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this week in fandom

This Week in Fandom (1/24/2020)

This Week’s Reviews

I posted two reviews this week. First up: season two of Matt Groening’s Disenchantment on Netflix (link!) The adventures of Bean, Elfo, and Luci continue in season two, which did what all second seasons should do: improve on season one and leave you wanting more!]\

I also finished Resistance Reborn, Rebecca Roanhorse’s tie-in novel to The Rise of Skywalker. Basically: it was great in every way that a Star Wars novel needs to be. See my review here.

Other Bookish Things

Though the novel primarily follows Poe Dameron and some other Resistance operatives, listening to Resistance Reborn, I was struck by Leia Organa and her place in Star Wars lore. See what I’m talking about in “The Woman Without a Country.”

Currently Reading

Last week I wrote about finishing up The Well of Ascension, book two of the original Mistborn trilogy, as part of my Cosmere reread leading up to book four of The Stormlight Archive in November. This week I’ve leapt into book three, The Hero of Ages. Look for a review soon and some more “Cosmereic Faith” posts too!

Something Else

Each week, I try to breakout of the various fandoms that take up a large majority of my head space and write a bit more generally about life and/or some sort of spirituality. This week I posted a poem I wrote about being an Enneagram Type Nine.

If that last phrase sounded like nonsense to you, the Enneagram is a personal typology with vaguely Eastern spiritual roots that started gaining popularity as it was adapted by some psychologists in the twentieth century. My quick take on why and how the Enneagram can be helpful is that it focuses primarily on motivation rather than on behavior, as opposed perhaps to Meyers-Briggs or other typologies that consider behaviors and mannerisms primarily. It’s a great tool for personal growth, whatever your religious background or persuasion.

I am a Type Nine, often called the Peacemaker. Nines are often more peace keepers than peacemakers, however, as they are driven by the need to avoid. I have a not so nice name for the Type Nine, which I’ll reveal in context in a future post. For now, here’s a poem I wrote about my own aspirations and what might be the aspirations of many Nines out there.

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TV Reviews

Review: Disenchantment Season 2

In its second season, Matt Groening’s Disenchantment could have followed either of the two sophomore release paths:

  • Run with the gimmicks of the first season and not further the characters or plot in any meaningful way
  • Take the core of what made the first season attractive, build upon it, and enhance it

Thankfully, Disenchantment followed the later course, and I found it generally better than the first season. The jokes were crisper, the characters felt more real, and there was a good balance between diversion and overarching plot.

Episode eight, “In Her Own Write” is a major highlight of the season. As Bean sets out to process her grief and confused emotions through writing, Luci acts as her writing demon (which all writers have, of course). The jokes here are painfully as Luci “encourages” Bean by prompting her to compare her art to others’, etc.

Disenchantment (Netflix)

Bean remains a somehow-likeable main character despite her many, many flaws.

Bean’s mom, Queen Dagmar, remains the “big bad” as revealed at the end of season one. She remains such at the end of this season, though she was not the antagonist of each episode.

Both Luci and King Zøg do some soul-searching. However, Elfo does not play nearly as central a role here as he did in the first season (I was okay with this…)

The people of Dreamland remain woefully ignorant and delightfully superstitious, though this fact is used to introduce some tantalizing possibilities for upcoming seasons when a steampunk traveler from nearby “Steamland” crashes in Dreamland on a mission to kill Zøg.

Even with season two having a cohesive, single project feeling to it, there are several promising openings for plot development in upcoming seasons, which is a great place to land.

Categories
TV Reviews

Review: The Dragon Prince Season 3

*This is my spoiler-y review of The Dragon Prince season three*

I recently devoured season three of Netflix’s The Dragon Prince. I really like this show, but I often feel that I should really dislike this show. My main complaint is that plot events often feel very far-reached to me, e.g., Viren will do something just so ridiculously bad or things move to fast. Overall, though, this show has so much fantasy goodness that the end of each season has left me eagerly anticipating the next.

Book Three: Sun, takes off right where Book Two left off. Interestingly, there was no summary of the first two seasons, leaving my wife and I frantically searching the internet for a few things. We do get a brief scene of a nameless, very Viren-like (???) mage blinding the dragon Sol Regem, whom Rayla and Callum must face as they seek to enter Xadia.

Speaking of that ‘ship–it happens! Many fans rejoiced at the Rayllum (Call-la?) developments, my wife included, but I’m still holding on to a very small hope for Claudi-um (Call-lia?) because I’m sick. Anyway, Rayla, Callum, and Zym make it past Sol Regem and are crushed to learn that Rayla is basically dead to her people and that they have the magic to back up that sentiment. Thankfully Runaan’s husband briefly breaks himself out of the cruse and helps the crew along their journey to the Dragon Queen. They finally arrive after making it through the super-creepy desert with Nyx, who will hopefully not be a one-off.

Meanwhile, Ezran discovers that he just can wait to be king, handing control of the kingdom back over to Viren as he realizes he can’t convince Prince Dudebro to give peace a chance. Ezran’s friends and our favorites conspire to free him from the dungeon and send him off to find Rayllum in Xadia.

Viren descends into “no, this is totally fine” levels of relationship with Aaravos and drags Claudia and like eighty percent of the human population down with him. Disturbingly but all too realistically, Viren is able to lure the masses into his evil plot by playing to their fears, insecurities, and xenophobia (Xadia-phobia, get it?).

Our heroes make their stand along with the remnants of the Sun Elves at the base of the Dragon Queen’s mountain, but they eventually win–yay!

One of the most satisfying elements of season three was the completion of Soren’s redemption arc, which is encapsulated in his facial hair growth. After hitting rock bottom in the last season, Soren has to accept that his dad is absolutely the worst and wouldn’t know true love or empathy if it was standing right in front of him. Soren’s arc was important to the show for more than just its emotional pay off. For a show that can feel so touch-and-go with lots off one-off characters and seemingly-superfluous magics, it was good to have three-season arc like Soren’s.

Note Soren’s redemption beard

One of the most satisfying elements of season three was the completion of Soren’s redemption arc, which is encapsulated in his facial hair growth. After hitting rock bottom in the last season, Soren has to accept that his dad is absolutely the worst and wouldn’t know true love or empathy if it was standing right in front of him. Soren’s arc was important to the show for more than just its emotional pay off. For a show that can feel so touch-and-go with lots off one-off characters and seemingly-superfluous magics, it was good to have three-season arc like Soren’s.

Though there are still questions remaining* this season was the first to have an ending with resolution. It has that nice halfway point feel.

*Like, “wtf, Viren?”