Hello dear. I am someone who just discovered Gaylor Swift and I am very overwhelmed with ALL the information that welcomed me. The realization that I've been so blind for a decade is amusing and frustrating tbh. And I got loads of questions. Are Tay and Di in good terms after their break up? When exactly did they broke up? When did Kar enter the picture? I saw a pic of Kar and Di recently in an event togther? Did they get a bit awkward? It's a classic situation of past lover meeting the present.
Hello, anon! Allow me to extend the warmest of welcomes to you. I hope this answers at least some of your questions, but please don’t hesitate to ask (privately, anonymously, however you prefer) if you would like me to clarify anything.
Taylor and Dianna’s relationship is, understandably, complicated:
Their break-up was painful and long-drawn out: after they broke off their engagement in April 2013, they attempted to rekindle their relationship in September of that year. This was unsuccessful, and concluded abruptly sometime in mid-November, shortly after Taylor had been (re)introduced to Karlie at VSFS (13th). 
The last time Taylor and Dianna were seen together in public was on 23rd November 2014 at the AMAs, just after 1989 was released (x). To the best of my knowledge there has since been no direct communication between them, although they have a number of mutual friends – most obviously, Derek Blasberg (who is also Karlie’s best friend.)  Dianna, however, is a notorious troll, who has several times appeared to indirect Taylor on twitter/instagram. (Taylor may also have indulged in some sub-tweeting herself throughout 2013/4).
Dianna’s marriage to Winston Marshall in October 2016  was (seemingly) a source of distress to Taylor. She liked some interesting posts on tumblr after the engagement was made public in January and, at her only concert of that year (about a week after their wedding), appeared to change the pronouns (a second time) in her performance of I Knew You Were Trouble. This is a song, which, probably, is about swiftgron 1.0.
Dianna’s relationship with Karlie is similarly complex:
Following the AMAs, they met again on 15th February at Carolina Herrera’s show for New York Fashion Week 2015 (x//x) This was in the immediate aftermath of the kaylor Vogue cover, and was, undoubtedly, awkward. (Possibly, this is explained by the fact that Dianna had previously been unaware of the part Karlie had played in the collapse of her relationship with Taylor.) 
The rift seemed to mend in October 2017, when Karlie followed Dianna, her (maybe) girlfriend, Molly Howard, and their close friend Tracy Doob on instagram. Dianna did not reciprocate, however, and Karlie unfollowed her not long afterwards.
More recently, as you note, Karlie and Dianna were photographed with each other (and Derek) at Carolina Herrera’s New York Fashion Week show (12th February 2018). Judging by their expressions (and this is of course subjective) neither of them was entirely comfortable with this. Nevertheless, Dianna told Karlie she was gorgeous (!!!).
 Taylor and Karlie had been known to each other in passing since 2009. Notably, Taylor had seen Karlie walk for Carolina Herrera in September 2011 and, subsequently, declared to Vogue that she loved her and wanted to bake cookies with her. Not only was this exactly coincident with Taylor’s first relationship with Dianna (swiftgron 1.0), on its publication in January 2012, the article elicited two thirst tweets – the one from Dianna (perhaps in an effort to reconnect with Taylor, with whom she had already broken-up for a first time) and the other from Karlie.
 There is some suggestion that Taylor sent Dianna one of a pair of pink flamingos given to her by her father as a birthday present in 2015. (The original post has since been deleted, but it was ‘liked’ by Naya Rivera, Dianna’s former friends with benefits and the third woman in her early relationship with Taylor.)
 Opinion is divided over the authenticity of this public relationship. The majority view is that it is a lavender marriage intended to conceal Dianna’s private relationship with Molly Howard (aka, ‘dolly’), though some have inferred that she is in a polyamorous relationship with both Winston and Molly. I have no definite opinion of my own – while I absolutely believe that Dianna is not straight, I could be persuaded that her sexuality is fluid.
So I have been having a really rough couple of weeks, and I know this is probably weird to say, but your writing has kept me sane. I basically drown my sorrows in reading, it's my destresser. You're a wonderful writer and I've loved everything that I've read of yours (I really love the dark creatures au). I apologize if this is really odd, but I really just wanted to tell you how much I enjoy your writing. I hope to be as good of a writer as you one day and I hope you have a good day!! :)
@greed69 - I am so, so sorry to hear you’ve had a rough time these past couple of weeks. Like, I feel you and I’m so sorry! And I am so glad that in some way my stories and writing has been able to help out, even if only a little. And thank you so, so much for your kind words. I can’t express enough how much it means to me that you took the time to send me this note. Since you enjoy the Dark Creatures!AU and have been down, I hope this helps a little?
<3 I hope things get better soon, friend.
When Newt sneezes, it catches them both by surprise. Graves sets down his papers, one brow quirked, and asks “Are you alright?”
“Yes, of course,” Newt says simply, brushing the question off, only to sneeze again - thrice. He sniffles.
“Can dragons get sick?” Graves asks, bewildered and concerned and a little amused.
“Dragons are just like any living creature,” he recites, trying to ignore the way his nose suddenly wants to run. “However, it is usually only younger dragons who fall ill…”
Graves is already on his feet - knees popping - and fetching Newt some tea. If ever there were a moment Newt loved the man, it was then. It is as though the realization that he sneezed had somehow opened the floodgates to a million more sensations. The exhaustion he had not realized had been crawling into his bones feels suddenly like lead beneath his skin. He slouches into his chair by the fire place and feels his eyelids droop. He accios a box of tissues to himself before he accidentally spoils Graves’ rich carpets with his snot and sneezes.
As though time had passed in a blink, Graves is suddenly in front of him - his own hands curling Newt’s around the soft, warm curve of a mug. Cinnamon tea and a splash of honey. Newt hadn’t even realized his throat had been hurting until he smelt the warm gust of scents from the tea.
“Thank you,” he said, bewildered but comforted. He hadn’t been sick in years. Decades, honestly. Colds were human things, human trials…
“How did this happen then, if only the young of your kin get sick?” Graves asked as he drew a blanket across Newt’s lap. Newt purred.
“Usually the young fall ill because, well, they’re young - but also the young tend to assume their human form more often. Curious about people. Insistent on being among them, learning from them. Stay in your human skin too long and some things - like colds - are inevitable.”
He looked up at Graves and blinked, confused, when he found the man smiling and seated in the arm chair across from him. His smile could light a room and rare as it was, these genuine moments like this where Graves didn’t mind expressing himself freely, Newt felt himself preen knowing the man was his. That his smile was his. That his heart was his.
“What?” Newt asked.
“You caught a cold for me?” Graves asked.
“What?” Newt asked again, even more bewildered.
“You stayed in your human form for so long so you could stay with me, be with me, live here with me - you caught a cold for me?”
Newt blinked, then smiled above the rim of his tea.
I've read one of the DLC posts that said how you guys don't want to return "a partially-filled tank", or rather how you want to use up as much of the tank as possible. (It's the post that talks about budgets and "zots". The paragraph in question is right below the gas meter picture.) If the game feels as tight and complete as it could've been before you used up all of the money, wouldn't it be wiser to save the remaining money so the game doesn't have quite as high expectations of success?
It’s not that we don’t want to. It’s that we can’t. You can’t get a refund on partially-developed stuff any more than you can get the butter, sugar, and eggs back out of the cake batter, or the air out of the balloon and back into the tank. That money is gone. We used it to pay developers to do work. They turned that time and money into game assets and code, and that’s a one-way transition.
You have to realize that we can’t build each individual part of the game one at a time, test it out, and decide whether to keep going. That would take far too long to finish the project. Instead, we divide the developers up into different sub teams and build many parts of the game simultaneously. This way we can have many people working on many different parts of the game at the same time in order to do as much as we collectively can within the schedule. For example, the combat team probably doesn’t need to do much with the VFX team. The server programmers probably don’t need to talk to the UI artists. They can work independently of each other on different parts of the same game at the same time.
Unfortunately, predicting the future can be really, really hard.
What if Desmal, the senior programmer, gets a better job offer elsewhere and decides to leave? That’s certainly not going to be in the schedule. Somebody will have to take over the features she was working on, and she may have been the only person to understand how her code worked. That feature might have to get cut simply because nobody else can feasibly finish it. What if the system Neelo is designing just isn’t quite fun enough? The feature has gone through multiple design reviews and iterations and it’s close to being good, but everyone agrees that it’s still missing something. Unfortunately, the time Neelo was allotted is gone. Now what? Do we cut Neelo’s work? Do we pull Mike off of his work in order to assist Neelo and try to get Neelo’s feature over the hump? And if we did do that, what happens to Mike’s feature?
We can’t get a refund for all the work that Desmal or Neelo did up to this point either. We can’t suck that development time back out and put it into something else. That time is gone, and we aren’t getting it back. That’s where the unfinished content comes from - we try a lot of stuff, some of it doesn’t work, the stuff that’s lower priority gets cut to make sure we have enough left in the tank for the higher priority stuff. Maybe we can resurrect some of it with some additional budget, but that’s only going to come if we can justify that from a business perspective. Nobody wants to throw good money after bad.
These are all real examples (with names changed, of course) of unforeseen issues I’ve actually had to deal with on past projects. At one company, I saw months of engineers’ work wasted because the engineering lead on that feature passed away from a heart attack and the system lost its architect. Shit happens. Things don’t always go as expected. I have yet to work on a project where we were able to finish everything we set out to do with no cuts whatsoever, and I’ve been doing this professionally for over a decade. We’re often put into a situation of having to choose between one option and another, but not able to have both. We are also often put into a situation where we started something awesome with full intention to finish it, but circumstances conspired against us and there was nothing we could do to save it. Many projects have been sunk because we kept throwing more and more resources into a system or feature that just required too much and we were too busy thinking about sunk cost to see it.
HI! so i guess my question is probably somethin you've answered before...but if you remember a lot of the abuse that has happened to you when younger as actually happening to you and remember most of your childhood/early adolescents not having identity disturbances are you really suffering from osdd/did? it's only been these pasts 3/4 years that i've actually been dealing with identity disturbances, disassociating and 'alters' because of trauma i've dealt with during those 3/4 years. (pt 1)
i guess what i’m trying to ask is can you have this disorder but not
deal with the symptoms until later on? i ask this because i know alters
form for a reason and now that i’m not being abused i’m doubting them
actually being here because they weren’t ‘formed’ (idk what to call it)
when the abuse was happening but shortly afterwards.
When I first read this I wondered if I wrote it! Yes, you can have DID or OSDD and not deal with symptoms until later. You would have had parts from childhood when the abuse occurred, but they may not have been apparent. I have 3 different versions of my childhood that are equally true and real even though they contradict each other; these three different versions are actually parts. As for DID (rather than OSDD, which is what I have), in childhood it presents more ‘muddy’ – like OSDD – so distinct alters aren’t necessarily apparent. It is not at all unusual for parts to go dormant either. Abuse can cause parts to be active again. I’ll let the other mods weigh in on this, but presumably periods of stability can cause parts to become active again too (e.g., because you’re able to deal with them). I know it throws you for a loop when you’re not used to symptoms to suddenly have them or to learn that you’re dissociative. Please know that you’re not alone in this experience though!
Yes, as Kevin said, that’s very normal. OSDD-1 and DID necessarily form in childhood, but it can be years or even decades before symptoms become visible or are recognized. As Kevin said, DID can be extremely difficult to recognize in children in particular because alters tend not to be very distinct in children, and OSDD-1 would likely be even harder to recognize. According to the DSM-5, “children usually do not present with identity changes; instead they present primarily with overlap and interference among mental states (Criterion A phenomena), with symptoms related to discontinuities of experience.” Alters may be more separately developed by adolescence, but they are often then mistaken for normal mood swings or for other mental disorders. Even in adults, DID/OSDD-1 is often mistaken for other disorders by non-professionals or by the affected individual, who may not even seek treatment for decades.
Alters and other signs of OSDD-1/DID can also become increasingly intrusive later in life. There can be several causes of this, including being in a more stable environment and so being able to handle learning about one’s alters, being triggered and recovering trauma memories, or additional trauma or stressors. The DSM-5 briefly touches on some of these possibilities:
Psychological decompensation and overt changes in identity may be triggered by 1) removal
from the traumatizing situation (e.g., through leaving home); 2) the individual’s
children reaching the same age at which the individual was originally abused or traumatized;
3) later traumatic experiences, even seemingly inconsequential ones, like a minor
motor vehicle accident; or 4) the death of, or the onset of a fatal illness in, their abuser(s).
So yes, it’s entirely possible to have DID/OSDD-1 and for the disorder to remain highly covert and unnoticed for years. Even if switching did occur when you were younger, it may not have been accompanied by amnesia, and it may have been easily passed off as mood swings or imaginary play. As well, individuals with OSDD-1 in particular may have an easier time remembering childhood trauma and acknowledging that it happened to them. While many individuals with OSDD-1 do still have dissociative amnesia for their trauma history, it’s not required.
That said, we can’t diagnose you. If you don’t know for sure that you have DID/OSDD-1, please be careful about making any assumptions that might interfere with your perception of your personality and risk creating or worsening dissociative symptoms. If you’re concerned, you should get a professional opinion if you can.
dear bones: how can i learn how to trust people enough to open up & be intimate with them when i've been burned so many times in the past? i want to be successful in a lot of ways but deep down i really just want to be some lady's happy loving farmer wife. the idea of love seems so warm and good but also so far out of my reach. i feel like i might be too old to learn how to do this, and that makes me sad. you seem very wise. i hope this is okay to ask.
No lie, this is a hard question to tackle because this is something I also struggle with very much and am actively working on with my therapist almost every session; how to trust people, how to feel safe stating my needs with people, and how to avoid hyper-vigilantly anticipating and avoiding threats, not to mention keeping myself locked into the most Appropriate and Pleasing version of myself at all times.
To give you some idea of how my shrink has been directing the conversation: mostly we talk about the toxic dynamics that shaped why I feel the way I feel, what specific actions by other (toxic! super toxic) people caused these effects, and how unlikely it is that I am ever going to find someone else that treats me the way my mother and sister did. We talk about how hard my family worked to convince me that there is something dirty and misshapen and slightly pathetic about me that follows me around like a bad smell, and how much they need that to be true.
Building the ability to experience, withstand, and actively seek out and enjoy intimacy means changing how I think about myself to include the supposition that I am allowed to be intimate with someone in the first place, that i’m not automatically disqualified due to my personality, level of attractiveness, and all my accompanying baggage. It also means developing the skills to trust that the person I am attempting to create intimacy with is safe; not just easy to predict, not just easy to manipulate or placate, but genuinely safe and dependable.
(Anyone can be safe if you have all the right words memorized and all the scripts you know will work on them, but actual safety means not knowing how someone is going to respond before you say or do something. Actual safety means knowing your ability to phrase things well isn’t the only thing standing between you and getting hurt very badly.)
All of this requires time, effort, introspection, and therapy, which is what anyone with intimacy issues needs if they’re going to start to overcome them.
Is this easy? Nah. If I don’t call the relationship off after the first date, I run into massive difficulties later where I realize that I’m going to have to explain how traumatized I am and how it tends to manifest. My therapist and I had a very frank moment a few weeks back where I told her that I’ve been trying over and over again to find someone that I felt so comfortable with that I wouldn’t be afraid to tell them what happened to me and what that means. That then turned into a conversation about how divulging that information is always going to scare the shit out of me and that I was essentially setting myself up to fail every time. No one is ever going to spell that much safety to me from the minute I meet them; the only thing I can do now is get more comfortable with being honest about how afraid I am and hopefully not get too crushed if that turns out to be too much for the other person.
(Note that I have never in my life thought that trauma invalidated anyone else for relationships, it’s just a rule that applies specifically to me. If someone I was dating said “Hey I dealt with decades of serious abuse and I seem really happy and confident but I’m really terrified of doing the wrong thing and if you stick with me too long you’re going to find out that I’m really anxious and scared of stuff a lot of the time and frankly that sounds like too much for someone else to deal with” I would say “Nah dog, it doesn’t bother me, I’ll make you dinner and we’ll watch TV and figure out the other shit later.” Whereas when I think about saying that myself: christ, what a nightmare.)
This is a lot of….. talking about me, anon, but to be honest, it’s all I’ve got. I have no idea how people meet up and stay together, I just know that when it’s good and right and healthy, both people involved can be honest with their feelings and take care of each other. I’ve been burned; I’ve had people tell me they didn’t believe in ptsd, people that didn’t like hearing no, and people that reacted to me asking to go more slowly like I’d asked them to move in with me and take my last name. Add to that the fact that the nagging conviction that I’m not allowed to be in a relationship in the first place, and therapy became an absolute necessity.
Hopefully I’ll stay in therapy long enough to be able to feel safe and secure enough to be a loving sustained presence in someone else’s life and have them do the same for me. After two years of sessions I’m a lot farther towards that goal than I used to be.
First the dogs will bark. They’ll know before any of us. Then I will have six to fifteen minutes.
I’ve been taking long walks on this coast, just north of the Oregon border. Bald eagles, actual bald eagles, sitting on a wide sandy beach, and I’m the only one here to see it. I can’t see anyone else in either direction. Waves repeating themselves at the tideline, clouds of birds fluttering up and resetting. 10 to 30 seconds after the dogs start barking, the ground will shake. 6 to 15 minutes later, the tsunami will come.
An earthquake is due here, and afterward the tsunami inevitable. If I began running when the dogs started barking, could I make it to the grassy dunes and up to the hills?
No. I can see the root, can make any plan I want, but I couldn’t outrun the wave. Six to fifteen minutes after the dogs started barking I would die. That’s what would happen.
So, I stumbled upon your Pre-Serum Steve post on "History Geekery for Steve Rogers" and find that you might be the best person to ask this question that has been bothering me for AGES. A lot of times, people always put Steve in this "Old Fashioned Forties Mentality Box" yet the MCU canon/most of Marvel Comic canon is all "Steve Rogers was ahead of his time and a complete sweetheart, OMG." I've always thought the man was a bit of both. Thoughts? Analysis? Help?
Oh man, this is not a simple question, and a lot of ink has been spilled on it in recent years; I am not the best person to answer, but I will do my best.
First: Steve Rogers is absolutely a complete sweetheart. Who is telling you he is not a complete sweetheart? Give me their address, I will send Natasha Romanov there to explain to them at length about how they are wrong.
This does not necessarily correlate with political progressivism. (All reports are that Justice Scalia, for example, was a total sweetheart. Politically ahead of his time he was not.)
But the passage of time is not a smooth gradient from one viewpoint to another? For example, if Steve Rogers of late 1930s NYC was politically moderate on economic policy, he would probably think that Bernie Sanders was a little bit too far right for his tastes, and Bernie could stand to be more pro-union, but he’d make do with Bernie if he had to, because the US political discourse as a whole has moved so far right in recent decades that there are no remaining national figures as progressive as the moderates of Steve’s childhood. (And given where and how he grew up, chances are good Steve was well to the left of moderate.)
And in no time period are political and social views monolithic. Is it historically unrealistic that the Howling Commandos were an integrated unit? Yes. Is it unrealistic that there were white men all though the military hierarchy at the time who would have supported an integrated unit if they could? Not at all. And it was less than five years before the desegregationists won and got an integrated military; that didn’t come out of a blank slate. There have always been people of all races who were strongly in favor of racial equality and happy to speak out about it. It does not make Steve Rogers “ahead of his time” to be strongly anti-racist; even if you’re talking about 1872 Steve Rogers it doesn’t make him “ahead of his time”, because there were active anti-racist movements then, too, with white men in them. Similarly on feminism and gay rights and disability activism and so on. He can be extremely progressive on any of those issues without being unrealistic for a man of his time, and given where and how he grew up, all the class + regionalism signposts are there that he very well might have been socially progressive by modern metrics.
Where people do tend to trip into anachronism is that his context for all of those when he wakes up will be very, very different. His feminism will be pre-second-wave feminism. He will think ‘gay’ means ‘glam’ and ‘bisexual’ means ‘genderqueer’ and ‘queer’ is the word used by middle-class lgbt rights activists and never needed reclaiming, and he won’t know the terms ‘genderqueer’ or ‘lgbt’ at all. His anti-racism will be pegged to Marcus Garvey and W.E.B. DuBois and Billie Holiday singing “Strange Fruit”, not to Malcom X and MLK and Janelle Monae singing “Black Lives Matter”. And it’s not just about cultural touchstones and terminology; the way modern people conceptualize the underlying issues, prioritize what is and isn’t important, draw lines around communities and identities, and so on - all of that would be totally different, and a lot of things he’d think of as super-progressive would read to modern social justice advocates as regressively old-fashioned or downright offensive, even if the underlying beliefs and aims were completely shared, even if in some ways Steve was being more radical than modern radicals, because this stuff is complicated.
(The way the current political discourse in the US and Europe almost mirrors the discourse in the 1930s, in the buildup to the triumph of fascism pre-WWII, is super-scary and outside the scope of this post, but let’s just say that he’d find a lot of the current social issues and public opinion on them disappointingly familiar. There’s a recent fanfic where a reporter asks him for the nth time “what do you think would have happened if the fascists had won?” and he snaps and just says, “what do you mean, if they’d won?” That’s not him being ahead of his time, that’s him being very, very, very much of his time.)
There’s another context issue, though, which is that socially, a LOT has changed in the past ninety years, and a lot of it has changed slowly, haltingly, five-steps-forward-three-steps-back, in ways that made sense at the time but don’t really make sense outside the context of the time, and shaped modern ‘old-fashioned’ views in ways that just wouldn’t make sense to a Steve Rogers who didn’t live through the changes the slow way, even if he wasn’t a progressive in the 40s. This is kind of hard to explain, but, for example:
I’ve had a lot of friends who were close to Steve Rogers in age, and a lot of them, even the ones who considered themselves socially progressive, had no problem with gay people as long as they didn’t scare the horses, but got stuck on marriage is one man and one woman. And it wasn’t because they didn’t think gay people should be able to be with the ones they love, it was because they had a very specific idea of what a marriage is, and it involved two people who had very different legal rights, social constraints, training, and opportunity, slotting themselves in a formal relationship structure that was intended to fit within a community of other similar relationships, all reinforcing each other. They wouldn’t put it that way, but if you questioned them, that’s what you eventually found at the bottom of their discomfort with gay marriage. And they’d invested a lot in that concept of marriage, even as all around them, how marriage actually fit into society was changing dramatically. But because it was a slow, patchy change and they lived through every step, they’d never actually had to confront just how much the meaning of marriage, in practical terms, had already changed.
Steve Rogers didn’t get to live it the slow way. Even if you allow that he had a very traditionalist view for the 1930s (and this is not necessarily true; there were queer activists in Brooklyn who wanted marriage then), he didn’t spend eighty years slowly adapting his view to accommodate (or ignore) all the social changes that happened in that time without having to fundamentally change his preconceptions: he just woke up one day to a world with a divorce rate over 50% and an out-of-wedlock birth rate over 40% where sex outside of marriage - even for respectable middle-class women! - is unremarkable and open. A Steve Rogers who’s a cultural traditionalist is not going to be anti-gay marriage; he’s going to be “Well, hell, you’ve destroyed marriage already, so why the hell not.” Even if you like your Cap socially conservative, he’s not going to be a modern, post-Reagan, post-Culture War conservative; he’s going to be a 1930s social conservative dropped into a cultural gap so different I can’t even find my footing to explain how.
A lot has changed since he grew up, and he didn’t live through the process of change the way the people we think of today as having “old-fashioned views” did. And this has changed over time, too - the now-retconned 1950s Captain America Comics, where he took a hard turn to the right just as America as a whole did, do make some sense for someone who lived through the postwar (the way Howard Stark did in movieverse.) The original Stan Lee comics in the 60s show him coming back to a world that’s largely familiar but in the middle of radical, vocal, visible social changes on all sorts of axes, it makes sense that he’d react to it the way he did (to the extent anything in 1960s comics makes sense.) And the Steve Rogers of the current comics has been awake an… indeterminate amount of time in a universe where time doesn’t… happen… the way it does in our universe, but at any rate he’s been living on the slow route long enough that the time he lost probably isn’t the defining factor in his viewpoints anymore. Meanwhile, MCU Cap lost so much time that he effectively was dropped into a completely foreign culture; he won’t be adapting to a world that’s moved on without him a bit, he’s found a world that’s just barely similar enough to confuse him more and is just trying to survive the culture shock; he’s going to have to completely remake all his preconceptions just to survive no matter which way he goes. (I haven’t read any Ults!Cap, which did take the ‘not a sweetheart, not progressive’ route, but my understanding is that Ults!Cap was a total mess, so take that as you will.)
Regardless of how much he’s a man out of time, though, all Steve Rogerses oppose bullies, oppose people who try to rule through fear, hate, greed, and divisiveness, oppose anything that smacks of fascism or authoritarianism, and will fight for what they believe is right though the whole world stand against them.
As long as you stick within those limits, you’re good.
Hi Nina! I don't know if this has been asked already (and I'm sorry it had been), but I've read a new theory about the possibility that Bran could have caused the Mad King to be *mad* and basically that Bran could alter the past. I don't know if this has been an on-going theory from ASOIaF fans already, but I believe GoT fans speculated this from S06E3, when the young Ned turned back to Bran on his vision on the Tower of Joy. (Con't..)
(2) I, myself, refuse to agree with the theory but I still have 400+ pages yet to read in ADWD so I might still miss something. I remember though that Lord Brynden told Bran that the past could not be altered, it’s just *whispers of the wind, and rustling of the leaves* (referring to Bran’s question when he slipped into the heart tree on Winterfell and saw his father looking up when he whispered). (Con’t..)
(3) Again, I’m not yet done with ADWD so I apologize if I should *just finish the book and discover this by myself lol*. But also, as far as I can remember, the *whispers* that made (or at least this was one of the reasons) why the Mad King *had gone mad* was Varys’s whispers which made him more paranoid. If this theory is true, then that would mean that there were indeed literal whispers. I just think that’s D&D material, not GRRM one. (Con’t..)
(4) Lastly, this theory also speculated that Bloodraven basicaly tried to alter the past before and failed, and as a mentor to Bran, he tried to tell him that the past can’t be altered to protect him from what he had personally experienced before. I really value your analysis on ASOIaF so my question is, what do you think about this theory? I apologize for the lengthy ask and if it sounds stupid and irrelevant. Anyway I thank you for your time and patience. Thanks again!
Thanks for the question, Anon.
No, I find this non-theory incredibly foolish and ignorant of Aerys’ true history, as well as what as been presented about weirwood visions. Ought we to assume that Bran was responsible for every Targaryen who expressed obsessive and/or paranoid behavior - people like Aerys’ great-uncle Aerion, or his great-great-great grandfather Aegon IV? I doubt it. Ought we to presume that mental illness could not have developed in a man with a family history of obsession and sadism, but must only have come from the whisperings of a boy - a boy who would have no idea what to say to a man who has no personal impact on him (Bran knows the Mad King, but what do you say to a villain who died almost a decade before you were born)? I doubt that as well.
Consider the history of Aerys Targaryen. Even from a young age, as Yandel makes explicitly clear, Aerys demonstrated a vanity and self-importance that made him loathe others’ taking his attention; he covered these unflattering characteristics with a veneer of charm in his youth, but the seeds of his eventual paranoia - a fear that others would supplant him - was already there. Compounding those qualities was the long Handship of Tywin Lannister, a man very intent on ruling the realm as a king in all but name - the man about whom it was said that he truly ruled, while Aerys was just a figurehead. For a vain, self-important man, hearing these pieces of court gossip could easily touch off feelings of paranoia (or are we to presume that Ilyn Payne never said anything, despite Yandel’s reporting to the same, and that the boasting which cost him his tongue was all Bran?). Moreover, for an example of a vain monarch supremely distrustful of his heir, we need only look to Aegon IV, whose hatred of Daeron was legendary (indeed, Aegon’s possible intent to create a new heir in his natural son Daemon triggered over a half century of Blackfyre wars).
But surely what truly tipped Aerys from eccentricity into full madness was not Bran or Bloodraven but the Defiance of Duskendale. It may be overlooked in the fandom how truly horrifying this experience would be for Aerys, a man of already unstable mind. The body of the king is supposed to be inviolable, sacrosanct; the order of the universe dictates respect and devotion from vassal to liege. All of that was turned upside-down; Aerys was help captive like a common criminal, physically assaulted (mildly, to be sure, but assaulted all the same), aware that the Darklyns - once an extremely loyal family, having sent seven sons to the Kingsguard - could very well have him killed if Tywin - a man Aerys knew had no love for him anymore - refused to accede to their demands. Everything he had feared had seemingly come true: if the loyal Darklyns could betray him so terribly, then surely every man was looking to supplant him, kill him, drive his name into the dust. It was only after Duskendale that Aerys truly became “the Mad King” - the unwashed, unshaved monster, violent and erratic. Why does Bloodraven or Bran need to have encouraged him along this path? The road from his earlier eccentric character to this terrible figure is easily enough seen.
We have been told by Bloodraven that the past cannot be changed. We have heard from the weirwood lips of the old sorcerer that he himself is haunted by the ghosts of his past - Daemon Blackfyre, Bittersteel, Shiera Seastar - and has tried and failed to contact them. Bran has tried and failed - getting a response no more directed to him than it was to any breeze that happened in real time. Bloodraven may be lying - but what evidence is there that he is? It seems no more likely that one can alter the past through a weirwood vision than one could, say, watching a home movie. “The trees remember”, Bloodraven says often enough, and Jojen likens the weirwoods to history books for the children of the forest; neither suggests that the trees have interactive power over the past, no more than a book or a videotape does. Is it not more tragic to think that a greenseer cannot interact with the past, and therefore can become lost in weirwood visions, desperately trying to communicate with those long dead while forgetting he belongs to the land of the living?
I have often said that if the series turned to time travel - not merely looking into the past (that’s hardly objectionable) but actually interacting with the past, so that somehow Bran becomes the engine of history - I would personally find the series to have, as you might say, jumped the shark. I pray this never comes to pass. This non-theory turns Bloodraven and/or Bran into god figures, creating clockwork puppets of historical figures instead of letting the real circumstances of history direct these characters’ actions and consequences. That is hardly the sort of theory I can support.
(1) Gaiden!Naruto is definitely "shitty in his own ways"! Can we please talk about his selective moral outrage in the latest chapter?! He had no problem with Orochimaru continuing to do human experimentation (why? because it's not bothering his precious Konoha), and Sasuke never having met Salad was also fine (why? because Naruto himself is a neglectful father), but Sasuke having a kid with his ex (which happens in real life and is nothing to be ashamed of) was A BIG PROBLEM. Was THAT really the
thing to get on his moral high horse about? Naruto needs to clean up his own house first before he talks shit about others. He’s the Hokage, yet he had NO IDEA what Oro’s been up to (the experiments, where he got that young body), despite the fact that Yamato has been spying on him this whole time. Being Hokage keeps Naruto so busy that he’s neglecting his family, yet he’s failing to keep up with intel on one of Konoha’s biggest threats. THAT is far more shameful than the secret identity of Salad’s mom. And why even assume Salad’s birth is the result of Sasuke doing something bad? There’s any number of explanations. Sasuke and Sakura obviously have some kind of an arrangement, so it’s 12 years too late to be mad when he spent the past decade too disinterested to realize there was something strange about the kid’s origins. I could keep going about all the ways Gaiden!Naruto is a hypocrite (e.g. him accusing Taka of being busybodies), but you’d get 5 more asks if I did. :P
Yes, let’s talk about Gaiden!Naruto’s moral outrage.
This was his reaction to finding out the Shins Orochimaru has been creating and experimenting on are killed when they’ve outlived their use.
Gee, idk Naruto, are you really okay with Orochimaru performing those kinds of experiments? Isn’t it your fucking job to keep him from performing those kinds of experiments?
This Naruto barely gives two shits about what Orochimaru’s been up to. Yamato has apparently done jack shit to stop Orochimaru from doing what he’s doing, he’s just been keeping tabs on what hideout he’s been in. He knows what Orochimaru is capable of. He knows that Orochimaru killed the third Hokage and he hated him for what he did to Sasuke. But now? Now he’s just that weirdo who does experiments in his basement, whatever. What a load of horseshit.
Compare to his reaction to Sasuke’s possibly cheating on Sakura (from Naruto’s POV).
Wow, impressive. We went from mild curiosity over Orochimaru’s experiments to full-blown fucking pissed over a DNA test. Guess we know what really grinds his gears.
Naruto has no right to judge Sasuke. None. With all the “canon” shit that Naruto has done, Sasuke’s actions are none of his fucking business. Let’s think about that for a second. On top of what you mentioned, Naruto neglecting his kids and not reacting too much when he found out Sasuke hadn’t even met Sarada, this is the guy that lied to Sakura for over a decade about liking her when he only wanted her for his rivalry with Sasuke (if we’re to believe The Last’s bullshit, which we will in its relation to NG because NG Naruto is clearly the same scumbag), the guy that gave up on saving the world because a chick rejected him, only fell in love with said chick because a genjutsu guilted him into accepting her feelings, got married within that same year, had children only a year or so after that, didn’t invite his best friend to his wedding, didn’t use his Hokage power to change the oppressive shinobi system that hurt him and his friends for so long, let Orochimaru run around unchecked (having Yamato stalk him from a distance doesn’t count, clearly, since he’s been doing these Shin experiments for fucking years), didn’t question when one of his supposed best friends had a child despite him never seeing her pregnant and never even spoke to her kid before because he gives so few shits about his friends….I could go on. If he was going to be pissed off over Sasuke’s actions regarding his wife he should’ve been pissed for the past 12 years when Sasuke avoided seeing his wife and child and Sakura randomly appeared with a child without her ever being pregnant. He never gave a shit before, what makes him think it’s okay to be pissed at Sasuke now that he’s decided to give a shit?
And what about Sasuke? What’s he done? Possibly had a child with another woman that’s been raised by Sakura for the past 12 years and hasn’t seen his family or met his daughter. Compared to the laundry list of offenses Naruto has committed against the shinobi world and all of his friends, Sasuke’s personal issues with his girlfriends is none of Naruto’s business and he has no right to judge him. He’s just as much of a scumbag if not worse. Sasuke’s personal family issues have done nothing to affect the world, Naruto’s issues have resulted in Orochimaru doing unchecked human experimentation that resulted in the villain they’re currently facing. But he doesn’t see his lack of action as an issue, he barely sees Orochimaru’s experiments as an issue, so of course he thinks he’s on some moral high ground above Sasuke. And we as an audience are supposed to agree with Naruto and think Sasuke’s a cheating scumbag. Shame anyone with decent reading comprehension can see that almost all the shit happening in NG (and probably the Burrito movie) is ultimately Naruto’s fault and Sasuke’s baby momma issues aren’t that fucking important.
Description: Based off of an imagine from a little while ago, the Winchesters go to investigate the scene of a disturbance only to find the reader obliviously in the centre… a lot more entwined with the town’s goings on than she first realises.
Author’s Note: After an amusing request from @glittertotheglueyouresniffing to continue the imagine, I couldn’t resist - definitely have fuel for a part 2 if people want it, will lean towards Cas more in future! Also thanks to my b-girls for a little editing help when I was borderline tearing my hair out!
“You look as guilty as hell.”
It was a rather stupid phrase when you thought about it. Half of the reason the souls were in hell was due to lack of guilt of something they’d done and the rest? Well they were demons torturing the souls with no remorse to write home about anyway.
So why, if this was such a stupid and thoughtless phrase, did Dean look so adamant when he said it to you? You knew he could be illogical but there was no hint of joking in his eyes, not today.
He spoke firmly, eyes fixed on your own. You responded to the glare with confusion, looking around your immediate area just in case there was someone else nearby he was speaking to, but apparently you were alone.
“I’m… I’m not sure,” you said, finally using your voice, which felt more than a little scratchy.
“You’re not sure if you’re guilty?” Sam said, he stood next to Dean with a skeptical look on his face. The two of them towered over you, from your position on the ground, which now you came to think of it, you weren’t even entirely sure why you were on the cool concrete in what looked like a disused barn.
“Well, I lost track of my memory when I was falling,” you furrowed your brow, doing some quick arithmetic in your head, “I think I reached a velocity over 1,000 km/h at one point…”
“Wait what-?” Dean started talking but Sam put up a hand so you could finish.
“You are the Winchesters, right? Angels shouldn’t be a shock to you?”
The look on their faces warped to a strange mixture of anger and disappointment - no, that wasn’t quite the right words. Your head was a jumble but with some concentration the word was coming back to you: “exasperation”. That was the look that they were giving you, an exasperated expression coupled with body language that was suggesting defensiveness.
“An angel?” He scoffed before turning to Sam and throwing a hand up in annoyance, “of course it’s a friggin’ angel.”
“I apologise for the inconvenience, I hadn’t intended for this,” you said simply. It was true, your last memory was a conversation with a colleague before a searing pain ripped through your back and suddenly the air had been rushing by. You’d fallen. All things considered it was unlike what you’d expected, this had been an unintended side effect and it wasn’t as if you’d predicted to be here… yet here you were sitting.
“What do you want?” Dean said nodding back at you, he wasn’t hostile, more irritated.
You paused for a second, deciding a lighthearted answer may help diffuse the situation, you thought carefully before speaking, “a change of clothes and a shower would be nice, but I fear there may be more pressing matters.” You didn’t wait for their response before shakily getting to your feet and dusting yourself off.
“Woah, where are you going?” Sam raised an arm, eyeing you carefully to make sure you didn’t slip past.
“It must have landed nearby, it wasn’t taken so I must have lost it,” you used the term ‘lost’ loosely. Grace wasn’t something one misplaced down the back of a settee, but rather something that was accidentally separated. It wasn’t a permanent arrangement, or so you hoped at least.
“It? You mean your grace?” Dean said incredulously. On seeing your nod, he blew out a huff of air and turned to Sam, exchanging a look between them that you had trouble reading before he turned back to face you. “Who are you?”
“Y/N,” you stated, “well, that’s the name I usually go by, anyway. You can check with Castiel if you truly feel the need, he will verify I’m no threat.” Their interest seemed to peak at the mention of their friend, that was the point in mentioning names, you supposed. Recognition.
“You know Cas?” Sam asked quickly.
“An acquaintance of sorts, he’s no enemy of mine though, if that’s what you’re thinking,” you informed them pulling a quick smile, “I would appreciate if you could-”
You were cut off in your tracks, your eyes flicking over their shoulders as you saw the vessel Castiel was currently taking stood behind them. He looked different to how you’d last seen him, but then again you were used to looking past a vessel, it was certainly restrictive having to view the world as a human. As if in response, you saw the silhouette of his wings briefly flash on the decaying, wooden wall behind him. You faltered for a second but the Winchesters apparently had not yet noticed, but Castiel took a step forward, his blue eyes intently staring at you.
“Y/N?” He said, the sudden voice causing Sam to jump.
“What is this? A friggin party now?” Dean grumbled, mainly to himself as it appeared no one else was listening.
“Yes,” you nodded, ignoring Dean’s eye roll, “I’m… sorry about the circumstances.”
Castiel hid his surprise well as he spoke again, “what are you doing here?”
It was an obvious response, but one that you felt needed affirming on the off chance he hadn’t noticed. If the Winchesters were here, there had to be something else in the area which meant there was no time for delay - you couldn’t imagine a creature getting ahold of your grace would end well.
The brothers looked to Castiel questioningly, but the angel simply stared at you with wide eyes, “How are you here?”
“I told you, I fell.”
“I know,” he said gruffly, “But that was 3 years ago.”
Now it was your turn to give the men blank looks. Three years? That wasn’t possible, it was only a maximum of a few hours ago that you’d been in Heaven and time didn’t work like that. Humans viewed time differently to angels, a blink of an eye for an angel could be half a decade for a human, but for all intents and purposes you were human if separated from your grace. Anything more than a few weeks was impossible.
“Y/N? You alright?” Dean asked, throwing a strange glance to his brother before looking back to you.
“That’s not possible, it only just happened…”
Cas shuffled his feet awkwardly before clearing his throat and beginning to talk, “I knew you’d fallen, but everything went silent. You disappeared and were assumed to be… dead.”
Dead? Death was final for angels and was not something that was taken lightly. There was no sweet and fluffy for a heavenly being such as yourself, which is why so much was usually done to locate deceased brothers and sisters. So why hadn’t anyone found you? Why did you have no memory of the past three years would be an obvious question too, but that could be addressed in time. For now, you needed information, anything you could gather on your own existence.
“Did someone not sense my grace?” You muttered, “How has my vessel survived?”
“I don’t know,” Castiel answered truthfully, he looked to the Winchesters, suddenly remembering their presence. He’d always struggled to focus on more than one person at once, his intent staring had apparently not changed since last you saw him, sometime in the 1860’s. However, as he glanced between the brothers, an unspoken agreement seemed to settle over them, Dean muttered something unintelligible to Sam and they turned back to you cautiously.
“I’m sorry to hear about the falling, I wish we had more answers,” Sam said solemnly, pausing before he spoke again, “so, er, do you know what’s going on in the area?”
You shook your head and swallowed on your dry throat, “should I be worried?”
“No,” Dean said with a forced smile, “we don’t want to get your hopes up, but I guess we could have a lead for you to follow up on.”
You straightened up and your eyes darted to Castiel for confirmation, but he seemed to be listening as curiously as you were. How they were delivering the news gave you the sense it wasn’t the simple search and recover mission you’d hoped for, of course you’d heard nothing was simple with the Winchesters but you had hoped it would never involve you. Whatever the means to the end were though, it seemed worth hearing them out so you stayed quiet and listening.
“So, a new processing plant was being built only just on the other side of town,” Sam started, clearing his throat, “there’d been reports of the water having healing properties in the past couple years but it was put down to new algae blooms or something. The townspeople ignored it and built the water purifier anyway. Long story short, fast track to a few weeks later, it’s activated and the town’s had some weird goings on. We’re talking people curing broken arms in a few days, a man being accused of harassment through dreams and a gym guy whose strength has gone through the roof. Not to mention a psychic going viral for telepathy… You could be our missing puzzle piece.”
You nodded in understanding, you could see where he was going with the idea, but it wasn’t intel as solid as you’d like. Still, having only been conscious for under an hour, it was honourable progress.
“It’s a good start,” you said, offering a smile, “I’m sorry or thank you, I… I’m not sure which is more appropriate, but I think I need to go now.”
“Not on your own,” Dean scoffed. You threw him a confused look, bordering on offended, so he elaborated hurriedly, “look, I’m sure you’re capable but angels without mojo are near enough toddlers.”
To have a human referring to you as such was enough to make you bristle but you bit your tongue on the sheer point of having no other option. Even if you hated it. You didn’t even know what town you were in let alone anything else and if your grace was truly affecting humans on large scale, you needed it back before it got lost, or worse, it attracted the wrong attention.
“I can escort her,” Castiel chimed in after a while, “Dean, you and Sam keep searching for any other leads in case this happens to be a dead end. We’ll check the water supply promptly.”
“You know it’s not confirmed, right?” Sam said, “we’ve only been in town for a couple of days…”
“It is my best chance,” you muttered. It seemed strange that you couldn’t simply fly yourself there with a thought, the dull ache where your wings had been only seemed to remind you. You swallowed hard and dipped your head to the angel, “shall we go, then?”
What do you think it is about the story of Harry Potter that makes it so powerful? I've been asked why I love it so much, but I honestly can't express it. I'm not very good at putting things into words...help? I know, it's kind of a tough/random question.
Hehe it is a tough question but do you know what? I love it! In fact I started to well up just thinking how I would reply to this message. It doesn’t help that I’m now listening to a HP soundtrack playlist on youtube either. I don’t help myself really.
I think that for most of us here on Tumblr, the significance of it is that we grew up with it. It doesn’t matter if you were 13 when the first film came out, or 5, a whole generation grew up with it. My mum works with a 22/23 year old who is apparently just as obsessed with it as I am, quite a lot of my friends love it, and I am moulding my 3 year old sister to love it - in fact she calls me Dumbledore, and calls herself “Romione”, which is how she says Hermione (for some reason, though she can say it properly), which I love. But, having said that, my dad loves it too, he read the books when I was a child and took me to see the films, and took me to the HP Studios, and actually wants to go back. I feel like I was lucky, because I got into it at a very young age. My parents took me to the cinema to see PS in 2001 when it came out, simply because they had seen on the news the success, and the recommendations that it was a great film for kids. That was that, I then became obsessed at 5 years old. Oops. It’s my parents fault, I swear!
I think that the series is a rare thing. The outline of the plot may not be that original - “The Chosen One” versus “He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named”. But Jo is a mastermind. She embellishes it so that it is something that has never been done before: a 7 book series, that are so closely interwoven that there is foreshadowing for the ending in the first book! And amazingly it never gets old! I read the first book 12/13 years ago now (I was 5 or 6 I can’t remember exactly how old I was), and read the rest of the books when they came out. I’ve probably read each book half a dozen times, more likely a dozen times each. But I never tire of them. Whenever my parents see me settle down to read one of the books again, they’re amazed that I can still read it, even though I probably know each sentence by now, and even though the plot to each book is engrained in my brain, so much so that I think I know the Harry Potter Universe better than I know myself. I remember when I was like 8 or 9 years old, they told me with conviction that I would grow out of it. Now, a decade later, I actually love it even more, which I’m baffled is possible. In another decade, I’ll love it even more. Each time I re-read one of the books, I notice even more about it, more foreshadowing, or moments or sentences that I’ve overlooked and forgotten in the past. It’s these small details that make the series so special. Jo is nothing short of a genius. I’m not joking when I say that I think she should be made queen. Shove over Windsors, the Rowlings are taking the throne mate.
First of all, let’s look at the characters. They’re painfully real and relatable. They’re all grey characters, no-one is just good or just bad, the line between them is blurred in real life, and they’re blurred realistically in the series. They’re just such realistic people! I’m not going to go into a great deal of detail with the characters because I was planning on going to sleep at some point tonight.
Let’s look at Harry, who could so easily have been written as “The Chosen One”, perfect boy, poor unfortunate soul who handles his burdens with an air of grace, and just manages to defeat the evil one every time because he is so goddamn brilliant, like most of the protagonists are in YA. No. Our Harry is a goddamn idiot. He is the biggest idiot ever! He is a sarcastic little twat who, if he wasn’t the chosen one, would be an average student who just happened to be good at sports. He is overly loyal and forgiving, and wouldn’t be able to do anything that he did do without his friends.
Now, Hermione. In the films she is little miss perfect, but in the books she is far from it. She’s not just the smart girl, who in quite a lot of YA novel would fall in love with the protagonist. She’s ruthless: she punched Malfoy, cursed Marietta, set fire to Snape, and set a flock of birds to attack Ron.
Ron grew up in a very poor household, overshadowed by his brothers, then came to Hogwarts, where he was overshadowed by his best friend. He earned the right to be pissed off with him. But he’s loyal, and intelligent too, which most people seem to forget. No he didn’t get great grades, nor did Harry. But did you see that chess game he played in his first year????!!!?!?!?!
Moving on from the trio, what makes the series even more rare is the development of the secondary and tertiary characters. Think of the silver trio, Draco, Dumbledore, Lupin, Dobby, Cho, Lily, the Weasleys, even Crookshanks! They are all so developed that it’s amazing. How did Jo even do it? What’s more, they’re all realistic too. I don’t think there’s anyone in the series who wouldn’t exist in real life. I don’t know any other novel or series ever to have so many characters that are so well developed. Every character is so interesting, from Harry, to Luna, to Rita. My mind bogles at the thought! This makes the series special, because everyone has that one character that we relate too. I can’t even articulate how Jo has written so many characters that we love and adore and hate and relate to and who are all so important in their own right and so amazing. We also see them grow up, from children to adults. But I think one important lesson is that no matter who you are, you’re loved: Harry didn’t think we was loved, and then he became on of the Weasleys. Also, the fact that even the wisest of characters, Dumbledore,makes mistakes, and so teaching us that it’s okay to make mistakes, and not to know what you’re doing. And, that despite how you’ve been brought up, no one is more important than another because of their birth.
I think that brings me on to this: the series has so many important life lessons in it, and that, for a series about a wizard, it’s surprising the parallels it draws to our world. For a supposed child’s series, it touches on some very real and important topics, but masks them. Like racial prejudice for example: the prejudice of purebloods against muggle-borns. The Death Eaters are basically the KKK. There is other prejudice, against werewolves for example (an example of HIV), house-elves, and giants. But in the end, Jo teaches us to throw our prejudices out the window: everyone is equal. That’s not just it. There are very heavy topics in the series. Abuse (the Dursleys), PTSD (Harry), grief after death (Harry and Cho), moving on from loss (Luna, Harry, Cho, Neville), the inevitably of death (Tom), the importance of having love (Harry vs Tom), depression (Dementors). This educates kids without it being obvious what it’s about, learning the lessons about acceptance without the prejudice. I don’t think this is a kid’s series, but the fact that so many children read it is fantastic.
Finally, the world that Jo created is so magic. It’s so like our own, but just different enough for us to be entranced by it. She created this world and it’s people so cleverly. You never want to leave. Once you’ve read one of the books, or seen one of the films, you have to come back. The depth that Jo went in to creating this universe is outstanding, and I’m amazed that I’m still learning stuff about it, nearly 14 years later.
That’s what makes the series so powerful. It’s so hard not to fall in love with it. It was so cleverly created, and, in my opinion, stands head and shoulders above most literature. I think that people are going to be reading the books and watching the films for centuries. I’m already looking forward to reading the books to my kids - hell, I’m excited to reading it to my little sister (if she would let me, her attention span isn’t quite long enough yet).
Oh wise Mittens. I've just had an absolutely terrifying thought, after reading that Misha said Cas is back at being a badass warrior, and now that he confirmed Cas' sex-hair is back too, I found myself wondering; what if he's "re-set" to S4 Cas? BAMF angel of the Lord, having no recollection of the past 8 years? If the angel banishing that Lady Toni Bevell is different to the other sigils, or they "hand-wave" reason as "God did something to Heaven before he left again"? How else is old-Cas back?
Ooh, hello! This is a complicated one, and I haven’t had much coffee yet *pauses to gulp coffee* but I wanted to get this answered soonest and not hang on to it, because it’s sort of timely, what with Misha saying these things at Pittcon, on the FB answer, etc., and with little snippets coming in from set now that they’re back to filming.
As far as Castiel’s plot arc, and why it’s so important for him to finally be “reset” to Original Flavor BAMF Cas (and I’ll explain how I’m using the word “reset” in a second, I promise it’s not scary), this really goes back to what happened to him in 8.23. I need to start with a little backstory in order to explain why I’m not worried about this at all.
The only other first-hand report we have of what it’s like for an angel to tear out their grace is from Anna way back in s4. She described it as a horrible experience, but she’d chosen it. Cas never had that choice. Nor was he allowed to then experience a full human life in his own vessel from birth to death like Anna was expecting to, and to forget that he’d ever been an angel. He was returned to earth as-is to suffer what Metatron had done to him. He’d experienced the sickness of having stolen grace burning him out. And when he finally got his own grace back, it was just a small fragment of the original and he’s never been as powerful as he was before. As far as we know, the only angel that could still fly post-8.23 was Lucifer. I guess the cage was good for something anyway, and protected him from his wings burning off.
Imagine, on top of all his guilt, depression, and pdsd, that he’s also lost the essential thing that had always been at the core of his identity and purpose. I’ve been trying to think of a good analogy, but maybe this will work for you. It’s like a concert pianist is in a car accident and it takes a long time for them to recover physically, but even when their body works perfectly again they can never really play the piano again. Whatever part of their brain or whatever that made them great, that interpreted the music, is just… gone. Can you even imagine that? I think that’s a very small and human comparison of what Cas has had stolen from him.
He never had the choice.
Now that he’s physically recovered and whole again (thanks to whatever Chuck did to him, and having Lucifer ejected from him), I’m actually GLAD he seems to have been restored to his full power. And I’ll explain why, but let me get these important bullet points out of the way first. Here’s the screengrab I made of it for reference purposes first, because there is NOTHING special or different about it (which is detailed in that very long linked post above):
Lady Toni’s spell was nothing more than an ordinary angel banishing spell. I made a post about this (okay, I added a snip to @messier51′s already excellent and thorough post about angel banishing sigils, which is also worth a read) shortly after the episode aired when people were worried it was some special, altered sigil that might have killed Cas, or done something extra to him. Nope. Standard Angel Banishing.
It’s possible that the Heaven Problems (i.e. angels getting their wings back) were handwaved by Chuck when he swooshed out with Amara, but that remains to be seen. I don’t think that would negatively affect Cas, nor reprogram him or restore him to angel default. I don’t think Chuck would undo near-on a decade of personal growth in his favorite little angel (how many times did Chuck resurrect him now without undoing all the work Cas did personally? Why would he start now? Chuck’s kind of fond of free will, don’t you know.)
Right now, as of the last seconds of 11.23, Cas believed that Dean was dead and gone. His ONLY mission was Dean’s final instruction, to take care of Sam. Well, Sam had really needed the HUMAN kind of taking care of. Comfort, companionship, friendship, support. Cas was trying to be that for him, because Dean had asked him to. Toni banishing him like that, threatening Cas’s ability to help Sam, was likely the equivalent of pushing the HULK SMASH button on Bruce Banner, you know? Cas now has a reason to draw on his entire range of angelic abilities and powers, to get back to Sam and stand at his side against this threat.
After being human, and then a damaged and broken version of an angel, for so long (more than 3 years!) I’m thrilled to see him be able to stretch his metaphorical wings again. He absolutely NEEDS to, in order to recover and feel whole and useful and himself again after so long being manipulated, controlled, and tortured by others. Because now he has something to compare with being that all-powerful angel he always steadfastly thought he was. He has his own sense of humanity.
He’s been asked almost since his first appearance on this show where his loyalties lie. Even back in s4, other angels were questioning him on it. That was the entire point of 4.17, after all. For the first time ever, he’s going to be able to really ask these questions of himself, not having to battle mind control, not having outside limits placed on his power, not having his grace forcibly stolen. Everything he does from here on out will be HIS OWN FREE CHOICE. AND THAT IS HUUUUUUGE. *did I put enough U’s in there?*
The big bad this season isn’t a supreme deity. It’s not a monster, or a force of nature. It’s just people.
How much use are Cas’s spectacular angel powers going to be against people who know a little more about angels than the average person? People like Toni who don’t even give him a chance to use all that power and just boop him off to Australia instead? I think for the first time ever, angel powers might work against him…
Except for the fact that now, in addition to the BAMF Angel of the Lord, Cas is also Cas. He’s learned a thing or two about people. His people skills aren’t quite so rusty as they were back in s6, you know?
This is a season of discovery and understanding for ALL THREE members of TFW. I think it was Jared that said something about it at Pittcon over the weekend? Maybe? That they’re really going to be exploring what they all want out of life… and this is where Cas’s arc has brought him. This isn’t a choice based on “doing what he had to do,” or out of duty, or because he had no other choice. This is going to be a real uninfluenced choice about who and what and where he really wants to be, and he can finally, truly make that choice.
I can’t even begin to express how excited I am about all of this, and not just for Cas, but for Sam and Dean as well! :)