I know there’s a lot of debates about Star Wars on the internet but for me, it wasn’t something I grew up watching. I didn’t watch the original trilogy, and then the prequel trilogy, until I was at university and in my early 20s so The Force Awakens was the first Star Wars film I saw in the cinema and it is the one and only Star Wars film I fell wholeheartedly in love with.
A big part of that was the new trio of heroes and the first one of the three that I fell for was Poe Dameron. It helps that I really like Oscar Isaac as an actor and he’s not bad to look at, but Poe is such a cool character. He just oozes charm and charisma but he’s also pretty smart and competent, and he’s an amazing pilot.
Something I’ve realised over the course of writing these A-Z posts (I’m trying to get ahead with the scheduling) is that something that makes me like a character more is if they have interesting or likeable dynamics with other characters – even ones I don’t like. Characters, like people, should be well-rounded and while their personality could be something I’m drawn to, I feel I get to know a character better by seeing how they treat others or how they interact with other characters – especially if they only show certain parts of themselves to certain people.
With Poe I really love the dynamic he has with various characters in the Star Wars film and the comics. I’ve read a couple of volumes of the Poe Dameron comic and I love the art and think they’re a good place to get some of Poe’s backstory and context for his actions that probably should’ve been in the films. In the comics his relationship with his squadron is explored, and you see the dilemmas he has at being a leader but also someone who’s a bit reckless. In both the comics and the films, I really like his dynamic with Leia. It’s a great commanding officer/subordinate dynamic while also having hints of her also being an almost mother figure for him and the respect they have for one another, even when he does something stupid is clear to see. My absolute favourite dynamic is between Poe and Finn. It’s probably an obvious one but it’s great. In the few scenes they have together in The Force Awakens you see how Poe can be calm and caring (how he asks Finn if he’s OK with Poe calling him that name is one of my favourite small moments in that film) and also supportive and pragmatic.
I think Poe Dameron is just great. He’s charming and brave and loyal, even if he is a bit impulsive and reckless. He’s flawed but he tries and he learns and he’s a great friend and someone that you’d easily follow into battle.
I watched Derry Girls for the first time earlier this year and it’s a delight. The titular Derry Girls are all very different and great in their own ways, but my favourite was Clare.
Clare is super smart and academic achievement is pretty much the most important thing to her. She’s a great friend but she’s such a wuss when it comes to authority and doing anything wrong that she will automatically grass just about anyone up to save her own skin. It leads to a lot of hilarious scenes because she’s far less confident and more anxious than her friends. She’s the one worrying about everything when she and her friends end up in some sort of escapade.
How Clare came out as “the wee lesbian” was simultaneously lovely, funny and a bit awkward. While some of her friends took some time to figure out how they felt about it (it’s the 90s and some of them are a bit self-centred) they soon were all pretty supportive and all of them started wearing rainbow pins which was a nice touch.
I’ve mentioned many times on this blog that Clint Barton aka Hawkeye is one of my favourite characters of all time, but in the comics Kate Bishop aka Hawkeye is also a much-loved character of mine.
I first learnt about her in the Hawkeye series by Matt Fraction and David Aja and then I read Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie’ Young Avengers series where she was also a part of the team and in both series – plus other comics I’ve now read – I thought she was excellent.
Kate is the daughter of a rich and powerful businessman so the fact this heiress decides to become a crime-fighting hero is an interesting premise. Like her namesake she’s a highly skilled archer and martial artist but she has a bit more common sense than Barton does. Kate is tough but also very approachable and friendly. How she makes friends and connections is one of her best skills and when she was on her own in LA with just Lucky the dog for company she soon had met (and saved) enough people to form her own support system.
I really love Kate’s sense of humour and though she can be quite self-depreciating, she’s actually pretty smart and a very capable leader. She can do the crime-fighting thing and be a private investigator and a decent friend all at the same time.
I’m really looking forward to Kate Bishop joining the MCU. Hailee Steinfeld is going to play her in the Hawkeye Disney+ series and I think she’s going to be great. I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a Young Avengers movie or show in a few years time as it looks like Marvel’s already planting those seeds.
I read the first two books in the Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare, City of Bones and City of Ashes, probably close to ten years ago now but I couldn’t really get into them because of the writing and the main character. I did like Alec though and when the Shadowhunters TV show came along I liked him even more.
He starts out pretty grumpy and serious but that’s because he’s got the weight of his parents’ expectations on him and he has to be the sensible one when his siblings are more reckless. I love how Alec grows over the course of the series. He becomes more open to his emotions as he becomes accepting of who he is. He’s a badass Shadowhunter, the Head of the New York Institute and he’s in love with a male warlock. I love the badass, warrior side of Alec but I love the dorky more awkward side of him too when he’s all flustered – usually by his boyfriend Magnus.
The bond between Alec and his siblings Jace and Izzy is one of my favourite things in the show. How they love and support one another while still being able to call each other out when they think one of them is being unfair or not doing the right thing is how true siblings should be.
Alec is brave, loyal, sarcastic and caring. He’s highly skilled in both a physical battle with his bow but he becomes a great diplomat, being pretty much the only Shadowhunter who has brought together leaders of the warlocks, vampires, werewolves and Seelies. Other more experienced and older Shadowhunters often underestimate him but Alec is an extremely capable leader and while he’ll do just about anything for his friends, including bending the law, he won’t sacrifice other people for them. Alec always tries to work through a problem and get the most successful outcome for everyone involved. That sometimes leads to him getting hurt by the people he cares about but he has a big heart and a pretty much endless capacity for forgiveness – though he can be ruthless and hold a grudge when needed.
We’re two weeks away from April (what is time etc) and that means the A-Z in April Blogging Challenge is just around the corner. The challenge is to post on your blog every day in April except Sundays. Not including Sundays, there are twenty-six days in April which matches with the twenty-six letters of the alphabet. That means on 1st April you write something beginning with the letter A, on the 2nd something beginning with the letter B and so on and so forth.
This will be the eighth year in a row I’ve taken part in this challenge and I hope to complete it once again. It’s become almost a tradition for me to do this challenge and I hope I continue to have ideas for it as the years go by – or maybe rehash old ones as I’m doing this year. I suppose I’d like to do it a nice round ten times, but we will see what happens.
This year my theme for the challenge is favourite characters. So, each day will be a gushing post about a character I love whose first or last name begins with that letter. In previous A-Z Challenges I’ve written about my favourite characters – in 2020 I wrote about my favourite characters from the MCU, in 2017 the theme was a general “My Favourite Things” which included a few characters, and way back in 2016 it was all about my favourite characters. As it’s been five years since then, I’ve watched more films and TV shows and read more books so there’s more characters I like a lot and can easily write about. Plus, I’m taking part in a challenge on Twitter where I’m sharing a character I love each day, so that’s inspired me a bit for this challenge too – that could give you some spoilers for who might appear in this blog in April. It will be twenty-six new characters who I haven’t mentioned in previous A-Z Challenges.
This is where I’d normally say “There will still be film reviews on Mondays and book reviews on Thursdays” but as I haven’t been watching a lot of films recently (just the X-Men movies) or reading a lot or writing many reviews, there might still be film and book reviews in April but I’m not going to promise anything. There will be my X-Men reviews every Saturday though as they’re all written and scheduled.
I haven’t actually got any of my A-Z posts written or scheduled yet so that’s going to be my plan for the weekend. I don’t think they’ll take me long as it’s always easy to write about something I love so it’ll be good to gets some scheduled before April arrives. It will make things less stressful and give me more time to visit other blogs.
There’s still time to sign up for the A to Z in April Challenge. I do recommend it; it definitely makes you stretch yourself to think of something for every letter and it encourages you to be organised – something I’m always trying to be better at when it comes to my blog.
The Book Blogger Hop is a weekly feature hosted by Coffee Addicted Writer, to find bookish blogs and to learn more about the bloggers themselves. You can find more info on the feature here.
This week’s question is: If you could go trick-or-treating with your favourite book character, who would it be?
It’s been a long time since I’ve had a proper favourite character from a book, but I think I’ve got two picks for this. The first would be Izzy from The Exact Opposite of Okay. I think she’d be great fun to go trick-or-treating with, she’d be full of jokes and would probably make an inventive costume. My second pick would be Locke Lamora from the Gentleman Bastards series. He’d be very good at the trick part of trick-or-treating.
Who would you want to go trick-or-treating with if you could?
Well this is being posted later than expected – what can I say! Time got away from me. That’s another April gone and with it another A-Z in April Challenge successfully completed. This year it was all about my favourite characters in the MCU. It was certainly hard to narrow it down for some days/letters, but I’m happy with the characters I got to talk about.
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A – Ava Starr
B – James Buchanan “Bucky” Barnes
C – Cassie Lang
D – Carol Danvers
E – Erik “Killmonger” Stevens
F – Frigga
G – Goose
H – Happy Hogan
I – Ivan Vanko
J – Jim Paxton
K – Harley Keener
L – Luis
M – Maria Rambeau
N – Nebula
O – Okoye
P – Pepper Potts
Q – Peter Quill
R – James “Rhodey” Rhodes
S – Shuri
T – Tony Stark
U – Ulysses Klaue
V – Valkyrie
W – Wanda Maximoff
X – X-tras (Clint Barton, Michelle “MJ” Jones, Nick Fury, Hela and Rocket Racoon)
Y – Ho Yinsen
Z – Hemlut Zemo
It’s the last day of the A-Z in April Challenge and I’m going to end it with a villain that arguably damaged the Avengers the most. Pre-Thanos that is.
Helmut Zemo is a former soldier from Sokovia, who wanted to avenge his family’s death during the Sokovia incident. He wanted to do this by destroying the Avengers, but knowing he was just a man going up against superpowered people, he had to be smart about it.
And that’s the thing, Zemo is really very smart and a brilliant strategist and manipulator. He’s patient, knows how to put a plan together and stick to it, while using the latest developments in the world e.g. the Sokovia Accords, to his advantage.
You could say that Zemo’s plan wouldn’t have been as affective if Steve had told Tony about his parents’ death before being forced to watch the footage of it. if Tony had known there’s probably less chance of him flying off the handle. But Steve didn’t tell Tony, and Zemo’s plan to destroy the Avengers worked.
I think Zemo was a brilliant villain and he’s one that actually achieved what he set out to do. He destroyed the Avengers by turning the two main leaders of the team against one another. He broke the Avenger a part. Friendships were destroyed, some members of the Avengers were on the run and wanted by the UN, and the rest were just hurt and alone.
I think he’s a fascinating villain and I’m pleased that he’s still alive. I think he’d be a great villain to make an appearance again at some point in the future. Although, he’s played his best hand with the secrets about Tony’s parents’ death. Unless he’s managed to dig up something else on various members of the Avengers, I’m not sure he would have the same impact. Maybe it’s because I like Daniel Brühl so much so would like to see more of him in the MCU.
When you look back on the MCU, one minor character that really has had a lasting effect on a hero is Ho Yinsen. He is such an important character!
Yinsen was held captive with Tony Stark in Afghanistan and it was Yinsen who saved Tony’s life. He’s the one who put an electromagnet in Tony’s chest, stopping the pieces of shrapnel getting to his heart. Yes, Yinsen’s version was with a car battery and once Tony was on his feet, he figured out how to make the system better with a miniaturised arc reactor, but Yinsen came up with the way to save Tony’s life first.
Yinsen was intelligent, he was a scientist and surgeon and he could speak multiple languages, so he was more than capable to help Tony build the first Iron Man armour. He helped motivate Tony to resist their captors and do something about the terrorists having so many of Tony’s weapons. “Is this the last act of defiance of the great Tony Stark? Or are you going to do something about it?” was just the sort of no-nonsense pep talk Tony needed. Yinsen was also incredibly brave as he willingly sacrificed his life so Tony could escape.
Tony went and saved the villagers of Gulmira, Yinsen’s village, once he’d made the Iron Man suit. I’m not saying Tony wouldn’t have saved any village he heard about on the news, but there were definitely more of a personal stake there for him. Yinsen’s last words to Tony was not to waste his life and I like to think Tony took that to heart.
X is always a difficult one for the A-Z in April Challenge. In previous years I’ve written about the X-Men or Charles Xavier but as they are not a part of the MCU (yet anyway) I’ve had to cheat a bit this year. These are all the extra characters who I love that got pipped to the post by a different favourite.
Now some of you who have been following my blog for a while might’ve been surprised not to see Clint featured in my A-Z of favourites this year, because Clint Barton is my ultimate favourite whether that’s in the MCU, comics or animated TV shows. But I had featured him in my Favourite Characters A-Z in April in 2016 so I thought I’d give some other favourites the time to shine. I do still love him a lot though. He’s funny and highly skilled but he’s still a very breakable human on a team of superhumans and I love that about him.
Michelle “MJ” Jones
There’s a lot of cool characters in Spider-Man: Homecoming but I did have a soft spot for Michelle even before it was revealed that she’s going to be the MCU’s version of MJ. She’s weird, smart and funny. I like how she’s a bit of a social outcast who likes her own company, but she still finds friends. I’m looking forward to seeing more of her personality come through in future films.
Fury is the ultimate spy and I love that about him. Having Samuel L. Jackson in the role was one of the best decisions ever made in regard to the MCU. He brings all these layers to Fury. Fury can be funny (loved seeing more of that side of him in Captain Marvel), cutting, secretive and very smart. His secrets have secrets! One of my favourite sequences in the entire MCU is when Fury’s car is attacked in Winter Soldier, I just love seeing Fury being the action hero/spy that he is even though he’s climbed the ranks of SHIELD.
You got to love a female villain that causes death and destruction with style. I like how Hela’s back story doesn’t excuse what she is. Yes, her father used her to take over different worlds and defeat their enemies, but that death and destruction was still in her nature. She wants to rule Asgard and get what she thinks she deserves and uses her intelligence and magic to do it.
Rocket is probably my favourite out of the original Guardians of the Galaxy crew. He’s sarcastic and mean and pushes people away because he’s not used to being cared about. But when he does get close to his friends, his family, he loves them deeply. I think the animation that brings Rocket alive is incredible as I’ve often found myself getting teary eyed over that damn raccoon.