Matchmaking Literary Characters

WARNING: Contains spoilers and crack ships.

If you are a fan of any type of fiction, you may have engaged in what is known as “shipping.”

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I’ve been exposed to many ships and it’s made me experimental when it comes to the exploring the dynamics of compatibility.

For fun, I decided to pair up characters from a variety of different books and see who made the most interesting couple. These are what crack ships are made of, but if you keep an open mind, perhaps you’ll see where I’m coming from

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1. Daenerys Targaryen and Jon Snow 

Tragically, they never met. But I have a feeling if they did, there would be a spark. We know  Jon Snow digs powerful women and Daenerys is a kickass queen with dragons, an army, and a no-nonsense attitude.

Jon may be less brash than Drogo, but he is more than capable of holding his own in battle. He’s also, like Dany, an excellent leader who isn’t afraid to stand by his convictions, even though they could get him killed.

In fact, these two have quite a bit in common. Both have a strong moral center that makes them seem like pushovers to those that don’t know them better. Both struggle with forming their own identity outside of what their parents did/who they are. And both make dire mistakes on their way to meeting their goal.

I think if he got to know Daenerys, Jon would consider her the best person to rule the Seven Kingdoms and Daenerys would enjoy having him fight for her side (if she’d be able to convince him to give up being a Man of the Night’s Watch, which is debatable).

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2. Rhett Butler and Elizabeth Bennet 

Personally, I think Rhett would find Elizabeth handsome enough to tempt him.

At their core, both are nonconformists who refuse to conduct themselves in a way that society dictates. Both are intelligent, enjoy dancing, and have a mischievous nature about them.

Rhett is slightly more worldly than Lizzie, but she is his equal in about every other respect. Like Scarlet O’Hara, Rhett’s estranged wife, Lizzie is exceptionally strong-willed (occasionally at her own expense). Moreover, she could win a battle of wits with anyone she chooses and is not willing to demur to anyone. I’m willing to bet Rhett would enjoy the challenge of crossing mental swords with her.

Lizzie would be interested to hear all about Rhett’s checkered past. While she might be unnerved by some details, I believe that she would be a sympathetic ear.

Put together they would likely mortify everyone in their respective time periods with their sassiness.

Mrs. Bennet’s poor nerves.

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3. Sherlock Holmes and Amy Dunne

One is a highly functioning sociopath while the other is just plain psycho.

Imagine what Gone Girl would have been like with a Sherlockian twist. While Sherlock would likely outwit Amy in the end, he would be impressed by how methodical and patient she was in executing her revenge plot. Not to mention how easily she was able to play with society’s expectations and use media bias to work in her favor.

I think Amy would take immense pleasure in appealing to Sherlock’s darker nature and laughing with him about how moronic the rest of society is.

I can’t stop wishing I could see these two geniuses go toe-to-toe with one another, one constantly trying to outsmart the other.

This would potentially be the most toxic relationship in the history of the literary world, but, damn, if it wouldn’t be interesting to watch.

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4. Dorian Gray and James Moriarty 

Imagine how much darker The Picture of Dorian Gray could have gotten if  Dorian had befriended Moriarty instead of Lord Henry.

Dorian would respect Moriarty as a worldly and ingenious gentleman, and Moriarty would revel in having a young, naive Dorian to mold into a despicable villain.

While Dorian was out wooing some diplomat (or his wife), Moriarty would be working behind the scenes to tear down the British government’s infrastructure brick by brick. Blackmail, theft, murder, who knows how much havoc they could wreak?

With Dorian’s looks and Moriarty’s brains, they could have London on its knees in a matter of months.

Can you think of any book characters that would make a good couple? Let me know! 

Writers and the Soapbox Trope

Is it just me, or does it seem like writers are becoming progressively lazier and more patronizing when it comes to writing about moral or social issues?

I’m not talking about works like The Hunger Games where the moral questions are woven into the plot. I’m talking about stories where the author randomly stands on a soapbox in the middle of the story and preaches to the masses.

 In recent years, this style of writing has become so epidemic it is worming its way out of “trope” territory and veering precariously towards “cliché.” Nevertheless, I’ll still classify them as tropes in this post.

Thanks to tvtropes.com I was able to put a name to, what I consider, the three most annoying “moral” tropes that authors (published and unpublished alike) use.

Author Filibuster.

I have no problem with a writer expressing their opinion. I do, however, mind when they bring the story to a complete stand-still just so they can address a topic that will have no bearing on the plot whatsoever. It’s an opportunity for them to wag the finger at some political/religious/cultural norm that runs contrary to their own beliefs while simultaneously holding the readers hostage.

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I read a novel two years ago where everything was dropped so the author could go on a tangent about illegal immigration for several pages. It was never addressed prior to this discussion, had nothing to do with the novel’s overall message, and was subsequently never mentioned again.

It was so pointless when it came to story and character development (it didn’t even take place between two central characters) I was puzzled as to why the book’s editor didn’t opt to cut it out altogether.

It was as if the book took an unnecessary commercial break. Only instead of trying to sell you Liberty Mutual, it was trying to sell you the author’s brand of morality:

“Hello. Are you tired of being a racist bigot? You should be.”

Writer on Board 

This occurs when a writer acts against a character’s established personality, usually by making them act stupid, in order to participate in whatever point they, the author, is trying to make.

For instance, making a character that is against violence suddenly act violent for no apparent reason just so the writer can say violence is wrong….even though that character already knows that.

Or they will force a character to do something dangerous like break into someone’s house for “justice!” even though that person is supposed to be intelligent and knows they could potentially get themselves killed. It’s all to show that we must all make sacrifices for the greater good, in spite of the fact that there are far safer ways of doing so.

 Character Filibuster

Often times, writers use their protagonists as a mouthpiece to voice their own opinions and thoughts. This isn’t always a bad thing. But in recent years people have become horrendously obnoxious with this trope. In some cases,  the character all but pulls down a projector screen to give a lecture via powerpoint, explaining why they are right and everyone that disagrees with them is hateful, stupid, or naive.

How terribly convenient it is that anyone in the story with a divergent point of view is either evil or a complete bastard. It’s not like they just have different life experiences or the situation is more complicated than the main character purports it to be. They disagree with the writer’s—sorry, “the character’s”— viewpoints simply because they are a bad person and for no other reason.

It’s also nice that the opposer is always rendered speechless by the character’s wisdom and never has a proper retort. It saves the reader the trouble of listening to both sides of the argument and forming their own opinion that may differ from the author’s.

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The crazy thing is, I agree with most of the things these writers are trying saying.

Yes, you read that correctly.

 However, I don’t think that’s a good enough excuse for lazy and condescending writing. If a writer is going to address a heavy topic, they should treat it with the gravity and complexity it deserves.

Works that don’t patronize their audiences are the ones that endure and actually help change society for the better.

My Blog Presentation

This is my blog presentation for my Blogging for Journalists class!

My presentation was over If Mermaids Wore Suspenders.

Special thanks to Aubrey Leaman for allowing me to interview her.

*****Interview with the blogger*****

Why do you blog?

I first started blogging in order to build a social platform for a book I am writing as part of my honors senior thesis.  The thesis explores how to connect literature to music in a concrete way in order to understand both the music and literature in new ways—essentially a “book lover’s guide to classical music.”  I use my blog, then, as an experimental tool to see how people respond to my ideas in order to tweak and expand them from there.

How long have you been blogging?

I’ve been blogging since the end of July 2015.  That makes about eight months now!

What do you do for a living?

Currently I am finishing up a Bachelor of Music degree in piano performance at the University of South Carolina.  I have taught a few piano lessons at Freeway Music and tutored music theory and music history at USC over the past year, as well.  Next year I will begin pursuing a PhD in music theory.

What is the most difficult part about blogging for you?

It’s definitely challenging to find time to create blog posts at the caliber I want while also juggling school, work, friends, and personal time.  I developed a lot of post ideas over the summer when I started blogging, so if I am having a really busy week I often draw from that list.

How long did it take you to get over 100 followers?

About a month.

Who designed your banner?

I designed my own banner.  I had my sister take a picture of my face from about the nose up and then transferred it to Pixlr where I added all of the “stickers” and backgrounds to make it look like it does now!

What advice do you have for other bloggers?

Be true to yourself.  I know, I know…what a cliché.  But it can be easy to get wrapped up in trying to get more followers by overanalyzing which posts get the most hits.  Of course there’s nothing inherently wrong with targeting a particular audience as you blog, but you should always write posts that are really what you want to be saying—otherwise you won’t be attracting the kind of people who are actually interested in your ideas! Plus, life’s too short to pretend to be something you’re not.

What do you look for in a blog?

Something quirky.  I love seeing how people combine different things (especially books and music) into a new creative way of thinking.   In a similar way, I love it when blogs spark my imagination about “what if” types of scenarios.

****My evaluation of the blog ****

What makes this blog unique?

-The marriage between classical (or sometimes contemporary music) to classical literature.

-She oftentimes takes scenes from a blog and will assign a song to that particular moment, and posts a song from Spotify underneath so readers may hear for themselves.

-The title  “If Mermaids Wore Suspenders” is appropriate to the theme of the blog. It’s imaginative and whimsical.

-The banner for her blog is creative and is also in keeping with the theme of her blog.

-The tidiness of the sidebar.

-Lyrical yet conversational prose.

What did I gained from reading her blog?

It pays to play the “what-if” game when it comes to different concepts. It’s interesting to toy with different ideas and to express them through writing. One example of this is she wrote a blog post, posing the question “What if instead of being mentally insane, Rochester’s secret wife was actually a werewolf?” Not everything regarding book blogging has to be serious or tackle social justice issues. That’s not to say her blog doesn’t make you think. It’s just has more of a sense of wonder than others I’ve read.

 

Re-reading Old Drafts

Is there anything more horrifying than reading something you wrote years ago?

……Or two days ago?

I’m pretty sure if a Boggart were to appear in front of me one dark and stormy night, it would take on the form of the manuscript I wrote in high school.

It was your standard paranormal romance, only with a ghost and psychic rather than a vampire. The genre for the blood-suckers had already been pimped out to the extreme so I was going to write one about ghosts who were depreciating in popularity.

I was so convinced this was going to be my magnum opus I spent literally years on it. I even took it to a writer’s workshop to have it read by a mostly adult audience. Unfortunately, I never finished it because I progressively outgrew the message I was trying to convey.

A couple of months ago, I revisited it to see how I’ve progressed as a writer over the years.

It was unquestionably the most unintentionally funny thing I’ve ever written. That’s including the novel I wrote on a notepad when I was 9 years old that featured a holocaust victim and the daughter of a Nazi general jumped out of a helicopter with no parachute and somehow landing safely on the ground.

I blame Peter Pan for giving me false exceptions of gravity.

When I become rich and famous, I’ll bury all my old writings in a secret tomb underneath my house. It’ll be guarded by a dragon that sounds like Benedict Cumberbatch and speaks only in German.

If there’s anything embarrassing you’ve written feel free to share.

I’ll cry with you.

Writing Withdrawal

The professionals encourage amateur authors to write at least a little bit everyday. However, some days this is not possible.

Unless you don’t need sleep and operate solely on the power of hopes and dreams.

If I’ve had an idea marinating in my head for a long time, not being able to write it down can make me go stir crazy.

Sometimes I’m tempted to grab a receipt out of my wallet, or take a napkin from my glove compartment to jot down ideas in between red lights.

If I’m truly desperate, I’ll talk to myself in the car.

I’m not crazy.

I’m just fabricating an argument between two people that don’t exist.

If I figure it all out while I’m on the way to my 11:00 o’clock class, maybe it’ll all come together by the time I’m able to sit down at my desk and work.

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I’ve constructed a fantasy world for myself wherein I am sponsored by a wealthy aristocrat who lives in an actual medieval castle. He wears a blood red robe complete with pope hat and pays me to live in a fancy loft and write all day. I type on a pristine typewriter and everything I create is amazing.

In reality, I have to go to work and obtain a college degree like everybody else.

Not to mention, I’m lucky if the hour worth of work I’m able to squeeze out of every other day is even going to be in the finished product.

The best advice I can give is to take advantage of whatever you have at your disposal.

Jot down a few words on your note app on your phone while you’re waiting in line.

Use your voice memos app to dictate as you’re driving. It’ll be a pain transcribing (unless you also have an app for that), but at least you’ll have more of an idea of what you want to do.

© Copyright 2015 Corbis Corporation

Always carry a pen and notepad.

Above all else, if you have free time, don’t procrastinate.

You don’t appreciate free time until you don’t have it anymore.