Last year, I talked more about specific episodes or about moments or things; this year, when trying to decide what would make my end-of-year list, I realized it really had to just be characters. Seeing as that’s how I process things. There are fewer shows discussed, because while I watch a lot of things, I guess, fewer of them affect me in this way. Oh, and I guess this is spoilery?
4 who I mourned
4. Harry “Opie” Winston (Ryan Hurst, Sons of Anarchy)
Opie was a good guy. Opie was kind of the (yes, violent, yes, criminal) teddy bear type of the Sons, and watching everything fall away from him systematically had always been hard. His death was a catalyst for the dark-as-hell path that Jax (Charlie Hunnam) tripped down with even greater manic abandon, so while I mourned him as a character and on behalf of Lyla (Winter Ave Zoli) and his poor kids, I also mourned him as a representation of a bit of Jax’s moral code.
3. Lane Pryce (Jared Harris, Mad Men)
Oh, Lane. The “in terrible debt oh no” plotline for Lane came on rather suddenly, but then, sometimes these things do. You would have a hard time spending five episodes hinting at someone’s suicide and having it still feel necessarily shocking. I also recall idly asking last year for there to be more significant deaths on Mad Men, so I somewhat take the blame for this happening.
2. Owen Sleater (Charlie Cox, Boardwalk Empire)
This one was just upsetting. It had to happen in a way, because heaven forbid anyone on this show maintain a pleasure-bringing romantic relationship and heaven forbid Margaret (Kelly Macdonald) find happiness. They couldn’t have run off together, because the show wouldn’t need them if they did that and the show needs Margaret. But offing Owen how they did, so unceremoniously and suddenly, was heartwrenching.
1. Doreah (Roxanne McKee, Game of Thrones)
…what. You didn’t see this coming? I’ve talked at length about this whole messy situation before, so I won’t go into too terribly many of the details, but let me just say: I mourned Doreah as a woman, because she seemed to be good until surprise betrayal time. I mourned Doreah as a representation of an aspect of Dany’s innocence. I mourned Doreah because hers and Dany’s was, as I have seen said, really the only female friendship on the show. I mourned Doreah because of lady-tinted glasses and the potentials that I will miss reading into her facial expressions and the glances she sent her khaleesi’s way. Of all of these deaths, this one stung the hardest and still stings when I think about it, which is ridiculous, but nonetheless true.
3 ladies I started loving
3. Ygritte (Rose Leslie, Game of Thrones)
I always liked Ygritte, but it probably wasn’t until my second go-round with the season that I started really loving her. This is, I admit, in part because I think her accent is the absolute most wonderful thing in the world to listen to, but it’s also because I really do enjoy the feisty ones sometimes. I enjoy her suggestive sense of humor and her unapologetic independence, and I enjoy the awkward looks she puts on Jon Snow’s (Kit Harrington) face.
2. Michonne (Danai Gurira, The Walking Dead)
Michonne is someone that this particular television show really needed. She is still mysterious to us in many ways, but maybe that’s okay. I think one of my greatest fears would be that she was just a Badass Sword Woman and nothing more, but even being a mystery, you can see so much in her expressions and reactions. I don’t trust the judgment of many of the characters on this show, but I’m fairly willing to accept that if Michonne thinks someone is bad news, they likely are.
1. Nora Gainesborough (Lucy Griffiths, True Blood)
SURPRISE. Except for not. I think the thousands of words I have written about Nora already should prove that I love her too deeply much. Furthermore, while I love a lot of characters (as above, both Ygritte and Michonne are ones I love), I count Nora among the few that I am (fictionally) in love with. Her character arc, her various strengths and weaknesses, her PLAY ALL THE SIDES thing, her Britishness, her face, all of it. /redundant. (Also, I think I’ll mention here why Salome [Valentina Cervi] is not on the list of the mourned: while I managed to make myself very sad the other day by idly thinking about Nora/Salome while listening to Missy Higgins while halfway asleep and then imagining a scenario in which Nora mourns, I as an audience member knew that Salome did, for plot reasons, need to die. Though I honestly didn’t think of Salome as the season’s big bad until I read that very thing somewhere, she was and she needed because of it to be killed. I am sad when I imagine Nora mourning, but despite the fact that I adored Salome, I don’t mourn her necessarily.)
2 I always love
2. Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke, Game of Thrones)
I’ve also gotten into this before, somewhat here and somewhat on my tumblr. But I don’t think there’s any secret about how deeply I am attached to Dany, my queen my khaleesi my darling. I love her, flaws and all. I really and truly do.
1. Joan Holloway Harris (Christina Hendricks, MadMen)
This season brought some painful moments for my Joanie (I am still processing the incident with the Jaguar man) and maybe that somehow taints her successes. I don’t really think so, though. As the series has progressed, we’ve seen Joan take a more and more active role in her own life, and here there was some action in the form of voluntary passivity to achieve means, which was absolutely tragic, because that’s all she’s been taught to do, but at the end of the day, there she is with glasses chains or spray paint, finally official in her just about running that company. It has not been and will not be a neat and tidy journey, but no journey is. And she continues to be fascinating and lovely.
2 romantic relationships that served as bright spots in otherwise dark times
2. Pam de Beaufort and Tara Thornton (Kristin Bauer van Straten and Rutina Wesley, True Blood)
True Blood, as I’m sure I’ve mentioned, is one of the few shows that can genuinely surprise me. Not just in an “I didn’t quite see that coming” sense but in a “wow, I would never in a million years have guessed that anything resembling that would ever happen” sense. Pam appearing in Sookie’s kitchen and turning a brains-blown-out Tara into a vampire was one of those things, but I’m, as I’m sure I’ve mentioned, gladder than anything that it did happen. In 5×08, “Somebody That I Used to Know,” Pam gives Tara a woman who’d been at the bar, a former classmate of Tara’s who was offensive and awful to her, to nom on. This classmate was Tracy (Anastasia Ganias), previously seen in an earlier episode running her clothing shop: Tracy’s Togs. Now, in the book series one of Tara’s only functions is to own and run a clothing shop, Tara’s Togs; Sookie sometimes visits before she has to go do vampire business. In a way, by nomming on Tracy, who is somewhat analogous at least in function to book!Tara, show!Tara is allowed to essentially kill her past, to completely negate anything that came before; that’s the gift Pam has given her. And their attraction is not instant, nor is it the cause of turning, but instead it grows with time, into, yep, the most beautiful phrase in the world: interracial lesbian vampire couple.
1. Glenn Rhee and Maggie Greene (Steven Yeun and Lauren Cohan, The Walking Dead)
I mentioned this after the season 2 finale, I did, but it needs to be resaid. One of the only things that I was actually tense about during the fall finale was “are Glenn and Maggie going to be okay?” As individuals, because Glenn is actually my favorite of all of the characters probably and Maggie is definitely a favorite too, and as a pair, because their adorable little interracial apocalypse love is the sweetest thing. I’m still kind of mad that the Governor (David Morrissey), who in our circles is called either Governor Douchebag or Governor Bill (re: his emotional and sometimes physical similarities to True Blood’s thus-named douchebag), had to threaten to rape Maggie, both because nobody messes with my Maggie and because did we really need that?, but I’m glad that the confession that threat prompted did not turn into a mess of perceived betrayal and badness. I’m glad that they’re at least somewhat okay for now and could possibly live to be adorable for another day.
–your fangirl heroine.