How I Traced Your Drawings and Derailed Your Characters
Oh Hell YES is this ever overdue for a roasting. Will be following!
Hamburger Time, I appreciate the feedback, and agree with the sentiment.
Seems interesting I tired to read this once, but I just couldn't get though it.
32ndfreeze, Out of curiosity, what exactly prevented you from getting through it? I can think of quite a few possible reasons, but I'm not sure which one it was.
I recall there being a lot of speculation as to what a "chard monster" is when this comic came out. Some people thought it was a typo of "child molester," owing to Zuko sleeping with a 15-year-old, but I think the consensus was eventually reached that she was supposed to say charred monster; that is, a dig at his scar.
Hamburger Time, The latter seems to be correct, even if Zuko canonically isn't this sensitive about his scar. I'm a bit curious as to why people came up with the former, since the main problem I've heard people had with that was more him getting Katara pregnant than having sex with her.
I would think the author should have take the 10-20 seconds needed to Google the properties of ginseng.
32ndfreeze; I agree. It doesn't seem that hard to make up the name of an imaginary plot device poison that doesn't coincide with a real one.
I would think the author should have take the 10-20 seconds needed to Google the properties of ginseng.Why? That would require caring about the details of the story. And it's quite clear from the quality of writing that the author cares about exactly one thing: who's coupling with whom. No time to find a poison or to look up what ginseng does; we've got Shipping to do!
OK, I want to say up-front that I think it's a terrible idea to have Azula achieve "redemption" at all. Or at least, not in the way most people think of it. I want Azula to never, ever be sorry for anything she has ever done. Even if she turned to doing "good" later on, Azula would still be unrepentant about her past actions. And I also want to say that, if you're going to redeem Azula, doing it via amnesia is a terrible way to do it (and this is not limited to Azula; amnesiac redemption is generally not a good idea). That's not to say that it can't work. But you have to work around one simple fact. In order to have a character be redeemed, the character has to change (see Zuko). And you're supposed to show this change (again, see Zuko). Amnesia is basically a giant cheat. You don't need to show change; you just handwave it away. Exactly as they do here. There's no continuity between actual Azula and "changed" Azula. One of them died off-screen and the other was born in her body. Azula therefore never achieves redemption; she just gets it. Now, that's not to say that it's impossible to make the amnesia angle work. But you can't do it like this. The key thing you have to do to make this work is to have amnesia Azula still be Azula. She may not know about her relationships, her "friends", her enemies, her betrayals, or her past. But she should still be recognizably Azula. She should be cocky, self-assured, clever, perfectionist, and even dangerous. She may not have her memories, but she should still be who she is. Even if Azula felt vulnerable, she would never show it. Just getting Amnesia!Azula to admit that she doesn't know who she is should be like pulling teeth.
Zuko says that he "never had relations with Mai,"Ignoring the ridiculous Bill Clinton parallel there... WHAT? Zuko never consummated his marriage? I know it was arranged and everything, but that's kinda the point of an arranged marriage: to have children with the other person. If the marriage isn't consummated, it isn't actually a marriage. Further, that adds more righteous fuel for Mai. Even ignoring all she's done to earn Zuko, he won't even recognize their marriage as legitimate (by attempting to produce a proper heir). This only helps to justify a lot of what she is going to be revealed to do.
execute her like he did with their fatherSo... all that Aangst that Aang went through was completely nullified. Just like that. And Aang just let it happen. Sure...
Korval, That's a good point about Azula. It took Zuko three seasons and a lot of eye-opening experiences to achieve that, so it would likely take at least that much for Azula to even come close to anything similar to what he went through, much less having her personality rebuilt from the ground up. I agree that it's strange that Zuko never had any children with Mai. It's brought up later on that Zuko had many chances to have an heir with Mai. The only justification I can think of for Aang allowing Zuko to execute Ozai is the belief that if he did so, Ozai's blood wouldn't be on his hands. Then again, it's not like Aang to pass the buck to others, and it seems as though the good guys in this series aren't much for capital punishment.
As such, not only is there no real precedent for opposing these mixed marriagesI disagree... somewhat. Yes, there is no in-universe precedent for opposing marriages between nations. But there's no in-universe precedent for accepting it either, particularly for relationships between Fire Nation persons and those outside the Fire Nation. Particularly in light of the hundred year war that just ended. Furthermore, Azula and Zuko are not just any Fire Nation citizens; they're royalty. Right now, Azula is de-facto second in line for the throne (her exile technically makes her out of the running, but if Zuko dropped dead, who else could step up with a legit claim? Besides Iroh, of course). Who she and Zuko hooks up with is very important to the people of the Fire Nation. So it is not unreasonable to expect that many people would be... displeased with a marriage outside of the Fire Nation. Especially since there would be plenty of Fire Nation nobles who have designs about slipping a child onto the Fire Nation throne. Now, you don't have to go that way. But there's nothing stated or implied in ATLA that contradicts this notion. And since The Promise was made well after this "comic" was written, you can't really hold it to that standard. True, the only reason why it's here is angst; it provides a source of conflict in a story that has been, by and large, devoid of such. Not that the writer even uses it very well; Azula angsts about it, but eventually hooks up anyway. With no negative consequences. So the dramatic aspect has no payoff.
Korval (edited by: Korval)
Korval, Those are some good arguments, and a more reasonable perspective than Jackie Diaz's headcanon, even if they aren't brought up all that often in series. It's somewhat sad when a reader or reviewer brings up ideas in defense of something in story that make more sense than the reasons that the author provided do. On a side note, I tend to be somewhat leery of headcanon (even if I do sometimes have to end up relying on it when expanding on events while writing fanfic), and a great deal of The Stalking Zuko Series, while much better written, consists of the author's headcanon. Here, a great deal of the author's headcanon seems poorly founded, even if it's not for the explicit purpose of setting up or supporting her favored pairings.
All fanfiction is, on some level, a personal interpretation of canonical events. Any attempt to explore anything that wasn't directly stated by the work is, by definition, "headcanon" on some level. Even just adding new events that happen in the same places that canon visited is an extension qualifies, since the author has to interpret how the characters would behave in the new situation. And if that new situation isn't exactly like a prior one, then the author will have to decide how the characters respond based on his interpretation of the actual canon. And if the situation is exactly like a prior one... it's just retreading old ground, and who wants to read that? Indeed to me, the whole point of fanfiction is to read someone's interesting interpretation of canon events. I only have a problem when the "headcanon" does one of the following:
- clearly contradicts established canon narrative, without explanation.
- is prima facie stupid.
- is poorly presented and/or thought out.
Korval (edited by: Korval)
In a page that must be seen to be believed,No, I've seen that page and I still don't believe it...
In any story, especially for something like Avatar, the hero breaking her moral code would just end in her standing still and crying. In here? No such thing.
Psyga315, Katara angsts a little later on, but 1)It's not much compared to other things, 2)She never reflects on how she used bloodbending, and 3)The other characters tell her that what she did was justified and even heroic. In short, she reacts, but not the way she should.