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Is there really a Romeo and Juliet musical? [Sep. 18th, 2019|12:24 am]
alley_skywalker
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Yes, there is. It was originally a French musical that came out in 2001 called Romeo et Juliette. It’s been translated into a bunch of different languages and different countries have put on their own productions. It was also revived in France in 2010. There’s a bunch of different productions. For example, the Hungarian is quite different (in costuming/staging/design) from the others but absolutely excellent. (And we are blessed with both a proshot and subtitles.) The most recent is the Italian (proshot; boot - missing some of the dialogues and obv. video quality concerns but the Romeo casting is much better and it makes a lot of other things better tbh.) The Italian has canon gay :D The Russian is really fun (though, bootleg quality video and no subs) and the Austrian is super cute. (BN: version with no subs but also without text that takes up half the screen xD) Mexican version (I think a few of the songs are missing…) There are def other ones but finding video/audio for them can be really hard. Like there’s only an audio boot of the London one. (And good luck with any cast recordings that aren’t the French or Russian ones lol.)

The characterizations (and some plot points) vary between the musical(s) and Shakespeare canon as well as between the various musical productions themselves. Like, musical!Romeo is kind of a party boy who’s been with girls before, apparently, but just has never found the one to really go crazy about (until Juliet, supposedly). In contrast to Shakes!Romeo who is a quiet, moody dork who falls in love hard every time but just can’t seem to get a girl to like him back (until Juliet). Mercutio in the various productions runs the spectrum from spunky, flouncy gay (Hungarian) to lovable little shit (Russian) to really fucking Extra (French revival) to wtf this guy def has issues (Italian). Tybalt also spans the range from goon to Kylo Ren-eque woobie (Hungarian). 

And while no one asked, my favorite production is the Hungarian. But it’s also quite unique in its feel and approach to the other ones. The original French is, well, the original, but oddly enough, it’s probably one of my least favorite ones.

Anyway, yea, it’s a lot. But it can be fun too. The fandom is its own story.
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WSS vs R&J [Jul. 25th, 2019|12:22 am]
alley_skywalker
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I don’t know why I chose to spend my evening watching West Side Story (instead of Zoli in Elizabeth as was my initial plan lol) but I did. I knew/was expecting it to be a pretty close parallel to Romeo and Juliet. (Although in some ways it really fails in that – mainly the main conceit and shift in themes to address racial tensions changes the tone of some things. Like, in R&J both families were equally being dumbasses about their feud but in WSS the Jets inevitably gain racist overtones which makes them less sympathetic and make the Sharks look more like victims who are just defending themselves from the racist white kids. Especially since we never really see the gangs do anything…gang-y outside of fighting each other.) But, anyway, what I actually wanted to say was that there was one part that was parallel to R&J but done a little differently and it made a lot of emotional difference to me (in favor of WSS).

In R&J I’m always kinda annoyed at Juliet for basically immediately forgiving Romeo for killing Tybalt and taking his side before she even has a chance to see him. Like, it always felt…fake to me. I mean, I’m not big on the romance in that play anyway, but even if we take it super seriously and all, it’s still really hard to disregard the fact that THEY JUST MET. So, when Juliet’s initial reaction to the news is to go “omg! Turns out this person I just met is an asshole!” it feels kinda rewarding in the sense that yea hello. You just met him, you know almost nothing about him, unpleasant surprises may very well abound – it’s almost a criticism of the whole idea that you’re just going to know that someone is right for you the second you meet. Of course, we know Romeo’s a good guy, so we want her to forgive him. But Juliet doesn’t know. She’s just been shown exactly how much she might not know. And yet she immediately assumes, with no evidence, that it was Tybalt’s fault and that Romeo couldn’t be to blame and he was prob just defending himself. (Her evidence being that he’s too good looking which OMG STOP.) 

And, yea, Maria also forgives Tony in like five seconds. But at least it’s played differently. She sees him and her first reaction is rage, but he’s there and she doesn’t just assume things. What she does is gives him a minute to explain, in which he rambles off how he tried to stop the fight, how he never meant for it to happen, about Riff. And only then does she forgive him, because she’s heard his side of the story and since she loves him she believes him. It’s a subtle difference but it’s a pretty big one to me. Juliet takes Romeo’s side because she can’t fathom that someone she’s in love with can be to blame. Maria forgives Tony because she’s heard and can see his side of the situation (her feelings making it easier for her to empathize with him).

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a bit on Catherine and Peter's relationsihp in Ekaterina/Catherine (2014) [Jul. 18th, 2019|06:36 pm]
alley_skywalker
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I got this ask on Tumblr:

"Why was Pyotr such so antagonistic towards Ekaterina when she tried so hard to love him? She clearly went above and behind to understand him and make him happy when she didn't have to since marriages were loveless at the time. But Elizoveta does the exact same things her predecessor does and he's besotted? He didn't deserve Ekaterina at all."


Not 100% sure, but it seemed like they were asking about Ekaterina. So, naturally, I had a lot to say in disagreement.

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Helen's "affair" with Dolokhov [Jul. 3rd, 2019|11:38 pm]
alley_skywalker
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I was asked on Tumblr about whether I thought Helene was actually having an affair with Dolokhov or if Dolokhov was just trying to "make everyone, especially Pierre" believe that. So here are my thoughts on that account.

So, first, I don’t think Dolokhov was trying to make anyone believe anything. We have no indication of that. He was definitely trolling Pierre at the club, but this sounded far more like him taking advantage of things other people had already done (i.e. spread rumors) and kinda shrugging and turning them to his advantage. It was all very “wink-wink nudge-nudge” not like he was seriously trying to make Pierre believe or not believe anything.

As for whether or not they actually had a n affair. Ha. See, I think it’s completely wide open in canon. I don’t think there’s actually any “canonically right” answer here. (And part of me thinks this is almost an intentional authorial choice.) I don’t think the text supports anything other than maybe a flirtation. (But is open enough that it could have happened.) If I had to choose just one scenario to headcanon that I personally believed was most likely, I would say there was a flirtation but nothing more, no actual affair.

 

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Dear Rare Male Slash Author Letter [May. 27th, 2019|04:00 am]
alley_skywalker
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A03 name: Alley_Skywalker

Dear Rare Male Slash Author,

First, I would like to say thank you for the time and effort that you are willing to put into writing for me! Length of fandom sections or the order the fandoms are in is no indication of how much I want fic for any given fandom; I would be ABSOLUTELY DELIGHTED to receive fic in any of the fandoms I asked for. Optional details are optional, but if you're like me and like to have lots of info to work with, I've tried to provide some details on the sorts of things I like (and don't) and give prompts for each of my fandoms/ships.


GENERAL STUFF'

Pairings/Sex/Ratings:
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Genres/Themes (and such):
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FANDOMS

A Song of Ice and FireCollapse )



Harry PotterCollapse )



War and PeaceCollapse )


Catherine (2014)Collapse )



Original WorkCollapse )
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GoT Finale [May. 21st, 2019|01:20 am]
alley_skywalker
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Well damn. You know, I have people on my dash and RL circle whose opinions vary on the finale. Some hate it some are satisfied with it. It had the same pacing issues of the second half of the season, maybe even the entire season. Really, there should have been 9 seasons not 8. But I also heard so much crap about this episode that I expected some complete other level of badness from it. And actually…..I enjoyed it. It wasn’t amazing or anything but I felt really satisfied at the end of it. I came away from 8.5 feeling kind of underwhelmed and like I really needed time to process but this episode…. given that one ep was all we were going to get to wrap things up? It worked for me in the large strokes.
 

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Ekaterina/Catherine (2014) S5 trailer [May. 16th, 2019|01:18 am]
alley_skywalker
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Some (not particularly deep) thoughts on the S3 Ekaterina trailer

  • Pretttyyyy <3 (This show always has been.) (Someone please make gifs lol)
  • Where. Is. Paul??? I know he’s in this season. Although, some of the S2 trailers didn’t really include him either so maybe it’s ok. (Like, can we just have a Paul spin-off or something, esp. if there’s no s4?)
  • Wait. I don’t understand. Are they trying to imply that Alexei Orlov is also going to be in love with Catherine? Or something? What. (Could be a total misdirection but I also wouldn’t be surprised. They would totally retcon S2 for this.)
  • At least Catherine looks like she’s going to be equally obnoxiously awful this time as she was last season. At least that’s consistent xD
  • I actually feel like this season could be more exciting that last season. I don’t really understand why they couldn’t have included the pretender plots in S2 and stretched out the romance stuff over two seasons? (And, like, you know, actually handled Paul’s first marriage with some grace. Jeez.)
  • “Which European monarch does this benefit?” I’m gonna lol irl if the answer is Frederick the Great xD (I really wouldn’t put anything past this show as much as I love it.)
  • It’s hilarious (and accurate) how Pugachev looks absolutely nothing like Peter. (And yet, when that young-sounding guy was all like “our sovereign father Pyotr Fyodorovich, emperor Peter III” my heart grew 2.5 sizes.)
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some thoughts on Jaime and Cersei's death scene [May. 16th, 2019|01:15 am]
alley_skywalker
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Putting aside for a moment ships, character arches and other complaints that people have about Jaime and Cersei’s death, I think part of why it felt sort of so anticlimactic and inspired all the “rocks fell’ jokes, is because the lead up to their actual death scene wasn’t given enough dramatic effect. We get a lot of Jaime trying to get to Cersei and a bit of Cersei trying to make an escape, but once they were together the tension and the hope – no matter how much a pretense – and the drama needed to be ratcheted up. (They also could have lit the damn thing better, but that’s another story.) Like, all other context aside, what I thought in part made Jorah’s and Theon’s death sequences so gut-wrenching, and made Sandor’s so dramatic and more satisfying, is the drawn out lead up sequences. Sandor fights for his life like hell. Jorah and Theon aren’t just fighting, they also got that lovely piano layover and muted volume that just screams desperation and tragedy.

Jaime and Cersei’s attempted escape was very short lived. Like, “we’re going now,” “oh ooops guess we can’t,” “time to die.” We needed to see them fight – in this case run – for it. To really be drawn into the drama of the attempted escape, that bit of hope, the tension of “oh shit, is it gonna work?” even as the music and editing might cue us in that, nope it won’t. I think it would have been cool to have several parallel shots of Cersei and Jaime running through the tunnels, stumbling, grabbing each other’s hands, and shots of Dany flying around destroying everything. Muffle the sound and make it echo-y, cue some soft tragic music. Cut back and forth a few times the way that we got the parallel of Arya getting swept up by the crowd and the Hound getting beat up by the Mountain. Then at the end, just as they’re about to turn a corner, Jaime makes an expressive gesture, Here! They turn the corner and – nope. Wall of rocks. Jaime just kinda freezes, somewhere deep down he knew they weren’t getting out. Cersei, more desperate, as she was in that scene, slams against the rocks, trying to claw her way through them almost. Jaime grabs her hands, pulls her away, and they have the dialogue as in canon. One last cut away to Dany zeroing in on the last tower or something of the Red Keep, the dragon opens its mouth—Down below, Cersei collapses into Jaime’s arms and they hold each other for a few seconds as the music swells and everything collapse around them.

I mean, look. Maybe I’m overdramatic. I’m certainly not a film director. But I feel like we really needed to feel that adrenaline of an escape attempt with them first, to get that high drama and have a few moments to process the tragedy of it – as romantic tragedy is clearly what they were going for. What we got was kinda rushed (I mean the entire ep was…) and there wasn’t enough breathing room to let things sink in. Especially when we’re saying goodbye to two major/main characters. Because whatever else was bad in the execution of Jaime going back to KL, the themes of them dying together weren’t wrong per se. Even lots of people who don’t ship Jaime/Cersei thought it would make sense for them to die together. Jaime and Cersei as each other’s magnet has been a theme. Them being together against the world, even when that leads to shit, is a longstanding theme. Even them wanting to escape to a better life together and being incapable of it has been an on-and-off theme for their relationship overall. I really do think what we were cheated of most for the death scene/sequences specifically is the dramatic effect.

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GoT 8.5 personal thoughts [May. 14th, 2019|01:13 am]
alley_skywalker
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Yea this episode was pretty messy in a lot of ways – I thought that people were exaggerating because their ship got screwed or their fave turned out to not be a hero. I’ve actually been fine with the way most of the other stuff payed out. The Dorne plot was probably the closest that got to this level of “ok this was not very well thought through” in my personal opinion. I really think that most of the problems were caused by the feeling that everything was rushed and without proper payoff or setup. A lot of the same end results would have been fine and felt organic if they were developed over a larger number of episodes. Either this season would have needed to be extra long or we’d need a slightly shorter season 8 and then another short season 9. I don’t think it even needed to be multiple seasons but just some more breathing room for all the characters.

 

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On Theon's Loyalties (and Fandom's shittiness) [May. 6th, 2019|01:43 am]
alley_skywalker
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See this is the part I don’t agree with and why I get annoyed at all the talk about Theon’s story being a “redemption arch.” Now, arguably, he had other things to atone for - such as the murder of the farm boys. But no one is actually talking about that when they talk about Theon needing redemption or when they say they hate/hated him. They’re talking about their faves the Starks. And I just…I just don’t fucking agree that someone owes loyalty and gratitude to the people who first helped re-subjugate his people after their bid for independence from an imperialistic power and then took him, a child, from his home and family to be a hostage who could be executed at any moment if his father steps out of line.

(Yes, they treated him decent. Yes, Balon’s an asshole. But that doesn’t change the principle of the thing. It’s not like it wasn’t advantageous for the Starks to form a “polite fiction” around Theon. Rodrik posits that if Theon was a prisoner Ned should have kept him “chained to a dungeon wall.” But can you imagine that? The honorable Lord Stark who not only takes a 10 year old hostage but also keeps him chained up in a dungeon. Sure. And really, Robb is the only one who seems to genuinely care at all about Theon. As for Balon, Theon, who clearly has bad memories of his brothers, doesn’t seem to have such of his parents and is genuinely surprised that his father doesn’t come out to greet him when he lands on the iron islands as Robb’s emissary. His mother loves him, so does his sister.  Does he maybe owe some personal loyalty to Robb? Because he encouraged and facilitated Robb’s affection? Maybe. But also, how honorable, exactly, would it have been for Theon - Theon who identifies as a Greyjoy first and foremost, who is a Greyjoy, in a culture where family name and clan membership are extremely important - to have continued to support Robb and turn against his family?

Were there ways for him to still defect to his family but minimize the “betrayal” of Robb? Well, yes, he could have stayed away from Winterfell. But, tbh, having chosen his family and with his father’s plans what they were, Theon would have almost certainly had to fight directly against Robb or Robb’s interests eventually. And tbh, I don’t think people would hate him any less even if he hadn’t gone after Winterfell itself. Because he still wouldn’t have chosen their faves the Starks.

Seriously. Even with Robb…if Robb had suddenly been faced for whatever reason with a choice between his family and Theon would he have chosen Theon? Would he though? And would anyone blame him for choosing his family? Imagine the AU where Balon decides to sacrifice his youngest son. Decides that Theon is lost to him anyway, Asha/Yara will make a fine-enough heir, and he really wants to try at another rebellion. Balon does what he wasn’t supposed to do. Ned Stark, with a heavy heart, realizes that if his authority and warnings are ever going to mean anything again, he will need to stay true to his word and execute Theon. Robb - let’s give him the benefit of the doubt here - dismayed and distraught, throws a fit. He argues and pleads with his father not to do it but Ned lectures him on why it’s necessary and, finally, Robb gives in. He stands by as Ned executes Theon and later fights alongside his father to quell the new Greyjoy rebellion. Is Robb now a traitor? Would anyone in the fandom hate him?)

I really…to me, Theon’s story isn’t really about redemption or atonement. It’s more about identity and self-acceptance and how to function in a world that’s put you in an impossible, painful position. How to make choices that turn out to make things worse for you rather than better and realize you should have handled things differently and live with the that and move on from that. Theon has done some really bad things (as stated above) and he’s far from the only character in this series with shitty-actions baggage, including well liked characters. He could have done a better job of balancing his loyalties to his family and his personal loyalty/relationship with Robb. He probably needed to grow out of his arrogance/bravado streak that he has at the start (though that’s also primarily driven by deep insecurity due to his situation). But I don’t think, in the context of this world especially, that any of that requires the kind of major redemption arch (that ends in ultimate self-sacrifice) that people seem to think is needed.
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