Sunday, February 21, 2016

Character Development ... The 100

My posts have become sporadic at best. Life happens. Maybe that’s my new normal? I will continue to update just perhaps not as regularly. It may sound like a cop out, give me an easy out for not updating weekly anymore, but I’d much rather focus my posts from now on.

Everyone pretty much knows that I am an aspiring fiction writer, that’s the ultimate goal! I read a lot. I watch a lot of adaptations of books to movies/TV shows. I also have a lot of opinions on them.

Let’s start with my latest page to screen adaptation: The 100.

For anyone that hasn’t watched this show on The CW I highly recommend you do and I would go no further in this post, spoilers and such. Today I would like to focus on character development, specifically the character development of everyone’s favorite delinquent leader, Bellamy Blake.

For anyone that’s followed the series all the way up to the current episode of season 3 we all know that Bellamy’s story is a fairly wild ride. We’ve seen him play many different character tropes, the jerk, protective big brother, rebel, soldier, friend, hero, etc. There really does not seem to be an end to the ways in which his character has grown and changed over the last two seasons leading up to now.

At the end of season 2 we’re left off after Mount Weather has been slayed, season 3 picks up and shows us the aftermath of those events. Clarke, his partner for all intents and purposes, is gone and he’s left alone to deal with what they had to do in order to save their friends from the Mountain Men.

IMDb: Wanheda Part 2
What I really want to talk about are the last two episodes of season 3, 3x04 and 3x05. Now I follow The 100 on Twitter, Tumblr, etc. and I see other posts in regards to the show and its characters. Many of the posts I am seeing recently are claims that all the development Bellamy’s character has gone through has been ruined by his behavior/decisions in the last two episodes.

Well I want to say as a writer; that’s just not true. Let’s talk about the events leading up to 3x04. Bellamy and Kane go on a rescue mission to try and save Clarke from the Ice Nation. In the process Bellamy goes rogue and ends up with a stab wound in his leg, it lands him squarely on the bench, which is a place he hates to be. Despite all this he tries a second time to do the right thing and save his people at the summit in Polis, he wants to bring Clarke home. However, his rescue at the summit turns out to be a trap (thank you Echo, don’t trust Azgeda apparently).  While he’s gone Mount Weather, full of members of the Ark/Farm Station, is destroyed by an Ice Nation assassin as part of a coup to start a war with Lexa. Bellamy’s girlfriend Gina is among the carnage.

So that leads us to 3x04 and 3x05. Of course I agree that he’s made some bad decisions and the things he’s done the last two episodes is not the Bellamy Blake that we’ve all grown to love over season 1 and season 2. That, however, does not mean all the growth his character has gone through was for naught. If anything seeing him falter and make a few bad decisions while blinded by grief makes his character more human.

He’s still human and grief, pain, loss can make people do crazy things. He is not thinking clearly when he makes these decisions, these choices that have him slipping off the path he’s been solidly on for the last two seasons. Bellamy Blake is ultimately a good person he’s just upset, confused and being viciously manipulated by Charles Pike.

Marcus Kane has been shown as acting as a mentor to Bellamy and Marcus does what he has to in the name of protecting his people. Charles Pike believes he’s doing the same thing but only sees the Grounders as the enemy. It is a blanket view on all Grounders; his view is clouded by hate due to what Azgeda did to Farm Station when they landed. Pike has been shown as using Bellamy’s grief against him in order to gain leverage on his cause.

At the moment Bellamy is angry at losing so many people in Mount Weather, he’s upset over losing Gina, he’s hurt because he can’t seem to get Clarke to come home and he’s struggling with the revelation that Octavia, the sister he’s sworn to protect, is gearing up to leave him too. All of those emotions are clouding his mind it’s a lot for one person to deal with. Pike knows this and is exploiting that to get Bellamy on his side.

So yes he’s made some truly misguided decisions that have truly horrific consequences. But the Bellamy we watched grow over the first two seasons still exists; he recognizes they went too far by attacking the Grounder army. He’s the reason Pike did not kill Indra. Deep down he knows what he’s doing is wrong but I don’t think he quite knows how to fix it just yet. So I have hope for him, he will come back to us as the Bellamy we all know and love.

And if it’s not on his own I’m sure Clarke and the rest of the original hundred would surely help move the process along. His character growth has not been destroyed, not by a long shot, as long as he recognizes that what he’s doing is wrong there’s hope for him. He will get back on the right path … and for the love of god, STOP LISTENING TO PIKE!

This season has been a wild ride so far I can only imagine what the rest will be like!


Saturday, January 16, 2016

Sunday, January 10, 2016

From Page to Screen: The 100

Barnes & Noble
From Page to Screen: The 100

All right, all right I broke the rules. Yes, I watched the TV show before reading the book. Sue me, it happens on occasion, not many but it does. So of course having seen the show first you would assume that I would like that better than the book, that she show would be my baseline to which I compared every little detail and aspect of the story that Kass Morgan so meticulously created.

And that’s where you’d be wrong.

I mean of course I’m going to notice the differences between the two, characters, language, setting, etc. and there are some MAJOR differences! (Um, Jasper & Monty? Hello where are you guys?)

Now at two-thirds of the way through the Morgan trilogy I’ve come to the conclusion that the differences between the novel and the show are not bad, not in any way. Sure the differences are pretty obvious and I find myself searching for those characters I fell in love with on the show but at the same time I got to meet new characters, who I fell in love with for entirely different reasons! We’ve got our favorites around to tether us all together (Clarke, Bellamy, Octavia) and yes Octavia Blake is still chasing butterflies and making friends with the Grounders (Earthborns). Bellamy Blake is ever the protective older brother of his little sister and one half of the only set of siblings in space. Clarke Griffin is actually a doctor guys! Well almost, she kind of gets arrested before finishing training and you can kind of piece together what happens from there.

Maybe I am not judging this adaptation as harshly because I watched the show first and had already resigned myself to the changes that had to be made to stretch a three book trilogy into a whole show. Even still I find myself enthralled with the world, the same basic story, and not minding those changes in the least. It’s clear to me that the books and the show can have two entirely separate fan bases without ever really needing the other; but it is also possible to be a fan of both, as I have recently become part of that category.

For anyone that has seen the show but not read the books yet, I implore you to give them a try! They are a world apart and just as thrilling. Fans of the show we have Jason Rothenberg to thank for keeping the integrity of the story but should praise him for creating such a fantastic world of his own. The TV show is and adaptation in its truest form.
For those in the back the meaning of adaptation, according to Oxford Dictionaries, is …
  • The action or process of adapting or being adapted
  •  A movie, television drama, or stage play that has been adapted from a written work, typically a novel
  • Biology A change or the process of change by which an organism or species becomes better suited to its environment

Ironically it’s the last one that I think is most relevant in this instance. This is a case of Jason Rothenberg taking the idea created by Kass Morgan, changing and altering it to fit its new medium. What Morgan does in three books Rothenberg has to stretch over as many episodes and seasons he can muster. So yes, while I am the nerd that would gladly sit through a seventeen hour Harry Potter movie if it meant nothing had to change, I make an exception to my general rule. The 100 is fantastic regardless of whether fans came by page or by screen.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

2015 ... A Year in Pictures

St. Jude Walk/Run - Sept 2015
Fallon vs Yerger Cards Against Humanity Showdown - Dec 2015
MSMC Commencement - May 2015

Islanders Game - April 2015

Pansy Breakfast - May 2015

Islanders Game - April 2015

MSMC Commencement - May 2015

Pansy Breakfast - May 2015

Memorial Day Weekend 2015

MSMC Commencement - May 2015

AU Young Alumni Reunion - June 2015

Birthday Shenanigans - July 2015

Manhasset Bay - August 2015

7's Family - July 2015

Manhasset Bay - August 2015

St. Jude Walk/Run - Sept 2015

Delta Delta Delta 127th Founder's Day - Nov 2015 
Ellie Goulding Concert - November 2015

Archery - November 2015

2015 has officially come to a close, here's to 2016 and all the new and exciting adventures ahead! 

Sunday, December 20, 2015

My 2015 Reading Challenge

My 2015 Reading Challenge

As of January 1, 2015 I gave myself a reading challenge for the year. I planned to read 25 books between January 1st and the stroke of midnight on December 31st. Now I am a self-proclaimed bookworm, reading, books they’re my favorite pastime. My favorite activity when I have nothing else to do. So twenty-five books that probably doesn’t sound like a lot in theory my challenge should be somewhere in the neighborhood of fifty or one hundred; several of my Goodreads friends challenged themselves with a number that far surpasses mine.

There are a few reasons why I didn’t give myself a higher goal, why I didn’t push myself to complete a greater challenge. First and foremost, life; as any bookworm knows as much as we’d all love to sit around all day engrossed in whatever novel currently has our attention every once and a while the novel must close for a little bit. There are other responsibilities that need to be attended to on a daily basis and not all of them can be done with one’s nose buried in a book. Look I love that sometimes when things are truly slow in my office I can spend a few minutes reading, but that doesn’t mean I get to shirk my actual job responsibilities just because an incredible plot twist demands my full attention! So as difficult as it is I must admit to being a grown up and focusing my attention on other tasks for a while and return to my book later.

And you know what? Some days, as much as I love reading, as much as it relaxes me and offers an escape, sometimes a nap just sounds a whole lot better!

Okay, so life has not gotten in the way and I can read whenever I want! (If only) I still want a variety of the novels that I read. Sure there’s nothing wrong with a little fluff every now and then, a book so easy I barely need to turn my brain on to understand the content but if that’s all I read I’d be bored out of my mind! I like something that will challenge me and makes me think, something that requires my full and undivided attention lest I miss a minute detail pivotal to the entire plot. I want the books with complicated characters with layers that I have to dissect to understand. Laini Taylor’s Days of Blood and Starlight took me almost three weeks to read because I took my time with it, gave it the attention it so rightfully deserved and required. But before I became engrossed in the Taylor’s world and followed Karou on her journey between our world and elsewhere I read a piece of fluff about a girl who thought it was the end of the world because she was a twenty-one year old virgin. (Spoiler Alert: she lived, there are worse things in life than being a virgin … imagine that!)

Of course with variety you get a hit and a miss, for example City of Heavenly Fire; probably one of my biggest disappointments on my challenge list. Took me over a month to finish it because I was lacking the motivation to continue with another page. I am no quitter though and continued on as if I were actually interested in the outcome. So I had the good, the bad, the in between and I did not give up on a single one of them. I finished every book I started during my challenge period.

I fell behind schedule and read furiously to catch up, only to end up ahead of schedule at some point by four whole books! So I set myself a twenty-five book challenge because I felt twenty-five was an appropriate number in which I could enjoy what I was reading. I didn’t feel I needed to sacrifice anything just for the sake of completing my challenge. Each book I read brought something new for me to enjoy, despise, pick apart and think about long after I had closed the final cover. I allowed myself to suffer from more than one book hangover in the last year and I enjoyed every minute of them (as horrible as they seemed at the time).

Twenty-five books! Next year I think I’ll my sights a little higher, not much, but maybe a little. Who knows what 2016 will bring for me?


Sunday, December 13, 2015

Work and Holidays and Showers … Oh my

I have been very remiss in posting my weekly blog posts! It’s been more than a month since my last post. I promise, promise, promise to get back into things ASAP!

But I think we can all relate to the stress of the holidays, Thanksgiving & Christmas, shopping like crazy! For me there are birthdays mixed in there. 

It's time to get back into my routine and get the ball rolling! Keep an eye out for a new post, surely of the literary variety which is always near and dear to my heart.


Sunday, November 1, 2015

50K or Bust

Happy NaNoWriMo!

It’s that time of year again! National Novel Writing Month!

Good luck to everyone that is participating this year!

50,000 words or bust!

Sunday, October 18, 2015

A Two Star Review

Barnes & Noble
Virgin by, Radhika Sanghani

Let me start off by saying I did read this book and it was not the right choice, for me! Others have read this book and thought it was amazing! However, I read this book with a lot of skepticism and the phrase “this is not real life” floating around in my head constantly.

I’m not usually one to outright bash a book, bash an author or shame anyone else for their choices in books. I’ve come to learn that reading is entirely subjective and what I enjoy is not necessarily what someone else would enjoy. I don’t like to shame others because I have been judged for my choices; choices I still stand by and will defend until my last breath!

Every once in a while comes along a novel that I won’t recommend because I can honestly say I did not enjoy it throughout. Virgin was one of those unfortunate anomalies.

As a book that was billed as laugh out loud funny and entertaining I can say it had it’s moments, but I was more disbelieving than entertained by the situations presented. I found myself having difficulty relating to the main character and even at times annoyed by her. She was too self-deprecating for my tastes and a bit of an alarmist.

I think it’s very important for the reader to relate to the protagonist in some way, you need to connect to the person telling the story. If I, as a reader, can’t connect with the protagonist it makes it very difficult for me to relate to their feelings, insecurities, anxieties.

Ellie Kolstakis, the protagonist, felt a little unbalanced to me. She was so obsessed with facet of her being it completely cancelled out all other aspects of her life. She billed herself to the reader as a busy college student a mere semester away from graduation, but we never saw that. In her mind nothing else mattered except the fact that she was a college senior and still a virgin. In my mind I’m just amazed she didn’t end up failing out of her university program because she had such severe tunnel vision and that tunnel was not leading her to graduation.

Follow me on Goodreads for a more in depth review of my two-star rating on this book. Like I said this book had its moments, but it just was not one of my favorite choices.