white straight ciswoman mid-20s-ish. surrounded by telly. likes words,
I have a hole punch, let's not get big-headed now.
keppps << shallitellyouastory
YAY WHAT A GOOD.
1. Guinevere, Gwen, my heart song & forever girl. I will concede that I think my love for her is much more to do with all that she could have been, than all that she has ended up being. But that’s fine, because the Gwen in my head is like as incredible as Angel Coulby deserves her to be 24/7 not in drips and drabs between queerbaiting-bullying scenes. Not that I have any residual bitter Merlin feels or anything.
2. Katara, my other forever girl who is like really near heart song status only not quite. With Katara I don’t need any headcanon or alt-verse things for her to reach her potential. Or at least: no more than that which is needed due to the restrictions of a narrative. If that makes any sense.
3. Daisy Day from Anansi Boys or Hunter from Neverwhere. … I realise these are two vastly different characters but I really love them both a lot. A lot a lot a lot. Always kinda disappoint that Daisy didn’t quite get a proper ending? Like she has all these great passages about how her song is EVILDOERS BEWARE and she’s this amazing cop who is a really freaking great at her job but then she gets married to Fat Charlie and lives in a beachhouse and has a kid and apparently that’s it? (Disclaim: all these things taken in and of themselves are perfectly amazing; it didn’t seem to be where Daisy’s character was heading and also it was all conveyed in a sentence which went something like “Charlie woke up, kissed Daisy’s naked shoulder and then took their son to the beach” SEE WHY I’M DISAPPOINT. Everyone else, even Rosie’s nightmare of a mother, even flipping Grahame Coates, got a decent amount of the narrative dedicated to their ~future/conclusion/whatever. Daisy gets barely a SENTENCE.)
BUT YEAH. ANYWAY. Hunter. HUNTERRRRR my love, my light. Basically Hunter has a special place in my heart just because she was one of the first characters I read that didn’t fit a specific or anticipated mould, like, at all. In fact, she took the mould - she took every mould - and blew them to smithereens with basically one look. Possibly also a nudge with her staff and/or toe. She broke through all expectations (most of the characters in Neverwhere did, as did the narrative, in fairness) and was complex and fascinating and the bravest person that ever lived in London Below let’s get that straight right now. And I love her 5ever.
4. Princess Leia. … Do I even need to go into reasons?
5. Dr Ellie Sattler/Dr Sarah Harding/Lex Murphy/Kelly Curtis. Because they are a big fucking reason anyone got off those islands alive and also all of them (with the exception of Lex, bless her reclusive hacker soul) totally opted to go to the islands of their own volition for scientific and/or omg-Sarah-Harding-is-the-greatest reasons. Which are all really great reasons actually to be honest and omg anyone who talks Jurassic Park down can come to my house for some tea so I can set them straight because they’re wrong.
Bim Adewunmi writes about those who exclaim (we paraphrase): ‘Why wasn’t The Hunger Games cast as I imagined in my racist reading?!’
"I am a woman of colour with a deep – almost unhealthy – love of popular culture. It is a love that is sorely tested in the face of such prejudice when I am told, loudly and with few qualms, that the stories of people who look like me just aren’t viable in a specific universe. It is often explicitly stated by my co-fans that I am not – ever – what they picture when they read these books or hear about these movies. The language may be coded: "She’s not how I imagined" or, in the case of interracial couple Sam and Mercedes on TV’s Glee, slightly more explicit: “They don’t look right together, like, they don’t … fit.” But the message is clear. We get to be supporting characters – the redshirts – or the villains. But heroes? Um, no. That would make things too … ethnic.”
you need this fic in your life.
not leastwise because it's beautifully written
entirely in character
treating every character like adults
who care very deeply for one another
and is filled with these fantastic moments of honesty and sweetness
with a side of Gwaine being properly Gwaine
and it basically heals all wounds from S4
read it read it read it read it read it read it
arthur x gwen x lancelot
ot3 to end all ot3s
Look, ‘Merlin’ deviates from Arthurian canon a lot and it irritates me just as much as the next person. But this one alteration is actually awesome and deserves a lot of credit and it’s ridiculous that fandom has a problem with it.
One of the best things about Arthurian canon is how fluid it is: Guinevere of the Welsh legends where she’s this goddess/almost Melusine-type figure is different from the Guinevere of the Breton lais who is again different to the Victorian reclamation of Guinevere. And so it goes, that her physical appearance changes from age to age with the specifics of her personality but only one thing remains constant, that in whatever reincarnation, Guinevere literally is the “Queen of Beauty”, the most idealised of the all the ideal female characters (as demonstrated by the fact that Lancelot, singled out as the greatest of all the knights, worships at her feet).
And that’s fun, you know why? Because nobody ever writes it down on stone that Guinevere has this-coloured hair or that-coloured eyes, every new generation can rediscover her and view her through the lens of their own aesthetic tastes. Which is why, the fact that the BBC decided to cast Angel Coulby as Guinevere is actually brilliant. Look, even today, the medieval ideal of fair-hair/fair-skin still prevails in a lot of cultures and places and we hold it up as a singular standard of beauty, when really there should be a diversity of standards (which really sucks and shows how regressive our society truly is). So the fact that the Merlin casting people still decided that they were going to take a black actress and say, “Hey! This lady! She is enchantingly beautiful and should be an ideal of beauty for our age. She totally is the kind of person who would have Arthur and Gawain and Lancelot falling at her feet!” is amazing and refreshing and fandom shouldn’t turn around and be like, “LOL NO, those dudes would never.”
Because you do realise there are a lot of young girls going around today with virtually no beauty icons of colour to look up to? You realise that despite the absolute ruckus that is created in the fashion industry over the lack of plus-size models (and I’m not trivialising this as a legitimate issue, I’m just offering it as a counterpoint), there is a literal silence on the relative absence of models of colour on a lot of runways and editorials? You do realise that those same same young girls deserve to see the “ideal” woman portrayed as a woman of colour because it makes them feel worthy and loved and if you think that’s just pandering to people of colour, then you can go home right now. As a WOC myself, I got such a kick out of seeing Angel playing Guinevere that I stuck with the show through its mediocre highs and its plummeting lows because it’s so fucking rare to see a woman of colour being celebrated as a beauty of that standard.
(And also you realise the fact that Guinevere is portrayed as being super-fair in the original lais has very little to do with historical reality, right? Everything in medieval literature is set up in binary oppositions and it’s not accidental that whenever a woman is described as being ugly, she’s also usually described as being “swarthy” and/or looking “Moorish”. It’s about setting Guinevere up as a very Christian, European ideal while demonising the great pagan Other and ties in with the whole let’s-give-all-the-Saracens-animal-characteristics things going on in Chanson de Roland. So don’t tell me you object to Angel Coulby’s casting on grounds of historical accuracy because I can smell your bullshit through the computer screen. Modern retellings of the legends usually have very little to do with religion and ‘Merlin’ definitely doesn’t so just narratively, there’s virtually no reason that Guinevere should be fair.)
Bradley James (x)
Hahahaha! Oh God Bradley let me love you!
The problem is that this is basically what Gwen’s entire character has become. It’s all she has any more and I’m so fucking sick of it!!! If they do nothing to give her character more next year, I will be beyond pissed! Gwen had so much potential to become something Guinevere has never been before and they completely ruined it. Good job, guys.
I swear if they make Gwen the Agravaine style ‘voice of reason’ next year there will be explosions of rage…
not entirely true though is it. Gwen had moments of strong agency and development this series. I’m not going to be one to defend the Arthur/Gwen relationship that was on screen this series, nor say that Gwen shouldn’t have been involved much more, but I am going to ask people to stop disregarding all the other things Gwen did. There have been plenty of picspams and gifspams that go around demonstrating these things: she stood up to the council/Agravaine in the premiere, as well as being one of the fire-bearing escort people through the kingdom to keep the freezing things at bay, she helped Gaius keep Merlin under control when he was possessed by snake things by Morgana (and therefore, btw, saved Arthur’s life a few times - AND Merlin’s, realistically), she was a key player throughout the Lamia episode, she warned Camelot about the Morgana/Helios/Agravaine invasion (nevermind that Arthur didn’t listen, again) and she was present throughout the finale, returning to Camelot and lending her allegiance to a cause that could, ultimately, result in her death - either by Morgana and her forces, or by Arthur and his after the fact if he decided to hold true to the terms of her banishment.
To be honest, reading that list makes me think that Gwen has all along this series demonstrated her bravery and leadership. She has done a hell of a lot to care for the kingdom and try to right the wrongs being done to it. And if that happens in small snippets of scenes because TPTB can’t be bothered to give her more, that still doesn’t detract from the fact that she’s doing it.
I’m on board that they’ve missed the boat in a few hundred aspects when it comes to developing who and what Gwen could have been, particularly in light of the Guinevere of the legends. And I’m first in the queue to want to rail against everyone involved with the abysmal choices they’ve made on her narrative overall. But let’s drop this line about how she’s only become a love interest and does literally nothing else but tell Arthur he has a good heart. Because it’s not true: that’s the story you’re choosing to see.
This meta piece was galvanized by my having come across this merlinconfession, and is mostly for the folk who feel similarly to anon.
Hullo nonny and all the Gwen-fans and -nonfans you may speak for.
I wanna open a dialogue. Namely speaking for myself as a long-term Gwen fan, to outline some things that are possibly a bit confusing for the non-initiated. And clarify why it is that I can get so defensive. I’m not going to claim to speak for all of us, and I know many other Gwen fans can articulate all this better than I can - and have done so. But I’m going to take a stab at explaining what it is that puts my teeth on edge, so that I behave “a little over the top” sometimes when people express their dislike of Gwen.
Herein follows a list of common “concerns” with regards to Gwen. If you fall into any of the first five points, I have hopefully included some adequate food for thought. And if you don’t, then take a look at points 6 and 7- I hope you’ll find them prudent.
In the 1100s, some dude named Geoffrey turned a couple of dudes named “Myrddin” into one dude named “Merlin” because he thought “Myrddin” would sound like “shithead” to courtly French speakers. This is the primary source for a TV show that has fans using the etymology of various characters’ names to excuse their racist complaints about the casting.
Everything about this response is excellent & amazing.
nickgonzo answered your question: So, I keep seeing these random posts in various fandoms about how “unrealistic” it is that there black people present in the fantasy equivalent of the Middle Ages or the Renaissance or whatever. Um, I know history isn’t the favorite subject of…
I think it is silly seeing as her name, from the welsh Gwenhwyfar actually means “The White Enchantress”. Whilst people of all nations would have been all over europe in the middle ages, and even in the medieval period, and I support the fact that there needs to be more accurate historical representation of multiculturalism, I support accuracy to the source material more. Unless its an ironic nickname like calling a tall person Tiny, I think the title Gwenhwyfar or the Irish Findabair meaning “White Fay” means she was white.
White doesn’t have to refer to her skin color. It could have referred to the perception of her magic, her clothes, any number of things that don’t relate to skin color. And that’s before we get into the fact that the source material has been changed & changed again as the stories were passed on orally for generations so any chance of there being accuracy to the original material has already faded.
I do disagree on this subject, I want to make it perfectly clear that I hate Merlin for its historical inaccuracies as well as its bad writing and acting and all that, but I only object to the casting as an inaccuracey. I long for more strong female leads, and I also long for more female black characters whose race isn’t a big thing, a defining part of their personality, much like a character can’t be gay without them being “the gay character”. Whether Shive from resident Evil 5 or Storm in Xmen. I want more strong characters like Lenora Crichlow in Being Human or Antonia Thomas in Misfits.
I refuse to be painted as a racist for beliving in accuracy in mythology. I hate Immortals too. 300 is pretty shit, and actually a racist film. So theres that.
Accuracy in mythology…you do realize that oral traditions mean details are lost right? And there’s no evidence that the legends of Arthur are remotely historically accurate right? Because right now, while you insist you’re not racist that’s frankly what it sounds like when you insist that the dragons & the wizards are believable, but a black woman marrying a king is not despite the fact that there is actual historical evidence of intermarriage between Africans & several European royal families.
The historical evidence you are using is from the wrong time period, Queen Charlotte is a few hundred years out of the Authurian time period. Its true that the world would have had less barriers for travel and a less narrowminded view on race and skin colour and beliefs. Amalgamated religions such as Catholasism, the great divider in race and creed across the world, is years off spreading its hate across the globe. Whilst I think it not only possible, but actually documented that royalty of the time and land owners would have taken wives of various skin tones, and probably would have been more likely to engage in same sex activities, I happen to think, on the subject of Guenivere, its not true. The CGI dragons and shit, that all balls. There were dragons in Authurian myth, but the BBC injects them with a hearty vigour into every facet of the show. That a flying skeletons and blah blah blah. A misspent youth reading “The Real Arthur” books and all that kind of twaddle means I know a bit about this subject, so massive historical inaccuracy peeves me.
The knee jerk reaction youve taken to dub me a racist is pretty horrific. You don’t know anything about me or what I do, or whom I’m married to or whatever. Based on one historical inaccuracey you’ve painted me as a White supremacist who enjoys the music of Wagner. I’m not in anyway and its upsetting that this is the way you need to deal with things rather than actually talk about this.
The fact that you put the word white supremacist in my mouth though I never said it or mentioned Wagner (which for the record is enjoyed by people who aren’t white supremacists), says tons about what you’re bringing to this conversation. Queen Charlotte was descended from Margarita de Castro y Sousa, a black branch of the Portuguese Royal House. So, it’s not remotely illogical to assume that there were black people present in royal families long before she rose to the throne. Again the fact that you find the dragons & magic believable in the legends but not the black woman is a problem as is your need to play the victim in this conversation. Someone is knee jerking all over the place but it’s not me. I don’t care about who you married (you do know that internalized racism doesn’t go away because you have sex with POC right?), or what you think you’re presenting when you say these things. It’s the internet, I can only go by what you show me & I’m telling you what you’re showing me. Don’t like it? Change yourself. Stop expecting others to ignore reality.
Reblogging the whole thing b/c of karnythia’s rebuttals, but I wanted to say — is he thinking of the insipid Halle Berry version of Storm from the X-Men movies? Because comic book Storm’s blackness is VERY MUCH a defining part of her character, and that’s not a negative thing.
Also LOL at “I like characters who don’t make a Big Thing out of their race.” You know what, buddy? I would LOVE to not make a Big Thing out of my race. BUT MOTHERFUCKERS NEVER LET ME FORGET IT.
What kills me is that folks that get all up
anin arms about Gwen’s race are always SO CONFIDENT (READ: ARROGANT) in their claims, even if they’ve got nothing but instinct to back them up. They JUST KNOW that brown people are anachronistic to Arthurian legend–-doesn’t matter that they’ve never properly researched the issue. THEY DON’T HAVE TO. BECAUSE THEY JUST KNOW.
So even though this guy concedes that “people of all nations would have been all over europe in the middle ages, and even in the medieval period,” casting a POC to play Guinevere is “UNSPEAKABLE” (ugh, it’s a travesty, isn’t it?) because he knows that the real Guinevere (nevermind that it’s doubtful there ever was a real Guinevere) was white. HE JUST KNOWS.
Missing in all this discussion over “historical accuracy” is the fact that Merlin is a family television show.
Let’s break down what family television is. It’s television, for the whole family. Now, what that means is that, at its best, family television is going to have characters and stories and themes which act as formative catalysts on younger viewers. If the younger viewers are lucky, the more positive aspects will also be reinforced in subsequent discussion with their family members and/or peers. Either way, the portrayal of POCs and women and any member of any marginalized group (not forgetting that they frame Merlin as some kind of flag behind which the oppressed masses of magicians will eventually flock - metaphor here, guys.) is going to be influential - and the more positive the representation is, the more important it now becomes.
Taking this into account, then. What’s more important? (False) historical accuracy? Or seeing a black woman be a strong, admired character in her own right? (False) historical accuracy? Or portraying a black woman as a positive role model? Or your false historical accuracy?
Just wondering. Because I know which option I would go for.