fbpx
Category

Pop Culture

Category

Here I thought that little Arya Stark was finished. Well first, she isn’t little anymore. And secondly how stupid was I to think that killing Walder Frey alone would be enough? But what really sent a chill down my spine was when she told Frey’s widow to explain to everyone that Winter came for House Frey. And of course, that the North remembers.

After our required introduction featuring places such as Old Town, The Wall (of course) and the Twins, we are greeted with what at first appears to be a confusing icy depiction. And then the White Walker and the army of the dead appear behind a blizzard to reaffirm what Arya Stark had just said, and what every Sky poster has said since the countdown has begun.

Winter is Here.

In a meeting with the North Jon, proves to be a merciful ruler, but Sansa undermines him. Littlefinger stands at the edges of the meeting look shady as usual. A raven arrives commanding Jon Snow to come South to King’s Landing and bend the knee or ‘suffer the consequences of all traitors’.

Cersei stands on top of a giant map surveying the surroundings and her many enemies. “We’re the last Lannisters,” she proclaims. “The last ones that count.” She meets with none other than Euron Greyjoy to discuss a possible alliance. One that Cersei declines after being asked to be Euron’s bride. I have to say I kind of feel bad for Cersei. Only a little bit. But I mean, she got herself from one bad situation and has ended up in another bad situation. But the fact that she believes that her own son, Tommen, former King of the First Men and the Andals and all that, betrayed her is ludicrous. What was he supposed to do? I think that was Tommen’s only real moment of agency since he was crowned.

Euron comes across as more than a little crazy. He laughs at how Jamie killed Euron’s own family and he makes a jibe at Jamie’s one hand – of course. I don’t like him and I don’t trust him not to kill Cersei once the nuptials have ended.

We are shown Samwell Tarly’s sad little life which consists of — actually I’d rather not say because it’s just too sad. And disgusting. But for a brief moment we see the arm of a stone man who asks about the “Dragon Queen”, who could only be none other than Jorah Mormont. To say that the might hath fallen would be an understatement, except he wasn’t ever truly mighty. Maybe that one time he killed the blood rider of the Great Khal Drogo.

Arya travels south and is greeted by a small band of Lannister soldiers. One of them is none other than ED freaking SHEERAN!

It’s just The Hound’s luck that he ends up with a band of fire worshipers. I quickly surmised that he was back at the house of the people he had betrayed but only because I had rewatched a few seasons. I can’t imagine how terrible he must have felt for being right that they would be dead by Winter. I think the best part however was seeing Sandor Clegane’s face when he looked into the fire and for the first time realised that the White Walkers were real.

I wish I could saw that Dany’s scene was awe inspiring, but it wasn’t. Sure she was visiting her former home for the first time in years. I should have been moved, but after waiting 6 seasons for this woman to bring Westeros to their knees viewing an abandoned island isn’t poignant. It’s boring.

 

I studied Computer Science at university.

This required all kinds of mathematics like proof by induction, statistics, a lgorithms etc.

So how on earth did I become  a writer?

The truth is that I could talk before I could walk. And when I spoke it was in complete sentences, or so my parents say. I didn’t stumble over my words. I told people exactly what I was thinking exactly when I wished to. And then one day I picked up a pen.

 

I wish I could say I remember the first time I attempted to write or, something cute like that, but I don’t. What I do remember is spending much of primary school writing stories whenever I got the opportunity, and that habit stuck with me through high school all the way to university. I even had my notebook taken away from me in high school when I was writing in it instead of working.

At the age of 9 I was exposed to Greek Mythology for the first time. Unbeknown to me, it was exactly what I would need to learn about world building. I love the stories of Jason and the Argonauts (Greek: Iason) , Perseus and Medusa, Hercules (Heracles), the tale of Persephone and Hades, and so much more.

Authors like Rick Riordan, Anthony Horowitz, Eoin Colfer, Melissa Marr, Julie Kagawa, Melissa de la Cruz and Meg Cabot all shaped who I became as a writer. But none of them looked like me.

There aren’t many black female authors out there in fantasy. It’s a genre that has been stereotypically been taken over by older white men like George RR Martin.

I got two emails from readers of my short story, More Than Skin Deep. Both appreciated me as a writer, and one even called me a heroine. And for the first time I realised how much of a responsibility it is to be a black female fantasy writer.

So I write for myself, but I also write for other black people, to pave the path for other people like me who want to become writers but are too scared because they see the industry is full of predominately white males.

I write because it is my passion and it makes me happy.

Supergirl SEASON ONE EPISODE 8 – “HOSTILE TAKEOVER”

Supergirl!
This show is so amazing! How did I ever doubt it?!

 

My initial reaction to Supergirl was met with much scepticism. I wasn’t happy that Kara seemed too ‘cute’. It felt at the time that the trailer was for a young audience. But with comic book characters, perception is everything. No writer can please everyone, and you never should. Supergirl is a dialogue of identity. It is much better than Zack Snyder’s ‘Man of Steel’ because as a TV show it has a longer course. The serial writing of the screenplay allows Kara to  have much more subtle nuance. She builds up as a character much more slowly because as a female superhero, she analysed much more differently than Henry Cavill’s Superman was.

Life as a woman is never easy, and Melissa Benoist reflects much of what her ‘Glee’ character tried to as well. Supergirl can’t sing her problems away, but neither can she punch all of them.

I wrote what I perceived to be a good impression of the original trailer, which is here in this article.  I though to myself: what would I do if I was Supergirl?

But it’s a hard question to understand and from Cat’s perspective, from her lens, I thought it was a very shaky was of explaining ‘feminism’. Feminism is always complex to argue about because some people don’t realise it is just another conversation about equality. Cat Grant has been through so many things to become ‘The Queen of all Media” so when she named Kara “Supergirl” instead of “Superwoman” she knew that it would sell. She has faith in Supergirl and in Kara because both of them are always there for her, even when she fails to see the hero through Kara’s dumb glasses.

Cat made a dialogue about White Male Privilege. It is a concept I  have lived with all my life, both as a black woman, an African, and as a  Brit. I will never understand why America doesn’t understand the need for free health  care. In London, where I live it is an undisputed Human Right.

supergirl-08

You can’t prove a concept out of context, but we all know that racism, sexism, and all discrimination exists. You don’t have to be a reporter like Jimmy Olson, or an alien like Kara or ‘The Martian Manhunter’ (who of course hates this horrid name!)

Discrimination is everywhere. It’s in ‘manga’, it’s in ‘comic books’, it’s in the NEWS. And it is there plainly to see but it is hard to DEFINE because everyone has a different angle on the term.
When I was applying for my Year in Industry I studied the minute expressions of everyone’s face.

Cat Grant
Cat Grant

I can’t help that. I can’t turn it off. I’m a part time blogger, part time programmer, and a Full Time writer. If it isn’t in the script, if it isn’t in the screenplay I can’t define it.
I can’t find the class, the object, the syntax. I can’t compose the song.
What is a superpower? Are you Team Batman, or Team Flash, or Team Wonder Woman? Who will win? Deadpool or Deathstroke?
I don’t have an off button, and I never will.

So what did you think about this episode? How did you feel when Kara was faced with the horrid notion of having to kill her own kin? And most importantly, what is YOUR superpower?

supergirl
Melissa Benoist as Kara Zor-El/ Supergirl

 

Anyone who is anyone has seen, or at least heard of CBS’s “Supergirl” TV show which will arrive this Autumn. When I first heard that the former “Glee” star, Melissa Benoist would be playing the titular Supergirl, I had high hopes. She managed to portray a vulnerable, yet strong character, Marley Rose, who suffered from an eating disorder and low self-esteem. Jokingly, I also thought perhaps Supergirl could also break out into song. Stranger things have happened.

But then I finally saw the trailer and I was so very disappointed. I am not well-versed in Supergirl’s story. Truth be told, the entire House of El put me off, including Supergirl’s alternate reality version, Power Girl, made popular by her infamous “boob window” which sparks many debates. They are just too powerful, and generally my definition of Mary-Sue/Gary-Stu like characters. But that’s not to say they can’t be revamped a bit. I quite enjoyed “Man of Steel” and the problems Superman had to face to protect Earth from Zod, being as he was the only other Kryptonian he knew.

But back to Supergirl. If you haven’t already seen the aforementioned trailer, here it is below:

 

The trailer starts in the most cliched way imaginable. An origin tale. Kara’s origin is pretty much the same as Superman’s, and she too was shipped off to earth in a space pod before the eventual destruction of Krypton. Why didn’t her parents build a larger pod for all three of them to escape? I guess we’ll never know.

Years later and Kara is living a “normal” life as the assistant to a CEO of a media company. It’s all a bit “The Devil Wears Prada”, accentuated by Kara doing the long walk through the city to get coffee for her boss. The dull grey on her surroundings really makes her pink pencil skirt pop and it is my firm belief that this is just one of the subtle ways the trailer goes about reminding the audience that this show is a show for girls, about a girl. The very first problem we are introduced to is boy trouble, with a colleague asking Kara on a date. Later in the trailer, he wonders why she doesn’t seem all that into him and asks if she is gay. If I had been in her position I would have told him to hold up just a minute. I can’t abide by guys who think that the only reason a woman isn’t interested in them is if they are gay. Kara should have set him straight. It’s perfectly fine for the show to raise this sort of social issue, but only if the culprit is going to be called out on their bullsh*t and corrected. But Kara politely tells him that she isn’t gay, as if she has no right to be offended by the question.

Then there are just basic plot points like the plane crash. Why was this plane headed towards the city? In the even of an emergency, the pilots would have been directed towards the nearest river or something. It shouldn’t be circling the city. Could you imagine the calamities?

Another issue here is the infantilisation of Supergirl. Just the name on it’s own riles me up. Whilst in the comics she appears to be younger than Superman, it has been mentioned that she left Krypton as a child, but not as a baby, and she is in fact the older cousin. In regards to the TV, Kara does bring up that she believes that Supergirl should be called “Superwoman”, and I have to commend her for that. This however does not stop her from flying around in a red skirt, as opposed to a full body jump suit, or even trousers just in general. I don’t want to slut shame a fellow woman but the short skirt is reminscent of school skirts, which brings me back to the infantilisation part. Another problem I have is that when Kara does address the “Superwoman” title, her boss tells her that she thinks “Supergirl” is a great name and that if she doesn’t like it, then she is the one with the problem. A friend of mine described this as “internalised misogyny”. Men are often celebrated for their masculinity and are often encouraged into “manhood”. Women have a very different problem, where femininity is infantilised, and as the article by Allen O’Brien I’ve linked states is “a phenomenon in which which our society systemically equates femininity with things like vulnerability, submission, uncertainty, and childhood.”

Even the music sounds like it is for a cliched rom-com. Compare it to the trailers of male superheroes like Green Lantern and Flash and you will see what I mean. Green Lantern has a far more epic soundtrack, “Entrapment” by Groove Addicts. Of course I don’t expect the soundtrack to a TV show to be anywhere as awesome as Guardians of the Galaxy, but even the Flash–which followed a similar extended trailer structure to Supergirl– had a far more epic tone. He was shown kicking serious ass for more than just the final moments of the trailer. He had far humbler beginnings, whereas honestly, Kara had far longer to hone her superpower skills.

Even towards the end of the trailer when she is standing up to the head of the operations for the extra-normal division and kicking ass, the music sounds cheesy, singing “this is my fight…”, as though we need confirmation that Supergirl is powerful. It plays off of the rom-com, coming of age vibe, as though she is a teenager emerging from her chrysalis. In my opinion it is another subtle way of infantilising her. When they tried to shut her down, preventing her from helping them, Supergirl basically went off in a sulk and cried. She cried. There’s nothing wrong with tears, dear, but you’re a Kryptonian. They couldn’t have stopped if they tried. The tone was all wrong. She should have been outraged. The angst was not needed. It was very “Mean Girls”. They wouldn’t let her sit at the popular table.

You can't sit with us GIF

So the summation of my opinion of the Supergirl trailer is that it is a false empowerment of female superheroes. I have every intention to watch the pilot episode and keep up with the news in the hopes that Kara Zor-El grows as a character, but I have little hope that she will.