Dissecting Dragons
Episode 310: Villainesses and Dense Heroines - the Reverse Harem Trope in Speculative Fiction

Episode 310: Villainesses and Dense Heroines - the Reverse Harem Trope in Speculative Fiction

January 21, 2022

Okay, hear us out: the reverse harem trope isn't necessarily anything to do with wish fulfilment, sex or erotica. And this week, we're going to delve into why and how, and exactly what makes this trope so popular. From anime to fairytales in it's origins, to its inclusion in urban fantasy and paranormal romance, this trope has far more in common with the found family trope than you might initially believe. 

On the slab this week Fruits Basket, Labyrinth, Annette Marie's Guild Codex and many more.

 

Title music: Ecstasy by Smiling Cynic

Episode 309: False Prophets and Unwanted Messiahs - Examining the White Saviour Trope in Speculative Fiction part 2

Episode 309: False Prophets and Unwanted Messiahs - Examining the White Saviour Trope in Speculative Fiction part 2

January 14, 2022

Who gets to tell the story is often as important as the story itself - certainly in fiction and often in real life too. While the dragons generally hold the view that stories belong to everyone, they also feel that not every story is owned equally by all storytellers and that writers have a duty to treat subjects sensitively and do due diligence. That being said, there is also a trend towards using buzzwords to categorise certain narratives, which robs them of their nuance. Stories beget other stories; art doesn't happen in a vacuum uninfluenced, so it's important to thoroughly examine something before you discard it. 

 

This week Jules and Madeleine take a look at the 'white saviour trope' in films, books and other media. What exactly is it? Where did it come from? Is it as simple as a narrative device used to make certain readers/ viewers feel better about complicated socio-political and historical events, or is there more to it? And could it possibly be suffering from mis-application? 

Find out in thus second part of a two part episode. On the slab during this discussion: A Time to Kill, The Help, Avatar, Game of Thrones and many more.

Episode 308: False Prophets and Unwanted Messiahs - Examining the White Saviour Trope in Speculative Fiction Part 1

Episode 308: False Prophets and Unwanted Messiahs - Examining the White Saviour Trope in Speculative Fiction Part 1

January 7, 2022

Who gets to tell the story is often as important as the story itself - certainly in fiction and often in real life too. While the dragons generally hold the view that stories belong to everyone, they also feel that not every story is owned equally by all storytellers and that writers have a duty to treat subjects sensitively and do due diligence. That being said, there is also a trend towards using buzzwords to categorise certain narratives, which robs them of their nuance. Stories beget other stories; art doesn't happen in a vacuum uninfluenced, so it's important to thoroughly examine something before you discard it. 

 

This week Jules and Madeleine take a look at the 'white saviour trope' in films, books and other media. What exactly is it? Where did it come from? Is it as simple as a narrative device used to make certain readers/ viewers feel better about complicated socio-political and historical events, or is there more to it? And could it possibly be suffering from mis-application? 

Find out in part one of a two part episode. On the slab during this discussion: A Time to Kill, The Help, Avatar, Game of Thrones and many more.

 

Title Music: Ecstasy by Smiling Cynic

Episode 307: Good News Everyone! - 2021 the Best Bits

Episode 307: Good News Everyone! - 2021 the Best Bits

December 31, 2021

A Happy New Year to all our listeners!

We have once again completed a full revolution of the sun so it's time for the dragons to take some time and look back over the last year. Despite ongoing issues with politics and pandemic, 2021 has had a lot of good bits. Jules and Madeleine are going to share some of their favourites - both news items you might have missed and art and literature they've enjoyed. Not to mention all that they themselves have managed to accomplish and what they hope to do writing wise in 2022. Join us for an uplifting episode that will hopefully set the tone for the new year.

 

Title music: Ecstasy by Smiling Cynic

Episode 306: Japes and Tricks and Festive Diversions - Traditional Games Played at Yule and Christmas

Episode 306: Japes and Tricks and Festive Diversions - Traditional Games Played at Yule and Christmas

December 24, 2021

The dragons feel that they've talked about the bloodier origins of winter festivals enough for now so this year's Christmas episode is focusing on festive games. On a whistle stop tour through history, Jules and Madeleine take a look popular winter pastimes such as 'hot cockles', the cushion dance, buffy gruffy and up Jenkins, to name just a few. A light hearted festive episode that doesn't stray into (too much) gory detail.

 

The dragons also wish all their listeners a very merry yule!

 

Title music: Ecstasy by Smiling Cynic

 

Episode 305: Skulls and Sheets and Winter Puzzles - The Origins of the Riddle

Episode 305: Skulls and Sheets and Winter Puzzles - The Origins of the Riddle

December 17, 2021

The dragons would never claim to have exhausted all types of literary device but they are aware that they have neglected this one: riddles. Where do these word puzzles originate? What do they tell us about folklore and literature? How have they been used over the centuries? And who the hell let that cadaverous white horse in? In a perfect episode pre-winter solstice, Jules and Madeleine take a look at riddling. 

 

Title music: Ecstasy by Smiling Cynic

Episode 304: What If Examining Storytelling by Changing the Pivot Points in Speculative Fiction

Episode 304: What If Examining Storytelling by Changing the Pivot Points in Speculative Fiction

December 10, 2021

What if your favourite character did choose the left hand fork of the path, they chose the right? What if a key piece of information was shared instead of hidden? What if the person who steps up and takes responsibility for the cursed object, is someone different? This week the dragons look at a variety of well known narratives and experiment with what would have happened in the story and how events would have been different if a key pivot point point in the plot had been subtly changed. Part fun thought experiment, part useful exercise for writers who want to learn to plot effectively or who need to get unstuck on a story. 

On the slab this week: Game of Thrones, How to Train Your Dragon, Jane Eyre and many more.

 

Title music: Ecstasy by Smiling Cynic

Episode 303: Wicked Queens and Nefarious Princes - The Evolution of the Disney Villain

Episode 303: Wicked Queens and Nefarious Princes - The Evolution of the Disney Villain

December 3, 2021

It isn't just the Disney Princess which has undergone a transformation over time: the Disney villain has likewise evolved. This week Jules and Madeleine take a look at how Disney's villains have changed from the earliest incarnation - the Wicked Queen in Snow White - to more recent films such as Moana and Frozen. What makes a Disney villain compelling? Who (the dragons' opinion) is the best Disney Villain? And more importantly, who gets the best Villain song? Join us this week to find out.

 

Title Music: Ecstasy by Smiling Cynic

Episode 302: My Only Love Sprung from My Only Hate - the Enemies to Lovers Trope in Speculative Fiction

Episode 302: My Only Love Sprung from My Only Hate - the Enemies to Lovers Trope in Speculative Fiction

November 26, 2021

A trope which has seen a rise in popularity lately - whether in romance, urban fantasy, sci-fi or a number of other genres and sub genres - is that of 'enemies to lovers'. Two people start out at odds: either they hate each for a variety of reasons or they're on opposing sides in a conflict. Events conspire to throw them together and a romantic plot or sub plot happens, fuelled by its very unlikeliness it seems. This week the dragons take a look at why this trope is so popular, delving into development of conflict and character arc as well as common 'way stations' the trope needs to hit in order to work successfully. They also take a look at a few examples where it doesn't work and why. 

Under the microscope this week: The Black Magician series by Trudi Canavan, Opal Cohen Series by Maria V Snyder, Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo and many more.

 

Title music: Ecstasy by Smiling Cynic

DD Episode 301: Everyone was Kung Fu Fighting - Martial Arts as a Storytelling Tool in Speculative Fiction

DD Episode 301: Everyone was Kung Fu Fighting - Martial Arts as a Storytelling Tool in Speculative Fiction

November 19, 2021

This week's episode combines subjects that are dear to the dragons' hearts - storytelling and martial arts. Jules and Madeleine discussed fight scenes in a previous episode, however a properly choreographed martial art scene is a miniature story unto itself. From looking at the history connecting martial arts with entertainment to examining ways to incorporate this in writing to examining how martial arts scenes are used to layer nuance, characterisation and even humour onscreen, the dragons have got you covered. On the slab this week: Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, Enter the Dragon, Daredevil and many more.

 

Title music: Ecstasy by Smiling Cynic 

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