The Critical Fan Toolkit

Interview of Valk by Cara Marta Messina

Conducted on 2020-01-22

How to Read

This interview transcript has been qualitatlve coded (learn more about qualitative coding and my process here). Qualitative coding, in a general sense, is marking up particular data with particular themes. For this transcript, you can both read what Valk said as well as how I coded their interview.

The bold font in Valk's answer are the points in the text that have been coded. The underlined font is also coded; the underlined font is specifically marked with the "power and identity" code.

Interview Transcription

cara: Okay so today on January 22, 2020, I am interviewing Valk.

valk: Hi, I'm Valk and I've consented to give my voice and image, if need be, for recording.

cara: Great, thank you. We'll start off by talking a little bit about yourself and I'm going to ask you a few questions about you as a fan fiction writer and some of the work that you've produced. Can you tell me a little bit about yourself as a writer, a fanfiction writer? When did you start? Which fandoms did you start with? How do you participate in the fan communities and how has that participation changed over the years?

valk: Well, definitely I started young. I started writing and initially my own fanfic, so self insert fan fic when I was like maybe about 10 years old.Code: genre-other Then I kind of gradually transferred over to an online community. Initially a very small, now defunct, anime website that was collecting anime fanfiction and then it transferred over to fanfiction.net. Then, as my fandoms changed, I was mainly into anime. I took a break after I left high school and then I started writing different types of fanfiction, series, mainly Game of Thrones as the big one. It changed mainly along the lines of what scenes I was trying to tackle. Of course, being younger, you don't really understand romance all typically well. It's all very idealized.Systems of Power: other Then as I got older, I started liking to delve more into different types of friendships as well.Code: reflection I haven't really done very much writing recently. I've been quite busy in real life, so it's kind of tapered off over the years, but it was definitely a tool I used to sort of work through also my own stuff as well.

cara: Awesome, thank you. Do you mind talking a little bit about what your own stuff is that you were working through?

valk: Yeah, absolutely. I'm non-binary, so a lot of my work as I got older started to deal more with gender as well as sexuality, also being bi-sexual.Systems of Power: LGBTQplus I used it sort of as a tool in some fanfics to work through ideas or feelings that I'd had and didn't know how to properly verbalize yet. I was putting them on paper, using another character as the medium and expressing or exploring different ideas in an area where I felt I was kind of safe to do so.Systems of Power: LGBTQplus I didn't always publish all of them, but the one that you contacted me over, I did, obviously.Code: important-quote, fan-politics, motivation

cara: Great, thank you. So you said that you haven't really been writing as much fanfiction recently, but have you produced anything as of late in regards to fanfiction or anything on fandoms?

valk: Recently, in terms of fandoms, I was doing some stuff with The Witcher that recently came out. I played the video games back in 2017 and so when the new show came out, I was very excited to share everything with my friends. Mainly regarding the pairings that would show up, it would be mainly non-hetero pairings if that makes more sense than just saying a pairing because there would be some exploring of gender and what not with some characters. Or I would definitely be focusing on male-male or female-female relationships as wellSystems of Power: LGBTQplus, because a lot of the media already does a lot of the male-female exploration.Systems of Power: heteronormativity And a lot of the purpose of fandom is to sort of explore beyond what we're just given.Code: important-quote, fan-politics, critical-uptake

cara: Awesome. Sorry, just writing this down.

valk: Yeah.

cara: Great, thank you. With your fanfiction, I was wondering if you could talk and describe a little bit of your motivation behind writing, Painting Works of Art?

valk: Yeah, I wrote it in one sitting in a Starbucks near my university.Code: drafting It was around the time when I was questioning whether or not I was non-binarySystems of Power: LGBTQplus and I tried to sort of work things out with Jaime as the main focal characterCode: motivation because in Game of Thrones itself, when they delve into the background of Cersei, it's all through Cersei's chapters that you hear about what also happened with Jaime. There was a part in the back story where Cersei convinced Jaime, because Jaime was a bit of a tool, to trade places with them. So, she was the one going to sword practices and learning manly things and he was the one going to her sewing classes and sitting by the fire doing needlework and stuff. And that was really interesting, but because it was all from the point of view of Cersei and she cares about Jaime, but in so far as what he's able to provide for her because of that kind of dysfunctional relationship. You never really hear about what Jaime thought about it. I sort of delved into this idea trying to explore Jaime reacquainting himself with these things later on in life, but through a modern lens because I also wanted to be able to relate to it as well.Systems of Power: LGBTQplusCode: implicit-explicit, modern-setting identity-bending

cara: Awesome. Can you talk a little bit about some of the strengths you think are in this fic?

valk: My strengths in this fic for me was being able to try and incorporate as much of Jaime and Brienne's banter and relationship, as much as I could to a modern setting because obviously they wouldn't be having as much of a, you know Brienne wouldn't be considered as horrifying as she was considered in the original text because she was considered man-ish. In modern day context, it's not always encouraged, based on what kind of family you came from, women are often allowed to be tom boys more than vice versa.Systems of Power: feminism There was a challenge of trying to see, okay, Brienne wouldn't have had as traumatic a childhood probably regarding her own gender identity. But there would definitely be some push back,Systems of Power: sexism but how would that change based on the setting? I made her a little bit more comfortable in her skin than JaimeSystems of Power: feminism and also having her there to sort of be a foil and a supportive shoulder for Jaime who was going through a similar thing that maybe she went through as well.Systems of Power: LGBTQplusCode: important-quote, canon-resistant, modern-setting identity-bending, reflection

cara: Great, thank you. Can you talk a little bit about some of the challenges you face? You started to sort of get into the challenges you faced.

valk: Yeah, definitely when it comes to trying to write it realistically as well, but the banter back and forth was very difficult. I read a lot of fanfic where it can be very stalkish and when I think about it and I think about someone saying it out loud, I just like cringe. My face caves in.Code: fan-politics, fan-practices-uptake Writing it realistically and writing it also based off of my own experiences, just exploring the LGBT community in my areaSystems of Power: LGBTQplus, I was kind of writing it from that perspective, but also not having as much information as I would like. Code: reflectionI wasn't as versed in it. That, and also trying to write and finish an entire fanfic in one sitting is very difficult when it's in a public setting. Luckily, it happened and it was a nice exercise as well, just also to be able to sit and write and have it really done in one sitting and then put it out there was very satisfying.Code: drafting

cara: Did you revise it at all before you published it or did you sit down and write it and then just immediately publish it?

valk: I did a very brief look over and then I was like, "Screw it,"Code: revising and I put it online and then I walked away for a day because I just get nervous hovering over it. So, I'm like close the tab, don't come back for a day.

cara: Awesome. Okay. I want to ask a little bit about some of the feedback you received from this.

valk: Yeah, I got a very interesting response from someone. I believe, maybe a week or two after. They were like, "It's a really well written fanfic, it's great, but why in God's (capital G) name, did you make Jaime like this?" And the moment I saw capital G, I was like I see. I tried to be as cordial as I could and I explained what I said earlier about my inspirationCode: reception coming from the source material where I wanted to kind of explore Jaime's perspective on this, but through a modern lens and later on in life because a lot of Jaime's self-realization in the book comes after he meets Brienne as well.Code: implicit-explicit, modern-setting That's when he kind of stops being such a tool and starts actually trying to act for himself and do things for himself, rather than taking suggestions and kind of following this promised path that he was supposed to be given that never made him any happier. It was definitely a story line that I related to a lot, so I wanted to especially do that. Yeah, that was the one big kick back I got from someone. I was a little bit shocked that I got the capital G person, but what can you do?Code: reception

cara: Yeah, it's like you have specific tags.

valk: Yeah, you could have avoided this.

cara: Speaking of tags actually, so that's how I found your piece. You used the tags, obviously, alternate universe, modern setting, gender fluid character, gender issues, non-sexual intimacy for your fic. Why did you decide to use these particular tags?

valk: Well, I wanted to actually put some Game of Thrones content on those tags to begin with because back when I was writing it, there wasn't a lot really going for it. LGBT fanfics, yeah sure, but gender fluid and gender related things, it wasn't really there.Systems of Power: homophobia-transphobiaCode: important-quote, fan-politics, critical-uptake Gender issues, in particular, I found a lot of characters had potential that you could explore, Brienne being one of the biggest ones. I didn't see a lot really on there either because I'm talking a lot about Jaime, but also Brienne's in the fic as well to sort of be the opposite end of where Jaime is and looking to get people to relate, to be the character and person that he needs in order to take this step forward to sort of be a guiding hand. While I do ship them together romantically, I wanted to write something that also reflected that you could do like a very intimate moment without bring sex into it as well.Code: reflection I feel for them, a lot of their fics also had a lot of like Jaime being the man and Brienne finally being able to let her guard down.Systems of Power: heteronormativityCode: fan-politics A lot of Jaime's relationship with Brienne is him finally letting a lot of his guard down and him finally being able to be the person that he wanted to be while Brienne had been the cause of all this. Because she was already there, she was already doing everything she wanted to do and she was experiencing a lot of kick back for it, but seeing her do that made Jaime feel like, "What the hell am I doing? I should be able to do this too." It's something that I wanted to, again, wanted to bring into a fanfic to kind of make it more relatable to me, but also to other people who might be reading this and wondering the same thing.Code: audience motivation Like, where is this content that should be out there because it's in the books and why is no one taking this up and writing about it?Code: fan-politics, critical-uptake

cara: Awesome. Sorry, I'm just going to take one second to finish my notes.

valk: Yeah, no worries.

cara: Great. Thank you for going into sort of such a thorough explanation of the tags. That's really helpful. I'm going to just sort of move away from the sub questions because I feel like you sort of tackled those well, unless there's actually any other tags that you might put on this text now that you've sort of had some time away from it.

valk: I think I would want to go more into maybe tagging some of the triggers maybe now a days because back then there wasn't as much of a discussion around it. Now a days, you have more of a discussion around what bigger tags to put in to help people avoid it for instance. Now that AO3 has updated its tagging system to include and exclude.Code: important-quote, fan-politics, fan-practices-uptake Back then, it was like if you want to find this fic, here are the ones you can search for, so that would probably be the ones I would want to add later on.

cara: Great. Awesome. You've talked about it quite a bit at this point, but I was wondering if you could spend a little bit more time talking about why you decided to focus on Jaime and Brienne and specifically why you decided to depict their relationship in the way that you did, especially sort of in the modern setting as their roommates and all that.

valk: It was part of actually a larger, I guess, alternate universe idea that I had in mind explaining how Jaime got to that point living with Brienne, where Brienne has been before and how she had gotten to living with Jaime.Code: modern-setting More than anything, I just find their relationship in canon to be so interesting because it was one of the first pairings, I should add the first male-female pairing, the first hetero pairing that I felt emotionally invested in to a point where I was surprised.Systems of Power: otherCode: canon-compliment, implicit-explicit More likely than not, I just end up not really being invested in them very much, but this one, they both revolutionized how each other viewed the world in some way. Brienne was what a lot of these men might be experiencing in that they might just be funneled through to these places that they don't actually feel, you know like they've done all the checklists and stuff, but you still won't be happy doing it. And I think that reflected a lot of her issues with not being able to fulfill the role that she was supposed to play with her father with being the heir, giving him a son and all these things.Systems of Power: sexism And there might be always that wonder in the back of her head, like what would have happened if I'd gone down that path and Jaime is the answer to it and he's miserableCode: canon-compliment. He never really learned to sort of speak for himself, not really speak for himself, but he was following the family plan and he never questioned it and he had never said, "Would I be happier doing something else?" And Brienne was the answer to that. Just like how their banter was and how their relationship developed and how it's come to be. Again, I've never had a pairing where I was like, "I don't care if they're romantically involved or not." I just like seeing them together, in the same room and bantering and eating together. And I wanted to focus more, I guess, on a friendship aspect. There's a lot of, again, fanfic already out there of them being intimate, but it was all very incredibly heteronormative. Just their gender roles and Brienne being vulnerable and weak and all that stuff again.Systems of Power: heteronormativity I was just not really feeling it, so I wrote my own instead.Systems of Power: feminismCode: important-quote, fan-politics, critical-uptake, motivation

cara: Great, thank you. I'm going to ask you a little bit about some specific choices in the text and sort of walk through. I really enjoyed reading this piece a lot, I just want to say, so I had lots of questions, sort of specific moments and quotes. My first question is why did you decide to write sort of a one shot, focusing on this particular moment for Jaime and Brienne? You know, Jaime going into the makeup store, him buying the pallette that completed his trifecta and then Brienne helping him put it on.

valk: I guess I wanted to get a very powerful moment on paper. I had all these ideas and notes about what was also going on in the universe and what not, but this was the one that kind of started it. I wanted to make sure that I could get it down and not have it be that fanfic that I write in my head and then I just cannot put on paper later on.Code: drafting I really wanted to address the gender issue and the gender questioning and write how the experiences hit the hardest for me when I was thinking about it.Systems of Power: LGBTQplus Definitely.Code: motivation

cara: Great. Awesome. There is a quote sort of towards the beginning when Jaime goes to the makeup store that says, "He swallowed. Makeup was nothing you should toy with. He agreed with them silently." Can you talk a little bit more about this moment?

valk: Yeah, it was like, I think for him also going into more about like the unseen background story for Jaime is that he was in fencing in university before he lost his hand and he sort of saw makeup as something along the lines, like a weapon you should treat with respect. So he was kind of carrying over that cutter mentality to it. Also, growing up with Cersei, he also would have had exposure to makeup already being the twin, of course, but even in the context of like the canon, he always had a very strange affinity, but like an affinity for femininity. Weirdly enough, like he loved his mother, he loved Cersei, but he was always very partial to seeing things from their point of view.Systems of Power: feminismCode: canon-compliment, implicit-explicit I think he definitely is someone that would pick up on someone's interests and what not and what that means to them, either subconsciously or consciously channel it when he's handling it.Code: implicit-explicit, reflection

cara: Great. Sort of continuation of the scene of him in the makeup store, you write, 'Jaime tried to look disinterested in the products around him, to look like the lost boyfriend trying to remember what his girlfriend told him to buy.' I was really interested in this moment. Why does Jaime sort of perform in this way?

valk: I think it's because he's used to having to perform any way and being very new, if you're very new into like trying to question your gender identity, especially being a man, you are at a higher risk of...I should say more so, if you present male than you are at a higher risk of facing violence or any kind of physical outlashing. Be it verbal or physical, but I think it's a lot of like, you learn to be very secretive. You'll act in ways to protect yourself, more than anything.Systems of Power: LGBTQplusCode: identity-bending, reflection That's definitely something that is taught in canon with him, in terms of never showing your full hand of cards to the enemy, being deceitful and it's all to reach your goal. I think that would still carry over to a modern setting, but it would be more toned down into a more reasonable kind of thing like, "I don't want to seem like this is actually for me. I'm buying it for someone else." If I don't want to get lambasted or judged or anything like that. Residual toxic masculinity and all of that.Systems of Power: sexismCode: implicit-explicit, modern-setting

cara: It never leaves. Okay. This brings me to my next question which is really a great segue way. Can you talk more about how you imagined Jaime's relationship with his father? You have sort of a few moments where you bring in his relationship with his father and how he affected his perspective.

valk: Yeah, so at the same time I was writing this fanfic, I was writing another one that kind of delved into the timeline of how Jaime grew up.Code: drafting It went into his relationship with his father, he was caught walking in his mother's red heels and he got very scolded and punished for it.Systems of Power: heteronormativityCode: reflection He didn't understand why at the time, and then looking back, he kind of understood and knew to hide it more. I wanted to still carry over the kind of relationship that Jaime and Tywin had in the TV show in the medieval setting, but to modernize it more again, but not take away the fact that Tywin was a very controlling father.Code: canon-compliant, modern-setting He wanted to have Jaime be his heir. He was kind of molding Jaime for that kind of role to make sure, you know, never show your full hand, always have a backup plan, always try and read and understand other people and have something against them, just in case. Tywin's method of socializing and forming relationships was very much a game of chess to him. Regardless of what kind of relationship it was, he had to have the upper hand and be able to win it, even if it's not visibly the upper hand. He wanted to always have that ability to and he would pass that on to Jaime. This is all taking place after his relationship with Tywin broke down and he's living away from them, with Brienne. There's still prices of that and how he's still finds himself doing things that his father had taught him to do and he had picked up on from his father, just naturally. He's aware of it and then just trying to break from him is difficult.

cara: Great. My next question is sort of about the interaction between Brienne and Jaime about his prosthetic and his disability and that interaction. I wonder if you could talk a little bit more about that.

valk: This is a topic that I was a little bit hesitant to tackle because at the time, when I was writing, I wasn't very well-versed in not just having a limb missing as a disability, but also how advanced the prosthetics were and if they could hold thingsSystems of Power: abelism disability. I did a little bit of research while I was at Starbucks, trying to sort of complete everything.Code: research There was some, but again, you're using a lot of rotation and what not, so if theoretically he could have done it, but he has such a high standard. If he was able to fail, it would have been so much worse, so he wanted someone who had a more practiced hand with it. I didn't really delve too much into it, asides from the mention of when he needed someone to put on the eyeliner because he had been right-handed. If I were to do this fic over again or update it or add on to it, I would definitely want to go more into his disability as well as his prosthetic and how it worked more.Systems of Power: disability Things like that to sort of flush it out more because I don't think in the fic I didn't do the best job I could at it. It was sort of something I tried to fill out as much as I could in the fic, but I probably could have done better.Code: reflection

cara: Great. So, my next question is about the actual moments when Brienne is doing Jaime's makeup because it is such an intimate scene. Can you talk a little bit more through this intimacy and why it was important for you to take your time and what you really wanted to capture in this moment?

valk: I wanted to kind of recreate the feelings that I had when I was reading Jaime and Brienne in their notorious bath house scene. Where this was this very raw moment where Jaime opened up and did his monologue about a knight's duty and how it was, pardon my language, full of shit.Code: canon-compliment, canon-compliant How there was all of this, he like completely lambasted her with all of these emotions and finishes off with, "My name is Jaime," because he wants to be a person now and not this iconic king slayer and what not. I wanted something similar, but would still make me feel like that, but wanted to make it more intimate and feel like it was still just as opening, but with actions and not just with words.Code: canon-compliant So, this was sort of like, again, trying to work through gender things. I wanted to also try and put someone in the position where they were questioning their gender and actually acting it out, changing their appearance in some way that would fit them better or explore better.Systems of Power: LGBTQplus I wanted to also work through those emotions with me.Code: identity-bending, motivation

cara: Great. My final question about the specifics of the fic are when Brienne walks in on Jaime for the first time, she sees him putting on makeup, so sort of like the flash backs. Can you talk a little bit about this moment when Brienne first finds him doing his makeup?

valk: I was kind of questioning how to handle when I first kind of [inaudible 00:30:20] to it. I guess I was thinking about also how I had reacted or how my friends had reacted to when I came out to them.Systems of Power: homophobia-transphobia I wanted to, I guess write a do-over for some of them about how I would have liked to have that experience with me, like having them knock again and come inside and ask questions and not just kind of leave it right there and not talk again. I wanted to sort of console myself a little bit through it as well as wanted to console JaimeSystems of Power: LGBTQplusCode: important-quote, genre-other through it because I felt in that moment, Brienne being someone who also has lived on the cusp of her gender roles for most of her life, would be more of a sympathetic ear. And I think even though Jaime might know that and recognize it, he still doesn't know how she would react. I wanted to kind of write it as like a self-fulfilling fantasy as well as like how I would have pictured them actually going through it.Systems of Power: LGBTQplusCode: identity-bending

cara: Great. My final question about your fic specifically is what did you learn from writing this fanfic?

valk: The first big one is never write an entire fanfic in Starbucks.Code: drafting But also, I learned how much writing a one shot sounds good and all in practice, but then it ends up opening all these other doors of should I write more, should I write less. I don't know what I should be doing with this.Code: genre-other I kept it as a one shot because unfortunately, I lost the file in a crash for the back story and what not that I had written. I kind of felt so despondent that I never touched it again after that. It was definitely a good writing practice for me also, in terms of knowing that I could go back and explore myself with fan fic if I needed to as well.Systems of Power: LGBTQplusCode: identity-bending, reflection

cara: Great. I'm so sorry you lost your files.

valk: Yeah, my brother tried to fix my computer and he turned my computer on my bed without a static fan, so it had a little tiny shock hit my computer and took out my C and D drive, on top of my power supply.

cara: Oh my gosh. That's so awful. I'm so sorry.

valk: He thankfully replaced both of them, but I lost all my files, like even my backup was gone.

cara: That's awful. Man. For the next part, I want to ask you about just some trends in the fan community and sort of get your thoughts on it. There are a few visualizations that I have at the bottom of the document. The first visualization is the most popular ships across the seasons, so you can see the different ships on the left and then the different colors over when each ship was used around when it was published, right, so season one and two is like when fics that are published around seasons one and two. So, Jaime and Brienne are one of the top ones and you talked a little bit about Jaime and Brienne's hetero normative perspective of their relationship. But there's a few others that I think are interesting that are on there. You got Peytr Baelish and Sansa Stark, Sansa and Margaery, Rinley and Lauris, John and Sansa, etc. I was just wondering if you could talk a little bit through some of these ships.

valk: So the interesting one and I actually looked at that, at the beginning of season one and season two more Jaime and Brienne ships than any other, which I think is more of a testament to like those were the book fans writing it and that was what had existed on AO3 prior to the show coming out, which was interesting. And then it just kind of gets more depressing as it goes on. For some reason, John and Sansa's the most popular ship. It's like, I understand that they're not technically related, but I don't get it because in the book, they had this very tense relationship and in the show I know that they were more around each other.Code: fan-politics But, I don't see it. I don't see it. John and Daenerys obviously is the expected because everyone knows the R plus L equals to J theory and all that. Aria/Gendry probably another good one that I like. Peytr/Sansa, I want to have some words with people.Code: fan-politics Cersei/Jaime, as depressing as it is, they were probably the healthiest relationship with each other for most of their lives, which is depressing because they're twins. At the same time, that was the only positive reinforcement they had and that says a lot. I ship Sansa and Margaery and I tried to write fic for themSystems of Power: LGBTQplus, but I don't know why it never picked up. Margaery just walked around the whole show just hitting on everyone. I was like why isn't there more of this? It's literally right here.Systems of Power: homophobia-transphobiaCode: fan-politics, implicit-explicit Renly/Lauris, obviously.Systems of Power: LGBTQplusCode: fan-politics John/Rob, why? Yeah, the ones at the bottom are more rare. Grey Worm and Missandei is obviously more of a season TV show one because Missandei's a literal child in the books. Sandor and Sansa, I will say that I like their ship name as San-San. I do understand the whole like rough, the woman that warms his heart thing. Again, it's all very like romance novel-y prompts when I've tried to find fic and I'm just like, "I'll just write a Nora Roberts novel."Systems of Power: heteronormativity I'd so read her books if I wanted to. I don't need to read them here.Code: fan-politics, fan-practices-uptake It was very difficult. Most Game of Thrones fanfic is incredibly hetero normative Systems of Power: heteronormativityand it's a lot of university AU, high school AU and I'm like, "What about literally anything else?" I did a modern universe [inaudible 00:37:49] Please, literally anything else.Code: fan-politics, modern-setting

cara: Yeah, awesome.

valk: Again, it's Renly/Lauris, Sansa/Margaery. Yeah, there's not a lot really on there.Systems of Power: heteronormativity homophobia-transphobiaCode: fan-politics Missandei and Daenerys is...

cara: I think that's a friendship too because it's got the ampersand instead of the slash.

valk: Oh, that's true, yeah. If you want to be, it's a queer friendship between Jaime and Brienne, it still doesn't count. I love them, but it doesn't count.

cara: Yeah, I think it would really depend on your readings and making that explicit between Jaime and Brienne too, like you do. They're not necessarily romantic in your fic, but you're making it explicit that they're sort of not sis or hetero.

valk: Yeah, exactly. It's very difficult to find again. It was just a lot of Nora Roberts style in AO3 for sure. A lot of incest. An exorbitant amount of incest, like beyond what I even take it. I'm typically very do what you want, but even now, I'm just like don't like that.Systems of Power: otherCode: fan-politics

cara: There is a lot of incest. I think that was the thing that I shouldn't have been surprised about, but I was. You know. In some of the top additional tags, like incest pops up quite often across the different seasons and I was like, "Oh, yeah, that makes sense."

valk: Yeah, of course. Why am I surprised? I think it's more the volume is surprising, not the fact it's there, it's the fact that, oh, there's a lot of it.

cara: Yeah, it's true. Next visualization, so what I did was, I went through all the fics, so there's a total of almost 30,000 fics and I went through to find how many fics used some kind of additional tags that signaled, thinking about LGBTQ plus issues and identities, so I searched for words like bi, heteronormativity, trans, dysphoria, non-binary, LGBTQ, etc, etc. I have like the whole list there. It's a very small number.

valk: Yeah, it's depressingly small. I know that when I was writing it, there was a lot less fanfic, but you would think even with Jaime and Brienne having that very unique friendship/relationshipSystems of Power: heteronormativityCode: fan-politics, critical-uptake... Also, as like a side note, I think the show really undercut Jaime and Brienne's relationship as well at the end. One of the big ones is like Jaime and Brienne kissed each other and Jaime was suddenly taller than her.Systems of Power: heteronormativity sexism I was like, "Boy is a head shorter than her."Code: canon-critique That was part of the appeal was that Jaime had this big, beautiful wife that was taller than him and he's like, "Look at my beautiful wife. Isn't she huge, ask him, and wonderful?"Systems of Power: feminism That was part of what made it so enjoyableCode: canon-compliment and a lot of the fics, even with Jaime and Brienne is just depressingly, like, "Wow, if I wanted to read this fic, I'd just go to like any romance section and find it."Systems of Power: heteronormativityCode: fan-politics It's the whole like don't open, dead, dumb inside picture where it's like you open and I'm disappointed. I don't know what I was expecting kind of thing.

cara: Yeah.

valk: I'm not surprised, but again, sigh. I was expecting it would be 5,000. Apparently, it's not even that.

cara: No, it's very small and I might have to change. I might add some of the searches or something like that to see if I can develop it a little bit more. As of this moment, it's a very tiny percentage.

valk: I would almost want to just write fic out of spite.Code: fan-politics, critical-uptake

cara: Like, "I'm coming in. I'm changing these stats." What was your opinion, I mean this is sort of like that part of the interview, but I'm just going to ask you. What was your opinion on the end of season eight with Brienne sort of writing Jaime's story in the book?

valk: I think that bit of the ending, was actually the one I had the least amount of problems with, out of all of it because its part of the King's guard. This was like an ideal kind of took Jaime's spot in like the head.Code: canon-compliment I saw that moment not as part of their relationship in any way. It was like she was just doing a duty. She was supposed to do that kind of look and in that way, I think she had kind of hardened herself again. "This is just something I have to do," but it's also honoring him, so I think at that point she had grieved and that she was starting to move on. That was kind of like a closure. I mean, personally, I think the whole bit where he leaves and comes back is bullshit. Like, I'm sorry, I can't even mince words with thatCode: canon-critique. I've read people's reasons for it about how Jaime was not at a point in his realization arc when he went back to King's Landing in the show that realized, "Oh, right, my sister is manipulating me and we are doing some gross things right beside my son's dead body." That is wonderful. It was just like he never got that kind of arc, his full redemption arc. They went half way and then they're like, "Okay, I'm going back to Cersei, bye." And I'm like, why would you spend a month sleeping with someone after having this humongous build up to their relationship and then in one day, it's like, okay, bye. One episode. Okay, cool, they had sex, excellent. Now we're taking Jaime back to the plot, so we can kill him later on. I would have wanted Jaime to go back and as he walked in front of the falls, he just like guts Cersei to kill her first.

cara: Yeah, that's what I thought was going to happen.

valk: Yeah, the fallon card cannot be locked full. The entire thing was like a gold hand wrapped around your throat. That's literally like Jaime's way to go back and kill Cersei himself with his prosthetic. That was the point. That would have been so cool. I would have liked to see that part happen where he's like, it's a mercy killing before the rocks fall and before she dies. He wants to be the one to kill her first because he feels responsible for everything that's happened. That would have been a good way to end it, not, we're going to hug each other and we're going to let some rocks fall.Code: canon-critique I'm just reliving the anger I had last year. It's great. Wonderful. I had some really bad, some really heated discussions with a friend on my dashboard on Twitter. We just did that, like Brienne was actually fully a lesbian and that she hated people linking her with Jaime. And I'm like, "That's an interesting concept, not canon, but concept." She was fighting people on the dashboard about it with the sort of bigger, than someone who has like facts in front of them would argue. And I'm like, "I understand, but this is your interpretation." People who ship her with Jaime don't hate lesbians. Please, do not try and put this away.Systems of Power: LGBTQplus Yeah, it was a whole mess. People came out in droves, angry for different reasons.Code: important-quote, fan-politics, fan-practices-uptake

cara: Yeah, that whole season was a disaster.

valk: Yeah, it was a train crash. I canceled my subscription to HBO several seasons prior, so I was just like on my Twitter dashboard going, "Okay, guys, spoil me. I don't care anymore. I'm at a point where I'm above all of this. Give me spoilers, so I can be mad at them from a distance." Then be like, that is not part of my life anymore.

cara: Yeah, not dedicating hours upon hours to this.

valk: Yeah, I don't have enough energy to be angry like that anymore and care about a show like that anymore. It's wonderful if you can, but I can't take it personally like that. I have [inaudible 00:47:18] and go to work and to have energy for that later on too. I can't do that.

cara: Yeah. No, it's definitely, sometimes feels like a full-time job.

valk: Yeah, that is a third one, right? That was part of the graphing as well, your little chart for common additional tags. Okay.

cara: Yeah, it's just basic most common additional tags, which I think is probably most common additional tags throughout all fandoms.

valk: Yeah, okay. So, was this organized? Like the numbers, is that an accumulation over time? No, okay, sorry. Based on how much was put out per season.

cara: Yep, exactly. Yeah, so seasons one and two, most popular one was no English, which is also very interesting.

valk: And Somalia. That's an interesting subset I didn't know.

cara: Yeah, no, I was like, "Oh, that's cool." Again, another fun surprise.

valk: Yeah, if there's like a full Somalian side abandoned area on the internet that was like reading and watching along. That's kind of interesting.

cara: Yeah. Awesome. All right, so I'm going to stop the recording.

valk: Okay.