So I’ve decided to start a new segment of my blog called the Fandom Friday
This basically comes from my desire to find more fandoms…and this doesn’t necessarily mean that I’m trying to fill my life with more fandoms but I’m trying to be more open to other ones.
The biggest reason I’m doing this is because I’ve always felt like…so many fandoms preach acceptance and tolerance and equality and respect and all that. And yet…I’ve found that a lot of us nerds can be kind of judgemental on other fandoms, myself included. I mean, some people are REALLY judgemental and mean about it, sometimes.
And I’m trying to be better at it. And I’ve decided I want to learn more about different fandoms and kind of have people…backing up the fandom? That doesn’t sound quite right. I guess I just want people to write of the fandoms that they like and say why they like them, and what they mean to them, and maybe we can all start to understand each other.
Hey, I’m not saying that you have to like the fandoms. There are some things that we’re just not going to like. But I’m hoping that we all learn about some new ones, understand the ones we don’t like and finally figure out the ones that we don’t really understand.
So the first one is my own. I’m looking for anyone and everyone who would like to contribute to this. You can do any fandom that you’d like, except Harry Potter, Stars Wars and Doctor Who…ONLY because these are my three biggest fandoms and they are also really, really popular and I write about all three of these all the time. Any others though, free game, and leave a little comment below (make sure to click “email me for replies”) and we’ll get this going!
So this week’s first Fandom Friday is The Shadowhunter Chronicles by Cassandra Clare. And I know its Sunday but its been a busy weekend and we’ll just forget the days of the week just this once okay?
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Now, the reason that I pick the Shadowhunter Chronicles as my first fandom of the week, instead of Harry Potter or Star Wars or Doctor Who is that I have almost never had to really defend my obsession with these. These are VERY popular fandoms and very highly accepted fandoms and some people may shake their head at HOW obsessed I am, but I never really have to defend it as a whole.
The Shadowhunter series…those I am always, always, always defending. They are honestly a big reason why I’m trying to be more accepting of other fandoms, even the ones that I just think are plain awful. Then I realized…a lot of people have a problem with Cassie and her books. It goes both ways.
Officially right now, there are 8 Shadowhunter books in two different series. The Mortal Instruments takes place in present time and is as follow: City of Bones, City of Ashes, City of Glass, City of Fallen Angels, City of Lost Souls and the 2014 finale, City of Heavenly Fire. The Infernal Devices is a companion series, taking place in Victorian England. This series is complete: Clockwork Angel, Clockwork Prince and Clockwork Princess. Cassandra has three more series planned: The Dark Artifices, (Lady Midnight, Prince of Shadows and The Queen of Air and Darkness) which is a Los Angeles series taking place five years after the finale of the Mortal Instruments, TLH, which is acronymed and not named and will be following the children of the Infernal Devices series and a completely secret series, that will take place three years after the Dark Artifices series.
The books are an urban, contemporary fantasy. Its a world that we all recognize and know, but there’s more to it than we know. Demons roam our world, along with vampires, werewolves, warlocks and fae. And there are those that would protect the world from those demons, called Shadowhunters, humans with a dash of angel blood, warriors trained their entire lives to fight these demons. They have their own secret world, can shield themselves from us and have their own secret country, Idris. They use special weapons like seraph blades, blessed by angels to defeat demons, and use steles to draw “Marks” or “runes” on their body to give them extra or enhanced abilities in battle.
The Mortal Instruments takes place in countemporary world, with Clary Fray, a sixteen year old girl who suddenly can see people and things she wasn’t able to see before. She stumbles upon some Shadowhunters while they are on the hunt, when she shouldn’t be able to see them. Shortly after, her mother is kidnapped and it is revealed that her mother is a Shadowhunter and once was married to a man named Valentine, who has a desire to “purify” the race of Shadowhunters and begin a superior order. Clary has to find her mother, and help to defeat Valentine, along with the help of her human best friend, Simon Lewis, the warlock, Magnus Bane, and her new Shadowhunter friends, Jace Wayland, Alec Lightwood and Isabelle Lightwood. The first book in the series, City of Bones, will be hitting theaters this summer, on August 23rd.
The Infernal Devices takes place in Victorian England at near end of the 19th century. Tessa Gray, again, is a human girl, who leaves New York to join her brother, Nate in England. She is kidnapped as soon as she reaches the dock, and soon learns that she has abilities she was never aware of: shape-shifting. As long as she’s holding the personal item of a person, she can change into them, and access their memories. According to her kidnappers, she’s being prepped to become the wife of a man called the Magister, who has a use for her and her talents. She is rescued by the Shadowhunter boys, Will Herondale and Jem Carstairs and, just like Clary, is suddenly aware of a world that she wasn’t before. Her story shows her trying to figure out what she is and why the Magister wants her, and what he has planned for her and the Shadowhunters.
I first discovered these books three years ago, in 2010. To keep a story short, my boyfriend and I had broken up, and lets just say it wasn’t a nice break up. It was kind of a messy one and a lot was going on at the time. My boyfriend and I had gone through a tough time, and broke up due to that, and a couple other reasons. I was feeling crappy at my job. I was taking five classes in college and was overwhelmed. Everything was just kind of down in the dumps and I was absolutely miserable. It SUCKS to break up with someone that you had plans for in the future. Of course, it all worked out, in the long run because we ended up back together and have been together for five years :)
But at the time, I just needed to be distracted. I didn’t want to think about all the crap that was going on; I needed distractions. I discovered Starkid during this time, and became super addicted to their Harry Potter musicals because of how much they made me laugh. And I found Cassandra Clare. I went to Borders to pick up a book, and I found City of Bones. I read it that night, and picked up City of Ashes the very next day, and picked up City of Glass the day after. Then I read Clockwork Angel. I got addicted FAST.
Now, a big part of the reason that I was addicted so fast, and that it remains one of my biggest fandoms, is because of what it did for me at that time. It really helped me. I needed to be distracted and it did just that. It kept me from being absolutely miserable. The stories are super funny, especially with Simon and Jace and their sarcasm. The pop culture references are always awesome, makes me think of Boss Joss Whedon and his pop culture references in everything that he does. Its action packed, and it has a lot of biblical and mythological aspects (though I do think she could go further with these). The world she builts is sexy and addicting and she spins a romance that I’m in love with. And Jace Wayland is a character that you just can’t get over, especially when you’re single and lonely haha.
But its also more than that. Despite what a lot of people say, I think Cassandra Clare is a great writer. I think she’s very contemporary and that’s the way I write. Not all of us are going to write like Jane Austen or whatever. Not all of us can write classically but that doesn’t mean we aren’t great writers and I think she’s a great writer. I also don’t think that she’s “stolen” all the things people believe she has. I believe she used a lot of it in her fan fiction but that was her fan fiction and let’s move on. And yes, there are allusions to different worlds from different books, but doesn’t everyone do that? There are no 100% original stories anymore. We all tell the same stories, but HOW we tell it, and the characters we have, in the places we have…that’s what makes our stories unique. Cassandra Clare pulled from J.K. Rowling who pulled from J.R.R. Tolkien who pulled from Norse mythology which…and on and on.
But sometimes, we just enjoy things that aren’t literary masterpieces. Not every book I read is going to be an excellent example of literary prowess. Sometimes I just want my not so guilty pleasure book. I enjoy these books. I love the stories and I love the characters and they’re good for me.
And I do like the ideas that Cassie brings in. She talks about fears a lot. She talks about bravery and courage and the idea of fears. Clary is afraid of loving Jace, she’s afraid of her father, she’s afraid of a lot of things. Jace is afraid of letting himself love and be loved, both in family and romantic ways and he’s afraid of Clary. Isabelle is afraid to let her tough girl guard down. Simon is afraid of losing his best friend. Luke and Jocelyn are afraid for Clary‘s safety and what Valentine is capable of. Alec is afraid of his sexuality and coming to terms with it. Valentine is afraid of not having control. And a lot of times these fears hold them back, and cause more problems than anything.
And she doesn’t preach of just overcoming your fears, but learning to accept them and learning to live with them. This is a huge reason why I have the Fearless rune tattoo on my arm. I really agree with the way she approaches fear, and courage and bravery, and overcoming and accepting fears. These people aren’t fearless, no one can be fearless but you can learn to live with your fears.
One last thing, I do like that Cassie has included gay, bisexual and lesbian characters. Alec is gay, and Magnus is bisexual and Aline and Helen are lesbian. I really like how a familiar concept can be presented in an unfamiliar territory. I do love that more and more authors are exploring these in books, not just in subtext but in more obvious ways. I love that even though Cassie gets letters from parents complaining about the LGBT characters, she continues to write about them. Its fantastic.
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So maybe you’ll never be a huge Cassandra Clare fan, or even a fan at all. But maybe you can understand and respect my own obsession with it, the way I am starting to respect YOURS!
And don’t forget, I am looking for some guest blog posts from ANYONE on their fandoms! Comment below, with what fandom you’d like to write about. It can be anything: movie, tv show, book series, video game, card game, cartoon, whatever. I want to learn ALL about it. Comment below and I’ll be able to contact you and you can be part of the Fandom Friday :)