The Librarians, Dragon Age: Inquisition, And Couples Who *Sort Of* Work Together

I don’t remember how old I was when I realized that not everyone’s parents worked together.

See, I was a faculty brat. My parents met because they both worked for at the same prep school*– and my friends were mostly the kids of *their* friends, who were in basically the same situation. Married people didn’t always do the exact same thing – Mom taught Latin and mythology, Dad taught math – but they spent all day in, more or less, the same place. (Also, grown-ups got long vacations too: not as long as ours, and they had to do paperwork or take calls, but everyone could go away for two months in the summer. Finding out otherwise pretty well shattered my morale re: adulthood.)

Did TV shatter my illusions? Probably not–partly because I was raised by hippie wolves and didn’t get to watch anything but PBS until I was nine, but largely because, in most fiction about adults that’s not about a family (or a group of friends with rotating SOs), couples *do* work in the same office. It makes sense: if the focus is on the workplace, having characters work together makes it easier to give everyone screen time, and the audience is going to want main characters to get together with other main characters. (There’s no emotional investment in randos.)

This isn’t a trope I mind–it works for the narrative, and my parents are proof that people can spend eight hours a day sort of together and still want to hang out afterwards, as baffling as I find that general concept.** But two of my recent media indulgences have stretched the co-worker couple trope in ways I find interesting.

1) Dragon Age: Inquisition

I’m a Bioware girl, as a general rule. Epic fantasy plus dialogue choices plus a number of hot NPCs offering semi-explicit sex will nearly always get my money, and Bioware gets extra points by blatantly shutting down the complaints of fragile straight dudes who can’t handle having the option to hit on a guy, or something.

Inquisition continues all of these elements. (Also mounts and weird collect-all-the-things sidequests, but I don’t care.) One of the interesting departures from previous games, though, is the War Table/Advisors system. Short version: you get three advisors who you can use to take actions that don’t directly involve wandering around and killing things and/or talking to people. Two of them are potential romantic targets–and due to my inclinations (clean-cut boys with full heads of hair and good abs, plus the military thing is hot) I went with Cullen.

When talking about Origins, I mentioned that I loved how game mechanics pretty much dictate that romance plot avoid sexist tropes: none of your male love interests gets snitty about having a female leader, or tries the horrible “I am overprotective to show how much I care” routine.***

Since your advisors don’t come with you in Inquisition, this goes double. Cullen’s the commander of your forces, so you’re both physically fighting for the cause, but you’re generally not together. Each of you sends the other off into danger, not without trepidation but without any attempt to stop the other from doing their job, because you’re both adults and you act that way.

“Two adults acting that way,” is pretty much a requirement for me as far as romance goes these days, but it’s still a refreshing change to encounter it so blatantly in a video game.

2) The Librarians

Sequel TV show to three All The Myths Are True movies, this series reminds me of early-season Buffy, in the best way. (Less eye candy for me personally, though Jones the thief isn’t bad, but you can’t have everything.) Everyone is snarky but mostly adult, people don’t get let off too easily for what they do, and there’s a good balance between MOTW and lasting arcs.

(In the grand tradition of Buffy, the costuming department has also decided that “geeky redhead”=”fashion sense of a six-year-old,” and as a geeky redhead myself, I wish that would stop being a code. Willow was forgivable due to age, but no adult woman should be caught dead in baggy one-strapped short-alls, let alone those *and* white tights.) (Free fashion advice: the occasions on which white tights look good on a grownup all involve figure skating competitions in 1983.)

So, in the first episode, the Guardian (person involved with protecting the Librarian(s), in this case an ex-HSA badass) gets involved with Noah Wyle’s character. But because he’s Noah Wyle and doing other things, his character then disappears to investigate other dimensional wacky hijinks for multiple episodes at a time, occasionally returning for a cameo.

Now, I am uncertain about the plausibility of a long-distance relationship (or any relationship) with someone you’ve known for two days; my headcanon is that there’s obviously a What Happens In Other Dimensions, Stays In Other Dimensions deal going on, because there pretty much has to be. That said, given the relationship existing, the characters handle it very well. They’re clearly glad to see each other when they do, but there’s none of the “you can’t leave me” angst: they like each other, they have things to do, that’s how it goes.

It’s a nice change.

In other news, my plan from here on out is to update roughly every Thursday, except for blog tour links and other announcements, which I’ll post as they go up. (Normal schedule will be suspended when I’m on blog tour, because no.) Every third post will likely be semi-controversial: I’m not looking for sensationalism, but I have some opinions that maybe aren’t for everyone, especially for anyone who might be reading this while related to me.

Next time, my take on How To Like Problematic Things: The Romance Edition, or, Lots of People Like Lloyd Dobler And Go On to Have Productive and Fulfilling Lives, I’m Sure.

*In the Outward Bound program. Meanwhile, I’m Shelley Long at the *start* of Troop Beverly Hills. Go figure.

** For those new to me or this blog, I’m the least romantic romance novelist working. Fictional men are great because they don’t hang around having opinions about where to get takeout or trying to start conversations when you’re doing something else.

***I love this meme. And inevitably someone on FB will ask well what if he doesn’t like you staying out really late or talking to sketchy people, to which my answer is: a) I *have* a mom, b) *my mom* grasps that I’m an adult woman and can make my own choices, c) if your boyfriend is less healthy about this shit than my mom, go back to the inside of the heart locket.

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Lucifer and Writing the Inhuman

My TV viewing criteria is some combination of:

Historical, But Not With Actual People as Main Characters, Because Their Lives Tend to be Tragic and Squalid

Crime But Like Serial Killers, Financial Stuff is Boring

Comedy: Witty, Not Cringe, Nothing With Adam Sandler Ever, No Idiotic Gender Stereotypes

Hot Men With Accents

Magic And Stuff, Or Ghosts, Ghosts Are Fine Too

So I’ve really enjoyed the first five or so episodes of Lucifer, the show very loosely based on the Gaiman comics interpretation: dude abandons Hell and comes to LA* to run a nightclub, bringing with him bodyguard slash FWB Mazikeen and a whole lot of Daddy Issues. First, the general points:

1. The above? Yeah, that’s all it has in common with the comics run so far. Having never given a damn about fidelity (ask anyone I knew in college–I’ll be here all night, tip your waitress) I continue to give an unsurprising lack of damn, but maybe don’t go in expecting that.
2. This show got *all* the music rights, apparently. And given the number of songs that mention the Devil, Hell, or general wickedness, the soundtrack’s going to be great for approximately ever.
3. So Lucifer fights crime with a no-nonsense LA detective, because of course he does. For my money, said detective is a little too no-nonsense–I realize she has to be for Odd Couple style dynamics to work, but I personally would give significant body parts to see Lucifer paired up with the female version of Lenny Briscoe–but given the provocation, I can understand it.
4.  Lucifer in Therapy: kind of the best.

With that last point, I kind of work around to the best part of the show for me, as someone who both reads and writes nonhuman characters: Lucifer’s interactions with the human world. He’s seen pretty much everything, literally, but he still enjoys himself; he enjoys himself *more* when he thinks he might be mortal; and the things he takes seriously are not the things we do, and vice-versa.

Like there was a moment in tonight’s episode–the one with the shipping container, for those who are watching–where Lucifer was being snarky about a dead body, Chloe called him on it, and he responded that he didn’t get why rotting meat was a big deal. That’s absolutely the reaction you’d get from a guy who knows for sure that the actual person’s somewhere else, and who’s spent the entirety of existence, literally, seeing it happen.

My attachment to the particular religious tropes is not vast, but the show is so far doing a great job of showing someone powerful and alien enough to be scary, while still enthusiastic and well-spoken enough to be charming. It also doesn’t hurt that he’s played by Tom Ellis.

And is shirtless a lot.

Yes, I’d probably be watching anyhow, just for that. But the rest is a nice bonus.

Coming Soon: Dragon Age and Non-Party Romance, The Good Life and “Soul Mates,” plus whatever else comes to mind.

  • I would make a joke here, but I feel like I and the writing staff of Angel used them all up back in ’00.

Been A While, Huh?

Some stuff has happened!

I’ve finished drafts of a new trilogy in the Highland Dragons series. It’s going to be set in the Middle Ages, when there was way more cover for people turning into dragons and also stabbing each other a lot. Parts of it may be based on medieval alchemy. Other parts may be based on Silent Hill. Not the parts with sex in them, I promise.

My novella from Gambled Away, Raising the Stakes, is available for purchase on its own, here. I am not in any way a cover designer, so have a blue cover with pink swirly things on it! Inside, there’s a chick in the 1930s winning the services of an elf in a poker game, a con job on a corrupt preacher, and a diner scene, because what is even the point of writing 20th century historical fiction unless people end up in at least one diner?

I continue working on my eighties novel. I’ve realized that, plot-and-structure-wise, it’s kind of Lord of the Rings With Trans Ams, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing, because I’m me.

Look for future posts this week! Coming soon: my takes on Dragon Age: Inquisition, Lucifer, and The Last Kingdom.

Yes, I’m talking about any media with eye candy at this point. Not made of stone here. ­čÖé