fbpx

Archive for Writing

Before Leia dropped the “Princess”

I have to admit, when I was younger, I always hated Princess Leia (I knew nothing of Carrie Fisher, the person, until decades later so for me, at the outset, there was only Leia). Perhaps not the most popular idea right now, when so many women are coming out and citing her as their inspiration, their role model, the quintessential “non-princess”.  As her character evolved (and I grew older), my opinions of that character certainly changed for the better (particularly when she took out Jabba the Hut), but for a very long time the idea of Leia was tainted by how she was translated into real-life.

Princess Leis in her detention cell.

Post the release of Star Wars, this was the only subject on which all the kids in the neighborhood could agree to play.  Every group game became Star Wars, no more Cowboys and Indians, no more Firefighters and Forest fires, which was AWESOME for a while.  Everyone on the block had seen the movie (some had actually seen it TWICE, which was almost unheard of) so we all had a common world to build on.

Except for that annoying “Princess” thing.

In practical application, Leia got categorized with every other Princess (note the Capital “P”). Nobody remembered that she was the only one other than Han who could shoot straight.  Nobody remembered that she had kept her secrets under torture, that she was the one who stepped up to lead when Han and Luke’s half-baked rescue plan unraveled.  She had Princess in her name and that meant one thing only.

Whomever played her had to sit on the sidelines and wait until someone bothered with a rescue.

So for a very very long time, I HATED Princess Leia and would simply bow out of any game that involved her.  There was never a win to be had, I had to be Leia because I was the girl.  Fortunately, the boys in the neighborhood took the hint and we eventually agreed on an “invisible” Princess who would wait and do all the boring things until the game came back around to rescue-time (yeah, okay that may not have been a “better” solution per-se, but we were little and it solved the immediate problem).

I feel that a lot of people forget where the world was back in the 70’s when this film was first released.  That girls were still supposed to be “girly” and boys were supposed to be “heroes in training”.  The value (to me) in the Star Wars franchise, is not that they provided a strong female character to identify with in science fiction, because at the outset they didn’t, not in real concrete terms.  Instead over time that character evolved.  The writers and showrunners learned and grew and took a character that was supposed to be a slightly more exciting Girl in a Tower and turned her into force to be reckoned with.

 

Cersei Lannister takes the stage.

 

 

If you’re a Game of Thrones viewer, and you haven’t seen the S5 finale yet, come back later.  If you have, please carry on.

 

Cersei Lannister. Being smug.

 

Cersei, Cersei, Cerei, Cerei.

D*mn.

I’ve seen a  number of posts in the past few days, some loving this last GoT episode, some hating it.  One observation has been made that, pretty much every person in power right now (save Jon Snow and the new King of the sea-people, but that may change) in Westeros and it’s surroundings is a woman.

But what I *haven’t* seen anybody notice is that Cersei is now playing a Man’s game.

She has been the not-so-subtle, behind the scenes power since Season One. She has been playing what most of us recognize as the “woman’s game”.  You’ve heard this old saw before, “Behind every great man is a good woman.” Cersei has been that woman, she has ruled (with middling effectiveness) though her husband and children as proxy up until the point that the Tyrell family moved in.  Then they out-woman’d her.

Over the course of the show we have seen Cersei grind her teeth in frustration at being a woman, at being treated like a woman.  When the city is being attacked and she is told she must hide in the tunnels rather than stand on the walls.  When her father informs her that she is to be married off again, her only value being in the binding of other houses to his through matrimony.  This has been a long time coming.

Once she was cut off from Tommen, she was effectively out of the game. She was relegated to the sidelines, shut out of every meeting, told more or less to her face that she was done.  Over.  Powerless.  No longer worthy of fear.

Sunday night was her fait accompli.  It would be easy to say she’s simply gone mad.  That losing the last of her three children to this grand Game was the final straw.  But I don’t think that’s it.  She SEIZED power in a grand and clear gesture.  Much like those who sat the Iron Throne before her, she has proven herself to be ruthless.  To be willing to blow the h*ll out of a sizeable chunk of the city in order to cow her enemies, take her revenge and seize the throne.

Cersei is the experienced one out of this entire group moving forward.  She’s been observing and playing this Game her entire d*mn life and now the gloves are off.  She is no longer using men as her proxy, she is WIELDING POWER as she has always seen it wielded.  She is a ruler in the traditional sense of the word (the guy who beat up all the other guys to get to the fancy chair).

The really interesting question is going to be whether Dany and her “leave the world better than we found it” philosophy is going to be able to stand up to that when the parties finally meet face to face.

 

 

 

Farewell to the CowCat

NashYard

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I had to bury my cat today.
I attended to it before I took out the garbage
It seemed right as an order of operations
as acts of importance go.
The ground was hard
in all the wrong places
Like it wasn’t quite ready to take him in.
I had to say goodbye to my cat today.
He was quite bad at being feline
Fell off the ledge
Played fetch
Would rather go under than over
He had no fear of home repairs
or power tools.
When the baby cried
he was the first to the door
hoovered up goldfish crackers
dropped green beans and cereal.
I had to bury my cat today.
He came to say goodbye
played swats over the food dish
with the kitten.
Had a lick-face-fight
with the hunter.
Napped on my lap late into the evening.
Checked on each family member in turn
then sauntered out into the dark.
I found a spot for him, down by the garden
where the sun always pauses.
I had to bury my friend today
and my world got a little bit smaller.