fauxkaren (fauxkaren) wrote,

We Love the Women That Fandom Hates- Day 2

For those of you concerned about how spoilery these metas are: today's Catelyn meta contains spoilers up through A Feast for Crows, the Cordelia meta is specifically spoilery for episode 3x06 "Billy" of Angel but generally for her whole are, and the Rose meta is spoilery through 2x01 "New Earth".

Rose Tyler Day Two – "Falling in Love with Rose Tyler"

The incredibly misleading title of this meta has probably led you to believe that this is all about the Doctor and Rose, but it’s not. This meta is about me falling in love with Rose as a character. After the basic introduction we get to Rose in her first episode, we really get to see her in action in the first half of series 1. Her first few episodes demonstrate just why I love Rose so much, so I decided to highlight some moments from early series 1 that display her awesomeness and show just why I fell in love with the character so quickly.

The first thing that makes me love Rose is the fact that she loves the experience of traveling with the Doctor. She’s so excited to get out there and travel in time and see the universe which is something that I can completely relate to. I love to travel and see new places too, and Rose’s excitement is infectious. I think this is best summed up by her line at the beginning of “The Unquiet Dead”.

Rose: Think about it, though. Christmas 1860. It happened once. Just once, and it’s… gone, it’s finished. It’ll never happen again. Except for you. You can go back and see days that are dead and gone, a hundred thousand sunsets ago. No wonder you never stay still.
- 1x03 “The Unquiet Dead”

Rose gets it. She gets the Doctor and why he travels because she feels the same way. There’s just something magical for her about traveling in the Tardis.

In these first episodes, we also see Rose’s ability to connect with people. Rose very quickly makes friends with the plumber Raffalo on the observation station in “The End of the World”, and actually asks questions about her life. Rose CARES. She has a similar encounter with Gwyneth in “The Unquiet Dead”. Sure she projects her 21st century values onto Gwyneth, but her heart is in the right place. However, the most important interaction that we get in these first few episodes is between Rose and the Doctor. The Doctor is in a bad place when Rose first meets him. He recently just fought in the Time War in which he was responsible for the genocide of his own people. In “Rose”, he initially pushes Rose away and seems intent on traveling on his own, but something about Rose makes him invite her along with him. Where is the first place that he takes her? He takes her to see the destruction of her home planet. I think that this is a (conscious or unconscious) attempt to get Rose to understand him as a person and where he’s coming from, and I think it works.

The Doctor: You think it’ll last forever, the people and cars and concrete. But it won’t. One day it’s all gone, even the sky. My planet’s gone. It’s dead. It burned like the Earth. It’s rocks and dust before its time.
Rose Tyler: What happened?
The Doctor: There was a war, and we lost.
Rose Tyler: A war with who? What about your people?
The Doctor: I’m a Time Lord. I’m the last of them. They’re all gone. I’m the only survivor. I’m left travelling on my own because there’s no-one else.
Rose Tyler: There’s me.
Doctor: You've seen how dangerous it is. Do you want to go home?
Rose: I don't know. I want... Oh! Can you smell chips?
Doctor: Yeah. Yeah!
Rose: I want chips.
Doctor: Me too.
Rose: Right then, before you get me back in that box, chips it is, and you can pay.
Doctor: No money.
Rose: What sort of date are you? Come on then, tightwad, chips are on me.
-1x02 “The End of the World”

She reassures the Doctor that he is not alone anymore, and then is able to make him smile. Rose just has something about her that makes people want to open up to her. After only knowing the Doctor for a few days, she’s already changed the Doctor’s life for the better, and he’s so glad to have met her.

Rose: We'll go down fighting, yeah?
Doctor: Yeah.
Rose: Together?
Doctor: Yeah! I'm so glad I met you.
Rose: Me too.
-1x02 “The Unquiet Dead”

A final Rose Moment from those early episodes that I want to point out comes from the Slitheen two-parter. Admittedly these are not the best episodes of Doctor Who, but Rose does have a lovely moment towards the end. She is so brave and completely willing to die to save the world if need be, but that doesn’t mean she isn’t going to go down fighting.

Doctor: There's always been a way out.
Rose: Then why don't we use it?
Doctor: Because I can't guarantee your daughter will be safe.
Jackie: Don't you dare. Whatever it is, don't you dare.
Doctor: That's the thing, if I don't dare, everyone dies.
Rose:Do it.
Doctor: You don't even know what it is, you'd just let me?
Rose: Yeah.
Jackie: Please, Doctor. Please! She's my daughter, she's just a kid!
Doctor: Do you think I don't know that? Because this is my life, Jackie, it's not fun, it's not smart, it's just standing up and making a decision because nobody else will.
Rose: Then what're you waiting for?
Doctor: I could save the world but lose you.
-1x05 “World War Three”

But Rose doesn’t passively sit by and wait for the missile to hit. Instead she gets herself, the Doctor and Harriet Jones into the safest place she can find and hopes to ride out the missile and survive. Rose will do what she needs to do to save the world, but she’s not a martyr. She fights to live.

As the show progresses and we get to know Rose better there is even more to love about her, but even in these first few episodes, I found myself already enamored with Rose. Over the course of the rest of the week, we’ll be exploring other aspects of her character, but the traits I discussed tonight establish her from the get-go and are central to understanding Rose.

Catelyn Stark Day Two – "A Lady and Her Knight"

Again with the misleading title! This is not a meta about Cat and Ned or Cat and Brandon or Cat and Petyr. Instead this is a meta about the relationship between Cat and Brienne. For many of the women of A Song of Ice and Fire, their stories are about being women in a man’s world which is great and all (and this is certainly even true for Catelyn to an extent), but as a result of this theme, the series is sorely lacking in women interacting with other women. One of the few positive relationships between women that we DO get to see is the one between Catelyn and Brienne. It’s a complicated relationship that cannot easily be put into a category like friendship, mentor or patron, but it’s a strong one nonetheless.

Let’s start this examination of their relationship with Catelyn’s first impression of Brienne.

“Pity filled Catelyn’s heart. Is there any creature on earth as unfortunate as an ugly woman?”
-A Clash of Kings

I’ve seen Catelyn get a bit of flack for this quote, claiming that it makes her a Mean Girl, but that is not the point of this scene at all. Catelyn feels pity for Brienne not contempt, disgust or derision. Catelyn knows what life is like for women of the aristocracy, a class that both she and Brienne belong to. She knows what value women have in their society. She knows what the ruling group (aristocratic men) value when it comes to women. Unlike her daughter Sansa, Catelyn is a realist and she’s pragmatic. She has no delusions of men respecting Brienne for her prowess in battle. Instead she understands that Brienne’s looks will bring her mocking and make it difficult for her to secure a good marriage (possibly THE most important thing for a woman of her station), and so she feels sorry for Brienne.

And she’s right to feel pity, is she not? When Brienne gets a POV in A Feast For Crowns the reader learns about the cruel ways she has been treated because of her looks, most notably by the knights in Renly’s camp. In contrast to the way that men treat Brienne, Catelyn looks on her with kindness.

The friendship between Catelyn and Brienne truly starts when they are both witnesses to Renly’s murder by the shadow creature. Catelyn knows Brienne is innocent, but she also recognizes the fact the Brienne will be immediately under suspicion, so she takes Brienne with her. In return, Brienne offers her service to Cat.

Brienne stared at the ground and shuffled her feet. “I do not know your son, my lady.” She looked up. “I could serve you. If you would have me.”

Catelyn was startled. “Why me?”

The question seemed to trouble Brienne. “You helped me. In the pavilion... when they thought that I had... that I had... “

“You were innocent.”

“Even so, you did not have to do that. You could have let them kill me. I was nothing to you.”

Perhaps I did not want to be the only one who knew the dark truth of what had happened there, Catelyn thought. “Brienne, I have taken many wellborn ladies into my service over the years, but never one like you. I am no battle commander.”

“No, but you have courage. Not battle courage perhaps but... I don’t know... a kind of woman’s courage. And I think, when the time comes, you will not try and hold me back. Promise me that. That you will not hold me back from Stannis.”

Catelyn could still hear Stannis saying that Robb’s turn too would come in time. It was like a cold breath on the back of her neck. “When the time comes, I will not hold you back.”

The tall girl knelt awkwardly, unsheathed Renly’s longsword, and laid it at her feet. “Then I am yours, my lady. Your liege man, or... whatever you would have me be. I will shield your back and keep your counsel and give my life for yours, if need be. I swear it by the old gods and the new.”

“And I vow that you shall always have a place by my hearth and meat and mead at my table, and pledge to ask no service of you that might bring you into dishonor. I swear it by the old gods and the new. Arise.” As she clasped the other woman’s hands between her own, Catelyn could not help but smile. How many times did I watch Ned accept a man’s oath of service- She wondered what he would think if he could see her now.
-A Clash of Kings

And so we have this set up that you might see in a medieval romance- a lady with a knight sworn in service to her, but Cat and Brienne turn that trope around. It’s not about a knight trying to earn his lady’s favor and approval. Instead, this relationship is about the lady validating the knight. Brienne has been rejected and marginalized, unable to be a knight like she wants to be and is capable of being, but Catelyn gives her a place and a purpose.

There’s also genuine affection between these two women. When Catelyn receives word of Rickon and Bran’s deaths, Brienne is there for her and grieves with her.

“My lady, what is it? Is it some news of your sons?”

Such a simple question that was; would that the answer could be as simple. When Catelyn tried to speak, the words caught in her throat. “I have no sons but Robb.” She managed those terrible words without a sob, and for that much she was glad.

Brienne looked at her with horror. “My lady?”

“Bran and Rickon tried to escape, but were taken at a mill on the Acorn Water. Theon Greyjoy has mounted their heads on the walls of Winterfell. Theon Greyjoy, who ate at my table since he was a boy of ten.” I have said it, gods forgive me. I have said it and made it true.

Brienne’s face was a watery blur. She reached across the table, but her fingers stopped short of Catelyn’s, as if the touch might be unwelcome. “I... there are no words, my lady. My good lady. Your sons, they... they’re with the gods now.”
-A Clash of Kings

I love the faith in Brienne that Catelyn displays when she sends Brienne as Jaime’s guard and escort to King’s Landing where he will be exchanged for her daughters. In effect, she is entrusting Brienne with her daughters’ lives because in order for her daughters to be set free, he must arrive safely in king’s landing. It says a lot about Catelyn’s faith in Brienne’s abilities that she sends her on this mission. In return, Brienne demonstrates a single-minded loyalty to Catelyn. She is determined to find Sansa and Arya for Catelyn.

This relationship is why it sucks SO hard when Brienne finally meets Catelyn again. Except she isn’t Catelyn anymore. The gracious lady that Brienne had once known has become Lady Stoneheart, a creature of vengeance. Thus ends one of the very few female friendships portrayed in the series.

Cordelia Chase: Day Two – "A Victim No More"

Lilah: (opening the door) Cordelia Chase, right? Come to gloat?
Cordelia: (dryly) I can do that anywhere. Are you gonna invite me in? Oh, wait. I'm not a vampire. (she strides past Lilah and into the apartment)
Lilah: (sarcastically) Please, come on in.
Cordelia: I want you to tell me about Billy. Everything you didn't tell Angel. I want you to help me stop him.
Lilah: And what makes you think I'm gonna do that?
Cordelia: Well... there's your face, for starters.
Lilah: I know the risks of my job and I accept them.
Cordelia: Then why were you crying five minutes ago? (a beat) There's not a thing about badly-reapplied mascara that I don't know.
Lilah: (hard) I'm not Lindsey McDonald. I don't switch sides whenever it gets tough. And since when is this your job? I thought Angel was the dark avenger.
Cordelia: Angel feels responsible for this guy because he brought him back from Hell. I feel responsible because he did it to save me. You, who are actually responsible for the entire thing, feel nothing at all, because you are a vicious bitch.
Lilah: So? You know me.
Cordelia: (scoffing) Please, I was you. With better shoes.
Lilah: These are Borracci.
Cordelia: Fall collection?
Lilah: Next Spring.
Cordelia: He's widened the heel.
Lilah: And rounded the toe.
Cordelia: That won't work with pink.
Lilah: The pink is out this Spring.
Cordelia: Billy Blim makes people crazy.
Lilah: Not all people. Just men. He brings out a primordial misogyny in them. Turns them into killers.
Cordelia: Then why didn't he do it to Angel?
Lilah: (startled) Angel's seen him?
Cordelia: Yes, right before he escaped from the cops. (as Lilah chuckles) What's so witty?
Lilah: Billy's touch works differently on different men. Some lose their mind in an instant. Others... can take hours. (mocking) Gee, I sure hope Angel isn't starting to feel testy.
Cordelia: You better hope it.
Lilah: I know. I've seen his dark side.
Cordelia: (hard) You really haven't. I have to find Billy.
Lilah: And I'm gonna help you why?
Cordelia: You know that guy that you hired to hack into my visions? What he did to me? What it felt like? I was cut, my face disfigured, and burning with pain every second. Not knowing if it was gonna end, or just get worse 'til I died.
Lilah: So you think I owe you--
Cordelia: It's not the pain. It's the helplessness. The certainty that there is nothing you can do to stop it; that your life can be thrown away in an instant by someone else. He doesn't care. He'll beat you down until you stay down because he doesn't even think of you as alive. (firmly) No woman should ever have to go through that, and no woman strong enough to wear the mantle of vicious bitch would ever put up with it. Where is Billy going?

This is possibly my all time favorite Cordelia Moment. Most people in the Buffyverse don’t take Cordelia very seriously. Throughout her time on Buffy, the Scoobies never really saw her as one of them. She was always a bit of an outsider and that silly popular girl. Even on Angel her perky personality and her efforts to make Angel Investigations a profitable enterprise give people the impression that she is shallow. But with this scene we see that Cordelia is more than that. She always has been though. Her introspection about being surrounded by people and yet lonely in episode 1x11 of Buffy “Out of Sight, Out of Mind” is the first real indication of this, and it becomes more apparent as she matures and grows. There is more to Cordelia than meets the eyes. She can be introspective, and in this scene she also demonstrates her strength and determination.

This conversation is the culmination of a couple of things. Firstly it deals with the way that her body had been violated by Wolfram and Hart a few episodes earlier in 3x02 “That Vision Thing”. That was an incredibly traumatic experience for Cordelia. All of a sudden her visions, which were painful and out of her control in the first place, are causing her lasting physical pain and deformity. The next one might kill her, but there was nothing she could do. She felt completely helpless and powerless.

This brings me to my next point about this scene. Codelia is done being a victim who needs to be rescued. Feeling helpless as a result of Wolfram and Hart messing with her visions made her feel weak, and she never wants to feel like that again. She’s going after Billy herself, and you’d better not get in her way. She’s been training with Angel and learning how to fight. Cordelia isn’t going to be a victim any more. She’s going to fight back.

I love that this bit of dialogue still has some of that classic Cordelia snark. She hasn’t lost that spark that makes Cordelia who she is. She is quick to comment on Lilah’s shoes, and notices Lilah’s hastily reapplied mascara. But she has moved beyond the shallow high school girl she once was. She’s now a woman with a lot of insight who will not sit back and let bad thinsg happen.

This moment is also great because it demonstrates a solidarity between Cordelia and Lilah who are on opposite sides of the war, and yet Cordelia comes to Lilah to help because in the end this isn’t about Wolfram and Hart winning or losing. This is about finding solidarity as women and taking out a misogynistic asshole. In conclusion, fuck yeah, Cordelia Chase!
Tags: buffy, doctor who, game of thrones, we love the women that fandom hates

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