Friday, December 2, 2016

Hitting the "Pause" Button

Hey, guys. Bad news.

I'm putting Dragons, Zombies and Aliens on hiatus until June. I've bitten off a bit more than I can chew with my last year of college and a new job writing for TheThings.com. So I need to put this on the backburner until I graduate. Then I can actually write quality articles you'll want to read. :)

Loves and kisses:
Christina "DZA" Marie

Friday, November 25, 2016

"Avatar the Last Airbender" Graphic Novels


Avatar: the Last Airbender is my favorite show from childhood. It was only three seasons, but it was thoughtful, funny, packed with action, and it really made you stop and think about ethical issues. In a kids' show!

But one thing that always drove me nuts were the loose ends. What happened with Zuko's mother is a mystery. Toph's parents have to know what's going on with her (she's traveling with the avatar, after all), so there's got to be a meeting there. And what happens when Katara and Sokka go back to the South Pole?

Question no longer! They're doing a graphic novel series! These are in order:

The Promise is about Zuko struggling to be the Fire Lord. Because apparently running a nation is hard. Especially right after a war. Who knew?

In The Search, we look for and find out what happened to Zuko's mom. I repeat: WE FIND OUT WHAT HAPPENED TO ZUKO'S MOM!!!

The Rift centers primarily on Toph and Aang and the clash of old vs. new. Also, we run into Toph's dad. It's a little awkward.

Smoke and Shadow throws Zuko in for a loop, as the radical New Ozai Society decides "We don't want a teenager on the throne. We prefer the homicidal maniac."

And finally, North and South centers around our favorite Water Tribe siblings as they go back for a home visit. Only, things are never as simple as a happy family reunion. Part 1 came out this year and Part 2 comes out in February 2017.

These are all absolutely incredible. They do the show proud. I highly recommend them!

Monday, November 14, 2016

Arrival Review and Explanation

Monday Movie! Arrival

On the DZA Review Scale, I give it a spectacular, or a go see this now, like right now. It's engaging, riveting, and a bit twisty-turny that confuses some people (hence the spoiler-filled explanation at the end of this review). And it's incredible. 


I have literally no complaints about this movie. The actors nailed it. The story perfectly captured human complexity, sociology and suspicion. The aliens were mind-blowing. It relies very little on special effects and almost entirely on script, which is a refreshing break from most sci-fi blockbusters. Not even the romantic subplot annoyed me, because it wasn't annoying and was critical to the story. 

If I wanted to be knit-picky, (minor spoiler here) the only thing that comes to mind is the fact that China was Bad Guy No. 1. They're the first country to declare war on the aliens. I found it mildly racist, but since America didn't do much better and it was trigger-happy soldiers that killed one of the aliens, I don't think anyone's going to cause much of a fuss. 

Also, if you have neutral feelings about linguists, this movie will make you respect them a helluva lot more. 


Explanation (Spoilers!)

For those of you who saw the movie and are wondering What the hell just happened, allow me to explain. The opening scene is Amy Adams' character, Louise, raising her daughter Hannah, from birth to Hannah's death as a teenager from a rare disease. We're led to assume that that's Louise's backstory, but the truth is it hasn't happened yet

The aliens' gift to humanity is their language. As the characters explained, the theory is that the language you use primarily determines how you think and view the world. Since the aliens think in a very fluid manner, they also view time as fluid. Basically, they can see the future (which is the whole reason they're on Earth in the first place; we help them out in 3000 years). Once you understand the language to the point that Louise understands it, you can see the future, too. 

The chronology of the story is: 

Louise is a linguist professor with some military history.

Aliens show up.

Louise cracks the aliens' language and learns to see the future. 

Louise uses her new skill to convince everyone, specifically China, to calm the fuck down.

Aliens leave.

The international celebration happens, where General Shang shares his phone number with Louise and tells her the critical information she'll need (or rather, needed) to get him to stand down. 

Louise and Ian get married. 

Louise neglects to tell Ian, "So our future daughter is going to get an incurable disease and die before she's old enough to drive. You sure you want to have a kid?"

Hannah's born. 

Louise writes a book about the alien language and begins teaching it at universities. 

Louise decides that now is the best time to let Ian know about their kid's imminent death, and it pisses him off so much that he leaves. 

Hannah dies. 


So not only is it an alien movie, it's a time-travel movie of sorts. And it poses a very interesting question: if you knew exactly how the rest of your life would go, and that the next decision you make will bring immense happiness and unbelievable pain, would you go through with it? 

I know I quoted this on my Blair Witch review, but I'm showing it again. Because Doctor Who really does explain it best:


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Thanks for reading! :)

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Best Sci-Fi Movies of 2016 (So Far)

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story comes out in December, and I am counting the minutes until I am sitting in the theater. So to kill some time, and in honor of RinnRead's Sci-Fi Month, I figured we could revisit some of 2016's best sci-fi movies. I pulled the top 5 based on reviews and my own (less than) humble opinion. If you think I'm leaving something out, let me know!



10 Cloverfield Lane


Watch it here on Amazon.

Cloverfield came out in 2008 as a found-footage sci-fi horror about a monster attack in NYC. This year saw a sequel, arguably better than the first movie. 10 Cloverfield Lane focuses more on the horror element of sci-fi horror. Most of the movie takes place in an underground bunker, where the protagonist is stuck in an abusive relationship with her "savior." The line on the poster says it best: monsters come in many forms.


Into the Forest


Watch it here on Amazon.

End-of-the-world dystopia + sister relationship woes = very good movie. Already I feel bad for them: they're stuck in the middle of the Canadian woods with no wifi.


Star Trek Beyond


Watch it here on Amazon.

I already did a full review of this awesome movie here


Kill Command


Watch it here on Amazon.

Marines are stuck on an island with a homicidal robot. In other words, it's Lost + Terminator with Vanessa Kirby. What's not to love?


Arrival


Just came out in theaters. No pirating! *glare*

I always see Hawkeye every time I see Jeremy Renner, which is kind of annoying as it takes me out of every other movie he stars in. But that's not going to stop me from seeing Arrival this weekend, and it certainly doesn't stop the rave reviews. Nothing beats amazing actors working a simple premise: aliens show up, and we need to figure out why.

You can read the full review here.

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Thanks for reading!
If you think I've neglected to put a movie on this list, let me know in the comments! 

Monday, November 7, 2016

"Doctor Strange" Review

Monday Movie! Doctor Strange

Bechdel Test: fail
Mako Mori Test: fail
Sexy Lamp Test: pass

On the DZA Review Scale, I give it a solid fantastic.


I'll level with you: I never read the Doctor Strange comics. And I was less than thrilled about the whitewashed casting and Marvel's bullshit excuses about it. 

But...I did see Doctor Strange in theaters on opening night. And it was great. Trippy, but great. 

I love Benedict Cumberbatch. He's incredibly talented and nails every role he gets (Sherlock, Khan, Smaug...). 

And I love Marvel. I wasn't even pissed about the Bechdel and Mako Mori tests failing because the love interest (Christine) is a doctor in her own right who saves Strange's life without getting all misty-eyed about it. And the Ancient One, while having a questionable casting choice, is badass. She also has some very...ah, strict?...teaching techniques. (She strands Strange on Everest to get him to teleport. Chiwetel Ejiofor's character Mordo hears about it and gives a resigned, "Not again.")

I would wholeheartedly recommend seeing this movie. Marvel may make a few mistakes, but they are trying (The Ancient One is a man in the comics, so they get points for genderbending), and they still made a damn good movie.

Also, we found out in the credits scene that Doctor Strange will, in all likelihood, be in Thor: Ragnorak. Think about that. Benedict Cumberbatch. Tom Hiddleston. Chris Hemsworth. My ovaries just blew up. 

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Thanks for reading! :)
What were your thoughts on the movie? What about Tilda Swinton's role as The Ancient One? 

Friday, November 4, 2016

Westworld Review and Theories

HBO's Westworld

Bechdel Test: pass
Mako Mori Test: pass
Sexy Lamp Test: pass

There are only five episodes so far, but it is quickly approaching monuments levels on the DZA Review Scale.


It's RinnReads Sci-fi Month! Whoo-hoo!

Basically all this event is is a bunch of bloggers geeking out about science fiction. As if we need an excuse to do that. :)

To kick off this glorious occasion, I've binge-watched the entirety of the new HBO show Westworld. That's not as impressive as it sounds, as there are only five episodes so far. But they're each an hour long and I did it in three days, so it sure felt impressive.

The sci-fi Western genre has always captivated me. It's the clash of the sleek, elegant technology of the future with the rustic grit of the Old West that somehow mesh together beautifully. In that alone, Westworld is a master.

The concept: humans have created a theme park, called Westworld, where people can go and literally do whatever they want. The "hosts" are all robots that all have personalities and backstories, but they all believe they're human. The human visitors can do whatever they want with and to the hosts, and the hosts cannot kill the humans.

That concept alone, of course, brings out the very worst of the human visitors. In the first twenty minutes of the pilot, our main villain butchers a family and rapes the rancher's daughter. All because he can. There's nothing anyone can do here that will stop him. (Side note: that daughter, Dolores, spends the first four episodes being the damsel--because that's what she's programmed to do--and in episode five turns into a complete badass.)

While I do believe that there is evil in every human being, the one thing that I have to complain about this show is that it marginalizes the good in humans. All but one (maybe two) of the "good" guys are robots. And the majority of the villains, people with very questionable motives, and apathetic characters are human. While the very purpose of the park is to "unleash the beast within" and all that crap, the fact that 90% of all the humans are bad guys, from the guests at the park to the owners, just strikes me as wrong. There is evil in every human, yes, and it does come out. But there's also good in every human. I wish Westworld did a better job of representing that.

As you can see, it's a very thought-provoking show. The story is all-consuming The actors are incredible and the characters have depth. The plot keeps you guessing. While all the characters are safe to a certain extent (all of the robots keep getting killed in horrible, bloody ways, and the park just fixes them right up and sends them back in), you don't know what they're going to do. Especially now that the robots, who cannot hurt a living thing, are now beginning to rebel.


Theories

One of the biggest questions of the show is Arnold, the co-creator of the park who died more than thirty years ago. How did he die, and why are all of the "malfunctioning" robots talking to him? And then of course there's the maze, the center of which everyone seems to be trying to find.

My theory as to Arnold's death is that Dolores is the one who killed him, as she was the last person to see him alive. We've seen that she is capable of killing living things: the fly at the end of the pilot. Arnold may very well have programmed her to be able to kill, had her kill him in his fit of insanity, and the ability to do that got lost somewhere amid all the updates and tinkering she's been through.

I think the center of the maze is the key to unlocking that ability. That once whatever's in the center is unleashed, the robots will be able to fight back with violence. Arnold wanted to destroy the park, and that is an excellent way to do it. Also, the Man in Black seems eager to put some actual risk in the game. He's so bored with life that even the park has grown old. He wants to create a real Wild West, where people stand to lose something.

As for Arnold himself, I think he managed to put a piece of his consciousness into the robots' code. A drive to reach the center of the maze and destroy Westworld.

If and when the robots do manage to gain their freedom, it really will be the Wild West.

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Thanks for reading! :)

Comments are love! What are your opinions and theories about Westworld?

Friday, October 28, 2016

Halloween Traditions Explained

Demonology Files: Halloween

We have a lot of weird-ass traditions for Halloween. Dressing up in costumes, collecting candy, butchering pumpkins...I, for one, wanted to know what's the story behind these traditions. So this installment of the Demonology Files is a history of Halloween.





The Spookiness (re: the Origins of Halloween Itself)


Halloween (a.k.a. All Hallow's Eve) was started by the Celts some 2,000 years ago. November 1st marked the important Celtic holiday of Samhain (pronounced "sah-win"). There's some debate as to what exactly Samhain celebrated and how big of a role death and ghosts played in it, whether or not they believed our world and the underworld's borders blurred, etc. But everyone agrees that the changing of the seasons played some part in the celebrations. Harvest would be at its end with winter just around the corner. The "time for one last blowout before we all freeze to death" mentality was in effect. 

When the Romans showed up in the 40s (C.E.), two of their traditions mashed up with Samhain. One was Feralia, traditionally celebrated in late October to commemorate the dead. (So if the dead weren't already a part of this time of year for the Celts, it sure was now.) The other Roman holiday was to celebrate Pomona, the Roman goddess of fruit and trees. Her symbol is the apple. As in apple-bobbing. 

Fast-forward to the 9th Century. Christianity's made its way across Europe. While many Celts practiced Christianity, there were still a lot of pagan rituals and customs the church wanted to weed out. Samhain was one of them. So they offered a replacement holiday of sorts: All Souls' Day, on November 2nd. This holiday got started in the 7th Century (by Pope Boniface IV) as the Catholic feast of All Martyrs Day to commemorate Christian martyrs. It was then expanded to include saints as well as martyrs and was moved from May to November by Pope Gregory III in the 8th century. All Souls' Day was the next step, and officially became a Christian holiday to honor the dead in 1000 C.E. 

Of course, it didn't exactly work out the way the church had hoped. All Souls Day and Samhain were both celebrated in similar ways: big bonfires, parades, and costumes (more on that later). Not to mention they were only one day apart. So it was more of a mesh-up of traditions and beliefs than a replacement. 

All Saints Day was also called All-hallows or All-hallowmas (from the word "Alholowmesse," the Middle English word for All Saints Day). The night before it, which was the traditional night of Samhain, was eventually called All-hallows Eve. After enough time, the two holidays combined completely, was moved to October 31st, and became known as Halloween.

Eventually Halloween made it across the Atlantic. It was celebrated only in Maryland and the southern colonies at first (too "pagan" for the Puritans in New England). Although there was still heavy emphasis on honoring the dead and offering prayers, slowly but surely it became more about communal gatherings and celebrating the harvest. By the 1920s, it had dropped all religious connotations and became focused on just having a good time. 


Costumes and Trick 'r Treating



You'd be hard-pressed not to find a holiday that doesn't involve dress-up and sweets in some way, shape or form. We dress up in costume and gorge on candy to celebrate Christmas and Easter, so the fact that we do it for Halloween isn't much of a surprise.

It's believed the Celts wore outfits of animal heads and pelts during the Samhain holiday. Other European cultures had "mumming" and "guising" rituals, where people would disguise themselves and go door-to-door asking for food on any day of the year. The disguises were usually made of straw, or were outfits for skits and plays the beggars would perform later. (Unlike today, even the most renowned actors were flat broke and not respected.)

And then of course there's the medieval practice of "souling." On All Saints Day (or rather, All-hallowmas, since we're talking medieval times), beggars would go door-to-door and offer prayers for the dead in exchange for food. 

America took up trick 'r treating as we know it sometime between 1920 and 1950, which makes sense when you think about the Great Depression and total war effort going on in the '30s and '40s: everyone was a beggar. There's also the baby boomers, who would've been sugar-hungry little munchkins by the time the '50s rolled around.


Jack-o-Lanterns




This one came from an Irish myth. 

A man named Stingy Jack had a bad habit of playing tricks. One time, he invited the Devil to have a drink with him, but of course didn't want to pay. So he convinced the Devil to turn himself into a coin to pay for the drinks. (I don't know how the Devil would've been able to enjoy his drink like that, but whatever.) Instead of paying, Jack put the Devil-turned-coin in his pocket next to a silver cross, which prevented the Devil from changing back. 

Alternatively, he convinced the Devil to climb a tree in order to pick a fruit. While the Devil was up there, Jack carved a cross into the tree's trunk, preventing him from climbing down. 

Eventually, whether in coin form or stuck in a tree, Jack did free the Devil on one condition: the Devil was not to claim Jack's soul once he died. 

Of course, just because Jack didn't have to worry about going to Hell, that didn't guarantee a spot in Heaven. When Jack did die, God said, "Nuh-uh," and banned him from Heaven. 

The Devil couldn't take him. He'd made a pinky-swear never to collect Jack's soul (and he didn't want him in Hell, anyway). So instead, the Devil cast Jack's spirit out into the world with nothing but an ember to light the dark nights. Jack put the ember in a carved-out turnip to make it easier to carry and has been roaming the earth ever since. 

The Irish called the ghost "Jack of the Lantern." And then, because they're Irish, shortened it to "Jack O'Lantern." 

The living don't want anything to do with Jack, either. Back in the day, the Irish and Scots made their own lanterns by carving scary faces into turnips and potatoes and leaving them on their windows. Fast-forward a few centuries, and the colonists found that the American pumpkin was much better. And cooler. And tastier. We're awesome that way. :P

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Thanks for reading! :)

Friday, October 21, 2016

The Red Queen's Daughter - Book Review

The Red Queen's Daughter, by Jacqueline Kolosov


Bechdel test: pass
Mako Mori test: pass
Sexy Lamp test: pass
:)

*Gasp!* A book review! I haven't posted one of these in weeks! (Which is really crummy of me. Sorry.)

On the DZA Review Scale, I give Jacqueline Kolosov's The Red Queen's Daughter a historically inaccurate awesome. (Anne Boleyn did not have a sixth finger on her right hand, nor did she have a mole on her neck. But hey, it's historical fiction, not a history textbook.)




The Red Queen's Daughters centers on Mary Seymour, the daughter of Queen Katherine Parr (Henry VIII's sixth and final wife) and Thomas Seymour. All of them were real people, but that's where the facts end. In this story, Mary is a "white magician," a sorceress for the forces of good who is sent to the court of Elizabeth I to guide and support her.

(Note: Mary is an English noblewoman and not a princess, despite the fact that her mother was a queen. At the time of Mary's birth, Katherine was a dowager queen--a king's widow, and therefore possessing no real political power, basically a retired queen--and her father was an English lord. Mary gets her status from her dad. Of course, had the two been reversed--Thomas a remarried king and Katherine a noble--Mary would have been a princess, just like Henry VIII's younger kids Elizabeth and Edward. Sexism: gotta love it.)

Despite the occasional historical inaccuracy and stilted dialogue, the story was quite good. It's a fantasy romance, and the romance takes place between two cousins. Which, ick, but that is actually historically accurate. And the guy she falls in love with is the villain. It's a bad boy romance.

The book is very slow in the beginning, which is weird for a YA novel. Mary doesn't get to court until over a third of the way through, and we don't meet the villain/love interest until two hundred pages in. After that, though, it picks up lightning quick.

Edmund Seymour is Mary's cousin and a "black magician," the exact opposite of Mary. He uses magic for personal gain, even rapes a girl (three times!) to get her pregnant so she's sent away from court. Then he tries to seduce Mary to get her inheritance (even though she's not a princess, she does have a sizable income and is an only child, with no direct male relative to get in the way). Of course, they fall in love with each other...but they don't have a happy ending.

What I like the most about this book is the fact that there is good and bad in every character. Edmund especially. 90% of everything we see and hear him do is rotten. Poisoning other courtiers to further his career, stealing from the royal treasury, raping a woman to get her pregnant and so ruin her life...this man has done some shady shit.

But, he saves the life of Mary's guardian and dearest friend at great cost and no benefit to himself. He genuinely falls in love with Mary. He jeopardizes (and eventually loses) his political career to make her happy. He's not an evil caricature. He has layers.

Jacqueline Kolosov does a great job of presenting the absolute shit hand women were dealt in the 16th Century. Mary has a complete aversion to love and marriage, on account of so many women in her life ripped off, even killed, as a direct result of love. Love makes people do stupid things, and Renaissance women couldn't afford to make any mistakes. So many marriages were the result of seductions so the men could get there hands on the inheritance (see: Edmund Seymour, Mary's father Thomas Seymour, all of Queen Elizabeth's suitors, etc.)

And even if everything goes perfectly right, if a woman does marry a man who genuinely loves and respects her, things can still go south overnight. If he dies (of plague, war, famine...) she's lost the person she's completely dependent on for financial support. If she gets pregnant, there is a good chance of her dying in childbirth. And Mary sees the worst of all of it.

Of course, she still falls in love with Edmund. She resists it at first. Then Robert Dudley convinces her to seduce him with her "womanly charms" to buy him time to collect evidence against Edmund that will lock him away. At that point, Mary admits to herself that she is in love. And she learns that that is not a bad thing. Elizabeth I was in love with Dudley (at least, in this story she was; historically speaking...yeah, she was probably in love with Dudley). Mary's nerdy friend Alice (who also opposes marriage) falls in love and marries a scholar/super-nerd to have little nerd-lettes.

Of course, if you fall in love with an evil jerk, who is your cousin, whom you are going to betray to foil his plans for world domination...yeah, that's a bad idea.

Love sucks, man.

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You can purchase The Red Queen's Daughter on Amazon.com here.

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Thanks for reading! :)

Friday, October 14, 2016

Best Horror Movies of 2016 (So Far)

'Tis the season to be scary! And what better way to celebrate the upcoming Halloween than watching pants-wetting horror movies?

This is a list of the best horror movies of 2016 (so far; more come out this month!). If you haven't seen any of these yet, then grab some popcorn, turn off the lights, and start streaming (and screaming)!


Conjuring 2

Link for screaming--I mean, streaming--here.


I unfortunately didn't get to see this in theaters. However, with an 80% Rotten Tomato rating and a scary-ass nun-demon, this one's on my streaming list.



The Boy

Stream link here.


Because life-sized porcelain dolls weren't freaky enough, William Brent Bell had to make them haunted.

Well...sorta. :)

Read the full review here.



Blair Witch

Still in theaters. (I mean, I guess you could stream it via illegal download, but that's a pretty shitty thing to do. Bad reader. No cookie.)




Behold! The rare remake/sequel that doesn't suck balls!

Read the full review here.



Don't Breathe

Still in theaters. :(


Because I watched this last month just as school was starting up again, I didn't get a chance to write an awesome review. Stupid school. Costs way too much tuition and precious blogging time. :(

Anyway, Don't Breathe is created by the same makers of Evil Dead (both the original and the remake, both of which are very good). In fact, Jane Levy stars in both the Evil Dead remake and Don't Breathe, and she does an amazing job (as regular Mia, possessed Mia, and Rocky).

The premise is simple: three desperate schmucks decide to break into an old blind man's house and steal his money. Only, the old blind man is a complete psycho who spends the night hunting them down to kill and/or rape them. (Luckily no raping actually takes place on screen. Also, his definition of the crime is super outdated: "I'm not a rapist. I'm just going to impregnate you against your will with a plunger, like a gentleman.")

Highly recommended. Limited horror movie mistakes, minimal cliches, absolutely terrifying.



Lights Out

Stream it here.



Another one I didn't get to review right away. But as I've only seen it once and spent those two hours cowering behind my palm, there's not much to review, other than the fact that it's terrifying.

Basically, this family is haunted by a creature/ghost that only appears when the lights are out. So while there's a somewhat unreasonable amount of jump-scares, there's some real terror here. This ghost has been around for decades, haunting the main character's mom. But it only shows up when she's off her meds and succumbing to her various mental disorders. So the ghost has to keep up an abusive relationship, convince the mother to stay off her meds, and terrify/kill anyone who distresses her.

So, yeah. Recommended. Terrifying. Awesome.

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Thanks for reading!
What horror movies from 2016 are your favorites?

Monday, October 3, 2016

"The Shaman's Apprentice"

Another short story's out! This one a horror Goldilocks remix at Inner Sins Magazine.

Four boys out looking for trouble. One girl. Three bears.

Read the story for free here!


Sunday, October 2, 2016

Seven Rules to a Martian Jailbreak

A new short story came out today called "Seven Rules to a Martian Jailbreak," published by Aphelion Magazine.

It's a Robin Hood jailbreak. IN SPACE!!! :)

Read it for free here!


Friday, September 30, 2016

Kaladesh Pre-Release (Guest Post)

Greetings, people of my sibling’s blog. I am Liam TGO (“The Good One”), Christina’s brother. She came to me for assistance, since she needed to step into my territory a little bit.
She wanted a blog post about Magic: The Gathering, a game I play perhaps a little excessively.
Now, I know some of you don’t know what Magic: The Gathering even is. This is fine. Prepare to be educated! If you already know what Magic is and know how to play it, skip ahead to the story.
Imagine you’re a wizard. A “planeswalker”, if you will. Now, the world is actually a massive Multiverse with multiple universes, with residents that do different things on each one. Planeswalkers can move from plane to plane, gathering armies and setting into motion events that would have never taken place had outside visitors not… erm… visited.
This Multiverse is made of five colors: Black, white, blue, red, and green. Which takes us to our newest section: “All You Need To Know About…!”

All You Need to Know About the Five Colors!
White: The color of order and structure. White is good at “exiling” creatures, or removing them from the playing field without killing them. White tends to set rules and try to make the enemy follow them, rather than, you know, kill them.
Black: The color of ambition and cost. Tends to have the most powerful effects, but makes you pay a price in the process. It tends to just outright kill creatures. While many evil characters tend to be black-aligned (yes, it sucks, but let’s postpone the racial conversation for another time), black is not the source of all evil - in fact, the eradication of it in the different planes because of this perception leads to many problems the characters have to face. All the colors have potential for evil - white can be a dictatorship, red can be terrorist, blue can be a dick, and green - well, green’s just awesome. Good luck finding an evil green creature.

Oh, look! I found one.

Blue: The color of forethought and saying “no." Blue doesn’t have much effect on the battlefield itself, at least not directly. It tends to care more about the spells people cast, and “countering” them with effects.
Red: The color of freedom and instinct. Red tends to be the opposite of blue: it cares a ton about the battlefield, and often times “burns” creatures, either damaging or outright killing them to pave the way for your creatures. 
Green: The color of nature and force. Its defining characteristic is big fucking creatures. Its way of killing things is have said big fucking creatures fight other, smaller, wimpier creatures.
In case you can’t tell, green is my favorite color.
Back to the blog! Those are the colors. The card types are: instants and sorceries (magical spells that do cool things), creatures (things you put on the battlefield to attack your opponent), lands (things you put on the battlefield to give you “mana”, or the "currency" you use to put the cool cards out on the field), a couple of other non-important ones (in the context of this story), and planeswalkers. 
“But Liam!” I hear you derisively say. “I thought I was a planeswalker!” 
Well, annoying person, you are right. But you can play planeswalker cards, too. They’re rarer cards to find in packs and can cost a fortune, but you can get them. And play them. And dominate with them.
Last Saturday, I had the honor of going to the Pre-release for Kaladesh. A Pre-release is the weekend before a new set (a collection of cards released by Wizards, the company that makes Magic) comes out, when a bunch of stores let you buy some of the cards early and play with them in a tournament setting. The set in question is Kaladesh, a plane that has a heavy steampunk theme where you get nifty trinkets and artifacts. 
Actually, the whole set is based on a card type I didn’t even mention called artifacts, which are man-made devices that you set on the battlefield that do cool things. But that’s not important. What is important is the Pre-release.
I went with my good friend Jacob, because the Pre-release event we were going to was a team-based event. We arrived at the shop, opened up our packs, and I was left staring at this planeswalker beauty: 



While the woman herself is a beauty, I’m talking about the card. You’re staring at about $50 right there. The card is cool, the artwork is cool, the effects are cool, the whole situation was just really… cool.
Jacob looked over my shoulder around that point, showed me another amazing card in red (Combustible Gearhulk), and said, “I’m pretty sure one of us is going to be in red.”


I gave him a dirty look, we continued opening up our packs, and we built two decks.
My deck was red-white. It had the two aforementioned cards, as well as a boatload of other amazing cards in those colors, and a ton of removal. Jacob’s deck was blue-green, and had three cards that traded our crappy stuff (rare as that was in our decks) for our opponent’s good stuff (read above, where I mentioned blue being a dick), as well as a bomb rare that just takes something good an opponent has without the trade, and another even bomber bomb rare that likes it when you play spells.
(Beginner's hint: Every time you do something other than play a land, you are probably casting a spell that requires mana, and some cards have abilities that read "When you cast a spell, I do awesome stuff.")
So the way the two decks played out was, I’d play my good things, the opposing team would answer them (or try to). Jacob would take their best things in the process, and we’d have all the best cards on the board. Cue the slow grind to victory through incremental removal and more stealing of things. We ended up winning every game, except for the last one that we didn’t even play, because we and the opponents decided to go home early and take our prizes. It was almost 11:00 at night and we were tired.
Did I mention neither of us are adults yet (we're 17), and we’re going against people who are anywhere from our age to thirty or forty years old, with way more experience than us? Yup. 
Moral of the story?
… I dunno. That’s Chris’s job. Have a nice day!
Love, 
Liam TGO

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The moral of the story is my brother is a dork. But he was nice enough to write up this week's post, so I can't complain (too much). 
Thanks for reading! :)

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Flying Cobras Update!

“Child,” Jalenvalais said gently, “you were the General when the Acting High Lord was killed...The line of ascension is clear: you are now Acting High Lord.”

New chapters here!



Friday, September 23, 2016

Best Books of 2016 (and Some From 2015, Too)

Dragons, Zombies and Aliens has now been around for over a year. In that time I've read and reviewed some amazing (and not-so-amazing) novels and anthologies. With October coming up (and for those of us in Minnesota, that means we can expect to be snowed in within the week), I have compiled a list of the best books I have read in the last year-and-a-month. Enjoy! :)


And if you think something needs to be added to this list (or taken away), feel free to hit the comment section below!

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7. The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms




Available on Amazon for $6.82. Click here for details.

Full review here.

This is a fast-paced, thrilling epic fantasy that follows the first--and last--week of Yeine's life at court before she dies. (Spoiler? She tells us she's going to die in the beginning, so...)



6. Shadows of Sherwood




Available on Amazon for $7.99. Click here for details.

Full review here.

YA sci-fi Robin Hood. What's not to love?



5. Magnus Chase: the Sword of Summer



Available on Amazon for $9.99. Click here for details.

Full review here.

It's Rick Riordan. That's all I have to say about it. :)




4. Bone Gap




Available on Amazon for $5.99. Click here for details.

Full review here.

I'm still convinced Laura Ruby's doing some kind of 'shrooms to make a book like this. But it's obviously working, so I'm not one to criticize.




3. Dangerous Women




Available on Amazon for $9.99. Click here for details.

Review is not yet up! This one will be a guest post on Civilian Reader.

This is a cross-genre anthology from some of the best authors in the business. There is not a single damsel in distress to be found, just a bunch of truly amazing stories.




2. Zombies vs. Unicorns





Available on Amazon for $6.99. Click here for details.

Full review here.

That title. You cannot beat that title.




1. Trials of Apollo




Available on Amazon for $7.17. Click here for details.

Full review here.

Rick Riordan, hitting the list twice! Cannot wait for the second Magnus Chase book in October!

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Thus concludes my list of favorite books read this year. What are your favorites?

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Flying Cobras Update!

They were all going to die. 

Shit. 


The battle of Argentum has begun! Read the new chapters here!


Monday, September 19, 2016

Blair Witch: Review, Synopsis, and Explanation

Monday Movie! Blair Witch

Bechdel Test: pass
Mako Mori Test: pass

On the DZA Review Scale, I give it a more terrifying than the original and just as amazing (but that could be because I'm a millennial.)


Review

I saw The Blair Witch Project in preparation for seeing this one and was duly impressed by the acting, creepiness, suspense, etc.

Blair Witch took the premise, skill, and setting and simply added 21st Century special effects. The acting was amazing and the attacks were terrifying. We even see a few glimpses of the Blair Witch herself (and she is horrifying).

(Quick note: if you haven't seen the original Blair Witch Project yet, I recommend that you do. It's not critical for understanding the story or even this blog post, but there are a lot of cool hints and throwbacks that make Blair Witch a lot of fun. And it is, after all, a sequel. You can watch The Blair Witch Project here.)

The movie starts with James, the brother of Heather from The Blair Witch Project, finding a video online of the creepy-ass house in the creepy-ass forest that he thinks catches a glimpse of his sister and thinks I want to go there. He recruits Lisa, a film studies major (throwback to Heather) and two life-long friends Peter and Ashley, as well as a pair of eccentric locals, Lane and Talia. They equip themselves with high-tech cameras and GPS to ensure they don't get lost and die, and dive in. (Spoiler alert: they get lost and die.)

The one complaint I have about this movie is it doesn't leave a lot of room for character development. After being introduced to the characters and their motivations, it goes right to the scaring. Sure, we feel bad for James as he tries and fails to rescue his long-lost sister, and we're scared for the others as they get stuck in various terrifying situations. But the emotional connection we had with Heather, Josh and Mike in The Blair Witch Project isn't there in Blair Witch.

This could simply be because there's twice as many characters in the sequel as the original, and thus we only have half the time to focus on each one (a similar complaint to Suicide Squad). Once we start killing some of them off we get a little more attached to the others (namely James, Lisa and Ashley).

It helps that there is a limited number of stupid horror movie mistakes. The ones that are made are, if not forgivable, at least understandable and can be blamed on stress, panic, terror, etc.

I saw it twice. The first time was me cowering behind my hand for 60% of it (didn't even see the witch). The other involved me actually watching it (and snickering at my friend as she cowered behind her hand). So yes, I paid to see it twice, and I'm glad I did.

She's just upset because she failed art class.


Synopsis (All the Spoilers!)

James sees a short video on YouTube that he thinks shows his sister Heather, but we only see a glimpse of her in the mirror as the person holding the camera is running through a (familiar-looking, for those who've seen The Blair Witch Project) house, barricading themselves in a room before it fizzes out.

James is absolutely obsessed with finding Heather, who disappeared when he was four. So he gathers up his friends, collects a bunch of tech that's supposed to keep them from vanishing like Heather, and they go on a camping trip. The locals who found the video, in an old-fashioned camera at the base of a dead tree, insist on coming with them. (Ashley and Peter are not happy about this; they are Black, and the locals Lane and Talia have a Confederate flag hanging in their living room.)

As is often the case in modern horror movies, shit hits the fan pretty quick. Ashley gets a nasty cut on her foot while crossing the river, the woods start making these freaky roaring rumble noises, and wooden stick figures appear over their tents.

At that last one, the characters make the wise decision to leave. But as they're heading out, Lisa notices that the rope Lane is using is the exact same as the kind that tied up the stick figures. Turns out Lane and Talia set up the stick figures in an attempt to bring out more weirdness. James and Co. are understandably furious. Lisa even questions the validity of the tape they found, since it's from the same type of camera that Lane uses (because he's weirdly old-school like that). Lane and Talia leave on their own to avoid getting their asses kicked by pissed off DMA students.

The group still decides to leave, even though the weirdness that had freaked them out turns out to have just been Lane being a dick. But instead of getting to the cars, they end up back at their campsite.

Ashley's injury has gotten infected. When Peter unwraps the bandage to take a look, he sees something moving beneath her skin. Brandon Scott does the perfect impression of a very bad liar on the verge of freaking out but still trying to keep his girlfriend calm.

Meanwhile, James and Ashley try to use a camera drone to find their way out. But instead of seeing the road, or a clearing, or even the edge of the woods, all they see are trees, trees, trees, before the drone gets knocked out.

Peter does the classic "I'll be right back" trope to get more firewood that night and doesn't come back. James goes out to try to find him but only finds his flashlight.

To make matters weirder, Lane and Talia run into them again. The pair freak out, because while it's been a few hours for James and Co, it's been five days for them. Five days of darkness, to be precise, since they haven't seen the sun come up. Thinking that James and the others are some sort of trick, Lane leaves. Talia stays.

When the group wakes up the next morning, the sun still hasn't risen (despite it being 7am), and the entire camp is circled by stick figures. Ashley blames Talia, takes one of the stick figures and breaks it. Talia's spine also breaks (she ends up folded up like a briefcase).

The tents are yanked up by invisible forces (the witch is apparently telekinetic, because she wasn't terrifying enough with the time-warping) and the group scatters. Lisa and James find their way back to each other, but Ashley's on her own.

After a bit of body horror involving her wounds (I'm pretty sure the thing she pulled out of her leg was alive), Ashley finds the drone stuck in the trees. She tries to get it out with her phone, but technology sucks, so she climbs the tree to get it (an impressive feat, considering her injured leg). She almost gets it, too. But Blair Witch decides Yeah, no, and pulls her from the tree. The last we see of her is her body being dragged off-screen.

Now that everyone who isn't White is dead, James and Lisa find the house. James thinks he sees Heather and goes in after her. Lisa stays outside, but gets pushed inside by more rumble-roars (and a glimpse of the Blair Witch herself). She runs into Lane again, who's trying to pull off the Mountain Man look and it does not look sexy. (Come on, Blair Witch. You trap a guy in your weird time web for years but don't give him a razor? That's just mean.) Lane pushes Lisa into a cellar that has tiny tunnels leading back into the house. Lisa gets stuck a couple of times, but manages to wiggle her way to freedom.

Well, sorta. She ends up with Lane again. Except this time she stabs him in the throat and takes his old-fashioned camera.

As she's running up the stairs, getting chased by the witch and trying to find James, we're seeing some very familiar shots: a glimpse of a woman in the mirror, running through a house, barricading herself in a room...

Lisa and James end up in the attic, and since nothing good ever happens in the attic ever, they both end up dead.

The end!

--

Wait, what just happened? 

Here's a breakdown of what happened: during the movie we learn about a serial killer who murdered a bunch of kids in his house in the woods because the Blair Witch told him to, and that his house was burned down soon after his execution (same story we hear in The Blair Witch Project).  But that's the very house in the ending of this movie (the biggest hint to that is the tunnels: James talked about how there were tiny tunnels beneath the house that "didn't really go anywhere," and that's where Lisa was chilling for a while).

We also saw a burned tree that'd been struck by lightning, when Lane and Talia showed the group where they'd found the tape. Later, when Lisa and James find the house, Lisa sees that exact same tree right outside.

And then of course there's the tape itself, and Lane's situation where he's going through days, months, possibly even years when James and Co. experience only a few hours.

Basically, Blair Witch can control time. It's how the house stays hidden when the search parties come, and then appears when she needs to trap someone. And it's how James and his friends were lured into coming into the woods in the first place by a tape they themselves had created.

Doctor Who explains it best:


Thanks for reading! :)

Of course, if you have another theory about the witch, or a different opinion, then please leave a comment!
Which is better? The Blair Witch Project or Blair Witch?

Friday, September 16, 2016

American Horror Story Season 6 Premier

Warning: Spoilers!


This season's theme is My Roanoke Nightmare, a throwback to the story told at the end of Season 1 (Haunted House): all the Europeans of the colony of Roanoke died and haunted the nearby Native American tribe, so an elder banished them with a ritual (which failed to exorcise the ghosts in Haunted House, and since we're seeing these colonial spirits now I think it's safe to say that it failed to exorcise these guys, too). To really go back to the good ol' days of Season 1, the story centers around a couple--Shelby and Matt--who have recently lost a baby and decide to move into a creepy old house.

The format is a little...weird. You know those ghost shows that use cheesy re-enactments to go with the real people's testimonials? It's basically the same thing here. Each major character has two actors playing them: the "real" person giving the testimony and the re-enactment actor. It's basically what would've happened if the survivors of a typical AHS season went to a TV station to share their story.

Which means that we're 98% sure that the three main characters--Matt, Shelby, and Lee--are going to survive. And while death isn't necessarily the end of a character on this show, it does suck some of the fun out of it.

While I don't necessarily like the format, I give full props to the actors. Especially the ones depicting the testimonies. They are very good at conveying pain, grief, anger. There's one scene where Matt (the real Matt) tells us that his wife lost the baby she was pregnant with, and it feels completely real as he does the tough-guy-who's-definitely-not-gonna-cry routine. There's another where Lee explains what happened with her divorce, and she's barely keeping herself together and asks the camera crew, "Can we stop for a moment, please?"

Right now my favorite character is probably Matt. He's such a dork, I love it. He's (usually) smart, protective, and has a lucky tie. What's not to love?


Synopsis

This does not bode well for us.

The opening is exactly like one of those real crime/ghost shows: snippets of later in the episode where we get teasers of what's going to happen (which always drives me nuts because it feels like the producers are trying too hard).

We're introduced to Matt and Shelby, a very-much-in-love interracial couple who are attacked on the street by a gang initiation. Physically, they both heal, but Shelby miscarries. They decide to move out of LA and into the country, in North Carolina. They buy a gorgeous, 18th-Century house for dirt cheap (although it does wipe their savings), much to the chagrin of the locals.

(Shelby says that she immediately felt "a sense of danger" when they bought the house. But of course she doesn't say anything, because it's not as if she's going to be living there for the rest of her life, right?)

Immediately things start going wrong. Pigs start screaming and showing up dead. Teeth rain from the sky. Ghost women are creeping around the house. Shelby is attacked in her hot tub.

I get that there's always teething troubles with moving into a new house, with trying to get used to the weather and meeting new neighbors and all that. But this is a little extreme.

Matt assumes it's the locals, trying to scare them off. It's North Carolina and they're an interracial couple, so it's an easy assumption to make.

The police are no help. They assume Shelby is crazy/drunk when she explains what's happening ("crazy woman who's overreacting to everything" stereotype). When Matt asks for protection he's given the Southern solution to all of life's problems: "get a gun."

Enter Matt's sister, Lee, an ex-cop, recovering addict who agrees to look after Shelby in the house while Matt's away on a business trip. Lee is no-nonsense and tough as nails. She was shot in the line of duty and got addicted to the pain meds, thus getting fired. Her husband divorced her in the mess and was awarded full custody of their daughter (which, being related to a few recovering addicts, I can understand why the court did that; but at the same time I felt really bad for Lee who was clearly crushed by only being allowed to be in "twenty-one percent" of her daughter's life).

Lee also does not like Shelby, and Shelby doesn't like Lee. According to Lee, Shelby doesn't have a real job (she's a yoga instructor) and only has two years of college (compared to Lee's criminal psych degree from UNC, plus police academy). Lee does not appreciate Shelby's behavior in this situation ("My brother married one jumpy bitch") and thinks Shelby's making everything up, trying to scare Matt so they'll move back to LA.

It doesn't help that Shelby's recently rediscovered wine, which does not mix well with recovering addicts. Lee asks her not to drink in the house.

So of course the still unseen bad guy rolls a bottle of wine into Lee's room that night. It incites an argument (cue stereotypical cat fight between the two main women who of course cannot get along because estrogen), which drowns out the noise of the phone vibrating from Matt's frantic calls.

Matt had set up security cameras and an alert on his phone, so he knew the second somebody/something stepped foot on the property. People in pioneer clothes holding torches and cleavers start circling the house and he's the first to know. He sums up the situation rather well: "When a mob shows up on your front door with torches, they are not there to welcome you to the neighborhood!"

When Lee finally realizes that someone's in the house, the women end up trapped in the basement. Shelby starts acting completely useless: making loud noises, clinging to Lee, and questioning everything the trained police officer says and does in this crisis situation. (At this point my sympathy for Shelby drops like a rock. If you're not going to help, then the ghost/witch/monster needs to kill you off ASAP.)

A movie starts playing in the basement, a home video of perhaps a previous homeowner or someone of the sort, capturing the image of what looks like a human with a pig's head.

The real horror is the shitty quality of this video.

When they finally manage to get back upstairs, someone's redecorated the house to a Blair Witch theme. Dozens of little straw-people are hanging from the ceiling. Police label it as vandalism, furthering their uselessness.

Matt comes home and sees the new decor and the video. He thinks it furthers his theory of the bitchy neighbors. Cue the "we should leave"/"no, we shouldn't leave" argument between Shelby, Matt and Lee. Shelby pushes to leave. Matt and Lee stand firm, saying that A) they don't have any savings left, and B) they're not going to let some hillbilly jerks chase them out of their house. (Considering the fact that both Matt and Lee are Black, they're probably a lot more psychologically equipped to deal with this kind of bullshit than Shelby.)

So Shelby grabs the car and drives away.

She also demonstrates very bad driving techniques. Distracted by her phone, she runs over a blood-drenched pioneer woman, who wanders off into the woods. Shelby goes after her and ends up lost. (I can't tell whether it's because of more Blair Witch-themed magic or another example of Shelby's uselessness. It could be both.)

Hearing some noises, she runs toward them and finds a whole spiderweb of stick-people. When she stumbles and falls, she notices that the ground is...well, it's breathing. And growling. And up ahead it looks like the ocean with trees. Someone, either Shelby or the special effects guy, is having a 'shrooms episode.

Pioneer people with torches find her, as well as one of the redneck neighbors. Except the top of his head is cut off, in a truly stellar imitation of O-Ren from Kill Bill. And then we're given the typical AHS ending: woman character screams at the horror, cut to credits.

Now just imagine her as ugly, male, and White, and you've got the ending of the pilot episode.

--

This season has the potential to be really good and really bad. As I've mentioned before, AHS has swung both ways. But if the pilot is any indication, we're in for at least a halfway decent season.

Gaga has yet to make an appearance, but it looks like we're going to be seeing a lot more of Kathy Bates next week, which is never a bad thing (well, it's usually bad for some of the other characters, but it's rarely bad for the audience).

Good or bad, I'm planting myself in front of the TV and hiding behind my knitting next week. Hope to see you there!

--

Thanks for reading! :)

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Flying Cobras

They could hear the enemy army just outside the walls, pounding on their shields and shouting. A war horn blew that sent shivers down Khashanna’s spine. 

New chapters in The Flying Cobras! Click here to read.

Also, check out this amazing artwork of Shivra done by MissDerps:


Saturday, September 10, 2016

Top 5 Villains

School started this week. My last year of college before I am unleashed unto the adult world. You've been warned.

On a completely unrelated note, here is a list of the top 5 villains ever to grace the pages of your favorite books or pixels of your TV screen.

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Without a good villain, you can't have a good story. Whether the bad guy is nature itself, a power-hungry sorcerer, or a teenage bully, they have to be just as compelling and engaging as the hero.

As I've mentioned in previous posts, I like villains who are terrifying, complicated, and human (at least in the sense of personality). Caricatures like the child-eating witch in Hansel and Gretel, while classic, just don't cut it for me. Why is she eating children instead of her vegetables? Why does she set her trap in the middle of freaking nowhere? (One of the reasons I have problems with a lot of superhero movies is because of their villains. Some of them are amazing [i.e. Joker], while others are just dumb and two-dimensional [i.e. the Enchantress from Suicide Squad].)

So these are the villains I've found to be the most captivating, complicated, and sometimes redeeming. Enjoy! :)
Please note: I'm not including Voldemort, Darth Vader, or Hannibal Lector on this list because everyone else already talks about them all the time, and I like finding and sharing new things. :)

5. Gary Sitterson and Steve Hadley (Cabin in the Woods)



If you haven't seen Cabin in the Woods (and I highly recommend that you do), here's the breakdown: five twenty-somethings go to a cabin in the middle of the woods for the weekend and end up tortured and murdered by a bunch of zombies, which are controlled by these two bozos in the tech room: Gary Sitterson and Steve Hadley.

These two are great villains because A: they're hilarious. They're sarcastic, they crack jokes, they run a betting pool as to which monster gets summoned (Hadley always chooses a merman because he's a dork) and throw massive parties in the office with tequila shots at the end of the day. They're the coworkers everyone wishes they had, who specialize in behind-the-scenes, underground torture.

And B: you kinda root for them. Because if they don't brutally kill these five youths, the world gets destroyed by ancient evil gods.

As far as villain justification goes, that's a pretty good one.


4. Cersei Lannister (Game of Thrones / A Song of Ice and Fire)



She's on this list just for being played by Lena Headey. That woman deserves every award she's ever gotten and more. (The Walk of Shame took three days to shoot. Three days of people throwing food and shouting insults while she walked around in less than a sheet.)

Cersei is an amazing villain. She's almost--almost--inhuman in her evilness, from ordering the death of twenty kids (including a baby) who could threaten her reign just by being Robert Baratheon's bastards, to blowing up the sept. She's a liar, she shows no remorse or guilt for the things she's done, and she's fucking her brother. *shudder*

Her only redeeming quality is her love for her children. It was the one thing even her enemies gave her credit for. When Joffrey was poisoned, when Myrcella was brought home in a casket, you felt bad for her, because she wasn't a ruthless, evil queen in those scenes. She was a mother who'd just lost her babies. By the time Tommen jumps out a window she's just resigned and cold, and she's lost the only thing keeping her human.


3. Magneto



Again, amazing actors. Sir Ian McKellan is one of my all-time favorite movie stars, and Micheal Fassbender isn't too shabby himself.

But I love Magneto not just because of his terrifying abilities and the complicated (and gut-wrenching) history he has with Charles Xavier (I cried during their last scene together in X-Men First Class, when Charles is shot and they both realize they're going to be enemies now). My favorite thing about Magneto is the irony.

He's a Holocaust survivor, so he intimately understands the consequences of such legislation as registering mutants and fear campaigns. And his solution to this oppression is to murder as many non-mutants as possible. It's almost as if he's running a genocide or mass murder against an entire people. Weird.


2. Zuko (Avatar: The Last Airbender)


(I'm talking about the show. Not the movie. Never the movie. The movie must be burned.)

Zuko was the first villain I ever loved to hate, and then sympathize with. We do nothing but absolutely hate him for the first half of season one, given as his goal is to capture the Avatar, the world's last hope for peace and an end to the hundred-year war.

And then we learn his backstory. See that giant scar? Courtesy of his dad. Oh, and his sister is cold, calculating, a bit insane, and a worse villain than he ever was. His entire nation hates him, having banished him at age 13, and his mom's been presumed dead for much longer. Really the only friend and ally he has is his Uncle Iroh.

Then in season two, when he becomes a fugitive, things get really grey. He's not actively hunting Aang and the other good guys anymore. Now he's just struggling to survive. He starts empathizing with the good guys...and then rejoins the forces of evil when he should've joined Aang's team right there you son of a bitch!!! (I was a very pissed off eleven-year-old when the season two finale came out. Soooooo pissed.)

But then season three happened and he joined the good guys. Hooray! :D


1. Luke Castellan (Percy Jackson Series)



(Again, we'll just pretend the movie doesn't exist, except to make cute gifs like the one above.)

Stole Zeus's lightning bolt in an attempt to start a massive war between the gods and demigods.

Betrayed said gods and demigods after protecting them at Camp Half-Blood for five years.

Took command of an army of monsters--literal Greek monsters--and tried to kill all the gods and demigods that way.

Let an ancient, evil Titan named Kronos (the guy who ate his kids so they couldn't overthrow him) possess him after taking a dip in the Styx to become indestructible (like Achilles).

So, yeah, he's a bad kid. But again, you empathize with him. Because demigods get a rotten deal. They're constantly hunted by monsters and evil beings. More often than not their mortal parents are dead or kicked them out. And instead of being treated like actual human beings and beloved children by their Olympian parents, they're used like pawns against the other gods, if they're not ignored altogether.

With all that crap going on, it's no wonder that Luke honestly thinks he's helping all demigods by doing what he's doing. After all, Kronos and the Titans overthrew Uranous. And then Zeus and the Olympians overthrew Kronos. Demigods are the next logical step, right?

You gotta love the worst kind of villain. The bad guys who think they're the good guys.

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Thanks for reading! :)