Lizzie Siddal

A Young Susan Takes a Moment Early in the Golden Age

It's always a bad idea for me to go browsing through web galleries late at night. Especially 19th century ones. But look what I found!

-Herbert James Draper, "A young girl by a pool"

I am in love with this image! Serene and lovely and such a moment of peace! What stresses of new monarchy sent you to this quiet pool, Susan? Maybe Aslan will appear in the golden water and counsel you. I love the posture (so young!) and the expression (so old!). And those brushstrokes! lkjasfoi; Cair Paravel gardens. Lovely!

Hello, Merlin

Peeps have been telling me to watch this show for practically a year! I don't know how I feel about it, since the plotlines are kind of boring and there's not really a lot of development and/or shirtlessness going on. But the characters are fairly interesting:

1. Merlin -- Simultaneously the smartest and the stupidest character. He runs around getting into the same magical trouble in every episode. He has mad skillz but is exceedingly naive, and relies on his charm and good luck to save the day. Merlin is adorable in a very Finn-ish way. He often sports a hipster-style scarf.

2. Arthur -- Struts around being buff and delicious, but looks ridiclous in every costume he wears. He usually sports one-shoulder armor that makes him look like a cyborg; when dressed up in hooded chainmail, he resembles a walking phallus. The entire show is just a teaser while we wait for the scene where Arthur takes his shirt off.

3. Morgana -- The king's mysterious ward whose purpose is to look hot and wear anachronistic dresses. She variously resembles Kat Dennings, Keira Knightly as Lizzie Bennet, Scarlett Johansson, Dianna Argon with dark hair, or Anna Kendrick. Morgana and Arthur have weird romantic tension where they act either like siblings or like they're betrothed.

4. Gwen -- The girl next door. She is Morgana's lady-in-waiting but also has hobbies like flower arranging and sewing, and she has plenty of free time for hanging out with Merlin. She's kind of bland in a cutesy/earnest way, but she does kiss Merlin when he wakes up from being poisoned. Gwen's costumes are horrible.

5. Gaius -- Court physician who is right about everything, but everybody usually ignores him. He constantly forgives Merlin for being an idiot, so he was probably a hardcore partyer in youth. Gaius has long shiny hair that is always perfectly straight despite the circumstaces. He is possibly the lovechild of Albus Dumbledore and Carol Channing.

6. Uther -- The bald king and Arthur's father. He needs to be reminded who Merlin is in every episode. He is a harsh ruler and usually reluctant to consider alternatives to his point of view; he is also not very good at single parenting.

So far, my favorite moment in the series was when Arthur says that his father never apologizes for everything, and then went and told Merlin he was sorry. Big man! I think the weird thing about this show is that the level of bromance is really low (or I've just been corrupted by SPN and Narniafic). I feel like Merlin/Arthur would be the lamest ship ever!

But, five episodes in is not a lot, and I'll keep watching the hope that things get hotter and more interesting. And more shirtless. Right?

Shut up shut up shut up, why did we never think of this before?

Okay, so. Massive post coming about all the awesome things that happened when rth and I met at SPN Con NJ, but first:

This morning I rolled out of bed at ten, which is when Supernatural reruns begin. There is just something magical about enjoying breakfast while Sam and Dean battle their way through ghosts, guts, and gore. But today, there appeared to be some kind of Closer marathon (ugh) so instead I watched a Season 5 episode from my DVR stash, which luckily is set to season record and still catches the reruns that air on Friday (another ugh, for the timeslot change). I selected The End because there was a lot of talk about it during Rob Benedict's panel. And HOLY OMFG. HOW DID WE NEVER NOTICE THIS.

Dean gets saved from croats when a Humvee cruises up and guys in camouflage and helmets hop out and start shooting up the place. The drinking. The music blasting. HOLY OMFG THIS IS OUR BELOVED TEAM 1 OF PLATOON 2.



I tried to match the arms on the door, and unfortunately I think it's the Army insignia and not the Marines, but I DON'T CARE. THIS MUST HAPPEN BECAUSE THE LEVEL OF AWESOME WOULD BE OUT OF THIS WORLD.

God bless be_themoon for getting me into Gen Kill in the first place (she was also my very first SPN friend), and metonomia for feeding my addiction to both. NOW GUYS TELL ME THIS STUFF ALREADY EXISTS BE I WAAAAAAAANT IT. BAAAAAAD. 

The Accent Game!

In the most recent episode of AsCast, we learned that Caspian would be losing his controversial accent in the Voyage the Dawn Treader film. There has been speculation as to whether the film would address this mysterious change, and if so, how. This seems like the perfect opportunity from some crackfic, and dare I say it, commentfic. Yes friends, I am inviting you to commentfic, for all that there are only four of you reading my posts. Here is where I admit that my hatred of Livejournal has almost completely dissolved, and I have indeed become a LJ girl. Good Lord.

So, I invite you to speculate with me. A ficlet addressing Caspian's accent -- or lack thereof. It can be any scene, anywhere, any characters. How do they bring up the topic? Will Caspian say it himself? Or perhaps other characters just whisper behind his back? The more crack, the better.

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So you're here, too?

I think it charming to say that metonomia  and I often meet in the limbo of day/night -- quite late for her, and quite early for me. On one such occasion the other night, we read a short story by Eileen Chang, titled simply, Love. I was led there by one of Roger Ebert's tweets, which instructed his followers "Don't cry" upon reading it. Funnily enough, we didn't. Instead it sparked some very interesting discussion. It was a sweet story, but we were disappointed in the (lack of) resolution and the idealization of the single moment. It needed more weight to be significant, so the fabulous Meto suggested we season it up with some Lucian spice. It turned out to be harder than I thought! Mine came out kind of AU, and was inspired by the work of rthstewart  and fire_and_a_rose .

There was once a girl of many stories and many names. She lived many lives, and journeyed on unknown paths and endless waters. In this journey she was taken for a slave, for she was very lovely, with shining golden hair. The King who desired her was righteous, but also young and foolish. He thoughtlessly sought her freedom by declaiming against slavery.

Afterwards there was a grand feast in her honor. The King who had freed her noticed that she was not among the celebrators, so he went outside seeking her. He found her sitting in a peach tree, where she was staring at the moon. "So you're here, too?" he said softly. But the girl who had lived many lives and knew many things did not answer, and after a while he went back inside.

Later in the night, the cruel men who had been her slavers crept into the castle and stole the girl again. They also slit the throat of the young King who had foolishly believed that words and laws alone could halt deeds, and never dreamed of treachery. The girl was sold as a concubine in some far-off town, and knew fear and hate and humiliation for all her days. When she journeyed on, she often thought of that brief moment of freedom, the moon, the peach tree, the young King, and wondered what might have been if she had answered him.

Among many days and many lives, across seas and stars, you may meet the glimmer of hope, the dream of love. But some things are not to be.

Yeah, so kind of depressing, but there you go. Check out [info]metonomia's much more hopeful response over here

Behind a Portrait

I wrote most of this back in November and had nowhere to post it. Then I remembered Why, I've got a LJ now! A place to post exactly this sort of. . . erm, tale. This is from what was pretty much the best and funniest lecture in 19th Century Painting. It's a tad bit naughty but mostly really funny and odd - beware!

So we're doing the Pre-Raphaelites right now, which I'm so excited about because it's my favorite movement. What I did not know before today were some really wacky stories from time - this is the best one. It starts with Millais, who pretty much started the style - he was initially unpopular despite being a young painting prodigy, and most people didn't like the direction he was going in.

Millais had one friend/defender in creative circles, famous art critic John Ruskin. They were so buddy-buddy that Ruskin invited him up to his home in Scotland to paint his portrait. Up there Ruskin has this little wife, Effie, that he'd been married to for six years. Six celibate years. You see, he was a lot older than she, and had in fact fallen in love with her when she was only eleven. He wrote all these books and poems for little Effie, and waited until she was old enough to marry him.

Problem was, once they were married he refused to consummate their relationship, citing disgust with certain aspects of her person. Turns out Ruskin didn't realize that grown women had pubic hair.

So we had poor little Effie all alone up in Scotland, very pretty and a bit of a flirt, stuck being involuntarily celibate. Cue the arrival of Millais: young, glamorous, the artistic genius of the avant-garde. Things get a little cozy out in the country while Millais is supposed to be painting her husband's portrait - and Millais and Effie become confidants. She confesses the high-and-dry marriage. Despite being Ruskin's protege, he starts pushing her to divorce her husband.

Getting a divorce was huge thing then, even in England, and the whole thing was examined very thoroughly by the courts, which is why we know all the hairy details about things like pubic hair. Effie's and Ruskin's testimonies pretty much went all the way there. At the end of it, their marriage was annulled. Effie and Millais got married the following year and punched out eight kids total.

So, does this painting look a little off to you? Millais took his time with the background, depicting an actual scene from Scotland, but by the time he got to doing the figure of Ruskin all this wacky stuff was coming out into the open. Everything was majorly awkward between the two and neither felt like traipsing out into the countryside together. Eventually Millais had Ruskin pose on a staircase in his house while he quickly finished the portrait. Lolz!