you can see where my allegiances are


You wish to know where my true loyalties lie? Not with any king or queen, but with the people. The people who suffer under despots and prosper under just rule. The people whose hearts you aim to win. If you demand blind allegiance, I respect your wishes. Grey Worm can behead me or your dragons can devour me. But if you let me live, I will serve you well. I will dedicate myself to seeing you on the Iron Throne because I choose you.

Foreshowing for Daenerys becoming Queen of Westeros

In the books, Dany has many parallels with Aegon the conqueror (someone who ruled the Seven Kingdoms and brought peace and prosperity).

Dany also says and does many of the things GRRM mentioned would be important for a good King or Queen and what it takes to get the IT:

I don’t know that ‘deserve’ is really an operative word. The Iron Throne doesn’t necessarily go to who deserves it, but to who has the power to take and to hold it. But there are things in the books where I indicate what a king should be, what separates a good king from a bad king…It should be a public service position. The king’s job is the land, the people of the land, to make them prosperous, to protect them, to defend them, to provide them with justice. And that’s what the ideal king should be. There have been previous few of them in human history, sad to say. - GRRM

     A Storm of Swords

When Aegon the Dragon stepped ashore in Westeros, the kings of Vale and Rock and Reach did not rush to hand him their crowns. If you mean to sit his Iron Throne, you must win it as he did, with steel and dragonfire. And that will mean blood on your hands before the thing is done.”

Blood and fire, thought Dany. The words of House Targaryen. She had known them all her life. “The blood of my enemies I will shed gladly. The blood of innocents is another matter. Eight thousand Unsullied they would offer me. Eight thousand dead babes. Eight thousand strangled dogs.”

“Why do the gods make kings and queens, if not to protect the ones who can’t protect themselves?”


“A queen must listen to all,” she reminded him. “The highborn and the low, the strong and the weak, the noble and the venal. One voice may speak you false, but in many there is always truth to be found.”

GRRM also mentioned Jon and Dany when he talked about Tolkien not giving enough details about Aragorn ruling:

And that has been interesting, you know. Jon Snow as Lord Commander. Dany as Queen struggling with rule. So many books don’t do that. There is a sense when you’re writing something in high fantasy, you’re in a dialogue with all the other high fantasy writers that have written. And there is always this presumption that if you are a good man, you will be a good king. [Like] Tolkien — in Return of the King, Aragorn comes back and becomes king, and then “he ruled wisely for three hundred years.” Okay, fine. It is easy to write that sentence, “He ruled wisely”.

What does that mean, “He ruled wisely?” What were his tax policies? What did he do when two lords were making war on each other? Or barbarians were coming in from the North? What was his immigration policy? What about equal rights for Orcs? I mean did he just pursue a genocidal policy, “Let’s kill all these fucking Orcs who are still left over”? Or did he try to redeem them? You never actually see the nitty-gritty of ruling.

I guess there is an element of fantasy readers that don’t want to see that. I find that fascinating. Seeing someone like Dany actually trying to deal with the vestments of being a queen and [dealing with] factions and guilds and the economy. They burnt all the fields [in Meereen]. They’ve got nothing to import anymore. They’re not getting any money. I find this stuff interesting. And fortunately, enough of my readers who love the books do as well. 

In the show, Daario’s comments on season 6 “you’ll get that throne, I’m sure of it. I hope it makes you happy.”

Kinvara saying that ”from the fire she was reborn to remake the world

Varys talking about Dany in season 5:

The Seven Kingdoms need someone stronger than Tommen but gentler than Stannis. A monarch who could intimidate the High Lords and inspire the people. A ruler loved by millions, with a powerful army, and the right family name.

Varys also said this to Dany in season 7:

I wasn’t born into a great house. I came from nothing. I was sold as a slave and carved up as an offering,” says Varys. “When I was a child I lived in alleys, gutters, abandoned houses. You wish to know where my true loyalties lie? Not with any king or queen, but with the people. The people who suffer under despots and prosper under just rule. The people whose hearts you aim to win. If you demand blind allegiance, I respect your wishes. Grey Worm can behead me or your dragons can devour me, but if you let me live, I will serve you well. I will dedicate myself to seeing you on the Iron Throne because I choose you. Because I know the people have no better chance than you.

There is also this conversation between Cersei and Tyrion:

What did you hope for? To make Jon Snow submit to your Queen?

Not like this.

But, eventually, you want everyone to bend the knee to her.



Because I think she will make the world a better place.

You said she’d destroy King’s Landing.

She knows herself. She chose an adviser who would check her worst impulses, instead of feeding them. That’s the difference between you.

And, of course, all the "together” quotes that Jon and Dany had during season 7. In my opinion, they are going to end up making an alliance (like the War of Roses) and rule together.

Types as Lord of the Rings Characters

NOTE: This is a typing based on the movies because I’ve seen them about ten times while I’ve only read the book once.

NOTE 2: Dear Diary, this is the 27382394782th time I’ve found a nice gif of the character I want, put it on the post and then realized it’s a hilarious edit. You Tolkien fandom are some funny folk.


“A red sun rises, blood has been spilled this night.”


“And all that was once great and good in this world will be gone. There won’t be a Shire, Pippin.”


“You must understand, young Hobbit, it takes a long time to say anything in Old Entish. And we never say anything unless it is worth taking a long time to say.”


“Pity? It was pity that stayed Bilbo’s hand. Many that live deserve death. Some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them, Frodo?”


“I miss the Shire. I spent all my life pretending I was off somewhere else. Off with you, on one of your adventures. But my own adventure turned out to be quite different.”


“The closer we are to danger, the farther we are from harm. It’s the last thing he’ll expect.”


“This day does not belong to one man but to all. Let us together rebuild this world that we may share in the days of peace.”


“He has just as much reason to go to war as you do. Why can he not fight for those he loves?”


“Rosie Cotton dancing. She had ribbons in her hair. If ever I were to marry someone, it would have been her. It would have been her.” 


“Where does my allegiance lie if not here? This is the city of the men of Numenor. I would gladly give my life to defend her beauty, her memory, her wisdom…”


“Our people, our people. I would have followed you, my brother… my captain… my king.”


“Give me your name, horse-master, and I shall give you mine.”


“Concealed within his fortress, the lord of Mordor sees all. His gaze pierces cloud, shadow, earth, and flesh. You know of what I speak, Gandalf.”


“The man who can wield the power of this sword can summon to him an army more deadly than any that walks this earth. Put aside the Ranger. Become who you were born to be.”


“I have passed the test. I will diminish, and go into the West, and remain Galadriel.”


“And to that I hold. I would rather share one lifetime with you than face all the ages of this world alone.” 

i was diagnosed last october as an adult. i was 22 years old and going to grad school, so i wanted a formal diagnosis for potential accommodations in school. i didn’t go initially for an ADHD diagnosis, though. 

i self-diagnosed as autistic when i was 14 and had several therapists over the years suggested i had asperger’s and/or autism, so i was happy to call myself autistic and i was comfortable with that, but having the paper diagnosis would be beneficial from a paperwork perspective. 

my therapist suggested that i go to this one person who had a really good reputation for diagnosing adults, but they would have cost $3000. instead, i called my insurance and asked if there was a provider in my area who did neuropsych evaluations on adults and got someone in-network for me which at the end of the day cost me ~$50 instead. 

i went in detailing what i had trouble with and was told at the pre-screening that i was definitely worth investigating further. i figured as much already, but i scheduled a proper appointment for testing.

that day, i had a weird hand injury on my dominant that i was worried would throw off all of my results, but i ended up taking the WAIS-IV, the TOVA, clock drawing, problem solving tests, Auditory/Visual Memory Indexes, visuospatial functioning, executive functioning, and the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory.

i was also given tests of my motor functions, which basically consisted of watching how i moved in space and also having me squeeze these funny objects. this is where the hand injury came in; i could barely squeeze it with my right hand. the tester had me do it again because it was in the 1st percentile the first time. i got it all the way up to the 2nd percentile. my left hand, on the other hand, did soooo much better at 12th percentile. /sarcasm 

all in all, the testing took about 3 hours. at the end, i went home. i had to wait two weeks when i got an emailed report signed by the doctor. 

in it, i read the whole thing through, and found the first diagnosis listed was ADHD and the fourth was autism spectrum disorder.  

my whole world crashed hard. i didn’t know anything about ADHD, so i started to research it in the hopes of being able to find the overlap between autism and ADHD and realize that there had just been a mistake. instead, the more i learned, the more i realized that that experience hit extremely close to home. for the next week, i did nothing but pour over ADHD literature and realize just how much i actually had it. 

then i flip-flopped and was totally convinced that all of the autism stuff that i’d known my whole life was incorrect. in a fit of desperate attempts to be validated, i sent what must have been a 1000 word essay to a person i knew who had both ADHD and autism for help. i realized during writing that message that it was…. a lot, but i ended up sending it anyway. i never got a response back (which i’m honestly thankful for to this day). this was a significant point of stress for weeks. my whole identity and understanding of myself had been radically changed and i wasn’t sure i wanted to keep up. 

at this point, it’s been almost a year since i discovered my ADHD. 

and i really, really have ADHD. and, as the year has gone on, i’ve really processed this and realized that, no, the doctor was right and i have both ADHD and autism. neither one completely captures what’s going on in my head, but both comes extremely extremely close. :-) 

tl;dr at the end of the day, i hope that people can take two things away from my story. 

  1. if you referred to some where very expensive, see if there are other options. talk to your insurance if you have one. ask around from other mental health professionals. some have allegiance to others. 
  2. the real truth about ADHD is so unclear. i knew people with ADHD, my mom has ADHD, my brother has ADHD, but it never affected me and i didn’t know enough about it to really care enough to look at it. i was overwhelmed with just how much i didn’t know when i became diagnosed and i truly hope that everyone with attention problems, executive dysfunction, memory problems, sleep problems, hyperactivity, impulsivity, emotional lability, etc. consider ADHD. you may be as surprised as i was about the depths of our understanding of this disorder. 

happy adhd awareness month! 

Stay safe, my friend
Malik Al-Sayf/Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad
Stay safe, my friend

Malik: Safety and peace, Altaïr.

Altaïr: Upon you as well, Brother.

Malik: Seems fate has a funny way with things.

Altaïr: So it’s true then. Robert de Sablé is in Jerusalem.

Malik: I’ve seen the knights myself.

Altaïr: Only misfortune follows that man. If he’s here, it’s because he intends ill. I won’t give him the chance to act.

Malik: Do not let vengeance cloud your thoughts, Brother. We both know no good can come of that.

Altaïr: I have not forgotten; you have nothing to fear. I do not seek revenge, but knowledge.

Malik: Truly you are not the man I once knew.

Altaïr: My work has taught me many things, revealed secrets to me. But there are still pieces of this puzzle I do not possess.

Malik: What do you mean?

Altaïr: All the men I’ve laid to rest have worked together, united by this man. Robert has designs upon the land, this much I know for certain. But how and why, when, and where, these things remain out of reach.

Malik: Crusaders and Saracens working together?

Altaïr: They are none of these things, but something else. Templars.

Malik: The Templars are a part of the Crusader army.

Altaïr: Or so they’d like King Richard to believe. No, their only allegiance is to Robert de Sablé, in some mad idea that they will stop the war.

Malik: You spin a strange tale.

Altaïr: You have no idea, Malik. But tell me where they’ve been seen. I should be after him before he slips away.

Malik: Three places I can say for certain. West of here, near both a guard tower and a hospital. And to the southwest, at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. See what you can learn. I will do the same.

Altaïr: I’ll be quick as I can.

Malik: Stay safe, my friend.

Assassin’s Creed was released 9 frickin’ years ago today.


There’s a topic I’ve been meaning to write about for a while, but I keep putting it off because it’s a very complicated one to broach. However, a video has been going around recently that gives me a pretty good jumping point, so I’m going to delve into this as best I can.

The video in question is a David Letterman interview where Aziz Ansari explains why he is a feminist. I’ve linked directly to the beginning of that section for context, though in particular what I want to talk about is one line:

If you look up “feminist” in the dictionary, it just means someone who believes men and women have equal rights. […] I feel like if you do believe that - if you believe that men and women have equal rights - if someone asks if you’re a feminist you have to say yes, because that is how words work. 

On the surface, this is a message that is palatable and easy to agree with. It has a bazillion reblogs on Tumblr, because a lot of people will pretty blindly reblog anything that advocates feminism. I’ve also expressed my agreement with this idea before, at least as it applies to social movements like feminism. At the same time, however, I strongly disagree with Ansari’s extrapolation that this is “how words work”. 

If you’re going to agree with his statements, I think it’s important to consider the full ramifications of them. The main thing he’s talking about, feminism, is easy to support. Most of us like feminism, and it’s appealing to think that someone could actually be a feminist even if they don’t apply the label to themselves. Anyone who actively refuses the label, we assume, must be against feminism’s beliefs.

On the flipside, though, I suspect most of the people here would react adversely to being labeled as a “men’s rights activist”. Compared to feminism, MRA is a very loaded term - we stereotype people who wear the label as being misogynists, being uninformed, having poor hygiene, et cetera. It’s common to hear people say that the label is vestigial - that feminism is concerned with equal rights, not just women, so it encompasses everything men’s rights activists purport to stand for. At the same time, this is an admission that they do stand up for MRA’s purported beliefs. By Ansari’s logic, any feminist also has to say yes to being a men’s rights activist, regardless of any stereotypes that afflict the group. 

You can take this even further: the reasoning Ansari describes about “how words work” is also the same logic used by people who say a trans woman is “actually a man”. If you look up “female” in the dictionary, most of them are going to tell you it’s an organism that produces ova. He uses the analogy that a doctor who treats skin diseases can’t deny being a dermatologist, but if you apply it to gender the whole dictionary thing becomes much less agreeable. 

Taking it even further, the logic Ansari uses is really the core to a whole lot of traditionally conservative beliefs. Even beyond transphobia, it’s where you get these positions like abortion being murder, or marriage being exclusively between a man and a woman. These viewpoints, in most cases, aren’t derived from outright bigotry so much as a belief that words do work the way Ansari is describing them. To someone who thinks this way, a marriage between two men is actually a “civil union” no matter what label others wrongly apply.

What Ansari is saying might be in defense of feminism, but the rationale he is using is something a lot of people are actively fighting against. It’s a conflict that pervades almost every major argument in some form, yet most people are completely blind to it, and as a consequence constantly flip which position they are supporting. 

And that’s what I want to talk about in this post: this notion of words and what they “really"mean.

Identity Dichotomy

Words in our culture essentially have two meanings - or, perhaps, classifications of meanings. On one hand, you have what I’m going to call ”taxonomic identity" (there may be a better word, but I don’t know it). Essentially, these are labels you can apply to things observationally - the goal being for you to be able to classify other things, and to know exactly what information is conveyed by something being in a particular category. 

On the other hand, you have self-identity.

Imagine, for example, that you have a wealthy banker who writes shitty fantasy novels on the side. He self-publishes and advertises his work using the money he gets from banking, even though his books always sell poorly and get terrible reviews. Whenever he meets new people, he introduces himself as a “writer” and leaves the banker part off. What does this tell us about him?

It tells us a hell of a lot, that’s what! While taxonomically labeling the man as a “banker” might give us a cold and utilitarian picture of how he makes money, it’s his choice to self-identify as a “writer” that really lets us know who he is. It’s the element of himself he cares about, and if he’s ever put in a position where he has to choose between banking or writing, he’ll probably choose writing. It shows that he’d rather others treat him the way they’d treat a writer, asking him about his characters or ideas rather than his rates and profits. Taxonomic identity can tell us what he does, but not why he does it, how he wants others to respond, or under what context he would change. Those are elements hidden within him, and expressed through self-identity.

Self-identity can be important to conveying information, but it can also be potentially problematic when people mistake it for taxonomic identity. Like, tons of people self-identify as writers, and any popular creator is going to get messages from people saying “I am a writer and I want to help you on your project”. If you actually need collaborators, then it’s important that you are able to ignore self-identity and single out people who say “I am a writer” in the taxonomic sense. You want collaborators who have professional experience, critical acclaim, and have dealt with the sort of problems you are likely to encounter. 

You can also see it used outright deceptively. A few weeks back, there was some letter trying to get a bunch of signatures from game developers to show “how many people in the games industry” supported an issue; I don’t even remember what the specific issue was. Someone did an analysis on it, and (if I remember right) less than half the names were what most of us would taxonomically consider a “game developer”. It contained a lot of individuals who had made pen-and-paper campaigns, or had started writing the setting for a game, or things like that - people who would understandably self-identify as a developer. However, it was presented in a way that this distinction was lost - the implication given was that each one of these people was an employed developer with significant influence in the industry. Saying that all the people on the list were technically developers doesn’t change the fact that the information was being specifically presented in a way that it would make people misconstrue the letter’s support as larger and stronger than it actually was.

In all of this, though, the biggest place I stand by taxonomic definition is allegiance. While I disagree with Ansari’s implication that taxonomic definition applies to everything, I’ve made clear before that I strongly believe people's allegiances should be thought of in that way. If someone actively works against the empowerment of women, for example, and claims that they self-identify as a feminist, that identity should not be respected. A label of cause allegiance describes who’s side you’re on, and that is something that can be identified through your actions.

This is also why you see me throw in my allegiance with things like GamerGate, in spite of people always bringing up that there are, in fact, objectionable individuals who also use the label. As I see it, an allegiance label isn’t a choice: someone can’t say they support a label’s stated message, but they don't really belong in it because they dislike the other members. That is not a choice they get to make. Like Ansari got at, though, people treating these things as an element of self-identity is where you get “I’m not a feminist, but…”-type statements. Also, to my personal annoyance, it skews statistics - a label that is socially reviled will have way more members than self-identify as actually being members.

What we have now between self-identity and taxonomic identity is basically a huge mess that only favors harmfully manipulative bastards. The words are vague enough that you can make technically true statements that still make people believe the wrong thing about yourself or others, and you can pretty easily deny or reaffirm people’s self-identities when it is convenient to your actions. Being a jerk is profitable, since few people know how to defend against these tactics.

Fixing Words

So, I’ve spent enough time talking about how everything is bad. Let’s talk about the more interesting topic: how do you safely navigate it regardless?

If you regularly read my stuff, you’ve hopefully noticed a common theme is that things are rarely dangerous if you understand how they work. I don’t think there is really a problem with this linguistic dichotomy where every label can mean two things. Instead, I just think it’s important to keep in mind that every label can mean two things - or more.

Imagine someone uses a label. “I am a furry”, they say. 

If you want to understand what they’re saying, your first job is to isolate whether they are using this in a taxonomic sense, or a self-identity sense. If it’s a taxonomic sense, then you know they fit the by-the-book definition of a “furry”, but it’s up in the air how they feel about the community or its members. If it’s a self-identity, then you know they positively regard the community or the stereotypes applied to it, but not necessarily whether they fit the by-the-book definition. You might be able to answer this yourself from context, or you can just outright ask. If they’re using vagueness for deceptive means, this will usually cripple them. I mean, personally I hate it when I say “I am a game designer” and someone follows it up with “so, what games have you made?”.

If it turns out they are using the word in the taxonomic sense, then your next step is to identify what definition they are drawing from. A lot of words are still not very standardized, and this is something I hope will change in coming years. For example, while I agree with Ansari’s statement that you can’t choose whether or not you’re considered a feminist, I disagree with his definition of what a feminist is. This post by the Angrist Feminist summarizes my views well: what Ansari is describing is egalitarianism, and when someone like him calls themselves a “feminist” you should know that all they’re actually doing shitall in terms of activism and are just there to take credit for it. You can exchange feminist-high-fives with him, but he’s not someone you want onboard if you’re making a feminist organization or something. 

Similarly, if it turns out someone is using a label in the self-identity sense, your next step is to identify what that identity means to them. Someone’s choices in self-identity are largely built off the stereotypes they perceive the identity carrying. The fictional banker I mentioned up above who calls himself a writer probably sees a “writer” as someone who loves putting the ideas and worlds in their head onto paper and sharing them with others. He would never get along with me, since I’d probably storm in all like “oh, hey! You’re a writer! Let’s talk about social manipulation theories and how they impact a work’s economic viability!”. My perception of a “writer” is different than his, and probably uncomfortably close to the banker stereotypes he’s trying to escape. Without learning more I would end up treating him in a way he didn’t want when he took up the label. 

As long as you know what someone means, it doesn’t actually matter if they’re using words in a way you agree with. This is a really important thing to understand in any issue, because a very common (and effective) tactic is to turn allies against one another through differences in their word use. If you can convince your enemies they disagree with one another, even if using definitions in the place of contentious terms would cause them to agree perfectly, you win. And if you can make them fight over what a word “really” means, one or both of them are going to leave hurt and offended. You double-win.

The really important part, though, is that you see through it when someone tries to use this to mislead you. If someone is trying to affect your actions or beliefs and they use a label in their reasoning, there is no shame in questioning the label’s meaning. If someone tries to imply there is shame in asking this, then push harder. You can be that dick that makes me go from a respectable “I’m a game designer!” to admitting that I have no major productions under my belt and all my experience is from contests. I hate it so much when people do that to me, but won’t deny it’s a vital skill to have.

As usual: be critical, question things, and be wary of anyone who pushes their ideas as “truth” - especially someone who tries to negatively define a label others wear by choice.

@altarbov liked to see my sai

“ I told you I’d change for you, Matthew. And I meant it. I did. But things have changed now. That girl who can kill so easily without a second thought. That’s me. That nature. That desire. That need… It’s never going to go away. I’m sorry !!

aenariasbookshelf  asked:

Steve x Darcy, casting magic spells. Preferably happy as it is a time for good vibes. :)

Darcy is making a note in a leather-bound book when the doorbell chimes and an absurdly handsome man steps through the door way. He has to bend a little, because the magic shop was built in a time when they didn’t build men quite like him – broad across the shoulders, narrow in the waist, handsome and somehow bashful about it.

Darcy snaps her gum and realizes – oh shit, if he’s got an ounce of personality, she is completely and totally screwed.

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