• Zoë

Never thought about it like that...

Do you ever find your opinions or feelings about a show, movie, book or even fandom changing after reading a fanfic? Has an author ever brought up a point about the source material that you hadn't thought about before that made you reconsider your feelings about certain characters or plot lines?

This has happened to me a few times, and I'm not sure how I feel about it.

Usually, it's harmless. It just makes me think about a character in a more nuanced way, understand them a bit more.

That is what happened with my feelings about the MCU's Loki. I always enjoyed him as a character and an interesting villain, but after reading a couple fics that explored his motivations more and posited some ideas on alternative reasons why he might have attacked Earth and tried to take over Asgard (other than just wanting to rule the world, obviously), I found myself sympathizing with him more. After having nowhere to go following "Thor" and approaching Thanos for help, who's to say he wasn't coerced, conned, forced or even tortured into bringing the Chitauri to Earth?

Sure, that just might be me believing non-canon things because I want to, but who's really to say?

That's similar to the thoughts I had about Draco Malfoy following my reading of some Drarry future fics. Maybe he wasn't such a bad guy and was forced into the ideas he had about muggle-borns and Voldemort's cause by his parents (duh, that's absolutely what happened). After some time to think away from the bad guys, I think Draco absolutely would be able to come up with his own ideas and opinions on the things he was taught to hate as a child.

But without reading fanfictions from his point of view that delve more into what his future might look like, I probably wouldn't have thought more about Draco beyond him being Harry's school nemesis.

Where this has gotten me into a bit of trouble is with Game of Thrones.

Daenerys used to be one of my favorite characters, easily top 5. But after reading a lot of fics that aren't from her point of view, or even Jon's, I find myself not rooting for her as much. I've read a lot of fanfics from Sansa or Arya's POVs lately, and seeing their possible thoughts about the Dragon Queen spelled out in a more clear way has made me rethink how I previously felt about Dany coming to Westeros to rule.

After reading some fics that were more anti-Dany, I stopped being able to support her taking the throne like I used to. I also ended up more upset at Jon for bending the knee than I was when I first watched the seventh season. And this is all due to my new(ish)found love for Sansa after reading a lot of fics with Sansa-centric pairings.

Sansa was betrayed, held captive, married off, psychologically manipulated, stolen, married off again, raped, and had other terrible things happen to her so other people could use her name to secure the North to their cause. Yet she still supported Jon when he was named King in the North (even though he didn't listen to her when he should have) over her because it's what her people wanted. But then Jon went south to meet with Dany and gave away the kingdom fairly quickly without discussing it with Sansa.

I wasn’t surprised Sansa was upset with Jon for doing that and that she wasn’t Dany's biggest fan. And I supported Sansa's side more than Jon and Dany's because of the points brought up in the GoT fanfics I read that broke down her feelings and gave more context and nuance to the ramifications of Jon's actions, even prior to season 8.

When I first watched season seven, I thought I wanted the show to end with Jon as King in the North having an alliance (perhaps marriage) to Daenerys who would sit on the Iron Throne. But going into season 8, I still wanted Dany on the throne because I thought she was probably the best person for the job, but I wanted Jon by her side and Sansa as the Queen in the North because let's face it, the North isn't great at being run by southerners.

After season 8, my feelings got a bit more complicated (because Mad Queen Dany, obviously), but I found myself not being as surprised by how the show ended up and what the characters did, because reading fics that were more anti-Dany prepared me for the worst path she could take.

I also like Sandor, Jaime and Gendry way more now than I would if I hadn't read fics with them included in the pairings.

Have you guys had the same problems after reading fanfics? Are there any pieces of source material you've had your feelings about changed after reading certain fics? Has that affected your consuming of that media in the future?


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