Start from Part I

“Your children?”

here I have an excuse for starting hella in medias res: the last four parts of this chapter are a single-take deal ft. every main character whose name doesn’t start with C

“Yeah, were you watching Hector at the funeral? He was staring at me the whole time like I took the last doughnut. In the world.”

Xiyuan found himself trapped in an odd corner of the room, with a wall on one side, a seating area behind him, complete with fireplace; and a man whose eyes he’d stared into so many times, across banquet halls and juice pong tables, and whose face now seemed to be shifting color along with his words in a manner that threatened to corrupt Xiyuan and swallow him up into the hue itself, like he was stuck in a waking nightmare on bad meds, in front. “Was he.”

New people: this is Xiyuan and my attachment to him is not healthy

“I’m not sure why Hector’s acting like this. He wasn’t even there for most of the day! He doesn’t know what happened.”


“It’s like, I realized she was feeling down, so I took the day off to hang out with her. Cheer her up a little. And now he’s blaming me? For trying to do something nice for my wife? Kids, right? They don’t get how the world works.”

He’d answered his own question, but waited for Xiyuan’s answer anyway. The other mourners kept their distance; they must have also sensed something dripping off of Mike, even if they weren’t able to see it. The room’s sound distribution was crappy. You’d expect that of a public meeting space. It wasn’t clear if they could eavesdrop and even less clear if Mike wanted them to. In theory, they could be absorbed in their own conversations, having assumed Mike’s best friend was effectively carrying out the usual best-friend counseling duties that would be expected at such a time. “Mmh.”

“Claudia’s—she’s—we joke around all the time! He does it too! Just yesterday morning, he was watching a comedy special with her, yukking it up about plastic cheese. Do you see me pointing a finger at him for making her laugh? No.”

Mike hadn’t paused for Yuan to answer that one, and in fact had only now noticed that Yuan had stopped responding at all. His gaze darted either to the left—Mike’s left—where presumably Bernard was trading gym stories with various Flexes, or to four o’clock—Mike’s four o’clock—where Mike last recalled seeing Hector working on his stack of empanadas.

“He’s being ridiculous about the whole thing. Kids, Yuan, right?” He stepped forward, far enough so that ignoring him would cause a collision. Xiyuan would be forced to respond.

As expected, he stepped back. Mike had regained his attention. He’d tensed up noticeably, defensively, but that was also to be expected with an invasive gesture. And because Mike had ended on a question, Xiyuan had to say something.

“I’m really quite unwilling to talk about it at the moment.” For the difficulty he’d had getting the words out, he may as well have grunted again and spared the effort.

“Aw, come on, Yuan, I—“

Before Mike’s protest had been fully interrupted, and before they’d realized a third person had approached them, Xiyuan felt a hand on his shoulder.

And as if to shatter any doubt remaining as to who it was, the person spoke up. “Oh, you poor dear.”

Bernard kept his hand on Xiyuan’s shoulder until his husband began to relax. “You must pardon me; I misunderstood the purpose of this event, as did many others. Perhaps an announcement to the bereaved is in order. Why not give us a speech where you raise a fuss about how her untimely demise tainted your precious image? Rather than grumbling through the entire funeral, it would allow you to enlighten us once and be done with it! How silly of me. I was under the impression that the victim was resting in pieces in an urn.”

If his dialogue isn’t coming off as historically authentic, it’s because he’s almost certainly picked up some modern slang. At some point our boys had a conversation about how, in the 21st century, ‘intercourse’ has some unwanted implications and we don’t do phrenology anymore

“Come on, this is a really hard time for me.” Over this unwanted interloper’s shoulder, Mike could see Xiyuan beginning to lose focus again. “My wife died and my son won’t talk to me because of it. I’m losing my whole family because of this one accident.”

Now fully in between the other two men, Bernard’s menacing presence gave Mike no choice but to step backward, making room. “An accident? Why, that changes everything! Why have a funeral at all? Quickly now, let’s ring up the Reaper and tell him it was all a big misunderstanding! He can tell you, ‘Oh, pardon me, that’s the third time this week it’s happened, let me get the papers in order and we’ll have her back in no time.’ How convenient; you could march right up to her and say you were only joking, of course.”

So Bernard had mastered sarcasm, as Mike had known for a while, but still hadn’t gotten the brevity part down. The inappropriate gesture bothered him more; humor shouldn’t be used for ridicule here. He’d have to counter with his own to defuse the situation. “Et tu, Bernard?”

“How noble you are, to put aside your wife’s suffering out of concern for the living. What a shame no one could foresee this unavoidable tragedy! What a shame you were unable to stop it!”

Theatrically, Mike raised both his hands as if at gunpoint. “Whoa, whoa. What’s the scene for?” After the gesture’d carried out its purpose—matching the double ‘whoa’—he looked over his shoulder at the black-clad rabble, or toward an uncooperative Xiyuan, anywhere but at Bernard. Everyone else had to be deliberately ignoring them, or pretending to, to look so blasé about the vicious attack going down. Most likely pretending. They were mumbling. They had to be mumbling about him. Louder for those in back, he continued. “Yuan, you want to calm down the Haunted Spouse?”

“Ah, yes, what a brilliant time for humor. Are you really that dense?” Bernard’s path forward continued, and in Mike’s distracted state, the distraction having been suppressing a joke about being chased by a zombie, he followed the lead.

it’s a heel lead because he does Int’l Standard

“Look, ‘mate,’ of everyone here, I’d expect you to understand. You know”—he made an explosion noise and wiggled his fingers to mimic the tips of flames.

“Well, be assured that the man who terrified generations of Windenburg children thinks you are the monster. The world knows I killed my wife! That was my sole legacy! And yet I have never once, in the past hundred years, denied my involvement. Do you know what I first said to Mimsy, when I saw her in that dreadful state? ‘My dear, I’m so sorry.’ And I groveled at her feet! I would never dream of lecturing her for the mess she left on the carpet, much less moan to the poor woman about starvation like a wolf who ate the whole flock!”


“—I’m talking now.” A knife to the back couldn’t have shocked Mike more. He stayed silent. “Mimsy was bought and sold as if she were a part of the Estate itself, and yet even when all of Windenburg feared me, she never did. Ask anyone at The Shrieking Llama, she raised a hand to me in public! More than once! And you, astoundingly, found yourself wed to the great Claudia Espinosa, who at one point was the strongest woman in the world, and she was powerless to raise a finger against you! Tell me you never saw the terror in her eyes! Mimsy’s flame may have been snuffed before her time, but Claudia was melted away until there was nothing left to burn!”

“But you didn’t mean it and neither did—“

Just saying—if an author seems to have some understanding that events in a chapter should be arranged in escalating order, and this scene isn’t even close to the end, what the hell happens later?

“—I’m not finished. You have been killing Claudia for years. And finally there is proof, proof of how ‘harmless’ your prodding and teasing had to be, that no naysayer can deny. You cannot convince us that Claudia is still alive. You cannot say your actions did not contribute to the hysteria that killed her. Prove that you have a soul. Tell me you can still feel guilt. Say it.”

This freaking guy. He’d set a trap. Mike stretched to look past him and was pleased to find that while Xiyuan had been out of sight, his being a hype man was unlikely. He didn’t even seem to be watching the verbal beatdown. Just his own hands. But if he looked up now, he’d see Mike—attacked without a friend in the world to stand up for him!—refusing to fall for his husband’s tricks. “That’s ridiculous. That’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard.” The repetition hadn’t caught Xiyuan’s attention, so he spoke louder. “Why are you doing this to me at my wife’s funeral?”

“He evades it!” Bernard had positioned himself to block Xiyuan from view. “Why, it’s as if I said nothing at all! Can you not remember half a minute into the past? Is there a blank space in your brain where facts that don’t suit you are supposed to be?”

“Look, Hector also made her laugh. Why aren’t you bothering Hector? Go ahead, be the hero. That’ll make you look real good.”

“Do you still think I am the enemy? Your feud is not with me, but with reality itself.”

He dodged to the right again, almost into the hallway, to escape the onslaught. “Yuan, this is ridiculous. Are you gonna stop him?”

Lord, but the man was shaken. If he hadn’t failed his best-friend duties, Mike would have felt concerned. But he was being impossible; he wouldn’t even look at Mike, and when he finally raised his head and turned to Bernard—who’d stopped screaming long enough to comfort him—you would’ve thought he was the one getting yelled at. Like he should be the one feeling scared and confused. And when he finally spoke, it was painful to listen, the croaking even more severe than last time.

“This isn’t what Claudia would have wanted.”

I’ll just come out and say it: the meaning of this line changes depending on how you interpreted the earlier interactions, and there’s some context that should help here, and somewhat here as well but to a lesser extent. Really, their scenes in S&L5 (first link) are all you need. Leading question: why does Bernard choose to step in at that moment?

He was heading for the door before finishing his sentence, as if by compulsion, as if he weren’t speaking to Mike at all.

Yuan can use the doors ’cause he’s in PB&J

No matter; the knowledge he was upset should still be enough to placate his husband. “Well? You heard him.”

Just as Mike was about to follow up with a go-get-’em-tiger-adjacent statement, Bernard dove in closer. This was a man who was practiced in intimidation, fear as an art form, but a potency behind his expression made it worse, much more so, than the fake one he brought out when the parent of a vegetable-repulsed child slipped him a fiver. “Let me explain something.”

if you care about this sort of thing, note that this is a Gryffindor/Slytherin conflict where you’d have to be an absolute douche to side with the Gryffindor

“Didn’t you hear—“

“Your actions crossed the line long ago. I have watched you mistreat your wife, and my husband, and I have tolerated your presence only out of respect for their free will. This will no longer be the case. The jester mask has come off, and your curse on Yuan has been lifted.” Bernard was so close, now, that Mike could feel puffs of breath when he spoke. “That man’s love is a treasure to be cherished. It is not a weakness to be exploited.”

Don’t ask me about the logistics of ghosts accepting money; I’m still figuring out how they’re corporeal in some cases but not others. Can they control it? Is it a proprioception thing? Why are they wearing clothes? WHY CAN THEY *CHANGE* CLOTHES?!

“So you’re telling me to stay away from him.”

“Of course not.” Bernard pulled away. Mike was once again treated to personal space and cool air that wasn’t tainted with a chewed sugar-cereal scent. “I have no need to control my spouse.”

That being said, he shot Mike one final venomous look before heading to the door, just as Mike had predicted. Big mistake. Rookie mistake, chewing out the spouse of the deceased in front of anyone who cared enough to show up. With a classic-cartoon villain speech and all. No one’s going to believe him after that.

If they wanted to make Mike the bad guy instead, they’d better damn well behave.

Behind him, Hector moved his dirty plate into his inventory, having just turned down the sixth person who offered to comfort him about his loss.

‘Nard’s still wrestling with the door. He’s not in PB&J

Xiyuan’s successful escape brought him back to the outdoor marigold shrine, where Claudia’s urn was still displayed. Few other mourners strayed from the reception. Aileen had removed herself early: she hadn’t spoke since her reflections at the ceremony—hadn’t had her eyes open for most of the ceremony, as if to block out the glowing yellow-orange splendor she’d been encapsulated in—and had been watching ripples propagate and disappear in the fountain. Matt was still inside.

Watching Aileen in front of the fountain, disrupting Myshuno Meadows’ lively vibe with her funerary black, and her disquieting stillness, Kendra got the impression she didn’t want to be bothered. But she couldn’t move on until she spoke to Aileen. The last witness. Time moved around them; the flora swayed unperturbed, birds filled the silence with their own language of pickup lines and territorial disputes.

Aileen turned—over her left shoulder, had she known?—and Kendra saw that she maintained the same neutral expression she’d held throughout the ceremony, which Kendra felt contrasted oddly with Mike’s performance.

“Aileen.” Though her gaze was blank, Kendra felt it too intense to maintain eye contact. “Hi. Uh, do you want to be alone right now? I can go.”

Since I didn’t clarify last time, PB&J is Mr. Liu’s Play Big and Jam, Xiyuan’s community instrumentalist club that has no plot relevance except it lets me lock everyone inside on public lots

“It’s alright. I’d been meaning to talk to you.” She gestured to a bench on her left, one right up close to the fountain. “Come, let’s sit.”

The Reaper’s White Elephant (Part III)
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17 thoughts on “The Reaper’s White Elephant (Part III)

  • August 2, 2020 at 10:57 am

    Clearly, clothes are an intention.

    It’s so weirdly relevant to get insights into Mike when we have a narcissist gaslighter in the White House during a pandemic.

    Speaking truth to power pokes a big hole in the gas balloon.

    And what is it about having crushes on Sims? My strongest crushes in the past decades have been on Sims.

    • August 3, 2020 at 1:45 am

      Oh, right; also, their clothes are translucent, so why can’t we see through their clothes? Why can’t we see their organs? Spouse says they have to kill all the clothes they want to wear.

      It happens like that: sometimes you want to contrast atoning with refusing to admit fault, and it’s just… even more relevant than you intended. What bugs me is that a lot of story “heroes” do this, assume that what they’re doing is good without actually reflecting on the consequences of their actions. And Bernard doesn’t get to be the hero anywhere else. Welp! If the sugar-cereal thing didn’t cement his role, this will.

      Was that crush line a response to my caption on Yuan? You can choose whether to believe me, but I swear up and down that these guys are more like my children. I’m just being a terrible sim mom by picking favorites. Awesome funfact, though! Love it.

      • August 3, 2020 at 10:37 am

        Yes, they do have to kill all the clothes. So sad. There’s a very active SETA (Sims for the ethical treatment of attire) movement of nudist ghosts. It’s the intention that makes garments translucent but not see-through. I think ghosts, for the most part, have forgotten the intention of organs. Sometimes you see a beating heart.

        Oh, yeah, the crush was in response to Yuan. I didn’t realize the attachments were maternal! Mine tend to be obnoxiously romantic.

  • August 5, 2020 at 3:08 am

    Wow there’s so much I want to comment about this chapter but I might have forgotten a lot along the way.

    My first thoughts were “Omg Bernard sounds exactly like Grim when he gets mad.” Now I know what you mean by pairing Grim and Bernard hahaz! How does Bernard sound like? Do I picture British, sarcastic American or pride & prejudice movie accent? Please enlighten mee I need to picture this!

    Next thing I thought was “Wow, Mike. You’ve married Claudia for how many decades and during reception all you can think of is assert your innocence?” Clearly Claudia means lesser to him than himself. I bet the mourners picked up on this. Hector is acting normal. Mike is NOT acting like a bereaved husband. Ugh I’m so glad Bernard called him out on his crap even if he doesn’t realise Bernard had clued him in that his priorities are giving off strange/suspicious vibes. I also don’t like how Mike keeps repeating ‘Kids’ as if Hector’s views are less credible because of his age. Go away ageist thing. Although this chapter is his pov so I have to begrudgingly continue reading about him lol. But ugh there’s so much ‘me, me, me’ in Mike’s every word that it’s so revolting.

    “”For the difficulty he’d had getting the words out, he may as well have grunted again and spared the effort.””
    -If you meant this to be funny, I laughed so hard. XDD Maybe I just have a weird sense of humor.

    How is Bernard and Mike’s verbal stand-off related to Gryffindor/Sytherin conflict? Isn’t selflessness a Gryffindor trait? Mike would be in Slytherin with his narcissistic attitude. Bernard would be the mis-sorted guy in Slytherin accidentally put there because he looks like Jafar from (cartoon) Aladdin in this picture.

    Oh gosh Mike’s pov up til the end is just… crap. No reflection whatsoever, forever me, myself and I. Yay Aileen’s part is next!

    • August 5, 2020 at 11:06 pm

      Right?! Bernard, Xiyuan, and your Grim could all have a People Who Talk Like That dinner party together.

      Yeah, Mike’s freaking awful. I laughed out loud at “go away, ageist thing.”

      Hah! I actually did want to talk about the sorting thing, even though it is tongue-in-cheek. Bernard is ambitious (one of his canonical traits!), resourceful, cunning, clever, determined, admittedly kinda snobby, and sure does have “a certain disregard for the rules.” A heck of a lot of plotting went into that rant, and delivering it when he did is incredibly sly, so much so that the audience has to be looking closely to catch his motivation. And he’s often typecast as the villain. A clear Slytherin. He’s also a posh Brit born in 1863, so think Queen’s English.

      Mike is an intergalactic hero captain; I’m looking at the Gryffindor page for anything other than ‘brave,’ but it just says ‘brave,’ ‘daring,’ and ‘courageous’… I’m not sure what they meant by including all three. Mike’s Self-Assured, the sim version of brave. And he certainly has a lot of nerve. Selflessness is more of a Puff thing, I think. My favorite theory is that people are in Gryffindor because they choose to be daring, even if they fit into one of the other houses. And Mike? He would say he belongs in Gryffindor, no question. He’s thoroughly convinced he’s one of the good guys.

      You already got the message I’m trying to send here: that people who consider themselves a hero and refuse to admit fault because of it are sometimes way, way more dangerous than the people the community considers capital-E Evil.

      • August 9, 2020 at 8:24 am

        I didn’t realise Bernard was a premade 😂 And Lord Shallot to boot. That was a fun machinima. Not sure if I’d still call him brave. He’s self-assured, and self-centered for sure though.

      • August 9, 2020 at 2:57 pm

        He is! Long story. The gist is that Xiyuan is a horny idiot and apparently into the optional-corporeality thing, then all this OTP shit happened and I’m trying to make a comic about it. It’s understandable you didn’t recognize him; this is going to spoil a caption in RWE5, but Bernard Shallot-Liu is the “twerk, charge they phone, be bisexual, eat hot chip & lie” of Von Haunt Estate patriarchs, and he has countless inter-universe beefs with like every other Bernard. He is so done with BBD!Bernard in particular.

        I’m leaning on the “intergalactic space captain” thing for bravery and also “our choices are what define us, Harry,” or whatever Dumbledore actually said, so if that doesn’t work for you, it doesn’t work for you; fair enough.

  • August 15, 2020 at 10:37 pm

    ::Steps onto stage, clears throat::



    ::steps offstage::

    Seriously though, fucking Bernard. At moments I was actually cheering. When he said “I have no need to control my spouse,” I yelled “YAS HONEY” so loudly my husband came into the room to check on me. This was completely delightful to read and cathartic in a way I didn’t even know I needed. We’ve been in Claudia’s head for so long and she just bowed to Mike. We’ve been in her friends’ heads with them feeling angry at Mike but also helpless. But finally, FINALLY, someone told Mike what a straight up piece of shit he was and I loved it.

    And Bernard was the person to do it, right? Because he’s been down this road. Only, when he killed his wife because of his self-centered behavior, he didn’t continue being a toxic piece of shit.

    And Mike. This motherfucker. I’m sorry I keep cursing so much, but really, I was not prepared for this twist. Things would have been tidier, even easier, if he was just a sinister prick who murdered his wife on purpose to get the attention. But the fact that he doesn’t even see his role in it, that’s he’s still trying to gaslight her even after she’s dead.

    The audacity.


    Umm other things that made me scream: phrenology jokes, loving the shots of the legs moving closer together in confrontation, lol GROUPS, that’s how you get sims to leave a scene when you need everyone else to stay inside!

    I just. I loved this chapter. It feels like a win at a time when…::looks around at the entire planet::…well it feels like we could all use a win.

    • August 20, 2020 at 2:56 pm

      YOU SEE WHY I WAS LIKE, CRAP I ACCIDENTALLY WROTE AN ENTIRE POST FOR FEROSH, HAHAHA. Please, keep cursing! This is a knew-the-words-to-“Killing-in-the-Name”-since-I-was-four space, not a golly-gosh-we-must-protect-the-youth’s-ears-from-poo-poo-mouth space.

      Mike’s complicated (and thank you for your kind words, makes me feel like I’m doing something right), but do I dare point out how similar he and Bernard are? Now they’ve both killed their wives, they’ve both cheated—and Bernard’s was a full-blown red-rose affair with feelings and shit—they both have highly developed comedy/humour skills and use these skills to tease their spouses, and they both take control of social interactions through manipulation. And yet Mike’s unequivocally hated by the reader base while Bernard is loved, and it’s the exact opposite for the general sim population in-universe. Definitely a lot to unpack there.

      By the way, we’re going to see a lot more of Bernard, and I promise he will go on about the time he may or may not have hooked up with Oscar Wilde and no one knows whether to take him seriously. The people have spoken! More Bernard! (I’m one of those people.)

      (The legs moving closer together are mildly plot-relevant when combined with other breadcrumbs, but I’ll give everyone some time to ruminate on it.)

      • August 20, 2020 at 3:01 pm

        Well fuck. ::sits down:: I have to take an entire afternoon to think on what you said about Bernard because…fuck. I’m going to come back later after I’ve ruminated because I can’t articulate the reasons why Bernard is in my heart and Mike isn’t. To be fair, I didn’t start off thinking of Bernard as good. And then he wormed his way into my heart. And I don’t know how you did it.



        ahhhhhhhhhh okay I have to go consider a bunch of things. This is why I love this story.

  • August 15, 2020 at 10:39 pm

    Also, I wanted to say: hats off to writing a complicated villain. Like really. I think its hard to pull off and we’ve talked about this, but writing him with empathy has made him so real and so much worse than if he was just a bad dude doing bad things because plot reasons.

    Okay, now I’m really done. Sorry for such a long comment ahahahah.

    • August 20, 2020 at 2:57 pm

      I love long comments! Please, feel free to yell at me as much as you want!

  • October 23, 2020 at 10:05 am

    Ooh, this was fun. Some of my favourite kind of dialogue is a conflict where both parties are 100% convinced that they are the party in the right and their view is the only correct one, and this was a thing of beauty.

    “Your feud is not with me, but with reality itself.” Oof, what an apt summary. Throughout this whole chapter I had this visual in my head of Mike standing behind a thock wall of plexiglass and Bernard throwing a ball at it, but the ball just keeps bouncing off the wall and Mike is getting increasingly more perplexed by what the heck Bernard is trying to achieve by throwing the ball ober and over again, because it’s just not geting through whatsoever.

    I can imagine why all of this would make Bernard go off like this, things that ring familair to us can set us off more than anything, so of course what happened to Claudia would be too close to home. And with Mike imposing himself on Yuan like that, the person who killed their spouse is now a perceived threat to the spouse of someone who is also responsible for the death of their former spouse… there’s really no way Bernard wouldn’t have gone into a fit of rage.

    (Btw the segment with Mike laying into Yuan I feel like supports the theory that Mike is weirdly lost without Claudia, he needed her for validation, and now he’s getting none. She would have just agreed with everything he was saying, yes Mike, you’re absolutely right there, and now Mike doesn’t have that, Yuan is not reacting the way Mike is ised to and Mike can’t deal).

    Ah, interesting, I would have pegged Mike for a Slytherin, but tood point on the courageous element, and them gryffindors can be self-aggrandising sometimes, so that fits. I guess I’ve always thought of gryffindor as being motivated by the greater good (as much as I hate that term), while Slytherin always prioritising self-interest, which is where it would be the other way around.

    As for the question you posed in the comments about why people like Bernard and dislike Mike in spite of their similarities, I can’t speak for anyone else bit for me I know that what often makes a difference is self-awareness. Bernard has no problem with accountability, and has done a good amount of self-reflection (granted, he’s had a long time for it, haha), while Mike is like a shallow puddle – even if he had centuries to reflect like Bernard, I don’t imagine he’d have a breakthrough because he just doesn’t really have anywhere to go that’s that deep. At least that’s my read on it!

    • October 24, 2020 at 2:10 pm

      The ball hitting the wall—yep. Doesn’t matter how hard or how well he throws it. It’s just bouncing off. I’M SURE ALL OF US CAN RELATE. Your last paragraph says it all, really. Happy 2020.

      That’s certainly part of Bernard’s motivation. You’re already picking up on unsaid implications left and right, but if you want something deliberately constructed and self-contained to mull over, there’s another reason Bernard chose to step in when he did. I’ll make one point and back off. Throughout these two chapters, it’s been Xiyuan’s turn for the emotions (let’s be real: it’s always Xiyuan’s turn for the emotions). Now we’re treated to a scene where Xiyuan’s being quiet and unresponsive when he was out of control only a couple hours ago, and Bernard, who’s been keeping a cool head, now seems to be, as you said, blowing up in a fit of rage. Maybe that struck you as odd?

      About Mike losing Claudia, yes, exactly: he needs enablers. First it was Yuan and then Claudia, and he’s losing both.

      Hahaha, let’s keep the “what Hogwarts house is Mike” conversation alive! For your further consideration: Mike believes he is right, no matter what, and will not accept any evidence to the contrary. As a result, if you ask Mike if he’s working for the greater good, of course he’s going to say yes. Of course he thinks his priorities are just and noble. Compare with the house that’s so competitive they seemingly can’t handle anyone else being in the spotlight, whether it’s the House Cup, the Triwizard Tournament, or whatever the heck Hogwarts calls their Quidditch thing. Sure, everyone wants their own house to win, but did the author show them losing the house cup graciously to Slytherin and learning to be good sports about it, or did she show Dumbles repeatedly spewing points out of his ass so the Good Guys would win and the Bad Guys would lose no matter what? Contrast with the yeah-every-one-of-us-is-a-piece-of-shit-what-you-gonna-do-about-it vibe we get off of Slytherin.

      Like you said, self-awareness is a huge part of it… and that’s what always bugged me about Gryffindor.

      But #NotAllGryffindors probably.

      • October 25, 2020 at 2:43 am

        Something to ponder about, for sure!

        That is a good point about Gryffindors. They are quite self-aggrandising, for sure, which does fit Mike. As for Slytherin, I did always find it weird that they had a house dedicated to self-professed a-holes. Like, what exactly are you trying to nurture in these people? Lol.

      • October 25, 2020 at 5:01 pm

        RIGHT?! It only makes sense if you interpret Slytherin’s presentation in the book as auto-fellatory black-and-white—red and green?—thinking on the part of every Gryffindor main character.

  • August 22, 2022 at 9:53 pm

    “I’m *really quite* unwilling to talk about it at the moment.”

    Thank you for italicizing this to remind me what Xiyuan’s word choice-related idiosyncrasies mean XD

    Dammit Mike, “Haunted Spouse”? Wildly inappropo and nobody likes you, but that was a good one.

    I’m here for Bernard’s polemic, cheering on the sidelines with a giant foam finger, but Mike’s ego is eggshell-fragile. Public humiliation will not bring out the potentially non-existent scrap of guilt he feels.

    “That man’s love is a treasure to be cherished. It is not a weakness to be exploited.”

    omg i really really need to hear that first line spoken aloud in an enraged posh accent (Also, the throwback to Claudia’s love as an exploited weakness has me TT.TT)

    “I have no need to control my spouse.”

    Ooh, spicy jab, Bernard. Manny waves around her foam finger in fangirl fervor, despite knowing the fallout won’t be pretty.

    I wholeheartedly stan Bernard’s uxoricidal parallel to Mike but with, like, actual self-reflection <3


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