when we say surviving is an accomplishment we are not kidding

Marc Guggenheim SDCC17 Interview

Marc Guggenheim was kind enough to meet with me for a one on one chat. 

We walked the floor together with his nephew and little girl (who are the cutest) for an hour and talked all things Arrow!!! He told me this is his most aggressive SDCC schedule ever, so the fact that he slotted in some time just for me really meant the world. Marc Guggenheim is the actual best. He is the definition of it.


We launched right into number one on my list: wedding.

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Revolutionary Hope: A Conversation Between James Baldwin and Audre Lorde

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JB: One of the dangers of being a Black American is being schizophrenic, and I mean ‘schizophrenic’ in the most literal sense. To be a Black American is in some ways to be born with the desire to be white. It’s a part of the price you pay for being born here, and it affects every Black person. We can go back to Vietnam, we can go back to Korea. We can go back for that matter to the First World War. We can go back to W.E.B. Du Bois – an honorable and beautiful man – who campaigned to persuade Black people to fight in the First World War, saying that if we fight in this war to save this country, our right to citizenship can never, never again be questioned – and who can blame him? He really meant it, and if I’d been there at that moment I would have said so too perhaps. Du Bois believed in the American dream. So did Martin. So did Malcolm. So do I. So do you. That’s why we’re sitting here.

AL: I don’t, honey. I’m sorry, I just can’t let that go past. Deep, deep, deep down I know that dream was never mine. And I wept and I cried and I fought and I stormed, but I just knew it. I was Black. I was female. And I was out – out – by any construct wherever the power lay. So if I had to claw myself insane, if I lived I was going to have to do it alone. Nobody was dreaming about me. Nobody was even studying me except as something to wipe out.

JB: You are saying you do not exist in the American dream except as a nightmare.

AL: That’s right. And I knew it every time I opened Jet, too. I knew that every time I opened a Kotex box. I knew that every time I went to school. I knew that every time I opened a prayer book. I knew it, I just knew it.

JB: It is difficult to be born in a place where you are despised and also promised that with endeavor – with this, with that, you know – you can accomplish the impossible. You’re trying to deal with the man, the woman, the child – the child of whichever sex – and he or she and your man or your woman has got to deal with the 24-hour-a-day facts of life in this country. We’re not going to fly off someplace else, you know, we’d better get through whatever that day is and still have each other and still raise children – somehow manage all of that. And this is 24 hours of every day, and you’re surrounded by all of the paraphernalia of safety: If you can strike this bargain here. If you can make sure your armpits are odorless. Curl your hair. Be impeccable. Be all the things that the American public says you should do, right? And you do all those things – and nothing happens really. And what is much worse than that, nothing happens to your child either.

AL: Even worse than the nightmare is the blank. And Black women are the blank. I don’t want to break all this down, then have to stop at the wall of male/female division. When we admit and deal with difference; when we deal with the deep bitterness; when we deal with the horror of even our different nightmares; when we turn them and look at them, it’s like looking at death: hard but possible. If you look at it directly without embracing it, then there is much less that you can ever be made to fear.

JB: I agree.

AL: Well, in the same way when we look at our differences and not allow ourselves to be divided, when we own them and are not divided by them, that is when we will be able to move on. But we haven’t reached square one yet.

JB: I’m not sure of that. I think the Black sense of male and female is much more sophisticated than the western idea. I think that Black men and women are much less easily thrown by the question of gender or sexual preference – all that jazz. At least that is true of my experience.

AL: Yea, but let’s remove ourselves from merely a reactive position – i.e., Black men and women reacting to what’s out there. While we are reacting to what’s out there, we’re also dealing between ourselves – and between ourselves there are power differences that come down…

JB: Oh, yes…

AL: Truly dealing with how we live, recognizing each other’s differences, is something that hasn’t happened…

JB: Differences and samenesses.

AL: Differences and samenesses. But in a crunch, when all our asses are in the sling, it looks like it is easier to deal with the samenesses. When we deal with sameness only, we develop weapons that we use against each other when the differences become apparent. And we wipe each other out – Black men and women can wipe each other out – far more effectively than outsiders do.

JB: That’s true enough.

AL: And our blood is high, our furies are up. I mean, it’s what Black women do to each other, Black men do to each other, and Black people do to each other. We are in the business of wiping each other out in one way or the other – and essentially doing our enemy’s work.

JB: That’s quite true.

AL: We need to acknowledge those power differences between us and see where they lead us. An enormous amount of energy is being taken up with either denying the power differences between Black men and women or fighting over power differences between Black men and women or killing each other off behind them. I’m talking about Black women’s blood flowing in the streets – and how do we get a 14-year-old boy to know I am not the legitimate target of his fury? The boot is on both of our necks. Let’s talk about getting it off. My blood will not wash out your horror. That’s what I’m interested in getting across to adolescent Black boys.

There are little Black girl children having babies. But this is not an immaculate conception, so we’ve got little Black boys who are making babies, too. We have little Black children making little Black children. I want to deal with that so our kids will not have to repeat that waste of themselves.

JB: I hear you – but let me backtrack, for better or worse. You know, for whatever reason and whether it’s wrong or right, for generations men have come into the world, either instinctively knowing or believing or being taught that since they were men they in one way or another had to be responsible for the women and children, which means the universe.

AL: Mm-hm.

JB: I don’t think there’s any way around that.

AL: Any way around that now?

JB: I don’t think there’s any way around that fact.

AL: If we can put people on the moon and we can blow this whole planet up, if we can consider digging 18 inches of radioactive dirt off of the Bikini atolls and somehow finding something to do with it – if we can do that, we as Black cultural workers can somehow begin to turn that stuff around – because there’s nobody anymore buying ‘cave politics’ – ‘Kill the mammoth or else the species is extinct.’ We have moved beyond that. Those little scrubby-ass kids in the sixth grade – I want those Black kids to know that brute force is not a legitimate way of dealing across sex difference. I want to set up some different paradigms.

JB: Yea, but there’s a real difference between the way a man looks at the world…

AL: Yes, yes…

JB: And the way a woman looks at the world. A woman does know much more than a man.

AL: And why? For the same reason Black people know what white people are thinking: because we had to do it for our survival…

JB: All right, all right…

AL: We’re finished being bridges. Don’t you see? It’s not Black women who are shedding Black men’s blood on the street – yet. We’re not cleaving your head open with axes. We’re not shooting you down. We’re saying, “Listen, what’s going on between us is related to what’s going on between us and other people,” but we have to solve our own shit at the same time as we’re protecting our Black asses, because if we don’t, we are wasting energy that we need for joint survival.

JB: I’m not even disagreeing – but if you put the argument in that way, you see, a man has a certain story to tell, too, just because he is a man…

AL: Yes, yes, and it’s vital that I be alive and able to listen to it.

JB: Yes. Because we are the only hope we have. A family quarrel is one thing; a public quarrel is another. And you and I, you know – in the kitchen, with the kids, with each other or in bed – we have a lot to deal with, with each other, but we’ve got to know what we’re dealing with. And there is no way around it. There is no way around it. I’m a man. I am not a woman.

AL: That’s right, that’s right.

JB: No one will turn me into a woman. You’re a woman and you’re not a man. No one will turn you into a man. And we are indispensable for each other, and the children depend on us both.

AL: It’s vital for me to be able to listen to you, to hear what is it that defines you and for you to listen to me, to hear what is it that defines me – because so long as we are operating in that old pattern, it doesn’t serve anybody, and it certainly hasn’t served us.

JB: I know that. What I really think is that neither of us has anything to prove, at least not in the same way, if we weren’t in the North American wilderness. And the inevitable dissension between brother and sister, between man and woman – let’s face it, all those relations which are rooted in love also are involved in this quarrel. Because our real responsibility is to endlessly redefine each other. I cannot live without you, and you cannot live without me – and the children can’t live without us.

AL: But we have to define ourselves for each other. We have to redefine ourselves for each other because no matter what the underpinnings of the distortion are, the fact remains that we have absorbed it. We have all absorbed this sickness and ideas in the same way we absorbed racism. It’s vital that we deal constantly with racism, and with white racism among Black people – that we recognize this as a legitimate area of inquiry. We must also examine the ways that we have absorbed sexism and heterosexism. These are the norms in this dragon we have been born into – and we need to examine these distortions with the same kind of openness and dedication that we examine racism…

JB: You use the word ‘racism’…

AL: The hatred of Black, or color…

JB: - but beneath the word ‘racism’ sleeps the word ‘safety.’ Why is it important to be white or Black?

AL: Why is it important to be a man rather than a woman?

JB: In both cases, it is assumed that it is safer to be white than to be Black. And it’s assumed that it is safer to be a man than to be a woman. These are both masculine assumptions. But those are the assumptions that we’re trying to overcome or to confront…

AL: To confront, yeah. The vulnerability that lies behind those masculine assumptions is different for me and you, and we must begin to look at that…

JB: Yes, yes…

AL: And the fury that is engendered in the denial of that vulnerability – we have to break through it because there are children growing up believe that it is legitimate to shed female blood, right? I have to break through it because those boys really think that the sign of their masculinity is impregnating a sixth grader. I have to break through it because of that little sixth-grade girl who believes that the only thing in life she has is what lies between her legs…

JB: Yeah, but we’re not talking now about men and women. We’re talking about a particular society. We’re talking about a particular time and place. You were talking about the shedding of Black blood in the streets, but I don’t understand –

AL: Okay, the cops are killing the men and the men are killing the women. I’m talking about rape. I’m talking about murder.

JB: I’m not disagreeing with you, but I do think you’re barking up the wrong tree. I’m not trying to get the Black man off the hook – or Black women, for that matter – but I am talking about the kingdom in which we live.

AL: Yes, I absolutely agree; the kingdom in which these distortions occur has to be changed.

JB: Something happens to the man who beats up a lady. Something happens to the man who beats up his grandmother. Something happens to the junkie. I know that very well. I walked the streets of Harlem; I grew up there, right? Now you know it is not the Black cat’s fault who sees me and tries to mug me. I got to know that. It’s his responsibility but it’s not his fault. That’s a nuance. UI got to know that it’s not him who is my enemy even when he beats up his grandmother. His grandmother has got to know. I’m trying to say one’s got to see what drove both of us into those streets. We be both from the same track. Do you see what I mean? I’ve come home myself, you know, wanting to beat up anything in sight- but Audre, Audre…

AL: I’m here, I’m here…

JB: I agree with you. I see exactly what you mean and it hurts me at least as much as it hurts you. But how to maneuver oneself past this point – how not to lose him or her who may be in what is in effect occupied territory. That is really what the Black situation is in this country. For the ghetto, all that is lacking is barbed wire, and when you pen people up like animals, the intention is to debase them and you have debased them.

AL: Jimmy, we don’t have an argument

JB: I know we don’t.

AL: But what we do have is a real disagreement about your responsibility not just to me but to my son and to our boys. Your responsibility to him is to get across to him in a way that I never will be able to because he did not come out of my body and has another relationship to me. Your relationship to him as his farther is to tell him I’m not a fit target for his fury.

JB: Okay, okay…

AL: It’s so entrenched in him that it’s part of him as much as his Blackness is.

JB: All right, all right…

AL: I can’t do it. You have to.

JB: All right, I accept – the challenge is there in any case. It never occurred to me that it would be otherwise. That’s absolutely true. I simply want to locate where the danger is…

AL: Yeah, we’re at war…

JB: We are behind the gates of a kingdom which is determined to destroy us.

AL: Yes, exactly so. And I’m interested in seeing that we do not accept terms that will help us destroy each other. And I think one of the ways in which we destroy each other is by being programmed to knee-jerk on our differences. Knee-jerk on sex. Knee-jerk on sexuality…

JB: I don’t quite know what to do about it, but I agree with you. And I understand exactly what you mean. You’re quite right. We get confused with genders – you know, what the western notion of woman is, which is not necessarily what a woman is at all. It’s certainly not the African notion of what a woman is. Or even the European notion of what a woman is. And there’s certainly not standard of masculinity in this country which anybody can respect. Part of the horror of being a Black American is being trapped into being an imitation of an imitation.

AL: I can’t tell you what I wished you would be doing. I can’t redefine masculinity. I can’t redefine Black masculinity certainly. I am in the business of redefining Black womanness. You are in the business of redefining Black masculinity. And I’m saying, ‘Hey, please go on doing it,’ because I don’t know how much longer I can hold this fort, and I really feel that Black women are holding it and we’re beginning to hold it in ways that are making this dialogue less possible.

JB: Really? Why do you say that? I don’t feel that at all. It seems to me you’re blaming the Black man for the trap he’s in.

AL: I’m not blaming the Black man; I’m saying don’t shed my blood. I’m not blaming the Black man. I’m saying if my blood is being shed, at some point I’m gonna have a legitimate reason to take up a knife and cut your damn head off, and I’m not trying to do it.

JB: If you drive a man mad, you’ll turn him into a beast – it has nothing to do with his color.

AL: If you drive a woman insane, she will react like a beast too. There is a larger structure, a society with which we are in total and absolute war. We live in the mouth of a dragon, and we must be able to use each other’s forces to fight it together, because we need each other. I am saying that in our joint battle we have also developed some very real weapons, and when we turn them against each other they are even more bloody, because we know each other in a particular way. When we turn those weapons against each other, the bloodshed is terrible. Even worse, we are doing this in a structure where we are already embattled. I am not denying that. It is a family discussion I’m having now. I’m not laying blame. I do not blame Black men for what they are. I’m asking them to move beyond. I do not blame Black men; what I’m saying is, we have to take a new look at the ways in which we fight our joint oppression because if we don’t, we’re gonna be blowing each other up. We have to begin to redefine the terms of what woman is, what man is, how we relate to each other.

JB: But that demands redefining the terms of the western world…

AL: And both of us have to do it; both of us have to do it…

JB: But you don’t realize that in this republic the only real crime is to be a Black man?

AL: No, I don’t realize that. I realize the only crime is to be Black. I realize the only crime is to be Black, and that includes me too.

JB: A Black man has a prick, they hack it off. A Black man is a ****** when he tries to be a model for his children and he tries to protect his women. That is a principal crime in this republic. And every Black man knows it. And every Black woman pays for it. And every Black child. How can you be so sentimental as to blame the Black man for a situation which has nothing to do with him?

AL: You still haven’t come past blame. I’m not interested in blame, I’m interested in changing…

JB: May I tell you something? May I tell you something? I might be wrong or right.

AL: I don’t know – tell me.

JB: Do you know what happens to a man-?

AL: How can I know what happens to a man?

JB: Do you know what happens to a man when he’s ashamed of himself when he can’t find a job? When his socks stink? When he can’t protect anybody? When he can’t do anything? Do you know what happens to a man when he can’t face his children because he’s ashamed of himself? It’s not like being a woman…

AL: No, that’s right. Do you know what happens to a woman who gives birth, who puts that child out there and has to go out and hook to feed it? Do you know what happens to a woman who goes crazy and beats her kids across the room because she’s so full of frustration and anger? Do you know what that is? Do you know what happens to a lesbian who sees her woman and her child beaten on the street while six other guys are holding her? Do you know what that feels like?

JB: Mm-hm.

AL: Well then, in the same way you know how a woman feels, I know how a man feels, because it comes down to human beings being frustrated and distorted because we can’t protect the people we love. So now let’s start –

JB: All right, okay…

AL: - let’s start with that and deal.

Essence Magazine, 1984

Four Years. (Peter Parker.)

Originally posted by dailymcugifs

Requested – No.

Prompt – Peter is late to his graduation because of Spiderman business.

Warning – Nope. King of unrealistic considering the fact Peter should not be valedictorian because he probably misses a lot of school. By the way, I also put Class of 2017 because why not?

Words – 1,751. 


“Peter! You are the valedictorian of this class! Where the fuck are you? Graduation starts in fifteen minutes and if you’re not here, we have to let Flash make the speech!” (Y/N), Peter’s best friend, screeches into the phone as Peter holds it away from his ear trying to regain his hearing.

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A Mutual Agreement // A Phan One-Shot

Genre: fluff, domestic fluff

Words: 2.6k

Relationship status: together

Warnings: alcohol, swearing, mentions of sex

Summary: Those nights when Dan and Phil have nothing going on are the best nights. / A.k.a. an unnecessarily fluffy fic.

A/N: This is in celebration of getting 2000 followers! I hope you all enjoy this insanely fluffy fic that I wrote at 11:30 last night lol 

I might make a part 2 to this sometime in the future (and you’ll understand why when you read the fic :D)

I hope you enjoy, and once again, thank you for 2000 followers!

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Just Keep Breathing - Seth Rollins

A/N: Hi, yes. I was bored. Like totally bored and I figured I should give the imagine writing life a try. So here is my first ever imagine and i hope that it doesn’t suck. I honestly wrote this in the middle of the night because Rollins got me all bothered and he’s 100% yummy.  I recommend him to everyone. If enough people like it, I’ll probably continue it because…. Why not? I’m honestly sorry for any errors and rambles….Oh, and for how fucking long this is….


WARNINGS: angst, cheating, and maybe swearing?

I was happy in NXT. Honestly, I could have retired there and I would have been perfectly fine. After two years of seeing my friends come and go, and moving onto bigger and not so bigger things on the main shows- anyone would think that I would be ready to move on.

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The origin of love (is you)

for days 7 & 8 of eijiroctober: with ashido, with kaminari. 

Ashido’s “wild, fun, time-of-their-lives cryptid hunting slash get Kirishima to confess to Bakugou” road trip is shaping up to be exactly that – as soon as Kirishima can figure out how to be Bakugou’s gay awakening.

ao3 link

“Ohh, this is gonna be so awesome!” Ashido exclaims through an ecstatic grin. Her bouncing can be felt throughout the entire vehicle and the window’s rolled down so she can periodically stick her head out, inhaling the fresh valley air and gazing at the miles and miles and miles of nearly identical forest scenery – somehow she never grows bored of it.

Her trusty camera is suspended around her neck, ready to snap at any suspicious looking animal, plant, or light in the sky, though she doesn’t expect to until tomorrow. Their destination is a prime cryptid sighting area, which she’s spent her entire life dreaming of visiting. To help her is a carefully selected group of individuals: Yaoyorozu, her girlfriend and greatest supporter, skilled in all things involving logistics and survival, so she’s sure to save their lives at least once before they’re safely back home; Sero, in charge of managing their provisions (food, gasoline, money), as well as being the only person Ashido’s knows with a valid driver’s permit; Kaminari, her partner in crime in all things reckless and fun, an absolute must if they’re going to have the time of their lives; Bakugou, the designated hiking expert that’ll guide them through the wilderness where a cryptid is absolutely hiding; and Kirishima, so Bakugou would agree to come in the first place, and also because Kirishima’s an excellent source of moral support and keeps the crew passionate about the cause (and because Ashido’s totally working on hooking him up with Bakugou during this trip – her noble subgoal, which must also be accomplished at all costs).

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anonymous asked:

Hey can i get Bellarke fic in a cinderella universe? Bell the prince Clarke is Cinderella ?

Dear anon who sent this in forever ago,

I hope you’re still around to read this, lol.. This is more so a modern, loosely-based Cinderella story, but it’s a beast. So I hope y’all enjoy :) [ao3]

“Oh shit.”

Which, not exactly the words Clarke wants to hear from the person currently working on dying her hair.

“What,” Clarke says immediately, hands reaching up to touch her hair as she tries to turn around and look in the bathroom mirror. “’Oh shit,’ what?”

Raven grabs at her shoulders, keeping her in her sitting position and unable to catch a glimpse of the apparent disaster occurring on her head. “It’s not bad,” Raven assures her as soon as she’s confident that Clarke isn’t going to make a move to turn again, “it’s just– a lot more blue than I had anticipated.”

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My Favorite Performances of 2016

These are the 15 movie roles this year I most felt deserved highlighting. Man, there were some great roles this year, introduction, introduction, introduction, how many words does this have to be? You don’t care and I certainly don’t. On to the list!(Note: except for the top two, this list is in no particular order).

Glen Powell (Everybody Wants Some!!)
The entire cast of Richard Linklater’s spiritual follow-up to “Dazed and Confused” is one riotous bundle of joy (and a cure for the usually cliche portrayal of college kids), but Glen Powell’s Finnegan is by far the standout. The scene that makes his character comes at a party for the “artsy fartsy” crowd when, after encouraging a freewheeling spirit of sex, booze, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll throughout the film, he actually gets for real hurt when his proteges crash his chances with a girl he happens to like. Finnegan is on the cusp of adulthood and leadership heading into one of the most tumultuous decades of American history, but he’s not quite there yet…and it’s the leftover, subtle vulnerabilities of the kid during his last days of youth that make him so unbelievably endearing. If there’s any justice in the world, EWS!! will do for him what Dazed and Confused did for…well, most of the cast.

Tilda Swinton (A Bigger Splash)
The (in my opinion, overblown) controversy over Swinton’s Doctor Strange role sadly overshadowed her performance in this Fellini-esque story of beautiful people behaving in decidedly un-beautiful ways. Playing a major, David Bowie-esque popstar who has gone near-mute from the stress of living in public, Swinton has few lines but somehow manages to steal the show from a simmering Matthias Schoenaerts and a manic Ralph Fiennes. Being mostly robbed of the ability to speak, Swinton has to convey a massive range of emotions largely with body language—a task she accomplishes with all the skill you’d expect from one of the world’s greatest actresses.

Natalie Portman (Jackie)
Frail and tough, honest and veiled, open and censoring—Portman’s portrayal of the most famous First Lady in American history is riddled with contradictions that, in her hands, become a coherent character. She can sink to the depths of unbearable anguish at a moment’s notice, and five minutes later it is as if nothing very bad had happened. Yet, there’s always something boiling under the surface…perhaps an understanding that history will forever place “JFK’s wife” next to her name, whatever else she may do with her life. At times, Portman seems to barely hold it all in, yet when we leave the theater she is still a mystery. Maybe that’s how it should be.

Joel Edgerton (Loving)
Rarely does more go unsaid or understood than passes behind the face of Joel Egderton as Richard Loving, one half of the married couple whose simple wish to live in their home state of Virginia dealt a death blow to laws banning interracial marriage in the United States. Edgerton says little, and when he does it is in as few words as possible…every one of which speaks his entire mind. Key to the performance, though, are scenes of him simply sharing intimate moments with wife Mildred. At a time when the stereotype of the traditonal American husband and father of yesteryear is often held up for all the wrong reasons, Edgerton’s performance is crucial.

Emma Stone (La La Land)
Until near the end, the music is the driving force of La La Land. Then someone asks the character of Mia to “tell a story”, and Emma Stone delivers one of the best scenes of her career. The strength of the “Audition” number redefines what has come before for the character, and solidifies her as both someone we can really root for, and the personification of dreamers, however hopeless they might be. The final look she gives Ryan Reynolds in the film speaks more than a page of dialogue ever could.

Viola Davis (Fences)
Before the era of feminism, there was an unspoken agreement between married couples in the U.S.: a wife was to put up with her husband’s shit, even when he was full to bursting with it. It was hard to pick one of the two main performances in “Fences” to single out, but ultimately Davis’s simmering cauldron is the heart of the story, enabling her to both survive and love life with her deeply, deeply flawed husband. Unlike Denzel Washington, who gets to vomit forth an endless stream of anger throughout the film, Davis is tasked with saving her one great outburst for when it is most needed and has the most impact, creating a scene the trailers should not have featured; it should have been allowed to burst on audiences like water from a broken dam, rolling over everything in its path. Five minutes later, she’s calm again, but she’s also a different woman…or maybe just another woman who was hiding behind the first all along.

Sunny Pawar (Lion)
The trailers all emphasize the adult Saroo’s search for his home, but the bulk of the movie is taken up with a young Saroo getting lost in the first place, and Dev Patel is overshadowed by 8-year-old Sunny Pawar…not an easy feat. Like Quvenzhane Wallis and Jacob Tremblay, Pawar takes a role that could easily have been phoned in (since we have natural sympathy for kids) and makes little Saroo into an enormously relatable character, a lost boy whose stomping ground is no Neverland. It isn’t any wonder the filmmakers keep coming back to him in flashbacks after his character is grown. He’s the heart of the film.

Hailee Steinfeld (Edge of Seventeen)
I swear, my generation moons over the era of John Hughes High School comedies so much they seem to forget that being awkward, out-of-place and unable to wait for the day after graduation day isn’t unique to them. Every year we get a handful of largely unheralded comedies about that very topic, and Hailee Steinfeld’s performance as a morbid, confused and, yes, aggressive (bad female! bad!) teen who openly discusses her sex life, alcohol habits and dark, dark, dark humor elevates “Edge of Seventeen” to the top of the pack. With acerbic wit, pinpoint aim, and unflinching pessimism, Nadine Franklin manages to skewer not just every aspect of High School life but many of life in general. The only target she routinely misses? Herself.

Kate Beckinsale (Love & Friendship)
It is exceedingly rare that a woman in the movies can be aggressive and acidic at the same time. Kate Beckinsale’s Lady Susan is such a character. It is impossible for all but the most ardent feminists to actually like her, and you’d never want to be drawn into her poisonous circle of rumor, manipulation, innuendo and life-destroying gossip, but you have to admire her for taking charge of her own life at a time when women were tasked with hosting guests, looking pretty and shutting up. These days, she’d almost certainly be described as a sociopath, wrecking lives for her whim and amusement, yet you can’t look away. She’s the year’s best villain…or is she?

Ben Foster (Hell or High Water)
Chris Pine’s well-meaning father is our anchor to this story of two desperate brothers in hard times, but Ben Foster is the anarchic, destructive force that keeps our eyes glued to the screen. Whereas Pine’s dad doesn’t think of himself as criminal and Jeff Bridges’s sheriff has spent far too much time watching old westerns, Foster knows exactly what he is: a violent criminal whose psycopathy he might be able to turn to his brother’s aid in one last blaze of glory. There’s never really a question of him surviving the story; he’s not a man, he’s a storm, and he’s here to rage harder than he ever has before blowing himself out.

Naomie Harris (Moonlight)
Talk about embodying multiple people in one role. Harris plays mother to a young, gay black man at three different stages of his life, but she’s not the kind of perfect mom the movies prefer. She’s a drug addict at a time when the War on Drugs refused to treat such people with any sort of humanity, and she’s got a temper to match the times; when she screams hurtful words at her own son, the decision to remove the audio from the scene makes her come off as near-demonic. Simplicity, though, isn’t really what Moonlight deals in, and there are layers and regrets to her revealed as the film goes on. Her final scene asks a rather important question: should any time be too late to be forgiven?

Anya Taylor-Joy (The Witch)
For the most part, horror will forever be considered beneath the notice of those who hand out accolades, which means even if you turn in one of the most startling performances of the year, it doesn’t really count if it’s in this genre. That’s a shame, because unless you count a tiny, uncredited role from 2014, Taylor-Joy makes the most impressive film debut of any actress this year. Called upon to do things involving animal blood and demonic possession that a more image-concerned person might spurn, she handles the role of a teenage girl whose family is being assailed by the forces of hell by taking it all absolutely seriously, which is essential; any hint that she thinks anything she’s doing is silly, and the film falls apart. There’s reason to question whether anything supernatural is really happening in the New England wilderness of the late 1600’s, but no reason to doubt the strength of Taylor-Joy’s performance.

Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool)
Not everything has to be so serious, something Deadpool would probably remind you of right before delivering a kick straight to your kibbles and bits. As the star, producer and driving force behind the hilariously raunchy R-rated superhero flick, Reynolds is the most eminently watchable and entertaining a comic hero has been outside the suit since Robert Downey Jr. swaggered into the Iron Man armor. Mel Brooks once famously described his films as rising below vulgarity, and whether Reynolds is taking time out to break the fourth wall or making incredibly lewd comments at his blind, elderly, female roommate, he’s bringing the spirit of “Blazing Saddles” to a genre that sometimes really needs to get over itself. In a year where “Batman vs. Superman” took itself more seriously than a second heart attack, Reynolds’s Merc with a Mouth is the filthy, over-the-top cure the doctor ordered.

And my top two performances, starting with my choice for Best Actress:

Isabelle Huppert (Elle)

In arguably the most challenging role this year, which comes in certainly the most challenging film, Huppert plays a woman who, after being raped, plays a cat-and-mouse game with the rapist. Whether she is trying to catch him or get caught again is another question. The role was turned down by multiple more well-known actresses, before being taken by Huppert, who deserves to be more well-known outside her native France. Key to her performance is that her character is not altogether very likable, and if she were not a victim of a heinous crime, you’d have a real difficult time feeling empathy for her. That takes far more guts, I think, than playing out brutal scenes of assault, since we tend to demand our heroines be pure as the driven snow.

Casey Affleck (Manchester by the Sea)

He’s been turning in the best work he possibly can in every role he’s had, big or small, for two decades, always overshadowed in fame by his older brother, but this year is Casey’s. Angry, violent, adrift and bereft, Lee Chandler is a man with no purpose in a world that demands every man have one, not that he grasps himself on that level: he’s simply a man who has been struck over and over until nothing but armor remains. Forced to deal with the issue of custody for his nephew after his brother dies, he portrays a truth no man wants to face: not all of us are cut out for responsibility. Despite this, Affleck walks a fine line, making Lee simultaneously a jerk and someone you’d really like to see come out on top. Unfortunately, as Lee well knows, the world just isn’t that simple.

Honorable mentions: I limited my list to 15, and even after expanding from ten it was still difficult. There are lots of great roles that didn’t make the cut, and here are the ten that really gave the winners a run for their money, in one big list. If you don’t see your favorite, remember: it doesn’t necessarily mean they weren’t good, just that I can’t possibly list them all.

Kristen Stewart (Cafe Society)
The Cast of Don’t Think Twice
Royalty Hightower (The Fits)
Meryl Streep (Florence Foster Jenkins)
Lou de Laage (The Innocents)
Ruth Negga (Loving)
Lucas Hedges (Manchester by the Sea)
Jessica Chastain (Miss Sloane)
Pretty much everybody in Moonlight (Moonlight)
Katie Holmes (Touched With Fire)




Bellamy Blake was nowhere near close to coming home. Things in Mount Weather had proved to be more difficult than originally thought and of course, being a leader, Clarke was needed there. You wondered how many more of your friends are going to have to put their lives at risk.

When Bellamy updated Clarke about the situation regarding the Mountain men, it was the last time you heard his voice. The desperation to talk to him was unreal, almost like if you didn’t you would pass out. You wanted him to know that you were there for him. Closing your eyes, you let the warmth hit you as you remember the conversation. 

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The final act

Originally posted by sikanapanele

Donald Pierce x Reader


Request: Yes

Summary: Donald and you had an argument and Donald is blaming himself.

It’s been two weeks and four days since you left in the middle of the night. It’s been an impulsive decision, but now you think it was a smart choice. He brought you to the edge, every day a little further and you were willing to jump for him over it, but you couldn’t. Your mind stopped your heart from that decision. You love him, you still wait for him to knock on your door, but you know that he won’t.

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I wanted to take a second to talk about Zack and Melissa as complimentary opposites in their ways of perceiving and supporting Milo. Melissa is very cerebral, very in-tune with the concrete details surrounding Milo and his situation–in fact, her close observance has taken her to a point where she can often predict Murphy’s Law more accurately than he can. (“No, Milo, don’t tap. Remember what happened last time?”) She’s responsive to his basic needs; she makes sure he has his lunch, gives him the benefit of her company when he might otherwise be alone (“Not-Football Friday”), uses her understanding of his condition to help him out and channels her resources into his arsenal. Otherwise, she doesn’t seem to worry about him much; she’s aware of his strength as an individual and sees to it that others are aware of it as well: “Milo’s tough.”

Zack is far more emotional in his approach, far more aware of Milo as a social being than as an independent entity. He’s strongly conscious of Milo’s need for friendship; he notices Milo’s crush on a classmate and teases him about it; he not only strives to support him by staying by his side and experiencing danger with him, but does what he can to keep Milo connected to the world outside their small group despite the difficulties inherent in doing so. Without ever calling Milo into doubt, he subtly questions–through his actions if not his words–whether their friend is as tough as he appears.

This is laid out beautifully in the very first episode. Zack, we know, is a cautious kid–in fact, his safety-first approach is one of his defining character traits, to the point where its negation causes his friends to feel that they’ve lost Zack himself–but when he sees the gang at the bus stop giving Milo a wide berth, he doesn’t even consider hanging back until he’s aware of the details. He does attempt to figure out what the problem is, but it’s clearly more important to him to be friendly to the guy everyone is avoiding and to make him feel at ease; when the others beg him not to shake Milo’s hand, he ignores them and sticks to asking Milo himself what’s going on. In our first moment with Melissa, the longterm friend of Milo, we see her taking the opposite tack: she senses the concrete drainage pipe coming a mile away and choses to keep her distance (“Good call!” says Milo without a hint of resentment). But not being directly caught up in the ensuing cycle of escapades enables her to provide for her friend; noticing that the first calamity of the morning deprived him of his lunch, she puts her understanding of Murphy’s Law to work on his behalf. Throughout the episode, Zack becomes increasingly overwhelmed by the disasters that sprout up in Milo’s path, at one point briefly deciding that he’s out of his depth and has to get away for his own sake. But even then, he can’t leave without asking a personal question: “How do you live like this?” The logistics of how Milo navigates his life are already clear to Zack, and to the viewer, by this time; long experience has caused him to adapt himself to his unique situation, so that he’s always well-prepared for anything that could go wrong and has armed himself with everything he needs to survive. What Zack is asking about is the emotional end, the inconvenience, the frustration, and Milo responds to him accordingly: he embraces his circumstance as an adventure, one more exciting than the dull routine of riding a bus to school. Zack, won over, proves his loyalty and his value as a friend by sticking with Milo and riding out the storm until they finally make it to their destination. Melissa likewise proves her worth, but in a more practical way; by betting the skeptics on the bus that Milo will make it to school on time, she manages to replace his missing lunch several times over. From the first moment of their meeting, Zack sees Milo as someone who could use a friend and manages to be that friend under far more trying circumstances than he anticipated; Melissa takes Milo’s independence and resilience for granted, but nonetheless takes stock of what he needs and quietly provides it.

We’ve already seen that these different approaches can put them at odds with each other; when Milo gets the chance to attend Zack’s football game, Zack begs him to take it, unbothered by the damage his presence could incur, while Melissa’s past experience with Murphy’s Law makes her hesitant to the point where she tries to talk him out of going, even though he’s dying to get out and do the wave. But “Party of Peril” gave us a stunning example of what these two can accomplish when they put their heads together. Melissa doesn’t seem overly troubled about the fact that Milo hasn’t had a proper birthday party in years; she can understand why it’s hardly practical given what happened last time, and she unfailingly spends time with Milo on his birthday herself. It takes Zack, an outsider, to look at this situation and point out the obvious emotional side of it: “That’s sad. Doesn’t he miss having a big birthday party?” It takes Zack to suggest having a party for Milo anyway: a big one, with everyone they can invite. (I like to think that he noticed how much fun Milo had with the crowd at the football game and how happy he was when the team and the cheer squad turned up in his hospital room; it’s clear that he knows how much it means to Milo to have the support of as many people as possible.) This isn’t an idea Melissa would have likely had on her own, but once Zack gets the ball rolling, she makes it happen. She uses her knowledge of their classmates and her powers of manipulation to secure the ideal party planner for an event that will definitely prove chaotic; she uses her friendship with Milo and her understanding of what will move him (fake sprained wrist!) to get him out of the way while they set up and to guide him toward the go-kart track; she puts vigilante “Safety Czar” Elliot Decker on his tail to hold him up still further. She does a whole series of distinctly Chaseian things that Zack could never manage on his own, but that turn his idea into a reality.

This is the most obvious example, but we’ve seen this dynamic help Milo on a number of subtler levels: at the opera Zack rushes backstage, needing to be present in person to help Milo deal with the resultant mayhem, while Melissa stays safely in her seat and keeps Amanda from losing her mind–a less-obvious way of helping Milo, but a very necessary one. Milo has been friends with Melissa for years, but the addition of Zack to the team introduces a new factor which, working in combination with the skills Melissa already has (it took her to figure out that Milo could influence the outcome of the game and to help him use that power to their advantage, making him an unlikely hero for their team–but without Zack she might have kept Milo at home and they might never have attended the game in the first place), has given Milo what might already be the most successful school year of his life to date–and at the time of writing, we’re only a month into the show. 

Bottom line: Melissa is Milo’s backpack, arming him to face life with Murphy’s Law and giving him everything he needs to succeed independently. Zack is Diogee, knowing him as a Milo first and a Murphy second and following him doggedly into every danger even when he’s not supposed to be there. 

lzzy-hatter  asked:

After a number of big shonen suffered from a bad war arc, what do you think is the key to a good final war arc?

I will, for this set of points, be using the examples of Mashima (Fairy Tail), Kubo (Bleach), and Isayama (Attack on Titan). There are seven points I’d like to make. 

1. Don’t build up hype if you can’t keep it going.

I’m talking more to Mashima than to Kubo, because from what I understand hype failure is not one of the Thousand Year Blood War arc’s failings. Because Mashima gave not a single shit as to how the Spriggans were actually going to get defeated with the exceptions of Ajeel, DiMaria and Jacob, it does a disservice to the hype the Spriggans were dealt. Rather than thinking Fairy Tail has gotten so much stronger or has scraped a win, it just looks like the Spriggans weren’t as powerful as we were led to believe. Sabertooth similarly suffered that same thing.

2. Use less, not more.

Both Kubo and Mashima need to hear this. Mashima suffered a bad escalation when it comes to powerful villains: he started with six, moved up to seven, then moved up to nine, settled down to five for a bit, and then jumped back up to twelve. And of those twelve, Bloodman’s gimmick literally was just having Tartaros’ powers, Invel was Yet Another Ice Dude, God Serena was Yet Another Fucking Dragonslayer, Neinhart’s power was exposing people to enemies they’d already fought–and won against–August had Power Copying, the most unoriginal power ever, and Irene Belserion’s powers were so nebulously defined it was stupid. Ajeel doesn’t get points either. Kubo was even worse, introducing a new villain and power for every letter of the Latin alphabet, but somehow he managed to make them all interesting, so he gets to slide on this one.

3. If you’re going to have a war arc at all, you need to have knowledge of strategy.

This isn’t optional. Wars that are won by a single overwhelming strike by the hero aren’t wars. In a war arc, I expect to see heroes and villains alike flexing more than their muscles, they need to be flexing their brainpower, too. Instead of going with incredibly overpowered powers, try going with creative uses of more mundane powers.

For example: In Attack on Titan (whose big war arc suffers for entirely different reasons, as Isayama has a moderately good grasp on strategy), Zeke has a very powerful 17-meter Titan that could crush a typical human flat. However, instead of just charging over, he instead throws rocks. It’s mundane, but it’s used to deadly effect: he grinds enormous boulders into smaller pieces and throws them hard enough to break the sound barrier, annihilating entire troops with one throw and reducing the human army to a mass of blood and bones vaguely resembling corpses in seconds. He takes out Erwin this way. This all was part of a much larger strategy on the part of the Titans in which, had Isayama actually played by his own rules and allowed any semblance of realism in, would’ve resulted in a complete loss on the part of the heroes.

4. No “hidden potential” or “unlocks”.

Kubo had this problem–mostly because bankai was his usual “big reveal” for heroic powers, but he revealed Renji’s and Ichigo’s too early, resulting in them not being enough to handle later threats the way unrevealed bankai could. So he basically had to “re-unlock” them and give them new bankai by explaining that no, this wasn’t their real bankai, their zanpakuto had kept their real bankai hidden from them because they weren’t ready”. No. You undermine your threat that way. In doing that, you make it look like your heroes always had the power to beat their opponents, they were just being held back. That doesn’t do your plot or threat any favors. Isayama had this problem with “the Coordinate”.

This tends to be the go-to of authors who write themselves into a corner, unless you’re Mashima, in which case you just plow through the corners by literally making shit up on the spot.

5. Deaths need to mean something

In a war arc, people are expected to die. That means that people on both sides need to die, including the heroes. Mashima, Kubo, and Isayama have all failed at this for different reasons, and completely ruined the impact or meaning of the deaths they gave their characters,

  • Mashima, quite obviously, pulled fakeout after fakeout after fakeout and has yet to kill off a single character we care about. He can quit trying now, because we know he doesn’t have the balls to actually kill off characters. We’ll never trust a “death” again.
  • Kubo gave us the completely meaningless and pointless death of Retsu Unohana. Unohana is put into a life-or-death fight with Kenpachi Zaraki in order to train him properly (aka hype him up, as if Kenpachi needed any more of that bullshit), because as it turns out, she’s the original Kenpachi and skilled enough with a sword to slaughter him easily multiple times over. Each time she deals him fatal damage, she quickly heals him so that the training can continue. So, if this was happening, why was she not allowed to heal herself when Kenpachi finally struck her down? Retsu was the superior warrior, meaning she was a valuable asset on the battlefield, more valuable than Kenpachi by a long shot because in addition to having sword skills to put him to shame, she’s a master at kido of all kinds and is the most accomplished healer in Soul Society history. Getting rid of her is the stupidest thing Kyoraku could’ve done–he basically fucked over his whole side. And why was this done? Because Kubo loved Kenpachi Zaraki too damn much. More on that later. Unohana died for manpain at best.
  • Isayama gave us the tragic, heart-wrenching sacrifice of Armin Arlert. After two chapters (meaning two months irl) of dangerous buildup, Armin finally sacrifices himself in a fatal ploy to distract the Colossal Titan so that Eren can cut its controller out of it. He’s giving up his lifelong dream–seeing the ocean, a dream that he fueled all of his ambitions and his participation in the war on–and entrusting it to Eren. Armin knows his death is necessary for humanity’s win, and he understands that sacrifices are necessary, and he’s no exception. If his dream and his life have to be sacrificed, so be it. Armin launches himself at the Colossal Titan, latching on and refusing to let go even as he’s steam-blasted with enough heat to sear the skin off his flesh and melt his eyes out. It’s not pretty at all. And you know what? It works. Thanks to Armin’s plan and his death, the Colossal Titan goes down. Just kidding. This was all a pointless ploy to give the heroes yet another power on their side they didn’t need. That’s what the entire war arc was, really. You see, Armin survives not only getting his flesh melted off, but falling 50 meters with no working gear to stop his fall, and remains alive long enough for the heroes to have an extended argument and fight over whether he should get the serum or Erwin, and he gets it, and chows down on Bertholdt, saving his own life at the expense of the biggest icon of the series and the one described as the God of the SNK world by its author. In doing so, not only did he alienate me and prove he ultimately cared only for the heroes of his story’s success, but he made the sacrifice Armin was doing–which was far more meaningful and powerful than the one performed by Erwin (and a lot less survivable than the hole in Erwin’s stomch) completely and utterly meaningless. We were led on and lied to, and it did a disservice to the war arc as a whole.

6. Destroy or put aside whatever love you have for your favorite characters.

Having not quite gotten to the war arc, I don’t have a big rant already written for this part of Bleach. But I will say quite plainly that I know it applies to Bleach, and I know exactly how it applies as well.

With Fairy Tail, you have Erza. With Attack on Titan, you have Levi. With Bleach, you have Kenpachi Zaraki. That is to say, each of these manga has an extremely overhyped, overpowered person on the heroes’ side whose prowess (with a blade, especially) is legendary and whose power and skill is not realistic at all by any standard within the ramifications of the story, whose combat record far surpasses any actual ability they should have. These characters are the ones the story (meaning, the author) goes out of their way to hype up because they’re just so badass, when the actual abilities they are gifted with should not be nearly enough to keep them from getting crushed. What I’m saying is, it’s author favoritism and it’s annoying as fuck. 

Erza Scarlet is a woman with hundreds of magical armors with different effects who is very good with a sword. What does this mean against an opponent who is exponentially stronger than she is, enough to rearrange the entire continent in minutes, who can transfigure and transform whatever she wants? It means her opponent commits suicide, but not before some plagiarism takes place and Erza shatters a meteor with all her bones broken.

Levi Ackerman is a man with a unique gene that makes him a beast in combat, but does not turn him into a superhuman, and he flies around in wire-cable gear propelled by gas tanks. What does this mean against someone who does have superhuman powers, and is currently in the form of a 17-meter Titan described as insurmountable by someone who knows both his skills and Levi’s? Who has been built up as his counterpart? It means Levi thrashes him in the space of a few panels before he can even fight back.

Kenpachi Zaraki is a man with potent skill with a sword and a huge amount of spiritual pressure. And literally nothing but that. While all the other captains have speed, magic, deadly shikai and bankai abilities, and skill with a sword and monstrous spiritual pressure, Kenpachi has nothing but his presence and his sword. In other words, he’s the weakest captain–and the battle data backs that up. His shikai and bankai, when he finally gets them, just give his cutting abilities massive upgrades. What does this mean against an opponent whose power is imagination and can create literally anything, including other living beings, multiplying himself, and altering reality on a level Rustyrose could only dream of? It means his opponent has a pretty shitty imagination, really, considering what beats him is that he “cannot imagine something that [I] cannot cut”. I thought of three things Kenpachi Zaraki couldn’t cut in less than as many seconds. Yes, Kenpachi beats what is basically God Himself because said God couldn’t think “I should drown him or roast him alive”.

And all this, because Mashima, Isayama, and Kubo couldn’t control their damn boners for characters that were essentially creator’s pets when it came down to it. And it makes it fucking suck. The realistic stack of abilities is what makes wars so interesting, and violating it all in order to hype up your favorite characters ruins the entire thing. I cannot tell you how many stories–not even just war arcs, manga in general–have been utterly ruined because seemingly accomplished authors loved one or two characters too fucking much and shoved them to the fore in every arc. 

7. Don’t rip off your entire arc from another author.

Talking directly to Hiro Mashima, here. Everything of substance from the Alvarez Empire arc has basically been ripped from Kubo’s Thousand Year Blood War arc, but on top of being plagiarized, it was plagiarized by a shitty author who wouldn’t know good writing if it hit him in the ass. I can see everything you did, Mashima.

I’m currently compiling an entire post listing everything Mashima blatantly ripped off from Kubo. While Kubo isn’t perfect, his work deserves better admirers than the likes of this shitty thieving unoriginal hack.

10:10 | Hoshi

Originally posted by visual-17

At this point I have no idea what I was trying to accomplish but here is something that I threw together.

He wasn’t happy with the way his eyes looked, but you made him see them differently. Only he wished he could do more for you the way you did more for him. (Angst and slight fluff).

How unfortunate that the man was not happy with the eyes he was born with, the eyes that let him see the world and the beauty that sat in front of him. For almost twenty-two years he has been blessed with eyes that told time, and for most of his life, his time was spent drowning himself in hatred for them. In primary school the kids would tease him, coming up with stupid reasons as to why his eyes were the way they were. From time to time in the back of his mind he would hear a faint; ‘the older he gets the more then go inward!’

Secondary school came around the torture had died along with his confidence, the teasing became minimum and people saw him as he should be. Though there were those few asshole children who would ask him why his eyes looked like that. Soonyoung wanted to forget the world, say goodbye to it, it wasn’t worth being in a world where he didn’t belong.

High school came around and it was like a breath of fresh air. He was drowning all these years and meeting you saved him. You were a foreigner who spoke a decent amount of Korean, while he had trouble trying to at least understand some English—really it was those problems that led you to each other.

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anonymous asked:

(1/2)I love your metas, but I do have a point of contention WRT GC Elthina. From Sebastian's (canonical) short story and personal quest, it seems that she views the young Starkhavener as a sort of adoptive son, and it isn't hard to imagine that she feels the same way about the KC and the GE. Honestly, Elthina has always seemed like a tragic character to me. Watching two people you care about have a falling out is never a good feeling. I can't blame her for not wanting to look into the eyes of...

(2/2)… One of the people she loved and tell them she was siding against them. Both M and O were hardliners, refusing to: give magi the benefit of the doubt; and prioritise the stability of the chantry over the lives of his people; respectively. This was exacerbated by depression (O) and RL use (M), making it impossible for them to find compromise. Her devotion to neutrality didn’t help in the long run, but I can’t bring myself to hate a tired old woman who wanted her kids to get along again.

Hi, Anonymous person. Thank you for the compliment, but … really? I mean this, specifically:

Both M and O were hardliners, refusing to: give magi the benefit of the doubt; and prioritise the stability of the chantry over the lives of his people; respectively. 

Oh, Orsino. Why do you have to be so extreme with the ‘not wanting to die’, or even, let’s be really daring, ‘not wanting to be tortured to the point of committing suicide’? Why can’t you understand that it’s important for the Chantry, with all its wealth, power, political influence and privilege, to retain its iron grip on Thedas? I mean, think if it didn’t. We might have things like religious tolerance and basic rights and free speech, and then where would we be? Can’t you and your helpless mages just suffer quietly so the rich, corrupt and powerful can keep on being rich, corrupt and powerful? Look at it from Meredith’s point of view. All she’s done is illegally take control of one little city-state and spend nearly two decades abusing her power to the detriment of pretty much everyone, but especially the mages, who are dying in droves. Is that really so bad?

Look. In terms of his perseverance, and his courage in the face of terrible abuse and mortal peril, Orsino is fierce and heroic. But politically, the man is a moderate. He’s too moderate for me. I mean, I love him, because I understand how he got to this position, and why it’s hard for him to go further, but this is not a winning strategy.

Me, I’m with Anders and Fiona and Adrian and their ilk. The mages must be free. The Chantry – its wealth, its power, its status, its legal hold over so many lives – must go. Not just for the mages. For everyone.

Orsino isn’t asking for that.

As first enchanter, Orsino worked tirelessly to improve the lot of the mages. He wanted, as much as he could, to make their days in the Gallows worth something. Even if they were still prisoners, and even though it was hard, he wanted to give them hope. More importantly, he wanted to give them something of a life so that death would not be preferable.

World of Thedas, II

He’s not trying to tear down the Circles, or put an end to the Chantry, or anything like that. He wants the mages to be able to walk sometimes in the sun. To not be locked in tiny cells. To be safe from beatings and rape and torture. To not be made Tranquil when they’ve passed their Harrowings. To have meaningful work and leisure. To have a life inside the Circle, while living by Chantry rules.

That’s … not a hardline position. That’s … just a basic standard of living. Meredith is an extremist. The treatment of the mages in Kirkwall is considered remarkable even in other Circles. Even non-mages in Kirkwall have been stirred to sympathy for the mages:

Every Circle in Thedas suffers from individual mages who rebel and attempt to flee. These apostates are usually found and returned to the Circle or mercifully killed if they have fallen to demonic temptation. Until now, I have never served anywhere that the populace does not fully cooperate in hunting these rebels.

Here in Kirkwall, citizens actually help rebel mages escape. Escaped apostates have survived their freedom long enough to form the “the mage underground,” a network that feeds and shelters escapees and even transports apostates into remote areas of the Free Marches and beyond our easy reach.

– The Mage Underground

The mages are hurling themselves from the top of the fucking tower, it’s that bad in there, and people have noticed that something is wrong.

Note that Elthina’s ‘kids’, as you put it, have never got along. Meredith was against Orsino’s election the position of first enchanter. Not because she thought somebody else would be better at the job, but because she didn’t want the mages to have an advocate at all.

First Enchanter Maceron died in 9:28 Dragon without naming a successor. Many were surprised to learn that the Gallows still had a first enchanter; Maceron had spent nearly all of the last decade in his chambers, emerging only rarely. But now he was dead, and the Gallows in need of a new first enchanter. Knight-Commander Meredith was of the opinion that there was no need for one. After all, the Gallows ran perfectly under the Templars, without interference from Maceron. But Orsino realised that the mages needed someone to speak on their behalf, lest the Templars rob them of what few liberties they still had.

World of Thedas II

It seems she ultimately let it slide because she didn’t really believe he could accomplish anything. As far as I can tell, all he’s managed to do is slow her down a bit. The mages are being tortured to death, and are due for total liquidation in the very near future. But even that is too much for Meredith. The Templars regard Orsino as ‘a menace’ simply for winning his people a few small liberties – liberties of which, by Act 3, they seem to have again been stripped.

Elthina doesn’t give a shit about Orsino or the mages. You know how I know this? Because past a certain point, inaction is in itself a declaration of support. If you’ve got two friends, and they’re arguing about who gets to drink the last beer in the fridge, you can say ‘I’m just going to stay neutral, and let you two sort it out’. But if one of your friends picks up a rock and bashes the other’s skull in, then disposes of the corpse to obscure the evidence and makes up a story about how your now-dead friend was a dangerous criminal and had to be killed, and is awarded medals and accolades for it … and you stand there and watch, and say nothing, and do nothing, then you have sided with the murderer. You are protecting them, and keeping their secrets, and doing nothing to either help or get justice for the victim.

The thing is, Meredith doesn’t need Elthina to side with her. She is not in need of help. She is the de facto Viscount of Kirkwall. She is Knight-Commander of the Kirkwall Templars. She’s not only been brutalising the mages, but attacking the citizens of Kirkwall as well. She can, and does, do whatever the fuck she wants. Elthina standing in the middle of the street and yelling ‘Meredith is right about everything!’ wouldn’t actually change the situation much.

Orsino does need Elthina. He’s not some willful child who just can’t get along with his sister. He is a desperate man struggling to protect people who effectively have no legal rights from a woman who enjoys watching them suffer. He needs Elthina to face down Meredith. He needs her to write to the Divine to plead for their lives. He needs Meredith removed from power. He needs protection and care for his people. He needs these things, not as some ‘hardline’ anti-Chantry position, but just to live.

Elthina does not care about him or his people.

Now – she might care about Meredith. I’m fairly convinced she only cares about people insofar as she can use them (Sebastian included – Elthina has a prince in her direct service, remember), but she has been able to use Meredith, so she might care about her. That’s … not really a point in her favour, though.

Let’s backtrack a bit here, shall we? This is tricky, because we’ve mostly got Chantry sources to work with, and they don’t come right out and say what they’ve done. But the criminal partnership of Grand Cleric Elthina and Meredith Stannard is a long one.

Records indicate that Elthina was born in a small village nestled in the Vimmark Mountains just south of Kirkwall. When she was just a little girl, both her parents contracted a terrible fever that took them both. Elthina never caught the illness, thanks to a kindly neighbour who cared for her while her parents were sick. When her parents died, the neighbour’s husband refused to continue paying for the upkeep of the orphan child, and Elthina was given to the Chantry. She became a lay sister as a girl and, when she came of age, was given the choice to leave the Chantry or take an initiate’s vows. Elthina chose to stay. When she was twenty, she moved south, to Kirkwall, and became a revered mother at the chantry there.

World of Thedas II

That’s Elthina’s backstory. Note that she came from nothing: an orphan and a pauper. And yet her rise is incredible. By twenty she is revered mother of one of the largest cities in the Free Marches. Note that ‘revered’ means she’s actually responsible for the Kirkwall chantry, not just holding the rank of ‘mother’ like Petrice. This is a woman of drive and ambition. These are not bad things in themselves, of course. But they are noteworthy things. They demonstrate that Elthina is not weak willed or retiring by nature. She’s clawing her way up the Chantry hierarchy as quickly as she’s able.

Now, unfortunately, the way the Chantry works puts a bit of a roadblock in her career there. No further to climb until the boss kicks the bucket. And so the next point of interest …

Following the death of her predecessor, Elthina was appointed grand cleric of the Free Marches by Divine Beatrix III.

World of Thedas II

Not surprising, perhaps, but noteworthy still, because it reminds us where Elthina owes her favours. Now we get to the meat of it.

In 9:21 dragon, Divine Beatrix commanded that the Kirkwall Templars force the Viscount to allow Orlesian ships through the Waking Sea passage. Knight-Commander Guylian was against it.

It is not our place to interfere in political affairs. We are here to safeguard the city against magic, not against itself.

– History of Kirkwall: Chapter 4

However, there was a certain knight-captain who was not so scrupulous, and who was poised to take command of the Templars:

When Guylian gave a command, it was Meredith who enforced it. Her drive and her devotion to her duty made her a bit of a legend among her fellow Templars, and privately, many thought she possessed a hundred times the old knight-commander’s charisma. Many said that it was Meredith who was really the leader of the Templars, despite her junior rank.

World of Thedas II

The official story is that Viscount Perrin Threnhold hired mercenaries, who stormed the Gallows and publicly hanged Guylian.

Maybe he did. But. It’s a bit convenient, isn’t it? A man who did not want to fight the Viscount was abruptly replaced by a woman who absolutely did want to fight the Viscount. And he wasn’t just replaced. These mercenaries didn’t do anything sensible, like capture and hold the Gallows, or get hold of all of the Templars’ top officers, or gain control of the lyrium supply – you know, stuff you might do if you were actually trying to beat the Templars. No, they lynched the knight-commander, right out in public, and apparently left every other Templar free to retaliate. Now that they had the justification to do whatever they wanted.

Note that the mercenaries disappear from the story at this point. We don’t know who they were or what happened to them.

Interesting, isn’t it, that a Grand Cleric appointed by Beatrix resides in Kirkwall? Orders for the region would naturally filter through her. Likewise, the Knight-Commander would have first brought his protests to her.

In any case, the Templars stormed the Viscount’s Keep and Perrin Threnhold was arrested.

He was tried and imprisoned three days later by Grand Cleric Elthina and died from poisoning two years later.

– Knight-Commander Meredith

Three days? That’s quick, for deposing the ruler of a city. And with what, exactly, was he charged? This all happened because he opposed the Orlesian empire, and because the Templars were themselves going to war with the Viscount. We don’t know. We only know that Grand Cleric Elthina personally had him imprisoned. Then he died.

Also convenient, isn’t it, that he died mysteriously? Who would have motive to keep him from talking? Or, who might be concerned that he might be able to retake power? How about the people now ruling the city?

Because that’s what happened.

Following Threnhold’s arrest, Grand Cleric Elthina appointed Meredith as the new knight-Commander. At Knight-Commander Meredith’s strong suggestion, a new viscount was chosen: a man named Marlowe Dumar.

World of Thedas II

Meredith’s service to the Grand Cleric, the Divine and the Orlesian empire was rewarded. She was given the top job in the Templars. The Chantry effectively had control of the city. Meredith cemented that control by finding them a convenient puppet.

Look at who has benefited from this scenario. The Kirkwall chantry is wealthy and influential. Its large Templar presence ensures it is able to maintain its hold on the city.

Elthina has gained quite the reputation for ‘managing’ the Templars:

People frequently turn to her to mediate disputes—particularly those involving the powerful Templar Order, over whom she holds authority as the Chantry’s ranking representative.

– Grand Cleric Elthina

That sounds nice, until you remember that she appointed Meredith to her role, and that the Templars are ruling the city. There shouldn’t really be disputes with the Templar Order. They are empowered (however little I may like it) to take mages to the Circle, and to hunt apostates. They should not be interfering with the general populace at all. Of course they are. Meredith was selected precisely because she was willing to interfere, and she has kept on doing so. Elthina’s reputation is thus one long con. She has been smoothing over those occasions when her knight-commander (and partner in crime) stepped on a few too many noble toes.

And Meredith?

For now, she enjoys the grand cleric’s full support and has free rein in Kirkwall as the commander of its most powerful military force.

– Knight-Commander Meredith

Meredith has, all these years, enjoyed Elthina’s full support. Not just in her role as the boss of the Kirkwall Circle, but as Kirkwall’s military leader. Elthina has backed Meredith every step of the way, since she took control of Kirkwall.

That’s an almost pre-red lyrium Codex entry, from the very first time you meet Meredith. Elthina is worried now, because Meredith’s behaviour is becoming erratic. But prior to this, they have enjoyed a long and fruitful partnership. Whether Elthina cares about Meredith as a person is up for debate (she might!) but she certainly cares that Meredith is no longer doing her job as well as she once did.

So I’m sorry, but I don’t believe in sweet Grandma Elthina. Probably that was the writers’ intent, but either they wrote her very badly as a sweet old lady, or there’s some epic subversion going on here. Nothing I have seen in these games, or their Codices, or the supplementary material, has given me any reason to see Elthina as anything other than a manipulative, terrible person, who only works for her own advancement.

I don’t think of her as tragic, and I don’t mourn her death. She’s part of the problem. A bloody big part, at that.

Recital (Werewolf!Yoongi)

Plot: #16. “I think we make damn good parents.” with werewolf!Yoongi as a father

Word Count: 748

A/N: so the link for this is werewolf!Yoongi (all of the links for werewolf!yoon are in the father post, here) and father!Yoongi (all of the father related posts are here) but before I start this, I just wanna say that my heart is with everyone in Texas right now, I hope everyone is doing okay, I hope everyone’s safe, my thoughts are with everyone going through the hurricane

Yoongi had always been a supportive father. From the very first day your children were born to current day. He felt proud over the little things, sometimes things they couldn’t even control, like looking cute in the onesie he’d bought. But he was also proud over bigger accomplishments, lifting their heads up for the first time, taking their first steps, sleeping their first full night through without crying or waking up. “That’s my kid,” seemed to be one of his favorite things to say, along with a proud smile. It had never been an issue until your daughter had taken an interest in ballet.

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home is what the heart protects

Summary: “John Murphy had lived a hundred lifetimes in his year on the ground and yet still, somehow, after a year of living in space again, nineteen year old John Murphy hears the word “dad” and his first thought is I’m too young.

I set out to write memori fic and instead ended up with 2k words of feelings about John Murphy. You’re welcome.

Requested by @bellxmyblakes and yelled at to write it for the last 2 weeks by her, @bobmorlee, and @bellammy. I love my Supportive Fam.

Read on Ao3

John Murphy was seventeen the first time he was accused of murder. A little girl drove his knife into the throat of the chancellor’s son, and he was hung for a crime he didn’t commit and driven out of the only semblance of home he could possibly know on this screwed up planet.

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Shape Shifted Pt 2

Season 2 Masterlist

Stiles Stilinski x Reader

Word Count: 1,984

Warnings: Mentions of Child Abuse

   I read a book in the stands while Stiles and Scott devised a plan to make sure the other werewolf was, in fact, Jackson. I didn’t know why they needed to, since I gave them everything they needed to know. But whatever.

   I rolled my eyes and looked over to Jackson who was talking with a guy named Matt. He was asking for a camera that can record in low light and all night long. I stopped listening there. I had no desire to hear Jackson brag about whatever girl he was making a sex tape with.

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Ladies Drink Free/Playing House

The biggest reaction I had about this episode was about Claire, but since it’s slightly wanky, I’ll save it for the end so you don’t have to read it if you don’t want to. My other thoughts generally went into a Mick direction - who the hell is he, and what are they doing with him?

Because this guy - he’s supposed to be this bookworm who’s never seen any action, but at the same time he kept a remarkably cool head around the Alpha Vampire and, more importantly, he killed a kid without falling apart at all. No hesitation, no second thoughts, nothing. He’d spoken to her mom and all, and that made no difference. So now I’m kind of wondering - of course, narratively they decided it had to happen this way to establish a Claire precedent and give them something to fight about, but Mick wasn’t disturbed, or apologetic in the slightest. I mean - he’s not a psychopath, so there was this barely there sadness clinging to him, but it’s also clear that to him, these are animals, and, sure - it’s a shame to put down the family pet when it’s got rabies, but what can you do? It’s certainly not something that’ll make you sleep any less soundly. Plus, he was perfectly capable to hold his own during the investigation, and even saved Dean’s life at the end. I think Sam and Dean are underestimating this guy - assuming he’s just a squint and it’s Mr Ketch they got to worry about - and judging from next week’s promo, that’s something that will land them into a lot of trouble.

It’s also remarkable that they agreed to continue with this alliance at all, and it’s not clear, to me, what is forgivable and what isn’t in their world. Asa’s friend and that Alpha Vampire’s sidekick were exiled, or worse, but when Mary’s duplicity resulted in another hunter’s death, nothing much happened. Here we’ve got Mick killing a young girl and potentially damaging the investigation (they’re supposed to work as a team, right? and that girl had vital information into who the werewolf was), and yet he gets a second chance because, what, he knew about a method of curing lycanthropy which should never have worked? I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with it, per se, just that I don’t know where the line is anymore. Maybe that’s the point?

The other thing is, if Mick was played as a Cas parallel - in a very vague, ‘dorky and slightly unshaven guy with tan coat riding in the back of the Impala’ way, then I’m going to be superhappy that he cosplayed as one of Dean’s established crushes. I mean, Mick was wearing grey both at the beginning and at the end of the episode - he only changed into a deep blue shirt in time to be mistaken for Dr Sexy, so surely I’m not the only one who’s slightly suspicious about their motives or noticed the look Dean gave him?

I’m also happy about Dean ‘repression&deflection’ Winchester calling out Mick for not being open about his feelings (dude, seriously?).

And it was nice, as always, to see the storyline focusing on toxic masculinity and toxic heterosexual relationships and Dean being pissed at men who treat women like dirt. Someone who grew up like he did and lives a life of motels and random violence could very easily have been one of those ‘women are bitches’ fuckboys, and the fact he’s not never fails to warm my heart.

That said, time to use my mom voice and talk about Claire.

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sohmamon  asked:

I'd love to hear opinions for Megamorphs 4

Short opinion: I giggle every time I read the line “President Clinton urged everyone to remain calm” but seriously this book is so scary specifically because it feels so realistic to canon.

Long opinion:

I’ve always felt like this book takes place in direct conversation with #1, fleshing out the existing personalities and relationships of the team as of the moment that they walk through the construction site.  The actual first book in the series sweeps the characters along so quickly toward their destiny (by necessity, because anything else would be bad writing) that we get extremely few details about what these kids are actually like before the war ruins their lives except in the retrospective.  Back to Before feels like a chance to go back and find out who exactly these kids were before they all became homicidal cinnamon rolls.  Of course I’m a sucker for the details about Tom (He has a driver’s license!  He wears a denim jacket over blue jeans like a true 90s fashion victim!  Temrash 114 keeps at least two separate dracon beams in his room!  His parents think he should pay more attention in school!) but there are also a ton of rich characterization moments for all six Animorphs.  

This book really shows us for the first time why Tobias is so desperate for his life to change that he throws himself into a war (and maybe-maybenot gets himself trapped in morph) just to have friends and a purpose.  He belongs nowhere—not at home with his alcoholic uncle, not at school where he’s constantly under threat of physical violence, not at the mall where Jake listens to him out of pity while Marco’s openly hostile—which means that he grabs the first chance he can to fly away from it all.  Maybe he’s being short-sighted, since by #3 he already knows he had no idea what he was getting himself into, but he’s so desperate to get out that one can hardly blame him even when he resorts to becoming a controller in order to have someone to talk to and something to give him meaning.  

It’s also striking that Tobias is the one who ends up recruited by the Sharing, while Jake attends one meeting and leaves.  Most of the series has this implicit assumption that if any of them will be the first one taken, it’ll be Jake, since he’s the one with a controller already living in the house.  (For instance, #41 and #7 both feature variations on the theme of everyone getting caught because Tom saw something he shouldn’t, and in #49 everyone is shocked when the yeerks’ DNA match isn’t between Jake and Tom.)  However, here Jake sees everything the Sharing has to offer… and tells Tom “I’m not really a joiner,” because he’s really really not (MM4).  The unfortunate flip side of the coin of Jake’s leadership ability is that he makes a fairly terrible follower.  In this book it saves his life, but there are other instances (when dealing with the andalites in #18 and #38, during the negotiations with the Arn in #34) where everyone would probably be better off if Jake could find it in himself to sit down, shut up, and do as he’s told.  Non-Animorph Jake is probably at risk of becoming a useless washout (between the crappy academic performance, the mediocre athletic performance, and the lack of motivation to do anything, he’s probably destined to spend the rest of his life as a failed artist living in a studio apartment in downtown LA paid for by his parents’ money), but he’s also not at risk of becoming a voluntary controller, because he’s perfectly content with his mediocre life.  

Rachel, by contrast, is incredibly restless in her normal life.  Cassie describes her as “hunting” with “laser focus” when looking for bargains at the mall (MM4).  It takes her about ten seconds to get on board with chasing down and attempting to tackle some random stranger because Marco thinks said stranger looks like his dead mom.  She snaps into action the second that Ax broadcasts the news that aliens are attacking the planet, and keeps fighting with whatever tools come to hand (including a severed hork-bajir head, because this girl is hardcore) until she gets killed.  For all that she loves it, this book implies that the war might be the worst thing that could have possibly happened to Rachel.  After all, she’s quite good at channeling all that pent-up aggression into verbal sparring the way her mom does (notice how much she enjoys arguing with Marco in the planetarium) and also releasing that extra energy through athletics the way her dad does (unlike Jake, she’s not deterred in her sports ambitions by a mere hiccup like utter lack of talent).  She also has a lot of friends and admirers, a track record of being one of the highest performers in her class, and a casual self-confidence that is rare enough for a girl her age to win her a lot of favors with a lot of people.  Non-Animorph Rachel (in a world that also had no yeerks) would probably thrive in whatever career she chose for decades before dying at a ripe old age surrounded by her highly attractive husband and seven fat grandchildren.  

Maybe my favorite piece of Marco characterization from this book is the way it establishes there is actually a lot more to his crush on Rachel than thinking she has beautiful hair and looks cute in a leotard.  He’s considerably less comfortable in his own skin than either of the Berensons, but he also practices what he preaches by appreciating a joke at his own expense just as much as one he uses to mock another person.  This book makes it obvious that he looks up to Rachel (not just literally, although Marco’s jokes about his own height are also amazing) because he recognizes how intelligent and ruthless she is, and those are the qualities he values the most in himself and others.  Cates pointed out that it’s interesting almost all of Marco’s role models are female (Xena, Alanis Morissette, Carmen Electra, Eva for that matter) and in a lot of ways he doesn’t just like Rachel; he admires her.  

And then there’s the portrayal of Ax when no one comes to rescue him.  #4 and #8 only hint at what it must have been like for him to spend weeks stuck in a tiny dome at the bottom of the ocean, not knowing whether anyone was coming for him, suspecting more and more every day that his whole crew was dead, but here we get a much deeper look at those long days of solitude.  He comes off almost like a prisoner in solitary confinement in the scenes before he manages to use the shark morph to escape: compulsively addicted to routines, talking to inanimate objects, starting to hallucinate when left alone for long enough… Ax is a survivor, tough enough to live through years of loneliness and grief while fighting a war on a foreign planet.  This book shows just how much of that strength comes from within, fire-forged by his traumatic introduction to Earth.  

Oh, and Cassie is sub-temporally grounded, apparently.  I have nothing nice to say about that concept so I’ll settle for saying nothing at all.

Anyway, I love both the opening and closing of this book.  The first scene has one of those UTTERLY HORRIFYING banality-of-violence beginnings, where we open on the aftermath of a battle that may or may not have accomplished anything other than giving the kids involved a few more nightmares.  Jake is disturbingly casual about the fact that he has lost an entire leg and is slowly bleeding to death, making wry jokes about how he and the three-legged table match each other. We can tell why: this isn’t the first (or even the thirtieth) time he’s been fatally maimed and then forced to shrug it off in order to keep fighting.  The kids try—and fail—to save the host of a fatally injured yeerk a few minutes of pain, and end up watching both beings bleed to death.  And then Jake goes home, and he once again plays the game of Lying For His Life with his parents and Tom, and he goes to bed ready to do it all again the next day, wondering what dreams of Sauron Crayak will come.  This poor schmuck literally never catches a break.  No wonder his little deal with the devil seems so tempting for the millisecond that it takes for Crayak to pounce.  (By contrast, the TV episode features Jake asking the Little Blue Ellimist to make him a Real Boy because he doesn’t want to do his math homework and plan a battle at the same time. What a whiner.)

Ugh, and then the ten little soldiers go out to dine, and they drop off one by one so fast that most barely get the chance to fight back.  Rachel and Ax especially do their best to battle the oncoming horde, but they’re largely unarmed and clueless against the yeerks. Tobias becomes the living puppet of a living puppet of Visser One, and then there were five.  Marco stands a little too close to a Bug fighter, and then there were four.  Rachel runs straight into turret fire because Rachel is still Rachel even without unleashing her inner grizzly bear, and then there were three. Cassie is in the wrong shopping mall at the wrong time, and then there were two.  Jake faces down an army of hork-bajir as just his little human self, and then there was one.  Ax might be able to survive—but he isn’t looking to go home and be safe, he’s looking to save the world.  And then there were none.  

A lot of the point of this book is that of course the Ellimist “stacked the deck,” because these kids in particular are the the only ones who have the necessary combination of idealism and grittiness to take on an entire army and win (MM4).  Marco says it best in #54: “We beat an empire, my friend, the six of us, and we did it in large part because you didn’t know any better than to trust your own instincts.”  Ax has the tech savvy and determination to engage in total war, but he can’t survive on Earth without human friends.  Rachel has the ferocity to be a one-woman army, but without her friends to ground her she’d get herself killed a lot sooner.  Jake might be a natural leader, but he’s also naive enough not to know how to balance ethics in times of atrocity without Marco’s ruthlessness and Cassie’s pragmatism to guide him.  Without Marco, the team would never succeed in taking down Visser One.  Without Cassie, they would never get in contact with the Yeerk Peace Movement.  Without Tobias, they’d never succeed at freeing the hork-bajir.  These six form a constellation of skills and needs and strengths and neuroses that balances the fate of the entire galaxy on the shoulders of a bunch of middle schoolers.  They don’t need morphing power to be badass—but they do need it to win.