Tag Archives: friendship

Crossing Places

A few days ago, while playing among our books, The Toddler pulled out a slim volume which caught my eye. It was a book – or, more truly, a notebook – which I hadn’t seen in a very long time.

A very long time.

winnie-the-pooh-notebook

Photo credit: SJ O’Hart.

This notebook was a gift from my schoolfriends to me on my 17th birthday. In it, they had each written a little note wishing me a happy birthday and how much they were looking forward to celebrating with me; some wished me a bright future, and others shared funny stories (some of the details of which, sadly, have blurred with time). Many put their first names and their surnames, just in case I lost the notebook and didn’t find it again for so long that I’d have forgotten who they were. One spent four pages insulting me in the most colourfully hilarious language imaginable and didn’t bother signing his name because he knew (rightly) that we’d be friends forever and I’d never get around to forgetting him – and his message still made me laugh out loud.

I read it with a huge grin and, if I’m being honest, a few tears too – and not just because my 17th birthday is so long ago now that you’d need a telescope to see it.

This notebook’s reappearance in my life made me think a lot about intersections and choices, the random algorithms that bring people into your life and take them out of it again. I’m delighted that most of the people who wrote in my book are still my friends; a few I haven’t seen in a couple of years, and one I haven’t seen, sadly, since we left school. But I remembered them all, even without the surnames. Each of them was important to me, and many still are – and there’s not one among them I wouldn’t be glad to see again, right now. They’re all (as far as I know) still alive and well, and though most of them still live in Ireland there are a couple who left – one for America, one for the UK – and very few of them still live at home, where we all grew up. We all entered one another’s lives through the simple coincidence of being born at around the same time and either growing up in, or moving to, the same place in time to attend secondary school together. Besides that, we are as disparate a group of people as you could find.

And yet, we are bound to one another forever.

I was thinking, recently, about the ‘quantum’ versions of myself – by which I mean, fancifully, the versions of me which exist in every other imaginable universe. Would I be doing the same things I’m doing here, in this space? Would I be the same person? Would I live in the same place, with the same people? Who’s to know. Every life has its ‘crossing places’, points at which the choices you make determine the path you take. My life has had several of those, some of which I would dearly love to relive. If it were possible, would I take different paths? Would I make different choices? I have some regrets; people I have lost whom I miss, people I loved who never knew it, things I wish I’d had the bravery to do when I had the chance.

And yet, the choices I made have led me here, to this room, in which I’m typing. My child is a few feet away, playing. John Grant is on my stereo. The proof of my first book is sitting on the table beside me. Things are not perfect: the world is far from good. I, like many, have found the last few days very hard, for many reasons. But as lives go, I can’t complain about mine. It has been circuitous and challenging, and I look back on so much of it with a nostalgia bordering on pain, but – in one manner or another – everything I have ever wanted or worked for has come to pass.

But as my child grows, these are the lessons I will impart:

  1. If you love a person, tell them. Even if they don’t love you, and you know it; even if you fear rejection. Tell them, without expectation, because regret is a far heavier burden than embarrassment, and it grows heavier with time.
  2. If you have an opportunity to travel, take it.
  3. Ditto with studying.
  4. In fact, if you have an opportunity to travel and study, take it. With both hands. And don’t worry about how you’ll work things out – you will.
  5. If offered a job you don’t think you can do, try it anyway.
  6. If you want to go on an adventure, do it.
  7. Always treasure your friends.
  8. And never stop working for what you want, fighting for what you believe in, and doing everything you can to help others, as far as you can.

Every life has its crossing places, but hopefully my child’s will have fewer than mine – and, with any luck, friends and friendship will be a big part of it, as they have been for me.

Thank you to my friends, all of them, past and present and future. I’m lucky to have, and to have had, such love.

 

Wiga, Wintrum Geong

One year ago today, the man about whom this blog post was originally written was lost to the world. All that is in my heart today – and believe me, I’ve tried all morning to blog about something, about *anything* else – are my memories of him and my sorrow at his loss, and my disbelief that it’s been a year already. A year.

My friend’s name was Neal. Today, I will remember him.

SJ O'Hart

Round about ten years ago now, I started studying for my Ph.D. It was the culmination of a lifetime’s effort, and it represented everything I had ever wanted to achieve. I loved my subject, I adored reading about it, I loved to write about it, and I was thirsty to learn.

I wasn’t too hot on getting up in public and speaking about it, but I figured that stuff would come later. It did, and I happily lectured and taught for many years.

But, back at the beginning, one of the things I took as a module that first year was Latin.

Image: rylandscollections.wordpress.com Image: rylandscollections.wordpress.com

I wanted to be able to read and understand the beautiful manuscripts I had the privilege of studying, and I wanted to be ‘fluent’ (if one can use that word about a language that isn’t really spoken, at least as a vernacular, any more); a lot…

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Circles and Parallelograms

Years ago, a friend and I were in conversation. We were lamenting the fact that people can’t, often, see themselves the way others see them; they can’t see the good things about themselves which stand out like beacons to other people. All the person themselves can see are the bad things, the negative things, the flaws.

My friend – being a mathematical sort – asked me to describe myself in terms of a shape. ‘Your mind,’ he said, ‘and how you see your personality – not a shape that describes how you look.’ So, I said a parallelogram, not really sure why – possibly just because it’s a cool word.

‘Well,’ he said. ‘To me, you’re a circle.’

Photo Credit: jouste via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: jouste via Compfight cc

‘O-kay,’ I replied, not really getting it. ‘Why?’

‘Because a circle is a perfect shape,’ he told me.

Now, by saying this, my friend wasn’t trying to tell me he thought I was perfect, but that how he saw me was widely at odds with how I saw myself. All I could see were angles and spikes and corners, but what my friend could see was balance, symmetry and wholeness.

I’m not sure whether he was right or wrong – or if those sorts of distinctions can even be drawn when you’re talking about a person’s opinion – but certainly, his view of me and my own view of me didn’t overlap then, and I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t overlap now. It can be a strange experience to hear another person’s opinion of you, particularly if they’re speaking to someone else about you in your hearing; it can feel a bit disorienting, like your concept of yourself suddenly doesn’t fit any more. ‘Who is this person they’re talking about, this nice creature? Couldn’t be me, surely.’

Don’t get me wrong: it’s lovely to be thought of in good terms by others, and I’m lucky that it has happened to me once or twice so far in the course of my life. It’s just odd, and I wonder why.

I’d like to think I’m the same person, no matter who I’m talking to or where I am: I don’t make an effort to be more ‘circle-like’ in certain company, while happily parallelogramming it around at other times. I am what I am – at least, I hope so. And yes, there are days when I feel content with who I am and what I’ve done with my life and what I plan to do with the rest of my time and I feel reasonably ‘together’, but in general I don’t feel like I have a handle on life. I reckon I’m just swinging from one crisis to the next, making the best of things as I go – a bit like everyone else. So, if I’m a circle I’m only a part-timer; occasionally, my circle breaks and I become a collection of shards instead. Maybe some of me has got lost over the years as I try to put myself back together, time and time again.

Perhaps, too, how others see us is as much a reflection on them as it is on us – my friend’s view of me as a ‘circle’ might say more about the personality traits he sees as admirable and worthy of emulation and which he imagines I have, rather than a realistic reflection of who I am. Maybe I am good at portraying an unruffled face to the world while inside my brain it’s like a scene from Duck Soup; who knows.

When facing a challenge, I really wish I could see myself as the circle my friend saw all those years ago. I wish I could picture a smooth and balanced exterior and an unflappable surface, filled with calm wisdom from edge to edge like a plump water-skin in a desert. Instead I’m all angles and careening lines, zipping about without direction or sense. My thoughts are like weapons. My mind is over-cranked. I feel about as circular as a straight line.

And then I realise all I have to do is bend, slightly – no, a little more – and my straight line can start to resemble something circle-like. Bend slightly more, without breaking, and continue on without stopping, and somehow, eventually, the line will meet itself, and a circle will form.

so it may be that I’m more a ‘circle-in-training’ than an actual circle, but that’s better than nothing, right? I’m trying to remember that someone, a long time ago, saw something admirable in me, and chose to tell me so. He used the highest form of praise he could. Unknowingly – or perhaps not – he also gave me a tool I can use to help myself when things get tough; I can imagine myself as a circle, the circle he saw and which must therefore be in me, somewhere. Complete. Whole. Balanced. Graceful.

I don’t see it yet, and maybe I never will; I’m glad to know it’s there, all the same.

Tiger and Turtle

Image: layoutsparks.com

Image: layoutsparks.com

Tiger and Turtle

Truth be tol’, I feel like hell the day Turtle and me decide to ride the rollercoaster.

‘They ain’t gon’ let us on,’ I say. ‘Les’ jus’ bounce.’

‘Fool, I know the ticket guy, ai’ght? No sweat.’ I can’t do nothin’ but shrug, and hope my head stops hurtin’ soon.

Eventually, we facin’ the top of the line.

‘You two jokers, right?’ says Ticket Booth guy. ‘Git. You gotta be this tall –‘ he points at some grinnin’ fool on a billboard – ‘to ride.’ But Turtle, he knew a back door. Soon, we on board.

My head bustin’ like a neverendin’ punch, an’ Turtle talkin’, but I ain’t hearin’. Two seats in front, there’s a tiger sittin’, stripes an’ tail flickin’. He turns, growlin’, an’ I smell his meat breath.

Coaster starts movin’, an’ I lean across to Turtle, real slow.

‘Turtle, man,’ I say, so low he can’t barely hear.

‘What you sayin’?’ he yells, leanin’ in. He soun’ like a freight train.

‘Turtle, man! Up front. Up front!’ I’m flickin’ my eyes in Tiger-boy’s direction but it ain’t no good. Turtle, he refuse to see.

‘What in the hell wrong wit’ you, boy?’ He fling hi’self back into his seat and fol’ his arms like he waitin’ for church to start. ‘You crazy.’

‘You don’t see nothin’?’ The tiger smilin’ at me now, his teeth shinin’ gold. Plenty o’ room in that ol’ mouf for me an’ Turtle too, and then some.

‘Ain’t nothing there to see,’ Turtle say, lookin’ out at the world. ‘No, sir.’

My head fit to bust, then. Feelin’ like my skin gon’ split, startin’ right at the top o’ my head, flayin’ down to my footsoles. The ol’ tiger, well. He turn, his shoulder ripplin’ like a black an’ yellow ocean, like a cornfield full o’ shadow. He turn s’more, one giant paw comin’ to res’ right on the seat in front. My brain screamin’. The tiger’s eye like a dyin’ star.

‘Turtle, man – I ain’t feelin’ so good,’ I say, an’ it the truth. My eyeballs fit to come pop right out my skull and lie, fizzin’, on my fool cheeks. I need to get out my seat, but the coaster flyin’ by now. I strugglin’, Turtle beside me suckin’ his teeth, leanin’ out the side.

‘Quit yo’ wrigglin’!’ he snap, turnin’ to me with his eyes wide.

An’ then the tiger, he pounce. He fall like a hammer, like a mountain. He brung night with him, pure dark, full o’ noises and danger and the stink o’ death. Then I hear Turtle screamin’, an’ my head explode. I bust up an’ out, th’owin’ off my skin, my self, an’ my arms ain’t arms no mo’, my hands ain’t hands.

I got claws longer n’ my ol’ body. I got pelt. I got teeth.

So I sink ’em, ever’thin’, into ol’ Tiger-boy.

As we fallin’ out the coaster I hear him laughin’.

Welcome, chile, he say. I knew it was you.

Book Review Saturday – ‘Goodnight Mister Tom’

This book is one I’ve wanted to read for years. I kept forgetting about it until the other day when my lovely husband handed me a copy. ‘I thought you might like this,’ he said. ‘It sounded right up your street.’

Well. They do say that when a spouse speaks their affection through books, they’re worth holding on to, don’t they?

Okay, they don’t. But they should.

Image: whytebooks.com

Image: whytebooks.com

‘Goodnight Mister Tom’, by Michelle Magorian, was originally published in 1981. It won the Guardian Children’s Fiction Award, an amazing feat for a first novel, and has been a classic of children’s literature ever since. It tells the story of William (‘Willie’, later ‘Will’) Beech, a London child evacuated to the countryside at the outbreak of World War II, and his relationship with Tom Oakley, the man with whom he is placed.

From the get-go, I loved Tom. He’s depicted as the typical ‘gruff’ countryman, keeps himself to himself, doesn’t bother anyone and nobody bothers him – but beneath it all you know that his neighbours respect and like him. He reacts with thinly veiled irritation when Willie is deposited on his doorstep, fresh off the London train, but almost instantly we see his annoyance begin to melt. He has the instincts of a father, and he sees straight away that Willie has been terribly abused by someone in his past. Without having to be told, Tom knows how to take care of Willie. He is patient, and he is understanding, and he is gentle. He is kind, and generous, and he gives the child space to be himself – he gives him a chance to come to trust him, and he never forces the issue.

It is one of the most beautiful ‘parent’-child relationships I’ve ever read. Often, when reading this book, I was moved to tears by Tom’s understanding of what it is to be a child, and how easily he placed himself in Willie’s shoes. It made me wish that every child had a ‘Tom’ – a parent or guardian who treated them with consistent kindness and patient love, allowing them to be who they are and express who they are without judgement.

Just a minute. I’m getting weepy again. Here, have a picture:

John Thaw (Tom) and Nick Robinson (Willie) in the 1998 movie adaptation of the book. Image: kingsroad.learningspaces.net

John Thaw (Tom) and Nick Robinson (Willie) in the 1998 movie adaptation of the book.
Image: kingsroad.learningspaces.net

Right. Anyway. As the story progresses, we learn a bit more about Tom, and his own painful past. We find out why he keeps his world small and why he has locked away all the love in his heart for so long, and we watch it slowly start to re-emerge as he and Willie grow closer. We see Willie learn how to run and laugh and play like an ordinary child, and we see him make friends – best friends – for the first time. It is through showing us all the things Willie has never experienced before that Magorian expresses the depth of the abuse he’s suffered – and that abuse is like nothing else I’ve ever read.

Willie’s life with his mother comes back into play in the latter part of the book, after she summons him back to London. He has been with Mister Tom for over six months, and he has transformed from a sick, weak, bruised and broken child into a strong, healthy boy. He is so changed that, when he arrives back in London, his mother does not recognise him. In the character of Mrs Beech, Magorian has created one of the most compellingly evil fictional mothers; we see her belittle Willie, and we see her anger when she realises that Tom has not been beating Willie regularly, as she would have wished. We see her determination to ‘break’ him once again, undoing all the good work Tom and the people of Little Weirwold have been doing since Willie arrived among them. We see, in fact, that Mrs Beech is profoundly mentally ill, and has taken out her own frustration and anger on her son.

Tom, meanwhile, has had a premonition that all is not well with Willie. A month goes by, and there is no word from the child despite several letters having been sent to him. Suspicious and uneasy, Tom – who has never ventured beyond his own village – finds his way to London, and eventually to Deptford, where Willie lives. He persuades a policeman to break down the door of the Beechs’ seemingly-abandoned flat – and, inside, they find Willie in the worst possible condition.

During this part of the story, I had to put the book down once or twice because I couldn’t deal with what I was reading. The sheer brutality of what Willie has endured is shocking, even to me; I thought I was fairly worldly, but this book showed me I am not. It was hard going, and I wondered how I would have coped with it as a younger reader. I think children would react entirely differently to this sort of thing, though: it’s almost like something out of a fairy tale, something unreal. It’s only to an adult reader that the true horror reveals itself.

Suffice it to say, I wept as I read the final twenty or thirty pages of this book. As well as Willie and Tom’s story, a character meets their death (unnecessarily, I thought, but that’s just me) which had me in a heap on the floor, and the conclusion of the story wrenched every last drop of emotion from my soul.

So, the story is wonderful.

I'm fine - honestly... Image: drhealth.md

I’m fine – honestly…
Image: drhealth.md

However, I did have a problem with the writing. Specifically, there’s a lot of showing, as opposed to telling, in this book, and it is – despite not being the heftiest of tomes – too long. Lots of what happens is not vital to the plot, and pages of pointless description and minutiae take away from the book’s power, for me. Having said that, while the style of writing is irritating at times, it shines when Magorian is writing dialogue. At that, and at characterisation, she absolutely excels. In any case, the sheer heft of the story, and the profound effect it had on me, more than make up for the perceived shortcomings in style. Perhaps, after all, there were different ‘rules’ or expectations from children’s books in 1981 in terms of how they were written, and it was Magorian’s first book.

But what a first book.

This one is highly recommended, for those of you who haven’t read it already. Just be prepared to weep, is all I’ll say.

Have a great weekend, everyone. Go read!

Wiga, Wintrum Geong

Round about ten years ago now, I started studying for my Ph.D. It was the culmination of a lifetime’s effort, and it represented everything I had ever wanted to achieve. I loved my subject, I adored reading about it, I loved to write about it, and I was thirsty to learn.

I wasn’t too hot on getting up in public and speaking about it, but I figured that stuff would come later. It did, and I happily lectured and taught for many years.

But, back at the beginning, one of the things I took as a module that first year was Latin.

Image: rylandscollections.wordpress.com

Image: rylandscollections.wordpress.com

I wanted to be able to read and understand the beautiful manuscripts I had the privilege of studying, and I wanted to be ‘fluent’ (if one can use that word about a language that isn’t really spoken, at least as a vernacular, any more); a lot of older scholarly texts in my subject, medieval studies, quoted passages of Latin without any translation as their authors would have expected anyone who read them to be able to understand them without difficulty. I also wanted to master a command of this beautiful and important language, just because it was an intellectual challenge.

One day, as I sat with my ‘Wheelock’s Latin’ trying to catch up on the previous lesson’s homework, a new student strode into the classroom. Tall, and handsome, dark-haired and blue-eyed, there was an air of friendliness and humour about him. He looked around the room, smiling broadly, and eventually settled on a vacant chair not far from me. He nodded a greeting as he took out his own book, and among his notes I saw some photocopies of an Old English text that I was also doing research into.

‘Are you doing Old English?’ I asked, excited to meet another person like me.

‘Yeah,’ he replied, still smiling – for this boy always smiled. ‘I love it.’

And so, a friendship was born. Our mutual incomprehension of Latin and our fear of the instructor and her impossible class tests gave us something to laugh about over coffee; our shared love of Old English meant we’d often sound out one another’s grammatical knowledge over lunch, engaging with the multiple meanings of certain words and the effects this had on the texts we loved. We’d work through translations together, discussing the beauty of the language and the blood-stirring stories. Sometimes, we’d just hang out and talk about the same old nonsense anyone talks about when they’re in good company.

He was fascinated by my Ph.D. thesis, then in its barest infancy, barely wobbling on its badly-researched legs. I shared ideas with him and drew strength from his enthusiasm. In return, I engaged with his research, which was on the Old English word ‘mod’ and its uses in different texts over time. This word has many meanings: Courage. Heart. Mind. Soul. Spirit.

He embodied them all.

At the end of our academic year together, my friend left my university to begin working on his own Ph.D. at Durham, and I bid him farewell with a heavy heart. I missed his good-natured banter, his scholarly excellence, his determination to get to the bottom of any linguistic or grammar-related issue, and his sheer enthusiasm for life. I looked forward to watching his career progress, and I hoped – one day – to meet him again. His smile never dimmed and his good humour never failed, and he was the sort of person who carries sunshine in his pocket – everyone was glad to see him, and he always made the day brighter.

Last Friday, I discovered through a message posted by my friend’s aunt that he had lost his life, suddenly and tragically. He was still living in Durham, far from his family in Connecticut. He had been ill, but his death came out of the blue.

The news stunned me. I sat at my computer, weeping, scrolling through the many messages left by his friends and loved ones on his Facebook wall, all of them saying the same things that were in my heart: ‘Too young,’ ‘What a wonderful man,’ ‘One of the greats,’ ‘Will be missed so much,’ ‘Brought joy wherever he went.’ It didn’t lessen my own shock and grief to see how deeply he was loved, but it did make me feel a little less alone.

I thought of his long-ago MA research, and the word ‘mod’, and how it had been the perfect thing for him to write about. He was heart, and soul, and courage. He embodied fullness of spirit. He was one of the best people I have ever known, and I will always regret that I allowed so many years to pass without seeing him in person.

The title of my blog post today means ‘A hero, young in years.’ It is written in the language my friend loved – Old English – and taken from one of the poems we discussed over those long-ago coffees, ‘The Battle of Maldon.’ I can’t believe the world has lost someone as bright, loving and intelligent as my friend, and I will miss him all the days of my life. All I can do now is hope he will live on in the memories of those who loved him, and keep the flame of his ‘mod’ alive in my own heart.

In Ireland, we have a saying when someone dies. Ní bheidh a leithéid arís ann. It means ‘Never will his like be seen again.’

In my friend’s case, it’s absolutely true.

A burial fit for a king. Image: alexpogeler.wordpress.com

A burial fit for a king.
Image: alexpogeler.wordpress.com

Staking out the Weekend

I was recently given the most amazing gift. I’ve got to tell you all about it.

Image: adkwriter.wordpress.com

Image: adkwriter.wordpress.com

So, we visited some friends at the weekend, and (as well as having a wonderful time), they made my husband and I – or, well, me really – a present of seasons 1-3 of ‘Buffy The Vampire Slayer.’

No – wait! Don’t run away!

What do you mean, 'aaaargh?' Image: gautamsofficial.blogspot.com

What do you mean, ‘aaaargh?’
Image: gautamsofficial.blogspot.com

I know the topic of ‘Buffy’ can divide opinion – and, sometimes, it’s the people who’ve never watched the show who can have the loudest opinion – but I have to nail my colours to the mast right here.

I’m a fan.

I’m a massive fan of Joss Whedon, for a start; I don’t think I’ve ever encountered anything he has had a hand in which I haven’t liked, at least somewhat. I love the way he writes women, and his imaginative use of myth and folklore, and the intelligent, complex humour that weaves its way through everything he’s made. So, it stands to reason that I’d be a fan of Buffy Summers and her ragged little Scooby Gang, battling to keep the world vampire-free.

However, I came late to ‘Buffy’. To me, the show is all about Willow being a powerful and sometimes rather evil witch, and Buffy’s complicated relationship with the vampire Spike, all of which comes well into the show’s development. Season 1 is all about Buffy’s relationship with the vampire Angel, of whom I was never really a fan – mainly because the show was all about Spike when I watched it – but I’m finally developing an appreciation for Angel as a character and as a focus for Buffy’s affection. It was moving to watch them fall in love, all the while with Buffy thinking he was human, until the inevitable moment when his true nature is forced to make an appearance.

In fact, I spent *cough* several hours yesterday watching one or two (or six) episodes, and it was huge fun to see all the characters as they were at the beginning of the show – young, and innocent, and in possession of the clunkiest high-heeled shoes and the frostiest lipstick known to man. It made me very nostalgic for my own 1990s teenage-hood, when girls went out to nightclubs dressed in slacks and jackets and nobody had mobile phones and the very idea of the internet was mind-blowing and most people listened to decent music and sarcasm was the lingua franca of everyone under thirty.

Sometimes, I really miss those days.

It was also great to see Willow the way she was at the show’s beginning – gentle, and quiet, and nerdy, and devoted to Xander, and totally unaware of her own magical powers. She was always one of my favourite characters (even when she was, you know, evil and set on destroying the world, and stuff), and watching the show would be worth it just for her.

Naaaaaw! Image: angelsrealm.com

Naaaaaw!
Image: angelsrealm.com

It’s a strange experience, from a narrative point of view, to watch the show backwards – as in, to only be experiencing its beginnings now, despite knowing how the story arcs end and how all the characters develop. It makes my viewing experience at once brand-new and exciting, as well as bittersweet. It also makes me appreciate exactly how much the characters grow and mature, and how interesting their stories are. For me, Buffy herself was always a weary, sick-and-tired-of-saving-the-world-again type character, so to see her as she is in season 1 (a cheerleading wannabe, running away from her past, trying to date and have a normal teenage life, full of pep and snarky humour) is great.

But mainly what watching ‘Buffy’ does is make me really, truly crazy that ‘Twilight’ is the vampire story that most young people are familiar with these days. ‘Buffy’ is still popular, and still a part of the mental world of teenage audiences, but I do think it has largely been replaced by Bella Swan and her moping nonsense. How has this happened? How have we replaced Buffy Summers – a kickboxing, weapon-slinging, intelligent, brave, resourceful, fearless, duty- and honour-bound warrior – with Bella Swan, whose single greatest achievement is managing not to fall over while walking down a school corridor and having a crush on a guy who sparkles in the sunlight?

Gaaaah!  Image: twilight.wikia.com

Gaaaah!
Image: twilight.wikia.com

It makes me ferocious to think that role models for girls have regressed to the point where they’d rather read about a character who devotes herself – body, mind and soul – to the needs of a man than learn about Buffy, who is a self-possessed, confident heroine in her own right. Buffy doesn’t need anyone. Her relationships are her own choices, and she owns her mistakes. She bravely goes wherever her duty calls her, and she never backs down. She sacrifices everything she has in order to save the innocent. She looks like the kind of girl who could cause some serious damage (and, indeed, the actress who played her had a black belt in taekwondo); Bella Swan looks like she’d fall over in a stiff breeze. Bella Swan never thinks about anyone outside of her own small circle. Bella’s story – from what I remember of it, which isn’t much – is largely about herself, and Edward (the vampire who becomes her husband), and their family. They fight, sure, but it’s to save themselves. Buffy fights evil because it is the right thing to do, and because it is her responsibility, and even though it weighs heavily on her she doesn’t shirk it. She fights to save people who don’t even know they’re in danger, and she suffers for it.

But no. We’d rather squee over Bella Swan’s wedding dress than fangirl over Buffy’s prowess with a crossbow.

Whatever.

I know where my loyalties lie.

Image: italiansubs.com

Image: italiansubs.com