Question of the Week: 5/29/16

<–Question of the Week: 5/22/16          Question of the Week: 6/5/16–>

The Question of the Week is posted every Sunday and will consist of a question followed by my answer and explanation to the same.  Some questions will only require a simple answer that could potentially be followed by an explanation.  Many questions will be writer oriented, but not all.  Everyone is encouraged to answer in the comments and discussions/follow up questions are more than welcome!

What video game(s) are you currently playing?

I’m in the midst of playing Final Fantasy IV, but it’s been put on hiatus a bit so I can finish up my WIP.

While the (re)play of this game is part of my great Final Fantasy analysis and review project, I would play it anyway despite this.  It is my third favorite Final Fantasy and one of my favorite games of all time.  It’s the only game where my favorite character, Cecil Harvey, is also the main protagonist (though I could make a case in FFVI since Celes is arguably the main character at the beginning of the second part, but I believe Terra is the main character overall, which is actually pretty fucking rad since she’s a main female character who never has a canon love interest, but this is not the post for this discussion).

Cecil is not only beautiful

like really beautiful

No Source

No Source

we’re talking beyond gorgeous

No source

No source

but he also manages to *spoiler* be the only Squeenix white haired pretty boy I’ve ever seen to resolve his questionable morality prior to death, though it’s debatable whether Cecil had any questionable morality at all. *end spoiler*

He also becomes a king.

and even has some sympathetic words for Sephiroth in Dissidia.

“There is sorrow in those wintry eyes.”

As Cecil is *spoiler* half alien himself *end spoiler* and could also moonlight as a Targaryen with his silvery hair and possibly violet eyes, I think his insight about the fallen general is amazingly sound.  Also, the more I think about Cecil’s words to or for Sephiroth, the sadder they become 😦

I wasn’t meaning this question to only talk about Cecil hehe; I have a character analysis planned for him, but he’s one of the reasons I love FFIV so much.  It was the first Final Fantasy to have an in depth and cohesive story in addition to introducing us to the layered manipulation motif that is prevalent in the series throughout.

I’m currently just about to leave the underground to face the Giant of Babil.  After I finish I need to decide if I’m going to move on to Final Fantasy V, which I’ve never played or play the other versions of FFIV for the DS (which I don’t own) and the PSP (which I do) in addition to the Interlude (which I have completed) and The After Years (which I haven’t).


What game or games are you currently playing?  Is it the kind you typically  play or is a deviation from your norm?  Is it an older game or more current?  Would you recommend it?

I look forward to your answers in the comments!

<–Question of the Week: 5/22/16          Question of the Week: 6/5/16–>

Taggerung by Brian Jacques (Redwall #14)

This post will be split into two parts, a review and an analysis.  The review part will be spoiler free where the analysis will give major plot points of the story away in examination.  In this way people who just wish to read a review of the novel can do so without being spoiled.  Please also not that this is the ONLY warning I will put in for spoilers so be advised for them in the “Analysis” section.

Title: Taggerung
Series: Redwall
Author: Brian Jacques
Genre: Fantasy

Pages: 448
Publication Date: January 1, 2001
Media Type: Paperback


Review


Years ago, the vermin clan of Sawney Rath kidnapped one of Redwall’s own-a baby otter, destined to become their “Taggerung,” a warrior hero of ancient legend. But as young Tagg grows, he rebels against his destiny. The young otter journeys in search of his birthplace, a member of Sawney’s clan always near, out to destroy the deserter. With the feisty mouse Nimbalo, Tagg fends off the avenging vermin, but can he find his way back to the Redwall family from whom he was separated so long ago?

Before delving into the review, you have to understand the Redwall universe, which the Great Wiki explains nicely here.  In a nutshell (which I’m sure the squirrels would love), it’s a world peopled, er, by anthropomorphic animals within an undetermined medieval setting.  The main location is Redwall Abbey, which is a place of prosperity and peace ruled over by a benevolent Abbott or Abbess.

Redwall Abbey

In the earlier novels, this was almost always a male mouse, but later ones made the position more equal opportunity in both gender and species.  Most of the animals are capable of speech, and the stories are fairly consistent.  The very first novel, which shares the same name as the series as a whole, has some inconsistencies compared to the rest.  For example, I believe it is the only one where a horse appears in addition to implying a human populated village/town.

There’s very little magic in the Redwall universe despite it being classified as a fantasy.  That status mostly comes from it existing in a sort of alternative reality without humans and having the fore mentioned anthropomorphic animals as characters.  They are able to build, cook , sew, and do all sorts of things with their paws, which while named that, probably have the function and form of hands.  The only potential magic comes in the form of seers (possibly) predicting the future and the spirit of Martin the Warrior coming to creatures in dreams and/or hallucinations.  Martin is one of the main founders of Redwall itself, and his sword is so important it could almost be a character on its own.

Taggerung varies from typical Redwall fare as the meat of the story doesn’t take place at the Abbey, but rather concerns the vermin clan that kidnapped the titular character near the beginning as a babe.  The point of view; however, does switch back and forth between the happenings at the Redwall and the more exciting adventures of Deyna as he tries to discover who he is and where he truly comes from as it’s decidedly clear that he doesn’t belong with a vermin clan.

Jacques does a good job at balancing between the more action packed Taggerung parts and the more tranquil Abbey happenings by giving the characters in the latter a mystery to unveil.  Eventually, the two sides of the story combine, which was always expected when a wayfarer is trying to return home and home is a shown location.

The author has a debatable habit of introducing characters waaaaaay later in the game than is normally acceptable, but there’s always been a precedence for that.  I did have a bit of an issue with it in this book as the character introduced about five chapters away from the end made a difference between life and death.  It was a bit of an “otter ex machina” that could’ve been resolved earlier in the novel by just a mention of their name.  I also wasn’t super happy with the way child abuse was brushed off, and while I could be accused of over-analyzing a book written for children, I don’t think especially children should be taught that that’s okay.

Taggerung stands as a counterpoint to Outcast of Redwall, which had a vermin character raised by good woodland creatures who could never change his “true colors.”  That book irritates me for many reasons I’ll elaborate on if I ever review.  Deyna/Tagg is of course. wholesome to the core.  He refuses to do something atrocious and is not only cast out by his “father,” but Sawney attempts to hunt him down to kill.  Redwall clearly leans towards “nature” in this debate (and in Outcast, too, ugh, really, really in Outcast).  The entirety  of the Redwall series does have a classist cast to it, unfortunately, with certain creatures being (almost always) good like mice, hares, badgers, moles (whose accents I love btw), squirrels, otters, etc. while other animals are (almost always) bad and collectively called vermin e.g. stoats, weasels, ferrets (I believe otters are actually related to all three), rats, foxes, and generally any other carnivorous creature (though again otters are carnivorous, badgers and mice or omnivorous, and I believe moles are insectivores).  There a few exceptions to this rule, but everyone expects certain creatures to align in a certain way.

Even among the woodland creatures there’s a hierarchy with mice usually being the leaders, moles being working class, hares being soldiers/military along with badgers who are considered the best of all warriors.  Badgers are also always the ruler of the mountain stronghold Salamandastron.  Vermin will usually just follow the strongest, and they’re constantly backstabbing and double-dealing.  I really, really wish Mr. Jacques had lived long enough to write more novels mixing up these paradigms a bit.  One of the reasons I stopped reading the series was because it was the same “vermin horde attempts to take over Redwall Abbey” all the time.  This was also another plus mark for Taggerung as it avoided this cliche in fact even lampshaded it a bit at the end by having such a situation be swiftly resolved, countering prior novels where it was the entirety of the plot.

Taggerung is a never dull adventure about an otter who though grown up is still a bit of a lost babe trying to find his way home.  I’ll discuss more of this in the Analysis section, but for those of you who  haven’t read it and don’t want to be spoiled, that’s the story at its core.

Rating: 4 stars

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The State of the Writer: 5/28/16

<–The State of the Writer: 5/21/16          The State of the Writer: 6/4/16–>

A weekly post updated every Saturday discussing my current writing projects and where I stand with them.  This will include any and all work(s) in progress (WIP) be they creative writing, essays/analyses, or reviews of any type.

Project: Story
Title:
The Broken Rose
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Type: Fanfiction (FFVII) Novel
Previous Word Count: 255,902
Current Word Count: 262,293
Words Written This Week: 6391
Status: WIP

Kitchen Collae

I needed visuals for luxurious kitchens, and these are two of the most.  This work even more than Northern Lights has let me live out such fanciful dreams.  The estate (whose name I’m still keeping hush) definitely has marble counters.  I like the left picture a bit more than the right as I also imagine marble floors.  I have a very clear idea in my head of how their living room appears along with the ornate stairs.  Maybe next week I’ll have a picture of that.  Maybe next week I’ll be finished.  Suffice it to say to her it’s a “palace,” and I want it to look the part.

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The State of the Reader: 5/25/16

<–The State of the Reader: 5/18/16          The State of the Reader: 6/1/16–>

A weekly post updated every Wednesday detailing my current reading projects and where I am with them in addition to what new titles I’ve added to my to-read list.  Title links go to Goodreads to make it easier for interested parties to add any books that might strike their fancy.  I attempt to use the covers for the edition I’m reading, and I’ll mention if this is not the case.  If you have a Goodreads account feel free to friend me!  I’d love to see what you’re reading and/or planning to read.

Books Currently Reading: 4

Change from Last Week: 0


Title: Windhaven
Authors: George R R Martin and Lisa Tuttle

WindhavenMedium: Paperback
Progress: 28%

Title: Paradise Lost
Author
: John Milton

Paradise LostMedium: Paperback
Progress:
67%

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Question of the Week: 5/22/16

<–Question of the Week: 5/15/16          Question of the Week: 5/29/16–>

The Question of the Week is posted every Sunday and will consist of a question followed by my answer and explanation to the same.  Some questions will only require a simple answer that could potentially be followed by an explanation.  Many questions will be writer oriented, but not all.  Everyone is encouraged to answer in the comments and discussions/follow up questions are more than welcome!

What’s the last video game you finished?

The last game I finished was Child of Light, which I wrote a glowing review for here.  Like all my other reviews, I included an analysis, too…though I didn’t deliberately intend to rhyme hehe, which is even more interesting as all the dialogue in the game (save one character who doesn’t for comedic effect) does so.

While looking for this picture, I stumbled upon the Child of Light tumblr page, which I immediately followed.  The internet has been kind to me today.

I say this in my review/analysis, but this game is fantastic.  It has a haunting story, a female protagonist, and gorgeous music by Couer de Pirate, among other things.

There have been fantastic cosplays of it.

Aurora

Aurora grown up

No source on this one, though I did look.

Thus it can never be said that I don’t play/enjoy any other RPGs besides Final Fantasy.


What’s the last video game you completed?  Was it of the type you typically play or did it deviate from your norm?  Would you recommend it?

I look forward to your answers in the comments!

<–Question of the Week: 5/15/16          Question of the Week: 5/29/16–>

The State of the Writer: 5/21/16

<–The State of the Writer: 5/14/16          The State of the Writer: 5/28/16–>

A weekly post updated every Saturday discussing my current writing projects and where I stand with them.  This will include any and all work(s) in progress (WIP) be they creative writing, essays/analyses, or reviews of any type.

Project: Story
Title:
The Broken Rose
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Type: Fanfiction (FFVII) Novel
Previous Word Count: 250,755
Current Word Count: 255,902
Words Written This Week: 5147
Status: WIP

Pink Teardrop Necklace

One of the best things about this WIP is the fancy jewelry and clothing I describe throughout.  It’s a stark comparison between the horrific foundation that resonates in the narrative.  It doesn’t make up for that. At. All.  I am not the type to think that decent if not luxurious treatment in any way balances out abuse.  In fact, such a thought is repugnant as it borders on the idea that what people go through is somehow then “paid for” later by fair/equal treatment.  Just no.  This aligns with the “everything happens for a reason” crowd.  The entire time I work on this story, I make sure to in no way insinuate that Aeris’s wonderful treatment in the (majority of) the mise en scene is her “reward” for enduring worse than hell, because I don’t believe any victim/survivor of abuse deserves to be treated well or beyond well afterwards for that reason.  They should be treated well, but basic human decency or luxury is not a reward or payment for horrendous abuse.  I’ll leave this link here and move on with my post.

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The State of the Reader: 5/18/16

<–The State of the Reader: 5/11/16          The State of the Reader: 5/25/16–>

A weekly post updated every Wednesday detailing my current reading projects and where I am with them in addition to what new titles I’ve added to my to-read list.  Title links go to Goodreads to make it easier for interested parties to add any books that might strike their fancy.  I attempt to use the covers for the edition I’m reading, and I’ll mention if this is not the case.  If you have a Goodreads account feel free to friend me!  I’d love to see what you’re reading and/or planning to read.

Books Currently Reading: 4

Change from Last Week: -1


Title: Windhaven
Authors: George R R Martin and Lisa Tuttle

WindhavenMedium: Paperback
Progress: 28%

Title: Paradise Lost
Author
: John Milton

Paradise LostMedium: Paperback
Progress:
67%

I finished up Book IX last night. Only two more books to go before I write an extensive review/analysis.  This might take several months mind you, but finishing this will also fulfill one of my self-imposed prerequisites for numerous essays.

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