Tag Archives: kit harington

Television Tuesday :: a devil’s bargain?

25 Jul

Spoilers for Game of Thrones weeks one and two ahead.

You guys, I really want to maintain my passion for this canon. I’m sure you know that. For the most part the first two episodes have been perfectly fine! Sure there’s been a fair bit of “yes, but…”

  • Jon (Kit Harington) and Sansa (Sophie Turner) coexist and have some modicum of mutual respect for each other, and he gave her leadership credentials while he was away on business, but also they disagree openly and at least once per episode and the potential conflict between them is a major talking point of what’s to come.
  • Sansa and Jon have both essentially told Littlefinger (Aidan Gillen) to bugger off, but he still hasn’t.
  • Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) is there, supporting the hell out of Sansa, but she hasn’t actually done all that much (nor have the circumstances of Brienne’s last scene in s6 been discussed, which isn’t that big of a deal but should probably happen at some point in some context).
  • Lyanna (Bella Ramsey) has been kicking everyone’s asses verbally, but I really want to see her take up arms dammit.
  • Arya (Maisie Williams) had a very nice moment with some Lannister-military randoms, but one of them was Ed Sheeran and I am opposed to that on principle.
  • Arya also ran into her direwolf Nymeria, but Nymeria is a damn wolf and wanted to stay in the Riverlands doing wolf stuff. Arya understood this, but it was still sad.
  • Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) has people around her and that’s really cool, but nobody seems to be 100% on the same page of how to handle things.
  • Grey Worm (Jacob Anderson) and Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel) had an absolutely beautiful love scene that was honestly revolutionary and I’m kind of shocked it even happened because it was so beautiful and also given the particulars it was not really like love scenes on anything, but now I’m worried about both of them because of it.
  • Euron (Pilou Asbaek) is more like he is in the books, but that means he’s actually the worst terrible curse word and has already done things that rank him with being as heinous as Ramsey Bolton. Things that are so heinous I didn’t even watch them, just read about them because I am bloody furious. Expect, by season’s end, an essay on the mishandling of my Dornish babes. Because Anger is happening.
  • We’ve finally seen the alliance between Dany, Yara (Gemma Whelan), Ellaria (Indira Varma), and Olenna (Diana Rigg), and while contentious in part (as mentioned above) it’s a bunch of badass ladies being badass, but we’re only two episodes in and everything has already gone to hell for them.
  • Yara and Ellaria kissed, but now they are both at assface Euron’s mercy.
  • Obara (Keisha Castle-Hughes), Nymeria (Jessica Henwick), and Tyene (Rosabell Laurenti Sellers) had an actual scene with lines and conversation and sister banter and the actresses have such a good dynamic with each other even though I wish they’d get to show the non-banter aspect of their sisterhood too, but Obara and Nym are now dead and Tyene is also at assface’s mercy. Did I mention how mad I am?

It’s a devil’s bargain. You get some things and have to give up others. You’re so happy about beautiful things but then Euron exists. Etcetera.

–your fangirl heroine.

drinking20my20cup20of20fuck20you

Television Tuesday :: a season 6 wrap-up.

5 Jul

Game of Thrones‘ season six was… well, it was pretty all right. I mourn my sweet gay babies Margaery (Natalie Dormer) and Loras (Finn Jones), bless them, but overall I am not disappointed and after last year’s mess that’s something, anyway? The requisite list of positives.

11. Davos (Liam Cunningham) finding out about Shireen (Kerry Ingram).
As y’all know, Shireen being murdered was my least favorite thing to happen in season five, and that’s saying quite a lot. So I guess it was a form of catharsis to see Davos finally find out what happened to his favorite girl and get really, truly mad about it. (I also liked that when Jon [Kit Harington] found out he didn’t have Melisandre [Carice van Houten] killed immediately but instead sent her on her way with a warning.)

10. Lyanna freaking Mormont (Bella Ramsey).
What a brilliant, scene-stealing kid. I had never seen her before in my life but my reaction after her first scene was “I’m so proud of her!” Boy howdy I love Mormont women just about as much as I don’t give a damn about the most prominent Mormont man.

9. Sam (John Bradley) and Gilly (Hannah Murray).
I actually quite liked the Horn Hill scenes, just overall; I liked how nice Sam’s mom and sister were, I liked how awkward Gilly was changing her clothes for the first time ever, I liked how Sam and Gilly both stood up to Sam’s jerk dad, I like how the power of love prevailed. And I really liked the Citadel library, sidenote.

8. Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel) and Grey Worm (Jacob Anderson).
I just really like these two. I was not a big fan of all of the treading water that Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) had to do or how pointless most of his scenes felt, and in turn many of Missandei and Grey Worm’s, but Missandei and Grey Worm themselves are always wonderful. I really like how Missandei had no time for Tyrion’s bullshit plans and made no secret of that. I really like how the two of them spent most of the season dressed like dominatrixes/the male version thereof. I also really like that Missandei always calls him by his name in Valryian. That makes me smile a lot.

7. The Dornish matriarchy overhaul.
We had a beautiful moment with Ellaria queen (Indira Varma) and the Sand Snakes (Keisha Castle-Hughes, Jessica Henwick, Rosabell Laurenti Sellers) in the first episode, one cursory mention around 6.03 or 6.04 of the fact that they’d taken over Dorne, and then treaty negotiations with Olenna (Diana Rigg) in the finale. We didn’t see much of this matriarchy overhaul, but I support it fully. This puts me in the minority and I don’t give a single damn.

6. Sansa (Sophie Turner) and Jon.
Sansa and Jon really didn’t have a relationship before they went their separate ways in season one, but their reuniting was beautiful and their relationship development has been fascinating. The obvious thing to say is that it’s an indicator of Sansa’s increased maturity; it’s also giving her a chance to finally be volatile in productive-to-the-plot ways. Fucking Littlefinger (Aidan Gillen) is not looking to make this a happy ending, but it’s really interesting right now.

5. Sansa and Brienne (Gwendoline Christie).
Yes. This did not disappoint, Brienne’s loyalty is overwhelming, and I’m glad they at least still have each other.

4. Sansa and misandry.
One of the most brilliant moments this entire season was just Sansa’s facial reactions to Ramsay (Iwan Rheon) being killed by his dogs. Another thing I liked was when she yelled at Jon for not involving her in battle plans even though she knew about Ramsay more than any of them did. I also really liked her reaction to fucking Littlefinger’s completely unsurprising but nasty fantasy scenario: hand on the chest for stop, don’t touch me there, then “it’s a pretty picture” dripping disdain as she walked away. Sansa Stark is done with men and it’s beautiful.

3. Feast for Crows Cersei (Lena Headey).
Otherwise known as: I have been waiting for the Cersei I know from her POV chapters to finally get to show up and that Cersei is insane. Unfortunately, Benioff and Weiss seem too concerned with making the Lannisters sympathetic at times to allow them to be as interesting as in the books, so it was a long time coming for the full reveal. But now, after doing some horrible things and having some horrible things happen as a consequence, the Iron Throne is sat by completely bonkers Cersei, Darth Cersei, Mad Queen Cersei. I’m thrilled and Lena is going to do a great job.

2. The Targaryen-Greyjoy-Martell-Tyrell alliance.
I mean, I’m not keen on the fact that it had to come partially because of Margaery and Loras’ death, but “so Yara goes to Meereen, right, and she hooks up with Dany, and then Varys goes to get the Martells in on it because they have a thing with the Targaryens, and then the Tyrells come too because they’re awesome” sounds… not unlike some of my personal ideal scenarios. The show has less lady-kissing in this alliance (because Margaery is dead now and never confirmed queer, because they haven’t mentioned Nym being bisexual in the show yet, etc.) but it’s still happening.

1. Dany (Emilia Clarke) and Asha-Yara (Gemma Whelan).
But there might be lady-kissing here! It’s now canon that Asha-Yara likes girls (and she didn’t die!) and both actresses have mentioned that there is some definite flirtation going on between these two. They bantered about why Dany should accept these Greyjoys’ offer of ships and alliance, which is because Euron’s offer would come with marriage demands. “And I imagine your offer is free of any marriage demands?” Dany banters. “I never demand, but I’m up for anything really,” Asha-Yara declares, in a conversation that does sound just as Sapphic as my fantasy endings. I don’t know how this is going to go but dear gods let it go right. Because, quoth poor lost Doreah, “love comes in at the eyes,” and those two were making significant eyes at each other. (Also, Dany broke up with Daario [Michiel Huisman] spectacularly.)

–your fangirl heroine.

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Television Tuesday :: I can’t quit Game of Thrones.

23 Jun

One, I can’t quit it because I watch it with other groups of people.  Two, because I care too damn much about my girls and foolishly pray that they’ll eventually be done right by.  Three, because at this point I’m thinking of it as being essentially a pinboard for aesthetic so I can cosplay/visualize the books.  Four, I care too much about seeing it through because of the books.  Five, because occasionally nice things still happen.

Occasionally.

I have about fifty varieties of rage about the not-nice things that happened.  Upon repeat viewings with different groups of people, I actually just got up and left the room at the end of episode six (poor Sansa [Sophie Turner] who deserves so much better, who is still acting the hell out of it but shouldn’t have to be stuck in that shithole of a plot divergence); I spent my first viewing of episode nine repeatedly yelling the phrases “oh you evil douchebag” and “fuck you” in echo (poor Shireen [Kerry Ingram] who deserved so much better always); I cringed during the finale but understood sort of why that happened that way because of the plot divergence mess that entire line had devolved into (poor Myrcella [Nell Tiger Free, who is incidentally adorable]).  Etcetera.  The thing that made all of my people angry and/or befuddled I knew was coming, and I don’t know what its outcome will be because I’ve heard so damn many theories, but suffice to say: Kit Harington, you have consistently improved as an actor, good job buddy, Jon will forever be my boy in this series.

But in the grand tradition of this series, here is a list of 5 things that were pretty all right about this season.  Pretty much the only significant 5.

5. By the end of the finale episode, some things were actually sort of where they were supposed to be in reference to the book plotline, mostly.
Arya (Maisie Williams) had been made blind (it’ll go away, don’t worry show friends; I was about to write “it’s a learning experience” but if I do that I also have to qualify that holy shit watching the House of Black and White stuff made me so much more uncomfortable than reading it, and sorry ser who shares my roof who loves Jaqen H’ghar [Tom Wlaschiha], I kept mentally going “John Garrett?”) like she was supposed to be; Dany (Emilia Clarke) had been found by the Dothraki horde (and, book friends, can I just say how happy I am that we didn’t have to actually watch the events of the chapter preceding that in the book, which did make me physically uncomfortable to read); Sam (John Bradley) and Gilly (Hannah Murray) were finally on their way to Oldtown like they should have been oh, at the beginning of the season; Cersei (Lena Headey) had her walk of atonement and that, while horrible to watch, is as it was supposed to be; the Jon stuff resolved as it was supposed to, though it was unpleasant.  At this point the relief of things finally going back on-book almost feels like happiness.  And a different plotline was at an entirely different place than it was supposed to be and I was overjoyed, but I’m not going to talk any more about it because I don’t want to jinx it.

4.  Well, Tyene (Rosabell Laurenti Sellers) was crazy and did do poison.
When they announced that Tyene was going to be utilizing “double daggers” my initial reaction was to cringe.  I absolutely love book Tyene, as I’ve said before, and for y’all who don’t read the books let me just tell you why without spoiling plot points: book Tyene is Oberyn’s daughter not by Ellaria (Indira Varma) but by an unnamed septa, and she has inherited some of her mother’s devotion, at least outwardly, as well as inheriting her mother’s blonde hair and blue eyes.  She’s feminine and septaesque in demeanor and plays it up, but she’s also devious and prone to using poison as her weapon, her only weapon in contrast to her sisters.  All I needed for the Sand Snakes, really, was for Tyene to be crazy and do poison, but when they announced the double daggers I pretty well abandoned that hope. But!  Though she was Ellaria’s short-haired daughter fighting with double daggers, she coated those with poison and did injury with them, pretty much for the sole purpose of fucking with Bronn (Jerome Flynn) in a way that did have at least some of the crazy cadence that endeared Tyene to me in the first place.  This got carried too far, culminating in objectively one of the worst lines this season, but the initial moment of crazy and poison was perfect (and Obara [Keisha Castle-Hughes] and Nym [Jessica Henwick] sitting behind her rolling their eyes as if to say “come on, Tyene, everyone has seen your boobs, honestly” was perfect too).  This is a comfort, because the entire rest of the Dorne plotline was pretty much a giant mess.  Which sucks, because the Dorne chapters are the reason that A Feast for Crows is probably my favorite of the books, but honestly, deciding not to have Arianne in the show was a terrible decision for the plotline and they didn’t invest nearly any time in it like they should have, and that’s a whole other rant.  Suffice to say, at least Tyene was crazy and did poison.  That’s something, anyway.

3.  Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel) is so freaking important.
Her relationship with Grey Worm (Jacob Anderson), as I said last year, is incredibly important because asexual relationship between characters of color.  And her relationship with Dany is incredibly important because when Dany is having a crap time of it, Missandei is the one she turns to for the truth.  Missandei and Dany spent that entire time in the pit clutching each other and trying to protect each other and yeah, this did make Dany leaving on Drogon’s back a little awkward but that happened in the book so whatever.  Daario (Michiel Huisman) describes Missandei as “the queen’s closest confidante” and says “who does she trust more than Missandei?  Certainly not me” and normally I don’t give a damn what Daario says but that’s lovely and important and I’m glad.  And what’s more, watching her face during virtually any scene where you can see her face is the most telling wonderful thing.

2. Easter eggs for book readers
The scene where Jon reads the letter to Stannis (Stephen Dillane) from Lyanna Mormont (“Bear Island knows no king except the King in the North, whose name is Stark) is a favorite; Sam’s line to Olly, along the lines of “I’ve been worrying about Jon for years… but he always comes back!” is another; certain gratuitous hints about a favorite fan theory that are still not obvious to people who don’t know to be looking for them are others.

1.  SHIREEN FREAKING BARATHEON TEACHING GILLY HOW TO READ
As evidenced by my loud virulent swearing through episode nine, and as evidenced by everything I’ve ever said before, I also freaking love Shireen.  There were theories I had either heard or had that Shireen could be Important, possibly because of her greyscale, so her ultimate fate disappointed me at best and enraged me at worst. But, the scene early in the season, so early that it feels like it was last season emotionally, where she was teaching Gilly how to read brought me the absolute most joy of anything I could imagine.  So there’s that.

–your fangirl heronie.

silly goose

Television Tuesday :: 2014 in television (some missed opportunities and some positive things)

30 Dec

Missed opportunities

Jessica (Deborah Ann Woll) and Adilyn (Bailey Noble)
Because while I was mad at gorram True Blood from the get-go thanks to the Tara (Rutina Wesley) situation that I’ve already discussed at length, the first episode at least did have one situation with promise, the one with Jessica and Adilyn.  While I still hate what happened to the other Bellefleur girls (I think I care about the auxiliary Bellefleur girls more than everyone else in fandom combined, and I’ve come to terms with this fact, but but aren’t they a missed opportunity too wouldn’t you watch the shit out of a show about baby fairies who embody tumblr and look at the world through fresh eyes and therefore are optimistic about most things while also not understanding manners 100% of the time and I’ve spent too much time thinking about this I’m so sorry) I hate more that this situation was never really resolved.  Jessica felt guilty and swore to protect Adilyn, then after Adilyn was drawn into the actual most horrible kidnap scene they… didn’t say anything to each other ever again.  Adilyn didn’t even attend Jessica’s bullshit wedding, despite the fact that it was in the daytime and Adilyn’s father was presiding over it.  What could have been an interesting, complicated friendship (with undertones?) was basically a plot device that was thrown to the side in favor of both girls getting shoehorned into unnecessary heterosexual romantic relationships that consumed their entire characters.

the entirety of Sons of Anarchy, tbh
Sons was never my favorite show, but it didn’t used to annoy me as much as it did by its final season.  And maybe some of that was just that I was blindingly mad about the Tara (Maggie Siff) situation, or that I got increasingly frustrated that I couldn’t play “how is it Hamlet” nearly as well, or maybe it was just that when every episode is two hours long it stops meaning anything that they’re that long, or maybe I don’t know anymore, but it just felt so unnecessarily drawn out.  Also increasingly sentimentalist and with an increasingly laughable score.  “I think Sons might have been better served as a three season show,” I mused, causing one of my people to berate me for questioning the creator’s artistic vision, but it stands.

all of these dead people
All of them.  Even the ones on shows I don’t technically watch.  Special shoutout to Amber Mills (Natalie Hall), who for some reason I am also really bitter about, because I mean, Sarah Newlin’s black sheep-y vampire sister could have been such an interesting storyline and… nothing.  Also, obviously, Isabelle (Lucy Lawless).  Poor thing.

the damn Orson’s beetles scene
You know.  The one before Tyrion’s (Peter Dinklage) trial where he talks to his brother Jaime (Nicolaj Coster-Waldau) about his cousin Orson smashing beetles.  And it lasts for something like four minutes and it does absolutely nothing to further the plot in my read.  This has actually become a thing with my mom and I: pointless scenes happen in media and we turn to each other and say “Orson’s beetles.”  It’s a code.  And anyway it’s a missed opportunity because that scene is, uh, not about Orson’s beetles in the books, it’s about something important that they just sort of ignored in the show and I’m not sure how that’s going to play out in the future and that scares me.

Positive things

sometimes SHIELD and ladies
It’s had its failures and its questionable moments as regard ladies (see also the above dead people collage) but when it gets things right, it really gets things right.  Jemma (Elizabeth Henstridge) saving everyone else and herself with her porcelain-ivory-steel-skinned resolve and her scientific knowhow?  Melinda (Ming-Na Wen) kicking all of the ass (hey remember that time she made a joke about how she was always on top when she and Ward [Brett Dalton] banged while beating his ass I do) and also being an important supportive figure to the entire team but especially Skye (Chloe Bennet)?  Skye growing from awestruck mouthy hacker baby to capable snarky take-no-shit agent to honest to gods superhero?  Raina (Ruth Negga) who was originally supposed to be a one-off character becoming this compelling-as-hell not quite villainous queen of moral gray areas and wide-eyed faith?  Thank you, guys.

the following Game of Thrones things

  • Oberyn (Pedro Pascal) taking time out of his busy bisexual orgy schedule to explain bisexuality (and his bisexuality specifically) to Olyvar the boywhore (Will Tudor).
  • Varys (Conleth Hill) taking time out of his busy confusing scheming schedule to explain his asexuality to Oberyn.
  • Oberyn in general.  Pretty much all of his stuff was perfect.
  • Ygritte’s (Rose Leslie) death scene.  I mean, I know that scene in the book inside and out, so there were lines I missed (why, why, why did they go to the trouble of including the “is that a castle?” “no, it’s a windmill” part in season three if they didn’t have Ygritte asking Jon [Kit Harington] “is this a castle?” while she was dying in his arms) but overall it was well handled and I wasn’t disappointed.
  • Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel) and Grey Worm (Jacob Anderson) and their out-of-nowhere crush thing.  Normally it would annoy me if they wrote crushes in that weren’t book canon, especially because in the books Missandei is a ten-year-old, but this was handled tactfully and sweetly and also, if by default, is an asexual romance!
  • The rest of this list.

–your fangirl heroine.

taking no shit today thank you

Television Tuesday :: another year, another… set of feelings.

17 Jun

Feelings both good and bad.  Feelings of general contentment and ones of extreme rage, caused by things that the rest of the internet has already discussed in various places, largely, this season, pertaining to derivations from the book; a thing in episode 3 of this season that was not supposed to be there, a thing in this last episode that REALLY REALLY WAS, but here is my take on that thing that I’m not referring to by name out of my respect for my friends who don’t read the books, with some of Sunday’s willful optimism: there are still… a lot of things from A Storm of Swords that haven’t been in the show and REALLY NEED TO BE, but I… well, they’ve gone so wonky with the timeline of the thing that… that those things HAD BETTER BE in the next season, because they couldn’t… do everything all at once… and they just… had to… save some things for later?  Because people think that A Feast for Crows is boring and I don’t know if other people think A Dance With Dragons is boring but I sure think it takes a long time to pick up and anyway they just needed to save… save some things for then…?  This is my giant way of saying that good freaking gods it is getting exhausting to watch this show sometimes but until they outright deny the thing I will believe that it will just be popped into the timeline elsewhere because I need to for my own mental well-being.

Which is to say.  Get it together, you guys.  But sometimes nice little things still happen, not that they excuse the horrible things at all, but I don’t particularly fancy getting into discussions of them on the internet because it will just make me sad and angry all over again so I’m just going to talk about some nice things that happened this season.

5.  Margaery (Natalie Dormer) and Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) interacting.
I was discussing good vs. bad in the series with a couple of people yesterday, and one started rattling off characters he thought would ultimately prove good or bad.  It was a list of characters he liked for the good side of things, basically, but once he reached Brienne I interrupted and proclaimed that it’s pretty much impossible to determine good or bad in the series because I don’t know how things will turn out and you can never know, I suppose, though I have my opinions which I mostly keep to myself because it’s just simpler that way, but I will fight you about the fact that Brienne of Tarth is the only true knight in Westeros, because that I am sure of (or well, there may prove to be other true knights, but Brienne is unquestionably one, despite not actually being a knight).  This… has nothing to do with what I’m about to say, but I just needed to say it.  In the first two episodes, Margaery and Brienne spoke to each other.  This did not happen in the book, because in the book Jaime and Brienne hadn’t reached King’s Landing by that point in the story, but I’m totally one hundred percent comfortable with it.  And sure, one of those times Margaery and Brienne were just talking about Renly and the other of those times Brienne was politely congratulating Margaery on her wedding, but I’ll be damned if Margaery wasn’t flirting with Brienne.  See.  Maybe this is just Margaery’s way, but I’m perfectly comfortable with it.

4.  Ygritte (Rose Leslie) and Gilly (Hannah Murray) interacting.
Hardly at all, but I… liked it.  I did.  The wildlings are sacking Mole’s Town and Gilly and her baby are hiding in the back and Ygritte hears the baby cry and all she does is hold a finger to her lips and spare Gilly and the babe.  That… I don’t know why that happened, exactly, but whatever.  It was a scene with women and that was nice.

3.  Jon (Kit Harington) with Ygritte.
The death scene was handled respectfully.  I mean, I know that scene pretty much by heart (I’ve reread it an embarrassing number of times) and I definitely missed the part about “is this a proper castle” because it just hurts and I love it (also it seems like they’d have kept it since they did have the scene in s3 where Ygritte thought the windmill was a castle, but eh, whatever) but it was still overall done well enough and I hyperventilated each time I watched it.  Because

“You know nothing, Jon Snow,” she sighed, dying.

That was accurate.  And then his little private funeral for her.  My eyes watered.  It was nice.  (Because that was mentioned in the book, but not shown really.)

2.  Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel) and Grey Worm (Jacob Anderson).
Show, did you… did you… is this a non-book-canon relatively healthy romance…?  Is this a… a non-book-canon relatively healthy semi-asexual (by default but whatever I will take it) romance…?  Between two characters of color?  With friendly and intellectual background…?  I… I… I’m hesitant to even type it out because I don’t want to inadvertently make it go horribly wrong, but I will say this: I was not into any romance for Missandei because I didn’t want to feel like they made her grown-up-sized just to throw her in romance but but this is lovely.  I will also say this: I and at least two other people audibly “awww”-ed at the end of their scene in episode 8.  Please don’t ruin this show this is a good thing.

1.  Dany (Emilia Clarke) WAS DOING MISSANDEI’S HAIR.
No, but I don’t think I can explain to you how important this was to me.  I had to pause it and rewatch it and point frantically at the television while squealing.  Because female friends.  Because because female friends.  Also because all the way back last season when they all showed up in episode 4 for the “a dragon is not a slave” scene and Missandei’s hair had that braid in it that hadn’t been there back when she was still a slave, I offhandedly said to one of my friends, “I bet last night after Dany was like ‘hey Missandei you have your freedom’ she was like ‘hey Missandei I’m gonna braid your hair now maybe’ and then did it.”  And then they showed her doing that.  While they were wearing matching dresses.  (Their dresses always match.  It’s great.)  It’s such a tiny little thing but it probably made me happier than anything this season.

–your fangirl heroine.

you don't say

Television Tuesday :: 11+ examples of the “new kid” narrative device

20 May

By “new kid” stories, I mean shows that begin with a new character, who is usually the protagonist or one of the protagonists, physically moving to a new location (town, workplace, school, etcetera).  This obviously does not always apply to literal children, but like when a kid moves schools (or when anyone adjusts to a new sort of lifestyle) the character is either disoriented or disorienting.  I was going to do a post about the “logical outsider” narrative but then I was thinking about a very straightforward “new kid” story that I won’t be discussing here because it’s a movie, and that’s Mean Girls.  Yes, Cady represents the logical outsider in the story (observing what seems to her like a foreign culture through a very analytical framework) but she also turns into the catalyst, her presence setting off a chain of events that change everyone around her.

That’s what new kid narratives often do.  Either they help give the audience perspective (or provide the audience a self-insert character) or they spark a revolution that comprises the plot of the show or season.

For this list, I’m only dealing with new kid narratives that begin in season one (sometimes they start much later; Eric [Alexander Skarsgard] in season five of True Blood is a perfect example of the logical outsider, weirdly enough) but I’m covering both types.

11. American Horror Story
Actually, this has been true of every of the three seasons of this show, and since they’re all separate stories I will discuss them each separately.  Season one has the Harmon family moving into the murder house and Violet (Taissa Farmiga) has to move schools.  Her parents (Dylan McDermott and Connie Britton) both make adjustments, but it’s Violet who at least in my read shoulders most of the new kid narrative.  She meets a mysterious new boy (Evan Peters) and deals with a whole new set of rules, and then toward the end of the season the new kid narrative takes on another dimension as we find she’s also been thrown into a new (after)life.  Season two, Asylum, had Lana (Sarah Paulson) serving as the logical outsider in the world of the hospital, the logical outsider on a very basic level — she wasn’t crazy, and the others might not have been but she was very much not.  Season three, Coven, had Zoe (again, Taissa Farmiga) thrown into the world of the academy and also the world of being a witch and dealing with magic in the first place, and acting as the logical outsider by sometimes being confused by the traditions.

10. Elementary
I haven’t actually seen past season one of this yet, but any Holmes adaptation is a perfect example of the logical outsider narrative.  Whoever the Watson is (in this case, Lucy Liu) makes a physical and emotional transition and is thrown into the crazy world of mysteries and deduction that doesn’t really make that much sense by normal standards that Holmes (in this case, Jonny Lee Miller) inhabits and is left to translate what happens for us, the audience.  In this case, at least, Joan is also the catalyst, prompting Sherlock to work on himself and also prompting herself to make life changes.

9. Mad Men
Logical outsider situation in the extreme.  Through Peggy (Elisabeth Moss) we’re introduced to the office and the way it’s run, its context and its place in history; we’re introduced to the way that most of the characters behave.  Her role as logical outsider gradually lessens as we the audience become accustomed to the situation and as she becomes accustomed to the workplace she’s in, but given that the show’s first episode includes scenes of her being given a proper tour of the office by Joan (Christina Hendricks), it very much fits.

8. Dollhouse
This is only vaguely this, but it’s still an interesting point to make on this list: the literal new kid in the Dollhouse is Sierra (Dichen Lachman), who can’t herself be the logical outsider but whose presence asks the audience to be that for themselves, and the more direct logical outsider and fairly new kid, Boyd (Harry Lennix), is later revealed to be the Big Bad and have been faking his moral ambiguity and logic all along.  That’s a fairly rare twist.  And Echo (Eliza Dushku) often serves as the logical outsider, though she’s only a new kid in the sense of her slowly-developing independent consciousness.

7.  True Blood
Another less direct new kid narrative; Sookie (Anna Paquin) does not make any life changes at the start of the series, but life changes sort of find her.  She’s always known that she’s different and she’s been aware that the world is different for a while before the series begins, but the difference (vampires to begin with) crosses her path at the beginning and from them on, she’s being thrown into the world of the supernatural, learning about vampires (another purpose that the new kid narrative serves is that of providing the audience with a convenient excuse for a lot of exposition, which is especially useful when the story takes place in a world that’s different from our own, i.e. in a different time period or in a world that contains supernatural elements) and serving as the logical outsider in regards to vampire customs and vampire-human dealings as well.  By season’s end, we have the first creation of a baby vamp, that of Jessica (Deborah Ann Woll), and eh, it’s still season one and for a lot of the rest of the series Jessica serves as a semi-logical outsider in the show as well.

6. Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar) is pure catalyst (as rather deconstructed in the season three episode “The Wish,” with a comment by Cordelia [Charisma Carpenter] highlighting the fact that if Buffy had never arrived in Sunnydale everything and everyone would be different).  It’s one of those cases where the fact that she ushers in all sorts of weirdness when she arrives actually causes the people around her to be thrust into new situations, despite being surrounded by familiar people and places, and causes them to play the logical outsider at times.  The closest the show probably gets to the specific logical outsider is Oz (Seth Green), with his dry remarks that highlight how strange things are, but everyone serves that purpose at times.

5. Deadwood
But Seth (Timothy Olyphant) and Sol (John Hawkes) are pure logical outsiders.  Seth doesn’t intend to bring order to the camp, but we arrive in the camp when he does and so we can see how unruly it must look through his eyes.  Deadwood is a show where new kids arrive all the time, all of them bringing some new perspective, but Seth and Sol serve as the clearest logical outsiders, eventually but not immediately enacting change of various sorts based on what they observe.

4. Firefly
Simon (Sean Maher) is a fairly straightforward logical outsider especially as regards space travel and a life of crime, and River (Summer Glau) sometimes serves as one too, but by bringing River into the crew’s lives he/they serve as catalysts as well.  The life of crime continues but is simultaneously upended, leaving everyone to have to learn to make adjustments.  We also get glimpses of logical outsider from Book (Ron Glass) and Inara (Morena Baccarin), the other new (or newer) kids on the ship.

3. Justified
Closer to a catalyst than a logical outsider situation, certainly; the impression I’ve gotten from the way that Art (Nick Searcy) addresses Raylan (Timothy Olyphant) is that the marshals’ office used to be a straightforward workplace.  They handled cases, nothing horribly dramatic ever happened.  Then Raylan gets transferred back home and accidentally keeps dragging his coworkers into all sorts of criminal drama that’s loosely connected to his old acquaintances.

2. Agents of SHIELD
Another fun subversion, sort of.  All of the characters are new kids in a way: Coulson (Clark Gregg) is just forming the team.  He recruits May (Ming-Na Wen), we see Ward (Brett Dalton) being recruited as well (the fact that we see his recruitment and the sort of wry, flip comments he makes sort of make it seem like he’s going to be our logical outsider, or at least like he could be, which couldn’t be farther from the truth).  We don’t see it, but Fitz (Iain de Caestecker) and Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) have been recently recruited as well; they even talk in the second episode about how they’re new to missions, but while they learn many things over the course of missions and grow quite a lot (Jemma has a more distinct arc, but) they are neither the logical outsiders (logical certainly, but that’s just their scientific personalities) nor particular catalysts.  It’s really Skye (Chloe Bennet) who serves both purposes, though: at first she’s analyzing SHIELD, spying on it and from within it, and she’s questioning the way things are done.  Then she’s working within it and she’s still questioning the way things are done.  She’s saying the things that the audience might be thinking and asking the questions that the audience might have themselves.  Furthermore, she serves as the show’s catalyst, first by getting SHIELD wrapped up with Mike Peterson (J. August Richards) and then by involving the team in subsequent situations that would not have existed were it not for either her outside perspective or her mysterious self.  The outside perspective, her ability to approach things in a way that’s not the rest of the team’s, is actually highlighted in “The Magical Place,” when Victoria Hand (Saffron Burrows) banishes her from the Bus out of seeing that as unhelpful and May allows it because she knows it will be beneficial.  And she arguably has emotional effects on the greatest number of other characters.

1. Game of Thrones
Let’s see.  Well, there’s Ned (Sean Bean) playing the new kid in the courts of King’s Landing and it going horribly, horribly wrong; there’s Sansa (Sophie Turner) and Arya (Maisie Williams) both playing new kid, usually logical outsider in one way or another, in their own circles and it going horribly, horribly wrong (Sansa is made to stay in the increasingly horrible situation she tries to adapt to, while after season one Arya has been on a continual roadtrip and playing the new kid constantly); there’s Jon (Kit Harington) and his Hundred Acre buddies all serving as new kids at the Wall and varyingly serving both roles, which doesn’t go well but isn’t horrible necessarily; there’s Dany (Emilia Clarke) starting with being the new kid in a horribly, horribly wrong situation (i.e. being sold into marriage) and then spending the rest of the series so far on a continual roadtrip and playing both the logical outsider and the catalyst constantly; etcetera, etcetera.  (It occurred to me the other night that most if not all of the POV characters in this series have roadtripped at least a little bit, while some of them, like Arya and Dany, have been on perpetual roadtrips the majority of the time.)

bonus: My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic
Yes, laugh, here I am including my silly pony cartoon on a list of actual real grown-up television shows.  But it’s a perfect example of the new kid narrative, because here’s Twilight Sparkle coming to Ponyville and acting not only as a logical outsider (though more to the behavior of her new friends and the concept of friendship in general than to the local goings-on) but serving as a catalyst.  Without Twilight Sparkle, the show would not happen.  Period.  This is a narrative structure that crosses genres.  Clearly.

–your fangirl heroine.

goodness guys

Television Tuesday :: it’s that time again!

8 Apr

I am overall content with the season four premiere of Game of Thrones.  Nothing egregiously confusing happened, and so far everything is still in a place where it could sort of wind up in more or less the place it needs to be?  Ish?  It’s hard because there are three sides of me at play: the person genuinely going “this is a well-made television program and the actors and technical crew do a nice job,” the social analyst going “okay I have to pay attention to what elements of this are problematic,” and the book fan going “time to notice every single thing that is different.”  So here is a list of things that I am content with in specific.

6.  Jon (Kit Harington) and his wildling accent
Did you notice that?  He killed with wildlings, ate with wildlings, traveled with wildings, lay with a wildling girl, and now he’s dropping his g’s like a wildling.  Linguistics!

5.  Oberyn (Pedro Pascal) and Ellaria (Indira Varma) being clearly bisexual
The book does mention their regular group sex endeavors, but I had been absolutely terrified that these were going to turn into “Oberyn bangs multiple people, one of whom is Ellaria” instead of “Oberyn and Ellaria bang multiple people.”  And when they went to Littlefinger’s brothel for said group sex endeavor, Ellaria kissed the girl and Oberyn was making advances on the boy.  (“So he’s gay and she’s a lesbian?” one of my friends asked.  “No!  Rampant bisexuality!” I shrieked gleefully.)  And said rampant bisexuality was then proved when Oberyn and Ellaria made out with each other a few seconds later.  Oberyn and Ellaria being bisexual is very important to me and so I’m glad that we got at least a glimpse of it (even though that girl prostitute probably didn’t need to be totally naked but still).

4.  The scene with Sansa (Sophie Turner) and Tyrion (Peter Dinklage)
The first trailer that showed Sansa upset and talking to Tyrion, saying that she lies awake thinking of what happened to her mother and Robb, made me very nervous.  Why, I wondered, would Sansa be confessing her feelings to Tyrion, except for the thing of how the television show likes to make Tyrion nicer than he is.  (I don’t dislike Tyrion, I think he’s very interesting, but the show has multiple times made him nicer or done things to make him seem better at the narrative expense of other characters, namely Sansa.)  “The only way this would be okay,” I said to my mother after we had watched this particular trailer three times in a row, “is if once she’s done saying that, she gets up and walks away, leaving him there.”  And, wouldn’t you know it?  That actually is what happened.  Sansa expressed her reasons for being upset and then left (“I don’t pray anymore.  [The Godswood is] the only place I can go where people don’t talk to me”).  And that was at least the best option at that point.

3.  Scenes with ladies.
Namely, ones that did not appear in the books specifically.  Dany (Emilia Clarke) asking Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel) about Meereen (tangent not pertaining to just-ladies: was Daario implying that Grey Worm had a crush on Missandei??  I… think he was?  I am not going to say what I think the ideal outcome for this would be, because then it won’t happen).  Margaery (Natalie Dormer) both with Olenna (Diana Rigg) and Brienne (Gwendoline Christie).  Ygritte (Rose Leslie) and… well, Tormund (Kristofer Hivju), who is a dude, but still.  I am perfectly okay with the addition of scenes like this.

2.  Cersei (Lena Headey) and Jaime (Nicolaj Coster-Waldau)
Just… in general.  A+ jobs guys I was good with it.

1.  All!  The!  Exposition!
And backstory and what have you.  Oberyn talking to Tyrion about what happened in the past with Elia (as pertained to Rhaegar, as pertained to Gregor Clegane, as a catalyst for his vengeance-seeking, etcetra).  Joffrey (Jack Gleeson) reading from the book about the Kingsguard, mentioning things that hadn’t really been mentioned before but are good to know.  Lots of conversations here and there that pertained to either things that happened pre-show or previously in the show, making motivations and history quite clear.  That was so welcome and good.

–your fangirl heroine.

nergirl awe