Category Archives: Entertainment

Nicola Griffith Liked My Hild Art!

I posted one of my Hild fanart illustrations here, and I also sent it directly to the author of Hild, Nicola Griffith. Well, not only did she respond to me directly, but she posted both of them on her blog! I just want to say that it’s very cool to have the author of a book I enjoyed actually commenting on something I’ve drawn that’s based on their work. By the way, if I were an author, having fanart of my characters sent to me would be one very important factor in deciding if I were any good.

So Nicola got back to me based on my first Hild drawing, and she made some points specifically about how Hild’s seax looked, as well as what hand she’d be holding her staff in. These are things I’d never even thought of, but it actually makes a lot of sense! I kept that commentary in mind when I started the next illustration, which hasn’t been colored.

New Hild by Justine Lavoie

She’s older and stronger here. Might be near the end of the first book, or when she truly owned the ‘butcher-bird’ namesake (or maybe not. I feel like she could look even more dangerous if she wanted to – this is much more defensive to me) Definitely protective… could be when she comes upon Lintlaf and Gwladus on the ship, and threatens to hurt Lintlaf if he doesn’t let Gwladus go. The weird thing about drawing for me is that I don’t have a specific pose or scene in mind before I start, so I have to make sense of what I end up with.

Then Nicola said this at the end of her blog post: “I suspect there’ll be more and I can’t wait to see where this goes.” Hm. Sounds like a challenge to me. Maybe next time I’ll do a comic.

Hild Fanart

I drew Hild from Nicola Griffith’s novel of the same name a few days after finishing the book, and about 4 months later I decided to scan it into the computer, clean up the lines, and do a quick color and background. Drawing Hild took some guesswork on my part. I do admit that while I was reading the book I made sure to note specific details about her appearance for later. The cross on her neck is smaller than I imagine it, but I do like how her beads turned out. The staff could have been a little longer, and I honestly have no idea what her slaughter seax would have looked like. Clothing was completely imagined by me. I wanted to draw her in pants and boots and a shirt without sleeves. Very selfish of me, I know. The coloring was even harder. All I could honestly remember was that her hair was chestnut brown (…I think?) and her beads were reddish orange (…I think?) I can’t speak very highly of my memory.

Drawing and coloring this without any research except for what I remembered was kind of fun for me. I’ll have to go back now and see how much information I can find about how things could have been more true to the book.

Another idea I had but decided not to go with was to have Hild standing in the forest with her eyes closed, and then drawing some birds and other wildlife behind her. I get a really strong sense of that scene now, when I think back on the book. Or of Hild standing across the cool, dark cellar staring at Gwladus, who stares right back. The items that Hild acquires throughout the first book really stand out to me. Her seax, beads, staff, and cross. I left out the cups that Cian gave her because I didn’t think she’d take them with her on what I can only assume to be some kind of tracking mission (I honestly don’t know. I just wanted her to look action-y) All of these items she gets are symbolic of what makes Hild, well, Hild. Usually I’m not big on stories that put a lot of weight on items, but I think it was done in a way that kept me interested. Made me want to draw it, and when that happens something is being done right.

Hild Fanart - Hild Art by Justine Lavoie

Game of Thrones Sexism – Part 2

So I realize that stating that I’ve watched only one episode is probably not helping my argument, but luckily, there is this great article on Tiger Beatdown that points out every scene with rape, molestation and/or domestic violence in the Game of Thrones books. Yes, I’m jumping from the televised series to the books, but still, this is by far the best resource I’ve found that proves my points. You should read it, it’s funny and sad and horrible all at once.

I really did try watching the second episode. I stopped at the scene where the ripped barbarian dude is raping the blonde chick… again. Sorry, that “gritty realism” is just too much for me! Again, this isn’t simply because I can’t read about rape. There are plenty of books that tell the story of rape in a non-offensive, serious way (I’m looking at you, Hild).

This may very well be the last part of my Games of Thrones Sexism series. I can’t find any reason to commit another hour to watching (or reading) something that doesn’t ever seem “get better” w/r/t being sexist.

Game of Thrones Sexism – Part 1

As the first official post of the new year, I’m going to go back to talk about what is apparently a very interesting thing to my readers: sexism. This time, it’s in the very popular TV series, Games of Thrones (yes, I’m about three years late). I’m still new at this blog thing, which is a funny thing for me to say considering I spend a good amount of time during my working life coaching clients on how to write posts. But still, it’s true; I don’t really know exactly what about me or my writing is going to be interesting to the types of people who wind up here.

As a preface, I’d like to say that most of what I’m writing about when it comes to feminism, sexism, and pop-culture is researched. I get made fun of because I can’t put actor’s names to faces, I can’t remember what they’ve been in, and I can barely recall what happened in an episode or season of something (even when I enjoy/obsess over it). I like to think that this is benefiting me by freeing up brain capacity to be used elsewhere, but deep down I know the truth of it: my memory sucks.

Preface 2: I have watched episode 1 in it’s entirety and parts the last 3 or 4 episodes from the most recently aired season (three?). I haven’t read any of the books. Still, when I wrote about Mass Effect’s sexism I had only played half a day’s worth of game, so previous experience leads me to believe that it doesn’t really matter. With that, let’s get to it.

Game of Thrones Sexism.

For those of you who actually follow this blog via RSS or by simply typing in the URL, and thus have not seen the other search results for searches like “game of thrones sexism”, let me first say that this is actually a topic that has been covered elsewhere. This short piece by Maris Kreizman is a good place to start. To get another angle, there’s this article by Alison Herman which happens to be in direct response to what Maris wrote. There’s also this post by THE OPINIONESS OF THE WORLD (how cool is that?) that I think (especially if you also read the comments) really sets the stage. Should I feel weird about all three of those blog posts picturing the character who gets raped (by the man she learns to love!!1) in the first season? Moving on. The Opinioness mentions two things I find intriguing.

  • The Bechdel Test (a fun test to run on your favorite movies or shows)
  • TV Tropes (something I had known about and then forgotten about and now know about again)

I think the biggest thing for me after watching episode one is the creepy, worrying way the show fetishizes rape. The scene in question is the one where this ripped barbarian dude takes the “wife” someone sold to him by force. I don’t get that people can watch this scene and not freak out about it. Maybe it’s that it portrays how hard medieval life was. But wait, isn’t this a fantasy show? It’s not historically accurate, so what’s the point? If there are zombies and dragons why have the same tired tropes that depict rape graphically and from the male gaze? Yes, I realize there’s a tomboy and a badass short-haired lady knight, but being sexist isn’t about weighting a scale to equality. No amount of strong female characters is going to offset blatant sexism.

Updates to the library and other things

I’ve decided to stop using the Now Reading Reloaded plugin and have moved my entire library to GoodReads. I have and can make friends on GoodReads and it’s better supported. Just tried searching for Dune in Now Reading and it said not found. Eventually I’d like to play around with GoodRead’s api, but they do provide some very basic (static) widgets, so I’m using those for now.

I’ve been using DailyLit for a few months now. I’ve been using it mainly to receive brief snippets relating to various history topics (greek, famous historical ladies), but I also like the idea of reading books like this (instead of how I usually do, which is to sit down with one for as long as I can possibly handle). If you’re interested, I’d recommend anything from the Wikipedia Tours section.

Also, a new sketch.