which consists of everything

A tribute to the best villain from our first campaign

After the party “laid siege” to the fortress of a comically cliche villain, which consisted of the four characters running straight in and setting everything on fire, we had finally reached the throne room.

DM: Alright, as he notices your group approach, [villain] and his minions cease running around screaming. He clears his throat and steps forward, clad in pitch-black armor adorned with spikes. However, his entire chest is exposed for seemingly no reason, leaving his abs in clear view.

Sword-ceress: AVERT YOUR EYES


Rogue OOC: I’m trying to avoid staring.

Paladin: You do realize that’s a huge weak point, right?

Villain: I… Er…

Cleric OOC: I’m going to dare a glance at the eldritch abyss and throw my axe at that weak point. (Rolls nat 20 + max damage)

Villain: …Point taken. (falls prone) NONETHELESS, (continues villainous monologue facedown on the floor with a giant axe in his chest)


Hello, fellow students!

I’m sure I’m not the only who has been really, really, really busy with uni lately, so I’m afraid the last two parts of “How to be a good student again” will take me quite a while to write, if I want them to be good enough to actually help people (which I do).

I don’t want to go full radio silence, though, so I thought I could share two of my study mixes :) 

LIGHTNING FLOOD (listen on youTube, listen on 8tracks)

This one is great for a literal brainstorm! It’s loosely based on my own thought process as an INTP, which might seem very chaotic and even destructive to an outsider, but which actually consists of razor sharp thoughts which take apart and analyze everything around me. 
There are smoother, more relaxed instrumentals in it, too that reflect what it feels like to me to be “in the zone”, so, at least for me, it’s a harmonious ebb and flow of ideas. 

I use it when I’m

  • thinking “vertically”
  • making mind-maps
  • using an unusal, “creative” solution
  • writing essays
  • introspecting

FLASH FIRE (listen on youTube, listen on 8tracks)

This one is great for burning through your project! It’s loosely based upon the thought process of an INTJ character I’m writing a story about right now and a very close INTJ friend of mine, so it’s similar to “Lightning Flood”, but definitely not the same. Compared to my usual blunt aiming and freakishly precise bullets, this is more on the freakishly precise aiming and blunt bullets-side. 
You want to get things done? You want to feel powerful, efficient and in control? You want to burn a clear trail to the goal without distractions? You also want to have fun on the way? Then this is the mix for you! 

I use it when I’m 

  • thinking “horizontally”
  • making to-do- or have-done-lists
  • using a tried and true, but complex method
  • doing maths
  • in dire need of a pick-me-up

I hope they will enrich your study experiences as much as they have enriched mine and I wish all of you a wonderful day, studying in style-style!

Gonna go to bed reading Finn’s section of Before the Awakening tonight to see if he lies as much there as he does in TFA. Finn spends half the film lying, did you notice? He lies to Poe when he first pulls him aside. He lies to Rey almost immediately and then he keeps lying about all sorts of stuff, he lies to Han because he’s gotta keep up appearances, and then he lies to the entire Resistance just to get to starkiller.

Can’t wait to see how much lying he does as a stormtrooper because he had to have picked up that habit from somewhere, right?

Gawd, I am bitter today.

If there’s one good thing about Kylo, it’s at least he never lies to Rey. Kylo’s been lied to so much in life he probably doesn’t have it in him to lie to anybody else anymore besides Snoke, because the occasional fib to Snoke simply keeps him alive.


-I admit my tone was less than stellar in this post. It’s snarky. Snarky because I was exhausted (like it says at the beginning) and had also had a new job that made me felt like I was going to get fired for breathing. The attitude is directed at myself, not the character- I like collecting character flaws because it makes for good analyzation and good writing but because of my situation a year ago it made for a bad presentation of that. And for that, I apologize for any misunderstanding.

-This post is a series of posts made about observations of characters while reading through the material. Short posts were made about all the characters. Immediately following this post was a post made the next day or shortly thereafter saying that ‘Before the Awakening’ shed zero light and added zero support to the observation above, which shot some holes in the theory. This I readily admitted.

-Never ever EVER said I hated Finn. This conclusion is wrong.

-I like finding character flaws. Finn’s was VERY hard to find, especially at a time a year ago where the ‘good guy’ characters were being put on pedestals- thus the ‘bitter’ remark because finally I’d found one to put on the ‘character flaw chart’ I had running for all the characters. I just like having dirt on all the characters I love for some reason. It’s probably some weird twisted flaw of my own.

-Kylo has zero going for him- this is why he, as a mirror-opposite of Finn’s character and story, gets his one and only kudo which is consistently being honest for some reason when everything else about him is pretty awful. Why is he like that? I have no idea- I await ep. 8.

-This post isn’t about Finn’s surface motivations for choosing fibbing over being straight-forward. He wants to escape the FO with Poe, he wants to save Rey, we get it.  That’s not the problem or even the question. The question is, when confronted with a cross-roads situation, why does he tend to consistently choose that tactic instead of another? It could have been incidental from a writing perspective to keep the story rolling along to cue up humorous moments (”I need a pilot”/”I don’t know, Solo! We’ll use the force!” “That’s not how the force works!”/etc.) or maybe it isn’t- I’m just trying to look at all the possible angles here. But even if it isn’t, it’s still part of the character now, and so my question, from a purely analytical perspective is: What happened in Finn’s back story that made this a tactic? I’m really fascinated by that question. Same goes for Rey- Rey has a terrible habit of running away whenever things get rough- wants run back to Jakku, runs away from Maz, but the running stops when she confronts Kylo- the point where the characterization shifts. So I’d like to know the same for Finn, if possible. The guy’s so good that it’s hard to pin anything on him, and I can’t find any negative flaw in Poe at all, haha. Give me all the negative character flaws!! It’s why I enjoy analyzing Kylo so much- he’s just got so many terrible things to work with and pick apart. The other characters are sparse in comparison, especially Finn. Next to Poe, Finn is the least negative character in TFA.

So I hope that helps clarify at least some things? This isn’t an attempt at deflection, this isn’t an attempt to excuse, this is just an attempt to take a short post made a year ago written in a stressed, exhausted mindset and make it a little more level-headed, clear, and objective instead of attitude-ridden, which was a mistake.

Thanks to everyone who constructively engaged me about this post, and I hope by amending it here I haven’t continued to somehow fuck things up in your eyes.

BTS Reaction To: Their S/O feeling insecure about a compliment from them

Thank you to anon for the request!

***I do not own any of the gifs***


Jin would be so sad that someone as beautiful and perfect as you could think that way about themselves. He would spend forever listing everything he loved about you, which would consist of him listing literally everything about you. He would get super cheesy and start talking about every one of your features while describing how much he loved them.

“Jagi, I love EVERYTHING about you. I love your eyes, your hands, your nose, your shoulders, your forehead…”


Although Yoongi isn’t the type to be really cheesy, he definitely wouldn’t like it that you were thinking so negatively about yourself. He would take your hands while calmly assuring you that he wasn’t lying and try really hard to comfort you. Yoongi is usually a bit reserved about his deeper feelings, but in a moment like this, he wouldn’t be afraid to tell you how much he loved you and he would be absolutely genuine about it. 


Hoseok would be so heartbroken when he heard you call yourself ugly and that you couldn’t understand why he liked you. He’d probably get a bit cheesy and emotional about it, and he’d go on a rant about everything he liked about you starting with the very first day he saw you. He would do everything he could to make you smile because he wouldn’t be able to stand his S/O being so unhappy.


Namjoon would get a bit philosophical with this. He’d take your hands, sit you down and tell you that although he thought you were the most stunning person he’d ever seen, he loved you more because of the person you were on the inside. He’d start talking about how true beauty comes from within and that he truly loved you for your kind heart.


You could expect a ton of hugs and kisses from Jimin. As soon as you snapped at him, he wouldn’t even be upset, he’d just grab you and make sure that you knew he was being genuine when he told you he thought you were beautiful. He wouldn’t let the matter go either, not until you were happy again and believed how much he loved you.


Taehyung would be similar to Jimin, he’d get really cuddly with you and assure you that he truly meant it when he told you that you were beautiful. He’d probably grab you and go outside and start yelling at anyone in the vicinity about how much he loved you. It’d be quite embarrassing, but he’d sure as hell mean it and he’d want everyone in the world to know.


Jungkook may not seem like an overly romantic person, but he would be very sweet and gentle about the whole thing. He’d talk to you really soothingly in an attempt to calm you down and he’d tell you that he genuinely meant what he said. He would sit you down and kiss your forehead and hold your hands while looking you in the eyes as he told you why he loved you. 

***Please feel free to send me any requests!***


Pairing: TBS(Thomas Sangster) x Reader

Fandom: real life

Warnings: fluff

Rating: fluffy

A/N: just for you to know, I wrote it imagining that except for being a secundary actor the reader would be the actress playing of Teresa, except for Kaya Scodelario, and sorry I haven’t posted for so long highschool is taking most of my time!

Today the cast of ‘The Scorch Trials’ and you were taking an interview some days after you had went to the premiere of the film. Dylan, Dexter, Ki Hong, Rosa and Thomas would be there with you. Though you were confident on yourself, you didn’t want your little secret to get known. Let’s explain it better. You and the Brittish actor Thomas Sangster had been secretely dating for nine months now, and you definately prefered keeping it as a secret.

time skips

You were already in the back-stage of the show, and were about to go out, when you felt a pair of strong ams wrap around your waist, and as you turned around you weren’t surprised to see your boyfriend Thomas.

“What about a kiss before we go into scene?” he said smiling

“Thomas there are people here that don’t know about our relationship, maybe later” I answered trying to get out of his grip “Oh baby, please. Just a little one”

“Okey” But as soon as you approached his face, which you missed by some centimetres, you heard your name being called, so you whispered in his ear “Later Tommy” and you went into the stage. 

After some time, all the cast was sitting with you in comfortable sofas, while the journalist asked some questions, until he reaches the part where you would play a game which consisted in knowing who knew more about his or hers filming partner. Everything was perfect, everyone was laughing and the game was great fun.

“Okey, so at last, five questions about Y/N. First, what is the first thing you notice about her?” asked the reporter. “Eyes” said Rosa “Long legs” said Dylan “Sparkling eyes” said Ki-Hong “Smile” said Dexter “And you Thomas?” asked the reporter “Well as they already said everything that you can see at first sight, I’ll say more personal things. She is such a wonderful person, really easy-going and kind, always making people laugh, but also such a good actress.” 

“Wow that was really detailed!” the reporter stated as Thomas cheecks got a new light red colour. “Tanks to everyone for attending the program, and don’t forget to watch ‘The Scorch Trials’ 18th of september on cinemas” and with that the interview was finished.

time skips

Thomas POV

I had reached the hotel were the cast was staying a few minutes ago, and was waiting for Y/N to come back, when I heard the sound of keys and the door being opened. “Tommy. Where are you?” I heard her yell. “Right here babe!”, and a few seconds later she was entering our room. “I’m so tired baby” she said while getting into bed “I know love, me too. What about we cuddle to sleep?” I asked tugging her hair slightly “That sounds wonderful” she said kissing my neck

“Goodnight princess” I answered kissing the top of her head.

Stranger Things - A Wonderful, Awful Idea

Title: A Wonderful, Awful Idea

Rating: T

Fandom: Stranger Things

Characters: Mike/Eleven, plus the rest of the gang (and the Wheeler siblings too I guess)

Word Count: 5,777


Then he got an idea. An awful idea. The Grinch got a wonderful, awful idea!
- How the Grinch Stole Christmas

Mike wants to recapture the Christmas magic of his childhood, but mostly he accidentally makes his girlfriend cry.

Note: Christmas fic!!!!!! Silly lovey Christmas fic where everyone is pretty much happy and Mike is very much a teenage boy. No spoilers for the show, but spoilers for Christmas cartoon specials from the 50s and 60s.

AO3 Mirror

Frosty was the one that, in hindsight, he could concede was probably not a good idea.

Keep reading


You seem like you have a lot to live for.

Baatar Jr is pretty severely disliked but really has a very tragic and one of the most subtly developed backstories of the series. It’s mostly framed by how his family’s denial serves to push him closer to Kuvira, a move which reinforces his commitment to her cause in a very questionable way.

The very first we see of Baatar in Book 4 is literally just him being associated with Kuvira, which already sets us up to consider him a “villain”, although in “After All These Years” it’s hard to instantly tell Kuvira’s motivations–we know she’s definitely not messing around, but there’s nothing really to indicate that she’s doing anything really wrong–harsh, yes, but not wrong. The big surprise comes when we learn that she and Baatar are engaged and we get this adorable exchange:

But what really begins to take form in this episode is Baatar’s relationship with his family and how it’s changed since Book 3. Upon seeing his sister, Baatar is not hostile whatsoever and pretty nicely asks her about Suyin. It’s Opal who seems to harbor all the resentment of his “betrayal”, which is a little strange because she probably wasn’t even in Zaofu when he and Kuvira left, being part of the Air Nation and all. The weight of his action in the Beifong family is such that even she feels personally betrayed.

(If he didn’t care why would he ask in the first place…?)

The Beifongs seem to really resent Baatar for leaving Zaofu. I know Suyin was pretty angry at Kuvira for leaving, but at that point she really had no right to be. Kuvira and Baatar were leaving for legitimate reasons, and while they might have taken most of the guard with them, everyone left because they wanted to. It’s Suyin who takes this as an offense, an act which is very consistent with her character. Family is everything to Su–it’s what she built Zaofu to center around, and what she ultimately realized was her goal after years of a troubled childhood. When it comes to Zaofu and especially her family, she doesn’t take anything lightly. It’s probably very difficult for her to accept that her son and her protégé could ever find anything wrong with Zaofu to the point where they leave it altogether. Her family and Zaofu are two aspects that she considers unquestionably good, and this betrayal does not sit well at all with her.

Like the guard from Book 3, Suyin is hell bent on condemning Kuvira’s “betrayal”, and consequently Baatar’s as well. His motivation for leaving, however, has nothing to do with “betrayal”. Baatar’s driving motivation is change–he doesn’t want to “go on living in his father’s shadow” anymore. He obviously wants to be his own person, dropping “Junior” from his name in the interest of actually achieving this goal. Even though literally everyone (except Kuvira) ignores this in the interest of spiting him, it takes on a totally different meaning when his own parents refuse to do it as well. 

(I know this is before he says “It’s just Baatar now”, but his tone of voice makes it sound like he’s told her this before)

This is an example of just what exactly their treatment of him in Zaofu must have been like. When he fit into his role as his father’s son: Baatar Jr., the engineer, everything was peachy keen. Once he makes his own choice to join Kuvira in stabilizing the Earth Kingdom, however, putting his talents to a different and arguably more just cause, he’s labeled a traitor, his choice (probably one of the first big decisions he’s made in his life) labeled “betrayal” by his sister and indirectly his mother. His desire to become a new person, no longer living in the shadow of his father, is completely invalidated by his family. This is clearly shown in Suyin and Baatar Sr.’s actions: by emphasizing the “Junior” he so desperately wants eliminated from his name, they show their refusal to recognize him as anything but a carbon copy of his father.   

He explicitly tells them that “living in his father’s shadow” is the last thing he wants to do with his life, and yet Su completely ignores him and tells Baatar that the real problem is that Kuvira “brainwashed” him. Baatar Sr. looks at least a little surprised in this moment, but Su completely brushes aside Baatar’s actual feelings and acts like he isn’t an adult capable of making his own decisions. His entire family basically shuns him the minute he decides to do something on his own.This has to be a pretty big deal for him, especially since Su’s side of the Beifong family emphasizes the strength of family over everything else. Indeed, he seems to be seeking approval for his actions on more than one occasion, but his family can’t see past his association with Kuvira to realize this.

When he directly gives Suyin the chance to validate his choice, she completely shuts him down. At this point, Su is still too angry to see past Kuvira’s and his betrayal–which she eventually does, as we’ll see later. Her refusal now, however, only serves to strengthen Baatar’s resolve.

By “Enemy at the Gates”, there’s still a part of Baatar that thinks somehow his parents will come around. Once Kuvira takes Zaofu, the ultimate show of her power and accomplishment, Baatar expects his Huan and Baatar Sr. to bow like the rest of the population, at least externally recognizing what he’s indirectly accomplished.

Things have escalated far too highly for this to even be an option, however, and Baatar Sr. shuts him down the final time, saying “I’m so disappointed in you, Junior”. This is the final straw–Baatar can no longer ignore the fact that his family will never accept him. Pride and temper on both sides leads to this final culmination.  Baatar’s anger is a response to the hurt he feels by being denied. The more his family antagonizes him, the more committed Baatar becomes to Kuvira’s cause–not necessarily for the right reasons, as we see in “Kuvira’s Gambit”. Baatar finally solidifies his commitment to Kuvira, as if it wasn’t already strong enough, after his father’s words. 

The fact that he acts pretty antagonistically towards his family members isn’t just because he’s being a dick. They make him out to be “the bad guy”, so that’s what he becomes, enforcing his commitment to Kuvira’s cause. He no longer feels accepted by his family and thus further estranges himself.

Indeed, it seems as though his desire for change which initially estranged him took root long before. The resentment he’s harbored towards Zaofu and his family shapes his actions but can’t fully disguise the fact that he still puts stock in the idea of family.

The fact that he says “long ago” indicates that he’s felt out of place in Zaofu for a while, precluding his departure with Kuvira. He could have said “three years ago” or “since we left”, but he specifically says “long ago”, as if Zaofu stopped feeling like a place where he felt at home before he actually leaves. 

However, his commitment to family isn’t weakened, just transferred. Growing up in a family environment like the one Su maintains, where family is the most important aspect, isn’t a value that just simply vanishes.

The difference between these two instances is the difference between Baatar’s outer feelings of resentment and his inner feelings of belonging, which is shown when he’s at his most emotionally open. Zaofu is still a place where he can be at home–with Kuvira, he can regain the sense of family that is being denied to him by his actual blood relations. He never abandons his connection to the idea of family–it just shifts in order to accommodate the person who is willing to show she cares for him–who he can actually consider family. When he says “Let’s go back home and get married”, it’s clear that Zaofu is still a place he can feel at home, contrary to his statement above, and it’s just that he can no longer feel at home there with his family who time and time again refuses to accept him as he wants to be. 

His commitment to the cause is therefore mostly based on his commitment to Kuvira, but even though he’s angry to the point where he’s forsaken his family, internally he still loves them. I’m not going to pretend he doesn’t take this to a hypocritical and somewhat questionable extent–apparently chaining Zhu Li up to be blown up by super weapon blast is fine with him, but when Opal gets in the way, the test needs to be stopped immediately. He’s perfectly fine making sacrifices when no one he’s personally invested in is involved. This is, however, a perfect example of how his belief in Kuvira’s cause is mostly based on devotion to Kuvira, which comes to a head in “Kuvira’s Gambit”. 

It’s also in “Kuvira’s Gambit” that Suyin has finally seemed to actually begin to understand Baatar. Her plea to him might have worked, too, if it hadn’t come so late in the game (or if it had included Kuvira). 

This is where we come to one of the most heartbreaking points in Baatar’s story. Suyin is still unsure of what actually prompted his desire to leave, but she appeals to him by letting him know that regardless of his motives, their family was heartbroken when he left. Just look at Wing, Wei, and Opal! Wing and Wei both have angry, defiant expressions, and Opal simply looks sad. Although hurt, they still lost their big brother. Suyin conveys to Baatar that she wants to reconcile with him while simultaneously recognizing that he had motives for leaving. She finally recognizes him as separate from the standard she clung so desperately to before. He isn’t “Baatar Jr.” anymore, and Su is genuinely trying to understand him. When she says “Stop all of this and come home. We want you with us”, it’s far more effective than earlier when Baatar Sr. said “Son, you belong here” in “Enemy at the Gates”, because she is finally telling Baatar, not Baatar Jr., that he is accepted. She wants to understand.

Suyin’s realization, while a victory, comes far too late in the game to sway him. Kuvira is the only one he considers family now–Kuvira, the only one who supported him, who actually respected his wishes, who dropped the “Junior” from his name, at a time when no one else would. She was the one who “set him free”. His family’s continued hostility only further separated him from them and gave him a newfound fervor for Kuvira’s cause. By this scene in “Kuvira’s Gambit” Baatar wants his family’s acceptance desperately but has been denied it time and time again. He’s found a new family–Kuvira–and by the time his mother finally understands this it’s too late. He’s done trying to win their acceptance. Suyin’s reaction is what is so incredibly heartbreaking–she has literally played her last card too late in the game to save him. It’s Korra who realizes that the only way to break him is to appeal to the one thing he’s placed all of his self-worth and care into: his relationship with Kuvira.

This cycle of resentment and anger has only pushed Baatar to bolster Kuvira’s cause for the wrong reasons–devotion to Kuvira herself instead of Kuvira’s actual goal. He deludes himself into thinking that she has the same type of misdirected drive.

Those three words are the sound of the beliefs he’s built up over the past three years shattering in the blast of the spirit weapon: his belief in Kuvira, his belief in family, and frankly his belief in himself. 

The stock he’s put into his relationship with Kuvira is shattered, and Baatar finally realizes where all his misplaced fervor for her cause has brought him. He ignored the more questionable things going on in the Earth Empire in order to align his vision of what is right with what was really going on. 

He can no longer blindly put all his faith into Kuvira and justify going along with the things she is personally willing to do and capable of, because honestly his will and drive were never as strong as Kuvira’s. (Are anyone’s?) Without this outer justification, there’s nothing he can do to save her except try and help stop her. He only gives Mako and Bolin the directions to cut the power to the suit, the only way he can help stop her without putting her life in danger. 

Baatar’s ending, however, is ultimately unresolved. Suyin seems extremely inclined to grant him forgiveness and “work things out”, which is super double standard-y of her, but we don’t know what Baatar himself will actually do. It seems inconceivable that he can ignore his actions following the jarring events of “Kuvira’s Gambit”, which forced him to realize how far he had gone for the wrong reasons. There is no telling how he will deal with his transgressions, especially in light of his mother’s proclivity for forgiveness, but hopefully through all the anger and misperception he can finally be able to reconcile who he was with who he wants to be.

Thanks to limegreenbunny for input on this! 

The Right One | Mingyu au

Originally posted by visual-17

Pairing: Mingyu x Reader

Genre: Soulmate!au, fluff

Word count: 2.4k

Summary: You have your soulmate’s name on your wrist.

Kim Mingyu.

The name you could never forget, simply because it was written neatly on your wrist since before you could remember.

When you were younger you had been confused by the strange symbols that were imprinted on your skin. Your parents had explained that your soulmate was from a different country to yours and that’s why the name seemed strange to your seven year old self. You had developed a fascination with the neat symbols, and had managed to figure out that your soulmate was probably Korean.

From that point on you had made it your mission to learn the new language. Your worst nightmare was one day meeting your soulmate but not being able to talk to them.

Years past and your Korean improved, but there was no sign of your soulmate. You were 19 when you realised that you were probably never going to find him if you stayed where you were. You decided to take a gamble and plan a trip to South Korea.

Ever since you had found out about your soulmate you had been fascinated by the country and it became a place you would like to visit someday. Today was that day, also if there was any chance of you meeting your soulmate, this was it.

You planned the trip that week, managing to get reasonably priced flights and accommodation at such late notice. Your friend had agreed to come with you, mainly because she wanted a holiday, but partially because she wanted to help you find your soulmate.

As you were packing your things she began to ask you what your plan was.

“I don’t really have a plan” you admit. You knew the chances of you running into a Kim Mingyu in the one place in South Korea you were going to was unlikely. Seoul was a big city and and you hoped that fate would bring you together and you would simply run into him and feel those tingles your friends had always told you about. However there was still doubt in you mind.

“Have you tried googling him?” She asks.

“No, that’s ridiculous. Besides I’m sure there is more than one Kim Mingyu on the planet. If my soulmate googled my name nothing would come up so why would it be any different with him” you explain.

“True but you never know. Your soulmate could be a celebrity” she smirks.

You roll your eyes.

“Maybe a handsome idol in a group called Seventeen” she hints.

You sigh “I take it you’ve googled my soulmate” you quirk your eyebrow at her.

“Maybe I have, maybe I haven’t, what’s important is that Kim Mingyu from Seventeen might be your soulmate”

Keep reading

Camera Shy Part 10

Summary: AU. Jughead is an aspiring photographer. His final project requires him to shoot nude photos of someone who inspires him. With no one else to ask Jughead asks Betty. Insecure of her body Betty is quick to shoot the idea down, until Jughead reminds her that she owes him.

Find all previous parts on tumblr HERE

Read on AO3 HERE

A/N:  thank you to everyone who’s kept up with this story and badgered me into continuing it. It’s been rough but this story is my baby, and I’m relieved I was finally able to update. The next two chapters will be much longer, but with school in full force I don’t know when I’ll be able to update, but I’ll try my best. Much love to you all <3 (PS Riverdale season two starts back up in 24 days!)

Keep reading

anonymous asked:

I was thinking about Solas and Sera, and the fact that he considered her on of "his people" or "our people" when he was trying to if she would understand the elven language. But when the inquisitor asks if Solas is happy for Briala as a fellow elf, and he said he does not consider himself the same as her. So what do you think made Solas consider Sera as one of "his people" and not the other elfs in the game?

Short answer: Solas is a hypocritical and inconsistent person who is terribly bad at evaluating problems, and he’s also correct - they are not his people. But sometimes it behooves him to refer to them as such. ;) 

Honestly, though, Solas jabs aside, I do think this has a lot to do with the distinction between City Elves and the Dalish (also not people Solas considered his people unless it was convenient to the conversation) and the Elvhen (like Abelas - who also uses this distinction re: “Elvhen like YOU?” convos at the Well of Sorrows). 

Solas tends to refer to his people when he gives a shit, and avoid the topic when he doesn’t want to give a shit or when they’re alienated from his experiences (re: Sera almost ALL the time - “we’ll never be as good as we were! Well, who’s we?” - she is doing this too). In truth we see this from other ancient elves, not only with Abelas’s dismissive statement, but also from Flemythal in DA2 “The People are too quick to bend the knee” and “Ah, one of the People” at Sundermount with Merrill as if she was not one of them herself (and in a way she’s not so…semantics here). We also see this from Felassan in Masked Empire who basically disowns the Dalish and the City Elves both and just gets along with Briala in his own way. Given Felassan works FOR Solas (and got killed by him at the end for letting Briala take the eluvians instead of bringing them to Solas - Patrick Weekes confirmed this on twitter somewhere), this “oh they’re not my people” concept isn’t weird at all. It’s actually exactly what we expect from this kind of character, and it’s consistent with all we have seen.

The Veil was likely created about 3500-4000 years ago in Thedas time (numbers come from WOT timeline information about when the elves first reported experiencing the Quickening, which was a result of the creation of the Veil itself and the loss of magic and that spiritual connection). Solas’s entire life in Inquisition is like someone from Ancient Egypt appearing in modern day Egypt. Modern Egyptians are NOT Ancient Egyptians (just as a random comparison since Egypt had a flourishing civilization as early as 4000 years ago in our own world).

From the standpoint of someone who makes a study of cultures, cultures shift and change a LOT in very short timeframes - not on fundamental levels without seismic circumstance changes (like say, the formation of a Veil? ;P), but enough that they create alienation among different members (think elderly people bemoaning the way it was “in their day” for instance). Sera is young. She’s really not interested in being “elfy”, and Solas absolutely is, though his definition of elfy is fluid. 

That banter is one of their earlier banters, while he’s just trying to connect with her somehow - after all, unless you’re playing an elf yourself, this might be the ONLY elf he is in regular contact with in any consistent sense (factor in travel times and that’s a lot of time spent in company). In that setting, you get the usual habit of people just trying to be friendly to make the best of a weird situation (like when Sebastian sits there blabbing to Fenris about believing in Andraste, or when Morrigan keeps trying to reach out to Sten, who plays along with her a bit). This is natural behavior. Sera, of course, is having none of it, because Sera doesn’t really work along that sense of “I should try to get people to like me” and is instead all about championing what is right and just - being elfy is something she will describe as being an old injury, and there are current day things that she would rather be angry about instead. 

Elvhen as a language does date back to Solas’s time. They are called The People (Elvhen means like…spirit of people, or something akin to that - El (spirit), Vhen (people). So…yeah, even linguistically we have this odd sort of divide. 

Briala and Solas have that weird history through Felassan, but Briala herself doesn’t care about the Dalish either - because they didn’t care about her or the City Elves in Masked Empire, and she learned that the hard way when she had to flee to join them. There IS that divide. City Elves live VERY different lives from the Dalish, and even those that flee to join the Dalish (if taken in) have a very different experience and struggle (DAO: City Elves believe the Dalish are savages choosing to live in the woods, Dalish call city elves flat ears and think they’re basically just humans now; DA2: Pol from Denerim who joined Clan Sabrae still has to remember to say “Creators help me” when confronted with Merrill instead of “Andraste help me” which he originally says at first, and he still holds a LOT of cultural beliefs from his life in Denerim that differ from that of many of the Dalish in Clan Sabrae, and this makes SENSE, from a cultural standpoint). 

Briala and the City Elves are NOT like Solas’s People, and neither are the Dalish. 

So he’s right. Not his people. 

AND YET…he’s a very lonely old man who destroyed his entire civilization and woke up to find that rather than resetting the world it had moved on without him. Occasionally, speaking as if someone IS “his people” probably makes him feel less alone. The fact that after this argument he insults her (“Dirthara-ma - may you learn”), and proceeds to treat her with irritation and contempt throughout the rest of the game says more to the fact he DOESN’T actually consider Sera HIS PEOPLE either.

This is a situation that, by Trespasser, he’s fully reconciled himself with. He’s no longer conflicted. He will tell your Inquisitor that to save HIS people, he has to bring down the Veil and end THEIR people. And it’s that simple. 


1. Loneliness and an attempt to reach out
2. They ARE different and are NOT his people
3. It’s part of his character development arc which is resolved by Trespasser
4. It’s consistent with everything we know about his character and similar characters thus far to experience that conflict
5. It’s a culturally sound evaluation too.

Hope that answered the question, anon! <3 Thanks! -HR


Despacito || Kim Namjoon

Originally posted by nikatato

Words: 2319

Genre: Fluff 

Summary: You finally bring Namjoon to meet your family, after hours of hellos and eating every item made by your family. Your sister tells you to dance with Namjoon, that being more of a dare than an ask. After scrolling through a few songs you decide on one you think he could dance too, and that when Namjoon surprises you. 

Part of a series I’m doing. Jimin’s is linked below



Music and laughter filled the air as you slowly walked towards the backyard of your parents home. It had been years since the last time you stepped foot here but this time was nerve-racking since you were introducing Namjoon to your family.

You could already hear the judgemental comments you would receive once they saw him. “¿Un chino, mija? ¿Por que?” In their snarky accents.

Your family always saw you with another Mexican man and you always thought that too since it was drilled into your head since you were a child. But, Namjoon changed that and you quickly grew in love with him. And all stereotypical thoughts you used to have flown out the window.

Keep reading

so we always need more polish music & youtube channels, right? right!

disclaimer: i can’t claim to love everything on this list, but some previous music lists i’ve seen floating around have “popular polish songs” which quite frankly  consists mainly of shitty rap (or so it seemed). so everything here is at least considered listenable by my own standards. in terms of youtube channels the same applies. also i find it difficult to understand what others like in gaming channels so i put a bunch down in case someone likes them

p.s. i apologise if any of these songs have offensive lyrics - i did my best to listen out but i will miss some

also huge thanks to @szysia who threw a ton of suggestions my way, this list would not have been as long or varied in genre without you! also thanks to @ atychifobia666 for theirs!


kapelanka - pociąg
B.R.O. - mówiła mi
taco hemmingway - deszcz na betonie
mrozu - rollercoaster
dawid podsiadło - pastempomat
jan traczyk - już wiem
jopel - katharsis
coma - spadam
wilki - love story
kult - madryt (it’s certainly a different kind of polish rap, i’ll give them that!)
bartas szymoniak - alarm
elektryczne gitary - killer
big cyc - facet to świnia (i like this one, v bouncy)
kacper hta - w tej grze
kasia nowak - jesteś jestem (i hate the video but the song’s decent)
extra - kino
lady pank - tacy sami
bajm - biała armia
enej - lili
piersi - bałkanica (i’m not sure how i feel about this song… i definitely liked it more the second time i heard it though)
maria peszek - ej maria
coma - sto tysięcy jednakowych miast (i prefer the live version but here’s the album one if live stuff puts you off)
daria zawialow - malinowy chrusniak
sylwia grzeszczak - karuzela
sylwia grzeszczak - tamta dziewczyna (i think the above song is better but apparently this is really popular in poland right now and poles get annoyed if you start singing it so i had to add it :P)
extra - wyjechać (i’m not sure how likeable the song is, it took me a few tries, but i really like the video so….)
feel - a gdy jest już ciemno (this has a very killers feel to it which i like)
myslovitz - nocnym pociągiem aż do końca świata
ich troje - tobą oddychać chcę


abstrachujetv - comedy. they recently about grandmas/grandsons switching roles and also what you think at the hairdressers that i really liked
rezigiusz - gaming
agnieszka grzelak vlog - food. they eat various japanese food and review it.
ponki - comedy. i really liked the interactive one (worst day of my life). they also seem to do videos of jokes sent in by viewers which is v good for getting an understanding of double meanings/puns!
5 sposbów na - how to. does what it says on the tin
katie x - vlog
madzio - gaming. they post a lot (twice a day it seems)
red lipstick monster - beauty/how to
poszukiwacz - entertainment. they seem to talk about videos they find on the internet?  (like a better version of you’ve been framed) 
deejaypallaside - vlog/entertainment 
tvgrypl - gaming. not a gamer, but top tens and game info etc.
polimaty - education. the first polish channel i ever subscribed to :’) they do language-ish videos occasionally which are really interesting
blowek - entertainment? i liked the one where they tried to see if a quiz could guess their name haha
disowskyy - gaming
vege tu jemy - cooking (vegan)
beksy - comedy
hvis - kids. seems to upload english programs in polish. idk why but i really liked the marta mówi ones (these regularly explain synonyms/turns of phrases which is v useful!) 
dealereq - gaming. minecraft
wiśnia - education/entertainment. top tens and information/explanations 
isamuxpompa - gaming
topowa dycha - education/entertainment. top tens and information
martin stankiewicz - comedy 
jakub król - beauty/vlog 
smiechawatv - comedy 

EVE BORES YOU SERIES: A stable surface hides a fractured structure - a look at Jackie&Hyde in season 7 requested by sulietsexual

To begin with, while season 8 was an atrocious bizarre abomination, season 7 laid the perfect groundwork as it derailed the overall quality of the show massively. Based on my most recent rewatch, there was one episode in that season I truly enjoyed (the one where the boys call the White House, purely because their dynamic reminded me of early seasons). There were a few that had some funny scenes but at most of them I was like ???? or ‘meh’, because this season derailed characters, relationships and just seemed to lose the understanding of the storyline. In this meta, however, we’re focusing on Jackie/Hyde and how the writers fucked them up completely.

So while season 8 sure was the final nail gun in Jackie/Hyde’s coffin, it didn’t come out of nowhere, considering season 7 was full of footage and characterization that showed the writers themselves didn’t understand the relationship they created. Let’s dive into that specifically, shall we?

During the first half of the season, on the surface everything seems fine between Jackie/Hyde. They’re presented as ever-domestic, sweet and generally adorable. But if one’s willing to look deeper, they will realize even those first 10 episodes are full of ridiculously OOC moments. Now bending the characterization to serve a plot/produce a laugh has been glaring since season 6 especially, but this pairing for the most part were written in character (except for the whole nurse thing which is a question for another time), but unfortunately, even they didn’t survive the wrath of clueless writers.

Keep reading

And Again Wanda and other things

On this post made by the awesome @one-piece-of-harry there has been some interesting discourse. 

Now someone has made the following points as an end of argument statement and the post is long as fuck so I’ve decided to make my own post.

- Do you at least appreciate the irony of saying vigilantes are necessary? And then supporting the Accords?

Now the person this was said to was someone who said the Avengers were vigilantes who were necessary. And I agree without a legal system in place for superheroes to operate under vigilantism was the only option. The Accords make being a superhero a legal position, and therefore a necessary service protecting people from superpowered villains/alien armies/ in general can now be preformed by a legal team under The Accords. 

- The MCU is broader than the movies, so we do in fact know that the Accords were ratified, Spider-Man didn’t sign and it involves a lot of fun documentation like DNA and fingerprints. Google it.

I have a post about the Accords here.  I would also like to point out that the Accords as they originally existed were simply a control on the Avengers because they were operating internationally, that is how they were presented in civil war.

- Peter wanting to keep something a secret from his aunt is normal. That was my original context. (I’m using complete sentences. It isn’t hard. Go back and reread.)

Peter wasn’t blackmailed, but it’s an understandable interpretation, and I don’t feel like rehashing this again. So, I won’t.

- This is the thing about “retirement” - Clint retires, but a friend of his needs help saving the world and so Clint shows up and goes to jail after the fight. In Avengers, Bruce got the Hulk under control and was hiding out off the grid; SHEILD came and brought him in to fight Loki. The qualities that make them heroes will almost will almost always lead to extenuating circumstances that will put them against the Accords. Hence my negativity. (But you are, like, so clever for calling retirement a ‘death sentence.’)

Here’s the difference between Bruce and Clint. Bruce got the whole picture before getting involved, and Bruce does not have a family he is abandoning by joining the fight. Enough said.

- Here are two things about Wanda vs. the Big Guy: 1) Wanda’s mind games are not shown to last long and 2) are less about introducing something new than they are about showing something that was already there - which is why all the other visions went to backstory consistent places. So everything about that Hulk rage was already in Banner. Whatever Bruce’s reaction, we don’t actually see what vision led to the moments that followed. It could have been mostly benign like Cap’s.

Oh my god where do I start with this one? Are you honest to god saying that Wanda is not responsible for what happened in Johannesburg? Are you trying to tell me that it’s Bruce’s fault for having a bad past/fears? Yes the Hulk already exists in Banner the problem here is that Wanda unleashed The Hulk in the middle of the city maliciously. 

What the vision was is irrelevant, the point is that Wanda attacked Bruce’s mind with the sole intent of making him lose control in order to further Ultron’s plan. She did not care about the people in Johannesburg when she unleashed a scared and angry Hulk on them. 

The mind game did not need to last long all it needed to do was trigger the Hulk. That’s what it did, that was the intention, and that makes any damage or death the Hulk caused Wanda’s responsibility. 

It doesn’t take long to fire a nuke, and a nuke is already capable of doing damage even if I don’t fire it, all those nuclear explosives are still inside it, therefore I did nothing wrong if I fired the nuke. That’s your argument right now. 

- Wanda ended up in Hydra because she wanted the chance to fight for her home and defend it. Wanda left when she saw where it was heading. Like Widow, like Tony, she’s trying to put things right. 

Wanda left Hydra when she saw where it was headed? If by that you mean when she saw that the group she was with was losing to the Avengers, then yes. If you think she realized they were evil and left, well frankly I think you need to watch the movies again. 

Wanda then joined Ultron another bad guy to continue furthering her own revenge plot against Tony (The actual reason she joined Hydra btw). She doesn’t begin to try and put things right until she is personally threatened by Ultron’s plans. 

- And here’s the thing to view Wanda as inherently, irredeemably awful also casts doubts on the Avengers who trust her, Tony Stark included. She’s part of the Avengers family before the Civil War breaks out.

Yes it does. Although I highly doubt Tony had any say in trusting Wanda to join the team, and if he did he probably agreed out of guilt. Also part of the Avenger’s family? Tony doesn’t live with them, and Clint is retired, I’m not sure how much of a family this is. 

In the Eyes of the Endless

Author’s notes: Alright, finally done one of Christmas stories for Choices that I’m trying to do. I’m going try to do more between now and the beginning of January. This one is for Endless Summer, which takes place before the event. And let’s just say that I hc that ES MC may have experienced a couple of visions before he/she went to that mysterious island of hell.

Disclaimer: Do not own Choices or the characters. Those rightfully belong to Pixelberry.

Rated: T

Story: Endless Summer

Pairings: MCxDiego (platonic, of course 😊), and I may or may not include couple more pairings at the end somewhat…heehee.😅

Summary: Christmas isn’t just about presents and celebrating what you have and had happened to you, but it is also about celebrating for what is about to come. Even if it’s when you least expected it.

Sending thoughtful wishes your way in the hope you know the joy and treasures that come with the Christmas season.

Christmas Eve appears to be the busiest in the shopping district of Northbridge, and the crowds are scrambling to do the last minute shopping. Two close friends, Diego and Yurika, managed to get everything they need (which consists of simple Christmas decorations for their apartment and snacks for movie nights) and stopped by a nearby cafe for some Christmas special hot chocolate mix to bring back home. Normally, the students of Hartfeld would go back to their homes to celebrate with their families but these two choose not to for different reasons. Diego still has a strained relationship with his parents and couldn’t find a heart to go back home while Yurika just didn’t really have anyone whom she considers family to go back to. For now, they’re content with staying in the main campus for the holidays, celebrating Christmas with only each other.

As they made out of the shopping district and deep into the conversation about which movies, Home Alone or The Polar Express, a cold wind hit them, and they looked up to see every trees and building decorated with Christmas lights glowing at the starry night. They admired the beautiful sight until they noticed a young, dark-haired woman and a tall, handsome man outside together nearby a giant Christmas tree. It was hard to see it from the distant, but a pair of odd, but adorable friends noticed that the couple were sharing a gentle, but loving kiss underneath a mistletoe, making them awed at the sight.

“Aww, aren’t they adorable?” Yurika commented adoringly at the romantic sight.

“They are. Even more adorable than any couples in every rom-com Christmas movies we saw,” Diego agreed before letting out a longing sigh, “I just wish I can experience that even if it’s just for a moment.”

Yurika turned to her best friend and playfully pulled both sides of his cheeks, stretching it upwards as if to make him smile, “Hey now, Diego. There’s no frowny face allow on Christmas Eve. We, as hopeless romantics, are going to make most of our Christmas time high in holiday spirits in our own way. Now smile, smile.”

“Amrfphed, fmed. Mrrmphed. Mrphed,” was all Diego could mutter, but the young woman could tell he was saying “Alright fine. I’m happy. Just let go”, and let go of his face.

“Besides, I’m sure someday, there’s going to be a special guy out there waiting for you, and he’ll be exactly who you’re looking for all along.”

Diego smiled at those encouraging words while rubbing his cheeks containing red, stretch marks, causing Yurika to laugh. The dark-hair then noticed something else that his friend said.

“Wait. You, Rika? As a hopeless romantic? You haven’t even dated anyone since high school,” Diego pointed out, thinking that his best friend, beautiful, smart, and funny woman, has a better chance of finding someone special than he does right now. But then again, he knew for the fact that Yurika has an acquired taste.

Yurika shook her head, walking towards the same Christmas tree they spotted earlier, admiring the colorful decorations and the lights shining around them. “I know. But I’m not into dating anyone right now. Maybe it’s because I haven’t found someone special yet, either.”

“So why is it that you aren’t looking for that special someone right now?” Diego asked his best friend in curiosity.

Yurika hummed in reply as she watched all the Christmas lights glowing around them with a thoughtful look on her face. She then shrugged, “I’m not entirely sure, to be honest. It’s strange to think like this, but maybe there’s already someone out there for me. Like way out there. I guess I’m just waiting for a right time to meet that person.”

Diego tilted his head in curiosity, “So you’re saying that you’re possibly looking for a soulmate?”

“…Something like that,” the blonde woman answered and sighed, “Forget it. I think I’m being weird just thinking about it.”

“Maybe. But I believe it’s a good kind of weird,” Diego assured her, causing the latter to smile. Then, his brown eyes widened as he noticed something in the sky, “Oh my god…Yurika, look!”

The young woman looked up to see tiny snowflakes gently falling from the sky, making her gasped in surprise and excitement. All the people surrounding them in town had the same reaction and cheered at the unexpected, but most wonderful sight during Christmas Eve. Yurika held her gloved hand out in the air, letting few snowflakes dropped into her palms. She looked to see how the snowfalls matched the decorations around the district.

“Oh wow. This is beautiful,” Yurika said, admiring the newly-formed Christmas scenery.

“It is!” Diego agreed, holding onto his best friend’s hand with his, “Maybe this is a sign that says that Christmas isn’t going to be so bad this year and that more of what’s to come.”

“Wouldn’t that be nice?” Yurika replied and squeezed back Diego’s hand. As she does that, a painful headache hit her, and then her vision turned white. As the light faded, she opened her eyes and gasped, seeing her best friend, with a beard grown and slightly longer hair for some odd reason, standing next to the tall silhouette looking at the strange, but beautiful light at the starry sky. She saw the two turned to each other and barely make out the words they are saying to each other.

“So…these mean good luck, huh?”

“Yes. And I know they are always true.”


“…This tradition of yours. Kissing at midnight.”

“Well…ahem. It’s not, like, my tradition…”

“May I kiss you?”

Then another light flashed, leading Yurika to a different place…a country-themed bar to be more specific. She looked down to see that she’s in her own body. Just not in complete control of it since her feet moved on this own. She unintentionally made her way around the corner to see an unknown silhouette sitting on the ground, possibly looking crestfallen. As she sat down beside the figure, she could hear him speak.

“I ain’t given a damn about people in a long time, Princess. Then you came along and pretty much blew that whole plan straight to hell. Anyway, thanks to you, I’m finding myself all torn up inside over your gang of Little Rascals. And it’s all your fault.”

“My fault? How do you figure that?”

“…Not sure if you noticed last night, but you kinda blew my mind.”

The vision ended in a flash, and Yurika blinked in confusion. Diego noticed a perplexed look on her face and stared back at her, looking concern.

“Something wrong, Rika?”

But Yurika didn’t answer. Instead, she stared blankly at the starry sky, completely lost in thought.

…What was that?



Joohyun - energy manipulation

Seungwan - emotion manipulation

Seulgi - light manipulation

Sooyoung - element manipulation

Yerim - illusion manipulation


★the f(x) coven took them in when they first discovered their abilities

★they tutored them and helped them understand

★then they helped find the perfect home for the coven

★they keep in touch all the time

★amber is mother duckling

★the tips of their hair glows when they ise their abilities

★they wait for you outside school / work every single day

★when you’re having a bad day, the mix of seeing them and seungwan’s abilities will cheer you up

★will go talk to your boss / headteacher if they feel like you’re being mistreated

★so protective of you

★if they see somebody make a rude comment about you, their wrath will be unleashed

★if they think you’re going to be hurt, joohyun’s shield is around you to protect you

★she’s saved you endless hospital trips

★but when she’s not there to protect you and you do hurt yourself she’ll be there to make sure you’re not in pain while being treated

★the nurses will always be amazed at how you can have your shoulder pushed back into place without making a sound

★you live with them 90% of the time

★if you ever have a nightmare, seulgi, seungwan and yerim are right by your side to cheer you up

★seulgi will create a comforting yellow light to illuminate the room

★yerim will create colourful illusions around your room

★while seungwan goes to work on getting rid of your fear

★the exo clan sometimes pop by 

★which always turns into a prank war

★red velvet always win

★bc yerim tricks minseok 

★and makes him scream

★since you became part of their life, they started throwing post-ritual parties

★which consist of ordering everything on the menu from the takeaway closest to the mansion

★you’ve all got matching pyjamas

★each of you have your own colour

★sooyoung has an endless amount of nicknames for you

★you’ll be walking down the street when she will skip past, pat your rear and call you ‘squish bunny’

★’fun monkey’

★constant heart eyes @ you

★you’ve got five supernatural cheerleaders at your side for the rest of your life

★you took them to a school/work event once and were asked if you were in some sort weird six way relationship

★you guys won’t deny it

★keeps unwanted attention away

★but when that unwanted attention does present itself to you, you’re surrounded buy the five of them

★if the person still wouldn’t give up, yerim will use her powers to make them see you as deformed

★while joohyun will talk to them about how you’re under their protection

★if the combination of the two won’t work, sooyoung will step in and use the elements against them

★gust of wind to make their pants fall down

★some water to drench them

★or perhaps their jacket would accidentally set fire

★seulgi always tests you to see if you can cast spells

★really wants you to join their coven

★’kang seulgi you tested them yesterday! they’re not supernatural!’

★’they might’ve changed!’

★’they’re human, seulgi’

★’can’t we find somebody to change her?’

★’do i get a say in if i become a witch?’


★they make the best baths

★bath bombs???

★who needs bath bombs when you’ve got best friends that can make potions that are ten times better

★sooyoung always makes you flower crowns

★and always brings you fresh flowers

★tl;dr being best friends with witch!red velvet is the best choice you’ve made

On Russia, artistry and being “heirs” to the Soviet legacy

This is an essay I’ve been sitting on for at least a year, and while slivers of my opinion have leaked out into posts I’ve made in that period, I haven’t ever sat down and laid it all down in one coherent piece. So here goes.

I’ve seen a lot of Russian fans, officials, coaches and even athletes express the opinion that the D+E code format is inherently biased against what they call “classical gymnastics” - the artistic performance style of the Soviets, favoring instead the “American style” of power with little attention to detail. They insist that the modern Russian team has carried forth this legacy into the present day, and by extension the current code is also biased against their athletes. This opinion even made it into Dvora Meyer’s book, The End of the Perfect Ten, and while it was called into question, it didn’t get the resounding rebuttal it deserves. My intent with this essay is to provide that rebuttal, by examining how the Russian claims hold up against reality.

Let’s begin with the assumption that it was the Soviets’ artistry alone that set them apart from their contemporaries. While it is true that the Soviet gymnastics system was renowned for their choreography and musicality on floor, this was far from the only strength the Soviets had. There are four women’s gymnastics events, two of which provide essentially no opportunity to demonstrate artistry, and the Soviets regularly produced World and Olympic medalists on all of them, as well as in the all around. So if the Soviets were not being set apart solely by their artistry, what were the other contributing factors?

  • Difficulty. Soviet routines pushed the envelope with difficulty, especially in the post-Nadia era. Many Soviet routines from the 80s and early 90s contain skills and combinations that even today are the domain of only the world’s top elite gymnasts, and would score well in the modern Code with only some slight tinkering to meet the current requirements.
  • Execution. Romania may have received the first Olympic 10, but the Soviets did not lag far behind. Nelli Kim received two 10s of her own in Montreal, and from this point Soviet 10s were a common sight in international competition. Even when they weren’t earning perfect 10s, Soviet scores were often above a 9.9, setting them well ahead of the competition. At their last Olympics as a true Soviet team (in 1988), the team received the highest total score on every event.
  • Consistency. Difficulty and execution are fine and dandy, but won’t help you much if you can’t be relied upon to hit when it counts - particularly in the era prior to the New Life rule. The Soviets rarely had major errors in competition, and when they did, the rest of the team had the mental toughness to overcome it and pick up the slack, rather than going into a headcasing tailspin.
  • Innovation. Choreography was not the only area in which the Soviet team sought outside influence. They also worked with specialists in biomechanics to improve their performance and help develop new skills and techniques - such as the Tkatchev release and the Yurchenko vault. Even today, a huge portion of the named elements in the Code of Points honor a Soviet gymnast’s innovation.
  • Training. It is well known that the Soviets pioneered the concepts of the centralized training system and internal development program, allowing for a constant, steady pipeline of well-trained, world-class gymnasts. The work with biomechanics specialists also allowed them to implement a number of pioneering training and conditioning methods that are only now becoming commonplace in gymnastics worldwide. (I must address that it has since come to light that some of the methods employed were abusive; however, it has also been proven that success is possible without the abusive methods, so there is no reason not to employ training practices that are rigorous and groundbreaking yet humane.)

Now tell me, if a team competing in the modern day had all of these features AND a touch of artistry that made their performances special to watch, would there be any competition that was not theirs to lose? In fact, do these five features perhaps remind you of a team that is competing today…?

They certainly don’t remind me of modern-day Russia:

  • The current national team, as a team, brings the world’s best difficulty only on the uneven bars.
  • Their execution is often suspect or even just nasty, especially vault technique and tumbling form.
  • One need only look at the record of falls in competition across the recent major championships to get an idea of their consistency.
  • While they do continue to innovate, primarily on the uneven bars, it is not nearly as prolific as it was during the Soviet era.
  • Though the talent pipeline has not completely degraded as it has in Romania, it is still sorely depleted from that of 30 years prior, and the national team does a poor job of managing and developing the talent they do receive. As a result, the national team is stuck working with a very short depth chart, leaving them in a pinch when injuries occur.
  • It has also been widely reported that since Alexandrov’s departure, the conditioning program at Round Lake has completely fallen apart, and this is borne out by the lack of endurance and tendency towards injury the gymnasts often display.
  • It’s even arguable that they no longer preserve Soviet artistry - the quality of choreography has decreased sharply in recent years, possibly because the gymnasts are not conditioned well enough to get through a traditional Russian floor routine.

Occasionally, Russia manages to produce a gymnast that has most of the Soviet attributes, and they meet with success. Mustafina has everything except, in some cases, difficulty, and in others, execution, and she’s hardly come across a meet at which she couldn’t medal. Komova has everything except consistency, won bars gold twice at Worlds, and narrowly missed two major all-around titles due to issues with her consistency. The list goes on through many current and recent talents, but the deficient qualities make it difficult to pull them together as a team that can reliably produce twelve world class performances in finals.

So we have addressed the fact that the classical Soviet style did not begin and end with artistry, but instead encompassed a holistic mastery of all major qualities necessary for exquisite gymnastics. We have also disproven the idea that the modern Russian team is really anything like Soviets Mk. II, instead suffering from considerable deficiencies in most areas that the Soviets excelled in. Now, it’s time to look at the supposed bias of the Code towards the “American style” of gymnastics, and evaluate whether this really exists.

Frankly, I’m not sure it’s even possible to select a single set of attributes that can be deemed “THE” modern American style of gymnastics. There are gyms spread far and wide across the country, headed by coaches hailing not just from the US, but from China, from Romania, from former Soviet nations, and sometimes even beyond. The style of athlete being produced is as diverse as the style of coach producing them - which is how we wind up with a national team that includes both Ashton Locklear and MyKayla Skinner, and an Olympic team with both Simone Biles and Madison Kocian.

Assuming that the “American style” of gymnastics is what helps the US to be so dominant is really placing the focus on the wrong area. It is the lack of one single style that allows the US to quickly adapt to the way the Code changes. If harder vaults and tumbling will help the US get the advantage they need, they can select more gymnasts from the coaches who teach these skills well. If better uneven bars are needed to bring in a big score, then the national staff simply turns to the gymnasts from the bars coaches. The US is successful not because the code has been adapted to suit them, but because they have learned to adapt to suit the Code- and very quickly. While other countries get a bit of whiplash trying to keep up with new rules, the US just picks out the gymnasts who work best within them.

And, while I won’t try to argue that the US is the “true heir” of the Soviet legacy or anything ridiculous like that, they do share a lot of the same strengths:

  • The US’ program of routines is the most difficult in the world, and they keep upgrading.
  • Of teams currently competing at a World finals level, they also have among the best overall execution scores.
  • They almost never make major mistakes in TF, and have not had a fall in TF at a Worlds or Olympics since 2010 (incidentally, the last time they lost TF)
  • New skills and combinations are not prioritized at the same level as solid, reliable work in the US, but the program has nonetheless produced some recent innovations (Aly’s opening pass, the Biles, Skinner’s DDLO, being the first team in history to put up a full rotation of Amanars in QF and TF, Anna Li’s Rybalko, etc.).
  • The semi-centralized adaptation of the communist model works well with the US program, and in partnership with the athletes’ and coaches’ development programs, it allows for the strength of every gym in the country to be fully utilized. The result is a massive depth chart, where gymnasts who don’t even qualify to national championships in the US (cough Kylie Dickson cough) could easily become Olympians if allowed to compete for other countries.
  • The TOPs program and national team fitness testing allows the national staff to begin developing elite level conditioning in athletes who haven’t even turned ten yet, and maintain it throughout their career. Specialty programs such as Mihai Brestyan’s leg plyo circuit help fine-tune athletes for the demands of intense, difficult routines.

I would also argue that many of the US’ gymnasts are artistic, but it’s a recognizably different style from Soviet artistry and not a discussion I want to get into, so we’ll leave it be and call them artistry neutral.

If Russia were still producing a full national team of gymnasts who truly fit in all these categories AND showed the level of artistry characteristic of the Soviets… well, they might not be as dominant as the Soviets due to competition from the US, but they would have no problem regularly challenging them for the team gold.

I won’t argue that the prevalent style of elite gymnastics has changed in the last 20 to 25 years, but that’s not the fault of either the US program or the Code of Points - again, a late Soviet routine like Chusovitina’s or Lyssenko’s has tumbling that is comparable with current elite routines (Chuso’s is harder than the sets Russia brought to the 2016 Olympics, actually) and would require only some updated dance elements to be relevant in a modern context. On modern equipment, with modern conditioning methods, these athletes probably could have produced routines with difficulty comparable to the best Americans, and still supplemented it with artistry and execution typical of the Soviet style. So the disappearance of the Soviet style isn’t because it wouldn’t be rewarded under the D+E Code; it’s because, for a variety of reasons, Russia is no longer producing gymnasts that embody that style. Not to be overtly blunt, but Russian fans, coaches, officials, athletes and so on need to remember this before they whine about how ~~mistreated~~ Russia is by the FIG and try to use “bias in the Code” as an excuse for underperforming.

PS. Don’t respond to this with any variation of “conditioning these athletes to be able to perform high difficulty would keep them from being artistic/balletic bc their body type would change and they wouldn’t be flexible” because 1. BODY SHAMING IS GROSS and in this context often just thinly veiled racism; 2. balletic style comes from training, not body type, so as long as Russia continued to teach its gymnasts ballet, they would remain balletic; 3. muscle is not inherently bulky or inflexible, you just have to stretch it as you build it to maintain the range of motion; and 4. have you ever actually seen a professional ballerina in person, at a close enough range to really see their body type? because they are INCREDIBLY muscular, everywhere. honestly, their body types often look more like Hernandez or Douglas or Kocian than Melnikova or Spiridonova or Mustafina. It takes a lot of strength to make hard work look easy, no matter what that hard work is.