So I thought: why not share the excitement with all of you by hosting a character-based meta-thon?
Here's how it works: if you have a theory about one of the SGA characters, this is the place to share it. You can weigh in on such thorny issues as: What's Carson's story arc, and which Carson counts? Where are the PTB going next with Todd? Who is in love with whom? What are they really doing in between what we see on screen?
Or maybe there's a favourite trope in fanon that you want to see more of: Is John still buggy? Is Kavanaugh really such an ass, or do we just love to hate him? How many fathers does Teyla actually have, anyway?
What I want to say I'll do in response to any meaty meta morsel presented is write a drabble on that topic. I really want to. But I know full well that after marking about the sixth assignment today, I'm just going to be going, "OMG, entertain meeeee." So I'm making a counter-proposal instead: if you see a meaty morsel of meta and find it inspiring, go at it! Drabble that thing but good.
Meta! Drabbles! It's a win/win situation. Am I right? :)
I'll kick things off with some of the meta comments I've been leaving around the place recently.
Here is my reading of Rodney and his friendship with John, in response to velocitygrass's reviews of The Daedalus Variations and The Shrine. (I haven't seen these eps yet; velocitygrass's reviews are so inspiring! I urge you to pop over and read, if you haven't already.)
Friendship of Legends
The thing that leapt to my mind was how damn lonely Rodney must have been all his life, before John. For him to have taken so long to understand that the friendships he's made on Atlantis are real implies that he's been picked on, frozen out, betrayed by people he thought liked him, and unloved by kin so consistently that he had given up.
I mean, there are so many people Rodney could have called out for in this episode -- Mum, Jeannie, Katie, Jennifer, even Carson. Most people that sick and scared call for their Mum, or sometimes Dad, even if that person can't be there. Maybe a spouse or sibling or child. But nearly always kin -- the person who is their rock, who makes them feel better just by being close.
So this is John: Rodney's rock.
It also says a lot about Rodney's relationship with John that he was so reluctant to acknowledge it as friendship at all (Sunday), that he's so damn jealous of it (Chaya... and all the rest), even though it was clearly one of the first connections he made on Atlantis and there's never been any real competition for John's attention. Even reading it just as friendship, it says so much about Rodney's inner life and how empty it has been of any real intimacy.
For instance, I'm rethinking how Rodney must have felt when John took all those first steps, like asking him onto the team, or wanting to play with him and hang out and be a geek, and even when John cuffed him around the ear or was angry. I wonder how Rodney felt when it just kept happening, and John didn't give up on him, didn't just stop the friendship when it got hard (when Rodney's giant brain is an issue, and not just because it's linked to his ego). In fact -- John makes Rodney work for it after Duranda. Can you imagine SG1 Rodney working on a friendship? Trusting that it's worth it? I can't. But after having done so, wow, Rodney must be so invested! Yeah, it's no wonder John's right there as his rock.
These signs of friendship are all so much more important, aren't they, if Rodney was a little broken at the start?
It explains so much about how he was back in SG1, and his crush on Carter, and why he's so oblivious. And it also explains why he's blossomed on Atlantis. That's the kind of change that happens when people stop clenching up defensively against the world, and start to believe that they can be loved.
It even explains why Rodney has been dating, instead of doing that awful, defensive sexist thing he used to do to Sam. He feels safe enough to reach out to others now. Because no matter what, he believes John has is back.
God, I love their friendship, above and beyond any OTPness. I am such a friendshipper!
In response to velocitygrass's review here, I gave my slashy take on John in Tracker (based entirely on reviews, btw, as I haven't seen the ep):
The Shape of Jealousy
In The Shrine, John got a massive hit of Rodney needing him. Because of that, he actually, (very, very cautiously) got his hopes up. Maybe, John thinks, Rodney is finally ready to get with the program. For God's sake, he ran to John, almost threw himself into John's arms! It's obvious how much he cares for John -- and it's such a relief for John to finally know that, and to know that he has some slight chance. After The Shrine, how can Rodney just not get it? Still?
But Rodney's really good at not getting things that disturb his carefully constructed view of himself. It's this deep defence mechanism that he created to protect himself from all the abuse, rejection, teasing, professional jealousy and plain dislike.
He doesn't have any pressing need to rethink his friendship with John: he trusts John will be there, like he trusts gravity. But loving John? Being gay? Having another tick against him in terms of being accepted? Nu-uh. He's going to keep being oblivious as long as he possibly can.
He feels kind of weird whenever he thinks about the brain parasite and the things he did then. But anyone would, given the circumstances, right? And he's not responsible for anything he did then, anyway! But there's this niggle, this twist in his gut sometimes when John is near. Embarrassment, he tells himself. It'll pass in time... Oh, look! Keller is all shiny. I'll focus on that.
So there's John -- he practically got to cuddle Rodney just a short while ago. And ever since, he keeps getting this funny lifting feeling in his chest whenever Rodney's near: Maybe, he he finally lets himself think. Maybe! Oh, God, maybe...
And then he walks into Rodney's quarters and finds him getting ready for a date. With Keller.
Oh, yeah, you bet John's jealous and dismayed. And he knows exactly what Rodney's doing, and he hates it, but he's not quite sure enough to call Rodney on it overtly.
And, yeah, even Rodney knows that John's hurt when he walks out. But don't worry, he'll have explained it away by the end of the day. John was jealous because he wants Keller. Or cockblocking because he can be an ass that way. Or petty, because he doesn't want Rodney to be happy, when John's still single. Yeah, that's it. It's all John's fault, and it's not like Rodney really did anything wrong.
Both Sheppard's Choice and the remix by telesilla are being discussed over on sga_talk at the moment: here.
What I said about 'Sheppard's Choice'
In response to helsmeta, I said:
I don't know if you red my tagline: John has cross-dressed all his life. It's not his fault no one else has noticed.
Your take here [the idea of Sheppard quietly enduring 'pretending' that he is in the wrong body, and appreciating the irony in the situation] is pretty much the core of the idea I originally had, which Sheppard's Choice is a shorthand for.
While I made do with getting down the central issue in the short story, the idea that really interests me is that the longer John stays in a female body, the more normalised it will become, and the harder to let go, just through simple inertia. So, I wonder, when I think about continuing this story, where is John's tipping point? The moment he decides not to go back, despite the risks to what he has in his life now? And what happens then, because this is John, and he's inarticulate about his feelings, but he's not a bad strategist. How does he go about getting what he wants without ever telling? Or does he end up telling someone, an ally? Who?
And can he out-think a well-meaning Rodney? How does he neutralise him, as he's obviously by far the biggest threat? What lengths will John go to?
I don't think we've often seen him go all the way to the end of his leash; maybe with feeding Todd, and that was for Rodney.
What is Sheppard's choice? I still really want to know!
And finally, I've already ficced in response to crysothemis's wonderful meta and pic spam on the jacket in The Shrine, and her review of the episode.
Commitment and Joint Custody
Oh, John. Just when I think I've fathomed him, there's something more. Because that's the look of someone who has accepted that he loves, and is more than fine with it in the privacy of his own head. I wonder what he thinks about -- I suspect it's not porn all that often. At all. OMG.
I see slightly different Johns on different days (one of the joys of fanfic, after all), but that last screencap fits right into the core of John-ness as I see it.
A while ago I posted that I've been craving marriage fic, that in my lizard brain it seems like time they stop dating and make a commitment. And part of me can see that, if the circumstances twisted enough in just the right way, John would publicly go there if Rodney wanted it enough (do not ask about my epic John-gets-arrested-for-conduct-unbecomin
But now I'm wondering if I want that because it's already true. That screencap makes me think that John is already married to Rodney, in every way that matters to him. That at some point he just owned up to the way he feels (maybe McKay and Mrs Miller?), accepted it couldn't go anywhere for all the usual reasons (DADT, Rodney being straight, etc, etc), but let Rodney be that for him anyway. And now Rodney's that comforting place he thinks about and holds close when things suck -- you know how you can still feel close to someone you haven't seen in years, because you still think of them all the time, even if you never speak? Is John like that with Rodney? Gets 90% of what he needs from their friendship, and the other 10% from the Rodney he holds close inside his head and heart?
Gah! Now I've convinced myself that John's married to Rodney, and he knows it.
As for the jacket: My vote is that it's an old jacket of John's that he had shipped in on the Daedelus; although I can also see the argument of Rodney having left it in the room (it's a slightly dorky leather jacket, as these things go).
My favourite scenario is actually the least likely I can think of: that they have joint custody. That for some reason they ended up getting a jacket on a mission, or scoring one on Earth while they were off being dorks together (won it in a raffle at an MIT quiz nite or something), and so they take turns with it. It's a Thing. They bitch at each other about whose turn it is, and fight over who really won it.
That's the kind of thing good meta leads to, people! So let's give everyone lots of inspiration. :)
I'll shut up now. Take it away with the meta and drabbles. Tinhat theories and wild extrapolations welcome, along with thoughtful canon-based ponderings and theories about what we love in fanon.
ETA: I've just reposted this entry, as it wasn't showing up on people's flists for some reason. Thanks to paceus for pointing it out.