No Little Arms Here

So I have designs to update more often…and they are all dashed. Life will not leave me alone, and it’s all terrible. Mr. Minty got a new job with a night time shift, which means I cook two dinners every night and do more housework. He’s off today, so I’m trying to get this post finished before it’s back to the grind. However, this downtime has been good for me, because I’ve been speculating and such – even if I don’t get time to write, I still (occasionally) get time to think. If you want more of my ideas, you’ll have to come along to my house and chat to me while I’m cooking steak at 11.30 at night…or later. Otherwise, we may have to meet up when my husband is off work like an exciting secret rendezvous…but with non-lesbian women (or at least I have no taste for women – lesbians are always welcome to come round and watch me cook steak).

In apologies, I bring you this tangentially related (to this post which will contain potential spoilers) funny picture. And an assurance I’m not dead if I go missing for this long in future – I can say I have hopes, but that just will probably make me a big old liar. Big fat warning here – I have a patchy track record – some wins, some misses. If this is a miss, no problem. If this is a hit, you’re about to spoil yo’self. It can’t be taken back. So consider carefully if you want to read it. As a corollary, I sometimes wonder just how narrow minded other readers are – complaining that Sookie did something in a book other than macking on Eric, and have relationship chats with Eric. They really should be reading Fifty Shades instead of something with substance, and for the rest of you know that the wonderful dissection by Jennifer Armintrout has resumed with Fifty Shades Darker. Best quote:

“But you said you could take some pain! By refusing to let me
beat you with a patio umbrella, you’re betraying me!”

I haven’t (and wouldn’t) read the books, but I do love her dissection of the text. Hell, I didn’t get past the meadow scene in Twilight.

Some readers bitch about how terrible it is that Sookie has a personality and other interests other than sex, and how wonderful men are. There’s not enough sex scenes in the books, or the endless call for life’s most boring and stupid conversation – the chapters long relationship chat where you clarify every single word out of people’s mouths. No, Sookie does something other than all that fucking and chatting, and it’s bad to some readers. You know – bitching about cooking a sweet potato casserole, and the two lines wasted or something – !!valuable time out of your life you’ll never get back, and makes her a full character with interests other than sex?!! What fuckery is this?!!!! There’s also been a bit of bitching about peripheral characters, like Kennedy etc. and what a timewaster they are. If that’s your view….yeah….you should go now. This theory is born of paying attention to not-the-kissing scenes.

Okay, so I’ve been trying to put my brain power into figuring out how Eric is going to get out his contract with Freyda. Continue reading

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Cluviel Dor Set to Live

Phew, real life stands in the way of the important information about Sookie Stackhouse. This has been my longest absence to date – and I can assure you I didn’t die in the intervening time. It’s a long and complicated tale of school holidays, illness and family visitors. After the chicken finger debacle, rest assured I have not resorted to cannibalism. I could have used a cluviel dor to free me up. Or maybe it was used with the word “Live” and the internet didn’t count, so I was kicked off. If you’re sick of patrolling my journal, you can always go to my wordpress site, and sign up for the email list. That way you get an email when I update both places. But onto the good stuff.

I was asked here if I analyse the covers – nope, I do not. Covers are vague, really. Knowing Bill and Eric would be in FDTW does me no good. I mean – important spoiler – Bill and Eric will be in the final book!!! You heard it here first folks. A vague feeling of the sun setting on Sookie is kinda like a visual depiction of what the last book will be. I do far better with text…although I did get my first ever 100% for analysing this picture of Salvador Dali’s for art class. But truly, I don’t think they really shed light on much of anything. There are always alternative meanings. Trust someone who lived with psychics and tarot card readers in her dissolute youth – you can debate this shit forever without ever getting anywhere. Text is much more reliable – but I must say, the final cover is beautiful.

There’s no spoilers in this post (apart from my awesome one above), but as ever, I’m going to speculate on the ending. In particular, this post is going to deal with Sam. I finally got my audiobooks back, and have been listening again, but to the whole book this time – and that means I’ve gotten something I missed with my selective cutting. Bits that I didn’t think were important, and so I didn’t memorise bits of them.

Sam got a sort of mixed reception with the release of the last book – one of jumping on the “Sam is HEA” bandwagon, and then the resulting vitriol aimed at Sam (and Sookie) because Sam commits the terrible sin of not being Eric. He’s evil that way…apparently. Any time any person looks like coming between Sookie and Eric, the very amateurish way of dealing with it in fanfic is making them the villain. This time, it looked like it was Sam. Another factor is that so many people were blindsided by Bill’s betrayal, and they keep trying to find the evil person who’s going to shake Sookie’s world – more evil Bill, evil Quinn, evil Dermot, evil Sam. So if someone doesn’t look too dodgy, conspiracy theories will take root, in ever increasing complexity. So vitriol either way, usually.

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Deconstructing a Deal

I did intend to post this one quickly, and it’s been obstructing me something fierce. But my chicken finger actually started peeling and the skin underneath was soooo sensitive. So I didn’t post, because I wanted to keep typing to a minimum. I haven’t been able to stop pondering this one. I’m also going to answer a related question from the text file, because it goes with this subject. I tend to be lazy like that, as you can see from some of my long-arse sentences. Jamming thoughts in together with no consideration if they can all fit. This is my text file question:

How did a vamp like ALO end up in OK in the first place to negotiate with the queen?

So firstly, let’s go with Appius, and I’ll explain how I see him based on the text. That impinges on how I see Appius ending up in Oklahoma. For my part, I see him as the sort of jealous toad maker, and that impacts how he treats Eric, and why he would do that in the first place. One only need to observe how he acts when he first arrives in Sookie’s house:

“Yes, but then I wouldn’t have seen such a charming sight.”
Ocella let his gaze brush Eric’s shirtless body almost tangibly.

Dead in the Family, p. 167

There is a distinct message here – one that Appius is trying to send Sookie – that he lusts for Eric’s body, that he enjoys her jealousy, and that he has rights and first dibs every single time. I mean, this is almost like a jealous ex-girlfriend here, making sure to send the message that they used to have good times, and that he still lusts for Eric. Most of the vampire makers are like crazy jealous ex-partners – Lorena didn’t take too kindly to Sookie being with Bill, and Hot Rain sent someone to kill something Eric loved. Lorena, Hot Rain and Appius are some of the villains worthy of the sort of behaviour of Debbie Pelt, right? And that’s exactly who most of them act like – jealous exes with a desire to kill someone for daring to be more important.

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All or Nothing

A Dance of Dragons is one long arse book. 😀 I still haven’t finished it and haven’t had time to retrieve my Sookie audiobooks. And since I have no True Blood recaps to put up, I’ve been lazy as hell about things on here. Plus, the end of my ring finger is disturbingly flat and weird. One of my sons laughed at me getting creeped out at it, so at least I know all is still normal, and I get no sympathy. It’s numb, though, which is also weird to feel and type with – and it looks nicely browned. Like a lovely bit of chicken one would put into a smoking hot wok…and now I’m even more creeped out typing with my literal chicken finger. So to stop concentrating on its possible deliciousness and stop my descent into cannibalism, onwards we go.

There’s this seeming obsession with fanfic – one that’s driving me a little crazy actually – is that all the post-Deadlocked fics of any length always have the same sort of storyline. Eric leaves for some period of time to marry Freyda, or Sookie puts up with being the third wheel in Eric’s marriage. As well as that, there’s also this theme that if Eric does leave Sookie, she’ll just spend the rest of her life alone. It’s the way fanfic rolls – whatever will make the most out of Eric’s angst, while degrading Sookie completely – that’s what gets the popular vote. Nothing like a good, old fashioned Sookie beatdown.

I thought it would be interesting to look through Sookie’s past and see if this is a reasonable predictor. I actually would hate the books if either of those scenarios end up being the way the books go. I don’t think that they will go that way, so I’m looking forward to the next book. I think it’s really just fanfic’s way of punishing Sookie for having her own personality and agenda. But then, I would never put up with this, so I kind of think my own agenda is kind of leaking into my perspective. After all, I’m the type of woman who would dump a man and because of my pride, never ever stop that from living my life and looking for love again. I say that, because the boyfriend I had before Mr. Minty, that’s exactly what I did. I’m pretty sure I loved him, but he was a shit, and I have pride, so I dumped him – love or not, he was still a shit. Looks like it was a good decision, right? Mr. Minty has all of his good points and more, and none of the serious failings.

I also think that one of the driving factors for this kind of fic is the old romantic trope that there is one true love, and you’ll only ever find one person who is your true match, and that’s it. If you lose that person, you’ll never have it again. I think this is a lie as well, actually. I don’t believe that Mr. Minty is the only man in the world I would ever find myself getting along with. After all, the great love I have with him is built through our shared experiences. I think this kind of bull comes from the unique, special snowflake thing – which would work if unique, special snowflakes come in pairs. But I can assure you, I am not mesmerised by Bear Grylls and I don’t like Death Race 2000. Mr. Minty for his part couldn’t give a shit about embroidery and beading, and is not mesmerised by Jo Seagar – my favourite Kiwi cook. We both happen to be a bit different in things without having to be completely incompatible.

So while I’ve made a substantial case that Sookie and Eric mirror each other’s traits, I do not for one moment believe that Sookie’s only shot at love is with Eric. I actually think that if Eric didn’t lock her down so tight, she might have more options. Looking at how he shut Quinn out of the entire state, I don’t think Eric Northman is averse to a bit of argy-bargy to keep the top spot. Quinn just pressed all of Eric’s buttons, with his flagrant disregard for Eric declaring that he owned Sookie. I think that if Eric left the state, Sookie would find herself with a whole lot more options, not alone and lonely as fic likes to do. Because how else can a writer justify putting her through years of shit, making sure that Eric’s happy all the while? But perhaps I’m letting my own gumption and self respect colour what I think would happen. So let’s analyse this puppy.

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Get a Job, Hippie

Okay, so stunningly enough, this week I didn’t have anything swirling round my head, mainly because I’m listening to A Dance with Dragons by George R. R. Martin. It’s been sort of backburner-ed for a while there. As well, my backup harddrive died, so all of my audio files on that – I haven’t been listening to them. Hence, no swirling. On top of that? I deep fried my finger, as I mentioned in the True Blood post. I was almost finished typing this one when it happened. I’m typing a few final touches with my ouchie finger now.

So I thought I’d get to one of the questions that I saved in a little text file that was asked after Deadlocked was released. And that is this one:

Does Eric have the cajones to give up his sheriffdom and get a ‘real’ job,
perhaps, a job in real estate just like in that dream Sookie had?

The short answer is “No”. But that’s not what this LJ is for – it’s for the long and tortuous answer explaining why “No”. It’s not a PMR post if you don’t take the long way round and prove your reasoning.

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The End is Nigh

So, I didn’t know about this – but apparently a couple of people have been waiting to hear what I have to say about the spoilers we’ve gotten about Dead Ever After. I am apparently a terrible tease. In truth, I had a bit of a debate with myself about the ethics of looking into further book content. After all – I figure stuff out from the leisure of my desk, over a year, with no pressure, that just leads some of the sillier fandom members to say one of two things – that CH’s plots are simplistic and expected; and that Sookie is stupid not to figure it out. Neither of those are true, but the more things are figured out, the more CH and Sookie get it in the neck. I can assure you, I don’t sit down to figure this stuff out over the course of two weeks, while involved in vampire, were, fairy and human machinations. I debated whether posting stuff in public for chat would lead stupid people to say stupid things. But after the sad little posts I got from people hanging out, I’ll just have to assume in my favour – that stupid people will say stupid things no matter what I post. But if you do after reading this, then figure it out on your own in future, in two weeks, while involved in something complex and life threatening, like trying to become top dog in a maximum security prison.

Since this will be the first (of probably many) spoilery posts, it’ll have a new tag – omg omg dead ever after! – so if you want to avoid spoilers, you can avoid posts tagged with this. And now, onto the spoilers, which I shall steal from PM – which is where I got them. It’s good having a network. 😀 Thanks to Ooshka for the spoiler – she rocks. It was almost as good as going myself – which I didn’t because I figured other people would. Thank her for not being a piker like me.

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Really No H8?

I’m ridiculously behind this week – I’ve been busy with other things – and this is really short – so maybe I’ll have time to make another short one soon. I have yet to review all the stories I loved for I Write The Songs – I am completely crap – so many spankings. In fact, this week, the story I just reviewed will be the first story I’m gonna review when I get my arse into gear. This post is weighing on my mind, so I want to get rid of it and I plan to do a post on the construction of women looking at fanfiction too. So if you dislike meta and a little bit of ranting, then turn asunder.

I’m very pleased with my family this week. Very pleased. I’ve spoken – I think – before, about my eldest son doing homeless van. If I haven’t, he does – he gets up at 4.40am on some Fridays before school and goes out to a feed-the-homeless van, and helps out. At the moment he’s in Year 11, the workload is greater and they have plenty of volunteers, but he’s been doing it for three or four years now, so I don’t expect him to be Superman and do everything all at once.

My youngest son impressed me this week too. On the weekend, without any prompting from anyone, he went along to an LGBT rally. He’s about as heterosexual as you can get, but he believes in equal rights, and he thinks it’s the right thing to do. I’m personally really pleased about it, as I’ve always told the boys they should be accepting of others. In my dissolute youth, I was the first person one of my gay friends came out to, and I supported him all the way. So gay rights has meant a lot to me, even though I’m not gay – it’s part of the whole feminism/left view of the world I have.

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Illusion of Control

No spankings this week for me. I’m on time, and on my best behaviour (relative to the PMR standard of behaviour though). I actually wanted to share a funny link this week that I got sent – Straw Feminists – a hilarious take on the Straw Man argument technique. The comic is a hilarious depiction of the notion that all feminists are ball breaking bitches who want to kill men and destroy the world. I know I’ve had that one levelled at me, and I’m sure some of my commenters have too.

One of the things that seemingly became ultra-important in the latest book – at least for a subset of fanfic – is the Super!Sookie phenomenon. It was all born of the appearance of Mr. Cataliades, and wanting to get Sookie to handle her telepathy. I think this is a relatively shallow look to take at the idea – and I don’t think the mystical time when Sookie’s telepathy will be handled will ever happen. This is really about the hope that people have, and the illusion of control that people fall into.

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Test of a Prince

Sorry this one is a little late – I’ve been fighting acute anaemia. That means tiredness and falling asleep, and steak three times this week and being severely behind in this reviewing and replying business. Plus, it’s bloody cold here at the moment for me, so that means more reasons to snuggle with Mr. Minty. Also, I got my hair cut this week, and have to stop and brush/fluff it. It went from waist length to the cute hairstyle Buffy got. It is so cute right now, I love it. My hairdresser is fucking wonderful – I love him – I say “layered” as my only requirement (PMR has natural Shirley Temple curls to her chagrin, and the delight of my mother), and I’ve never been unhappy with the result. But enough about my raving about what I think about my hair (gorgeous!) and onto more interesting stuff.

So to what inspired this post and got me thinking. It was actually a quote somewhere else on the net that I frequent (different username, don’t bother to look) that really piqued me on this subject – and such an interesting quote it is too:

“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”
Abraham Lincoln

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Licence to Kill

This post is more of that academic analysis that some people hate. Mr. Minty is just happy I’m inflicting it on someone or something other than him. An oft-complaint in our house is “Must you question everything?!?” Living with an academic can be a chore, I tell you. And Mr. Minty will certainly tell you – loudly, and often. But Sookie and Eric can’t complain, so I can do it to them at any time. They won’t tell me I’ve ruined the moment.

Before I start, just a bit of writing advice. I sometimes see academics or people who’ve done postgraduate research written about in fanfic. They’re usually written pretty badly, and with the outside view of them. For a start, the character might seem smart to the populace, but they aren’t very smart at all. Unfortunately, they’re usually written about by someone who’s never done any research and sometimes by people who probably didn’t do so well at university, if they went at all. They certainly don’t have an open minded, pitbull approach to anything. You can’t replace actual smart with picking up trivia tidbits on the internet and just inserting them into the character’s speech. Or rather, you can, but you’ll only fool people stupider than you. Anyone who’s smarter than you will see through your character in a heartbeat.

Being inside the academic brain is very different to others…well, if you think Sookie questions too many sacred things – like the blood bond – she hasn’t got anything on the academic brain. It’s all about questions and analysis. Nothing is sacred. My advice is to write someone who is as smart as you, and as well educated as you are. You’ll do better at it – it’ll be authentic. Don’t write someone with a speciality for sure. We’re weird creatures – and it’s not the education that produces it – it’s something inborn. Academia just gives it guidance. Our brains seize on things and question them – which is why we naturally have a series of questions at the end of undergraduate degrees, and think that we might like to do research at the end. Then it can’t be just casual “I wonder” questions either – it requires the dedication of writing (to start with) about 20,000 words on the same subject. I had about twenty questions I really wanted answered when I was at the end of undergrad. I chose only one. If I was offered vampirism, this would be the only drawcard – an immortal life to spend researching shit in every single instance I wish. But onto the boring academic type post.

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