BLUE SUN ROOM

Firefly River vs. Serenity River : fanfic portrayal

POSTED BY: EMPIREX
UPDATED: Wednesday, March 7, 2007 16:01
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Wednesday, January 17, 2007 8:19 AM

EMPIREX


I was reading a Riverfic the other day... it was set post-BDM and River was paired up romantically with a Main Character (I don't want to say who the main character was because I'm not wanting to point fingers at a particular author or 'ship - this is an occurrance that happens a lot with Riverfic in general. It was just this particular fic that made me stop and think about it.)

For some reason, the fic wasn't clicking with me. The romantic parts made me feel a bit uneasy. I wondered why it seemed so "off". Then it hit me.

The author was writing River the way Summer had portrayed her in the series, not the movie. And that made a huge difference. In the series, River was a teenager who seemed to have reverted back to a child-like state. In the movie - I don't know if this was at Joss's direction or if Summer just grew more confidant and mature in her acting choices - River's still a bit crazy, but not with that same child-like innocence. She looks, speaks, and dresses like a woman, albeit a whimsical one.

I actually saw the movie before I watched the series, so this particular pairing makes sense to me - but this fic made the Very Beloved Main Character seem a bit - pedophilic?- which is all kinds of icky and upsetting!

I guess this post is supposed to be a helpful hint or reminder to those authors who bravely write River-fic. She certainly is a very difficult character to write for, but be aware of how you portray her in fiction. It's a big turnoff to read about a character who behaves and thinks like a fourteen year old hopping in the sack with a thirty-year-old man, doesn't matter which one.

I'm just sayin'... It's kinda ... ya know... confusing and it makes me feel dirty for reading it. Does this make any sense? What do you guys think?


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Wednesday, January 17, 2007 3:03 PM

ASARIAN


Quote:

Originally posted by EmpireX:

I was reading a Riverfic the other day... it was set post-BDM and River was paired up romantically with a Main Character (I don't want to say who the main character was because I'm not wanting to point fingers at a particular author or 'ship - this is an occurrance that happens a lot with Riverfic in general. It was just this particular fic that made me stop and think about it.)

For some reason, the fic wasn't clicking with me. The romantic parts made me feel a bit uneasy. I wondered why it seemed so "off". Then it hit me.

The author was writing River the way Summer had portrayed her in the series, not the movie. And that made a huge difference. In the series, River was a teenager who seemed to have reverted back to a child-like state. In the movie - I don't know if this was at Joss's direction or if Summer just grew more confidant and mature in her acting choices - River's still a bit crazy, but not with that same child-like innocence. She looks, speaks, and dresses like a woman, albeit a whimsical one.

I actually saw the movie before I watched the series, so this particular pairing makes sense to me - but this fic made the Very Beloved Main Character seem a bit - pedophilic?- which is all kinds of icky and upsetting!

I guess this post is supposed to be a helpful hint or reminder to those authors who bravely write River-fic. She certainly is a very difficult character to write for, but be aware of how you portray her in fiction. It's a big turnoff to read about a character who behaves and thinks like a fourteen year old hopping in the sack with a thirty-year-old man, doesn't matter which one.

I'm just sayin'... It's kinda ... ya know... confusing and it makes me feel dirty for reading it. Does this make any sense? What do you guys think?




I couldn't agree more (though, for this topic, I'd be willing to try).

Icky stuff concerning River is the main reason I don't read fanfic. And though I certainly find her beautiful, I don't think of her in terms of "sexy" or "hot". To me, the whole River persona, and her innocence, and a whole crew recognizing that innocence, and willing to protect it, is a huge part of why I love Firefly so much. All of a sudden reading how River is grappling with any of the crew -- apart from finding it all manner of distasteful to take advantage of a mentally traumatized seventeen year old girl -- really, IMNSHO, violates not just River, but the very fabric of Firefly itself.


--
"Mei-mei, everything I have is right here." -- Simon Tam

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Wednesday, January 17, 2007 3:16 PM

GORBISHUN


Quote:

Originally posted by asarian:
I couldn't agree more (though, for this topic, I'd be willing to try).

Icky stuff concerning River is the main reason I don't read fanfic. And though I certainly find her beautiful, I don't think of her in terms of "sexy" or "hot". To me, the whole River persona, and her innocence, and a whole crew recognizing that innocence, and willing to protect it, is a huge part of why I love Firefly so much. All of a sudden reading how River is grappling with any of the crew -- apart from finding it all manner of distasteful to take advantage of a mentally traumatized seventeen year old girl -- really, IMNSHO, violates not just River, but the very fabric of Firefly itself.


I totally agree with that, Asarian. That's exactly how I feel.

_________________________________________
«°-:-°»Also... I can kill you with my brain.«°-:-°»

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Wednesday, January 17, 2007 5:32 PM

EMPIREX


Quote:

Originally posted by asarian:




I couldn't agree more (though, for this topic, I'd be willing to try).

Icky stuff concerning River is the main reason I don't read fanfic. And though I certainly find her beautiful, I don't think of her in terms of "sexy" or "hot". To me, the whole River persona, and her innocence, and a whole crew recognizing that innocence, and willing to protect it, is a huge part of why I love Firefly so much. All of a sudden reading how River is grappling with any of the crew -- apart from finding it all manner of distasteful to take advantage of a mentally traumatized seventeen year old girl -- really, IMNSHO, violates not just River, but the very fabric of Firefly itself.



Beautifully put, asarian. I kinda skirted around the whole ethical issue but yeah, I think maybe you hit the nail on the head.

Is it ethical to write fic pairing a child-like character with a grown up? I don't know. There's nothing romantic about someone taking sexual advantage of a weaker party (even if the weaker party *appears* to be willing). The same thing for rapefic. A rape or attempted rape should not be used as a catalyst for romance. I'm fairly certain that when a woman has been raped, having any kind of sex would be the last thing on her mind, even if it is with a certain handsome captain/doctor/mercenary. I just think people should be a little more careful about what they write and how they write.

That being said, one fic comes to mind where a River/Jayne fic was actually well done. It was also a post-BDM fic: Kaynara's Bedlam/Bed and Wine Series (which was primarily a Mal/Inara fic).

The key was that Kaynara created a version of River we never got to see, but one that I'm sure River would have become had the series continued for a few years: a lucid, clear-thinking ADULT River, capable of carrying on an adult relationship, not a pixie-ish child that pretty much just giggles and dances around being meddlesome. She also softened up Jayne a bit, made him not so thug-ish and a little more feeling. Being loved by River changes him and he's a better man for it by the end of the story. I've yet to read another Rayne fic on par with that series, but I urge anyone who writes Riverfic to check it out. That's how the pros do it, girls and boys (waves to Kaynara: "I love you! I'm your biggest fan!"). Final thought: Mal and Jayne are not pedophiles. Please don't write them like that. It's not sexy, it's icky and it does a dis-service to the awesome characters that Joss wrote.

Good thread. Does anyone else have an opposing opinion? I'd like to hear what others think on both sides of the issue.

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Wednesday, January 17, 2007 6:48 PM

PHOENIXROSE

You think you know--what's to come, what you are. You haven't even begun.


It's interesting because this topic was started not long ago: http://www.fireflyfans.net/thread.asp?b=4&t=26514
Not the exact same thing, but talk of River in relationships seems popular lately.
One series I have read that gave me a bit of a soft spot for Mal/River is Serenity Now by IrishCowgirl. It's gotten a bit more angsty lately, and there was a certain chapter where River seemed to be regressing a bit, but that's been taken down. The story is set in such a way that Mal tried to give it a go with Inara but it didn't work out and she left, and River is in her twenties by the time anything happens, so it seemed realistic to me. Also the later chapters explores how badly River could screw things up with her abilities, which was interesting.
Definitely needs to be handled with care is all I can say.

[]

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Monday, January 22, 2007 9:58 AM

MAL4PREZ


Quote:

Originally posted by asarian:
really, IMNSHO, violates not just River, but the very fabric of Firefly itself.

That's just... perfect. Thank you for saying that. Amen!!

-----------------------------------------------
I'm the president. I don't need to listen.

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Monday, January 22, 2007 12:28 PM

DESKTOPHIPPIE


I agree with most of what Asarian said, and I honestly can't see River grappling with *any* of the crew.

That being said - I'd really like to see River in a relationship. As in River chasing someone she likes. Mostly because I imagine the crew would react very much the same way we react - some horrified, some concerned, some indifferent and one or two cheering her on. I think it could be a really interesting way of exploring just how independent River can be, and just how stable she really is.

I'm hoping to tackle something like this in fic myself... eventually. I'll try a straightforward story or two before I get into something that difficult!




Graphics available at www.desktophippie.com

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Monday, January 22, 2007 12:47 PM

DANNIISUPERNOVA


Good point Desktop Hippie. In fact it was quite enlightening.

_____

"You know that's gonna fall off."
-----Nathan Fillion (to me while drunk)

How are ships unlike food?
1. If you try it and don't like it, you don't have to do it again.
2. You can have as much as you want, when you want.
3. Cravings can be very specific.
I mean, hello it's not as if there's 'ship police?

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Monday, January 22, 2007 12:55 PM

DESKTOPHIPPIE


Aw, shucks! Thanks!

It's actually more or less because I've had to deal with mental illness myself. Nothing nearly as serious as what River went through (thankfully) but it does give me a certain amount of empathy with her position. She's going to get older, and she's going to get interested in the opposite sex (or maybe the same sex, if some fics are to be believed) and I'd actually really like to see just how Simon and the others would deal with that. Are they ever going to see River as anything more than a tortured child? Is she adult and healthy enough to make those decisions on her own?

Not to mention I'm kinda curious to see what kind of guy she'd go for.




Graphics available at www.desktophippie.com

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Monday, January 22, 2007 1:52 PM

ROMANCEGURU


I think it has a lot to do on how we perceive River. As stated in the threads above, some see her as “weak” and therefore unable to make the choice to enter into an adult relationship with a man, especially a much older one. I do not see her as such. It saddens me that just because River is at times disturbed (and we know this less so after the BDM) that she cannot be allowed the same desires as any other girl/woman.

All River wants to be is “normal” and I think by denying her romance, your treating her character in a manner in which she would loathe. We see her wanting to be apart of the family and wanting to form intimate friendships with the crew; love is just the next advancement in her character growth. It is unrealistic to think she should remain stagnate.

I agree that River should not be portrayed in a one-sided manner, child-like/crazy ect (with the exception of a purely comedic piece) because there are many facets of her character. Even in the series, I always got the sense of her pre-academy nature shining through, a deep maturity in the way she carries herself. Balancing the woman she is becoming with the child-like innocence she encompasses is key to any good River-centric fanfiction.

Quote:

“River's still a bit crazy, but not with that same child-like innocence. She looks, speaks, and dresses like a woman, albeit a whimsical one.”


This is a good point, and helps support the supposition that River is maturing. I think in Serenity she does contain a certain ‘sex appeal’ that she did not in the series. Having to deal with the fact that she is a killer also would help balance the fragile River that some portray her as, and to extent along with her genius, age her beyond her years.

All these dynamics help support my comfortableness in pairing River romantically with any main character of her choice regardless of age. Reasonably, the initial inner struggle would be more on the man’s part in observing the apparent age difference. If you can get the characters to connect on a deeper level, age then becomes a trivial matter.

I’m slightly curious as to the fic you read, unless it was one of mine. ;-p

“Hell is coming to breakfast.”

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Monday, January 22, 2007 4:37 PM

BLUEEYEDBRIGADIER


I really got to agree with RomanceGuru here. River is a very complex and interesting character to both watch and write about, so tackling the objective of writing River accurately becomes a lesson in patience and nuances. At least I think so personally.

When it comes to relationships involving River, I swing Rayne. Now that might make me pro-pedophilia in some people's eyes, but I think that if the author took the time to explore how River and Jayne (or River any other BDH but Simon, frankly) could and would hook up, I think some mighty spectacular work could be done. River's relationship options are somewhat limited by both her role as a member of Serenity's crew and the fact she is both still somewhat mentally unstable and in possession of psychic abilities. That and the fact that River, even before her time at the Academy, was a rather interesting person to interact with due to her extreme intelligence and her related creativity which could be a tad bit off-putting to people just meeting her.

While I support River hooking up with Jayne or another BDH or an OC (the latter two options being dependent on how the author spins River’s entrance into a relationship), I do recognize that River’s only 16 in the series and 17 by the time of the BDM, and do have qualms with someone having her enter into a sexual relationship pre-movie. Friendship or the beginnings of something I can accept with some literary sweetener, but full-fledged sexual relationships? Even I draw a line. But saying that River can’t be relationships with basically anybody is really what does a disservice, since she’s being denied a chance to experience an integral part of human existence because of some third-party declaration.

Two examples I can recall off the top of my head for how to do stories where River enters into a relationship well and effectively are Lattelady6’s Voices and Visions and TamSibling’s A New… trilogy of epic tales. In both cases, the authoresses have taken the time and effort to explore how a post-BDM River who’s saner and emotionally more mature, but still trying to deal with catching up with the stuff from her missing teenage years, reacts to developing feeling towards a much older and “problematic” Jayne Cobb, who’s not exactly come out of the BDM emotional or physically unscathed either.

BEB


Literature has shown us some of humanity's greatest achievements; history, some of our greatest failures -- Alun Lewis

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Monday, January 22, 2007 5:25 PM

ROMANCEGURU


Quote:

But saying that River can’t be relationships with basically anybody is really what does a disservice, since she’s being denied a chance to experience an integral part of human existence because of some third-party declaration.


Very well put Blueyedbrigader!

I’m also a Rayne aficionado, but that unfortunately can turn into a whole other debate.

I also disagree with this estimation:

Quote:

“The same thing for rapefic. A rape or attempted rape should not be used as a catalyst for romance. I'm fairly certain that when a woman has been raped, having any kind of sex would be the last thing on her mind, even if it is with a certain handsome captain/doctor/mercenary.”


Everyone deals and handles the trama rape differently, and unfortunately, it’s a part of life. I’m in no way saying that it’s romantic, but it is an issue that deserves, as any, to be explored. Obviously, I do not know all the details of the fic in which you are referring, but to say that every woman reacts the same by closing herself off to future sexual relationships is just not true.

A well-written romance involving River is more interesting to read for me than any other character-centric fic’s because of the many different obstacles there is to explore and overcome. To literarily vindicate something that is considered taboo is wherein the beauty and art of fanfic lies.


*************************************************
"Hell is coming to breakfast"

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Monday, January 22, 2007 5:52 PM

STINKINGROSE


Quote:

Originally posted by Romanceguru:
Quote:

But saying that River can’t be relationships with basically anybody is really what does a disservice, since she’s being denied a chance to experience an integral part of human existence because of some third-party declaration.


Very well put Blueyedbrigader!

I’m also a Rayne aficionado, but that unfortunately can turn into a whole other debate.

I also disagree with this estimation:

Quote:

“The same thing for rapefic. A rape or attempted rape should not be used as a catalyst for romance. I'm fairly certain that when a woman has been raped, having any kind of sex would be the last thing on her mind, even if it is with a certain handsome captain/doctor/mercenary.”


Everyone deals and handles the trama rape differently, and unfortunately, it’s a part of life. I’m in no way saying that it’s romantic, but it is an issue that deserves, as any, to be explored. Obviously, I do not know all the details of the fic in which you are referring, but to say that every woman reacts the same by closing herself off to future sexual relationships is just not true.

A well-written romance involving River is more interesting to read for me than any other character-centric fic’s because of the many different obstacles there is to explore and overcome. To literarily vindicate something that is considered taboo is wherein the beauty and art of fanfic lies.


*************************************************
"Hell is coming to breakfast"





I work in an environment where we do get the occasional rape victim. Sometimes we are the first person they've told about their experience. They are never happy about it.

They haven't necessarily given up on ever finding anyone to ever be happy and have sex with, but it's usually not first on their list of priorities either.

It may take months or years, or they may have a completely unexpected reaction and lash out by becoming extremely aggressive sexually in an effort to demonstrate their own control over their bodies.

I have yet to meet anyone who's been raped that said "gee, if they hadn't done that we might never have gotten together and we're SO HAPPY now!".

Catalyst for romance? I'm thinking not so much.
Sex does not equal love. Rape is about power and hatred.

She wasn't "asking for it". It did not "get her hot". It was not "good for her". Don't ever kid yourself that it was anything other than humiliating, degrading, and traumatic.

No means no. Period.

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Monday, January 22, 2007 6:25 PM

ROMANCEGURU


Like I said, I don’t know the details of the fic so it really depends on circumstances.

If the person is raped by her supposed suitor, then in no way should a relationship evolve from such places.

If the person is raped by an alternate character, and the victim later forms an attachment to a person he/she feels safe with, then it is plausible. Especially if that character was prominent in helping the victim recover from the trauma.

I only know of one fic that comes close to dealing with “rape”, but I wouldn’t call it that so much as a delicate situation. In this fic, the two in question are put in a situation in where they have to consummate as result of imminent life or death circumstances. The sex involved is mutual, but is not done out of enjoyment and is some what traumatizing for the male especially. This event inspires the two who wouldn’t have originally sought each other out to find solace in one another by opening up and connecting on a deeper level. I think the author dealt with the very difficult subject matter very sensitively, and it made for an interesting perspective on how two people could come together.

*************************************************
“Hell is coming to breakfast.”

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Tuesday, January 23, 2007 2:24 AM

SUPERFLUOUS


When all else fails, look to Joss Whedon:

Quote:

You take people, you put them on a journey, you give them peril, you find out who they really are. If there's any kind of fiction better than that, I don't know what it is.


Firefly is a Sci-Fi drama. Joss wanted drama and havoc, andhe wanted to be the one to raise the big issues. Everyone has strong characters in Firefly; River perhaps even more so because she is so dynamic.
And I think ultimately, if there was a season two…or three...or four, there would have been relationships. Powerful, emotive relationships that would echo through the bulkheads. And then Joss would figure out some way to kill it (Wash).

But it would have been interesting to see what would happen to River. Because she is ‘damaged goods’, it would have been destructive and quirky at the same time.
Having said that, River has trouble acting normal in any situation. Yet along bunking up with another crewmember.

Although I don’t agree personally with some stories ethically; I respect the authors rights to write these fanfics, and understand thoroughly the hardships it takes to write one and post it on the Internet.
As long as its done reasonably tasteful and adds to the plot of the fanfic (bad example, River: Oops I dropped the soap…”), and doesn’t go against the Geneva convention. Preferably, River is at legal age too.

____________________________________________________________
Accept that some days you are the pigeon and some days the statue.



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Tuesday, January 23, 2007 4:31 AM

JERAXUS


in my work available here

http://www.fireflyfans.net/sunroomitem.asp?i=15035
http://www.fireflyfans.net/sunroomitem.asp?i=14967
http://www.fireflyfans.net/sunroomitem.asp?i=14929

which takes place after the series and is a replacement for the movie i can use aspecs of both

how do you find my characterisation of river?

Play with the best die like the rest

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Tuesday, January 23, 2007 5:41 AM

ASARIAN


Quote:

Originally posted by Romanceguru:

I think it has a lot to do on how we perceive River. As stated in the threads above, some see her as “weak” and therefore unable to make the choice to enter into an adult relationship with a man, especially a much older one. I do not see her as such. It saddens me that just because River is at times disturbed (and we know this less so after the BDM) that she cannot be allowed the same desires as any other girl/woman..”



“Vulnerable” and “weak” ain't the same thing. I have yet to see anyone call River “weak” (and no, “the weaker party” don't count; in that context it really just means she's the more vulnerable of the two).

Also, “willing” is a slippery slope. But first things first. In the BDM, lest we forget, River is still a seventeen-year-old. Regardless of the fact that there's some indication that she's on the mend, even if she were fully healed, she's still a barely legal teenager: not something for a thirty-five year old man to fool around with.

No one, to my knowledge, has ever advocated that River, just because she's a mite whimsical in the brainpan, should never be allowed to have relationships. But to be involved with a boyfriend of her own age is quite a stretch from grappling with, say Mal, who's been a father figure for her -- even should she have a “crush” on him and appears every bit “willing”. Heck, I'm a man, and I ain't sly, and even I can readily see how a teenage girl might have a crush on Mal. After all, what's not to love? He ain't weak, he's honorable, a hero, a protector (not to mention, quite a stud to boot). But see, all these glowing qualities in Mal should precisely prevent him from taking advantage of her! And, frankly, I don't think for a moment he would. Like I don't think Mal'd ever go after Kaylee in that fashion, either. In his father role, Mal will ere protect River from overzealous folks being “romantically” interested in her (read: lecherous humps).

Though I have seen and known enough of the 'verse to be well aware that I shall perhaps stand alone in my creed, and that it will be well if I subject myself to no worse charge than that of singularity, I am not therefore deterred from avowing that I regard over-thirty crew members unsuitable suitors for River, and that, as such, far as I'm concerned, the sanctity of River's “untouchability” remains, uhm, untouchable.


--
"Mei-mei, everything I have is right here." -- Simon Tam

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Tuesday, January 23, 2007 6:14 AM

AGENTROUKA


I'm with Asarian on this.

No one says that River is weak. But vulnerable and not up to a full on romantic relationship with a man twice her age? Definitely.

For one, being through significant trauma, being a potentially (and actual) remote-controlled killer, having to sort through the loose floating thoughts of other people... those are things that can kill innocence, but they do not necessarily make a person mature and adult in any way, emotionally or psychologically. And we don't know just exactly how recovered she actually is at the end of the movie. How should the Miranda secret have suddenly cured all the chemical imbalances and surgically damaged bits of her brain?

Then, even if none of those things applied, River is 17. How many 17-year-olds do you know who are ready to have serious sexual and romantic relationships with "actual" adults?

The reason why there's such a thing as age of consent and even a judgment on whether someone is capable of giving consent, that's not because people under a certain age or maturity level don't want sex and love, it's because they are not up to dealing with the potential consequences. The hormonal control, the emotional attachment, the ease of confusing sexual desire and honest affection, not to mention all the aspects of sexual responsibility and reproduction.

River is highly intelligent, but by no means experienced, mature and capable of dealing even with her own life, let alone that of an adult lover. Intelligence ultimately means next to nothing. It's the common sense that makes people fit to live on their own and River isn't overtly blessed with that. Yet. Just like most 17-year-olds, not to mention mentally traumatised ones.

Pairing her with someone who is actually her age, is decidedly less creepy, simply because she would meet a lover on equal terms, learn WITH someone who doesn't have a vast amount of experience to his advantage over her. I can see that as being genuinely sweet.

But River with someone who could be her father? Genuinely shudder-worthy. What kind of man would want to be with someone who would be a malleable student more than an equal partner? Creepy ones.

There are rare exceptions of young women that age being strong and mature enough to handle that, but most aren't, and I don't believe that anything that has been done to River justifies the idea that she is.


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Tuesday, January 23, 2007 2:50 PM

ROMANCEGURU


When you refer to someone as the “weaker party”, how can you not be inferring that they are weak?

In speaking in terms of vulnerability, post-BDM River (which the majority of authors and readers feel is the more appropriate setting off stage for a relationship) is regaining her mental competence. To further this point, she has been given the responsibility of co-piloting the ship. If River is being allowed to hold the lives of others in her hands, she most certainly can “pilot” her own life.

We are talking about a fictional world that is very different than the easy civilized life in which we lead. I would imagine that most people grow up fast and develop maturity far faster than the young girls we know today, much in the way that you can't compare the maturity of United States 16 year old to that of a third world 16 year old. That's certainly true of River. There's probably not many mysteries of the universe left for her to discover. While we often use RL experiences as setting off points and or to bring a touch of realism to our work, to hold the Firefly verse to the same societal standards as ours definitely shows a lack of progressiveness in thought and imagination.

Conversely, old-fashion views are intermingled within this society and you should keep in mind that would have included much older men being paired with younger women, so in that respect it would not be seen as “creepy”.

Intelligence and wisdom are two separate things, both of which River has shown a lot of. You can't arbitrarily say that experience changes a person and not apply that to River. Given her experience, she's years older in wisdom than anyone on that ship, Mal and Zoe included.

Painting River as a traumatized victim, a fragile inexperienced flower and mentally incapable of making her own decisions is not doing her character any justice. She is strong, a fighter who has had to overcome much in her life and has succeeded. Her life experience combined with her extreme intellect makes her much more capable of entering a mature relationship then the average teen.

That in itself has nothing to do with whether a certain relationship is good for her or not. Everyday women make mistakes concerning men they choose to be with, and no one ever tries to take away their right to decide who to date next. Commonsense is gained through experience. How can you expect her to gain that sort of knowledge if you deny her the experience of it?

Quote:

"What kind of man would want to be with someone who would be a malleable student more than an equal partner? Creepy ones."


Equality. What relationship is ever equal in terms of experience and emotional readiness? We are here to learn from one another, where one is weak, the other is strong and the compensation allows for a relationship to flourish.

Since I ship Rayne in particular, I will argue that if anyone should be vulnerable in the pairing, it would be Jayne. River can read his mind and know exactly what he's thinking. She's also about 50 times more intelligent than him. Exactly how hard would it be to pull the wool over River's eyes when it comes to Jayne?

It’s not about taking advantage, its about human connection. Love is often blind to the restraints imposed on it. It holds no bounds.

I don’t suppose I can change opposing views on the matter. Just know that there is room for more than one school of thought, especially in the multihued world of fiction.




*************************************************
"Hell is coming to breakfast."

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Tuesday, January 23, 2007 4:50 PM

BLUEEYEDBRIGADIER


I think, once you wade deep through all the arguments and thoughts expressed about this subject, one gets to the core of the matter of personal experience. By the end of the BDM, River's still only 17 years old and not really healed. In fact, assuming she will ever be healed completely is being either criminally naive or ignorant about River and where she is in her life.

Logically, River needs to test the waters before realizing that she wants to be with Jayne or Mal or anyone who's older than her by more than a handful of years. A point that has been raised more than once in fanfic where River's in a relationship with someome older (BDH or OC) is that what does River have in common with most teenagers? On top of her pretty much immesurable intellect and remaining psychosis, River's a lot farther behind emotionally than a lot of people in the same age bracket and that any person she chooses to be with in a relationship suddenly becomes a target for the Alliance or the Academy.

I could get all geeky and use my university education to point out that there's tons of evidence of relationships existing between middle-aged men and young women. Now...a good chunk of them happened during less "enlightened" period of human society, but the concept isn't completely foreign.

Really? I understand the points made by both sides here and I support their existence as valid ponderances about a story universe we all have a vested interest in...but I gotta wonder how the hell we got any ground to stand on after only 14 episodes and a feature-length movie that was supposed to be a second season of television lasting about 22 hours? Plus, we seem to forget it's Joss Whedon that created this character...the same man who's gone and done some rather shocking and confusing stuff that has had fans up in arms before. We have no real clue what Joss had in store for River, so I gotta wonder how this debate would go if we had more canon material to work off of?

Literature has shown us some of humanity's greatest achievements; history, some of our greatest failures -- Alun Lewis

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Tuesday, January 23, 2007 5:31 PM

JYNNANTONNYX


Well put, RomanceGuru

I, too, am I Rayne shipper but I'm not posting this in defence of my ship - we all have different tastes. I write this to say that River has may be mentally fragile but she has many more years of her life to follow.

I realy cannot believe that Joss would want to keep River in a perpetual state of misery. Many arguments here seem to be that River is too traumatised to enter into a relationship etc etc. We can clearly see at the end of "Serenity" that she is making progress to claiming control over herself and her sanity. I think it's entirely pessimistic to assume that River will let her abuse control her life, and that she will never grow into a fully functioning adult.

--
"It's just an object. It doesn't mean what you think."

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Tuesday, January 23, 2007 10:27 PM

AGENTROUKA


RomanceGuru,

I'm not saying that River should be denied rmance, love and sex.

I'm saying that trying to experience and learn about these things with someone who is her own age and experience level would be beneficial, even, but doing the same with a man much older would be... not. Harmful, even, not to mention cast a questionable light upon whatever older man she would take up with, considering what exactly they would be getting out of such an arrangement.

Yes, in the past older man married younger women. The reasons for those unions were, however, not exactly feminist. They were biological and often oppressive.

A younger woman can have more children, is more likely to still be a virgin and she's not yet emotionally and mentally independent enough to have developed much will of her own, so she's less trouble to integrate into her new home (as an object that has changed hands of ownership) and take on whatever role her husband wants her to play.

I realize that this isn't the rule in modern time, so called "May-December" romances, but it's what all this human history of relationships between young women and older men that you refer to is kind of based on.


Plus, you keep bringing up the point of her life experience and use that to claim that River is mature and has overcome a lot, but... not really.

She was 14, and due to her vast intelligence probably not overtly socially integrated, hanging out with students above her age, being called "little mouse", which already implies a certain gap in experience and equality level.

Then she spends two years cut off from her family, experimented upon and trained to be a killer, often not even conscious.

Then she's taken out of that prison and spends 8 months going back and forth between periods of lucidity and periods of trance-like confusion. And then she hacks up a roomful of people, gets a big secret knocked loose in her head, physically attacks her brother and ends up hacking up another roomful of people, Reavers this time.

The time she has spent in a society much different from our modern one is 8 months. The time she spent in one very much like ours is 14 years of her life, and even then probably more sheltered than the average teen today. I just don't see where this assumption that she would be more mature than the average teen today would be coming from.

Those aren't experiences that emotionally mature someone. If that were true, everyone who's been through any kind of trauma would be a better person than those who grow up happy and healthy and unbothered, but that's generally not the case. They end up with abusive impulses and Issues themselves. Tend to need help.

I'm not saying that she is a victim 100%, but.. she is a victim among other aspects. One that needs time to catch up to where people her own age should be. Learn how to be independent before settling herself into another kind of dependence.

(Calling he brother a boob and complaining about taking medicine, hell, even beating up a bunch of Reavers.. that has nothing to do with growing up.)

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Wednesday, January 24, 2007 6:40 AM

MAL4PREZ


Quote:

Originally posted by Romanceguru:
To further this point, she has been given the responsibility of co-piloting the ship. If River is being allowed to hold the lives of others in her hands, she most certainly can “pilot” her own life.



Sooo not true! A technical skill does not mean anything in terms of human relationships! Piloting a ship and communicating with another human being have nothing to do with eachother!

Quote:


Conversely, old-fashion views are intermingled within this society and you should keep in mind that would have included much older men being paired with younger women, so in that respect it would not be seen as “creepy”.



Just because it still happens on rim planets doesn't make it less creepy... The point is often made that the backward things happening on the rim worlds are not supported by our intrepid crew. ie burning witches, shipping slaves... Child brides and man/girl love would fall in this category as well, imho.

Quote:

You can't arbitrarily say that experience changes a person and not apply that to River. Given her experience, she's years older in wisdom than anyone on that ship, Mal and Zoe included.


I'm with AR here - River has shown lots of smarts but very little wisdom, and her experiences have not involved any kind of healthy human contact. They have done nothing to teach her social skills!

Quote:

How can you expect her to gain that sort of knowledge if you deny her the experience of it?


No one's denying her the right to get into a relationship! I think we're all in agreement that she needs to - and would very much want to!

I'm not even arguing that she could NEVER get involved with Jayne. But she would need a great of time to heal, grow up, and learn. Other relationships with people her own age would give her that opportunity.


-----------------------------------------------
I'm the president. I don't need to listen.

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Wednesday, January 24, 2007 11:33 AM

ROMANCEGURU


I’m not saying that River will suddenly be ok and skipping around with her male partner as if everything is normal. There will be obstacles, relapses and part of the intrigue as a writer/reader is to see how both River and the man of her choosing will overcome and or come to terms with these issues.

No matter how traumatized or broken you believe River to be, whomever chooses to love her in spite of this is not wrong, but courageous.

Must I reiterate the point that most stories I’ve read or written, has been set post-BDM to further allow River healing time.

Quote:

“Plus, you keep bringing up the point of her life experience and use that to claim that River is mature and has overcome a lot, but... not really.”


You don’t think she remembers all the pain and torture that she was put through at the academy? “She feels everything, how could she not.” River does deal with and overcome tremendous amounts of physical, emotional, psychological torture, along with her intellect and worldly insight she is a paradox of mature understanding and at times, acts younger then she really is. Um….Whom else on the ship tends to act emotionally immature…can’t put my finger on it, oh, right, Jayne!

Both are killers, smart in their own way but tend to regress into a child like state or attitude. Frankly, I think this is true of most adults, crazy or otherwise. Get past the age hang up and look at the parallels that might actually connect two human beings.

Do you really think a normal teenage boy could begin to understand the issues and complexities of River Tam? Be able to handle what being in a relationship with her might entail? I would place my bet that someone who knows Rivers problems, lives with her day in and out would be better equipped for the job.

You are making this into a black and white issue when there are many gray areas to explore. Life and love are not so simple. Many of these arguments are circular, and while I understand some of the points being made, I believe there should be more room left for interpretation between the lines.

*************************************************
“Hell is coming to breakfast.”

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Wednesday, January 24, 2007 1:37 PM

ASARIAN


I'm with AgentRouka on this.

Just because River can run a ship, don't necessarily mean she's ready to be IN one.

Her life experience?? Other than burning years, I'd say River has virtually none. She led a very sheltered life on Osiris, with a clearly overbearing father, who no doubt kept real life all but totally outside that fancy laser-fence of his. Then, only fourteen, she went to the Academy, where she was subjected to men with tortures too unseemly to speak on. And stayed there until her brother rescued her and brought her onboard Serenity. I reckon that if River were to explore romance, she'd pretty much start off at the point where her life got brutally interrupted: at the stunned emotional level of a fourteen-year-old.

Also, development ain't an either/or thing. River may be light-years ahead on other teens, intellectually. Yet, "Clearly some aptitude for..." was clearly not spoken of her social skills.

Sure, there have always been old men and young teenage girls, and the former lusting after the latter. And, all throughout history, men have raped and pillaged. And waged war. I mean, on some planets; but only pretty bad ones. I guess that's a commentary on us. Don't make us beholden to follow in these footsteps, of course. Literature has shown us some of humanity's greatest achievements; history, some of our greatest failures. :)

Present company excluded, it's my estimation that the loudest advocates of teenage sex are usually people interested not so much in the teen's right to their own sexuality, as much as in their "right" to the teen's sexuality. So, when a thirty-five-year-old crew member is suddenly romantically interested in River, and goes on about how much River is capable of making her own decisions and such, I figure I gotta be asking myself some fairly fundamental questions about the nature of that interest.

I applaud the idea of River getting a boyfriend one day: a peer with whom she could take small steps, at a mutually set pace. Who knows, maybe someone equally messed up? (I can already hear her say: "You're my kinda crazy.") Like AgentRouka said, could be genuinely sweet. But Jayne? Possibly you're not recalling some of his previous words: "It's a girl. Cute, too, but I don't think she's all there. 'Course, not all of her has to be." Definitely shudder-worthy.


--
"Mei-mei, everything I have is right here." -- Simon Tam

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Wednesday, January 24, 2007 2:19 PM

ROMANCEGURU


Quote:

“Just because River can run a ship, don't necessarily mean she's ready to be IN one.”



No, but the argument gives evidence of River’s capability (which the major part of the dispute). Being giving the HUGE responsibly of manning the lives of others, I would think this to be in support of her competency as a person, emotionally and mentally.

Quote:

“Her life experience?”


Her experience many not have been atypical, then neither is that the life they lead. Everyone draws from their own subjections. Just because her life wasn’t as varied as say Mal’s, doesn’t mean she can’t understand what a life of that sort may have been like. She is not in the dark, she has the ability to feel and see what others feel. That combined with her intellect is a close substitute for whatever understanding you all think she may lack.

Quote:

“Present company excluded, it's my estimation that the loudest advocates of teenage sex are usually people interested not so much in the teen's right to their own sexuality, as much as in their "right" to the teen's sexuality. So, when a thirty-five-year-old crew member is suddenly romantically interested in River, and goes on about how much River is capable of making her own decisions and such, I figure I gotta be asking myself some fairly fundamental questions about the nature of that interest.”


Excluded or not, your generalizing the mind-set Rayneship authors have. This is laugh worthy, really. Most writers of fan-fiction are mature adults who have the ability to see things more than one-sidedly. You don’t throw a fiction together without tirelessly exploring the reasons for the how and the why. You're really naïve if you think an 18yr or 19yr old, (again the age most authors use) is not going to be interested in exploring her sexuality.

Quote:

“But Jayne? Possibly you're not recalling some of his previous words: "It's a girl. Cute, too, but I don't think she's all there. 'Course, not all of her has to be." Definitely shudder-worthy.”



Um, when was that statement made? In the pilot episode. I think Jayne, more so then anyone on the ship has had the most character growth by the end of Serenity. Does he have more growing to do? Most definitely. But at the and of the BDM he is in a much better place to be considered worthy of River.

Quote:

“Sure, there have always been old men and young teenage girls, and the former lusting after the latter. And, all throughout history, men have raped and pillaged. And waged war. I mean, on some planets; but only pretty bad ones. I guess that's a commentary on us. Don't make us beholden to follow in these footsteps, of course. Literature has shown us some of humanity's greatest achievements; history, some of our greatest failures.”


Wow. That is one powerful comparison. Cannot even begin to see how that is relevant.

*************************************************
“Hell is coming to breakfast.”

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Wednesday, January 24, 2007 3:03 PM

ASARIAN


Quote:

Originally posted by Romanceguru:



Quote:

“Present company excluded, it's my estimation that the loudest advocates of teenage sex are usually people interested not so much in the teen's right to their own sexuality, as much as in their "right" to the teen's sexuality. So, when a thirty-five-year-old crew member is suddenly romantically interested in River, and goes on about how much River is capable of making her own decisions and such, I figure I gotta be asking myself some fairly fundamental questions about the nature of that interest.”


Excluded or not, your generalizing the mind-set Rayneship authors have. This is laugh worthy, really. Most writers of fan-fiction are mature adults who have the ability to see things more than one-sidedly. You don’t throw a fiction together without tirelessly exploring the reasons for the how in the why. Your really naïve if you think an 18yr or 19yr old, (again the age most authors use) is not going to be interested in exploring her sexuality.


Excluded really means precisely that: I have no judgement about Rayneship authors, nor about their motives; nary a one, let alone in general terms. I'm just saying that if a thirty-five year old man wants to date a teenage girl, that you can bet I will be asking myself some serious questions as to why. And that I will be highly suspicious, and assume he's more into it for himself than for her. I mean, what parents would not cringe if, one day, a thirty-five-year-old man rang the doorbell, asking to date their teenage daughter?

Also, the issue is not whether or not an 18yr or 19yr old is going to be interested in exploring her sexuality, but whether it's appropriate for her to do that with a man twice her age. Especially if that girl happens to be severely mentally traumatized, or, at most, is only very recently beginning to recover from the ordeal.

Quote:


Quote:

“But Jayne? Possibly you're not recalling some of his previous words: "It's a girl. Cute, too, but I don't think she's all there. 'Course, not all of her has to be." Definitely shudder-worthy.”


Um, when was that statement made? In the pilot episode. I think Jayne, more so then anyone on the ship has had the most character growth by the end of Serenity. Does he have more growing to do? Most definitely. But at the and of the BDM he is in a much better place to be considered worthy of River.


I think, at the end of the BDM, Jayne, at best, tolerates the Tams' presence. Don't change the matter none that I think he's too old for River.

Quote:


Quote:

“Sure, there have always been old men and young teenage girls, and the former lusting after the latter. And, all throughout history, men have raped and pillaged. And waged war. I mean, on some planets; but only pretty bad ones. I guess that's a commentary on us. Don't make us beholden to follow in these footsteps, of course. Literature has shown us some of humanity's greatest achievements; history, some of our greatest failures.”


Wow. That is one powerful comparison. Cannot even begin to see how that is relevant.


It was brought forth that bad things are not without precedent, and that history is replete with examples of older men and younger girls. To which I added my two coppers, that bad things done in history, used as justification for current or future practices, really make for lousy moral guidelines.


--
"Mei-mei, everything I have is right here." -- Simon Tam

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Wednesday, January 24, 2007 3:20 PM

ROMANCEGURU



Quote:

“I'm just saying that if a thirty-five year old man wants to date a teenage girl, that you can bet I will be asking myself some serious questions as to why. And that I will be highly suspcious, and assume he's more into it for himself than for her.”


Thank god this is fiction, set in an alternate universe, and involves some rather unique players and circumstances.

Quote:

I think, at the end of the BDM, Jayne, at best, tolerates the Tams' presence. Don't change the matter none that I think he's too old for River.


Tolerance is a start. You are free to feel that way, just don’t expect everyone else to.

Quote:

It was brought forth that bad things are not without precedent, and that history is replete with examples of older men and younger girls. To which I added my two coppers, that bad things done in history, used as justification for current or future practices, really make for lousy moral guidelines.


Comparing the relationship between an older man and a younger woman is not relatable to raping and pillaging no matter how you word it.

Have you ever read the novel Jane Eyre? It’s a lovely and revered romantic classic about an 18 year old girl and a middle aged man. There are also positive and beautiful examples through out history supporting such relationships, you just have to open your eyes.

*************************************************
“Hell is coming to breakfast”

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Wednesday, January 24, 2007 4:02 PM

ASARIAN


Quote:

Originally posted by Romanceguru:


Quote:

It was brought forth that bad things are not without precedent, and that history is replete with examples of older men with younger girls. To which I added my two coppers, that bad things done in history, used as justification for current or future practices, really make for lousy moral guidelines.


Comparing the relationship between an older man and a younger woman is not relatable to raping and pillaging no matter how you word it.


And I didn't say so, either. I said that pointing to history, to find moral justification in older men dating much younger women, is essentially void, as history is full of very bad things, none of which are repeatworthy, or justifiable, merely because they happened before. By that token, I argued, we might as well start to pillage and rape again, because that too has happened before.

Quote:


Have you ever read the novel Jane Eyre? It’s a lovely and revered romantic classic about an 18 year old girl and a middle aged man. There are also positive and beautiful examples through out history supporting such relationships, you just have to open your eyes.


As for Jane Eyre, Jane wasn't at the Academy; and Rochester ain't no Jayne. :)

Actually, now that you mention it, Charlotte Bronte modelled large portions of the story of Jane Eyre after her own life. Studying French, in the early 1840's, she fell in love with her much older Professor. Jane and Rochester overcome many similar obstacles that Charlotte found on her path, What wasn't in the book, though, but actually did happen to Charlotte, was the fact that, in real life, the relationship between her and the Professor was a complete failure, and that she was left with a broken heart, whereas Jane found her love and all was well.


--
"Mei-mei, everything I have is right here." -- Simon Tam

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Wednesday, January 24, 2007 4:17 PM

ARCADIA


I like Jane Eyre as much as the next person -- it is quite an enjoyable book -- but I don't think it applies here at all. Marriages of young women to older men where common in that period, and why? Because marriage was more of a bussiness for women than a romantic persuit. It was all about getting bang for your buck -- a man who you don't mind too much, and maybe even enjoy if you're lucky, in exchange for a lifetime of being taken care of. If you don't think that reality influenced the feelings of women (and women characters) of that time, then you might want to think about it again. If Jane Eyre was born in the later 20th century I don't think she would have been interested in Rochester. She was smart and resourseful and would have gotten a scholarship and gone to college and lived her life indepentently. She wouldn't need him like she does as a women in the 1800s, and probably wouldn't want him because she'd have the opportunity to be with anyone.

Plus, I really don't see how Jane Eyre and River are comparable. Eyre's experiences were sad and somewhat traumatic, but they forced her into independence. River has never been capable of independence, and quite possibly never will be.

If you can't tell already, I am with AR and Asarian on this debate.

Earlier, you asked "what does River have in common with other teenagers?" My answer is that she has a whole, whole lot in common with other teenagers. Even with all her life experience, she is still relatively undiscovered. And by that I mean, she has not explored her personality -- her interests, her hobbies -- for a long time. How long has it been since she's read a book, learned a new dance? She's been busy trying to be not crazy. That doesn't leave much time for the finer points of self-discovery. In this area, she is behind most teens her age and way behind every emotionally mature adult, such as, say, Mal and even Jayne.

She hasn't had time to explore her body. Think about it. Most girls get their periods (and the beginnings of the sexual urges that come with it) between twelve and fourteen (though as early as nine and as late as fifteen). Despite having all the usual hormones, most girls twelve to sixteen don't know what to do with their bodies. They don't know where their... err... pleasure centers are. So, there is another thing, and other reason why it might be more comfortable for River to be with a younger partner. I'm not saying she needs to be with a virgin, but I will say there is a certain comfort in knowing your partner is not too far ahead of you. Sex is complicated. There is all this preassure and expectations... a younger, less experienced partner wouldn't have as many expectations, which can be a comfort.

And River... People keep talking about what she has overcome. As far as I am concerned, she has not really overcome anything. She survived. She lived through hell, and she lived through the confusion that followed, the insanity. Now, it looks like she has gained some clarity. What does that mean? It means it will get even harder. Now, she can go through the horrible process of processing what happened to her. She's never really dealt with what happened to her. How could she? She's had no control over her emotions or her mind, of any part of her life. She has it now, and that is going to be traumatic in its own way. Its a good step in the long run, but it is still going to be a hard adjustment.

Traumas can make people stronger. They can also make people bitter, depressed, emotionally distant, angry, and generally not likeable. They can lead to good people making bad choices out of desperation, confusion, rage... River has a sweetness to her. We see that. But it doesn't mean that she's going to get through all this okay. She still has a lot of healing and growing up to do.

Arcadia (aka Greyfable and/or Katie)
www.stillflying.net -- picking up Firefly were Joss left off. We will hold 'til he gets back.

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Wednesday, January 24, 2007 5:33 PM

ASARIAN


Whoa! Good post! :)

Quote:

Originally posted by Arcadia:

I like Jane Eyre as much as the next person -- it is quite an enjoyable book -- but I don't think it applies here at all. Marriages of young women to older men where common in that period, and why? Because marriage was more of a bussiness for women than a romantic persuit. It was all about getting bang for your buck -- a man who you don't mind too much, and maybe even enjoy if you're lucky, in exchange for a lifetime of being taken care of. If you don't think that reality influenced the feelings of women (and women characters) of that time, then you might want to think about it again. If Jane Eyre was born in the later 20th century I don't think she would have been interested in Rochester. She was smart and resourseful and would have gotten a scholarship and gone to college and lived her life indepentently. She wouldn't need him like she does as a women in the 1800s, and probably wouldn't want him because she'd have the opportunity to be with anyone.


I'm glad you brough this up, because it's so very true. Reminds me of my dad, who always teases my mom, saying all of Jane Austen's books are about "Finding a man." Yet a bare necessity it was. Life in those days, as an old spinster, was quite unpleasant. With no income to your name, and excluded from being able to inherit (!), life for an unmarried woman, unless you were independently wealthy, was hard, to say the least. Essentially you had to rely on the good will of brothers or some such, who'd let you live in with them, if you were so lucky.

Really, if you think about it, that whole era ain't exactly a poster-child for equality between the sexes. In fact, it was quite oppressive in nature, however charitable it may have been dressed up. The lie of it, as Mal would say.

Quote:


And River... People keep talking about what she has overcome. As far as I am concerned, she has not really overcome anything. She survived. She lived through hell, and she lived through the confusion that followed, the insanity. Now, it looks like she has gained some clarity. What does that mean? It means it will get even harder. Now, she can go through the horrible process of processing what happened to her. She's never really dealt with what happened to her. How could she? She's had no control over her emotions or her mind, of any part of her life. She has it now, and that is going to be traumatic in its own way. Its a good step in the long run, but it is still going to be a hard adjustment.


Excellent points, too.

In many ways, River's still at the most basic survival level: trying to function like a girl. And, as you so astutely pointed out, especially now that's she been able to unburden the Miranda secret, and the immediate edge is off, the real process of dealing with what happened to her has yet to unfold. At times she'll have to deal with anger, or the sadness over her losses. Or reliving the feeling of being powerless to do much more than undergo the abuses. And the flashbacks. And she'll have to cope with all of this sans her amygdela, unable to stop the occasional torrent of emotion. Contradictory as it may sound, the more normal she becomes, the harder things will be for her in the beginning.

And you're right, we have to be open to the real possibility that River may never fully recover. And that's not painting her as weak, but simply an acknowlegement of the fact that they hurt her pretty badly. And some things, like stripping her amygdela, that stuff don't grow back, either.

River has a sweetness to her, most assuredly. And I think she'll be able to find someone. But, far as I'm concerned, Jayne can go play with his rainstick. And Mal, I know, wouldn't even try anything with her.


--
"Mei-mei, everything I have is right here." -- Simon Tam

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Wednesday, January 24, 2007 6:13 PM

ROMANCEGURU


“I’m alright. I’m alright.” River is given very few lines throughout the series and movie, so I think these final lines in the BDM are quite poignant and telling. The give me the hope that she is indeed on the road to recovery. You my not see it as so, but I’ll take it as hint from the man himself.

Yes, *sarcastically* Jane fell in love with Mr. Rochester solely because she had no other options to her. You are aware that the novel is a romance? If you want to argue that point, then it is comparable. River doesn’t have very many options to her and neither does Jayne. Proximity alone can be a dangerous thing.

As easily as you pointed out the lack of parallels between the two stories, there are equally as many in support. The stories do not mirror each other completely in circumstances, but neither do our lives and societal standards to a piece of fiction set 500 years in the future.

Quote:

“And by that I mean, she has not explored her personality -- her interests, her hobbies -- for a long time. How long has it been since she's read a book, learned a new dance?”


She’s doing these things throughout the series!

A teen boy could not handle all that would entail being involved with a psychic genius killer. You’re forgetting River’s dark side, which you like it or not is now apart of who she is. I imagine killing a man with your bare hands will make you grow up really fast. Someone like Jayne could understand what it’s like living with that on your conscious.

Don’t worry, I’m sure River knows where her pleasure center is. If not, Jayne can help her find it. : )

ETA: I’m done. I'm wasting time when I could be writing another chapter of pervery fanfiction. Let’s just agree to disagree. Just know us shippers have our reasons for certain pairings that delve beyond the apparent, like it or not.




*************************************************
“Hell is coming to breakfast.”

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Wednesday, January 24, 2007 6:32 PM

BLUEEYEDBRIGADIER


Wow...this thread's started moving away from the main topic just a tad

I get the feeling this subject is a hidden tiger pit for Browncoats, since we got supporters of River not being quite capable or ready for exploring who she is as a person (which has a lot of valid points, mind you) verbally skirmishing with people like myself who seem to view River as someone with decent stability and conscious control over herself (which is subjective, I admit).

Like I iterated before, the issue over our differing interpretations is limited canonical source material mixing with personal beliefs and perspectives. And that's good...we're getting honest and hopefully well-presented arguments from both sides. But this topic is one hell of a sandbox that we are mighty interested in exploring...but it ain't ours. It may seem like a weak or usless ponderance, but I gotta wonder how each camp would have handled seeing stories where River started wanting to get all kinds of freaky with an older man.

In two previous series, Joss made some big decisions concerning creating couples where there was some serious age and experience differences between the partners and we got to see how those generally fell apart or stayed strong, depending on the match-up. Also, since Joss was using the American expansion westward and the Reconstruction period after the US Civil War as an inspiration point, it's not completely presumptious to think - at least I personally feel this - that Our Fearful Leader & co. could have deigned to explore ideas like River actually attempting to start something with Mal or Jayne out of a perceived notion of sameness for one reason or another. No assertion that it would have worked or lasted, but it's a possibility all the same.

River's got a long road full of paths to explore before she can really know who she is. That's not really needing debate, as assuming the Miranda Wave fixed everything is painfully naive. What I quibble over is how many teenagers of either gender have the maturity or je ne sais quoi to be able to handle something like River rightly struggling to deal with her imposed brain damage and abilities, on top of the memories and feelings relating to what both the Academy and River herself did.

BEB

Literature has shown us some of humanity's greatest achievements; history, some of our greatest failures -- Alun Lewis

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Thursday, January 25, 2007 2:08 AM

AGENTROUKA


My main point of disagreement with RomanceGuru is, I think, the fact that her/his argument seems to be that high intelligence and the ability to read minds make up for the lack of life experience. That these things, somehow, imply an emotional maturity and self-awareness gained by theoretical and rational hypotheses.


I profoundly disagree with that. There is a reason it's called life experience. You have to go through certain things, know what they feel/taste/smell like and the way you react to those things. This is what enables you to make better choices, understand yourself and, very importantly, understand other people and their own experiences.

Experience can never be predicted or intuited and even if she gleaned those things from other people's memories, it would not be her own experience. It would, essentially, be a completely irrelevant object of comparison - because she doesn't have anything to compare it to.

Experience is the deciding factor, not the ability to imagine or theorize or make scientific guesses.

River doesn't have any life experience, unless you make it a competition in torture, because she has some life experience in that, but that doesn't translate to other areas in life.


Quite frankly, any more or less emotionally developed man in his mid-thirties should be bored trying to have an actual romantic (not just sexual) relationship with River, because she quite simply would be making all those silly first-time mistakes, have all those first-time illusions that more experienced people have had, grown beyond and dismissed, have come to terms with. That gap would automatically create a mentor/student dynamic, superiority and inferiority, authority and deference. Quite simply, unhealthy and unattractive to anyone not into control-play.


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Thursday, January 25, 2007 6:11 AM

MAL4PREZ


I've been having thoughts about something Asarian got into waaaay back:
Quote:

All of a sudden reading how River is grappling with any of the crew -- apart from finding it all manner of distasteful to take advantage of a mentally traumatized seventeen year old girl -- really, IMNSHO, violates not just River, but the very fabric of Firefly itself.


I must go further with this idea of the fabric of Firefly, because it's such a strong idea.

As I see it, the main story to Firefly/Serenity is Mal's ongoing conflict with the Alliance. River's character serves as the push to get him back into that battle. She's an innocent that got trampled by the Alliance, and as such she brings out a protective instinct in the crew. OK, not in Jayne, but certainly in Mal. Because he chooses to protect her, and not to abandon her, she gets them all to Miranda. She's like the drop that starts the flood or something like that.

Her role is to return idealism and self-sacrifice to a hardened and self-serving crew, and her youth and inexperience are absolutely necessary for that. The fact that she's half fighting machine just heightens the tragedy of what the Alliance has done to her, because River herself is not a killer. The part of her they created and control through subconscious triggers is the killer. In the movie, she finds a way to reach that part of herself, but she does it to save the people she loves. She's still very much an innocent - and even more tragic because she's accepted this dark part of herself that she abhors, sacrificing some of her innocence to save her brother.

So... having River just jump into bed with Mal or Jayne (oh yes, there are those fics where it's that simple. "I'm 18 now, I'm going to bed who I want!" *shudder*) completely goes against what Joss has so carefully set up. It's not something I can stomach.

I'm not saying that people can't write what they choose, and hey - River and Jayne are both played by beautiful actors. Sure, there's going to be readers who like smut about them, and there's an audience for that.

But if anyone is trying to write drama about the complexity of these characters and their verse - you have to take into account River's lack of life experience... if you don't, it sells her, and this story, and the entire `verse that we love short.

IMNSHO.

-----------------------------------------------
I'm the president. I don't need to listen.

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Thursday, January 25, 2007 6:41 AM

REGINAROADIE


Wanted to sit on this for a while before chipping in my two cents. Decided to see if anyone was saying the same stuff I was thinking.

In regard to River herself as a character, I actually didn't find her that interesting of a character in the show. For the most part with FIREFLY and a little bit of SERENITY, she doesn't really do anything. All she does is look forlonging, stand in a corner and babble and cry. Pretty one note, IMHO. And it's a bit of a problem where you see everyone making a big deal over her and have these two sides fighting over her, and she doesn't even get a say in all this. No one asks her "What do you want to do." When people make decisions for a character and the character just goes along with it, it makes for a pretty bland character.

That being said, River started to become interesting when she finally DOES something. When she guns down Niska's men in "War Stories" or plays mindgames with Early in "Objects in Space" or goes to get the medical bag from the Reavers in SERENITY. That's when she becomes an actual character.

One of the more conscious things I've done in my stories is to actually have River make decisions for herself. She decides to give the whole rock music thing another try, and ends up discovering her salvation. When Simon and Gabriel fight over her, she basically goes "Fuck this" and leaves on her own valition, which has a domino effect in that 24 horus later, she's becoming a rock goddess to a disenfranchised generation. And very soon, when I finally get down and write the concert itself and bridge the stuff I've already written, she'll make the biggest decision of her life on her own.

But to answer your question, no I don't think she should shack up with Mal or Jayne. I prefer fanfics where she's interested in a guy of her own age, which is partially why I created Johnny. To have sort of a parallel male version of River so that they would fit with each other.

**************************************************
"Have you ever fired two guns whilst jumping through the air?"
"No."
"Have you ever fired ONE gun whilst jumping through the air?"

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Thursday, January 25, 2007 7:28 AM

DEEPGIRL187


Now mind you, I wasn't on fan-sites at the time, but my question is this:

Where were the people defending said character's virtue (for lack of a better term), when a certain sixteen-year-old slayer and a 240-year-old vampire were shacking up?

Now I know people are going to object and say that it's a completely different situation, but one of the things this arguement seems to be about is life experience and maturity. Not many teenagers have those traits. Not to mention that if you compare the two characters, both are girls that are in extraordinary circumstances, and both have no one they can really go to their own age that would understand what they're going through.

If we're going to argue overly long about this, then we can't exactly pretend that it hasn't happened before in a Joss-helmed series. Joss found a way to deal with it then, and I think that he could have found a way to do it again, even with the new set of circumstances. And more to the point, fan fiction is a great way to explore that particular idea.

*************************************************

"I suppose if we couldn't laugh at things that don't make sense, we couldn't react to a lot of life."

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Thursday, January 25, 2007 8:11 AM

AGENTROUKA


Quote:

Originally posted by deepgirl187:
Now mind you, I wasn't on fan-sites at the time, but my question is this:

Where were the people defending said character's virtue (for lack of a better term), when a certain sixteen-year-old slayer and a 240-year-old vampire were shacking up?




To be honest, I DO find Angel/Buffy creepy, as well.

I suspect the point there was supposed to be that his own emotional maturity was stunted or some such, but... I can neither stand Buffy's character nor much of the series, so the "Joss did it in another show, so it has to be right" argument largely flies past me with no impact at all.

River is not Buffy. They have similar qualities (mainly, teenaged fighting machines), but they are not identical in any way shape or form.


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Thursday, January 25, 2007 8:23 AM

MAL4PREZ


There are such fundamental differences... Buffy was very much forced to grow up early - it's a recurring theme through the series. She's on her own. River, on the other hand, is NOT a leader. She's sheltered and cared for, largely unable to make her own decisions. (though that will certainly change after the movie, I believe.)

Also, when Angel first showed up in Season 1 of Buffy, he looked like a teenager himself, which served to soften the creepy factor.

Hey - and note what happened when Buffy and Angel had sex. Joss uses monster stories to draw parallels to real life issues - she has sex with this mysterious, slightly dangerous (in a sexy way) older man and he completely changes and turns evil. This is an exaggerated take on a situation many young girls/women get into when they jump into a relationship before they're ready, and that's what makes much of Buffy season 2 so poignant - we identify with her position.

I am sooo side-tracked right now. Sorry. Work avoidance.

-----------------------------------------------
I'm the president. I don't need to listen.

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Thursday, January 25, 2007 11:34 AM

ROMANCEGURU


Most of the characters on the show are a contradiction to morality.

Please do not hold them to your rigorous ideals. There is vast room for interpretation in the verse.

*************************************************
“Hell is coming to breakfast.”

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Thursday, January 25, 2007 11:38 AM

DESKTOPHIPPIE


Quote:

Originally posted by AgentRouka:
Quote:

Originally posted by deepgirl187:
Now mind you, I wasn't on fan-sites at the time, but my question is this:

Where were the people defending said character's virtue (for lack of a better term), when a certain sixteen-year-old slayer and a 240-year-old vampire were shacking up?




To be honest, I DO find Angel/Buffy creepy, as well.





*raises a hand* Me too. I found it a bit creepifying too.

I guess it's natural that neither of them would wait 'till Buffy was older since there was very little chance she was ever going to be older, but it was still a pretty creepy relationship. That's pretty much the reason Angel called it off. Buffy was extremely mature for her age - she had to be - but when Angel saw 'Angel and Buffy 4 ever!' written on her copybook he realised that she was still a child, and he wasn't. It just took that and Joyce's words to bring it home to him.




Graphics available at www.desktophippie.com

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Thursday, January 25, 2007 11:52 AM

AGENTROUKA


Quote:

Originally posted by Romanceguru:
Most of the characters on the show are a contradiction to morality.

Please do not hold them to your rigorous ideals. There is vast room for interpretation in the verse.

*************************************************
“Hell is coming to breakfast.”



I think the very fact that many characters make morally questionable choices is supposed to make the intelligent viewer question those choices. It's a commentary on humanity, not a free pass for murder, theft and violence.

When they cross lines, we are supposed to judge them.

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Thursday, January 25, 2007 12:14 PM

DEEPGIRL187


I guess where I'm coming from here, is that before completely writing off the idea of River in a relationship with someone older (and it doesn't have to be crew), consider the fact that it can be done in an intelligent, thought-provoking manner.

Maybe it's just my perception of the posts I've read, but it seems as if some are completely opposed to the idea of River ever have control over her life and the choices she makes. Yes, River will always have problems. Yes, it will be hard for her to adjust socially. But that's not to say that she can't adjust at all. Viewers would have lost interest if River was treated like a child for the duration of the series. I think that if the series continued, we would have seen River making more choices about her life (regarding a relationship or not), and I think that it's understandable that people would want to explore that in fan fiction.

*************************************************

"I suppose if we couldn't laugh at things that don't make sense, we couldn't react to a lot of life."

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Thursday, January 25, 2007 12:55 PM

ROMANCEGURU


Quote:

I think the very fact that many characters make morally questionable choices is supposed to make the intelligent viewer question those choices. It's a commentary on humanity, not a free pass for murder, theft and violence.

When they cross lines, we are supposed to judge them.



Judge them at will, but don’t expect the characters to strictly follow YOUR moral views. Keep in mind that because it’s Joss’s ‘verse he might possibly explore this avenue as well as many others. A Jayne/River relationship could be written as a beautiful thing or written to be fatality doomed from the start, depending on the individual premise of the fiction.


Quote:

I guess where I'm coming from here, is that before completely writing off the idea of River in a relationship with someone older (and it doesn't have to be crew), consider the fact that it can be done in an intelligent, thought-provoking manner.

Maybe it's just my perception of the posts I've read, but it seems as if some are completely opposed to the idea of River ever have control over her life and the choices she makes. Yes, River will always have problems. Yes, it will be hard for her to adjust socially. But that's not to say that she can't adjust at all. Viewers would have lost interest if River was treated like a child for the duration of the series. I think that if the series continued, we would have seen River making more choices about her life (regarding a relationship or not), and I think that it's understandable that people would want to explore that in fan fiction.



Thank you Deepgirl187, my sentiments exactly!

*************************************************
“Hell is coming to Breakfast.”

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Thursday, January 25, 2007 1:04 PM

ARCADIA


Quote:

Originally posted by deepgirl187:
Maybe it's just my perception of the posts I've read, but it seems as if some are completely opposed to the idea of River ever have control over her life and the choices she makes.



For fear this comment was inspired by one of my posts -- which, I admit, was not my best written effort ever -- I just wanted to say I have no problem with the idea of River taking more control over her self/choices/body/life, etc. In fact, quite contrarily, I think it would be an interesting and exciting journey for her. I just wanted to somewhat discredit the "River has overcome so much and therefore is more mature and wise than anyone" argument, because I think it is crap.

Also, I now feel the need to add that while I don't feel River could have a healthy relationship with an older man given where she is mentally and emotionally at the end of the BDM, and unhealthy one is quite possible. But, since I think we are arguing over the idea of a healthy ronance here, I did not say so above.

No matter what River's first romance is or who it is with, it will undoubtably be flawed and potentially just as bad as it is good. Because that's how most relationships are, first or otherwise. Also, relationships happen because, well, they happen, regardless of whether you or ready or the timing is ideal and all that. River, I think, is still some time away from being a capable, independent person who would be able to handle a romantic relationship with the good sense and maturity one needs to make a relationship really last. That doesn't mean she's not going to get into relationships anyway! And that they won't turn out mostly all right.

But, as I said above, it seems to me we are mainly arguing about whether she would have a stable, lasting relationship with Jayne (or Mal, but mostly Jayne) which... no, and especially not at this point. I guess any relationship is possible under the right circumstances. Time changes lots of things. But as of immediate post-BDM era, those relationships just don't seem possible to me, and I have yet to read a fic (and, honestly, I generally avoid River/Jayne/Mal fic, but sometimes you can't avoid it because it is part of a large fic) that has pulled any of these relationships off realisticly or well.

Arcadia (aka Greyfable and/or Katie)
www.stillflying.net -- picking up Firefly were Joss left off. We will hold 'til he gets back.

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Thursday, January 25, 2007 2:00 PM

STINKINGROSE


River/Jayne/Mal

Now there's one I'm not sure I could bring myself to read, but somebody's bound to try it.

Why oh why is there no emoticon for shudder?

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Thursday, January 25, 2007 2:03 PM

DEEPGIRL187


You know, now that I think about it, we're all looking at this from the wrong perspective. I mean, for heaven's sake, it's Joss we're talking about. If the series had continued, no one would have been happy. He would have found a way for everyone's relationship to be ruined...course, this wouldn't be looking at things from the perspective of fan fiction. What was the original topic of this thread again?

*************************************************

"I suppose if we couldn't laugh at things that don't make sense, we couldn't react to a lot of life."

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Thursday, January 25, 2007 2:03 PM

ROMANCEGURU


Well, at least you're open to the possibility that "any relationship is possible". Every fic is written differently and many authors often explore the various directions River’s “first” relationship can go. Many are heartbreaking and do not end blissfully, and others do.

Since you avoid reading Mal/River and Jayne/River fic because you do not agree and or enjoy it (and you have that right just as we have to write it) I can see where it would be hard to find one written to your standards. Rayne or even Maliver fic tend to attract more open minded readers.

Quote:

But, as I said above, it seems to me we are mainly arguing about whether she would have a stable, lasting relationship with Jayne (or Mal, but mostly Jayne)


No, actually we are arguing if River should ever be “allowed” to enter into such arrangements in the first place. No relationship can be guaranteed to last.

Quote:

You know, now that I think about it, we're all looking at this from the wrong perspective. I mean, for heaven's sake, it's Joss we're talking about. If the series had continued, no one would have been happy. He would have found a way for everyone's relationship to be ruined...course, this wouldn't be looking at things from the perspective of fan fiction. What was the original topic of this thread again?



Yes, deepgirl, he would have. Unfortunately, I can see him doing that especially with a River/Jayne relationship. That’s the beauty of fanfic, sometimes you can write your happy ending, and Wash can still be alive.




“Hell is coming to breakfast.”

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Thursday, January 25, 2007 2:51 PM

DANNIISUPERNOVA


I don't ship Rayne but I support your right to choose dammit! (being on another disliked ship)

_____

"You know that's gonna fall off."
-----Nathan Fillion (to me while drunk)

How are ships unlike food?
1. If you try it and don't like it, you don't have to do it again.
2. You can have as much as you want, when you want.
3. Cravings can be very specific.
I mean, hello it's not as if there's 'ship police?

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Thursday, January 25, 2007 8:44 PM

ASARIAN


Quote:

Originally posted by mal4prez:

I've been having thoughts about something Asarian got into waaaay back:

Quote:

All of a sudden reading how River is grappling with any of the crew -- apart from finding it all manner of distasteful to take advantage of a mentally traumatized seventeen year old girl -- really, IMNSHO, violates not just River, but the very fabric of Firefly itself.


I must go further with this idea of the fabric of Firefly, because it's such a strong idea.

As I see it, the main story to Firefly/Serenity is Mal's ongoing conflict with the Alliance. River's character serves as the push to get him back into that battle. She's an innocent that got trampled by the Alliance, and as such she brings out a protective instinct in the crew. OK, not in Jayne, but certainly in Mal. Because he chooses to protect her, and not to abandon her, she gets them all to Miranda. She's like the drop that starts the flood or something like that.

Her role is to return idealism and self-sacrifice to a hardened and self-serving crew, and her youth and inexperience are absolutely necessary for that. The fact that she's half fighting machine just heightens the tragedy of what the Alliance has done to her, because River herself is not a killer. The part of her they created and control through subconscious triggers is the killer. In the movie, she finds a way to reach that part of herself, but she does it to save the people she loves. She's still very much an innocent - and even more tragic because she's accepted this dark part of herself that she abhors, sacrificing some of her innocence to save her brother.

So... having River just jump into bed with Mal or Jayne (oh yes, there are those fics where it's that simple. "I'm 18 now, I'm going to bed who I want!" *shudder*) completely goes against what Joss has so carefully set up. It's not something I can stomach.

IMNSHO.



Ah, yes, the fabric of Firefly. One of my favorite topics. :) I'm glad you feel it's such a strong idea, because, well, it is.

River, apart from trying to function like a girl, also functions like a catalyst (not catalyzer) for that "hardened and self-serving crew," to help them reconnect to their humanity.

Mal ain't looking for help from on high no more. After the Battle of Serenity Valley, it was really Mal, personally, who suffered a crushing defeat. Because when one is so disillusioned that one can literally no longer take the "high" road, what's left is a sense of loss of direction. Mal became, one might say, a rebel without a cause.

Then came River. And what River awakened in Mal, I think, was not so much a renewed continuation of his conflict with the Alliance, per se, but rather a way for him to turn that "upward path" inwardly, so to speak. In River, he found the realization that the 'verse, at large, don't necessarily has to make sense, or be just even. Or rather, I should say perhaps, he started realizing that helping River IS the way to have the 'the verse make sense -- along the lines of that old adage: "He who saves one life, saves the 'verse entire." I doubt any of this ever really surfaced, consciously, to the upper echelons of Mal's brainpan; but River gave Mal a renewed sense of purpose nonetheless.

That fabric has a name, you know. It's called Love. It forges ties that are stronger than the prospect of profit or the opportunities to take advantage. It's what Mal tried to explain to Saffron: "That's 'cause I got people with me, people who trust each other, who do for each other, and ain't always looking for the advantage." Mal, his own self, does not take advantage of River; CANNOT take advantage of her. Not because of any imputed closed-mindedness on the part of me and mine; but simply because doing so would be like dropping the knitting-needle, and see the whole well-crafted Firefly fabric unravel along with it before your very eyes!

Mal has a protective, fatherly role towards Kaylee, too. When Kaylee was talking 'bout what's twixt her nethers, Mal wasn't kidding when he said he couldn't know that -- much like any father really doesn't wanna hear about his daughter having sex. It's not that he's prude about sex; but for him to hear Kaylee talk that way, it just feels so not appropriate for him to know that. And it ain't.

You can do all the justification in the 'verse. But you take a character who behaves and thinks like a fourteen-year-old, and have her hop into the sack with a thirty-five-year-old man, doesn't matter which one, and Firefly falls down, just as sure as the turn of the worlds. Everybody plays each other. That's all anybody ever does... Except Mal and his crew. That's Love for ya. Take that away, and the sun goes dark, and chaos is come again.


--
"Mei-mei, everything I have is right here." -- Simon Tam

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