A few weeks back I made a random post on Tumblr. It was a tongue in cheek post about Downton Abbey and one of it’s beloved (and apparently untouchable) couples. The post was simple:
He killed Green. He bought two tickets, used one, kept the other to establish an alibi. The tavern owner knew him from prison and owed him a favor.
Bates knew when he confessed that Molesley would feel honor bound to “prove” his alibi after the money….
46 words and a war was started. I was attacked, friends on Tumblr who supported it were attacked. How dare we suggest that John Bates (a fictional character) might be a cold blooded killer (of other fictional people)? Didn’t we see how sweet the Banna (fictional) relationship was? Were we stupid, crazed and my personal favorite JEALOUS?
No – we are none of those things. We just didn’t drink the John Bates kool-aid (pretty sure it was the same stuff served at Jonestown in case you were interested). Throughout all 5 seasons of DA I have not once bought the Banna relationship. Do I like the two actors who play the roles? Yes. Do I think it is representative of a healthy relationship full of devotion and adoration and all sorts of schmoopy goodness? NO!
I do, think there is a dark undercurrent flowing through the relationship. I do KNOW Julian Fellowes has admitted there is a darkness to the Bates character. And I DO think he relinquished control of his script to legions of fangirls. I think he intended for Bates to be a dark character then when he saw the popularity of the relationship he wussed out. And I think, ultimately, that is why the story is so uneven. He started it and intended for it to go one way and caved to fan pressure and let it go another way. Now he doesn’t know where to go with the two characters because it’s not where they were supposed to go from the beginning.
Last season he at least threw JoFro a bone and gave her the rape story line. She was magnificent in the story and rightfully deserved all of the accolades she received. However, even though her part of the story line was mostly well thought out, his wasn’t. There was still a hint of darkness. All of the surrounding characters were scared of Bates finding out, scared of his reactions. I saw and clearly so did many others because it’s been talked about A LOT in the blogoshpere.
Those are my opinions. No one else has to agree with me. As a matter of fact, the rules of a free society mean you can disagree with me all you want. What you don’t get to do is berate me for my opinion! I was not trying to change your opinion I was merely stating my opinion. If you wish to continue to worship at the altar of Banna feel free, I won’t be attending those services.
What happened was I did get attacked! I had one person use personal information about me she got from a separate source to try to PROVE how wrong I was. Others sent anonymous hate messages (yeah that takes a lot of balls). But each message, reblog, added comment, separate thread, etc was all designed to show me how WRONG I was. They weren’t volleys to start a healthy discourse, they were missiles meant to annihilate my way of thinking, to show me the error of my ways and make me repent and beg forgiveness for my unworthy thoughts.
What each of these people failed to realize is I am NOT WRONG, I simply don’t believe what they do. But more importantly, these are fictional characters. I expressed an opinion about FICTIONAL CHARACTERS. It’s not like I said the holocaust didn’t happen, the earth is flat, Julie Andrews isn’t the most amazing person to ever walk the planet. Had I stated any of those three things then “correcting” me with evidence would have been not only the proper thing to do but I would have supported it.
But I didn’t state false facts about real events. I provided my opinion about non-existent people who live in a made up world. The advantage of literature, art all of it is each person gets to have their interpretation of the story. It doesn’t make your interpretation any less valid. It doesn’t invalidate you as a person because I don’t believe as you do. It just makes you different and that is what makes life so very interesting.
I would love to say I learned a valuable lesson. Something akin to not poking sacred cows. And I did, although probably not the lesson they hoped I would learn. I learned that people can express hate at an idea (something I’ve always known just never felt it first hand). They don’t know me (well one thinks she does – she is sadly mistaken) yet they felt comfortable calling me ignorant, uneducated, rude (although I will admit to this one for a couple of the more belligerent comments) and various other things. All because of an idea (about a fictional person in a make believe land) they disagreed with. I could metaphorically compare it to every war ever fought in the history of man but it all comes back to intolerance. And this wasn’t even intolerance of something real.
All of this was annoying (I certainly thinned my friend list) but in the end a crap load of fun. I got a great piece of fiction that I am thoroughly enjoying writing (I am passionate about writing). So I will continue to poke the sacred cows because I have never been a person who follows the herd. I’ve always lived outside the box. I don’t look for the trope romance (or the trope anything) in my stories or in my life. I like things which challenge me. But in my television viewing, I like well-written, well-developed story lines and I simply don’t think Banna is or ever has been one.
So here is to poking cows, starting wars and screaming FIRE in a crowded room of crazed fangirls!