Tuesday, 26 April 2011

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Apparently all the posts about my obsession with Razia's Shadow that have been percolating for the last 4 months or so are bursting to the surface this week. I guess that's how it goes sometimes.

I wound up really fixating on the song "Toba the Tura" today, in part because I left it almost completely out of the plot synopsis I wrote yesterday. But I love it to pieces, both musically and because of the number of my buttons it hits lyrically.

I think the thing that gets to me the most about Razia's Shadow is how completely unpretentious it is. It's just open and frank and straightforward and emotionally raw, not bothering to hide its tropes away in the corner. And so when it just *says* something outright I would normally expect to see in subtext or ignored by an author entirely I just feel so refreshed by it.

Ahrima is, flat out, every embodiment of the irritating Gary Stu Luciferian anti-hero protagonist that is prone to show up all over the place. The narrator has been telling us over and over again that he's the smartest, the most gifted of the angels, but all we've actually seen in the show is him skulking around and being pissy because he doesn't get enough attention for his cleverness, and then outright destroying the world just because the Spider told him to.

And the Spider is a very classic, straightforward temptor, working entirely by flattery: "You have a special gift/ but they still treat you like you're a kid./ It must hurt so bad/ with the knife in your back./ They don't understand/ this is their last chance./ No more idle hands/ You'll destroy the lamps./ Then they'll know who's in control." And Ahrima just *buys* it, like a huge sap. I'm sorry, but... that is not a great indicator of his level of intelligence. That quantity of hubris is a big flashing sign of idiocy.

Which is why Toba the Tura is so gratifying to hear: "They say you're gifted/ Well, I just see a scared kid/ They must have flipped it/ Your skills are latent." Yes, fact. He is a stupid manpainy loser. And then later: "You've had a life of/ hope, privilege and love./ But now it's all gone/ maybe the design's flawed." It's all the things I wish people would straight-out say to hubristic anti-heros, and it's just there. (And Chris Conley *rocks* the part. It's a swift kick to the gut.)

And then Ahrima gets it and feels guilty, and the way he reaches out *fascinates* me. "Oh, what have I done/ Destroyed all I loved./ Oh, what have I done/ Please make me your son."

For a while now, Stephen Schwartz's musical Children of Eden has shaped the way I think about the first few chapters of Genesis. That musical is entirely about the relationships between parents and children; most particularly about the moment when teenagers rebel and leave home. The Father has to let Adam and Eve leave the garden; Adam and Eve have to let Cain go; Noah has to let Japeth go. At *every stage* in that musical, there's a conflict, but the children chose to go forward and leave the nest behind despite their parents' wishes.* And at every stage in that musical, there are two children: the one with the agency and the one who is conflicted about going with his sibling or staying with his parents. (Chiefly, this is Adam torn between Eve and The Fatehr, and then Abel torn between Cain and their parents. Act II is a bit less in parallel than Act I)

So I LOVE IT, in this Genesis knock-off musical, that Ahrima's first response to realizing how monumentally he's screwed up is to go looking for a parental figure. He does the teenage rebellion thing, exercises his agency and almost immediately wants to crawl back into his parents' arms. But O the Scientist is gone, is absolutely nowhere to be found unless there's sweet universe creation to be done. In his place is this austere figure who tells it like it is and is charge of sweeping up the pieces of the mess that Ahrima's created. And Ahrima *still* reaches out to him as a parental figure. (And there is never any question that Nidria will stay with him, she just meekly follows Toba the Tura over the wall and into the Light, leaving Ahrima behind forever.) It's just... delicious somehow in the big web of Genesis symbolism in my head.

* Off-topic: Back when I was in Smallville fandom I really wanted to do a Jonathan Kent vid to "The Hardest Part of Love Is Letting Go"

ETA: Self, why are you listening to "Pursuit of Excellence" just to compare the temptation style with "The Spider and the Lamps"? NOW IS NOT MUSIC TIME, NOW IS SLEEPING TIME. :((((((

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