Sunday, June 10, 2012

Beautiful People: Queen Mesalinde Eldan

This blog post is prompted by the Beautiful People challenge by Georgie and Sky Penn. The purpose of this blog post is to interview the villain of my newest story, Her Majesty Mesalinde Eldan. 

Katie McGrath from BBC's Merlin possesses similar features to my villain

1. What is their motive? 
She thinks that any Fae who would dare to fall in love with a mortal is disgusting and perverted, so she takes steps to make sure any such romance is outlawed.

2. What are they prepared to do to get what they want? 
Even though her son fell in love with a mortal, she disowns him and banishes him, to serve as an example to any others who would dare to follow his path. She believes that personal feelings should never stand in the way of the law, even if it is a law that she penned herself.

3. Are they evil to the core, or simply misunderstood? 

She wouldn't think of herself as evil: she draws on what she sees to be true social issues, and because her son has gone against what she sees as moral, she condemns him.

4. What was their past like? What about their childhood? Was there one defining moment that made them embrace their evil ways?

Her brother was killed by frightened mortals in the fourth century : he cast a weak glamour, and they discovered him, burning him at the stake as a witch. This moment made her fear and detest all mortals.

5. Now that they’re evil, have they turned their back on everyone, or is there still someone in their life that they care for? (Brother? Daughter? Love interest? Mother? Someone who is just as evil as they are?)

She still cares for her son, but she tries to bury her affections for him because of what he has done. Mesalinde feels deep affection for her many adopted children, and enjoys inviting them over to her apartments when she is not dealing with politics.

6. Do they like hugs?

Yes, she does. She especially likes to have group hugs with her grandchildren, and often one or two will sit in her lap while she tells them stories.

7. Are they plagued by something? (Nightmares, terrible thoughts?)

She is haunted by her brother's death, and her banished son. Because her brother's death allowed her to ascend the throne, she still feels guilt.

8. Who are they more similar to: Gollum or Maleficent?

I would say, strange as it seems to me, she is more like Gollum than Maleficent. She is not slimy or fish-eating. Instead, it is her outlook on the world and narrow views that make her the villain of my story.

9. If your villain could have their choice of transportation what would it be?

She would most likely choose a red dragon. However, she would settle for a black Jaguar in a pinch.

10. If you met your villain in the street, how afraid would you be? Are they evil enough to kill their creator?

She would probably ignore me: I am an insignificant mortal, after all.

This questionnaire really helped me to get a more complete view of my villain in my story, The Eaters of Sorrow and Chaos. I'm not sure how much of this knowledge I will incorporate into my story, but I will certainly write her point-of-view differently from now on!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Les Miserables: The movie trailer, and what we can expect from the movie

A few nights ago, I found this trailer:

           After watching it five times in a row(and fangirling all over the place), I was exceedingly excited. It's been my favorite book for two years, and my favorite musical for one. I have the Broadway recording on my mp3 player, and have most of the songs memorized. In my junior year of high school, I tried to put on an abridged version of the musical with some friends. Sadly, we only had seven people available to participate, and our musical plans came to naught. In short, I am a fan. So when I saw the trailer, I was speechless.

Now that I've reclaimed my words, here is a detailed analysis of the trailer.

Fans have protested against the use of "I Dreamed a Dream" in the trailer in the place of more dynamic, exciting songs such as "Do You Hear The People Sing" or "Look Down." However, the usage of this particular song indicates that this movie will emphasise Fantine's story, and secondly Valjean's story, based on the roughly equal screen time given to both characters in the trailer. Based on the scenes chosen for the trailer, the aspects of each story as told in the movie is apparent.

Because the trailer begins with a long shot of Jean Valjean toiling up a snowy slope, then shows him in front of a cross, this movie will probably emphasize Valjean's encounter with the Bishop, as well as his philanthropic leanings.Based on an image of Valjean kneeling before an ornate alter that appears half-way through the trailer, the theme of his conversion will also be emphasised. It is significant that he only appears once with Javier, but is shown three times with Cosette. This fact indicates that his story will take a backseat to Fantine's story.

Fantine's most defining song in the musical is "I Dreamed a Dream." Even though Fantine has slightly less screen time in the trailer, she is always present through this song, indicating that her personal story, and that of her daughter will receive full coverage in the movie. The shots chosen for her appearances in the trailer are significant as well, as in all of them, she is doing something  to provide for her daughter.  She appears in the sewers as the fourth shot in the trailer, in a low-necked silk dress which she wears as a prostitute, according to the novel. She is shown working in the factory, and also shown as her hair is cut off for her to sell, indicating that the lengths to which she is willing to go to care for her daughter will be covered in full. This depiction sets her up as a sacrificial mother, suggesting that her loving care of Cosette will be emphasised.

In the novel, Hugo focuses on each person's story, rather than generalizing. One interesting aspect of the trailer is that there are only about eleven shots containing more than two people, compared to twenty-three shots of two or less characters. Thirteen of these shots are of Valjean and Fantine, indicating that we can expect the movie to focus on the personal stories of Fantine and Valjean, as well as a more personal approach to the other characters in Les Miserables.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

The Avengers: a review

Poster courtesy of

   When Loki, the Norse god also known as the Trickster, hijacks the energy source called the Tesseract and uses its power to manifest in the very heart of SHIELD, he uses his newfound powers to bend two minds to his cause: the minds of Clint Barton (an international spy also known as Hawkeye) and Erik Solveig (a brilliant physicist). It's this ability that intimidates director Nick Fury and his second-in-command, Maria Hill, perhaps even more than the way that Loki can kill with a look. In this tenuous situation, there is only one thing to do: resurrect the once-scrapped defense program, the Avengers Initiative. Russian spy Natasha Romanov (also known as the Black Widow), volatile scientist Bruce Banner (the Hulk), supersoldier Steve Rogers (Captain America), Asgardian god Thor, and billionaire genius Tony Stark (Ironman) must all band together, if they are to defeat Loki's machinations. But can they work together without killing one another first?

image courtesy of
     Not only is The Avengers a humorous, engaging movie, it is a superhero movie that is atypical for several different reasons.
      Firstly, its clever characters utilize their words and strategy over their strength. We see Stark and Banner working in a lab and discussing scientific theories, and Stark hacks into the SHIELD databases. Thor tries to reason with his adoptive brother before engaging in battle with him, and does his best to convince him that he is wrong. Rogers is the peacemaker in the group, trying to reconcile his arguing comrades. Natasha Romanov uses her wits to outwit Loki, and discover his plans.


 Natasha Romanov pretends to be feeling guilt over her past actions, and exploits Loki's misconception of her weak emotional state to parse out his plans. She pretends to be crying to get him to tell his real reason for remaining a captive on the Helicarrier, and when he lets his reasons slip, she does an immediate one-eighty, going from weepy and broken from his taunting to enthused at her success.


Loki imprisoned on board the Helicarrier

    It is this scene that does much to set The Avengers apart from most superhero flicks. In both Thor and the Avengers, Loki is shown to be a persuasive manipulator, using his words to expose and exploit the weaknesses of his enemies. Natasha Romanov subverts this skill, using Loki's perception of her to expose his weaknesses. She is more than the movie's "token female" superhero- in fact, she has no superpowers. Instead, she uses wit and martial arts to overcome her foes.

I'd gladly see The Avengers again, not only because it's an exciting film that never lags in pace, but also because it is a surprisingly thoughtful film for a superhero movie.

Seeing The Avengers in costume

My two sisters and I went to see The Avengers last weekend, and dressed up for it! My review of the movie should be posted shortly. In the meantime, here 's a picture of us, all ready to go to the theatre! My sister Elizabeth went as Loki, my sister Lydia is dressed as Hawkeye, and I am in costume as the Black Widow.