Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken: Rin’s Hopes for Oberyn Martell

House Martell Family Crest Game of ThronesI’m not the only one on this site excited for the new season of Game of Thrones, so I’m in good company with people who understand my burning need to see a new episode as soon as I can. You know, before Tumblr spoils me on everything in convenient gif format. There’s a lot to look forward to this season: more Jaime and Brienne, more Joffrey getting slapped, more Tyrell ladies being badasses. However, something that caught my attention straight away—and something that didn’t escape the watchful eye of the internet—was the appearance of House Martell. Before any trailers, the character of Oberyn had already been making waves due to fandom crying foul over whitewashing the Dornish prince. And while people were rightfully put off by the ethnicity swap (despite reassurances from author George R.R. Martin), it seems another issue could rise; an issue that, in the same vein, has everything to do with the television adaptation and not so much the novelization. That is, of course, Oberyn’s bisexuality.

Being one of the many who only has enough drive to watch the show and not hunker down to read the massive tomes, I’m at a distinct disadvantage when considering whether or not parts of Oberyn’s sexuality were changed to make it more palatable to Game of Thrones’s audience. Also, being bisexual myself, I feel that despite the former “not reading the books” thing, being the latter still allows me a pretty good say in how said sexuality comes across. And what did I think? Well… it was adequate representation.

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Theatre Thursdays: La bohème

It’s a strange thing to experience the source material when you’re already a fan of the adaptation. Reading Hamlet after watching The Lion King, or The Wizard of Oz or Mary Poppins books after watching their respective movies can be really weird. So it was for me when I saw La bohème, the opera on which RENT was based, for the first time last week.

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Adventure Time’s Great New Opportunity to Introduce More People of Color

Recently, the popular kids show Adventure Time dropped a bomb on us: something that could forever change the course of the show, and which could also present the writers the opportunity to add more people of color to their cast. Now, when I say more people of color, what I actually mean is any people of color. One of the biggest flaws in this relatively progressive and inclusive kids’ show is that, because Finn is the last human and is white, we have had no opportunity for people of color to be introduced.

adventure-time-2But recently the writers of Adventure Time have created more opportunities for us to see more human characters, which by extension gives the writers the potential to introduce more people of color.

Spoilers for recent episodes of Adventure Time below the cut.
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Web Crush Wednesdays: Mya Gosling

Web Crush Wednesdays—A moment of silence for Blanco, aka Shadowfax, who, much like Chris Hemsworth, galloped his gorgeous, commanding, and impressively white form into our hearts.—

Gentle readers,

It’s been well-established that there’s lot of potential at the intersection of history and webcomics. Just ask Kate Beaton. There’s really no substitute for gentlemen and ladies of state and grandeur being drawn with squiggly lines as they go about changing the course of two-dimensional, three-panel history. To that point, who has been a greater collector of the great personages of history than William Shakespeare? When he wasn’t too busy being a gay man, or any number of women, or having serious jungle fever, or being legion (for apparently he was many), Shakespeare captured giants of history from Julius Caesar to Richard III to Pericles.

As such, that makes his work fertile ground for the sometimes droll, oftentimes hilarious work of one Mya Gosling, the author over at “Good Tickle-Brain”. This title, as Gosling is glad to inform us, is one of Shakespeare’s most delightfully absurd insults. It also serves as a good touchstone for the kind of referential humor she’s wielding in her three panel Shakespeare comics. Take this one for example:

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These three-panel plays fill the void in your life where CliffsNotes used to be or where Thug Notes would be if you’d always secretly imagined your literature professor in a do-rag. They’re rarely the sort to make you fall out of your bed from laughter, but they’re at the right intersection of dryness and pith to call loving attention to the many absurdities in both Shakespeare’s work and the history he describes.

lestrade mya goslingIf tiny laugh-without-opening-your mouth comics aren’t your thing, well, you’re actually probably out of luck, but, there’s more than just Shakespeare summaries to be had. You could repose while enjoying a tiny version of the classic Beowulf or something promisingly titled The Adventure of Inspector Lestrade’s Crumbling Self-Esteem. They’re both quite charming. In fact, you’d be well-served not to ignore her collection of comics derived from Canada’s Stratford Festival, or the slowly growing collection of Shakespearean What-Ifs.

It’s all delightful, but that’s actually not the reason that Mya Gosling’s work is my web crush this week. Rather, it’s what they reflect on Gosling’s part that has grabbed my attention. Of herself, she says, “my destiny was to be an extremely enthusiastic and discerning member of the audience, and that I should leave the acting business to the professionals.” She’s taken a passionate obsession and turned it into creative endeavor, which is the point.

Adorable as they are, these comics aren’t simply throwaway jokes. If you’re not up on your Shakespeare, some of them will make you work a little bit. That’s a good thing. You can read a comic artist’s entire web presence and not learn anything, and that’s simply not the case here. You can check out Gosling on Twitter and Facebook. I’ll leave you with this pleasant reminder of all the ways that Titus Andronicus is just like A Song of Ice and Fire:

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Rat Queens: Sass, Sorcery, and Subpar Storytelling

RatQueensTopA couple weeks ago, while scrolling through Tumblr, I read about a comic called Rat Queens. The poster described it as a high fantasy, Dungeons and Dragons-esque story about an all-ladies mercenary group, the titular Rat Queens, that included diverse racial representation, queer characters, and realistic female characterization.

Needless to say, I was sold on the idea, and so I picked up Sass and Sorcery, the trade collection of issues #1–5, when it came out a week or two ago.

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Trailer Tuesdays: The Maze Runner

Dystopian futures featuring teenagers seem to be the new craze when it comes to young adult fiction and movies. I am extremely happy about this turn of events; the vampire romances were getting old. The Hunger Games is currently making a crapton of money, Divergent is also making a buttload of money, and now it’s The Maze Runner’s turn to have a go at box office gold. But how will it stack up next to these other successful dystopian movies?

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Tales of Xillia and Overcoming Love Triangles

I talk about Western games and game developers a lot on this blog, the most common one being Bioware. Despite my unwavering adoration for these companies, I admit it took a while to develop. My first love will always be the JRPG. Admittedly, from a Western American-centric mindset—which is the mindset I’m typically in—these sorts of games rarely ever come off as progressive or anything more than a fun romp through a fantasy world (with strangely religious undertones, as with my experience). Thought-provoking, sure, but not progressive. However, sometimes I’m lucky enough to find moments that give me pause and make me rethink my position of enjoying these games on a purely detached level.

Tales of Xillia BannerRecently my brother and I started playing Tales of Xillia, the thirteenth game in the Tales series. For the most part, the game is standard fare: big bad is trying to destroy the world and our party of heroes have to stop them. One particularly interesting thing about this game, though, is that the player has the choice to decide between two protagonists, Jude and Milla. I love that NamcoBandai finally gave the option to play through the eyes of a female-presenting character while not punishing the player for choosing either of the two (everything is still accessible, some scenes are merely different due to their different perspectives). But this post isn’t about gameplay mechanics: it’s about characters!

As I’ve only just finished the first act in what looks like a five act game—I’m avoiding spoilers at all costs—I can’t speak with the wisdom of someone who’s completed the game. This won’t stop me from speaking on something that Xillia handles better than a lot of other JRPGs I’ve seen: the love triangle.

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