A Brief Lesson on Feminism & Queen Elizabeth I, by Me
On the way home from school, Indy asked about King Henry, and I said there had been several of them, from about 1200 to about 1550 (I was wrong, they started in 1100, but close enough). I said Henry VIII was the last one, and that after him his son Edward had been king, and then his daughter Mary had been queen, and then finally his daughter Elizabeth had been queen for a long time, and she’d never married or had any children.
Why not, queried my child, and I said well, she wanted to be queen, and back then if she’d gotten married her husband would have been considered more important than she was.
Indy, baffled, said, “What?! But she was QUEEN!”
I said yep, but back then, and even still in a lot of ways now, people considered men to be more important than women (Indy gaped disbelievingly), so if she’d gotten married, people would have thought her husband was more important, and listened to him instead of her, and she didn’t want that. I said she’d considered getting married a lot of times, and had pretended she might to build political alliances–
“Oh *no*! That wasn’t nice!”
“Oh,” I said airily, “no, that happened a lot. Most of the time people, especially kings and queens and other nobility, didn’t get married for love. They got married because it would give them more land or more money.”
“So they would share,” Indy said, satisfied.
“Well, no,” I said, “see, if I had a lot of land, and I’d gotten married back then, my land would all become my husband’s. Women were basically owned by their husbands.”
By this time Indy was horrified. “*SLAVERY*!?”
“Yeah, pretty much,” I said.
Indy, completely horrified: “BUT THAT’S *WRONG*!!!! Mommy, I’m going to say this, and you might not like it, but *people weren’t very nice back then*!”
I agreed that they weren’t, and that things were somewhat better now, and that we all had to keep working until everybody believed men and women were equal. And then we talked about Victoria and Elizabeth II and then we were home. :)
history lesson, via #Hamilton
Me: *sings* My name is Alexander Hamilton!
Indy: Who’s that?
Me: He’s one of the people who fought the Revolutionary War and helped start the United States of America. He built the banks.
Indy: *wide eyes* Revolutionary War?
Me: Yes. You know how in 1916 in Ireland there was a revolution? The United States had one of those in 1776, a very long time ago.
Indy: Did Ireland have any more revolutions?
Me: Yes, in 1921. That’s when they obtained their independence from Britain, which is the same country that the US was revolting against.
Indy: Did the US have any more revolutions?
Me: Sort of. In 1860 there was another big war where the South of the US and the North of the US fought each other, but the people who started it didn’t win so it’s called a civil war instead of a revolution.
Indy: Why did they fight?
Me: They were mostly fighting over something called slavery, which is where one person is allowed to own another person and make them do whatever they want. Do you think that’s a good idea or a bad idea?
Indy, looking very thoughtful, lifted his hands in balances, one hand rising high while the other fell very low. I said, “Is that good or bad?”
“*Bad*,” Indy said emphatically. “Who won?”
“The North,” I said, “the side that thought people shouldn’t be allowed to own other people.”
“YES!” Indy shouted, and punched the air.
Unforgiven: A Highlander fic
So a few weeks ago, Medieval POC, the website I feel is the actual purpose of the Internet existing, posted this picture:
and requested immortal vampire fic. I was all like “VAMPIRE WUT NO HIGHLANDER OBVS!” and she said that would do too.
And then I, er, had an idea. And then…well, then this happened:
Unforgiven: A Highlander Fic
Etruria (today, Tuscany): ca 500 BC
The last thing he remembered was the lion killing him.
He didn’t expect to awaken in a field; he did not expect to awaken with a surge of pain that felt like his blood had been set on fire. That faded quickly, as if was no more than a warning of things to come, and he was left again with the strangeness of awakening at all, much less beneath the blazing sun and surrounded by wildflowers. His faith said the afterlife would put him in a home much like the one he’d left, domed and comfortable, and that he would be reunited with the family who had gone before.
It said nothing of a sharp-nosed man crouching over him, expression patient, as if he had been waiting for some time and was prepared to wait longer yet. “Ah,” he said. “There you are. What’s your name?”
The answer to that seemed a long time in coming; surely the dead knew who roamed their own realm, and the lion’s blows had rattled his own brains. “Alcaeus.” he finally replied. “Who are you?”
“Alcaeus. What on earth were you thinking, going after the lion?”
“A child was going to die.” That, he remembered more clearly than his own name. The boy had stood up and said it all very simply: today he would be fed to the lion, the Nemean Lion, the beast of the north. Alcaeus might go in his stead and slay the monster; if he failed, then in a month’s time this child of no more than ten years would be sacrificed to appease the gods and draw the beast away. There were three paths before him that day, and two led to the child’s death.
The third, of course, led to his own glory, and the survival of a child, besides. It was reason enough to have acted.
Still, it earned a derisive snort from the slender man. “Children die all the time. And if you didn’t notice, you died instead, accomplishing nothing.”
Alcaeus’ eyes closed in dismay. He had known, of course; he remembered the blows that killed him, but this was so unlike the afterlife he had been prepared for…. “You are not Leinth,” he said after a time, and opened his eyes again. “Laran?”
A softness came over the man’s face, an inward change that could not disguise the masculine lines of his nose and jaw but which somehow awakened all that was female within him. “Could I not be Leinth? Deity of death, god and goddess?” His female manner faded as quickly as it had come; Alcaeus could only stare in wordless astonishment at his shifting aspects as he spoke again. “But Laran…Laran is closer. God of war,” he said, and a depth of bitter irony shivered through his voice. It returned to its usual tenor with his next words, the change so swift it might have been imagined. “You can call me Laran. But as it happens, you’re not dead.”
“Thank the gods.” It was not that he minded dying, but waking in a field of flowers under sunshine and the sarcastic voice of a thin-faced man was not what he hoped for from the afterlife. “…why am I not dead?”
“Because you’re immortal. Get up and get out of here before anybody else realises it.” Laran stood and offered his hand, pulling Alcaeus to his feet. “You already know how to fight, so I’m not going to waste my time on you. The rules are simple: you can’t die unless your head leaves your shoulders. There are others like you who will try to kill you for your power. You’ll feel them coming. Kill them or talk your way out of it and you might just live forever. Good luck.” He strode away, leaving Alcaeus alone in a field of golden flowers.
Kitsnaps: Annie Moore
This statue of Annie Moore and her brothers Phillip and Anthony look west at Cobh Harbour, from whence so many Irish left for America. Annie was the first immigrant processed at the newly opened Ellis Island on January 1, 1892, the same facility my own grandfather passed through almost thirty-five years later.
There’s a statue of Annie Moore at Ellis Island, too, looking eastward toward Ireland. I’d love to get a picture of that statue, too, but it wouldn’t be as spectacular as this one, by simple dint of being indoors and therefore impossible to silhouette like this.
This is one of my favorite photos I’ve ever taken. A complete success, as far as I’m concerned. :)
Pocoyo & Richard III
I am profoundly grateful to Stephen Fry for his wonderful narration for Pocoyo. That is all.
Well, it’s not all, but it was important to say. :)
I assume you all know by now that it *was* Richard III buried in the Leicester car park, which I think is enormously awesome. And also, as has been clear from Twitter all day, a great source of jokes:
“A hearse! A hearse! My kingdom for a hearse!”
“Richard III has finally been declared “1485 Hide ‘n Seek Champion”.”
and my current favorite,
“I love it when a Plantagenet comes together.”
ETA: in the running for my new favorite, from Chris Fellows, “While making lunch, the words “a swiftly tilting plantagenet” popped into my head. Obscure pun.” Bahahah. :)
The other night Ted made a berry coulis for ice cream, and there was coulis left over. I had some on my oatmeal and thought what it *really* needed was a spoonful of lemon curd to go with, so I got some lemon curd at the farmer’s market this weekend. And OMG, was I right.
I haven’t watched this yet, but I think it’s probably awesome: The Avengers/Breakfast Club Mashup. :)