This is a story that believes in heroes in the same way it believes in forest fires, or apples dropping to earth, or stairs in a mountainside.
Heroes are destructive.
They are inevitable, inexorable, and drawn to fall.
They are built.
The Academy believed in heroes in the same way it believed in uniforms and old family names. Heroism was tangible and came with a badge attached.
Jack Farris believed in heroes in the same way the town built up along the banks of the river believed in flotsam.
Beanstalk, by E. Jade Lomax
Ok, so I’m starting to reread the Leagues and Legends books in my downtime (which today means at almost 1 am after trying to write this on mobile and having it stop working and delete all of it) so you all get some rambles.
First off, this opening is stellar. Right off the bat it tells us that this story falls in the legacy of heroes and fairy tales. Beyond that, in the first five words, we know that this is a meta story, aware of its standing and ready to wink. By the end of the first section, Lomax has hinted at tragic flaws and the hero’s journey, the traumas and dramas (sadly lacking in llamas) that drive heroes forward and forge them into adventurers/rescuers/annihilators.
And then immediately subverts it with an image of heroics as regulated and taught, with an air of pretension. The traditional heroic molds are the prince and the peasant; this two-sentence introduction to the Academy is steeped in classism. Heroism can be born into, it can be bought, and it is bound by appearance.
And then, just for fun, subverts the whole concept of heroics in this world anyway, with the declaration that our leading trickster views them as so much trash and nuisance built up and in the way.
And they’re all true. In her introduction, Lomax maps out the forces shaping the book. At the topmost level, it’s the concept of story itself. Literary traditions and narrative tropes shape storytelling and our understanding of it. They’re important and heavy. On the second level, we see the internal power structures of the world. Forces like the Academy and government agencies, the traditions and culture that have brought the world of the book where they are. And then the bottom level, the individual characters themselves, where Lomax smirks at the top two levels and declares that they might as well be thrown out because these characters will have NONE OF THAT. And we see small rebellions twisting the status quo the whole way through, the power of individuals to cause change, and not just the “oh we saved the world we’re heroes” way.
And this is such a great bit of meta fun, because of course this is a hero story, and of course Jack Farris is a hero, but that gives him even better perspective for how he views them, tbh. And for that matter, while it’s a hero story, it’s probably even more of a healing story, but that’s getting quite ahead of myself and it is now 1:30 in the morning.
Here’s to the album that for two years now has encouraged us to evolve and grow, that inspired eighty-five intensely relevant clean speeches, and encouraged us to seek out any changes in life that we desire. Here’s to the album that reminded us to have faith in ourselves, that helped us understand the unbridled happiness that we all deserve, and recognise that our scars don’t permanently leave us tarnished. Most importantly, here’s to the fifth album from Taylor that has beautifully helped a kaleidoscope of people feel less alone.
“I sold paper at this company for 12 years. My job was to speak to clients on the phone about quantities and types of copier paper. Even if I didn’t love every minute of it, everything I have, I owe to this job. This stupid…wonderful…boring…amazing job.”
◈ ║ YOUR GOD HAS SPOKEN: Lately the RP community has been filled with a lot of toxic behavior. Listen, at the end of the day? I do not care how good your graphics are, or about how stellar your writing is, RP is about having fun- && no one, NO ONE, has the right to take that away from you. Whether you dislike someones blog, or the mun, or their portrayal of their muse, it does not give you the initiative to harass them. It is sickening to me, just how ruthlessly petty, some people have been acting as of late; we are all here to have a good time, to inspire one another, we all have a common love for this series. This kind of behavior is unacceptable, if you don’t like someone? By all means. But do not vague post about it. A nasty attitude leads to nasty outcomes, don’t be rude to others. Go out of your way to be kind to people in the RP community, don’t ostracize them. Nothing good comes out of romanticizing elitism, especially when at the end of the day, we are all sitting behind a computer screen writing as anime characters. For Christ’s sake.
Do you ever do that thing where you wake up ages before your alarm, and decide to check tumblr for five minutes then get up. Then you stop scrolling and see it’s one minute till your alarm goes off and you’re like “???? Rude? Where did all that time go?”