minutia_r: (Default)
This is something I posted on tumblr in response to something there. It got kind of long, and I figured I'd repost it here for anyone who's interested?

Okay, so, this is something I’ve thought about a lot, and apparently now is when I’m going to say it? Even though I don’t think I’m going to change anyone’s mind and I may piss people off.

Here we go: It really, really bugs me when some Nico fans act like any problems between Nico and Percy are all Percy’s fault for being a big meanie.

So let’s break it down:

Problems between Nico and Percy: things that are Percy’s fault

  • Percy: You should come back to Camp Half-Blood! You will be safe and accepted there!
    Nico: Yeah, right, do you think anyone really wants the son of Hades around?
    Percy: …


  • Okay, that one’s a fair cop. Not your most shining moment, Seaweed Brain.

    Problems between Nico and Percy: things that are no-one’s fault

  • Nico’s unrequited crush on Percy


  • Unrequited crushes suck! But Percy does not owe Nico kisses.

  • Nico’s internalized homophobia


  • Absolutely not Nico’s fault. I have a hard time even beginning to imagine how it might be Percy’s fault.

  • When they first met, and Percy thought Nico was super annoying


  • In Nico’s defense: he’d just been initiated into a magical world, and met a dreamy hero! Of course he was excited! In Percy’s defense: Nico was legit super annoying. But the thing is, we mostly know that Percy thought Nico was annoying because of his internal monologue, not because he was rude or dismissive towards him. He was a lot nicer than, say, Harry Potter to Colin Creevey under similar circumstances.

  • Bianca’s death


  • Nico’s grief and anger are perfectly understandable. But I was actually really impressed with how Percy handled this; it would have been so easy for him to say, “Yes, I am a big hero, I will protect your sister,” especially with a couple of successful quests where no one died under his belt. But he was 100% upfront about the fact that he couldn’t guarantee Bianca’s safety, he could only do his best. And he did.

  • The way—especially towards the beginning of their relationship—Percy saw Nico more as a responsibility and someone to be protected than a friend and an equal


  • I can see how this would annoy Nico. Especially since Bianca’s resentment of having to be Nico’s caretaker was part of what led her to join the Hunters, Nico probably didn’t want anyone to feel this way about him ever again. But at the beginning Nico was really a lot younger and less experienced than Percy. And Percy didn’t owe Nico friendship any more than he owed him kisses.

  • When Percy thought Nico wanted to kill him


  • It was an understandable mistake! And the important thing is that even though Percy believed this he didn’t go out and attack Nico pre-emptively or anything like that; he just wanted to find him and work things out.

    Problems between Nico and Percy: things that are Nico’s fault

  • When Percy thought that Nico had betrayed him to his father, and then attacked Nico when he came to rescue him


  • You mean, when Nico actually did betray Percy to his father? I mean, yeah, Nico didn’t want Percy hurt, and probably believed that he wouldn’t be, but still. Nico could have said, “Oh, hey, before we go to the Underworld, you should know, my dad wants a chat with you. I mean, it’s cool, he promised not to kill you, but I figured I should tell you before you’re bodily picked up by a fury and taken against your will to Hades’ palace. So you still want to go, or what?”

    That would have been not betraying Percy. As it was—this one’s all on you, Nico.
    minutia_r: (Default)
    osprey_archer just starting posting a fic of The Lost Prince by Frances Hodgson Burnett. I had never heard of the book, but I am a fan of osprey_archer, so I read the first chapter. It seemed relevant to my interests, and I've enjoyed books by Frances Hodgson Burnett before. Plus, public domain, free and easy to read, I thought I might as well check it out.

    It's justifiably not one of her better-known books; it's not by any reasonable measure good. (Also, given how FHB is best known as an author for and about girls, it's interesting to note that when the first female character showed up, more than a third of the way through, my reaction was, "Wait, there are women in this universe?" followed almost immediately by, "Oh, I see, she's an evil spy.")

    But I do have to wonder if Lois McMaster Bujold ever read The Lost Prince and if the Rat is a literary ancestor of Miles Vorkosigan. Not only does he have a hunchback and not the full use of his legs, yet is obsessed with all things military and is a precociously brilliant strategist, not only does he have enough force of personality to have gathered a gang of older and more physically fit street kids who regard him as their leader, but check out his physical description when he's first introduced:

    He was a strange little creature with a big forehead, and deep eyes which were curiously sharp. But this was not all. He had a hunch back, his legs seemed small
    and crooked. He sat with them crossed before him on a rough wooden platform set on low wheels, on which he evidently pushed himself about. Near him were a number of sticks stacked together as if they were rifles. One of the first things that Marco noticed was that he had a savage little face marked with lines as if he had been angry all his life.


    Miles' face is described as being lined with pain, not anger, but you know, close enough. I read this passage and went, "Oh, hi, Miles!"

    The nail-biting habit went to Elli Quinn, though.
    minutia_r: (fate)
    Staying on in Series Twelve when one is native to a different Series (or not-Series in the case of Eleven): A tedious bit of fanwankery by Minutia_R

    Over on tumblr, inerasabledreams asked: "I'm a little confused, in "Conrad's Fate," Gabriel de Witt said that is not possible for a person living in another series, but Millie (Series 10) lives with Christopher in Series 12 ... Someone could explain?"

    I'm glad you asked, inerasabledreams! (You asked the fuckyeahchrestomanci blog and not me, but that was an understandable oversight.) This is indeed one of the most vexed questions in Chrestomanci canon, and it's complicated by the fact that Mordecai Roberts, aka Tacroy, also spends most of his life in Series Twelve while being a native of Eleven (Not a Series).

    I should start this off with a disclaimer that the question was never resolved in the books, and now never will be; I have reasons to prefer my own theory and will elucidate them below, but ultimately it's just a theory and no more canon than any other.

    Cut for length. Really, it gets long. )
    minutia_r: (effulgency)
    Over on her tumblr, tacroy has been posting bits from Diana Wynne Jones' original manuscripts for her novels.  The other day, she posted this:

    I don’t think I helped her,’ said Cat, though he was not at all sure. Cat stood on his own near the ruins with the dragon looking enquiringly up at him from the grass. Janet had been happy in her world. She had missed her mother and father. Now she was probably here for good, and Cat wished he knew if it was his fault or not.

    Now look at how it goes in the final, published draft:

    "What did the child do?" said the old lady with mittens, very shaken.

    "Sealed herself in that world," said Chrestomanci. He was even more shaken. "Isn't that so, Cat?" he said.

    Cat nodded mulishly.  It had seemed worth it.  He was not sure he wanted to see Gwendolen again.

    See how much better that is?  Cat knows what he's done, he did it on purpose, and he's not sorry.

    (He will be sorry in a minute, because that is the nature of Cat.  But that doesn't take away from this moment, which I really do think is a crowning one of awesome for Cat, however understated.)

    Throughout most of Charmed Life, Cat is acted upon, or at the very most reacts impulsively, without intending or really understanding what he's doing.  His character growth comes when he chooses to act, even if what he does isn't very nice or very smart.

    The first version of events here would have been a step backwards for Cat.  Which, you know, will happen in real life--character growth is not a straight line--and I'm often happy enough to see that acknowledged in fiction.  But here, at the climax of the book, Cat really deserved his agency.  I'm glad DWJ gave it to him, in the end.
    minutia_r: (Default)
    Everyone seems to be talking about [livejournal.com profile] lannamichaels's anti-Miles Vorkosigan rant here:

    lannamichaels.livejournal.com/704066.html

    There's one thing in there I agree wholeheartedly with (no pictures of Nikki on your holo cube, Miles? Not cool), but mostly I don't, and some of it seems to stem from what I see as actual misreadings of the text (Ekaterin was not trying to put the brakes on her and Miles' relationship at the end of A Civil Campaign, she was using the threat of delaying the wedding in order to achieve a small wedding. Now why Cordelia of all people advised her to go with manipulation instead of honesty is another question).

    I adore Miles, I always have, and I don't think he's actually gotten less adorable in the later books. And I do like the later books, but I think in some ways the series would have been stronger if it had ended after Memory.

    The real problem as I see it, is that you can have your characters live happily ever after, or you can keep writing stories about them. Pick one.

    Also, I've seen the complaint before about how does Ekaterin possibly do all the work she's described as doing in Cryoburn, and while she's certainly a hard-working lady, what a lot of people seem to be missing is that she's an aristocrat. She's not actually washing the dishes and doing the shopping and preparing the meals and balancing the checkbooks and changing the diapers herself--she has Staff.

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