michelel72: Suzie (Default)
michelel72 ([personal profile] michelel72) wrote2015-12-20 10:40 am

Character ruminations/fic rec: WtNV/Dresden Files: "Love Is All You Need [...]"

Anyone want to talk characterization? I'm trying to figure out why a Welcome to Night Vale / Dresden Files crossover fic grabbed me so hard, because there are elements of the characterization of Carlos that I didn't think were really my thing, but they definitely work for me here. This is mostly just me trying to work something out for myself, so feel free to skip, but I'd love to chat about this stuff if anyone is interested.

The fic is Love Is All You Need to Destroy Your Enemies. I'm a fan of WtNV, but I don't know that I'd say I'm a hardcore fan or anything; I've never read "Dresden Files", and haven't really planned to, to the point that I've spoiled myself for numerous series developments. (I'm sure it's fine for the folks who like it; I don't mean to slam it or anything.) I try to avoid actual spoilers for the fic here, but there are some vague premise-and-characterization spoilers in my ramblings.

There are a number of tropes I know I like in this fic, and some I like sometimes, and some I didn't think I liked. What follows is pretty formless; I'm just tossing stuff out there.

- Carlos has magic. I like characters having magical talent, so that's easy.

- Carlos is very good at what he does. Competence is always my squee, particularly when it's shown more than told. And it's not as if he's perfect or always successful, but he works very hard to do what he does.

- Carlos is a warrior. I'm actually surprised that this works as well for me as it does. I like John Sheppard fine, but I don't really identify with him so much; same for Steve Rogers. Whump for either of them tends to leave me a bit cold. I always thought that the "soldier" thing was a bit of an off switch for me. I do like that Carlos is super-protective; but when he's distracted enough that he accidentally and instinctively disarms-and-neutralizes someone? (Without actually hurting them.) Mmmf. Maybe it's an intersection of "extreme competence" and, I don't know, "magic kinda maps to science in my head"??

- Carlos has a secret identity. This trope doesn't always click for me, but when Carlos puts on his "Clark Kent specs" to pass, I melt.

- Carlos has no particular problem with authority. I was charmed by this; I don't always need it, but it's a refreshing change to most fic protagonists. Similarly, he has a great relationship with his family, and while I really appreciate characters who don't necessarily have a good family history, it's nice to see here.

- Carlos is romantically incompetent. You'd think this would be something I don't like, since I adore competence, but I also have a weakness for certain types of social insecurity, and this fic sells me on each stage of Carlos's fumbling journey with Cecil.

- Carlos doesn't entirely realize that the scientists are as protective of him as he is of them. Characters who undervalue the degree to which others value them ... yeah, I like that.

There are many other aspects that I love about this fic: Exhaustion-based whump. Extensive but grounded hurt/comfort. Well-done humor. Mad science. Pining. Altered mental states due to exhaustion, injury, cosmic revelation, and even drinking-to-forget (but not due to deliberate, just-recreational drug/alcohol intoxication, which is a squick for me). A sexually non-explicit romance. A variety of romantic and sexual orientations, all treated with respect. The importance of different forms of love other than the pair-bond romantic. FRIENDSHIP and TEAM. Complex and evolving characterization. More to the story and characters than just a romance-leading-to-sex endgame.

I get why I'm into Tony Stark and Rodney McKay, but Carlos-the-Scientist-but-really-the-Wizard surprises me. I think it has to be that I'm reading magic as science, and putting really-skilled-fighter on top of that is what makes it for me.

I'm not sure if I'm hoping to find other characters/fic that grab me this hard. I've lost so much time to re-reading! (The length is a part of that; no matter what mood I'm looking to marinate in, I can usually find it somewhere in this very, very long story. And then it's so easy to keep going ....) I do sometimes fall into things hard as a way of coping with life stress; a year or two ago, it was the "Toasterverse" over in MCU Avengers that I latched onto, even though Tony/Steve is a "meh" for me. I can see areas of overlap and recognize some of the things that resonated for me in both cases. I can't concentrate on my own writing, though, which is annoying ... but if my brain needs to bathe in a certain feeling, and if sinking back into someone else's story accomplishes that, I can't really complain, either.

I dunno.
sophia_sol: drawing of Combeferre, smiling and holding up a finger like he's about to explain something (Default)

[personal profile] sophia_sol 2015-12-22 02:20 am (UTC)(link)
You know, for some types of fics I have the same feel, and prefer to wait for it to be entirely done before reading. But somehow this one was different! I think it's because I decided I didn't actually care enough about the plot to try to follow what was going on, so it was just a bunch of shenanigans flying over my head that I didn't need to try to remember the antecendents for.

(Often what happens with me and WIPs is that I'm impatient and curious and I read what little has been posted, decide I really like it, track it on AO3, and then just delete all the update notifs until I get the notification that the final chapter has been uploaded and read the whole thing at once.)