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some thoughts on Jaime and Cersei's death scene

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

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)

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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Jaime/Cersei

 As I emotionally prepare for my NOTP to possibly become canon, I will say... Cersei will always be Jaime’s The One. They shouldn’t be in a relationship - not even bc they’re siblings, they’ve got bigger ass problems than that (tho that clearly doesn’t help) - but shouldn’t/can’t be together =/= have the deepest and most emotionally intense connection. Even if Jaime was to end up with someone I ship him with (like Sansa) it wouldn’t matter. Jaime might be ready to walk away from her for the sake of his own sanity, even kill her for the greater good, but she’s still The One. 
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shipper food security

  • Large ships in large fandoms: Look at this glorious buffet! ALL YOU CAN EAT!! Things I like, things I hate, things I’ve never tried and may or may not want to! If I indulge in this kind of gluttony all day every day other parts of my life may suffer. Sometimes, I need to take breaks and go exercise or something…
  • 1-2 most popular ships in midsized fandoms & modestly popular ships in large fandoms: I have a healthy and fulfilling dinner most days! I always know where my next meal is coming from.\
  • Modestly popular ships in midsized fandoms & rarepairs in large fandoms & small fandom juggernaut: Sometimes, when there’s a crop shortage, I go hungry. Sometimes, the food isn’t what I’d prefer or its so much of the same thing I get tired of it (like when you’re eating ramen noodle all the time).
  • Somewhat popular ships in small fandoms & rarepairs in midsized fandoms: I miss meals frequently. I scruff down even the most inedible slop or starve. Crop shortage are deadly. Always lowkey-midkey hungry. A decent meal is cause for a week-long celebration.
  • Rarepairs in small fandoms & ships in microscopic fandoms: PLEASE. It’s been 14032 centuries since I’ve had a crumb of bread! PLEASE I’M LITERALLY DYING.
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Ep IX trailor and ~fears~ for the future...

The Ep IX trailer release made me think of how I should probably spend the rest of the year writing (and reading) all the kylux fanfic I never got to, before it’s ~too late… Like I know there's no such thing as too late in fandom and I've ignored canon for my ships before (see: HP) but it's not the same...

...I think for me the fear is not so much that Hux will die - character death is not a problem, really. (A friend of mine and I have a joke that I’m specifically attracted to “Dead Boyfriend” ships, i.e. where one half dies at some point.) It’s more the fear that they will become legit enemies. Not menacing rivals who are, however, still on the same side of the war, but legit enemies on different sides. That Kylo will have a redemption arch and fight against Hux ideologically. Kind of how the ship lost a lot of people after TLJ because they felt the ship had crossed a line where they couldn’t imagine an actual emotional connection anymore. (I didn’t have this issue with TLJ but I also didn’t think anything in the ship changed fundamentally) So character death isn’t my fear. I’m prepared for that. But “yea clearly I can’t twist things enough to pretend they actually secretly care about each other even in a weird twisted way” is something that could very well happen.
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Random GoT thoughts while watching...

Ep 8.1
  • Am I tripping or are the beginning credits a bit different this season??
  • That first 10 mins of every new season you spend recalling what happened last season that everyone is where they are now…
  • Dany and Sansa meeting - yoooo. That is one really shippable/supercharged moment. (Not even my ship at all but DAMN.)
  • Little Lord Umber is adorable but also…like…terrifying that this little kid is in charge of war preparations? Isn’t there an adult to be regent or something?
  • This show is so pretty, tbh. Like that Arya and Jon scene is so #aesthetic.
  • Theon and Asha Yara! <33
  • “Without her we don’t stand a chance.” Like, you’re not necessarily wrong, Jon, but I’d have less of an urge to roll my eyes if you weren’t fucking her xD
    • (Ooooh and Sansa sees your shit, Jon!)
  • JAIMEEEEEEE!!!

Ep 8.2
  • Podric has really grown up into a fine young man.
  • Every Sans & Dany scene is so supercharged. (I kinda like it.)
  • Love love love seeing Sansa in a commanding position. It’s really such a nice payoff after everything that’s happened to her.
  • Jaime and Tyrion warm my heart <3 (Too bad it won’t be such easy sailing in the books for them given what happens at their parting…)
  • Jon, telling Daenerys about your heritage and all right before this bigass battle is MAYBE not the best idea. Like, everyone needs to be keeping their head in the game, not angsting over their inheritance rights.
  • So much fanservice in this ep - Arya/Gendry, Jaime knighting Brienne (still will never ship this, but that’s neither here nor there)
  • IDK, I thought the sweetness of Sansa’s and Theon’s reunion was a little sudden. Given that Theon turned against her family and  overran her castle and all that…



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Dear Fandom 5k Author

A03 name: Alley_Skywalker

Dear Fandom 5k 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.

Re: the additional tags - I got my dates mixed up and so ended up signing up at literally the last minute, so I just grabbed 3-4 tags of things I liked and threw them into my signup. Please don't feel like you need to adhere closely to those tags or anything. I would be very happy to receive anything that aligns with any of my general likes, regardless of if they're included as additional tags in the signup or not.

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