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On the subject of Merlin and Arthur
which can be taken as 'on the subject of the sexualization of fandom'


This has been bothering me, and some of you (probably most of you) may disagree with me on this, but it really has been irking me and I think someone needed to write it down and get it out there so here goes.

I don’t want a romantic/sexualized relationship with Merlin and Arthur on screen. I want the love they have for each other to show on screen, but I don’t want romance. But that’s a contradiction! No, no it isn’t. Someone once said that every story is a love story, and it’s true. Look at any book or film and try to find some sort of love in there. Love of violence, love of family, love of another, love of oneself, love of nature, love of art, love of sport…it’s there.

And here’s the thing, what I think Merlin and Arthur has is…it’s deeper than a romantic relationship. They don’t have to snog each other senseless to get the point across that they trust one another unconditionally. I think the fact that both of them would risk their lives for another goes to show how inexplicably they are tied to one another. The idea that they really shouldn’t trust one another (but do), or die for one another (but would) is just another reason why what they have is something most married couples or even historical/fictional characters don’t have.

Merlin is destined to help make Arthur a great King. Arthur is fated to place unconditional trust in Merlin, a sorcerer who has so much power but only uses it to protect. Regardless of whether this is spoken or prophesied it happens…and it happens on an epic scale but also a human one, and that is what makes it so powerful. I don't think any sort of romantic relationship adds to this, perhaps because there's something so wonderful about that level of love. I also don't follow Freud's belief that everything is about sex (major over-simplification, but still).

They have the kind of connection, bond, whatever you want to call it, that brothers have. Except it’s not quite that, because they’re not exactly family. They don’t come from a similar background, and they don’t have similar skills. They’ve grown up under different conditions, in different walks of life, and the way they operate around one another isn’t over-coming social class to live happily ever after. That would be too easy. Arthurian legend or anything involving a derivation of Merlin or Arthur or Guinevere or Lancelot is anything but simple or easy. That’s why it’s so brilliant. Some of the greatest moments are obviously the ones that can be quoted and screen-capped and elaborated on, but some of the even more brilliant ones are what happen in between dialogue.

I’m going to say quite honestly that if they did kiss I would be extremely disappointed in the BBC. Some people may say they won't because it’s a family program but I think it just isn’t in the story that’s being told. You can’t make characters do something that they wouldn’t normally do, and I just don’t think the characters we see on screen or read about in books will do this.

Granted, I do read the fan fiction and I do love it to bits…but as to what’s seen on screen…I just don’t think that it should happen and I really don’t want it to happen. Contrary to Freud not everything is about sex.

I'd love to see other's opinions.

Date: 2009-03-29 06:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] burningqueen.livejournal.com
This is totally coming from that post on [livejournal.com profile] merlinxarthur isn't it? I've been stalking those comments myself the past couple minutes.

We've discussed this before and I have to say I agree with you. As much as I love them and sort of do nothing all day but read fanfic about them, I in no way expect their canon relationship to grow into anything more romantic than it is right now. It would be very weird and out of place, I think.

And as much as I love all the fanfic, it kind of annoys me that this is being seen as a slasher's jackpot. Because, really, slashers annoy me sometimes. It is possible for two men to be really good friends without them secretly going off to shag (it's also possible for men and women to be really close without wanting more than that, but that's another story). That being said, the subtext in Merlin is so overt that I would be surprised if they weren't doing it on purpose. But that doesn't mean they're going to go any farther than that. I also think Heroes does all the Nathan/Peter stuff on purpose (and Michael Rosenbaum and Tom Welling have basically admitted to thinking it was all hilarious and playing it up) but obviously Nathan and Peter are never going to hook up in canon, so.

That being said Merlin/Arthur is still all kinds of gay love in my personal canon. But there is totally a line between personal canon and actual canon.

Date: 2009-03-29 07:07 pm (UTC)
ext_42234: (Default)
From: [identity profile] brightedelweiss.livejournal.com
That's exactly where it's coming from. And I sort of quasi posted. I hijacked someone else's comment. Something about it just really ticked me off and threw me over the edge. I really really really don't want it to happen and I don't care if I'm slagged off about it.

I think we have discussed this before, and I'm glad that at least someone agrees with me. I just really don't understand why everything has to be so sexualized for people. Can't it just be love without the sex?

Besides I think I prefer subtext over things actually happening. It's much more fun (and I'm pretty sure they're doing it on purpose especially Colin's comment about fueling people for fan-sites).

Date: 2009-03-29 07:13 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] burningqueen.livejournal.com
Can't it just be love without the sex?

Not around fangirls. It will always be about sex. :/

(and I'm pretty sure they're doing it on purpose especially Colin's comment about fueling people for fan-sites)

LOL! But he seemed so distressed by that. My theory: he's totally doing it on purpose but doesn't want anyone to know, so he fakes distress over the whole thing. BUT YOU CAN'T FOOL US, COLIN. NO, YOU CAN'T.

Really, though, that moment in the commentary was more of a OMG THEY'RE ONTO US, THOSE POOR BOYS moment than anything else for me.

Date: 2009-03-29 07:29 pm (UTC)
ext_42234: (Default)
From: [identity profile] brightedelweiss.livejournal.com
Not around fangirls. It will always be about sex. :/

Paging Dr. Freud...let's just say that fandom would be heaven for him. Absolute heaven.

I know, he really really does! It's so funny and so amusing. Oh Colin. You have to feel bad for them just a little bit about some questions they might be getting. Poor guys.

Date: 2009-03-29 07:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] burningqueen.livejournal.com
To the objects of fandom (Colin, Bradley, etc.) it must be such a terrifying thing. I would be mortified if all of that time and energy and love were directed at me.

Like, take Misha Collins for example. The entire SPN fandom fell head over heels for him and now he has crazier fangirls almost than even Jared and Jensen. I saw one interview where he said he was scared to be going to a con because he didn't know quite what to expect from the fans. And, knowing his fans, he had every reason to be scared. Fangirls are crazy, I'm almost embarassed to call myself one.

Date: 2009-03-29 06:58 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] letsey-x.livejournal.com
Oh, I TOTALLY agree. I love Arthur/Merlin, but I just can't read any fic about them, because their relation just doesn't seem sexual to me. They love each other, and I do love the homo-eroticism, but I'd never want them to be a couple in canon. And I'm sure it's never going to happen either.

Date: 2009-03-29 07:09 pm (UTC)
ext_42234: (Default)
From: [identity profile] brightedelweiss.livejournal.com
Oh good! Thank you! I'm so glad I'm not the only one. There seems to always be these camps for "het" and "slash" and I really just want to make a camp for something else that doesn't have anything else to do with sex.

I do really really love the subtext though. Gotta say that.

Date: 2009-03-29 07:03 pm (UTC)
ext_41050: (Default)
From: [identity profile] himhilien.livejournal.com
Most of my favorite fictional relationships in fiction is between individuals who are essentially soul mates except for the romantic angle. I have a number of intense friendships in which some people who see us may mistake us for couples but we're not sexually attracted to one another. This makes me kind of sad because it's obvious a lot of people don't seem to have that type of bond. It also annoys me.

Yeah, I'm a slasher in heart, and ship some people together (het and slash) based off of their individual canon relationships but there's a line between what's going on in my head and what's actually on-screen.

Date: 2009-03-29 07:11 pm (UTC)
ext_42234: (Default)
From: [identity profile] brightedelweiss.livejournal.com
It is sad, isn't it? When people can only see one possible level of a relationship. I'm very glad there are people that see it otherwise, because quite honestly I think those sorts of relationships have such deepness that is often gone unrecognized.

Date: 2009-03-29 08:23 pm (UTC)
ext_41050: (Default)
From: [identity profile] himhilien.livejournal.com
I was a bit repetitive up there using fictional and fiction in the same sentence. XD

I agree about those relationships having deepness that goes unrecognized. *sighs*

Date: 2009-03-29 08:14 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] codeofaimee.livejournal.com
i agree. it's also the same with the hp fandom and sirius and remus. you're on the dot with the fact that love doesn't have to be about sex or romantic relations. there's no doubt that arthur and merlin love each other, but i don't think a romantic relationship would ever stem from it.

and i'm not angry, but that's the only merlin icon i have at the moment, and i want to be part of the party XD

Date: 2009-03-29 08:30 pm (UTC)
ext_41050: (Default)
From: [identity profile] himhilien.livejournal.com
The Remus and Sirius thing really annoyed me. One of my friends who was a member of the rowing team at our university went to a Harry Potter con where a one of the people in charge of a discussion basically said there is no canonical evidence of those two having the buttsex as so many believe and that if anyone among the Marauders were having sex, it would've been Sirius and James. My friend agreed with her and she went on to explain the bond she had with her fellow rowers here and when she was in high school.

Some people just have an unexplainable bond between them.

Date: 2009-03-29 08:50 pm (UTC)
ext_42234: (Default)
From: [identity profile] brightedelweiss.livejournal.com
haha I know you're not angry! That is a great Arthur icon though. Bradley has such ace pissed off expressions. JOIN THE PARTY! I've been noticing the sort of sexualization with Merlin, but I'm quite sure that it's in other fandoms. I've always wanted to read some Remus&Sirius stuff but never known quite where to look.

Date: 2009-03-29 08:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] worldatomic.livejournal.com
i actually have never watched this show, although my sister swears she's going to get me to some day (XD). i get where you're coming from, though, because one of my favorite series of novels ever has a pair of characters who at first greatly, greatly dislike each other but still need each other, and eventually they are so dependent upon each other that when one of them dies the other doesn't--quite know what to do with himself. there's just so much between them, but neither of them are anything but canonically heterosexual (both are males, ftr), and while i would totally love to watch them bang each other it just wouldn't quite fit their characters. they shouldn't love each other, but they do, and it's beyond anything like brothers or family or lovers.

...tl;dr: I GET YOU. |D

Date: 2009-03-29 08:53 pm (UTC)
ext_42234: (Default)
From: [identity profile] brightedelweiss.livejournal.com
Hahaha, I won't pressure you in to watching it now, but it is pretty amazing.

YEY! I'm glad you get me. That book sounds fantastic. The living while another dies completely reminds me of Where the Red Fern Grows...even though that's about (technically) dogs. I love finding those sort of stories. There's something so inherently special about them.

Date: 2009-03-29 09:00 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] worldatomic.livejournal.com
i'll watch it eventually, lol, she always convinces me at some point. XD

well if you're into dark fantasy stuff, you should totally check it out. C.S. Friedman's 'Coldfire' trilogy :] (Black Sun Rising, When True Night Falls, Crown of Shadows, in that order; the titles are slightly cheesey, lol, but it's one of the best series i've ever read, no exaggerations. the author's eye for detail is phenomenal)

Date: 2009-03-29 08:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] casettes.livejournal.com
I don’t want a romantic/sexualized relationship with Merlin and Arthur on screen. I want the love they have for each other to show on screen, but I don’t want romance. But that’s a contradiction! No, no it isn’t. Someone once said that every story is a love story, and it’s true. Look at any book or film and try to find some sort of love in there. Love of violence, love of family, love of another, love of oneself, love of nature, love of art, love of sport…it’s there.

This, this, this, this, this times a million! They do have love. Of a brotherly and friendly nature. Why does all love have to be sexualized and taken in the most literal way?

There has been no indication, regardless of what the staunch shippers think, of them having a romantic love for one another. I see trust, friendship, and brotherly love. Both would die for one another. And that kind of friendship is hard to find. That goes deeper than romantic love. That's a whole other level.

Date: 2009-03-29 08:55 pm (UTC)
ext_42234: (Default)
From: [identity profile] brightedelweiss.livejournal.com
Yey! Glad you agree. I have no idea why it has to be taken in a literal way, but I did say to someone that a lot of fandom (not all of it) seems to fit really well with everything Freud ever wrote.

Not every relationship is sexualized, and not every love is either.

EEH! I was so worried that I'd be hated for this (there still is a possibility) but I'm glad that there are some people that agree. They have such another level of love for each other, I wish there was more fiction like it and I really hope the next season continues with what they've had so far.

Date: 2009-03-30 07:29 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] syrosis.livejournal.com
Oh, I agree with you! Although, I do admit, I DO like the sex. LOL. But I like my sex in FANON. I like the sexual romance in FANON.

I guess what happens with fans, is that their ideas/ideals about a pairing starts to bleed into the canon relationship. And I'm of a mind that there's canon relationships and then there's fanon relationships. And while they are the same, they are also different.

And I've just blabbered on about something that really has nothing to do with your original post! I'm sorry!

Date: 2009-03-31 01:38 am (UTC)
ext_42234: (Default)
From: [identity profile] brightedelweiss.livejournal.com
Yey! I'm glad. Hahaha, don't get me wrong I like it too. I just think some people hope TOO HARD that fanon becomes CANON and that bugs me...and I also sort of wish there was more friendship (not friendship and a relationship with another character...just friendship)

No no no! You didn't blabber on at all. Ha, no I think that makes a lot of sense and I agree.

Date: 2009-03-30 08:05 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] vermontypython.livejournal.com
THANK YOU. Thank you for writing this! I absolutely love reading Arthur/Merlin fic (say what you want, but our writers here on LJ are fantastic), but there's about a 99.9% chance of that ever actually happening in the show, unless as someone said, Russell T Davis takes over. :P

And I'm absolutely fine with that. The fact that they didn't make any serious steps towards the romantic relationships in the first season is wonderful, and it shows that the characters don't need to be shagging each other to be amazing. It's refreshing, and sweet.

Date: 2009-03-31 01:40 am (UTC)
ext_42234: (Default)
From: [identity profile] brightedelweiss.livejournal.com
Aw wow, it was my pleasure/need to do so.

And I agree, there are some Merlin writers on LJ that really really shine and know how to write the characters.

And it's not that I don't think it will happen (I don't) it's that I don't WANT it to happen. But I think you got that...I think. Ha.

Date: 2009-03-30 10:28 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] firstillusion.livejournal.com
if they did kiss I would be extremely disappointed in the BBC
Me too. I understand what you mean, although I'm not sure if I feel as strongly about it as you do. (That might be because I'm not involved in fandom at all.) I don't mind any subtext at all though, I think it only adds to the characters and the story. I'm not involved in fandom because I think it could easily destroy everything I like about the show just watching it and having my own thoughts with it.

I'm not against slashing, not at all, but here, it just doesn't need to happen.

Date: 2009-03-31 01:42 am (UTC)
ext_42234: (Default)
From: [identity profile] brightedelweiss.livejournal.com
Hahaha, yeah I guess I have sort of strong opinions about it, but I am involved in fandom and so it's been bothering me for a while. I'm glad you agree though. I LOVE THE SUBTEXT. I think it's brilliant and I hope it never disappears.

I'm not against slashing either...but...but I think in the canon/stuff we SEE it shouldn't be sexual/romantic.

Date: 2009-03-31 06:09 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] b-hallward.livejournal.com
I agree with a great deal of what you say here. I like the homoeroticism of the show, but only as subtext. I'm slasher but I view slash as an exercise in reading against the text, as a complex game we all play with each other. I wouldn't even call the canon bond between Merlin and Arthur brotherly--because I think they are fascinated with each other and deeply attracted, just not in a way that's necessarily sexual or romantic. But our culture doesn't have many models for this sort of intense love that aren't sexual/romantic/OneTrueLove.

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