Thursday, May 12, 2016

Theon Greyjoy

"In the godswood the snow was still dissolving as it touched the earth. Steam rose off the hot pools, fragrant with the smell of moss and mud and decay. A warm fog hung in the air, turning the trees into sentinels, tall soldiers shrouded in cloaks of gloom. During daylight hours, the steamy wood was often full of northmen come to pray to the old gods, but at this hour Theon Greyjoy found he had it all to himself.

And in the heart of the wood the weirwood waited with its knowing red eyes. Theon stopped by the edge of the pool and bowed his head before its carved red face. Even here he could hear the drumming, boom DOOM boom DOOM boom DOOM boom DOOM. Like distant thunder, the sound seemed to come from everywhere at once.

The night was windless, the snow drifting straight down out of a cold black sky, yet the leaves of the heart tree were rustling his name. “Theon,” they seemed to whisper, “Theon.”

The old gods, he thought. They know me. They know my name. I was Theon of House Greyjoy. I was a ward of Eddard Stark, a friend and brother to his children.

 “Please.” He fell to his knees. “A sword, that’s all I ask. Let me die as Theon, not as Reek.”

Tears trickled down his cheeks, impossibly warm. “I was ironborn. A son … a son of Pyke, of the islands.”

A leaf drifted down from above, brushed his brow, and landed in the pool. It floated on the water, red, five-fingered, like a bloody hand. . ."

Excerpt from A Dance With Dragons by George R.R. Martin
He makes everything beautiful in its time . . . Ecclesiastes 3:11

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Black Sky

"I know now what it feels. . . to be good. 
 Does it always hurt that much?"

"Yeah, it always hurts that much." 


Okay, so no surprise, I'm a huge Daredevil fan! I am obsessed with all things Marvel, basically MCU trash on all accounts, so I'll watch pretty much anything they churn out. It goes without saying, though, that Daredevil is exceptional, and it is my favorite part of the MCU. It is just amazing on every level: characters, story, dialogue, themes, cinematography, acting, everything! It's all incredible, and I love every angst-filled, gothic-aesthetic moment of it! It is so beautiful and Season 2 didn't disappoint! It was someone on Twitter that said that you don't watch Daredevil, you experience Daredevil, and I think that is so true. I'm into a lot of shows and movies, but Daredevil is truly an unique experience. The kind where you can be up at 3 am binge-watching and having internal freak outs because of all the pain and awesomeness going on and you seriously just can't even with any of it. I love it!

They are so cute! And lethal.
My absolute favorite thing of this season (besides all of it), though, was the relationship they've built between Matt and Elektra. I wasn't expecting to get so involved in their story, but I did and it was amazing. It was so perfect, horrible, and tragic! My favorite kind of romances are ones that are antagonistic and complicated, and Matt and Elektra are certainly that, taken up a notch! We have the troubled Elektra who really is all about wrestling with her identity. She has this incredible darkness within her heart, the antithesis to empathy as you could get, and in fact, she gets this orgasmic thrill from killing. She is all about the sensations, the rush, and she lives her life in reckless abandonment. She abhors boredom, and being a spoiled rich girl doesn't help matters much. It doesn't matter if she has all she could ever want at her fingertips, she wants more. She wants excitement, the adrenaline rush at whatever cost. She's like this beautiful storm destroying all in her path, and regretting none of it. Or so it seems.

Enter Matt Murdock, who also struggles with his own kind of darkness, but Matt has convictions, his Catholicism and his values, and he doesn't waver from them. Elektra and Matt are like forces of intense gravity as they pull each other towards the other. At first it seems it is because they are both dangerous, both loving to dance with the dark side and living wild. The force of their personalities threatens to fuse into this black hole of destruction, and there is this incredible and intense electricity that happens between the two of them. I love how this plays out in the scenes together, where Elektra does things like cutting cheese on Matt's chest with a huge knife, or when they start breaking expensive glassware together. The inclusion of these sharp, cutting, shattering objects in their scenes exemplifies this on edge feeling of who they are together: destructive, disturbing and out of control.

Solving mysteries together! Like dweebs.
However, though it may seem like they bring the worst out of each other, it goes so much deeper than that, and this is where I really appreciate the writing. Elektra tried to convince herself that she loved Matt because of his darkness, and became distraught when he condemned her actions and wouldn't join her in her killing, but it was really the light she saw him that drew her to him. In Matt, Elektra found a fixed point, a foundation for the whirlwind of her soul; and in Elektra, Matt found a place to be alive, to be free. And what I love most of all is that Matt's love transformed Elektra, it showed her a better part of herself, and that it was possible to choose that part. Going back to Matt's Catholicism, which is such a prevalent though subtle theme in this show, I see Matt as exemplifying Christ in a lot of ways to Elektra. In his faith, he chooses to be something more than himself, and this is his light, the justice and goodness that guards his heart, and this is what Elektra recognizes. So, like Christ, who comes into the darkness of our souls and shows us a better way, and not only shows us, but transforms us, this is who Matt is to Elektra. And a very important distinction is that although Matt believed Elektra could be more than she was, he loved her just as she was. He met her where she was at and simply loved her. Where all the people in Elektra's life saw her as an object to covet, control, or destroy, Matt saw her as person to cherish. And here is where the Christ-like symbolism of Matt comes to its head. In my favorite moment ever, where at the season climax when the two of them face almost certain death from the Hand, Matt expresses his love to Elektra in the most beautiful and exquisite way possible. He tells her he would give up everything, everyone, he would cast everything off for her sake. He would live free with her and only her because she was his body and his soul. *cue internal gross sobbing*

"Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross." Philippians 2:5-8

Their romance is tragic, but it also transcends, and that is what I love about them. So, in my art piece I wanted to take the idea of Elektra being the "Black Sky", this prophesied embodiment of war and conquering which I see as being symbolic of Elektra's identity struggle with herself and her own darkness. Elektra believes that this person of destruction is her only identity, that she shouldn't fight it, that she might as well accept it as who she is and let it consume her. This is represented with how she is blending into the surroundings and the night sky. Her color scheme is also colorless to show the loss of her humanity and identity in becoming the Black Sky. Yet, it is Matt who embodies the idea that this isn't who she has to be, that she can change. This is represented by the signature Daredevil red, the color of life and passion, as it invades and challenges Elektra, infusing itself into her. I wanted the red to be vivid, with strips of it tearing its way into Elektra's blackness, to show the unveiling of her true self. The movement of the piece also helps in conveying this as it sweeps towards and into Elektra, only resting at the focal point where Matt is looking into her eyes tenderly. For although Matt is blind, he sees her more truly than anyone else. This is why I chose to have him with no mask. Matt is completely open with her, his hands and face bare, showing the intimacy he has with her, how forthcoming, and that he is a fixed and pervasive force in her path who will always love her. ^_^

Well, I hope you enjoyed this piece, and Season 2 of Daredevil! I am interested to see what will happen with Elektra now that the Hand has got a hold of her. If it is going to be Elektra vs Daredevil at some point, that will just be awful. Probably lots more internal sobbing at 3 am.

Thanks for reading!

He makes everything beautiful in its time . . . Ecclesiastes 3:11