vahinkoelain: Text: Turn up the bass (turn up the bass)

In Finland we have this thing called...

The Nightmares of the Bench.



 

Well, not seriously. But we have this thing called penkkarit, which is short for penkinpainajaiset, which most likely means "an occasion where we press the bench" but could also be mistranslated as The Nightmares of the Bench.

(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Penkkarit) The big occasion that we celebrate is that we have no more courses to complete in upper secondary school. No more school! In about a month though, we'll have to do our abitur, which is sort of like the French baccalauréat, or SATs or A-levels. And then we're out of this school... except for me - I'm staying for another year because I've got so damn many subjects to study. But it's alright, I like it here.

Anyway, the day was... Fucking brilliant.


I dressed up as Morgana. Nobody recognized the character (It figures, the show hasn't been aired in Finland yet) but I got lots of compliments from people saying that they didn't even recognize me, they just thought I was some beautiful young lady dressed up as a medieval noblewoman :D

As per the penkkarit traditions, we were driven around in trucks and threw candy to little kids. Yay! We threw it at adults, too, but none of them tried to catch it or pick it up. Pfft. Such bores.

In the evening, I went partying at a night club for the first time. (I don't drink, so I haven't seen any reason to visit bars before.) The place was pretty horrible - constant loud noise, bad air conditioning, drunken people all over... At the end of the night, the dance floor was filled with spilled beer and shards of broken glass. But we still kept dancing - and I had the time of my life!

Basically, this post was just to tell you that it was THE AWESOMEST DAY IN THE HISTORY OF EVER.
vahinkoelain: A picture of Gwen and Morgana with text "Stupid sexism, Gwen and Morgana do not approve" (stupid sexism)

Some time ago, I watched The Sword in the Stone. I should have done it sooner! Some SPOILERY notes I made about the movie:

AHA! moments:
- So that's where the Marvin thing comes from! In the movie, there's a king who can't seem to remember Merlin's name, instead calling him Marlin or Marvin or what have you. (And this has been transferred into fics.)
- That's where the Archimedes thing comes from! In the movie, Merlin has an owl named Archimedes. (I've seen Archimedes in one fic on the kinkmeme, unfortunately I cannot find it right now because I can't find delicious' search function. FAIL.)
- That's where Madame Mim made her first appearance! I thought that she had been created for the Mickey Mouse magazine.

Compare/contrast with Merlin the series:
-The Sword in the Stone has a strong theme on how destiny doesn't bind you.
- Arthur made a speech about how magic is good.

Stuff that sucked:
- Merlin compared heterosexuality to gravity. Seriously.
- The "Girls are soooo strange!" trope was invoked when female squirrels harassed squirrel!Arthur and squirrel!Merlin. Also, harassment is funny. Especially when it's girls harassing boys.
- Madam Mim called herself ugly :( I thought her character looked like a pretty normal middle-aged woman... with additional lilac hair. Also, if I remember correctly, she was the only woman in the movie. (Well, it's a Disney movie from the 60's, what did I expect.)

vahinkoelain: A picture of Morgana LeFay, played by Katie McGrath (Default)
I had a somewhat amusing, but strange dream about Merlin. It's a shame that I've forgotten most of it already.

In that dream, Arthur and Merlin had been forced to marry. They had had a whole day of ceremonies and celebrating, and now they were really tired and just lying on Arthur's bed. (There were no plans to consummate the marriage, or anything of that sort, really.) Merlin was complaining: "Now that I'm a prince consort, I'm gonna have so little time to myself or my research. I'm so sad! I really, really wanted to read that one book about apes!"

Anthropoid apes and monkeys were Merlin's passion. He had a pet monkey, except it was a magical, mechanical monkey. It followed him around almost everywhere. Merlin had even made some sort of secret vow to apes, in order to be allowed to study their secrets. Two of his canine teeth had been taken away in a ritual and twisted around a twig in order to make some sort of religious ornament. This was a big secret, though, and Arthur was to never know that some of Merlin's teeth had been very recently grown (in order to substitute the ones that were taken away.)

Even though Arthur didn't know all of this, he knew that ape research pretty important to Merlin. He took pity on him and said "Well, at least I have read that book. Maybe you can ask me questions about it?"
And Merlin asked: "When a human encountered a monkey the first time, what did the monkey say to the human?"
"I don't remember. Was that really in the book?"
"Yes. It said..." And then there was a really bad punchline. And Merlin told "Why did the monkey cross the road?" type of jokes for the rest of their wedding night while Arthur just rolled his eyes.


I'm pretty sure that I had this dream because I've recently read "With This Ring", a A/M tale about being forced to marry: http://community.livejournal.com/merlin_muses/8864.html (its author is anonymous at the moment, but will be revealed at the end of the fest) and "Steam" by [livejournal.com profile] new_kate: http://new-kate.livejournal.com/59187.html, a steampunk story in which there is a mechanical, magical bird. But for the rest of that dream, I blame my own subconscious.
vahinkoelain: A picture of Morgana LeFay, played by Katie McGrath (Default)
Being in the Merlin fandom and shipping Arthur/Merlin has made me really interested in the Middle Ages. I've read some books about medieval women's status, work and everyday lives, which has made me realize that the show's depiction of Morgana is really historically inaccurate. What first made me think about this was meta on somebody else's journal, but it's been a while, so I can't find it. Here's [livejournal.com profile] adarog 's journal entry that mentions it: http://adarog.livejournal.com/38617.html and reminded me of it.

POSSIBLE SPOILERS OF SEASONS 1&2 OF MERLIN )

I've also read parts of "Rakkaus samaan sukupuoleen: homoseksuaalisuuden historia" (Love towards the same sex: a history of homosexuality) by Robert Aldrich and Veli-Pekka Ketola, which is a good general source if you're a Finnish-speaker. Today, I read an essay titled The Experience of Homosexuality in the Middle Ages by Paul Halsall.

Stuff I've learned that can be applied to Merlin: The European attitudes towards homosexuality changed radically around the 13th century. Before that, sodomy was of course a sin, but sort of your own business. Sodomy could refer to sex between men or heterosexual sex acts that were not aimed towards procreation (I don't know if it referred to lesbian sex, probably not) and basically, everybody sinned in some way anyway. Just confess it to your local priest, say a few Ave Marias and you're good to go! But around the 13th century, new laws were created, old laws were written down officially and started to be enforced. People started accusing monarchs/important people they didn't like of sodomy. That was a good excuse to get them executed.

So, how does Camelot view its adorably gay Crown Prince? We don't knooow! *wail* We'd need to know when the show is set. If the real King Arthur had existed, he probably would have lived around the 6th Century. But the show looks like it's set much later than that. I've personally thought the show is set at year 1300 or later, any thoughts on that? Also, Christianity is mysteriously absent from Camelot, and in the real world, Christianity was the basis for persecution of gay people.

Paul Halsall talks about homosexual networks/subcultures but also a lot about homosexual sex. Fact: pretty much everything that's done today has been done then. Also, interfemoral intercourse aka sex between the thighs was, for a lack of a better word, popular. (Which it might be today, it just doesn't appear in porn, erotica or popular culture that much.) Which, incidentally, reminds me of this really hot fanfic: http://a-fallen-sister.livejournal.com/23332.html. It's NC-17 and contains SPOILERS for 1x10 of Merlin.

What I've also learned: I feel pretty silly reading an academic paper about sex. And a bit embarrassed writing a journal entry about it.

I laughed when I read this in Halsall's paper: "One of the reasons people have sex is usually overlooked. They find it pleasurable." O RLY? People overlook that all the time? Well, I guess that in academia, anything's possible.

Trigger warning for discussion of rape culture )

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vahinkoelain: A picture of Morgana LeFay, played by Katie McGrath (Default)
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February 2011

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