I was recently catching up on season 2 of Game of Thrones, and was reminded of a phenomenon that only occurs with a few chosen fictional characters.
There are some characters that are so realistic and loathsome in their actions that I get unreasonably angry. Like, I will be snappy and irritated for days afterward. What characters do this to me, you ask? Here are my top three:
1. King Joffrey Baratheon/Lannister
Anyone that has seen or read Game of Thrones almost certainly knows the reason why I dislike him. He’s beyond cruel, and he’s a spoiled little brat. Combined with the power of being King (at like 16 or whatever) he’s nigh on unstoppable. I have a pretty vivid imagination, so I already disliked him in the books, but putting him on screen just tipped me over the edge. I can’t stand him. And if he’s like that as a teenager, my blood boils at the potential he has as an adult.
Defining moment: Tyrion was trying to be the most awesome uncle ever and send him a present of joyful sex in the form of 2 hired concubines. What does Joffrey do? Has one girl savagely beat the other, with the stipulation that if she doesn’t, she’ll get the same treatment. He does this as a message to his uncle. Dafuq? I also had a sneaking suspicion that he was more turned on by the cruelty than the two naked chicks. Kid had no emotion while he watched it. None.
You know that giant asshole in the prison guard from The Green Mile? That guy. I can’t even watch that movie anymore because he makes me so angry I can’t see straight.
Defining moment: You’re supposed to wet the sponge they put under the helmet for the electric chair. This is so the prisoners die quickly and it doesn’t get messy. Percy does not wet the sponge ON PURPOSE, because he wants to see what happens as a result. He does a lot of other shitty stuff, but that one makes me cry and makes me want to punch someone all at the same time.
3. Dolores Umbridge
I can’t lie, I was waiting for something super horrible to happen to this woman in the Harry Potter series. I kept reading and reading, thinking “surely, someone is going to kill her off soon.” Nope. So then I had to keep reading about her, and I kept getting angry every time she appeared in a chapter. She doesn’t make me as angry as Joffrey or Percy, but she’s definitely up there. The thing that makes me angry is her blind conviction that this or that is the right thing, and anything else is wrong, wrong, wrong.
Defining moment: Not a big one, mind you, but it’s one of the very first things she does. I can’t even remember the reason why now, but she had Harry Potter write something like “I will not tell lies,” which doesn’t sound so bad, except that the pen was spelled to carve whatever he was writing into his hand. He had to write it over and over again until his hand was bleeding. And she smiled the whole time.
Do you get this emotional over certain characters? Who do you love to hate?
Geek Girl hate has been floating around the internet for a few months. It’s honestly confused me, because before all this high profile outrage, I hadn’t ever encountered derision for being a girl who also happens to like geeky things. Then again, I don’t do things like attend Cons, or dress up in cosplay, or even pretend to be an expert in all things geeky. I simply enjoy my geeky interests to a seriously high degree.
Which makes me ask the question: What does it take to be considered a true geek? Gender issues aside (and that’s a huge issue to put aside), what qualifies someone as a geek? What would make them not fake?
Does the person need to be an expert on every aspect of a certain interest, for instance, knowing Batman comics right down to specific details about every comic issue ever released?
Or is it simply enough to have an interest in the first place? Is it enough to get excited whenever one hears about a movie in production, or see an episode of one’s favorite show on TV? Is it enough to play online, console, or PC games casually, or must one be a “hardcore” gamer in order to hit that magical geek status?
Is there an invisible line between being a fan and being a geek? Are fans and geeks two separate entities, and if so, where does one draw the line?
I played a lot of PC and console games growing up, but never enough to be considered hardcore. I don’t often play console games because they are too expensive to buy. I used to devote a ridiculous number of hours to playing EverQuest, but was not in a serious raiding guild. I played World of Warcraft casually for many years and have a gajillion alts. I’ve loved the Aliens and Predator movie franchises since I first discovered them in middle school (hush you), and I can talk to you for thirty minutes about how I was disappointed in the first AVP movie. When Watchmen was being made into a movie I went out and bought the comic so I could read it before the movie came out. I enjoyed the hell out of the comic, but I don’t actively seek out other comics to read. I’m fully addicted to the new Doctor Who, but have never seen any of the original episodes from decades past. I’ve also never played Magic the Gathering or Dungeons and Dragons.
All my interests are part time interests. I do not have the money or the time to devote to becoming “hardcore” in any of these. Does that mean I’m excluded from earning my geek cred? Bringing gender back into it, if I showed up at a Con in a tight Browncoats tshirt that showed off my eye-popping bust, would I be labelled a fake because of the outfit, or because I watched and enjoyed Serenity before seeing (and not being as impressed with) Firefly? Would I be labelled fake because I can’t participate in discussions about Assassin’s Creed, Bioshock, or Mass Effect, due to the fact that I’ve never played any of those games? Would I be labelled a fake because I adore Loki but have never read any of the Thor or Avengers comics?
Would I then become merely a fan (or possibly worse, a simple fan girl)? Or would I be a fake, attention-seeking wannabe because I dared show my casual interest face in the midst of rabid experts?
What does it take for us to be legit?
Or, perhaps a more appropriate question: What would it take for some of the haters to pull those sticks out of their asses? Should we treat them like trolls and ignore what they say, or should we smile and invade their space anyway in all our pink-clothed, casual-minded glory?
Either way, I can’t even believe this is a serious thing. I thought we moved past this in the 90s. I feel like I need to tell someone’s mom about how little Timmy isn’t sharing his toys and won’t play nice with the girls on the playground. Shame on you, Timmy. You’re old enough to know better.