Tag Archive | farscape

Up & Down on the Silver Screen

In honour of…oh, who am I kidding, it always seems to be Mental Health Week this or Awareness of Something Week, so in honour of every week of the year in which I suffer from my mental health issues and awareness of how broken my brain is, I have decided to dedicate a post to all the moments in TV I have found where it is a sad moment with a funny bit sneaked in or a comedy show with a moving and tear-jerking moment.  These moments on television do – up to a certain extent – epitomise how mood can go from ecstasy to the depths of despair and vice versa.  For example, as I have said previously, I have a theory that mentally ill people such as myself can never experience one moment of happiness, no matter how minuscule, without paying for it in full by experiencing at least double the amount of time in sheer agony that does not let up.  In short, when we are given that one, precious, fleeting moment WE DESERVE IT because we always know it’s not going to last…before we know it, it’ll be gone and we’ll remember how we didn’t deserve it in the first place.  What spurred this article is what happened yesterday.  I am so close to the end of a 3-year BA that has taken me 4 years because my first attempt at second year was such a calamity.  Yet, a spanner was thrown in the works yesterday when I received the mark of 70 on an essay and had just finished my final exam.  That was literally so great to feel smart and successful for the briefest of moments but then I got an essay that I worked my ass off for which was marked as a 42.  I had been told that the marker was harsh and had upset other students with the unfair grades given, but because I let myself get high on my first-class essay for the smallest of moments, I felt the plummet all the more sharply.  I’m still reeling a bit from that, though not going off my medication would be a step in the right direction, but what made me certain I would write this article is the series finale of Spartacus: War of the Damned, which I have just cried my way through.  When Spartacus finally dies, that was not the sadness that gave me an outlet, but instead I have felt so much throughout the show: love, hate, excitement, pride and laughter, that I’m sorry to have reached the end of another piece of media that left broken little Pippa behind in the sand and let Agron (yes, I found another character to disappear into!) takeover, to the point where when he was crucified – but survived, thank God – I began to shake uncontrollably as if some of the pain was in my brain and able to be felt by me.  That is how far I can leave Pippa behind when her life goes to crap.  Even shadows of Agron’s pain felt with nails in his palms is preferable to the pain that Pippa undergoes everyday but especially when it all goes tits up.

So, that got me to thinking about what moments in television history have elicited a similar response.  Therefore, I’ve decided to share my findings with you!

  • Agron’s Crucifixion (for those who might like to watch it)

  • Rodney and Cassandra’s baby (a truly tragic moment in one of the funniest comedies ever broadcast)
  • Death of Solan (for a strong woman to experience the death of her unknown child and completely fall to pieces in an otherwise light-hearted show had my poor heart on a piece of elastic)

  • Chuck crying and Blair goes from happy to sad (it is Blair’s pain that is of note to me in this…going from the happiness of her mom’s wedding to her future husband crying over the “death” of his father…rollercoaster much?)

  • Klaus is reunited with his daughter (I don’t actually watch The Originals except in clips but this broke my heart…)

  • Atia’s heartbreak (another strong woman brought low, yet Atia’s truly naive feelings that bring her such emotional pain in a show about blood, sex and politics shock, but in the finale you see her hardened by her broken heart and rise from the ashes of the woman who loved Antony)

  • Ianto Jones dies while Jack cannot (in the comedic spin-off to Doctor WhoTorchwood, Ianto and Jack are a funny yet awkward pairing, but Ianto dying by breathing is so heart-wrenching in a dark series in all the light-hearted ones but still a blow nevertheless)

  • Daniel realises who Vala truly is (in the final episode of all 10 seasons of Stargate: SG-1 my favourite character for her very bipolar nature springing from abuse and assault finally gets her man when he insults her enough for her to break her walls down and he sees beyond them…would that all men could)

  • “Bad Timing” (in this episode that serves as sheer proof that a good moment must be paid for in full by an equally or greater bad moment(s), star-crossed lovers – literally – get together and are broken apart within seconds…story of my frelling life!)

This is just a snapshot of moments like these, and I hope you have enjoyed reading my thoughts on them and watching them unfold.  Stay tuned at La Bella Borgia Speaks!

LaBellaBorgia Speaks,

P. Mistry-Norman

14-05-2015

Father Dracula

In the year of our lord 1442, the Turkish Sultan enslaved one thousand Transylvanian boys to fill the ranks of his army. These child slaves were beaten without mercy, trained to kill without conscience, to crave blood of all who defied them – the Turks. From among these boys, one grew into a warrior so fierce that entire armies would retreat in terror at the mention of his name, Vlad the Impaler, Son of the Dragon.  Sickened by his monstrous acts, Vlad came to bury his past with the dead and return to Transylvania to rule in peace. His subjects called him prince, I called him father, but the world would come to know him as Dracula.

The legend of Vlad Țepeș has been many things throughout the years: a horror story, a legend of atonement and sin, a vampire chronicle, a story of romance and loss.  However one aspect of the fact-based narrative that has rarely – if ever – been explored is the role of Vlad Dracula as a father.  As I sat today watching the new Legendary Pictures and Universal Pictures release, Dracula Untold, I found myself utterly enchanted until the epilogue section which will henceforth be unmentioned, with the movie that saw Luke Evans play Vlad Dracula the Father.

Vladimir Dracula (Evans) with his son, Ingeras (Parkinson)

Vladimir Dracula (Evans) with his son, Ingeras (Parkinson)

I sat down to this film with my best friend as one of our traditional Matt-Pippa movie excursions and so I was by no means depressed or morose when the film commenced.  A happier and less depressed person would have grasped onto the historical or west vs. east themes of the film, which I did eventually, but for me, it was the sheer raw emotion displayed that caused my poor old ticker to palpitate in my breast.  With the initial voiceover by the Impaler’s son (see block quote), it felt crystal clear to me as a slightly deranged and basket case of a viewer that fatherhood and the father-son relationship was the crux (no pun intended!) and the heart of the movie.  It is – in short – what sets it apart and bears it aloft from the commonplace and slightly boring modern vampire films that have reformed the image we have in the 21st century of the vampire.

As a daughter of a delightful father, whom I adore to the ends of the earth, I am incredibly drawn to the father figure as painted onscreen, but as the daughter of a father who often did not raise arms and try to move heaven and earth to protect me, I was taken in heart and soul by the powerful and sacrificial father image that Dracula Untold created.  I have no desire to detract from your enjoyment of the film and all its wondrous surprises and positives by illuminating its plot too much so I’ll endeavour as best I can not to divulge too much as I write now.  That having been promised, the story about the drive of the royal prince who has to fight the Turkish threat and offer up his soul, his kingdom, his subjects and his reputation in order to safeguard his child is too enchanting for someone in my position not to elucidate.

Vlad the former Impaler who occupies the screen for the first section of the film reminds me of my father: at home in Castle Dracula during a ten year peace and happy with his queen and son having suffered extensively during his own formative years.  It is the Vlad who refuses the Turks what they demand as the cost of peace that made me smile and almost weep in my seat.  He defies the greater threat, a threat that has the potential to wipe out everything and everyone he holds dear, when the price of peace grows too dear.  It is his love for his family, his respect for his wife and his unconditional love for his son that drives him from this point forward despite his underlying yearning for peace.  The ultimate draw of the character is that his paternal and visceral need to protect his offspring outweighed and conquered his preference for peace in his land.  I can only say that I would be very different now if in the 21st century and without the magic and the devil and a pressing Turkish invasion, my father had valued my sanity, my unscarred body and what my future might be above serenity in Theydon Bois.

So, you see during this film instead of feeling for and finding myself in the shoes of the mother, unusually and refreshingly for me, I felt more kinship with young Ingeras.  This certainly put things in a different perspective than usual and instead of feeling the force of a natural maternal love, as I did in Brave, The Borgias and Angel (to name but a few!) I found myself in a role of vulnerability and the unconditional love of a child and feeling as a child does as my mind flew into the media and put down roots there.  That is not to say that the feelings of Mirena never took rest in my mind – they did – but it was ever linked to the child and a child’s link with his father.

The questions that floated around my mind during the film were: what will my children do without a father to protect them?  How can I possibly hope or think it’s possible for me to protect them by myself?  Will I be enough?  Is it selfish and heartless and unbelievably evil of me to knowingly bring a child – or children – into this world to face it without the love and pride and protection of a father?  Understand that if during a movie that is essentially about a vampire prince in Wallachia, I can be ruminating those questions, precisely how unstable and mental I am and why I need this blog to get some of the crazy out of my brain.  What is especially troubling still is that a piece of media can still get into my head and lay all its babies there and turn me into a blithering, blubbering, bawling shell of a person just because a vampire is a daddy!

So you see how the maternal-paternal-filial feelings have all come together in the aftermath of me watching this film to a head.  My children – I know and promise to every higher power and the cosmos – will have all the love I can give and will never have cause to doubt their mother’s love, but what plagues me now is that although I will give them the best godfathers, uncles and grandfather I can, I want them to know that if anything should happen to me, then a father on this earth will fight to its ends for them.  I say that knowing and being certain that I cannot ask nor expect their godfathers to do that for my children.  That frightens me more than anything; that something will take me away from my children and they’ll end up living the same life I do, not knowing if anyone really loves me or if the world is really against me or I just have that kind of luck.  Then, what I have sworn never to do and have often said to my mother, that I would die before I created another me, I will have failed dismally and utterly and it’ll be infinitely worse than failing myself or my parents or my friends because I’ll have created through my own means and by my own will, tortured children who will never be whole, all because I wanted a family of my own and then failed to protect them and ensure their secure future.  That is what Dracula Untold revolves around: the legacy of leaving a safe life for your children no matter the cost or what stands in your way.

That’s why, I guess, I invest so much heart and mind in these sci-fi & fantasy shows, books, and films that have these awesome father figures that possess magical powers or vast armies or some superhuman (or all of the above!).  Angel is the vampire with a soul father to Connor, John Crichton is father to baby D’Argo with the knowledge a whole galaxy wants in his brain, Noah Bennet adopts Claire and exercises his influence to protect her and that’s just fathers in Angel, Farscape and Heroes for you to consider.  Vladimir Dracula as played by Evans, like Angel, other than being a vampire, alternates between being good and bad, light and darkness and right and wrong, illustrated ever so clearly in his final showdown with Mehmed II (played – vexingly, I might add – by Dominic Cooper) where the adage, “One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter,” (Harry’s Game, G. Seymour, 1975) has never been so apt.  This is not least due in part to the fact that they symbolise a clash between east and west and Christianity and Islam, which I found a bit on the head due to the threat from ISIS currently experienced by the world, but nevertheless, it presented me with an interesting conundrum.  Although Vlad is undeniably set up as the protagonist and Mehmed as the “cardboard” (Matt’s word) villain, in the final fight where perhaps conventionally. we would usually side with the man who didn’t sell his soul and his eternity to the devil, oddly, we find ourselves rooting for Vlad as he fights for his son’s future and to keep the promise he made to his wife.  Much like Buffy the Vampire Slayer is ironic as it is now the pretty (meh) blonde girl chasing the monsters with a knife, the inversion of a supernatural heroic villain fighting a foreign threat who is – in this film, if not in history – represented as a bit of an arsehole for his family made me ask the question: can – and should – a father simply be good?  Mine certainly was and is, but I don’t know if I would have the mental and physical and psychosomatic problems I do now if my father had had a bit of evil or darkness in him enough to wage a bit of a war for me against the arseholes (myself included!) that turned my life into the circus it is today.  I know that Mirena is portrayed in the gothic setting of Dracula Untold as the stereotypical mother and damsel in distress and therefore, she is not characterised or shown, at least, to have any flaws or darkness within her – it’s all in her husband!  So, the question of whether a mother can be innately good and sin-free never really entered my mind during the feature film, for Mirena does appear to be the perfect, almost fairytale if in an Angela Carter setting, mother.  Vlad, however, in order to be a good father to his son (and, indirectly a good husband to his wife) is required to turn a bit evil, if initially temporarily and with the potential for redemption, so I just wonder if when a mother has a pristine soul, a father has to be bad, or if a father just has to have that hint of darkness in order to be the strong, virile protector he has to be.  Needless to say, it’s something I’ll be thinking about for a while and I doubt I’ll ever reach a cast iron decision on my opinion on the matter, but I will say this: the darkness within my mother has never in my life been a darkness used to protect me and the light within my father has not protected me from her darkness either so as a future single parent, I aim to be a light shade of grey and thus tone down the darkness from how strong its pigment is at the moment.  That is all I can do for my children: not be my mother and not be my father, but have the darkness of my mother and use it the way a father like Dracula did in the film for their good and to have my father’s light and accept it as the good in my soul the way the mother in Mirena does to counteract the strong and masculine darkness in Vlad.

I hope this article hasn’t bored you to death as I skirted around the plot of Dracula Untold and that I haven’t dissuaded any of you from seeing it, if you haven’t already!  I will conclude by saying that we all have monsters residing within us but it is whether we allow them to have the active or passive role in our lives that defines us as people and as children and as parents.  The right kind of darkness can be a force of light and the wrong kind of light can be detrimental.  Don’t judge someone’s darkness because it is not an obvious asset to them – it may be the only thing keeping them alive because that’s certainly what the darkness in my soul is to me.

LaBellaBorgia Speaks,

P.Mistry-Norman

15-10-2014

Inspiration

Further to my post about my best friends, I thought I’d list a couple of the best friendships on television (like I did with teachers) so I hope you are ready for a less putative article but will enjoy this one nevertheless!  (Also, I can’t sleep again so it’s something to keep me from sliding into my occasional 3am hole of despair!)

images

  1. Alex and Meredith (Grey’s Anatomy)
  2. Stefan and Caroline (The Vampire Diaries)
  3. Troy and Abed (Community)
  4. Sookie and Tara (True Blood)
  5. Ka D’Argo and John (Farscape)
  6. Malcolm and Kaylee (Firefly)
  7. Rodney and John (Stargate Atlantis)
  8. Starbuck and Helo (Battlestar Galactica)
  9. Jack and Teal’c (Stargate SG-1)
  10. Miranda and Stevie (Miranda)
  11. Justin and Daphne (Queer as Folk)
  12. Buffy and Giles (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)
  13. Angel and Doyle (Angel)
  14. Amelia and Addison (Private Practice)
  15. Jon and Samwell (Game of Thrones)
  16. John and Sherlock (Sherlock)
  17. Merlin and Arthur (Merlin)
  18. Dorothy and Michaela (Dr Quinn, Medicine Woman)
  19. Cory and Shawn (Boy Meets World)
  20. Perry and Carla (Scrubs)
  21. Javier and Kevin (Castle)
  22. House and Wilson (House, M.D.)
  23. Chuck and Nate (Gossip Girl)
  24. Spartacus and Varro (Spartacus: Blood and Sand)

So there you have it – short and sweet though it is!

LaBellaBorgia Speaks,

P. Mistry-Norman

03-10-2014

Unhappy Marriages Make Unhappy Children

Weddings and getting married are things that I have been thinking about recently, and when I say recently, what I really mean is since about 4am as I’ve been up all night.  People who have managed to get me to speak honestly about the subject of marriage and its role and importance in my life will be well aware of what I believe it is and how I approach it, but I’m going to lay it out for them more clearly and all the rest of you lovely lot.

To begin with, I have to remind you that I told you a few posts ago that I do not see myself ever entering into another romantic, adult relationship ever again in my life.  This might prompt you to ask why marriage matters at all then, but let me assure you that it does, especially as I intend to have children later in life and I come (at least half of me does anyway!) from a traditional Indian family, so with children in mind, the concept of marriage will be present in my future.  In this post, not only do I wish to expound on my opinions on marriage as a real notion but I am also going to explore how I feel and what happens in my mind when I watch acted weddings and fictional weddings onscreen and in literature.

I have long since abandoned all belief that I am a romantic at heart, which I do think I used to be when I was a lot younger and still thought that Disney princesses could be real women and that happy endings were possible in life.  That part of me was decimated violently while I was in my first and only proper, somewhat steady relationship and I have no desire to return to that incarnation of myself who felt she had to jump through countless hoops and give away pieces of myself and sacrifice who I was and what I believed in and thought right to be in a relationship and not to be laughed at for a few months.  That will never happen to me again, I am resolved on that!  From that educational experience, I have learned my limits and I now know that if I ever got some poor bugger to tie the knot with me, I would destroy that person’s soul because in some ways, I am the most mature person I know, but I am also the first to admit that where relationships are concerned, I am one of the most immature people I know.

I have watched my parents’ marriage from just outside the heart of it and I know what an unhappy marriage is, an unhappy marriage is my old friend and longtime companion…  I know what it is to go to bed listening to my parents arguing and not knowing when they would stop, I know what it is to wake up and have the first thing I hear be a domestic and I know what it is to see the looks on other adults’ face when you happen to mention in polite conversation that your parents have slept apart since before you can remember.  Needless to say, my parents’ unhappy married life has affected me and while I can say that I know maybe a handful of married couple, it is not a majority, not in the least.

Something that has affected my life probably more is the fact that I believe my parents should have applied for divorce while I was still young.  It is likely that I will never forgive either my mother or my father for being too stubborn and too incapable of living without the other (only on a practical level!) to leave, as my father could not keep house without my mother and my mother would not ever be/remain solvent for long enough to live without The Bank of Dad.  My perception of their marriage is that neither are made better by it and both are made significantly worse.  Another result of the marriage is that it (sort of…more on this later) produced me and I am a mess, a problem and if the world was right and just, I would not be here to suck the life and destroy the souls of anyone who gets close to me.

Ironically, maybe it could be said that I am the personification of my parents’ marriage: I am silent, I am unhappy, I should never have been, I sleep alone and I cannot live without my father and I am a liar.  That has just occurred me, so forgive me if it’s a little overly English Literature A-levelesque!

I only found this out while I was applying for my first adult passport – if you can believe it – that I was born out of wedlock and that my parents were wed only after I was born.  Words cannot adequately describe how deceived and wrong it made me feel at a time in my life when I was constantly walking on the edge of the cliff of life and death.  Whilst I do not believe that people have to be married to have children, the relationship between the parents-to-be has to be firm and steady enough to bring a child into its folds and discovering that my parents most likely only married because I was born and so they would not have to lie to their families and me, turned me into a lie in turn. Finding out the way I did also changed my life into something out of a bad soap plot and when your life appears comical to you, there’s nothing more worthless in the world…

Having a child for me is going to be (I just know it is because it simply has to be) my breath of fresh air and my reason for living through all of this crap.  It is what I am due from the world and the universe and the cosmos and I am well aware that life is not fair and God acts in mysterious ways but it is that fragment of my dreams that I cling to in order to get through the nights of tears and the days of grief.  One of my greatest fears is that I will turn into my mother and most of my friends know that that usual compliment, “you look like your mother”, is like a punch to the abdomen for me and results in me asking firmly with tears in my eyes for its giver to take their words back.  If I subjected a child of mine to an unhappy marriage that turned them into me, I would never, ever forgive myself.  It would be a crime against motherhood and life and God to make another human being like me just through bad parenting and I am still convinced that my life experiences and knowledge will help me become a good mother.  I’ll have to be as I am going to be walking the path of parenthood alone.

The Ancient Greek word for soul-destroyer is ψυχολέτησ – something I found while I was looking for something to use in a new tattoo, but I thought better of it as both of my tattoos represent hope and what I am aiming for in life, not what I am going to try to leave behind me once I have my family.  As I have proffered the opinion that I am the personification of my parents’ marriage, maybe it is truly marriage that I see that has destroyed my parents’ and my souls.  I know (to paraphrase one of the most annoyingly coined phrases of the 21st century) institutions don’t destroy souls, people do, so I cannot truly find marriage ultimately culpable, but the human part of me rather than the logical and sensible part of me does.

Now, enough said about that I think, so on to how I see it in media…but first please, let me know what your opinions are on TV weddings in this little poll I’ve set up.

I cry during weddings on TV.  I cry a lot!  It really is obscene and one occasion where I really wept and wept and wept was the “Sherlock” season 3 wedding of John and Mary.  It wasn’t even the fact that this danger-loving war veteran managed to get his fiancee to say “I do”, it was the title character’s reaction because nine times out of ten, that is precisely my reaction.  I do apologise now if I give anything from the episode away, but it really did span the gap between reality and delusion for me on how I am during weddings on TV and in life.  It was eerie actually because I was feeling completely in sync with Sherlock Holmes and while I was in the emotions, I was watching him be in his (if that makes any sense?) and react on television.  Of course, I’m not a “high-functioning sociopath” but there were elements of Sherlock’s best man speech that made me think, “yeah, I’m like that too”.

Particularly the part where he insults everyone and says some truly awful things but then admits that he is the worst and most awful man alive but he adores John and would do anything for him through his marriage along with his wife.  That – to me – is what a marriage is: it’s doing anything for the one you love.  Sherlock is a great example as he would not really change anything about himself.  Along the way, he makes sacrifices for and compromises with John and Mary but he never concedes any part of his essence.  Marriage should make people better and then people can be better in pairs, not worse together.

And on that cheery and slightly pedagogic note, I’ll say goodbye for today.

LaBellaBorgia Speaks,

P. Mistry-Norman

07-02-2014