hymnia: (Remus/Tonks)
The Harry Potter shipping war has, I think, forever changed the way I look at romantic subplots in any fiction I consume. Meet cute. UST. Show, don't tell. I learned these things from HP fandom, and primarily from the shipping debate corner of fandom. Now I find myself analyzing the ways in which writers do—or don't—signal romantic vibes between characters in all the fiction I come across with much more attention than I did before.

One common complaint I see across the many fandoms I've come to know since then—whether I dived in completely or just stuck in a toe—is that a canon pairing doesn't have enough “development”. And I want to take a moment to contest that complaint—not for any particular case, but as a general rule. That's not to say that I think such a complaint could never be valid. But I think it is a tired, overused complaint that often doesn't really take into account the full scope of what the author is trying to do.

The first problem with the complaint is that it doesn't take into account the role of romance in the story. If you're reading Twilight or watching Letters to Juliet your complaint about lack of development between a romantic pair would have more validity than if your media of choice is, say, The Lord of the Rings or Naruto. Romance clearly plays a larger role in some stories than in others; you can't expect an author to spend loads of time developing a romance when there's, for example, a war going on. Especially if the characters involved are supporting characters in a large cast. But even if one or both members of the pairing is a protagonist, only so much time can be devoted to the protagonist's romance.

The second problem is that “developing” a romantic subplot in a story where romance has a relatively small role requires tying it to the main plot, or at least to a larger plot line. Hogwarts doesn't have a school dance every year; instead, they have a special Yule Ball that is part of the Triwizard tournament and connects Harry's competitors in the tournament more closely to Harry and his friends. In HBP, the clues that Remus and Tonks like each other are hidden among general news from the war. This limits the amount of information that can be provided about each couple's interactions.

Often those who cry out for “development” will point to examples of stories in which the protagonist and his/her love interest—or else two co-protagonists—share some adventure and through it fall in love. That's all well and good as far as it goes. But it's unfair to expect every adventure story to take that route. This is where I, personally, appreciate a little touch of realism. In some stories, the protagonist pairs off with someone that they meet later in their adventure, or someone they left behind who didn't get to come on the adventure. Or perhaps two supporting characters who only interact a little bit on-screen or on-page while the adventure is going on pair off at some point. The fact is, these examples are much closer to the reality of how people meet and fall in love. The Speed method of romance is by far the exception rather than the rule in real life love stories. Most people meet and fall in love under far more mundane circumstances.

And such mundane circumstances are hard to tie to the main plot. A good example is the story of Arwen and Aragorn, which Tolkien chose to tell in an appendix because it didn't quite fit into the canon proper of LOTR. That's because their relationship was mainly established in quieter times, before the war of the ring began. The cinematic version found a way to work Aragorn and Arwen's relationship back into the main plot, but what worked for the film would not necessarily have worked for the already very dense storyline of the book.

The complaint of lack of “development” seems to set up a false dichotomy. Either the romance is fully integrated into the main plot, or the author is not “allowed” to pair those characters together. IMO, that is much too restrictive. I like romance. I want to see it happen in many different ways, not just the His Dark Materials model of love in the midst of struggle. I even enjoy having a pairing revealed as a “surprise twist” in the plot, as long as it's not involving a POV character, and as long as it doesn't “undo” another pairing that I enjoyed more. (And even then, sometimes I can forgive.) I think authors should be allowed to have a wide variety of options for including romantic subplots in their stories.


And now, some multi-fandom tribonds I came up with in the last day or so:

1. Faramir...Molly Weasley...Ron Weasley

2. Prince Zuko...Eowyn...Luke Skywalker

hymnia: (Bunny LOVE ME)
So I was kind of afraid my previous post would be a complete failure. The problem is that song lyrics are usually meant to have broad appeal, to suit feelings that are nearly universal. They are too general by nature to work as good clues. So only two people even guessed on my last post and while their guesses certainly made sense they were, I'm sorry to say, all wrong. Ah, well. It’s my fault, not theirs. I APOLOGIZE TO THE WORLD!!!! [/Ritsu] But I really liked the idea of this meme, so I hope you all will indulge me and guess on this second attempt, this time with what I hope will be MUCH better clues. (It’s the same 12 couples in the same order, so you can still use the songs as clues as well, if you want.)

12 Favorite Pairings, TAKE TWO )

Okay, I hope that’s better. Please come out and play! And post your own, too.

hymnia: (Sleeping fairy)
Found while journal-surfing:

- Pick up to 15 favorite pairings.
- Describe them in less than 25 words.
- Have your flist guess them.

I chose to use song lyrics to describe the pairings, because, well…that’s just the way I think. And I couldn’t get any of them down to less than 25 words and still make sense.

Because song lyrics can get a little generic (though I tried really hard to find distinct excerpts), I’m going to give the additional hint of listing the fandoms represented at the bottom of the post. That way, you can try guessing without the hint, but if you get stuck, you can scroll down for a little help.

12 Favorite Pairings )

Hint: Fandoms used, some more than once )

hymnia: (Default)
It's interesting to me how fandom has a way of bringing together people with widely disparate views and passions into one volatile community. I want to understand that better. And so, a poll:

[Poll #1465194]

Also, I have another question for those of you who have been involved in more than one fandom and/or have experience with multi-fandom or pan-fandom communities (Fandom Wank or Cosplay.com, for example):

What would you say are the most common sources of conflict in fandoms? What do people argue about the most? What issues are most likely to cause a fandom to divide into smaller cliques?

I would really like to get a lot of good responses for this, so please, if this discussion interests you, than not only answer, but also PIMP IT FAR AND WIDE! Thank you!

hymnia: (Default)
Thanks to Naruto fandom, I've taken to calling them "pairings" rather than "ships". Other than nomenclature, not much changes between fandoms when it comes to "pairings"--both the good and the bad.

Anyway, just for fun, a meme, stolen from quite a few of you:

♥ Runner-up
♥ Honorable mention(s)
♥ Crack pairing(s)
♥ Ship everyone else seems to like, but I don't


Meme time!

May. 26th, 2009 10:23 pm
hymnia: (Default)
Distract me from my laryngitis/horrible hacking cough, plz!

Swiped from [livejournal.com profile] umadoshi:

Name your 10 absolutely favorite couples (het/slash/canon/fanon) and ask people to see what trends they notice about your couples. Try to pick different fandoms:

1. Tohru/Kyo (Fruits Basket)
2. Gambit/Rogue (X-Men)
3. Remus/Tonks (Harry Potter)
4. OBHWF (Ron/Hermione + Harry/Ginny - Harry Potter)
5. Jesse/Becca (Life Goes On)
6. Willow/Oz (BTVS)
7. Anakin/Padme (Star Wars)
8. Mai/Zuko (Avatar)
9. Renji/Rukia (Bleach)
10. Logan/Veronica (Veronica Mars)

These aren't really "absolutely" my favorite couples. Since the point of this meme is to invite discussion I favored more well-known pairings over, for example, Ryuuki/Shuurei from Story of Saiunkoku.

Hmmm...I can already see some common threads. What do you think?

hymnia: (Default)
Or if copyright law is of any interest to you, which I think applies to almost anyone who frequents Teh Intarwebz.

Three stories and an argument...

[livejournal.com profile] umadoshi shared this link, and I wanted to pass it on. It's a lecture and slide show presentation by Stanford Law Professor Lawrence Lessig. Aside from giving an entertaining presentation that includes a clip from an AMV as an example of user-generated remixing of content, he makes an interesting argument about how current copyright law stifles creativity (and he does so without condoning piracy). Good stuff, and well worth the 20 minutes of your time it will take to watch.

I found it especially interesting watching this after having read several posts this evening (including the multi-part series by [livejournal.com profile] praetorianguard) about the case JKR is bringing against the publisher of Steve Vander Ark's book (see TLC's article for details). I don't quite feel comfortable arguing that what Lessig says about user-generated remixing in his lecture exactly applies to this situation, but I do know that while I believe JKR probably has a solid case—and I don’t deny her right to pursue it—I can't help feeling more sympathy for Vander Ark in this case. I believe his compilation of the online Lexicon constitutes an act of creativity, and that it ought to be encouraged. Of course there’s the issue of putting it up for free on the web vs. selling it for profit in print form. Of course there’s the issue of possibly including content written by other contributors without their consent. And of course there’s the issue of how incredibly foolish some of the representatives of his publisher have been. I’m not going to get into all of that. All I’m saying is that my gut feeling is to sympathize with Vander Ark, and that I appreciate his work on the Lexicon as a creative act.

If it were up to me—and I know this could probably be classified as an “unpopular fandom opinion”—I’d say that Vander Ark would probably be a great choice to edit/compile JKR’s official HP encyclopedia, as long as it included additional content from her notes, and her touch and flair in the writing itself. That’s what would happen in my perfect world. For while I think very highly of JKR as a storyteller, she doesn’t really strike me as the sort of detail-oriented person who can take and catalogue loads of trivial information in the way that I think would make the most appealing Harry Potter reference book. That’s JMHO. PLZ don’t flame or refer F_W to this post, mmkay?

Anyway, I wish there were some way for JKR and SVA to resolve the problem that would mollify and benefit both of them—and fans, too!—but I doubt it’s possible at this point. :(

My hopes for the future of what Lessig calls a “read-write” culture, however, are a lot higher. What do you think?


Meta rec

Jan. 21st, 2007 08:30 pm
hymnia: (Default)
I thought this was an interesting topic of discussion:

[livejournal.com profile] fernwithy ponders what makes something "fandomable" or "ficcable".

After doing a couple of posts on things my f-list isn't especially into (Warriors and Tom Sawyer), I got to thinking about the question--what is it that makes something "fandomable" and something else just popular? (I'm not talking about popular vs. unpopular; no accounting for that, sometimes, just kind of, what inspires these insanely talkative and creative fan communities, as opposed to being "the it book" or something along that line.)

Everything out there has some fandom somewhere, I'm quite convinced, but there's a difference. Harry Potter has 281,748 stories at the moment at The Pit, and will probably gain a couple hundred by the end of the week. Stephen King, who has arguably sold a comparable number of books, has 371. The ubiquitous Da Vinci Code has 190. John Grisham isn't even listed. The bizarrely popular Gossip Girl books rack up a total of 70, Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants--movie and all--only gets to 203, and all of Georgia Nicholson's full-frontal snogging can only get her to 84, despite a lot of popularity when FFN was at its peak.

Go read the rest, including the comments, wherein I rank anime/manga series by number of fics at FFN and puzzle over why Furuba ranks as high as it does.

hymnia: (Default)
If you don't know what this is about already, here is the necessary background info.

It really bugs me that people are somehow able to believe that [livejournal.com profile] angiej/Ebony's lifting of several lines and--more significantly--the structure of a very pivotal and memorable scene from Anne's House of Dreams and using them in Trouble in Paradise without crediting LMM is not plagiarism.


Oh, how I remember the night I found that passage, over a year ago. I searched and searched for a citation, because I remembered hearing about the whole CC thing and how the BNFs had assured people that whatever she and any of them borrowed was cited--and like a litle child, I believed! I looked at the beginning and end of that chapter in TiP, throughout the chapter, at the previous chapter, at the next chapter, at the first chapter, at the last chapter for any mention that Ebony had borrowed from one of my favorite authors, whom she also claimed as one of her favorite authors. I liked Ebony, darn it. Not that I ever knew her personally, but I had lurked at her journal and liked most of what I saw there, and despite all the things that some of my fandom-oldbie friends said, I always just felt like I should give her the benefit of the doubt. I remember feeling sure that the citation must be somewhere and I was just overlooking it.

But there's no citation, and I'm sorry, but just because it's only a few lines and the two scenes show a similar and somewhat common circumstance doesn't excuse it. I don't believe for a second that it could have been subconsious. That scene in LMM's book is intense--it's not likely to be forgotten, especially by someone who is a particular fan of the author. Also, it's not just the words itself that are lifted. There are some important details that Ebony also borrowed, which I think are what make LMM's scene so effective: one, that the husband is the one who has the job of informing his wife of the loss, and two, that the POV is taken away from the grieving woman's room as she cries out. The first detail increases the intensity of the scene, while the second undercuts it. It creates a climax, and then gives the reader a bittersweet relief. It's brilliant writing, IMO, and Ebony stole it, and it makes me angry that people refuse to recognize that.

ARGH! Sorry if I'm being wanky, but I hardly ever go off on the things in fandom that bug me, at least not publically. I think it's my turn to rant. >:|

hymnia: (Default)
Fandom questionnaire

Yes, another meme. Isn't it exciting?! Stolen from [livejournal.com profile] alphabet26.

Pick six fandoms and answer the following questions. Don't look at the questions first.

2. HP
3. Star Wars
4. Veronica Mars
5. Fruits Basket
6. Full Metal Alchemist

The Questions )

Mom and I watched Out of Africa this evening. It's a beautiful movie.

On a completely different note, I would like to recommend another AMV, mainly because the song is funny (the choice of characters/clips adds to the humor if you are an anime fan, but it should be funny even to people who are not anime fans, because the song itself is amusing and appeals to anyone who knows general pop culture): The Ultimate Anime Showdown of Ultimate Destiny.

Must go to bed now. Good night!



Jul. 24th, 2005 08:08 pm
hymnia: (Default)
The book—SPOILERS )


P.S. Anyone want to volunteer to add the text "A little more love in the world" in a readable but not too distracting font to my icon? *bats eyelashes* Thanks, [livejournal.com profile] karet!
hymnia: (Default)
Gacked from [livejournal.com profile] delemtri and [livejournal.com profile] angua9, and slightly modified by me:

a. I will not claim that writing ships which I do not endorse would make JKR a bad or cheesy writer. My judgement of the quality of her writing will be based on other criteria than which ships she chooses to write.
b. I will not leave the fandom due to the outcome of the romantic subplots. If I am proven wrong, and I choose to leave for other reasons, I will at least remain long enough to concede.
c. If a competing ship sails in canon, I will congratulate those who had the foresight to ship it.
d. If I am proven wrong in my beliefs, I will blame MY OWN JUDGEMENT, and not the author or anyone else. I will acknowledge to all and sundry that I was wrong -- not only about the outcome but about my interpretations of many aspects of the story -- and I will try to use the experience to improve my interpretation and prediction skills.
e. I will reserve judgement on whether any particular subplot or development is good, bad, or enjoyable to me personally until after I have actually read it.



hymnia: (Default)

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