one of the oddest arguments i've ever gotten into was like. i had agreed to give a dude a chance. we were on a first date. and he got. just. so mad. because i had told him i read about 2-5 books a week.
but he found out it was actually that i listen to 2-5 audiobooks. he was dead set on the idea - that's not reading, it's just listening. that i was lying, somehow, by implying i'd "read" the book.
language has a beautiful ability to adapt over time, particularly in the face of technology. when i "connect to the internet" i'm referencing the oldschool method of literally plugging into the internet - which i very rarely physically do. i roll down my window, which is a reference to the circular mechanical action it used to take. hell - the floppy disc remains our resolute save file icon. when i say i "ran to the store," nobody expects me to actually run - and what my version of running to the store looks like and your version are probably pretty different.
i told the guy, baffled: i look at things through glasses, that's still seeing. nobody complains i'm filtering the image.
he says: that's not the same and you know it.
i use audiobooks because i have adhd, and it makes it so i can actually focus. i am using it to help a medically diagnosed condition.
language also has a really cool ability: when we read something, our brains look at a word and make an image. when we hear a story, our brains hear a word and make an image. whether we hear it or read it - the word means the same thing, written or spoken. there is no quantifiable difference in the knowledge-encoding experience - i still happily hallucinate while i'm listening.
and i just kind of stared at him while he was telling me that "claiming" i had "actually read" a book that i had actually-listened-to was lying
and my only baffled response was like: "... are you gatekeeping the experience of... reading?"
Billy who moves to California with the Byers because he knows recovery is impossible in Hawkins/around Neil. He tries paying rent to Joyce with what little savings he has but she immediately shuts that down like the kind woman she is and, because Billy is stubborn and wouldn’t ever agree to giving her nothing, has him cooking dinners for the family instead. Will loves your lasagna, she says. Max sends him letters from Hawkins and every one of them ends with a P.S., ranging from long, personal really-get-to-know-you type questions to simple statements like you suck. Even though they’re physically far away, they’re emotionally the closest they’ve ever been. After he’s healed enough to, Billy starts taking Jane to the beach. The first time they go, they share the memory of his mother in silence before Billy goes off and rents a board, ready to teach her how to surf. Things are good and the sunshine is helping level out the color of his skin around his scars. He’s getting better, and the move is helping him heal in ways he never thought he could.
So, you know how Hair Grooming/Braiding being akin to wedding vows is a widely accepted trope in the realm of LOTR?? That! But for Witchers!!
Like, the first time Jaskier helps Geralt bathe and simply washes his hair? No big deal, that’s something that can be considered brotherly/friendly affection. The first time Jaskier Braids his hair afterwards???? The Bard is showing his Intent to Court?? And maybe Geralt… likes that idea. Very much so. But, of course, this is still Geralt and Jaskier, so they don’t Actually discuss anything. Geralt just assumes Jas initiated the Courtship, meanwhile Jaskier thinks Geralt initiated…
This can happen as Early or Late into their friendship as you’d like, but in my opinion, the Earlier the Funnier. I’m thinking well-within the first few months, when they’re still getting to know one another. Which makes Geralt’s first winter back at Kaer Mohren even funnier! When he left he was this Perpetually Pissy grump more liable to punch than to smile. And he goes out on The Path and returns a year later… Married. To a BARD, of all people. And he is Utterly smitten. And Jas isn’t much better, totally Besotted with his White Wolf.
when I say that Will being canonically gay in stranger things is the biggest proof we need for byler it’s not simply because we know he is gay and that’s it - there is context that comes from being in fandoms for something like 12 yrs or more.
first of all, I’ve started watching ST because of people talking about will and byler on twitter (in july), as a person who barely knew anything about it (I didn’t even know mike and el were a couple, so I was super surprised they decided to make it romantic in s1 when I didn’t really feel like it would happen).
i was a sherlock fan who shipped sherlock/john. i’ve shipped non-canon couples for a long time (fandom spaces are queer spaces a lot of times). i know what it feels like to read things from a text that could imply things - a text that could be queercoded, depending on interpretation. i know what it feels like to have fun with fanon and ship things that are potentially there, but not textually canon (like steddie or ronance, imo). it’s fun and it’s mostly harmless, until the writers decide to use it as queerbait to make their fandom stay with them for a long time because they’re rooting for their queer ship (i think supernatural is the worst example of this, as they confirmed the one-sided love and then killed the queer character and sent him to hell LMAOOO). those are milking the fandoms, knowing the strongest core of a fandom is the hardcore ones (many queers) and not the casual public.
i’m a big fan of hannibal, yuuri!! on ice and she-ra, three shows that are mostly queercoded until they aren’t (and they confirm the queer ship to be canon). i swear, people CAN tell. you can see when there is a creator and writer and team who truly wants to tell a queer story/relationship, even when they can’t show it openly (like hannibal or yoi). as a person of the community myself, i’ve been able to tell it was canon. it’s different from fans just shipping things, or queerbaiting, there is care and intention and writing and parallels and romantic framing and so many things that make you see that it is there.
(now, for byler i hope it’s different. every straight couple in ST has at least one kiss and i think byler HAS to have at least one (dramatic, passionate, show-stopping) kiss because it would be totally unfair if they don’t. they have to be totally and utterly canon)
what is different about byler and stranger things, compared to sherlock or other shows for the straights?
it’s will being canonically gay. bbc sherlock would never do that. bbc sherlock would mock feelings. he would laugh about love. he would probably be even a bit homophobic, just for the sake of it.
and it’s not just will being canonically gay, it’s his love for mike being canon. i’m sure other people have said it, but will’s love for mike is NOT JUST A CRUSH. it’s not ridiculed. sure, it’s used to forward a straight ship (that is sinking), but the story is not finished yet and i want to believe that byler is endgame and the writing in s4 was meant to 1) leave things uncomplete and unseattled between mike and will, between lies and non-confessed feelings; and will being in the middle of a relationship that is sinking. 2) mike responding to will’s feelings of love and to no one else, not even el begging for him to say he loves her. 3) making EVERYONE AND THEIR MOTHERS feel sorry for will. cry for will. pity will. root for will. root for GAY WILL. (people who think he is straight and he loves el don’t count, those are morons)
will’s love for mike is LOVE in capital letters. it is not a crush. it’s never treated as something to laugh about, or something like a one-sided crush like Dustin’s crush for Max or Steve’s crush for Robin, those feelings are clearly more superficial and you can see that they’re not gonna happen from miles away. will’s love is A LOVE THAT MOVES MOUNTAINS. it’s totally romantic. deeply rooted. it’s like those loves you can see between jancy or lumax or even more jopper in s4, a love that saves one another, that makes people do crazy things, a love that is inherently part of the character, that makes them FEEL and DO and LIVE and you can’t imagine them not being in love with that person.
these writers know how to write that type of love. each canon ship they made (even s1/2 milkvan in some ways), i’ve loved it. they know what they’re doing, how to make it feel like it’s true love even without writing grand love confessions or making them kiss every other episode. it’s in THE NARRATIVE, the things the characters do and say and imply.
and even more, about byler... something i wrote in a fic i’ll never finish but imo it’s the biggest point we can take away from will’s love and confession in s4. WILL SEES MIKE. will sees mike for who he is and loves him anyways. he sees the best and worst in him and still loves him and knows him and grounds him to reality and tells Mike how he could be the best version of himself, pushing him to fight for it (you are the heart). will’s love is ancient and deep, it’s a love that we don’t even know when it started, it’s always been there, it’s always been part of will (and part of mike, because it IS MUTUAL). it’s like breathing. like the sun every morning, it’s just there. it’s not going away. it’s not even a choice, at this point, there is an helplessness in the love will feels - it’s too big and too much for him he would love to run away from it, but still he can’t deny his heart.
and that’s why i think byler is endgame. because will is canonically gay, and he is in love, and no one is making fun of him for that. his love for mike is serious, profound, romantic, genuine. it makes you cry and root for him. it’s LOVE. the strongest of forces. and every byler scene is made with care. it’s never taken lightly, not even their fights, they always matter. there is no mocking in there. no sneer. it’s treated genuinely. almost like the creators are telling you: “look here, look at them, it matters. it matters to them and it should matter to you. there is something serious brewing here, and it is romantic love”