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[personal profile] writerlibrarian
I am still somewhat battling a cold. I didn't read much. I mostly watched season 3 of Once Upon A Time and knitted.

Just Finished

Milan's The Heiress Effect.  Book 3 of Brothers Sinister series.  Two unusual leads that make this story crackle and pop. Jane and Oliver are better together then apart. They figure it out and it's entertaining making the journey with them.

What I'm reading now

Ransom Riggs. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. YA. Supernatural of sorts. So far it's likeable and entertaining. I'm almost half way into it. I confess I'm reading this because a movie is coming (with Eva Green as Miss Peregrine) and I wanted to read the book before the movie spoils me.

What I'm reading next

Something from my to read shelf of borrowed from the library books. It's almost overflowing.

What I bought/got from the library this week

Cory Doctorow's graphic novel In Real Life.

A Georgette Heyer's early work in ebook : These Old Shades.

Transformers: RID #33

Oct. 22nd, 2014 02:33 pm
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[personal profile] sir_razorback posting in [community profile] scans_daily
Things have been abit quiet around here lately in regards to new Transformers pages since the end of the Dark Cybertron arc. IDW has a new arc coming out soon actually, called the Combiner Wars. RID #33 leads into it abit, and since #34 just came out I'm putting a few pages up. 



He's back! )

Fair Tolkien

Oct. 22nd, 2014 02:24 pm
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Ah, the word “fair.” It comes up pretty - or should I say fairly? - often in Tolkien’s writing, and is used to represent several different meanings, so it’s a good word for Tolkien fans to get a handle on. Below is a list of the various meanings of the word “fair” (according to the Oxford dictionary), and how each meaning appears in Tolkien’s stories.

ARCHAIC MEANINGS (since this is Tolkien, many of the words he uses are actually in reference to archaic or rare meanings that aren’t always familiar to modern readers.)

  1. Beautiful. For example, Frodo says that a spy of the enemy would “seem fairer and feel fouler" than Aragorn does. This is definitely the most common usage of the word (so, when Tolkien says that Ecthelion was fairest of the Noldor in Gondolin, he’s talking about beauty.)
  2. Gentle, not violent. So when Aragorn responds that “I look foul and feel fair. Is that it?”, he’s using fair to mean gentle more than beautiful (since people don’t necessarily feel beautiful, you know?)
  3. (Of words) Appearing initially attractive, but actually wrong. This comes up a lot when Tolkien is describing Sauron’s speech, for example “Therefore he humbled himself before Ar-Pharazon and smoothed his tongue; and men wondered, for all that he said seemed fair and wise.

MODERN/COMMON MEANINGS

  1. Without favoritism or discrimination. Like when Merry complains “I guess that you have been having adventures, which was not quite fair without me.
  2. Just or appropriate to the circumstances. A quality that Gollum did not think Bilbo possessed, complaining to Gandalf: “Little cheat. Not a fair question. It cheated first, it did. It broke the rules.”
  3. (Of hair or complexion) Light-colored. Tolkien basically always specifies when he’s using “fair” this way, for example “The Fallohides were fairer of skin and also of hair.”
  4. Considerable size, or Moderately good. For example “Actually in Hobbiton and Bywater every day in the year it was somebody’s birthday, so that every hobbit in those parts had a fair chance of at least one present at least once a week.”
  5. Good weather or favorable winds. For example, “The Shire had seldom seen so fair a summer.”

Also, Tolkien will often throw around the word “Fair Folk”, which is another name for the elves.

SOURCES: Basically everything

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theactualcluegirl:

chezamanda:

HAYLEY.

It’s not her fault! If she’s anything like me, guys have been telling her four centimeters is ten inches ever since puberty!

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mr-reblogbutton:

webuiltthepyramids:

thispopculture:

legallyblained:

hips don’t lie by oxford university’s all male choir

wow

Yes.

I have been waiting my whole life for this. I didn’t know this was something I needed, but not I can’t deny

my hips don’t lie about how much I need this in existence

Rectober #2: Let's Talk About Sex

Oct. 22nd, 2014 04:59 pm
significantowl: quote, "we're at hte end of the universe! right at the edge of knowledge itself! and you're busy blogging!" (dw:blogging at the end of the universe)
[personal profile] significantowl
aaaand time for some smut.

Wear Sunlight, by Etirabys. (XMFC, Charles/Erik,NC-17). [NOTE: Ao3-locked.] D/s. Top!sub!Erik. Charles is a mutant activist in a world where defining mutation is no longer simple. Erik is a struggling writer who gave up on the movement years ago. Charles lets Erik live in his summer villa in the south of France for free, under certain conditions. (There is porn and talking.)

If you like your Erik on the subby side on occasion, you should definitely read this fic! Long, but very much worth it. And if orgasm delay/denial is among your interests, Erik's frustration is delicious.

Poison! It's Fun All Around, by derryere. (Merlin, Arthur/Merlin, NC-17).

From the second ever post at KMM (/nostalgia), this is dirty talk at its finest, right here. No-one can touch Arthur, including himself, and he has a hard-on that won't go away. Merlin helps.

One of Us Should Know What We're Doing, by helens78. (XMFC RPF, Jennifer/Michael, NC-17.) When Michael tells Jennifer he likes it kinky, she has all these ideas about what he means. They start easy: she'll pin him down and tell him when he can come.

I love Jen's voice here, it's so frank and charming and delightful. And I love the sex, because it is fun and hot.

A Play in Three Acts, by sabrielgrande. (XMFC, Charles/Erik/Raven, NC-17). Take two and call me in the morning.

Charles and Raven decide to compete to see who can be the best Charles. Erik judges. Via sex. Hot sex, a wonderful dynamic between the three of them, and it's fun trying to work out who's who along with Erik.



banner by [personal profile] capitu
alexandraerin: (Default)
[personal profile] alexandraerin
...where the past two days I've ended up writing something short that I thought I could possibly place/sell somewhere?

This morning I got a slight inkling to write a short story for a call for submissions a friend had mentioned in conversation to me over the weekend. I started writing at 10:00 a.m., and at 3... after breaks for breakfast and lunch... I had a finished draft that was just 33 words under the 10,000 word upper bound for the publication.

And I think it's pretty good. I'm going to have to do some streamlining because it could definitely stand to have some more physical description in places, but I'm pretty well-pleased by it.

lazy b

Oct. 22nd, 2014 01:49 pm
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[personal profile] thistleingrey
Sandra Day O'Connor and H. Alan Day, Lazy B: Growing up on a Cattle Ranch in the American Southwest (2003): yes, that Sandra Day O'Connor, the one I secretly kind of wanted to be for two years as a teen. She and her brother have assembled a family memoir with the ranch as a key character, across the AZ/NM state line. Its tone is straightforward, slightly detached, and well suited to its subject. If you like that sort of thing, I recommend this one.
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[personal profile] fadeaccompli posting in [community profile] flower_of_justice
...as explained on Leckie's blog. Usually I'm more terrified than enthused when a book I like gets optioned for any other medium, knowing how many ways it can be messed up, but she's clearly already thought about that and what sorts of things to talk about.

And maybe it'll come to nothing. But maybe it'll come to something awesome, and the Radch Imperium will be the hot new scifi show that we can all hipster about being into before it got to TV. Anyway. I'm enthused.
[personal profile] waywren posting in [community profile] poetry
AFRAID? Of whom am I afraid?
Not death; for who is he?
The porter of my father’s lodge
As much abasheth me.

Of life? ‘T were odd I fear a thing
That comprehendeth me
In one or more existences
At Deity’s decree.

Of resurrection? Is the east
Afraid to trust the morn
With her fastidious forehead?
As soon impeach my crown!

Not impossible

Oct. 22nd, 2014 03:32 pm
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[personal profile] pinesandmaples
In job news, it turns out that hiring cycles for Quality Jobs™ are actually quite long. Jobs with December start-dates are calling for applicants now, which makes a short-notice "turn my life around and go somewhere to do something" type Hail Mary...interesting.
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jhameia:

[graffiti that reads: “Don’t give up. You’ve still got a couple of motherfuckers to prove wrong.”]

acne-a:

eloquencly:

found this on the bathroom stall at school

This is beautiful

AXIS Hobgoblin #1

Oct. 22nd, 2014 02:11 pm
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[personal profile] zechs80 posting in [community profile] scans_daily
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

How can an evil magnificent bastard, be even more magnificent? By going legit!!!

Read more... )

Nicked from Recessional

Oct. 22nd, 2014 03:40 pm
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[personal profile] sholio
Trick or Treat! Time for something sweet to —- read. Since I can’t hand out snickers bars over the internet, I’m giving away fun-size fanfic for the first five lucky ghouls to reply to this post with their fic request. (Unless I get a lot of responses fast, in which case I might up it to ten.) Any series or characters you know I'm generally familiar with. :D

1. Autumn/harvest/day-of-the-dead traditions in Asgard
2. Werewolf!Peter and werewolf!Diana being wolfy together
3. Natasha anything (but perhaps post-Written in Blood and Bone Natasha & Bucky)
4. Methos anything
5.

.... Though I will add the caveat that since I'm traveling/visiting/not at the computer much this month, these might be REALLY short! I'll guarantee a couple of paragraphs but not more than that.

Avengers or White Collar are most likely to get more than a couple of paragraphs, but I'll try my hand at anything I've watched/read, and any character, pairing, or prompt is acceptable. If I truly don't think I can do it, I'll ask you to pick another.

ETA: Since I may not be able to check this post very often, you might want to look at both the LJ and DW side to see if there are still slots! First come, first served.

Dear Festividder

Oct. 22nd, 2014 09:31 pm
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[personal profile] violace
this is a placeholding placeholder that holds a place
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pansysky:

spookytox:

reaill:

grimfemme:

I just wanted to eat breakfast ;(

welp now we know the distinction between the two

Have….have people…not eaten shredded wheat before? The regular sized ones?

You put it in a bowl and pour milk on it (with sugar + cinnamon if you’re not some lunatic fiber satan who just wants to eat wheat strings) and let it soak a bit before breaking it up and eating bite sized portions with your spoon.

DO PEOPLE NOT KNOW THIS?!

NONE OF US KNEW THAT

[picspam] mooooooore Kew

Oct. 22nd, 2014 08:09 pm
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[personal profile] kaberett
The shot I was most pleased with from last trip in early October: three lilypads in a row, in different colours.


Another seven photos. )
And my absolute favourite shot, from the oak walk (where I was very excitable and very pleased by ALL THE OAKS), is light through oak leaves:
[syndicated profile] ikeahacker_feed

Posted by Krys

FIDOHALLOWEEN_sub IMG_5028_sub

Materials: black paint or marker, Orange FADO lamp

Simply draw desired Jack-o-lantern face onto FADO and get spooky for Halloween.

Andre’s version

rsz_1img_20141016_101227

I just finished installing vinyl lettering on my wall. I had some leftover scraps that I didn’t want to throw away. Stuck them on the lamp and it looked great. Super easy!

Oswin doing her death dive

Oct. 22nd, 2014 08:01 pm
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[personal profile] watervole
 Lindsey uploaded the video to You Tube so that it would be visible to those of you who couldn't see the previous link.

It's worth the wait, even though the picture quality from the mobile phone isn't brilliant.


Possible terrorist event in Ottawa

Oct. 22nd, 2014 02:48 pm
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll

Parliament Hill came under attack today after a man with a rifle shot a soldier standing guard at the National War Memorial in downtown Ottawa, before seizing a car and driving to the doors of Parliament Hill's Centre Block nearby.

MPs and other witnesses reported several shots fired inside Parliament, and a gunman has been confirmed dead inside the building, shot by the House of Commons sergeant-at-arms, according to MPs' eyewitness accounts.

Fanfiction and Me

Oct. 22nd, 2014 01:35 pm
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[personal profile] marthawells
This is a link to an article I wrote for Black Gate on how I found fanfic and early Star Wars fanzines: Fanfiction and Me: http://www.blackgate.com/2014/10/22/fanfiction-and-me/

The editor's young daughter is very much into fanfiction and he was getting tired of seeing negative articles about it.

Excerpt: I was introduced to fanfiction after The Empire Strikes Back came out in 1980, when I was around fifteen. This was long before the internet, and fanfic was printed in fanzines, fan-produced magazines that were mimeographed or xeroxed, or if the editor could afford it, offset printed. But finding them, if you didn’t already know someone who knew about them, was nearly impossible.

As a lonely, feral, anxiety-ridden, teenage fan, my only connection to the fandom world at all was Starlog magazine. Back then, Starlog was a lifeline for me, and it not only featured articles and news about TV shows, movies, and books, but also fan groups and conventions. (I chose the university I went to because Starlog had an article that mentioned its student SF/F club and convention, but that’s another story.)

The magazine also had a section of small cheap personal ads in the back for fan-related merchandise. One issue a fanzine called Facets, dedicated to fanfic about Harrison Ford’s various characters (mostly Han Solo and Indiana Jones) bought an ad, and I sent my money in (I don’t remember how much, probably less than $10) and bought a couple of small fanzines.

I was hooked. The back of each fanzine was filled with ads and flyers for other Star Wars fanzines, and I dived in and ordered more.

Dear Yuletide Writer

Oct. 22nd, 2014 02:33 pm
edenfalling: colored line-art drawing of a three-scoop ice cream sundae in a silver dish (ice cream sundae)
[personal profile] edenfalling
Dear Yuletide Writer,

Hi, and thank you in advance for writing a story for me! I'm pretty easy to please -- unless you write a context-free sex scene, I'll be thrilled just to get a fic in one of the fandoms I asked for. *grin* But I realize that's not terribly helpful, so here's the (very!) long version. I am sorry for the tl;dr, but I like to talk about things I love and I figure more details are better than fewer.

---------------

General Information )

Okay. On to specific fandoms.

---------------

The Dispossessed )

Lucifer )

The Lions of Al-Rassan )

Black Jewels )

And that is that. :-)

Locals!

Oct. 22nd, 2014 02:10 pm
aerye: Popeye surrounded by dancing skeletons. (Default)
[personal profile] aerye
Is anyone else going to see Frankenstein on the 31st? Do you want to meet up before or after for eats or drinks or general fannish celebration? Comment or email aerye at runbox dot com if you're up for it. With it being Halloween and all, I'm feeling unaccountably social. ::g::
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
Return to Hiroshima
Barefoot Gen by Keiji Nakazawa


I am not going to kill comments on links to James Davis Nicoll until the new design is up.

Are the tags I use here useful? Should I import them over to JDN?
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Posted by jb5point

5Point Film Festival –Get inspired by 2 nights of short adventure stories and meet the athletes and filmmakers from the 5Point Film Festival. These films span across all outdoor, adventure film, but all are hand picked to get your heart pumping, mind engaged, and self inspired to pursue your own passions, whatever those may be. Each night will feature different films so don’t miss out! Confirmed guests at the Festival include alpinist and author Kelly Cordes, undefeated boxing champion Heather “The Heat” Hardy and others. Don’t miss our community gathering with Outdoor Research, Sierra Nevada and more in the plaza before the show starting at 5PM!

http://5pointfilm.org/event/somerville


https://www.vendini.com/ticket-software.html?t=tix&e=3ddd1f5228469d8af4e4ed99134bcdc5

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professorfangirl:

ultimateventist:

charlesoberonn:

If something is ‘old as fuck’ then it’s about 1.2 billion years old because that’s when life evolved sexual reproduction.

 

However, if something is “old as balls” it’s only about 65 million years old, when placental mammals began to evolve proper testicles.

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Posted by Michael & Lisa Anderson

IKEA 3

Materials: SVARTSJÖN Hook rack & Bekvam Spice Rack

After unsuccessfully searching for a key rack/sunglasses etc holder we stumbled upon the Svartsjon towel rack in our local Ikea. We noticed it fit almost perfectly on the front of the spice rack, which looked great for storing sunglasses. The coat rack is about 1/8″ longer on each end but we think it works and looks great.

IKEA 1 IKEA 2

Simply assemble the spice rack. Then place the coat hooks on the front and mark spots to drill holes for the screws. I found a couple screws in the garage and attached the coat hook to the spice rack.

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image

The west called her The Female Caligula, but if half what they said is true, he was more a male Ranavalona. This famously cruel ruler of Madagascar ostensibly killed between 30-50% of the entire population during her reign via unspeakable means — yet simultaneously, she kept her country independent, repeatedly defeated the combined forces of the English and French, and instigated one of the first industrial revolutions seen outside of Europe. She, uh, also tried making a giant pair of scissors to chop invaders in half. Unequal parts conqueror, protector, and lunatic, she was, at the very least, not boring.

It’s a long entry, but you don’t want to miss anything. Well, maybe one or two things.

First: this is another one of those “history is written by the victors” deals where most of what’s known about her comes courtesy of pissed-off foreign missionaries — basically, don’t take any of the following stories at face value. More on that later (under the "There isn’t Enough Salt in the World" header).

Second: want to play a game? Here’s some bingo sheets, which should give you an idea of how dark this entry is going to get. Pick one and follow along! When you win, I suggest drinking to forget.

Her Story (According to Racist White People)

So, Ranavalona! She came to power when her husband died at 36 (from either alcoholism, syphilis, murder, or some delicious cocktail of all three). His sudden death left the kingdom in a weird state: he’d spent years cozying up to the British in exchange for some of their weaponry (he’d just started the nation’s first standing army!), and was starting to turn on the British when he died. The main claimant to the throne (as Ranavalona had no kids with him), however, was looking to maintain cozy ties with the British.

Well, Ranavalona was having precisely none of that shit, so she assembled a”screw foreigners” posse, and staged a coup. She took control so fast that some of the king’s elite bodyguards only found out he was dead when they saw her on the throne. When a handful of them politely raised an objection, she gently replied by having them stabbed in the gut with thirty spears. She went on to execute most of the royal family — in one case summoning a man to the capital, then killing him for abandoning his post.

The first days of her reign brought bizarre proclamations to accompany the brutal violence. To express mourning for her departed husband, she declared that every single person must, for ten months, keep their heads shaved. Practically the only exceptions were the nation’s professional mourners (yes, it’s a thing), who were only spared so they would have hair to tear out amidst their hysterical sobbing. She kept his body on display for weeks, with round-the-clock legions of slaves tasked with keeping the flies off. During the mourning period, she made it illegal to dance, bathe, play music, sleep on a mattress, look in a mirror, or clap your hands. The punishment was she’d sell you into slavery.

This was not an idle threat: under Ranavalona, slavery, recently abolished to appease the British, returned to one of the cornerstones of the economy. Her favorite slave was undoubtedly Jean Laborde, a shipwrecked young Frenchman whose presence drastically transformed the country. Once Ranavalona found out he was an accomplished tradesman, she set him to work with making a massive industrial complex. Within a couple years of his arrival, Madagascar was self-reliant for weaponry, ammunition, and gunpowder — one of the first industrial revolutions (if not THE first) to occur outside of Europe.

This enabled her to keep out the combined forces of the French and the British, which was no small feat. They repeatedly attempted invasions, which usually went something like this: “we’re gonna bombard the shit out of you from our boats! Okay, you’re retreating, great, we’re gonna head onto land and chase you! Wait, what the hell, there’s ANOTHER ENTIRE BACKUP FORTRESS hidden behind the one we just blew up!? Oh fuck oh fuck oh f-*death gurgle*” She’d later decorate her fortresses with the decapitated heads of invaders on pikes.

She was not content to merely destroy her enemies, though: she was hellbent on being a full-on D&D Dungeon Master. At one memorable council meeting, Laborde was tasked with making: giant metal shields for each ports that would bounce cannonballs back at European ships; a massive wall that would cover the entire 3,000 mile coastline; and four enormous pairs of scissors that she could hide on the tracks leading to the capital, then use to snip invaders in two.  

He never quite got around to making those.

Her craziest stunt, though, was definitely the buffalo hunt. At one point she decided to go hunting and brought along her 50,000 closest pals. Only problem was that there weren’t any roads going where she wanted to hunt, so she had people go ahead and make a road for her as she went. Moreover, they had to make a new town for her to sleep in every night. This went on for 16 weeks, and 10,000 workers died. No buffalo were shot.

What she was best known for in her time, though, was her hatred of foreign religion, particularly Christianity. While she’d initially been tolerant of missionaries, she quickly came to see them as an invading force when several openly advocated her overthrow. As a reaction, she delved deeper into traditional religion, particularly a rite called the tanguena ordeal, which she made practically everyone in Madagascar do (Christians first). In it, you’d swallow poison and three bits of chicken skin. If you barfed up all three pieces, you were innocent, and free to go! If you died from the poison, even if you were actually innocent, it was chalked up as a divine mystery of the universe. But if you didn’t barf up all three pieces of chicken? You were guilty, and that’s where the real trouble began. 

The Tanguena Challenge

In this next section, things get increasingly graphic. Seriously, the mood moves from “slasher movie” to “horror porn” to “Cormac McCarthy novel.” If you want to skip this, just scroll down until you see a picture of bunnies. If you want to stay in, welcome to the Tanguena Challenge: try to make it to the end without barfing (or at least yak up three pieces of chicken).

Ranavalona’s methods of execution included:

  • Strangling.
  • Drowning.
  • Stoning.
  • Crucifixion.
  • Burning on a pyre.
  • Tossing you from a ceremonial cliff.
  • Tossing you from said cliff, catching you, making you think you’re safe, then cutting the ropes.
  • Making you kiss her feet, except she’d coat them in poison so you’d die horribly afterwards.
  • Tying you in a giant burlap sack and hanging said sack from a pole until you died.
  • Chaining you to four other people and assigning guards to prevent anyone from giving you food. When one of the four died, you’d just have to drag around the corpse until you, too, died.
  • Flaying your skin off while you were still alive.
  • Crushing your testicles in a steel vise.
  • Sawing you in half (lengthwise, head first).
  • Tying you to a wooden stake in a pit, then filling the pit with boiling water, so your body would cook while you were still alive.

Still here? Fine, here’s the worst one. At one point, she was to have four people executed, including an incredibly pregnant woman. As the four prayed fervently for help, her guards built a massive fire to toss them in. Soon, though, it started raining, dousing the flames. The guards kept rebuilding the fire until the storm broke, revealing a triple rainbow. Many people took this — as well as the pregnant woman suddenly giving birth — as a sign that the accused were divinely protected, and fled the scene. Undeterred by this, though, the guards threw the newborn in the fire, followed by his mother and the other three.

THAT IS THE WORST THING I HAVE EVER WRITTEN. OH GOD. BUNNIES BUNNIES BUNNIES. HERE ARE SOME BUNNIES.

image

Supervillain Stateswoman

She held onto the throne for decades, foiling multiple coup d’etats with the grace of a veteran supervillain. As an example: when her son, the prince, partnered with Laborde and several Europeans (including a very unfortunate 60-year-old tourist) to try and oust her, she not only discovered their plot, but toyed with them for months. She would terrify them by spontaneously sending the military in… only to have them do random, benign tasks, like picking up presents. She would randomly summon the terrified Europeans to do impromptu piano performances and dance recitals, during which she would stand on a balcony overlooking them, completely silent throughout. She held a 6-hour-long meeting on how, exactly, she was to execute the treasonous Europeans, only to surprise them the next day by merely banishing them.

Their banishment, however, was a death sentence in everything but name. When the poor conspirators finally left the capital, they did so with a military accompaniment. Said accompaniment repeatedly led them on long detours through malaria-infested jungles and prevented them from contacting any doctors, turning a 7-day journey into a 53-day-long ordeal. She knew she could not have gotten away with outright killing Europeans, so she just made it increasingly likely that they would die of malaria. It worked, killing all but two of them.

Three years later, Ranavalona died peacefully in her sleep. She was 83. Afterwards, her son took over and undid virtually all of her major decrees within the first month, to the relief of many.

There is Not Enough Salt in the World

So, in case you couldn’t tell, a lot of what you just read was racist imperialist bullshit: centuries-old bogeyman stories concocted by missionaries with an agenda to delegitimize her. Problem is, it’s *really* difficult separating fact from fiction here — especially for a non-French-speaker such as myself when most of the relevant documents are in French. Some of the stories, like Laborde’s extended Madagascar Malaria Tour, probably did happen as described. Others, like the hoary tale about the pregnant woman, were almost undoubtedly made up — you can find parallels to that exact story in other martyr tales here and here.

The truth of the matter is probably somewhere in between. She was undoubtedly a hardline ruler, if not an outright despot, and it’s indisputable that a great many died under her reign. But she saw herself, not unreasonably, as a sovereign at war, and in that context she was an arguably fantastic leader. By associating herself so strongly with the native beliefs, she legitimized her reign. This enabled her to make the country self-reliant, strengthen her own nation’s culture, and repel the team-up invasion efforts of the two most powerful nations in the world — a feat that her successors failed at, to dire consequences.

Aftermath

Oh, what’s that? You think that everyone lived happily ever after once she died? HAH! Here’s what actually happened:

Like I said, her son Rakoto undid everything in her reign immediately: abolished the tanguena ordeal, ended slavery, established freedom of religion, and opened the borders to outsiders. Foreign merchants were allowed to trade without even paying duties, as long as they didn’t sell weapons or ammunition.

Fast forward a year: the country is awash in imported alcohol (one contemporary described one out of four buildings being a liquor store, and the townsfolk permanently drunk). The upper class is furious at Rakoto for not enforcing import/export duties, and destroying their livelihoods. Rakoto starts losing it, and institutes dueling as a method of solving disputes. Finally, the island is simultaneously wracked with a deadly plague and a spasm-inducing cholera, which makes it appear that people are uncontrollably dancing. Many consider this the ghost of Ranavalona coming back to haunt them.

Within thirty years, the island became a French colony, and stayed that way for over a hundred years. Christianity spread like wildfire and became one of the dominant religions. As recently as 2001, people on the street talked matter-of-factly of Ranavalona as one of their country’s greatest villains — for her brutal treatment of the people, yes, but often more for the refusal to accept European culture. One person surveyed remarked,  “there is no development in Madagascar if there are no Europeans in Madagascar.” 

That is, of course, one small sample, and should in no way be taken as representative of the whole. But it, and the rest of the study, is indicative of a lack of critical rigor as regard’s Ranavalona’s actual history, even in her native Madagascar.

ART NOTES

  • She’s seen here on the second floor of her colossal wooden palace. Designed by Laborde, it was the largest wooden structure ever built at the time, and considered one of the wonders of the world.
  • You can see the conspirators dancing, playing piano, and plotting around blueprints of the giant scissors. Rakoto is, rather unwisely, stationing possible troops in between the shears.
  • The interior is loosely designed on some parts of Versailles. The checkerboard pattern doubles as a metaphor for the chess game she was playing with her captives. Note that she has knights stationed a single chess move away from killing any of them.
  • Continuing the chess metaphor, the group leaving in chains is being led by a bishop, and is moving diagonal to the board. 
  • The tray next to her has 3 chicken skins and some poison. In actuality, the poison was more of a powder than a liquid, which I realized too late.
  • Her skin tone is supposed to be a bit lighter, since the Magalasy people were actually of half Indonesian descent (seriously, it’s fascinating — look up the history of Madagascar ethnicities).

CITATIONS

  • About the only English-language book on Ranavalona is The Female Caligula, by Keith Laidler. I’m sorry, but fuck this book. That guy is a learned historian — a freaking doctor — and had access to primary materials about her. What does he do? Write a book with zero citations (it lists quotes but doesn’t even say what he’s quoting), and uncritically repeats all of the craziest rumors about her (I didn’t even get into some of her bacchanals). The dude should know better. It’s disappointing, but it’s almost all I had to go on.
  • Alison Kamhi did a study on modern-day Malagasy perspectives on Ranavalona, which was fairly useful. Perceptions of Ranavalona I: A Malagasy Historic Figure as a Thematic Symbol of Malagasy Attitudes Towards History. 
  • Gwyn Campbell wrote a 900-page book on the missionaries’ documentation of Madagascar, which is virtually the only thing out there taking them to task. It’s useful but it’s also dense as hell. His pithier academic articles were all locked up behind pay walls, unfortunately. 

GUESS WHO

Y’all got it right! Lordy, there were a lot of you this time.

librarian_sarah, Siobhan, annasquared27, cathrinerose, Madison  Mady, folklorehorse,@canarytis, watersofmars, officialceres, maraannie, megaera, starpiper, hanniex33, Allie Lynne, themindsfarce, Abbi C. angels-and-dreamers, Deidre T, Badger, Alana Ju, themadflorist, Sarah Quick, ClairePDX, Jenny Wrennot-latte, @avrenim8, TXFoodGeek, Lacey Loftin, Roxane, D.E. Mas, KCRWreck, Kristin impellizzeri, Ashley B., Leanne Van Allen, Belles With Balls on Facebook, MooseHB, Terrie in Bangor, Terrie of Maine, Tasha H, itsjusta-cigarette, smithwithclass, Animaldoc, CatieScarlett86, Cece La, Elizabeth Gilluly, Kayla Lord, Sanjita Chatterjee, WGuerra, yllomolly ,@mika-minnie, @Xadasa, Sarah S, Lily, ashnspace, ladyzweihander, kevin m, @Anemonepoppy, nene, Nellabutterfly, waywardgypsy, deyoh, @sansrivaille, Corinne W, @koshka32713, Runya EithelNar, Kailey D, Uncle Scary, annocat, Alex S., Jo Mako, EDoctor, TheBex, Angelyte9, Rance F

NEXT WEEK ON REJECTED PRINCESSES

You just read a little bit about her, but you probably didn’t realize it.

(submit guesses here, please!)

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