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Random Fandom - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
Random Fandom
I'm bored and a little stir crazy. Been in too long.

So, random thoughts from various fandoms:

Star Wars
I like the prequels better than the originals. No, I'm not saying that to be a three-headed monkey. I think they're thematically and structurally richer, and I think the characters are more complex, and (to me, at least) much more interesting. Good, sincere people--except Palpatine--confronted with difficult, morally murky choices in a galaxy that's falling apart at the edges... and, yeah, one of the good guys fails in a big way. I like that they are all reasonably well-educated, too.

Which feeds into, I don't get why people want to paint Anakin as a bad seed from the start. What's interesting about that? Isn't it more interesting, more tragic, to watch his goodness and his love used against him, just as Palpatine will unsuccesfully try to use it against Luke later... only without the sobering reality of seeing another version of himself lying on the throne room floor?

Oh, I also like the music better. And the costuming is worlds better. Despite the critical belief to the contrary, the dialogue is certainly no worse, and is better in some respects. (Though Lucas, to be fair, is not a dialogue writer, and probably never will be. But this works with Anakin, I think, who is writing his own scripts in his head as he goes and isn't all that good at it. "So have you... grown more beautiful I mean... Er, for a Senator..." Loved him there, just stumbling around, trying to be suave and failing utterly. He's the anti-Lando.)

This is not to say I don't love the Classic. I really, really do. Those were the movies that made me love movies. I just love the prequels even more.

One of my favorite moments in TPM was Anakin crying "It's working!" while his mother looks on sadly, knowing what it means... but also, as an audience member, realizing that this isn't the paradigm of Anakin's life, that so many things he does won't work, no matter how hard he pushes.

Harry Potter
In trying to describe books I like, I finally hit on what feels right to me. These are books that, when I open them, they look back at me.

There's a kind of power in these books to evoke the imagination, the literal "image-making" in the mind. When I read Stephen King, the image in my mind is sitting in a bench in the town common (as described in Needful Things), listening to a talkative local. With Harry Potter, I feel like I'm sitting up all night with an old friend who's blown back into town after being away for awhile, eating popcorn and ice cream and getting silly from time to time. With Tolkien, I feel like I'm in a lecture hall, listening to a wise man with whom I wouldn't consider arguing (at least while he's speaking), who has a gentle, quirky sense of humor.

That's just the authorial voice coming through, seeming real to me. It just doesn't happen very often, and when it does, it just transports me. It's like I'm not reading at all, but hearing, feeling, and experiencing. It just all happens to come through the medium of the page.

I love the sense of love in these books. That's what sets them apart from all kinds of similar ones. Rowling obviously loves her guys, if in a sometimes rough-and-tumble, big sister way. And they love each other. It's not in a spectacular, oh-you-are-the-earth-and-the-sea way, but in a regular, down-to-Earth way. You can feel Harry's hunger for this, which grows the more he has of it.

Buffy
I admit it. Buffy is just fun for me. I liked Xena, too, but Buffy is better. Kick-ass heroine.

That said, there were a few places where the melodrama got too heavy. I didn't care all that much about her frustrated love life, though I was happy when a couple of them worked out. I did sort of wish she'd settle on one and keep him, though. The boyfriend-switching gets old.

Yes, I admit it. I'm of the early love school (which is kind of depressing at almost 34 and single) at least in fiction, where it's all symbolic anyway. But when it came to the last season, I didn't want some random new person in Willow's life. I wanted Oz back, dammit. I didn't care about Kennedy, and probably wouldn't have even if she hadn't been an irritating character. In that important a role in the closing sequence of a drama, that's when you bring back the act 1 players, to close the circle and make it complete. (Okay, so Oz was technically season 2, but if you're going with a three-act structure, that's still the opening.) Angel should have had more than a single scene as well, though, to be fair, Spike had the more interesting role there, and Angel couldn't very well do the self-sacrifice thing when he had his own show to return to. Symbolically, Spike was filling the same niche anyway (the atoning penitent), and doing it better because he was feeling his way instead of already being used to it.

(Okay, okay. I don't need no stinking consistency. I like Spike, but missed Oz, and that's all there is to it.)

Eh. Enough quibbling.

I feel a bit...: bored bored
Soundtrack: Opera from across the building

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Comments
scionofgrace From: scionofgrace Date: April 20th, 2004 06:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
I like what you said about the authorial voices of Tolkien and Rowling. Tolkien is, indeed, telling a story, something that happened long ago, even if the story still contains many small details (Sam tapping his fingers on his sword as he counts the days and looks at the crescent moon, for instance). Rowling tells her story more like she's telling about someone she knows, and she was there for much of it.

And yes, her works have a wonderful love in them. It's great how integral to the books love is.

(I think for Tolkien, I might say that his books are stuffed full of honor and nobility and integrity)
ladyaeryn From: ladyaeryn Date: April 20th, 2004 08:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
Another three-headed monkey checking in. ;)

Loved him there, just stumbling around, trying to be suave and failing utterly. He's the anti-Lando.

Isn't he, though? Can you picture Anakin uttering something like "you truly belong here with us among the clouds"? Well, maybe later on in their marriage, as kind of a quip/tease. But a first-run pick-up line? No. He wings it every step of the way, hoping something catches. Lucky for him it does. ;) It's why I want to rip my hair out when I hear people insist to me that every move he makes is some calculated, manipulating way to get Padme. He just doesn't work that way.

It's like I'm not reading at all, but hearing, feeling, and experiencing. It just all happens to come through the medium of the page.

That's as good a way to put it as I've ever seen. When I try to hook people on these books, who won't read them because of the length - I try to explain that it's hardly even like reading. You're just in another world, automatically. From page one onward.

I didn't want some random new person in Willow's life. I wanted Oz back, dammit.

YES! Though I'd rather they not have killed off Tara at all... if they had to have another interest for Willow in 7, it should have been Oz. Didn't she say "some part of me will always be waiting for you", anyway?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: April 20th, 2004 08:33 pm (UTC) (Link)
Didn't she say "some part of me will always be waiting for you", anyway?

Yup, she did, and that thread was just left lying around for no good reason. Well, they're talking about movies. Maybe they can convince SG to come back for a movie.
thewhiteowl From: thewhiteowl Date: April 21st, 2004 06:25 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, yes, I loved that line of Anakin's too! You just had to wince in sympathy with him.

I don't watch much Buffy, but Oz was cool. Seth Green is very cute too, which helps. ;) My housemate has a mad crush on him (which she denies), and dragged us all to see The Italian Job just because he was in it. Then, she's a software engineer, so his hacker character would be attractive to her.
alphabet26 From: alphabet26 Date: April 20th, 2004 11:06 pm (UTC) (Link)
I don't get why people want to paint Anakin as a bad seed from the start.

I think you've said that you don't read the SW books, but there's a line in one of the more recent ones, Tatooine Ghost, that I think you'd appreciate. This book is set right after RotJ and Leia is trying to deal with the fact that Vader is his father. She and Han are on Tatooine and she's talking to people who knew Anakin as a child. They tell her what a good boy he was, how polite, how sweet. This kind of throws her off.

She talks to Luke about it, and he can tell that it perturbs her. He says something like, "What, did you think he came out of the womb with that helmet on?"
thewhiteowl From: thewhiteowl Date: April 21st, 2004 06:16 am (UTC) (Link)
Wasn't it Han who made the crack about Anakin's emerging from the room complete with hwlmet and respirator? Luke wasn't in TG much (only a comm call at the beginning IIRC), though Leia did think of him a lot in context of Anakin/Vader and their heritage and so on.
I like TG, for an EU book. Even though it wastedtime on Imperials and their plots, :-D, Han and Leia were characterised really well, and they even got to make love (off-screen, of course, but it as obvious that they did :-D)
alphabet26 From: alphabet26 Date: April 21st, 2004 07:56 am (UTC) (Link)
I couldn't say, I only leafed through the book, but I could have sworn it was Luke, during that call. Could have been Han. But I just thought the sentiment was one Fern would appreciate. (Yes, I'm talking about you like you aren't here. Isn't that fun? ;P)
thewhiteowl From: thewhiteowl Date: April 21st, 2004 08:40 am (UTC) (Link)
Now you've made me want to re-read it...shall I be forced to buy my first EU book since 2001? (I read it all sitting on the floor of the bookshop :-D)
atropos87 From: atropos87 Date: April 21st, 2004 01:29 am (UTC) (Link)
These are books that, when I open them, they look back at me.

Now, Fern, this is why I like reading your LJ. You can take a whole collection of jumbled up thoughts that fly around in my head from time to time and express them beautifully in one sentence. That is *exactly* what grabs me about Harry Potter, and a number of other books that I'm passionate about. Thanks for summarising it so neatly.
From: hvaharu Date: April 21st, 2004 10:32 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks for writing about the prequels the way you did. It's so rare to find positive reactions to them. I can't understand how so many people fail to see that they're as starwarsy as they come and that while some things might be different, it doesn't automatically mean that they are worse. Long live prequel fans! :)))
erised1810 From: erised1810 Date: April 21st, 2004 04:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
OH butthat is exactly what I feel about readign books. It's like having an appointment with either the narrator or theauthor themselves. It's fantastic!
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