Tag Archives: writing

Ardent, Privilege, and Fate

(Spoilers ahead for the main Legacy arc. Turn back now if you haven’t read the books and don’t want spoilers.)

After all these years of having read the main Stargate Atlantis Legacy arc, the Wraith character Ardent still comes to mind– quite often! It seems tragic for him to have been killed, because he was so young and relate-able.

Through the sheer accidents of birth every being faces, he was put in a place of privilege with his race’s technology and his being the younger brother to a powerful Queen. As his sister was, likely, the both of them were being constantly exposed to the bigotry of Ashes as well as unearned accolades and adoration from all the adults around them, reveling in their supposed superiority. Falling in the shadow of his older, but still young, sister, he seemed to ride on the coattails of her reputation and the reputation of his lineage, too sure of the power of their hive for him to properly do his job at watch. Was he afraid to report any less-than-good news to his sister? Was saying it was too trifling just an excuse to lay low, half-heartedly supporting the myth of their hive’s greatness?

His world view all came from his environment, from the adults around him. He was railroaded into his fate, a cog in the machine. Moving on from such prearranged life would be almost an unseen option. Who would mentor him to let him know there were other ways and to give him courage to try? Who would show him truth for him to be able to recognize it? He can’t do better until he knows better. Where would he go? What hive would trust him after what his sister did or how long to gain that trust? What hive would be thrilled with him if he didn’t have the best training? He would be going from superstar status to charity case and outcast, stranger in a new hive with little to offer. In his place, even if we were able to recognize the bad situation, how many of us have the courage to face such odds and go begging from hive to hive to be allowed to move in?

In his last scene, he was feeling conflicted about detaining Guide and Teyla-in-disguise and had let them pass, admiring Teyla-in-disguise’s strength. So, he knew that his sister’s hive and their orders might not always be honorable or correct. Also, previously, he had shown morality in disagreeing with Teyla-in-disguise’s starting a battle with the other hive in “The Queen”, incorrectly blaming Guide for it. She is the one with blood on her hands, but no one condemns Teyla to death. To leave him there like that, presumed dead in an explosion, is not satisfying.

“Yeah, yeah, that’s war,” some say, “and young people die all the time in war. That is part of the evil and tragedy of war.” But, the way Teyla-in-disguise had touched his face, leaving blood on him, it was like he was a marked man, foreshadowing his death and passing judgement on him, as if the blood of others were upon him. Nothing he did personally stands out as terrible other than continuing to live his sister’s city ship and bragging. I felt bad enough for Dust, as he only did what the Lanteans did to Michael (twice!) and no one condemns the Lanteans to death. Ronon was as uncooperative with Michael as Ardent was with Quicksilver, but Ronon gets a free pass. Plus, for crying out loud, Ashes survives it all, whose fault it was so many were lost on all sides and Ardent’s home was so messed up. Surely, Ardent was redeemable?

Because, doesn’t similar things happen to us all, as humans, every day?

What about our privileges, including ones we may not even be aware of? How many ways have we all been told by elders, corporations, governments, and religious figures, people we trusted, that our privilege over others was normal, natural, necessary, and nice? Over women, over undocumented workers, over nonhuman fellow animals… even if it is making life bad for us all and killing our planet?

Sometimes, I feel I am standing in Ardent’s boots, for any trespasses I have made to others, knowingly or unknowingly, just because of privileges derived from my birth place and lies handed down to me. We have all done dumb stuff. Sometimes, we were caught and sometimes not. Sometimes, others encouraged the mistakes. But, surely, none of us deserve to die for being lied to and for being born into such a system, such as to Ardent was?! Surely, we can all do better and a free internet and access to information and truth to enable us to make better choices and leave lies and privilege behind?

Condemning Ardent is condemning ourselves and our loved ones and not looking ahead for better. So, his fate has always bothered me, all these years. It bothered others, too, because there was at least one fanfic to rewrite him going to Guide’s hive to learn and to live his full potential. Maybe Ardent resonates because we all should have a chance to become better, and we should strive to be better, no matter how old we are or whatever mistakes we have made in the past. He is mirror to the mistakes of the Lanteans’ past and a symbol of us all.

If Furies had come out when petition sites were widely used, and I had had better skills in expressing observations about social constructs that I have been working to develop to advocate for others, I would have made one to ask for him to reappear in later book, starting a new life with better teachers, in Waterlight’s or Alabaster’s hives. He had submitted to Teyla-in-disguise, everyone was dead all around him, and he would have no reason to stay standing there, but to move, maybe even off the hive, to seek out Steelflower’s faction. Maybe he escaped the ship explosion…? Plot bunnies, anyone?

On that note, I would like to see more stories about characters who do get out from their birthplaces or past mistakes, when their illusions have been lifted, and to see them thrive as positive role models. Less of perfect Mary Sues and Gary Stus and more real people. More fanfics of Ardent getting away too.

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The Time for Progressive Fan Works is NOW

Readers, I know you have seen it. How many times have you gotten far into what seemed to be a Wraith-centric story which looked like it was going to be good, but then the author has the Lanteans bomb the hive? Or, how about when, out of nowhere, the author writes the Wraith as doing cruel things that humans do and does not even fit Wraith culture?

I highly encourage compassionate people to proudly post their own Wraith fan works, because we as readers deserve better and we as creatives deserve better.

For the socially-responsible creatives out there, now is a great time to be sharing.

Even though Stargate has been off the air for many years now, this site has been doing very well! It has been up for less than a year and already has half that many views as my old dA page of over 8 years (and 1/5 of those dA views came from a Pinterest link to a journal I had about art composition).

Consider the following:

*In a time of deep divisions, both internationally and within our own nations, due to race and other demographics, deep down, people long for better and the market is starved for sanctuaries to get away from the hate and to look to better ideals to strive for. In spite of the temporary bad things that happen, nonviolence is culturally ascendant.

*The leading search engine is known to be socially responsible, so is on your side, promoting and investing in positivity, such as plant-based foods/vegan living, diversity and equality, and environmental preservation.

*Oppressors have no inhibitions about posting about violence and aggression, as we have seen when searching for fanfics, so why should you refrain from posting about nonviolence, building bridges, love, diversity, and cultural understanding?

*Fanfics do not have to be long. In fact, with people being so busy, short stories are convenient.

So, if you are a forward-thinking creative, now is a great time to add your works to the mix. I would like to see more of such Wraith stuff, of course, but I am sure other fandoms are also in need (and original stuff would be great too).

Influence of Anonymous for the Voiceless Cube

One of the Wraith actors recently posted an Instagram photo for Anonymous for the Voiceless and that is wonderful! He either took the high-quality artistic photo for them and/or participated by interacting with onlookers.

This is a great form of advocacy and I recommend it, especially for people who are a more introverted. Participants wear masks and onlookers watch computer screens. The format lets guests explore without expectation of interaction and takes the pressure off both advocate and learner.

I participated in one of these a few years ago when it was in my area (known as the Earthlings Experience back then, and the masks were a bit different– but, the format was the same).

An impact of it on my art was to try to bring the same nonthreatening and exploratory invitation to my gallery, as I am also presenting messages against war, genocide, racism, speciesism, and other forms of violence and oppression. Exploration without expectation of comments/likes/faves/recognition/etc.

That said, I keep my gallery light-hearted– this is a sanctuary for Wraith fans and compassionate people. 🙂

Shiana as a Possible Wraith Ally

The Pegasus Galaxy belongs to those who live there—not SGC.

In the show, the new Lanteans do things such as litter the ocean with golf balls and landscapes with Powerbar wrappers. In the tie-in books, there is also littering, as well as introduction of non-biodegradable plastics and stripping the land and creating pollution and cruelty through animal agribusiness, with the galaxy’s natives giving up their resources so that SGC can be greedy with their wants, not needs. The needless suffering and destruction on Earth is bad enough. To spread this misery to other planets is incredibly messed up and selfish.

As clean and environmentally-friendly the Wraith are, I don’t see them sitting around idly when they realize this SGC stupidity. A Wraith-Lantean war would just break out all over again once environmental degradation got so bad.

Enter Shiana.

She would make a great Wraith ally after the wars settle down, as she is not afraid to tell the new Lanteans  ‘no’ and to jail them and put them on trial for crimes against Pegasus.

Clearly, she is powerful and competent to be able to retain a top place in the High Council, even after her homeworld was destroyed. Any military or political backing she would have had would have been long gone, but she retained her post. When we saw her on screen, she did her job in spite of still being in bereavement, and so was a bit shaken, and will only strengthen in time to better serve her galaxy.

This woman is a Queen in human form.

Her dress has Wraithy elements, notably the gold mesh bodice being a similar fabric to Queen Laura’s gown, and also long sleeve ribbons such as Laura’s. Field operative Wraith affiliates, such as the trader who works for Michael and Nabel Golan, have outfits with Wraithy elements in them.

The personal motives for such an alliance are there. The Wraith have experienced profound losses of their own through Lantean genocide, as her people were indirectly killed as a result of that genocide. Yet, the Wraith have some power over death. They can give the Gift of Life. After facing such sweeping losses, how could this not intrigue and offer hope?

The galactic motives are there. Both parties have an interest in protecting Pegasus and the Wraith’s interstellar ships would be a valuable thing to have against the Lanteans, to get the invaders to stop the colonizing.

Shiana is one of the best human bets for Pegasus and as a Wraith ally. Long may she rule.

Fellow Travelers

The film Earthlings is a powerful documentary about the ways human animals needlessly harm fellow animals, even though we are all Earthlings and all feel joy and pain and want to be safe, happy, and free.

When thinking, as a scifi fan, about the title of the film and the treatment of others, for years I tried to come up with a term which encompassed fair treatment for all, not just for fellow Earthlings. This is because I would not want any new forms of discrimination, by planetary or galactic origins.

How about fellow travelers? (not Travellers, Stargate fans, lol).

“Travelers” indicates how we all share life, no matter the location or body type.

I would like to know other words vegan scifi fans and/or vegans who think about the possibility of life on other planets use to refer to life forms to include everyone throughout the galaxy. Kindness, respect, and preservation should know no boundaries, on planet Earth or far away.

 

The Lone Good Wraith Trope

In some Wraith fanworks, especially pre-Legacy, there can sometimes be seen the phenomenon of “one good OC Wraith” or “one good OC hive” with those OCs as outcasts and all other Wraith and hives as evil.

Writers who do this seem to see Wraith as physically beautiful, but have internalized the Lantean narrative that Wraith are evil and, thus, feel the need to create an OC or two to get around the Lantean creative block.

I will say it again from my longer blog: Wraith are not evil.

There is no “one” good Wraith or hive. There is good and bad to be found in everywhere and individuals are capable of change.

If an OC Wraith character is young and desires equality among others or is older and has changed to not be racist against humans, Asurans, or whoever, that Wraith can choose among or create a new hive and/ or alliance of hives to suit his or her personality, rather than to suffer alone or feel forced to abandon his or her Wraith culture. Because there isn’t just one lone good Wraith or hive!

Wraith Do Not Have Warts

WHY do some artists and writers who are not Wraith fans feel the need to add warts to Wraith?

First, some biology is in order. Freckles are spots of pigmented skin, smooth and caused by varying amounts of melanin, like a tan. Tanned skin or darker skin tones are not raised up. On the other hand, warts are raised bumps of skin and they are caused by viruses. Wraith immune systems would kill those invading viruses.

Second, adding warts is adding something which was never there, misrepresenting the subject and the work of other artists. Wraith skin is smooth.  Freckles are added by the makeup artists by using a spray painter.

Freckles are not warts. Wraith do not have viruses or warts.

This has been a public service announcement.