winter essential

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YURI ON ICE X KUROKO NO BASKET AU????

Or, YOI is technically a sports anime but doesn’t follow a lot of tropes, so what if I did an AU where it does? And I just happen to love KnB, so basketball it is. High school sports + the Power of the Team and Friendship ™ + student life + training camps + graduating senpais etc…

Headcanons below cut!

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Empowerment Spell Bottle

My craft is quite personal. I just follow my instincts and choose things that seem to call to me at the time, so you won’t find me posting spells very often. But as I was making up this spell bottle I thought I’d post it to inspire others to create something similar or to add a little magick to their holiday season.

This bottle contains:

-water (from my home)
-a few drops of sweet orange essential oil (to keep my family close)
-lavender buds (for less stress)
-rose buds (for love)
-bay leaf (for prosperity)
-catnip (for my kitty)
-sea salt (for luck in my craft)
-dandelion (so my wishes come true)

While placing this bottle under the light of the holiday full moon, I will chant:

With this elixir I ask the Earth
to be with me now
and in this year’s new birth.

I plan to dab the charged water on my wrists and behind my ears throughout the year to empower me and remind me of my goals from the previous year.

Wishing you all Happy Holidays, and a lovely new year (:

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This week’s spread featuring my winter essentials. I’ve been waking up rather anxious every morning this week (for no legit reason), so I’ve been trying to wake up earlier than usual. Having lots of time for your morning routine really allows you to go slow on groggy mornings; It’s never too early for some self care, and starting the morning out right will make your whole day feel a lot less tiring!

Now Playing:

Death And All His Friends- Coldplay

Coming Alive- Kodaline

SURVIVING WINTER // ESSENTIALS
(written by Glory)

It’s getting colder in the southern hemisphere and I’m only thinking of one thing… I love winter fashion and winter in general because the weather is a good enough excuse to curl up in a million blankets, watch movies all day, consume endless amounts of soup and tea and coffee – it’s just an overall great time. However, being cold sucks so here’s a 101 guide on how to survive winter and some essentials I personally need to get through it alive:

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okay fellow friends and witches, I make this sugar scrub shit that’s basically the bomb. I’m gonna give you the recipe for it because “it makes you feel like a goddess.” -my brother when I made him feel my arm

you’ll need
-1 cup sugar
-½ cup oil (I use olive oil bc it’s good for your skin)
-1 tablespoon of smelly good stuff (vanilla or almond extract kinda smells like cake batter. peppermint extract is good for winter. // you can use essential oils for a glamour spell, but like I said I like to use this on my lips) basically anything you wanna smell like

mix it all up in a bowl. after you shave, rub this stuff all over you until your hands start feeling weird. rinse it off, and shave again with a disposable razor because the oil dulls the blade. (don’t use this on your downstairs because it can cause a yeast infection and no one likes those.) and that’s that! I’m not sure where I learned this recipe from, but thank you so much because it works great. you’ll be soft for like 4 days without lotion.

Phantom of the Opera: a tale as old as...

(This is gonna be long…)

Recently I’ve re-discovered my love for “Phantom of the Opera.” It started after I saw the 2017 rendition of the tale that’s as old as time “Beauty & the Beast,” which lead to my re-reading of favorite childhood novels, “Beauty” & “Rose Daughter” by Robin McKinley. Low & behold, right next to them on my book shelf was one of my all time favorites, Gaston Leroux’s “Phantom of the Opera.” It had been a while since I’d read any of them & in re-reading them with a slightly more wise, adult POV, & a bit more life experience, I was overjoyed that the experience felt much like the 1st in the fact that I realized many details in the stories that I’d missed when I was younger. It’s nice, leaving a favored stories behind for a while & then taking it back in with a fresher perspective. 

Throughout this vast re-read, I had also at the time been doing research in Greek Mythology (for another project) & also happened to be reacquainting myself with the Hades/Persephone tale. The thing about mythology is that the stories alter in certain details over time. It’s not so different from books like “Phantom of the Opera” that have so many adaptations that they all get jumbled together in their influence over our interpretations of them. When it came to Hades/Persephone what irked me in my research was discovering that Zeus was lauded throughout history. In too many interpretations/re-tellings Zeus is seen as the caring father-figure, the loving grandfatherly-figure (if we’re talking about Disney’s animated Hercules), or the seductive all power God-King. He’s someone to respect. Right? Not really!

Zeus is a man who often came down to Earth to consort with human women (those who denied him its hinted that he raped them) & was NEVER faithful to any of his wives. What, you thought Hera was his only wife? The Greeks viewed him in a traditional Patriarchal sense & that has extended throughout each new adaptation of his character. However, after reading up on Zeus, he actually had a lot in common with his father Cronus, the tyrant Titan King (Cronus may have swallowed his own children, but guess what, so did Zeus - i.e. Athena). Throughout history, literature, & Hollywood he’s portrayed as a hero, an authority figure to be lauded (& perhaps that’s our own Patriarchal society influencing us). Zeus, is in reality, extremely unfaithful, hinted as being a seducer of women & a rapist, had much in common with a former tyrant (his father), etc. Hades is typically chosen as the epitome bad guy. I mean, he had to be bad, since he ruled the Underworld (a job he never even wanted)! Right? It was actually Hades’ power, strength, natural leadership & strategy skills during the 5 yr. war between the Olympians/Titans, the Titanomachy, that enabled the Olympians to win - it was also what caused Zeus to fear Hades & trick him into ruling the Underworld (which inevitably made people wary of Hades & eventually vilified him).

When Hades meets Persephone, falling madly in love with her, he’s unsure how to proceed. Hades actually goes to Zeus, telling his brother that he’s found a potential bride but is essentially uncertain how to proceed.  “I’ll just ask my womanizing big brother, Zeus, he knows how to woo women.” (I’m paraphrasing, obviously, but you get the gist.) It is actually Zeus who suggests that Hades should kidnap Persephone. Which in itself, says more about Zeus than it does Hades, IMO!

Hades takes his brother’s advice & does as Zeus suggests, kidnapping Persephone. What’s interesting is the fact that while this 1st half of the story remains pretty consistent throughout the fogginess of history (myths do like to alter throughout time with each new interpretation of them) the 2nd half is open to much interpretation due the latter half being unclear of certain events. It’s a toss-of-the coin, a 50/50 chance; many philosophers & historians believe Persephone was taken against her will, while just as many of them suggest that Persephone saw Hades taking her to the Underworld as rescuing her from her overbearing, controlling mother, Demeter. Demeter also threatens to leave the world in a perpetual state of winter, essentially driving all of humanity into starvation,  The same speculate as to whether Persephone knew what would happen if she ate those famed pomegranate seeds.

For any story that leaves room for speculation, I’ve found that it’s what people theorize that’s far more telling of THEM as people than it is of the actual story! When people theorize that Persephone was a victim, that she was tricked, that says more about the theorist than it does Persephone, b/c the theorist is the one that is turning Persephone into the victim, not necessarily the actual story. When theorists interprets/speculates that Persephone had an intelligence that enabled her to know what she was doing, that she made her own choices, it lends Persephone the agency she deserves as a person rather than choosing to victimize her! The story also hints that Hades truly loved Persephone given that he was pretty much the only Olympian who was faithful to his wife!

Moving forward, as I re-read “Phantom of the Opera” (as well as reading “Phantom” by Susan Kay for the first time) I began noticing parallels not just with stories like “Beauty & the Beast” but also Hades/Persephone.

The most obvious parallels being: in comparison to “Beauty & the Beast” an ugly (cursed) man seeking the companionship of a woman who can love him in spite of his ugliness; in comparison to Hades/Persephone, when the Phantom absconds with Christine, taking her down to his lair to make her his bride. The latter parallel also reminds me of the french epic poem “Eloa” who is an agel that falls in love with a disguised Satan - he takes her to hell, not believing she could truly love him now that she knows the truth, but instead she chooses to stay with him regardless.

In particular the parallel to Hades/Persephone seemed to fit considering this particular quote from Leroux’s novel, “You must know that I am made of death, from head to foot, & it is a corpse who loves you & adores you & will never, never leave you!” Hades was often referred as Lord of Death since people feared speaking his actual name.

My foray into the various “Phantom of the Opera” adaptations also enlightened me to other aspects of parallelism & details that, as a child, I had not thought of until now with an adult perspective.

Fantasy vs. Reality…

In “Beauty & the Beast”, the ultimate reward for Belle in loving the Beast for who he is (not what he is) in the end, is that he transforms back into his handsome Princely self. As a children’s story B&B gets the message across; that beauty is more than just skin deep, teaches lessons of seeing beyond the obvious, acceptance & tolerance. But the ending is the real fantasy, the lie as it were, b/c in the real world the Beast would not become a Prince again. The real reward for Belle in reality would simply be the Beast’s love, not an alteration in his physicality. These fundamental changes in childhood stories are true within the concept of tales like “Beauty & the Beast” in comparison to whether we’re looking at the story with a child’s gaze or through an adult’s POV. There’s the fantasy we interpret as children, then there’s the reality we see as adults! This comparison is reflective between various adaptations of “Phantom of the Opera” & “Beauty & the Beast.” The fantasy being B&B where the beauty is rewarded for loving such a creature by him transforming into a handsome Prince, while the Phantom stays as he is.

Fantasy Love…

In “Phantom of the Opera” Raoul is referred to as “foppish boy,” that “insolent boy” but a boy all the same! His youth, education, title & wealth are the very things that most women think of in an ideal man. His overall role in Christine Daae’s life represents the sweetness of childhood. Raoul is, at 1st, presented in a very real aspect: his brief history with Christine, his lac of mystery making him seem normal; there’s no supernatural element to his character. However, as Raoul become a Love Interest to Christine, he’s rendered a sort of fairy-tale quality. The reality being that a man of Raoul’s social standing would likely not be able to/or even think to marry someone of Christine’s much lower social standing (he’s a Vicomte, she’s a mere chorus girl). That particular element gives their “love” a Cinderella” feel rendering Raoul as a sort-of Prince Charming. Erik, the Phantom, is flawed & referred to as the man of the story - he’s older, wiser, more experienced (even if those experiences have made him bitter). Leroux even calls Erik, “The man’s voice.” Raoul become less of a reality & more of a fantasy love, akin to a Prince Charming in a fairy-talewhile Erik, becomes less of a fantasy throughout the story & something far more tangible; he’s brutal & honestly flawed, an ugly reality of the world.

Each adaptation that I’ve come across seems to present Erik/Raoul to the reader as polar opposites. You have Raoul who Christine sees quite obviously as a real person (he’s not an Angel of Music, he’s not some Opera Ghost), he’s real flesh & blood, a youthful young man. They have some history together which solidifies Raoul’s presence as a normal guy in Christine’s life. There is no air of mystery. Yet, they come from completely different classes of society. Not unlike how Darcy, in reality, would never marry someone of such low social standing as Elizabeth Bennett (”Pride & Prejudice”). That’s the fantasy - the Prince Charming, Cinderella effect of the Raoul/Christine relationship. Where as there is no real social separation between Erik & Christine. Any expectations society gives for Christine to choose Raoul are the very things that make him a fantasy love: wealth, title, handsome, youth, etc. The fantasy itself is the very thing that lends an illusion of realism to Raoul as Christine’s love interest! He’s a fantasy that exists completely under an illusion of realism, IMO!


Christine: Growing Up…

This is where the jumbled various adaptations of a story become harder to separate, in this regard I’m essentially taking in a bit of every adaptation (this reminds me of Bram Stoker’s “Dracula” where in the original novel he’s not as handsome as Dracula is later perceived in later adaptations). In Leroux’s novel Christine has only known Erik, her Angel of Music for a few months (though at times it seemed like she’d known him much longer) whereas other adaptations show Erik being in Christine’s life much longer. As a child Christine looks upon Erik with a child’s gaze. 1st as her Angel of Music, seeing him as a literal Angel. Quickly morphing into the guidance of a teacher, & while he still remains her “mon ange” (my angel), he has also become her Maestro. At the same time he’s become the Opera Ghost. With each stage of Christine’s psyche, the illusion of Erik melts away; from Angel, to Maestro, to Phantom, until he is just a flesh & blood man. Where as Raoul remains a representation of Christine’s childhood & their “love” eludes to that youthful mindset - a childhood infatuation that’s as fleeting as the emotions experienced by other teenagers. Not unlike the comparative romantic relationship in “Gone with the Wind” (Scarlet clings to Ashley who represents life before the war, the last part of her childhood, of a time long gone; while ignoring her very real feelings for Rhett which represent something far more lasting & mature. You have Ashley, the idealist & Rhett, the realist). Raoul represents Christine’s past, her childhood idealism; Erik represents Christine’s growth b/c he’s seemingly a part of every phase of her life.

Christine’s Early Childhood - Raoul (varies with each adaptation)

Christine’s Later Childhood - Erik as her Angel of Music.

Christine’s Teen Yrs. - Erik as he Angel but also now taking on the role of Maestro, her teacher, while also being the mysterious Opera Ghost (something darker, more mysterious than the purity of an Angel).

Christine’s Adult Yrs. (moving into womanhood) - Erik, the illusions have fallen away & he’s now just a flesh & blood man!

The role Raoul seems to chiefly represent in Christine’s life is her past, there’s not much growth in their relationship beyond Raul wooing her. B/c her relationship with Erik changed over the yrs. it represents real growth in character & personality for Christine which is the reality of growing up. By choosing Raoul, Christine chose the illusion of living her life through her childhood & is therefore stuck in the past. Raul essential hinders Christine’s growth as a character, IMO.

Sexuality…

Erik (the Phantom) is a lot like Severus Snape - an unlikely sex symbol of the story! He’s also acts as a sort of metaphor for Christine Daae’s evolution in discovering her sexuality.

The fundamental growth of Christine moving away from her childhood & into a woman is connective to how Erik encompasses various phases of her life. When Christine looks upon Erik as an Angel it represents the purity of a child’s mind. He’s her friend, her companion of comfort that get’s her through the loneliness after her father’s death (the Musical & 2004 film). When he grows into her Maestro - her teacher - he becomes her confidant, a source of wisdom (this is especially prevalent in the Charles Dance mini series). As she grows into her teen yrs. & Erik becomes the Opera Ghost, he represents something darker, more mysterious in nature; he’s no longer the pure Angel. By the time Christine sees Erik, the flesh & blood man, he’s fallen in love with her which shows his representation of Christine moving her mindset from the fantastical (Angel/Phantom) to something more real (a man). This development, I feel, is the opposite of Raoul. Raoul starts off seeming realistic & morphs into the fantasy of a sort-of Prince Charming, showing that Christine looks upon Raoul the way she would as a child, as a fairy-tale ending. Whereas Erik starts out as something unreal/otherworldly (Angel/Phantom) later becoming something tangible & real. It shows how with Raoul, Christine moves backward but with Erik she moves forward into adulthood - womanhood (though, that’s just my interpretation).

That moment of adulthood is when Erik reveals himself to being a real man & takes Christine down to his lair for the first time. (Leroux) “The moment she took his offered hand she was no longer a child.” In the musical, this is shown in the song “Music of the Night” in it’s purely sensual nature & tone of the song where we see Erik caress & holding Christine repeatedly throughout the scene. Many speculate that this strongly hinted that Christine & Erik were actually lovers in the most intimate sense, given that during that time period what differentiated between being a girl & being a woman was the marriage bed. Both the quote & song hint at a deeper connection between the 2.

This is reflective throughout much of Christine’s relationship with Erik. In the musical, the songs become more sensual in nature & far less metaphorical. One theory I found was the speculation that “Music of the Night” was metaphorical to Christine loosing her virginity. Interesting.

The song “Past the Point of No Return” is a bit more blatant in its lyrics if still a bit poetic in how it addresses the concept of physical/sexual pleasure. The fact that it’s a duet between Erik/Christine further shows a more sexual nature to their relationship. It’s the opposite of the duet shared between Raoul/Christine “Say you need me…” which is far more innocent in nature & tone. Where as the songs/scenes between Erik/Christine radiate passion! In “Love Never Dies” adaptation, the song “Beneath a Moonless Sky” is downright blatantly descriptive of the sexual intimacy between Erik/Christine (no longer metaphorical).

As little girls we’re fed stories, fairy-tales of gentle love. Even books like Twilight capitalize on the interpretation of young love as something pure where the teenage male is (rather unrealistically) a perfect gentleman & other books where the man is the only one perceived as having a sexual nature. “Phantom of the Opera” in its own way shows that women are sexual creatures, too. By representing the innocence of her childhood, Raoul is in a way repressive of Christine’s sexuality while Erik enables her to embrace certain desires.

What furthers the sexualization of Erik - whether it’s when he’s Christine’s Angel…

her Maestro…

Originally posted by erika-daae

the Opera Ghost…

or just the ostracized, scarred, tormented, isolated flesh & blood man, Erik…

- is the fact that throughout various adaptations of the story there is a great deal that appeals to popular erotic fantasy.

There’s the eroticism of the Phantom’s aesthetic in adaptations like: Webber’s Musical, the Charles Dance Mini Series, the 2004 film, even the poetic prose of Susan Kay’s novel lends a romanticized interpretation of the character: He’s tall, dark, mysterious with an edge of danger. And in terms of physicality, the Phantom is far different from that of Raoul. While Raoul would likely be a handsome athletic man for the time period, he is also what was considered the typical handsome, the typical athlete. Males in society within Raoul’s social class were physical in that they likely had formal hunting parties (ever watched Downton Abbey?) & knew how to fence. But his wealthy likely meant he never had to do any form of real physical labor. In the Charles Dance mini series, ‘04 film, Webber’s Musical, & a novel by Fredrick Forsyth, the Phantom is decidedly more physical: from building & adjusting the Opera House’s architecture, roaming around the Opera House in unlikely places (climbing onto the rafters), not to mention how he moves large pieces of furniture like an organ all the way down to his lair; the Phantom’s backstory as an assassin in Persia! He is very much an active man who’s dealt with physical labor & hardships his whole life & therefore has a sense of strength that Raoul’s luxurious lifestyle would probably NOT enable him to have.

Let’s not forget that enigmatic mask of his!

Not to mention the cape!

And of course the sexualization of the student/teacher-protege/mentor relationship!

Yet, despite all the illusions, the many faces Erik wears, he is far more tangible & real than Raoul. Raoul, who’s personality floats somewhere between entitled brat to nonexistent; Raul, whose entire character is defined by his wealth, his good looks & his past with Christine. Where as Erik, the Phantom has a backstory, a tortured life that makes him the man he is now. Erik who is ever changing & complex in personality & character no matter how enigmatic he’s portrayed feels far more real. Even down to how people treat him & the cruelties he’s endured simply b/c of what he looks like is a reality of our world!

As for the love Erik has for Christine - in Leroux’s novel Erik seems consumed with loneliness & desperate for companionship which makes his feeling for Christine appear obsessive in nature. Though, even at the end they are both moved to tears & Christine shows him great compassion. It’s possible that the lack of human contact that Leroux’s Erik has endured is parallel to that of extreme isolation which can psychological alter a person’s sanity. So, is it the abuse he’s faced throughout his life, the horrors he witnessed in Persia, or his isolation that has made insane? Perhaps all three in Leroux’s novel.

In other adaptations Erik’s love is portrayed as something far more pure. He loves Christine for her talents (singing, ballet, artistry) & not her physical beauty like Raoul. As a woman, I can’t tell you how annoying it is when people, men in general, comment on my looks. When someone tells you you’re pretty/beautiful, your looks aren’t something you really have control over (genetics), therefore the compliment falls flat a lot of the time. Where as if you compliment someone for their accomplishments, something they’ve worked hard for, it’s far more meaningful. The relationship between Erik/Christine in various adaptations appears to be built on companionship, trust, respect, the love of friends, the love of student/teacher, romantic love, the appreciation they have for each other’s talents, & at times their own mutual loneliness (Erik in his solitude & Christine in the sadness of her father’s death). The Raoul/Christine relationship many times focuses on how beautiful Raoul thinks Christine is. In the 1990s TV mini series adaptation starring Charles Dance, the Phantom tells Christine that Raoul is not worthy of her b/c, “He comes to the opera for the wrong reasons. He come for the sake of pretty faces rather than the music.” In a way, much like in “Beauty & the Beast” Belle/Christine at times deal with body image issues. Where as the Beast in B&B, & Erik in “Phantom of the Opera” are both judged for how they look, so are the characters Belle/Christine - both women are seen for their looks by their love interests Gaston/Raoul. Where as in the Musical, for example, Erik seems to focus mostly on Christine’s talents which he later becomes attracted to.

This was essentially my interpretation of “The Phantom of the Opera” in it’s entirety, including the influence of its various adaptations. I theorize with the more sympathetic, romanticized versions of the story mostly b/c my 1st exposure to it was the 2004 film & later Webber’s Musical. I read the book after that & so my mental via of the Phantom was decidedly different to that of what Leroux likely originally intended. To me the film, musical, mini series, & Susan Kay’s novel are the ones that are most influential of how I view the story/characters compared to someone who started out reading Leroux’s book 1st. Which was an entirely new experience for me in terms of how I usually analyze/interpret things b/c I almost always read the original novel before any other adaptation.

maderilien  asked:

talk to me about catws!!! (ノ◕ヮ◕)ノ*:・゚✧

I’m gonna talk about how the character of the Winter Soldier relies heavily on sound throughout the film because it’s one of the first things I picked up on during my numerous re-viewings and I think it’s one of the strengths of the film in terms of film technique.

For starters, the Winter Soldier is a really interesting character because he’s one of the titular characters and he’s key to the plot, but he has hardly any lines of dialogue and he’s only in it for maybe a third of the film. But the reason the Winter Soldier has such a presence in the film is because of the strength of Sebastian Stan’s ability to act using just his face and body and also the techniques that the film uses to establish details about his character that aren’t revealed through plot or dialogue. WS has only six real scenes in the film, which are:

  1. First encounter with Nick Fury on the streets of D.C.
  2. Shooting Nick Fury at Steve’s apartment
  3. Speaking with Alexander Pierce
  4. The Causeway
  5. The Bank Vault (”But I knew him”)
  6. Final Battle

So how do you establish the presence of a character who has six scenes during the film? The answer is to use every film technique at your disposal, and this film especially relies on sound. The Winter Soldier has to be one of the creepiest themes I’ve ever seen for a character because it utilizes a lot of metallic noises, robotic clanging, and inhuman screaming, which matches perfectly the visceral diegetic sounds of WS during the film, like the sound of the metal arm. It’s a far cry from what a normal character theme would be, because The Winter Soldier theme is for a presence, not for a person, which works so well given his legendary status as an assassin (“most of the intelligence community doesn’t believe he exists”).

The film uses sound in a major way to fill in the details about his character that can’t be shown on-screen, as well as to establish him as an inhuman figure that has the ability to morph what goes on around him, adding to his threatening presence. Firstly, when he’s first introduced to the audience and to Nick Fury on the streets of D.C., the music, which had been an exciting combat theme mirroring the action, suddenly goes very quiet and what you hear is what I can only describe as a hollow sound, a few notes of the WS theme. It’s a sound very evocative of a desolate wasteland. WS is unique because you never see him ‘enter’ a scene; he’s always there, and as soon as he appears, the sound in the film changes to mirror his presence. This happens when he appears and ambushes Fury’s car and the sound grows very quiet and haunting, and also during the scene where he appears in Alexander Pierce’s kitchen, but it also happens in a much larger way when he gets the shot at Steve’s apartment.

When Steve and Fury are talking, the song It’s Been a Long, Long Time is playing as diegetic music in the background to mask their conversation. It’s symbolic, because the lyrics mirror Steve and Bucky’s relationship, but it also serves a practical function within the storytelling. However, as soon as WS takes the shot and Fury goes down, the music very obviously warps in a really horrifying way that is more psychological. As Steve and Sharon and Fury are talking, their voices still sound normal, but the music playing, which logically should sound exactly the same, suddenly takes on a chilling, haunting quality. All because WS has appeared and distorted the scene. Essentially, the Winter Soldier is a character that is able to distort the reality of every scene in which he appears, because he’s a character that stands outside of reasoning and the fabric of reality itself. (Which makes a lot of sense given that he’s a character who was thought dead, but has in fact been alive for seventy years and has become the world’s deadliest assassin). Even when he doesn’t appear, such as when Steve and Natasha and Maria are watching Fury in the ER, as soon as Steve mentions “he’s fast; strong. Had a metal arm,” the WS music creeps back in because the Winter Soldier doesn’t need to be on the screen in order to ‘be’ there. 

The causeway sequence is probably my favourite in the entire film, because it expands on what we’ve already learnt about WS through sound. The theme appears instantly as soon as he lands on top of Sam’s car, and then goes into a very metallic, action heavy piece of music. What’s really interesting, however, is what happens when Natasha draws WS away from Steve and Sam into the streets. As WS is walking down the street (and another thing to note about WS; he’s threatening because he never runs, only walks), the sounds of screaming and sirens are deliberately pushed far down on the sound hierarchy because what’s actually happening is that the audience is being given a rare glimpse into his point-of-view, which is incredible given that he’s a “villain” and not one of the protagonists. It offers the audience a view of how the Winter Soldier’s mind works. He’s focused solely on the mission, which in that moment is to listen for Black Widow, meaning all other superfluous background noise is deliberately muted because it is irrelevant to him. Then, we hear what he hears: the sound of Natasha speaking, which of course turns out to be a recording and not actually her. Later, after Natasha gets shot, the camera does a pov shift to Natasha and the music pretty much cuts out, which helps to show the audience just how terrified of WS she is (the shaky, handheld pov camera shot), which is something incredibly rare for this character because the only other person we’ve ever seen Black Widow scared of is the Hulk. Then WS jumps back into the shot on top of the car, rifle pointed straight at Natasha in what I personally consider to be the single best shot of the whole film, and the WS theme surges back in in a really terrifying way, because both Natasha and the audience know in that instant that if Steve hadn’t appeared at that very moment, Black Widow would be dead.

All of this is great stuff, but the cincher for me in why this film is superior to every other superhero movie in terms of technique is that in addition to establishing the Winter Soldier’s inhumanity through sound, sound also plays a huge role in establishing his humanity, which happens almost at the very instant Steve mentions the name “Bucky.” At the bank vault, when WS is asking who the man on the bridge was, the sound of the robotic, metallic WS theme is deliberately pushed back in favour of an emotional note that is clearly evocative of Steve. 

All of this culminates in the scene of the final battle, which takes the established haunting Winter Soldier theme and plays that out while Steve and WS are fighting, until the instant Steve tells him “you know me.” As soon as Steve engages him in conversation, the Winter Soldier theme disappears and instead you get a piece of deeply moving music playing as Steve tells him that he’s not going to fight him, that he’s his friend, and that “I’m with you till the end of the line.” Then it goes into that emotional piano piece as Steve falls into the Potomac and Bucky dives in after him. Essentially, what’s happening here is that for two hours this character has been crafted as a robotic, inhuman assassin who distorts the fabric of reality and morphs every scene he’s in simply through his presence, but suddenly he’s now being treated like a character; an actual person. All because Steve Rogers is treating him like a person. Steve Rogers is the one thing that keeps the Winter Soldier human, and the film manages to tell us that simply through sound.

And this is why CA:TWS stands above every other superhero movie in terms of technique, in my opinion.

Saeran Fanfiction #4: Sound Asleep

It was one of those nights again.

In your dream, you were on a boat, roughing it out on a stormy sea. The night sky was illuminated by sudden flashes of lightning, the turbulent waves beneath you rocking the boat and tossing you about like a rag doll along the wooden boards.

The moment you registered pain course through your side as you hit the ground, your eyes would fly open, and then you were no longer on a boat, nor were you lost at sea. You were back in your room, covered in a blanket of darkness. And you were shaking.

Except it wasn’t you. It was someone else. Someone hugging your body tightly, trembling like an earthquake was tearing through his body, his ragged pants the wild cries of a hurricane as it ripped through his chest and eroded at the fragments of sanity that remained in his glass head. A tsunami of tears was pouring from his eyes, gushing onto your clothes along with cold perspiration that streaked his cheeks and neck.

Your hip and shoulder hurt from where you had collided with the ground when you fell off the bed with him, and you were a mess of tangled limbs and blanket that had nearly been dragged off from the bed with the both of you. He seemed to have woken up now, his vice-like grip starting to soften as he pulled away from you, his frame still shaking, hidden in the shadows.

“S-Sorry…” you heard him say in a mess of incoherent sobbing. He hastily got to his feet to get to the door, but he tripped on the blanket as he did so, and ended up tumbling down onto the floor again with a groan mixed with a feral cry.

The pain that you registered initially was quick to fade as you felt a more intense pain grow in your chest. The back of your throat constricted and you couldn’t bear to make a sound as you wrapped your arms around him and pulled his head against your chest.

He didn’t move. He couldn’t. All he could do was make a strangled sound in the back of his throat as he attempted one final time to hold himself back, before finally releasing it all.

It was an anguished howl, like that of a beast in a cage, longing to break free.

You waited, holding him in your arms, biting down on your lip as you allowed the tears to quietly slip down your face. It fell with a soft pitter-patter on his messy red hair, like rain in a fiery hot desert. You waited as he released his pain through the river of tears and hoarse screams leaving his open mouth, as he fought against the shadows of nightmares and memories that were clawing at him, threatening to overwhelm him all at once.

“You’re not there, Saeran. You’re here. I’m here. And we’re safe.” You repeated that like a prayer, whispering it in his ears like a lullaby, rubbing your hands up and down his back as he hiccuped and choked on his tears. It was difficult to keep the trembling from showing in your voice, but you had to do it. For him. You had to be strong for him.

“She… She was there. With the ropes. And the syringes. They’re coming an– NO, DON’T!” he screamed. “DON’T GET NEAR ME, STAY AWAY! AWAY! DON’T LET THEM– I’ll be good, I’ll be good, I promise, so please– Please hyung, please, save me… Please…”

“She can’t hurt you anymore,” you spoke, struggling to suppress your sob now as you squeezed him tighter in your arms. “No one can hurt you again. Your hyung is here, in the other room. MC is there as well. And you have the RFA behind you. We’re your family now, and we won’t ever let anything happen to you, okay?”

“S-She… She was there…” he murmured.

“She’s gone now. And I’m here. I… I promised I wouldn’t let you get hurt again. So please, don’t be scared anymore. You don’t have to be.”

“R-Really?” His voice was muffled against your shirt, and you felt relief course through you when he started to calm down, his breathing becoming more regular now and his shaking beginning to ease up. “I don’t have to be scared..?”

“I’ll protect you,” you assured him. “We’ll all protect you, and we’ll make sure that no one can hurt you again. I promise.”

“Promises… Can I trust them..?”

“I promised I would love you,” you said, pausing as you choked back a sob. “Even- Even if the sun dies and the sky falls and the clouds disappear forever, I’ll still love you. I love you, Saeran. So does your brother and MC. We’re together now. So don’t be afraid of a nightmare, because we’re real. This,” you cupped his cheeks, pulling his head away from your chest so you could look at him in the eyes. “is real.”

His eyes were bloodshot and he could barely open them now. His nose was red, and a mix of snot and tears ran down his lips, dripping down his chin steadily. Leaning in, you brushed your lips against his, kissing him softly and tasting salt on your lips. He couldn’t move for a moment, seemingly unsure of how to react.

The moment he regained his senses, he was like a wolf, hungrily devouring your lips in a deep, passionate kiss. His groans were primal, his hands clawing at your clothes, arms, legs, as if trying to make sure that you were real. He pushed his weight against you, knocking your head against the side of the bed as he pressed up against your body and slanted his head so he could slip his tongue in deeper, glide it sensually along the roof of your mouth.

The rustling of your clothes as he roughly pulled at them and the heat dancing in between your bodies reminded you of summer, and the ice cold on his fingers, of winter. That was essentially what he was; Saeran was a binary. In him dwelled two people: one a man who bore scars that kept him from trusting people, and the other an innocent boy who yearned nothing more than the company and comfort of others.

The air was stuffy, your hot breaths mingling with each other’s as he pulled your naked body flush against his. Soft pants gradually morphed into moans, muffled whenever he grabbed you by the nape of your neck and crashed your lips against his. He would muffle his own groans by resting his forehead against the mattress of the bed while biting into your shoulder, hard enough to make you cry out. Hopefully not loud enough that your neighbours would wake up.

And then you were both moving in tandem, rhythmic thrusts making you claw at his back while whispering his name feverishly. Your thoughts became fragments, and your words became a jumbled mess, mixed with “Ahh”s and “Ohh”s while he moved and took you there, in a mess of blanket and limbs on the floor.

It wasn’t long before the both of you reached your peak, both stilling, freezing in place as you came undone and felt him do the same inside of you.

And then the cries were no more. Just harsh breathing that began to slow down in the peaceful night. You held each other quietly, listening to each other’s breathing, feeling each other’s heart beat. Chest to chest, heart to heart. A steady drum pulsing through your hot, sensitive skins.

“I’m sorry,” he murmured against your ear at last, his hot breath tickling you. “Did it hurt when you fell off?”

You shook your head, sighing as you ran your fingers affectionately through his hair. “It’s fine. Don’t be sorry. You just… need more time. And I’ll wait for as long as you need to. Just don’t ever forget that I’m right here, fighting this together with you, okay? You’re not alone anymore.”

He pulled away then, his golden eyes shining in the dim moonlight streaming through the translucent curtains. They were moist, glossed over as he nodded, sniffling once more and you brushed your thumb just below his eye as one more tear slipped out.

“You’ll stay with me? This broken, pathetic mess of a person?” he asked.

“Always,” you smiled, as a tear glided down your own cheek, your chest swelling with adoration and hurt for this beautiful man. He was broken, yes, a man just starting to accept the pieces of him that he was trying to glue back together again. There were cracks, scars, that would never disappear, but you loved him nonetheless. He was strong, far stronger than he thought he was.

You leaned in to plant a soft kiss on the tip of his nose. “I said it just now: even if the sun dies and the sky falls and the clouds disappear, I’ll never stop loving you. I’ll never leave your side, I promise.”

“Okay,” he nodded, resting his forehead against yours and closing his eyes as he heaved a small sigh. That was good enough for him. “I trust you.”

And with those three words, the both of you shared one more kiss before getting back on the bed, listening to each other’s breathing until you fell sound asleep again.




A/N: This… was supposed to be innocent angst fluff but whoa how did that turn into lime-ish smut??? Does this even count as smut? I just felt like writing something based on the song “Little Do You Know” by Alex and Sierra but… how did this happen??? I don’t understand my brain sometimes…

Holiday Greeting Card Witchy Tip:

Place your cards in a large ziplock baggie with some cinnamon, fir or peppermint essential oil on a cotton ball. This will scent your cards. You can even enchant them before sealing with a little something extra if you wish. It’s a festive way to share your celebration through magic. 

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RAINY DAY ESSENTIALS

I’m preparing for the rainy and windy days (the weather channel says we going to have 3 days of rain with a lot of wind and electrical storms) so I was thinking about my rainy day essentials. I have found these items that it could be useful for the rainy days and I wanted to share them with you! 

Backpack rain cover: I didn’t know this thing exists until my mom gave me one and it’s amazing!  These lightweight covers are easy to slip over your bag and protect the things inside and keep it dry.

Umbrella: I prefer the traditional umbrella, because I had a lot of unwanted experiences with automatics umbrellas, they flip with a little of wind.

Water-proof bag: If you are going to be leaving the house, take a bag that will keep your items dry and not be ruined from the rain.

Plastic document folder: A large one for some important papers, and a little one for my cards.

Hand warmers: It gets warm very quickly and can be reset hundreds of times!

Glasses case