is unfair.
This is a fictional world, they are fictional characters, and they do not have to meet real life standards. Many of the characters within Fairy Tail have quirks or perform actions that are not acceptable in reality. Fairy Tail itself is a fantasy manga. The world and the characters are exaggerated for the purpose of drama and comedy. This fantasy world is also based on Japanese humor and storytelling conventions, and ignoring this fact can lead to misunderstanding characters.
Juvia has not watched Gray from a distance without his knowledge since before she joined Fairy Tail. That was at least 8-9 years ago in both our timeline and the manga time line (counting the 7 year time skip). No one in the Fairy Tail universe, nor Mashima-sensei, seem to think Juvia’s actions from her introduction need to be addressed or redeemed, because it is a non-issue that only certain parts of the fandom can’t let go of. She will not vocally apologize for a problem that doesn’t exist.
Gray, especially, has gone so far passed his initial relationship and dynamic with Juvia. It’s sad that so many fans are concerned on Gray’s behalf, but never truly take Gray’s actual feelings or words into consideration. He cares for Juvia, he almost definitely loves Juvia romantically, and he is grateful she is by his side. He’s willing to go above and beyond, including sacrificing his life for her (twice) just to ensure her safety. Those are not the feelings of someone who is a victim of stalking.
This aspect is form when two or more planets are within 3 degrees of one another (the tighter the degree is to 0, the more powerful and profound the integration of the two planetary energies into one another).
Each planet has their own individual energy, however in a conjunction, the planetary energy is expressed simultaneously in the style of the sign they are both placed. These planets will act together, not individualistically.
This aspect is considered a ‘hard’ aspect due to the fact they can express more positive or negative qualities depending on the style of drive of a planet.
Conjunctions to other planets can give that planet a style of expression as the conducting planet rules (Example: Sun conjunct Jupiter will give the native a Sagittarian style of expression to their self identity, regardless of sign. Conjuncting Jupiter will also greatly enhance the sign of the sun, making them far more prominent than without the conjunction).
Easy - Moon conjunct Venus: Love and affection is also integrated into the natives style of nurturing and what they need to be emotionally satisfied. This is an extremely gentle, and affectionate conjunction.
Hard - Sun conjunct Saturn: This can be a very self limiting aspect, as Saturn puts blocks on the natives drive for self expression, making the native rather quiet and shy. This can also be an indication of someone who is prone to depression and self doubt.
This aspect if formed 177 - 183 degrees from one another (the closer to 180 degrees, the more prominent this aspect is felt).
This aspect show two conflicting energies within the self, that are contradicting and conflicting.
These planetary energies will make a ‘swinging’ motion, going back and forth as they try to gain dominance of expression.
This aspect feels internally tense, irritating and uncomfortable, as if no matter what you do, you can’t get exactly what you want.
Though this is another hard aspect, like the conjcuntion, it does carry benefits and can be balanced.
The first step to balancing this aspect lies in the realisation that you need BOTH energies to be expressed, not just one.
This aspect is easier to resolve if a trine to one or both planets is involved or is part of a T-Square.
The opposing planet, like the opposition, will integrate the style of the sign it rules (Example: Mars in pisces opposite Pluto in Virgo would indicate someone who acts passive in times of confrontation one time, than becomes explosive and aggressive - much like a mars in scorpio - another time).
This aspect can also be balanced as planets will more often than not share the same modality and be a in compatible element (apart from the cases where this aspect is formed by out of sign planets).
Venus opposite Uranus: To balance this opposition, the native would need a sense of personal freedom in relationships in oder to form a functional relationship. This person may also fluctuate from being affection to passive, and in these time, some personal space will be needed, and they are ready, can return to the partner - unconventional relationships tend to manifest from people with this aspect.
This aspect is formed when two planets are 117-123 degrees from one another (the closer to 120 degrees, the more prominent this aspect is expressed).
Training planets are often in the same element.
It is a easy, flowing aspect whereby planets interact with ease, often providing the native with a ‘talent’ or strength in and between characteristics and energies.
This aspect is so easy, the native will not notice this aspect in their own personality, and are often puzzled by others who can not express the planets training in the same way they do.
This aspect holds a lot of potential, though because the nature of the aspect is so natural and laid back, a transit or interaction with another who activates the trine in synastry may be needed for the potential to be manifested.
Acknowledging this aspect in your chart will help you better understand and utilise this talent/gift.
Sun trine Mars: This will show a native who’s self-expression and self-drive flow together with ease. This person will have no problem expressing who they are and what they want, and have a great amount of personal drive to achieve goals. This can also give the native an aura of sexual magnetism and a heroic and stand-out presence.
This aspect is formed when two planets are 88-92 degrees apart (the closer to 90 degrees, the more prominent this aspect is expressed and felt).
Planets squaring one another will often be a planet with the same modality but with an incompatible element.
The tension caused by this aspect is described as a type of ‘friction’ - two planets having the same aim (modality) with a different style/method (element).
This aspect can force and issue/compose a challenge externally as the aspect is projected outside the self onto the outside world to be dealt and resolved with.
This aspect can pressure to to find a resolution based on the lessons of the planets (in signs) that are involved.
A lot of effort is required to resolve the issues proposed by this aspect.
Mercury square Neptune: This native may have difficulty in differentiating facts from reality. There may be a lot of mental confusion with this aspect and a tendency to get lost in conversation, being spoken to and to transverse into a world of daydreaming and fantasy. Their concentration may be short, and may also be delusional in their thought. This aspect could also manifest a lair, or through a more positive manifestation, someone who can express their mental confusion through creative writing and materialising their fantasies into words/poetry.
This aspect is formed when two planets are 58 - 62 degrees from one another (the closer to 60 degrees, the more prominent this aspect is expressed and felt).
This aspect links planets of different modalities and elements, though the elements will be compatible (Earth/Water - Air/Fire)
These planets have compatible styles of expression and will ‘encourage’ one another in their form of expression
They can excite/stimulate one another, feeding each other productive energies
This aspect can manifest opportunities, but it is up to the native to decide whether or not they chose to use them. More to gain if taken, and if ignored or declined, nothing is lost.
This aspect is also another indicator for talents, possibly more active than the trine. You are more likely to notice and work on these talents.
Mars sextile Pluto: This aspect would give the native formidable ability to incorporate raw plutonic power into their will power and drive. This can give great ability to put a lot off personal power into tasks and to achieve goals. This natives drive would be persistent and they would possess tremendous durability. This native may posses great physical power and have a large sex drive, not to mention quite sexually skilled and magnetic.
Inconjunct/Quincunx (Hard - often debated as a major or minor aspect.)
This aspect is formed when two planets are 148-152 degrees apart (the closer to 150 degrees, the more prominent this aspect is expressed and felt).
This is a point of major confection between planets. Two planets that have no compatibility by sign or modality, yet are forced to interact with each other.
This aspect must be balanced and adjusted (either by escape rout evil sextile or trine to one of the planets involved).
Those who poses this aspect in a tight orb between planets often tend to compartmentalise the two areas of life indicated by the planets and points involved, acting out one planet at a time until the other planet becomes frustrated and takes over and is expressed.
Through the inflexibility of this aspect, it can manifest as an either ‘make or break’ situation.
A new, inventive and personal outcome can be created with this aspect.
Venus inconjunct Saturn: This aspect can indicate a native who’s ability to express love and tender affection clashes with their sense of authority, structure and patriarchal nature. This person may give excessive amounts of affection and love and may begin to feel like they aren’t getting the same amount in return, thus resorting to becoming cold and rejecting any affection that the partner tries to give. This person may also try to be patriarchal and directing in a situation that really requires gentle affection and care.
I used to watch a lot of anime before, but when I moved away from my friends whom were fellow fans of Japanese animation, I became really bad at taking any initiative to sit down and watch anything new. So my New Years resolution was to simply watch more anime during 2016 (for inspiration and entertainment)! ;D And in order to prove to said friends that I am indeed keeping my promise, as well as to take the opportunity to recommend good shows to others, I will be sharing my progress list and general opinions.
OBS: Some of these shows are not appropriate for an younger audience!! Before viewing, please check out the recommended age restrictions, genre and potential trigger warnings!
END OF YEAR UPDATE: 25 shows in total! Not bad at all considering that I maybe watched 2-3 shows the year before. But I still have a lot of series that I want to see, so don´t be surprised if I make a new post for 2017. ;)
My personal top 3? I would say Death Parade, Re:Zero and Madoka Magica.
Mushishi (S1) - Not a single cliffhanger in the whole show, so it makes for perfect bedtime stories for teens/adults. The english dub was really good and the landscape art is 10/10.
Kino No Tabi/Kino´s Journey (S1) - Do not let the simple and cute style fool you! This show contains murder, cannibalism, suicide and war!! And it asks the hard questions in life!! RUN if you do not want to contemplate the meaning of existence!!
One Punch Man (S1+3OVA) - OK, now I know why this is in 4th place on IMDB´s “Best TV-series” list. The animation is some of the best I have ever seen in an action anime! It is simply stunning to look at and it is fun ride all the way to the out of this world (literally) finale.
Sakurako-san No Ashimoto Ni Wa Shitai Ga Umatteiru/Beautiful Bones: Sakurako’s Investigation (S1) - Pretty much like an anime version of the TV-show Bones. I love mysteries where you have to follow clues in order to solve a murder so a second season is strongly desired.
Owari No Seraph/Seraph Of The End (S1+S2+10OVA) - Pretty predictable, but the the bloody fight scenes are fabulous. Needs even more angst thou (…she said even though a bunch of children are butchered in the very first episode….). >:3
Death Parade (S1) - And there is all the angst!!! Do not watch if you do not like pain in your soul!! Heart cannot be repaired!! AHRUM!! Excuse me. The show is really well written and the artists really knew how to create the perfect atmosphere to tell this dark story.
Free! (S1+S2+4OVA) - It feels like everyone and their grandmother has seen this show, so of course I fell on the bandwagon. For the first 11 episodes thou I was very neutral to it… But goddammit the first season finale had me sheering, squealing and tearing up!! (Let Rin be happy!!) Sadly only the S2 OVA had me laughing; apart from that episode, the humor was not at all up my alley.
Zankyou No Terror/Terror In Resonance (S1) - I really like the style and the smooth animation in this one. And DANG, THAT ENDING! If you like thrillers that are completely based on reality and science (like Beautiful Bones) then this could be perfect for you.
Wolf’s Rain (S1+4OVA) - I remember trying to watch this when I was like 15, but I never got past episode 3 for some reason. Which is a real shame because I think that I would really, really liked it then. Perfectly angsty and tragic for little wannabe-emo-teen-me. Do you like dark fantasies with pretty people/wolves? Then do not miss out on this one!
Mahon Shoujo Madoka Magica/Puella Magi Madoka Magica (S1+1 movie) - Oh shit. Oh holy shit. I would never have guessed that this show, this thing that looks so darn innocent and cute in design and summary, would have me in so much emotional turmoil (very much like Steven Universe in that way). But seriously; amoungst all of the animes on this list, this is in my opinion the one with the most captivating story-line, plot development and characters (I simply had to watch all 12 episodes in one sitting). Some people hate the ending, but I think it worked really well (even though all the tears could have clouded my judgement). And if you liked the show, then you MUST watch the movie Rebellion! Also: One of the the best English dubs I have ever heard in my life!! UPDATE: I have now seen everything twice… I cry every times I see Homura on screen. (O_Q)
Kuragehime/Princess Jellyfish (S1) - I watched this before when it first came out but I had a hard time remembering anything from it apart from the characters. Glad I gave it a re-watch because it´s super cute and silly; perfect for when you just want to give your feels a break from all the angst and suffering other shows come with (*stares at the one above*). I also highly recommend the live-action movie based on this! :D
Boku Dake Ga Inai Machi/Erased (S1) - This show is both intriguing and stunning! I love how modern animation uses lightning and this show is a good example of that (same goes for Death Parade). Downside: Stress, stress and even more stress!! Please, just let the small children live!!! My heart cannot take this torture!! D,,X But the stress aside, it was all worth it at the end.
Jigoku Shojo/Hell Girl (S1) - My Golb, the young girls in this look exactly like the characters I would draw at 14-16. X,D The animation is just okay, and it takes a long time before we learn anything worthwhile about the main characters. But what made me watch a whole season (26 ep) was because of the interesting stories in each episode. It was fascinating to see how little/much it was required for people to give up their souls for eternal damnation in return for the death of a person they hated.
Steins;Gate (S1+1OVA) - It took me a while to get into the story, but by the half way point, when shit got really intense, I was waaay hooked. I usually do not like stories that involve time-traveling because it makes my head hurt, but this (Like Madoka Magica) was really well written. I have very little to fault the show on ((apart from how the harassment of a trans girl is used for comedy in at least 2 episodes…)) and would recommend!
Love Live! School Idol Project (S1+S2+1 movie) - Decided to watch something really cute with sis again and this is what we ended up with. And oh darn it, it is cute alright! Everything is so sugary sweet and lovely, and good music too that you will hum on for weeks. Apart form the occasional funky looking CGI (which actually looks really good in the movie), the animation is top notch. A simple story about a bunch of girls and their lives and friendships when guys are not in the picture.
Makura No Danshi/Pillow Boys (S1) - Finally met up with my anime loving friends and this was one of the things we saw. The episodes in this are very short, all of which are about different types of guys talking to YOU before you go to sleep. It´s… different to say the least. Who was my favourites? Hmmm… I guess the guy from Ep 2, since I recall him the clearest. He also felt like someone who had known me for a while and I appreciated that. WARNING: Ep 10 did give me some extreme rapist vibes! BAD TOUCH!! (O_O)
Koutetsujou No Kabaneri/Kabaneri Of The Iron Fortress (S1) - If you like bloody action of high quality with humans fighting against superhuman enemies then this is most surely something for you. Many parallels can be pulled to Attack on Titian, but I would never call this a rip-off. All the animation is in the A+ class and there is this wonderful colouring/lighting effect they sometimes use for close ups which makes the characters look absolutely stunning. The level of details on the character designs also stuck out to me (A+ there too).
Shokugeki no Soma / Food Wars: Shokugeki no Soma (S1+S2+1OVA) - Also known as food porn. I had never heard of this until Dan and Phil mentioned it in a video and when I understood that it was about food I had to check it out. I love shows/stories that are centered around cooking (Hell´s Kitchen, Master Chef, Kitchen Princess, etc) so I really got hooked on this. Not only is the food animated beautifully, but you learn a lot at the same time. And the absurd (dirty) humor is so redicoulus that I cannot help but laugh.
Re:Zero Kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu / Re:ZERO - Starting Life in Another World (S1) - When I first saw posters for this show they never caught my interest. It looked so much like the generic fantasy harem anime that I just ignored it. But then a friend forced me to actually see it and BOY was I wrong. Let me put it this way: Imagine Higurashi No Naku Koro Ni but with a higher budget and set in a fantasy land. So if you enjoy blood, gore and mind games, check this baby out!
Ghost Hunt (S1) - I know that I had seen this anime when it was new, but apparently I never saw the final episodes of the season since I had no idea what was going to happen. But glad that I saw this again! Not the scariest or goriest show out there, but it is fun and entertaining. My favorite part is how all the characters get along even though they have different beliefs and ways of dealing with the unknown.
Psycho-Pass (S1 + S2 + 1 movie) - Everybody were recommending this show to me and I understand why. There is detective work, blood/gore, and some kick-ass action; just right for me. However, I am not into all the tech porn (you know - when the put so much time and focus on weapons and other technology when they open up, charge, fire, etc. Not my thing!), but it was still a good anime. The only downside was that I felt very little when characters died, which was strange since I usually get attached very easily and morn fictional characters on a regular basis.
Mayoiga / The Lost Village (S1) - Oh maaan. I was expecting something along the lines of Battle Royale, but this was nothing but a big disappointment. There was so much potential in the first episodes for this to become the next Another or Corpse Party, but nooo. Lack of death aside, I guess it had it´s creepy moments, but the finale was not worth the wait in my opinion. I was actually so upset by the final twist that I sat down and basically created an alternative version of the story. Same basic structure, characters, feel and pitch, but with a more classic psychological horror plot. I would also have put the focus on other characters over the two basic cardboard cutouts (I vote for Valkana and Nanko!).
Corpse Party: Tortured Souls - Bougyakusareta Tamashii No Jukyou (5OVA) - I had seen this before when it first came out, but since I am still in a Halloween mood I decided to give it a re-watch. Totally one of those shows that I cannot look away from (not only because I need the subs, but you know what I mean). Spooky details all over the place blended with intestines and body horror. I may not be a big fan of the Elfen Lied-wannabe character designs, but I would totally watch it a third time when I once again forget the ending. I was so shocked that all I could do was to stare at the screen while the credits passed by.
Mira Nikki / The Future Diary (S1) - That moment you like the premise and concept of a show, but dislike the main characters. Damn that moment. It could be that the English dub makes the protagonists seem more douchey than what they actually are in the oringal Japanese version, or it´s just that they are both written poorly (IMO). But I like the background characters and there is some genuine tension throughout the show, so I watched it all.
Yuri!!! On ICE (S1) - I had been looking forward to this since the first trailer, so it was really really hard for me to wait until all episodes had aired before I had a marathon. But gah! It was worth it! There are no cliffhangers no, but the show just makes you feel so warm and fluffy that you want to see more right away. It is a sports anime, but the characters and relationships are so well developed that I would say to give it a chance even if sports isn’t for you. You will still fall in love with everybody and you just want them all to win gold and be happy!!
PS: Oh dear brother of mine, if you are reading this, be prepared for an anime night next time we meet. You and Jorge will love this! ;D
Kimi No Na Wa / Your Name (movie) - Hands down one of the best MOVIES I have seen this year. Well made, a story that pulls you in, heart-wrenching and beautiful music. This is totally up there amongst Wolf Children and The Girl Who Leapt Through Time and I will definitely be showing this to all my friends, no matter if they are into anime or not.
***IF ITS ITALICIZED THEN THIS FILM IS AVAILABLE ON NETFLIX RIGHT NOW***
any genre film based on sun/moon
aries sun/moon: “boyhood” (growing up and all the rash and/or unwise decisions that come with that. competitive upbringing) “the aviator” (a frenzied soul who fakes it till ya make it. big dreams, a big persona, and a pioneer to an industry but deeply troubled behind it all), “the wolf of wall street” (honestly this movie was so fast-paced and mad that i could only take it in small doses. everyone is selfish and turns on a dime)
taurus sun/moon: “the grand budapest hotel” (a film rich in aesthetic. a hotel owner who is a professional lush sets out on an adventure as he is being pegged for murder. a tale of paintings, pastries, and paramour), “big stone gap” (excessive family. stubborn and perseverant. a bit apprehensive of change), “today’s special” (a chef gets back to his roots and has to learn why he was passionate about food in the first place and how to savor every second)
gemini sun/moon: “ferris bueller’s day off” (witty and incredibly adaptable. can make friends with anyone, anywhere. being childlike and curious, enjoying the little things), “black swan” (ambiguous film where you don’t know what to believe), “the truman show” (his whole life has been unknowingly documented. everyone is just playing a role. media manipulations)
cancer sun/moon: “take care” (feeling like an inconvenience. wanting to be taken care of. guilt trips), “lymelife” (putting family and ‘home’ into perspective. awkward, at times endearing, a bit hectic), “high fidelity” (old fashioned guy. stuck in the past wondering where it went wrong), “the other woman (2009)” (learning to be a mother. the emotional rollercoaster of trying to love and be loved)
leo sun/moon: “confessions of a teenage drama queen” (i mean…do i even need to explain this lmao), “beaches” (pride and loyalty. learning to love without having to be the only one receiving love), “anywhere but here” (self-centered mother who wants her to be a star. fixed opinions but is powerful & warm), “grease” (good girl, bad boy. popular. all love their hair lol)
virgo sun/moon: “beyond the lights” (never feeling good enough. a mother who compulsively criticizes her. the theme of ~what happens behind the scenes~ and going back to the basics), “short term 12″ (wants to service everyone else but forgets about themselves), “the intern” (an observant elderly man is methodized and eager to work, always there for advice & support), “as good as it gets” (a bitter man who struggles with OCD overcoming his fears and unleashing his compassionate side)
libra sun/moon: “legally blonde” (a bit superficial. values doing the right thing. people think she’s air-headed but is actually more ‘in the know’ than given credit for), “can’t buy me love” (getting caught up in the popular crowd. pretending to be something you’re not), “he’s just not that into you” (most confusing movie ever. literally nobody can make up their mind lmao)
scorpio sun/moon: “st. elmo’s fire” (this film has literally everything scorpio and/or related (8th house) in it; secrets, betrayal, intimacy, transforming, debt, etc), “stealing beauty” (uncovering mysteries, forbidden affairs, paranoia. a taboo film), “lila & eve” (crime drama. goes to show just how far two resentful mothers will go)
sagittarius sun/moon: “bruce almighty” (humorous. has the theme of ‘luck’ and ‘higher power’) “away we go” (redefining what ‘home’ means. traveling across the country, new experiences, lots of bad jokes) “funny face” (an amateur philosopher has strong opinions for the modeling industry, wants nothing more than to travel for lectures), “good will hunting” (a genius and self-righteously so but doesn’t know how to truly appreciate life)
capricorn sun/moon: “uptown girls” (learning to adult from a surprisingly mature child. a mother who is too concerned with her career to pay attention to her daughter), “the pursuit of happyness” (suffering hardships, feeling down & out as he climbs his way up the totem pole. a tale of being a father being able to provide), “the devil wears prada” (another tale of climbing your way to the top, along with the cost of it)
aquarius sun/moon: “scott pilgrim vs the world” (not your average film, includes an alternate dimension. has its technological, futuristic quirks. becoming superior to the rest and standing out in the process), “mona lisa smile” (50′s women gaining new perspective from a ‘subversive’ professor), “the martian” (innovative, humorously noble, feeling castaway, ‘space pirate’)
pisces sun/moon: “the imaginarium of doctor parnassus” (a fantasy world with a damsel in distress but everything isn’t as it seems), “because i said so” (milly is bright-eyed and a bit hopeless. her mother pays favor to her. always ends up doing what other people want because although she is highly spirited, she can be a pushover), “amelie” (imagination, imagination, imagination. sets out to help others by being a bit manipulative in the process), “big fish” (reality vs fantasy. idealized & exaggerated upbringing)
romance films based on venus
aries venus: “10 things i hate about you” “she’s all that” (both films show they can treat romance as a competition but once they are in love, will do whatever they can to keep it alive), “two night stand” (hasty romance. lessons of ‘rushing’. a candor appreciation for another), “beginners” (being honest with yourself. ‘a movie with an unflinchingly tough heart.’)
taurus venus: “dirty dancing” (stubborn, sensual, and learning to position yourself securely lol), “the great gatbsy” (wealth. everyone indulges themselves, goes overboard out of love), “happily ever after” (sudden yearning for stability, excessive in more ways than one)
gemini venus: “save the date” (a girl who is scared of commitment. covers up her fear with humor. ‘word vomit’ through the whole movie lol. works at a bookstore. has a sister dynamic in the film of the one who is a bit silly & immature and the one who acts like she knows everything), “how to lose a guy in 10 days” (a two faced romance. lighthearted mind games and calling each others bluff), “garden state” (a lost fella falls for a quirky compulsive liar. a surprisingly intelligent and outlandish film)
cancer venus: “closer” (kind of shows more unhealthy traits of this placement but shows they just want to be in comfort with you but can guilt trip people and ask for reassurance where its not needed), “a walk to remember” (two lovers jaded in their own right find love. trying to protect one another from getting hurt and hurt each other in the process), “brooklyn” (building a life together. choosing between a lover at home or a home within a lover)
leo venus: “elvis and anabelle” (a radiant beauty queen has a near-death experience that alters her way of existing. brings a boy out of his shell through theatrics and love), “take this waltz” (she meets a man and starts rethinking her own loving marriage, does she want more? demanding, bold, and has a childishness to it), “anomalisa” (uplifting one another, making each other feel extraordinary)
virgo venus: “people places things” (a man of many standards and subsequently hypercritical in the name of love), “me before you” (taking care of another. breaking free from routine), “when harry met sally” (constant challenging of standards. loving the little things), “enough said” (looking beyond imperfections. practically endearing)
libra venus: “hitch” (got his heartbroken. now runs a business as a ‘love doctor’ where he gives men the push to pursue love through setting a meet-cue. but when he falls for a girl he has no idea what to do), “alfie” (a womanizer who refuses to be seen as a regular person who experiences the everyday woes that we all do. says he’s ‘always okay’), “27 dresses” (jane is a ‘more’ evolved version of this venus. loves love, is a major people pleaser. her sister on other hand pretends to be whatever her partner wants, is a major socialite)
scorpio venus: “love actually” (falling for what you can’t have and having difficulty expressing it), “no kiss list” (liking someone you can’t have and making that person feel like you can’t like anyone other than them), “chasing amy” (obsessive. sabotaging a relationship out of fear), “a dangerous method” (a forbidden and intoxicating affair with a patient), “last night” (temptation and affairs)
sagittarius venus: “begin again” (greta is independent, blunt, and spontaneous. teaches dan and his daughter a few important lessons. love is a learning experience), “definitely, maybe” (flashbacks to 3 romances, all with women who either write, travel, and/or simply free-spirited. habits of running away. being judgemental of how to live life. expanding horizons. shamelessly honest), “they came together” (clumsy, a straight up mess. light-hearted. mocks romance films)
capricorn venus: “timer” (doesn’t see the point of a relationship if they aren’t ‘guaranteed’. uses a timer to tell you when you’ll find your soul mate), “meet my valentine” (a family man who finds out he’s terminally ill is determined to find a loving provider to replace him), “before sunset” (an assertive romance, at times a bit cynical, but cheeky and loving)
aquarius venus: “friends with benefits” “no strings attached” “sleeping with other people” (all the couples in the films were meant to keep things casual but got messy in the process), “frequencies- oxv: the manual” (s/o to @astr-logy for the recommendation! a film about being outcasted, breaking the world & love down to an equation, feelings of not feeling)
pisces venus: “500 days of summer” (tom is a prime example of the idealization and fantasy romance that can come with this placement), “practical magic” (loves unconditionally but there is a tragic twist. two sisters - one who has a homemaker persona and one devastatingly bored of the mundane), “listen to your heart” (a deaf girl, who is a bit of a damsel in distress as her parents crush her dreams, and an amateur piano composer find inspirational love)
romance films based on venus in the houses
venus in fire house (1st, 5th, 9th): “50 first dates”, “the holiday”, “deadpool” (a stretch? no), “before we go”
venus in earth house (2nd, 6th, 10th): “everything before us”, “friends with money”, “chocolat”
venus in air house (3rd, 7th, 11th): “celeste & jesse forever”, “nick and norah’s infinite playlist”, “her”, “the beauty inside”
venus in water house (4th, 8th, 12th): “the time traveler’s wife”, “eternal sunshine of the spotless mind”, “stuck in love”,“candy”,“comet”
action/drama films based on mars
aries mars: “death proof” (daredevil central. going toe-to-toe with a killer), “crank” (a film literally about keeping your heart rate up. will die without an adrenaline rush), “spring breakers” (living in the moment. playfully deviant and childishly so), “the challenger” (learning to fight for what’s worth it; choosing your battles)
taurus mars: “matilda” (all the antagonists were greedy slobs who put themselves on a pedestal by making everyone else feel inferior), “the shawshank redemption” (avoids conflict, plays his hand slowly, no stranger to money), “american hustle” (luxuriating in ‘sin’, glorifying the hustle, high-resistance characters)
gemini mars: “pirates of the caribbean” (jack sparrow is a character that’s easy to be allured to but difficult to trust. never seems to be who he appears and covers everything up with slurred antics), “seven psychopaths” (comical murder film where even has a darker or lighter side than you thought), “the prestige” (two illusionists go head to head to out-trick another. the huge secret of ‘duality’)
cancer mars: “punch-drunk love” (stereotypical ‘nice’ guy with a lot of problems and insecurities. falls into a weird blackmail ploy), “mad max: fury road” (emotionally raw. recklessly protective. driven by the familial and home), “mr nobody” (recounting of memories. driven by pure emotion)
leo mars: “hot rod” (acts like a big shot, always attempting to prove himself worthy), “guardians of the galaxy” (everyone has a major ego and wants to show off. music reminds me of the 80′s which reminds me of hair which is leo lmao), “frank” (i feel like many would believe this to be a more aquarius film with its long-standing reputation of being one of the most unconventional films of all time but the film is about fame, how to get there, how to stand out, and being histrionic in the making)
virgo mars: “pay it forward” (actions geared toward helping others, insecurities and not wanting others to feel sorry, a need for efficiency), “captain america: the first avenger” (modest, just wants to contribute. high energy, lots of stamina ‘i could do this all day’), “cyberbully” (theme of words cutting deeper than you’d think)
libra mars: “mean girls” (acts nice & unassuming only to better manipulate a situation), “gangster squad” (puts justice into their own hands. has people in pocket and knows how to work a room to use people to one’s disposal), “v for vendetta” (another film of putting justice into your own hands. created a tragic scenario to trick evey into learning no matter what one goes through, the right thing to do is the only appropriate way to live)
scorpio mars: “heathers” (conniving & hypocritical. veronica isn’t a saint herself but disproves of people who are cruel and sets out to teach them a lesson), “mr & mrs smith” (secretive. both know they’re spies but never tell each other & don’t feel neither has the right to be; in the same field of work but criticize each other for it), “django unchained” (rescue and revenge. will exploit anything or murder anyone to get back to his lover)
sagittarius mars: “maidentrip” (a young adventuress sails across the world), “artifact” (documentary film giving insight into the truth of the music industry. pretentious, pseudo-intellectuals), “the believer” (heavily controversial film. audacious in the name of beliefs and what one believes to hold verity)
capricorn mars: “erin brockovich” (a relentless environmental activist sets out a case against a gas company where their supplies have left residents fatally ill. demands respect), “whiplash” (pushes limits beyond limits. ambitious to the core and seeks to achieve aspirations continuously), “american psycho” (a successful banker has an alter, killer ego who relishes in all that he does & ‘achieves’)
aquarius mars: “the big lebowski” (acts above violence and just says ‘fuck it’ to everything), “equilibrium” (feelings are literally outlawed but an enforcer soon falls victim to rebellion), “terminator” (a cyborg on a mission. a young boy fighting against the technologically advanced)
pisces mars: “snowpiercer” (sacrifice, clairvoyance, spiritualism. as pete travers said, ‘a slambam sci-fi thriller with a brain, a heart and an artful sense of purpose’), “fight club” (gasp. shocking it isn’t aries mars, right? the story is about a man wanting to escape his everyday life, has an addictive personality, and finds himself immersed in this extracurricular activity), “philomena” & “of mind and music” (one defines true forgiveness. looking past all the tragedy and finding the beauty)
How to let go of your ex once and for all (even if it feels impossible)
It took me nearly 3 years to get over my ex boyfriend. If you have ever been through a breakup, you know it is one of the hardest most heart-wrenching things to go through.
After weeks of fighting, the day came where there was no other option than to break up. When he left my house that day I felt like he had ripped off a piece of my soul. I had loved this man with all my heart, it was a raw all consuming intense kind of love. I couldn’t grasp the reality of what had happened. My best friend came over and I was just lying there with lykke li’s song possibility on repeat. I had cried for hours and there was no life left in my eyes.
For the first few months after the breakup I was in denial and I went into party mode, but not dealing with the pain slowly started to take its toll. And eventually (also because of some other factors) I fell into a deep black depression that would last for about a year. After the depression it still took me a long time to completely let him go.
It was the hardest and most valuable experience of my life.
Starz has ordered a second season of its high-profile fantasy series American Gods, which premiered to solid numbers on the pay-cable network April 30. The series, produced by FremantleMedia North America, has already netted more than 5 million viewers across its multiple platforms.
Bryan Fuller and Michael Green’s series, based on Neil Gaiman’s 2001 novel, posits a world where America has created its own set of cultural deities — gods manifested into reality based on decades of national obsession over things like technology and consumerism. At the same time, America has also welcomed centuries’ worth of old gods from all over the world, brought to the country by generations of immigrant believers, but as these worshippers have waned, so has the power of the old gods.
The series follows one such ancient figure — Mr. Wednesday (Ian McShane) — and his human bodyguard, Shadow (Ricky Whittle), as they traverse the country attempting to alert the old gods of the coming conflict with the new gods. The eight-episode first season will conclude on June 18.
As requested by anon:
Can you do a smut fanfic in which Peter gets trapped? And no, not 50 Shades of Grey style, but your style!
I was a tiny bit confused as to what you meant, so I tried my best and I hope you like it! Sorry it took forever.
“Peter, your ship is
a piece of junk,” you groaned as you paced around impatiently. There was a
grunt in response, followed by the clank of some metal and you glanced toward
the floor where he lay flat on his stomach. In his hand was a tool of some sort,
and he was elbows deep in an opening in the wall made by his removal of a
panel, exposing a tangle of wires.
“She’s not a piece
of junk,” he replied defensively. “She just gets a little sick now and then, is
“I’d hardly call
getting us stuck in the cockpit for an hour, ‘sick’,” you air quoted the last
word and rolled your eyes. A fuse or something had blown earlier that day, activating
the auto-lock on all the doors, thereby causing you to get hopelessly trapped.
Peter stopped what
he was doing, put his tools down, and then rose to his feet. He folded his arms
and cocked his head to the side, the corners of his mouth turning up ever so
slightly. “Maybe we should embrace the situation.”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean maybe we’re
alone for the first time and there’s clearly been some sexual tension that
needs to be addressed.”
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…
Lenny’s Book Recommendations Masterlist
Highest recommendations 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).
I may also amend or supplement this list in the future.
Young Adult Fiction
HUNGER GAMES TRILOGY by Suzanne Collins **cannot recommend highly enough** - dystopic young adult fiction at its best
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
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
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
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
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 their ass in gear 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 KILLER ANGELS by Mike Sharra - the battle of Gettysburg through the eyes of some of the commanders on both sides
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
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
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 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 by Roshani Chokshi (I have book two in my preview pile *squees*) - 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
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 inearly 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 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 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 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
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
Hi, I love your blog so much, especially the posts you have on describing POC. I'm writing a fantasy story right now and the culture of the kingdom my mc is from is heavily based on Indian culture, with me being Indian myself. I'm wondering if this could be considered cultural appropriation or what would be considered as appropriation in this case.
A kingdom based on Indian culture
I’m always one to say that if you belong to a culture, you should get first crack at messing around with it, whether in fiction or reality. It can’t be cultural appropriation if it’s your culture to begin with. Thing is, you have no control over how other members of your culture are going to react. There are a billion Indians out there and we all love to argue about everything under the sun.
You’re gonna piss some people off. If you’re comfortable with that, then go for it.
That being said, you don’t give any more information on what you plan to do beyond stating that it’s based on “Indian culture,” and I would argue that there really isn’t any one such thing. The subcontinent is a big place, spanning many regions and environments, each with their own distinct customs and traditions. Yes, there are certain commonalities that allow us to group them all as “Indian” or “South Asian,” but, say, Kashmiri culture and Gujarati culture and Bengali culture and Tamil culture are as different as they are similar.
In addition, “Indian culture” has changed greatly over time, so when you say “Indian culture,” are you referring to ancient Vedic culture, medieval Hindu-Buddhist culture, Indo-Islamic culture, or something else?
Furthermore, you can argue that different social classes have their own distinct cultures. This is maybe less pronounced in the modern age than it was in, for example, the medieval period, but you find that artistic, spiritual, and material cultures in India could have very pronounced differences, from priestly orthodoxy to the state-level kingdoms, to the family groups of artisans and workers, to tribal peoples all over the region. Do you intend to focus on one of these distinctions or to examine a broad cross-section, and all the social intricacies that come with and cause those cultural differences? Here’s where you need to be careful because your own background may not be the same as the groups you’re drawing inspiration from, and you may verge onto cultural appropriation, especially if you come from a background that historically exerted power over those groups.
In short, I think that while it’s fine for you, as an Indian person, to write a fantasy kingdom based on “Indian culture,” I think you may need to put some more thought into what exactly you mean by that as I think it would be impossible to encompass the cultural and historical variety of the subcontinent in one single story without it melting into a mishmash of stereotypes. Hope that helps!
Just to let all you people know, I spoiled myself…
BUT I WILL NOT SPOIL IT FOR YOU!
With that out of the way I feel like what I’m about to say needs to be heard. It’s important for going into this game.
I will admit, yes, I’m very mad at myself for spoiling myself, after these ten long years of waiting I should be telling myself I’m an idiot. But for some reason there is an inclination I have that I was meant to see the spoilers so I can remember what the meaning to life is.
Bare with me… I know that sounds… odd.
First let me start with, (needless to say) the ending seems deep, and very different. Although it’s out of context. I really think it’s one of those, “You have to experience the game in it’s entirety to have it hit you.” kinda things.
“It’s not about the destination, but about the journey.” As they say.
I’m oddly disconcerted on it though. I feel like there is key integral emotional pieces missing. I expect that those pieces to line up after playing it to the end
Still I wondered that if I didn’t see it, would it have made the revelations and ending…. better?
Now, I called and knew what was going to happen in the story. With all my research on it the past 10 years I pretty much got it all right.
(Kept it to my own personal hypothesizing because I don’t want to spoil it or let down people if it didn’t come true.)
Basically I knew the plot all along but now have visuals to place with it.
I think I’m missing something though. I feel like, even though I knew what was going to happen, I wasn’t surprised or emotionally stirred, I still feel like it’s missing the emotional fulfillment for me which when I thought about my plot theories up to this point before I spoiled myself that unfulfilled feeling seemed implausible. Before that, I did get emotional thinking about it and knew I would get emotionally stirred once I saw those moments.
But I didn’t, even though they executed it in a very good way for me to feel the feels.
That’s where I think playing it to completion will fill in the blanks.
Not only that, it made me realize something about life in general.
It’s emotional backbone is not set in big moments or revelations. I think it’s emotional backbone is set in the quiet moments, playing and experiencing the game and being surrounded by brotherhood, quietly knowing you are not alone.
Truly this story is a “Fantasy Based On Reality.”
It’s story is about life.
How are lives are full of irreplaceable quiet moments. Moments that make life better.
Just like the Nomura quote on FINAL FANTASY VERSUS XIII above, In my own words I believe this sums up FFXV’s story theme in a nutshell.
“Life gains it’s meaning in the quiet human moments that give reprieve to an existence filled with greed, hatred, suffering, and despair.”
I believe it’s about the small moments as you play Noct’s journey that add light to the big astounding ones.
The small moments that make his life worth living.
The small moments that give weight and a sense of fulfillment to the conclusion of FINAL FANTASY XV’s tale of the figure that lies asleep in the fantasy.
Let’s talk about mental illness in Killing Stalking
As someone who has been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, I’m pleasantly surprised by the depiction of the mental illness in Killing Stalking. (Although there is some debate about whether “borderline personality disorder” is meant to apply to Yoonbum or Sangwoo, I’m fully confident that Yoon is the one with the mental illness, something I’ll explore in this post.)
I’ve noticed that Yoon experiences many of the same symptoms I do, and (while I’ve never broken into someone’s house) I find a lot of his behaviors relatable. I believe his characterization to be very true to someone who struggles with borderline personality disorder, for the following reasons:
He acts impulsively.
BPD is often characterized by having trouble controlling one’s emotions, leading to impulsive actions and sometimes inappropriate emotional responses. We’ll go with the obvious: Yoon breaks into Sangwoo’s house after stalking him. Whether or not he planned it, it’s an action taken without much thought as to the consequences, and he acts completely on his emotions for Sangwoo.
He has a history of unstable relationships.
People with BPD tend to have trouble with relationships, particularly maintaining them. This is not because of a lack of emotional attachment; rather, (in my case) it’s because of overly strong attachments to others, sometimes swinging between feelings of intense love and extreme hatred. People with BPD can form very close bonds with other people and have a persistent fear of rejection or abandonment. Yoon is an interesting case, as he feels a deep attachment to Sangwoo despite the obvious abuse, and he even fears not being “good enough” for Sangwoo. These types of thoughts are at the root of my mental illness, and I resonate strongly with Yoon’s need to be “special” to Sangwoo. We also know that Yoon’s relationship with his uncle is…strained, at best, yet he decides in one moment that even that is better than living with Sangwoo.
It’s very typical of those struggling with BPD to self-harm, have suicidal tendencies, or engage in self-destructive behavior. Sangwoo points out Yoon’s self-harm scars and even taunts him for it, to which Yoon responds that he did it because he was “lonely.” This feeling is often the trigger for my self-harm episodes as well.
He has hallucinations/delusions.
In my experience, borderline personality disorder is sometimes confused with schizophrenia because of this symptom. (In fact, I was once misdiagnosed with schizophrenia and received the wrong kind of treatment for a time.) One difference between BPD and schizophrenia, for me, is that, while the images I see or the voices I hear are startling and sometimes terrifying, I can usually differentiate between “fantasy” and “reality.” People with BPD may, when under extreme stress, hear voices or have horrific hallucinations, like the body parts Yoon sees in Sangwoo’s washing machine.
This is all based on my experiences alone, but from what I’ve seen, Yoon is definitely a relatable case, and I’m actually really happy for the representation in Yoon. I’ll be looking forward to future chapters to see if there are any instances in which Yoon dissociates or if we get more history on his previous relationships. Overall, 10/10 character representation.
It’s a curious time to be an American — this much is incontrovertible. And as much as audiences are using pop culture to escape questions about our country’s identity, there’s value in turning to art for answers, too. It seems no television show is in a better position to address the topic of what it means to be an American than Starz’s American Gods (premiering April 30).
There’s a lot of important television right now, as there always has been: HBO’s Big Little Lies just triumphed in representing authentic female companionship; Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why is lifting a veil on teen mental health; Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale, premiering next week and adapted from Margaret Atwood’s 1985 novel of the same name, arrives in Trump’s America as a cautionary harbinger of a totalitarian future. But strip away the supernatural cadence of American Gods — a show based on a fantasy novel about holy hidden figures who live among us, some of them cosmically powerful and others barely living on a prayer — and what’s left is something viewers are unlikely to find anywhere else on narrative television: an ensemble of immigrants trying to make it in a country actively turning against them.
“These gods were manifested into reality by their believers who migrated to America and then died and left them essentially powerless, and now they’re just trying to find their way in the world,” executive producer Bryan Fuller, who runs the show with fellow executive producer Michael Green, explains. “There’s a broken quality to each of these characters, a fallen quality. It’s about people who have found themselves strangers in a strange land, trying to make their way the best they can. It’s hard not to see how human their experience is. It’s an immigration story much more than a god story.”
Honorable Mentions: Henry: Portrait of a Killer (1990) based on Henry Lee Lucas, An American Crime (2007) based on the murder of Sylvia Likens, Perfect Sisters (2014) based on the murder of Linda Andersen, and From Hell (2001) based on Jack the Ripper.
10. The Frozen Ground (2013)
“An Alaska State Trooper partners with a young woman who escaped the
clutches of serial killer Robert Hansen to bring the murderer to
justice. Based on actual events.“
9. Dahmer (2002)
“A man turns his darkest fantasies into a horrifying reality.“
8. Boys Don’t Cry (1999)
“Female born, Teena Brandon adopts his male identity of Brandon Teena and attempts to find himself and love in Nebraska.“
7. Wolf Creek (2005)
Based on serial killer Ivan Milat. Known as the Backpacker Murders.
“Stranded backpackers in remote Australia fall prey to a murderous bushman who offers to fix their car, then takes them captive.“
6. The Girl Next Door (2007)
Based on the abuse and murder of Sylvia Likens.
“Follows the unspeakable torture and abuses committed
on a teenage girl in the care of her aunt…and the boys who witness and
fail to report the crime.“
5. Monster (2003)
“Based on the life of Aileen Wuornos, a Daytona Beach prostitute who became a serial killer.“
4. Zodiac (2007)
“A San Francisco cartoonist becomes an amateur detective obsessed with tracking down the Zodiac killer.“
3. Bully (2001)
Based on the murder of Bobby Kent.
“A pack of naïve teenagers conspire to murder a mutual friend, whose aggressive demeanor has proved too much.“
2. Karla (2006)
“Based on real events, Paul Bernardo and his wife, Karla Homolka, kidnap, sexually abuse, and murder three young girls.“
1. The Snowtown Murders (2011)
Based on Australian serial killer John Bunting.
“Based on true events, 16 year-old Jamie falls in with his mother’s new
boyfriend and his crowd of self-appointed neighborhood watchmen, a
relationship that leads to a spree of torture and murder.“