the ubiquitous list

I hate list posts. Especially with the “tag me and X other people and pass along” format of Tumblr, they look too much like those awful chain emails of the 90s for me to stomach. And the idea of taking things out of context and leaving them that way nettles me.

Obviously we’re heading toward a “but” here.

But, then, this one actually seemed primed to make me have to think, and make decisions I don’t care to make. So I’m doing it. And providing context. Because.

Top 10 Fictional Characters (uggggggh, we must choose only 10?)

1.) Egwene al’Vere (Wheel of Time)

2.) Alistair Theirin (Dragon Age)

3.) Ammar ibn Khairan (Lions of Al-Rassan)

4.) Rodrigo Belmonte (Lions of Al-Rassan)

5.) Dorian Pavus (Dragon Age)

6.) Dianora (Tigana)

7.) Fawkes (Fallout 3)

8.) Masterharper Robinton (Pern)

9.) William of Baskerville (The Name of the Rose)

10.) Piera (Malafrena)

I’ll give you why, but below a cut, because you shouldn’t spoil yourself for these people. They’re great.

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mind the gap

Okay! So this sounds familiar! Group of once-dashing twentysomething heroes appears 10-15 years later, not just “battle-hardened,” which itself is trite, but worn-out and weary by so many of the things they believed in beginning to tarnish, their relationships with each other not beginning to¬†fade, exactly, but to change in ways their exuberant younger selves wouldn’t have thought possible…

I’m speaking here of book two of the Dragon Age prequels (and I suppose, book two of all of the four non-graphical books that exist right now), so I’ll give you a spoiler cut just in case. We’ve got both DA:O prequels as well as a little Inquisition and Awakening spoilers going on here, as well as a very large one for DA2, so watch out.

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if they still make phone books I’ll buy a recording of him reading one

So Ramon Tikaram did the audiobooks narration for a big fantasy trilogy, the first of which can be found here.
The writeup says something about Monty Python, Alice in Wonderland, etc., etc., but who really cares? Dorian was tested in different accents but they ended up deciding on Tikaram’s natural voice. Which is to say his reading voice. Which is to say this whole 13 hour and 33 minute book sounds like Dorian. Reading to you. For 13 hours and 33 minutes.

I’ll give you a moment to purchase and start your download.

I was so thrilled to see that he’d done this. I’ve swooned for, let me think, three voices in the past decade? And I always check for audiobooks and radio plays. And if you’re lucky enough to be swooning over someone who actually recorded one of these, it’s almost always either ridiculously expensive (I’m looking at you, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy voiced by Martin Freeman) or entombed in the archives of a company that still retains the rights to it but who won’t, damn them, either sell the files to you or bring it back onto the airwaves. They’re just sitting on it, watching you suffer.

So this, this was a find! I went looking after I saw this on Tumblr and lo and behold! This one’s not even a children’s story (though again, sitting there blandly working while to my ears Dorian goes on about Little Bear bothering Big Bear so he can’t finish his book was very hard not to giggle through), and so far its gentle spoofing of fantasy tropes has been entertaining. (With a possibly less-than-stellar moment talking about gender issues but I hold out the hope I misunderstood that.) And it’s a fantasy book, too, so there are passages that talk about magic doing this and that, magical theory and best practices etc., so even the content sounds right up Dorian’s alley. And there is something so surreal about sitting in traffic watching people almost plow into each other on dirty snow amidst honking and shaking fists, as in your ears Dorian explains the move from wand-dependent spellcasting toward the kind better managed by hand gestures.

So, enjoy. I am.

take me to church

I know, I know, I’m the last person on the planet to become aware of new music. Or old music. Or any kind of music whatsoever. But in addition to being a stupendous song, the video for this is important and upsetting and upsettingly important. Watch it, if you haven’t. It wrecked me.

damn straight

Encountered on an assignment. By Gwendolyn Brooks.

Speech to the Young. Speech to the Progress-Toward

Say to them,

say to the down-keepers

the sun-slappers,

the self-soilers,

the harmony-hushers,

“Even if you are not ready for day

it cannot always be night.”

You will be right.

For that is the hard home-run.

And remember:

live not for Battles Won.

Live not for The-End-of-the-Song.

Live in the along.

I think, as is usual, this is meant more gently than I read it to myself, words of wisdom vs. something to be brandished. But I will brandish it anyway, because it cannot always be fucking night, people, and I am tired of your eulogizing the day as though it doesn’t come back. It always comes back.