Alexandra Hollingshead (ophiucha) wrote in westerosorting,
Alexandra Hollingshead

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vincere o morire, win or die

Name: Ophiucha, or Ophis
How did you find out about the community? If it's through an LJ user, please tell us who it is (individual user if possible, not just a community name!): Google
Age: 22
Location: Canada
Occupation: Writer/Housewife

All About You

1. Describe your ideal house/home. Please go into as much detail as possible, and be sure to include your ideal geographical location in the description!.

It would be in a city. Easy to get from place to place, plenty of places to shop for both my daily needs and the sort of esoteric things you can't find out in the country. Books, foreign foods, strange clothing. My home would be small, wood floors and no carpets. Windows with hinges to keep them opening all the way. A small garden, maybe just one in the front, for a few vegetables and herbs. Lavender, in particular. The house itself would have to have a large kitchen, with plenty of cupboards and refrigerators that are hidden behind wooden panelling. More herbs in pots. A dishwasher is a must. An 'office' with bookcases on one wall and clothing racks on the other. The bookcases are full of non-fiction, for the most part, with two shelves towards the end with my favourite fantasy novels. There would be a desk at the end of the room with a printer, a computer, a mirror, and a few shelves and a small case to keep make-up in.

The bathroom would have a good walk-in shower, perhaps no bath at all, and a large enough counter for a few hair supplies. Not much, but it would have to have a place for a stand for an iron and dryer. The bedroom, small and simple. Two dressers and a king-size bed. The computers and the books would all be in the office, so this room is sparse to keep distractions away from a good night's sleep. Finally, the living room is a room of comfort. A plush rug, a fireplace, the TV and the game consoles in an entertainment cabinet that can be closed when guests are over. Probably another bookcase or two for movies and whatnot. And probably a dog bed in the corner.

2. Imagine you’re given the classic opportunity: a genie granting you three wishes. What would you wish for? Please be as elaborate as you can. Wishing for more wishes is not permitted!

I don't trust genies, so I would be meticulous in wording all of my wishes. I think my first wish would be for my mind as it is today to re-inhabit the body of myself from a few years ago, mid-high school perhaps, with all of my current memories and knowledge and mental health issues that gives me the awareness to suitably reshape my future, not necessarily deviating from it heavily but ensuring the best possible outcome. And that the genie must follow me back in time so he can grant me my other two wishes.

And those other two wishes would probably be a steadier hand, since I can't apply my eyeliner evenly, and a respectable amount of money. Maybe like 12 million dollars. That seems like a good sum.

3. In your life so far, what accomplishment are you the most proud of? Why? You can list more than one if you have trouble deciding. ;)

I am proud of my stories, I suppose. That's a dreadfully boring answer, but I'm a writer and I'm a 22yo woman who has done little else with her life besides write. I am proud of the ones I have finished, I am proud of the ones I have abandoned for their faults but picked apart like a vulture to use the best pieces in better works. I am proud of my plot twists and my characters and my worldbuilding, and I am proud that despite my severe anxiety about never being a good enough writer that I've still continued to put words on the page.

4. Which of the following is most important to you: Love, Money, Knowledge, Family, Friendship, Adventure, or Pleasure? Which is the least important to you? Please explain why for each choice.

The most important to me is knowledge. Unlike many people I know, I find that the more I learn about the world, the more hopeful and optimistic I become. I study history and politics and I feel more comfortable with who I am and the value of the people around me, both my friends and strangers. And, of course, knowledge contributes greatly to writing. 'Write what you know', as they say. It works best if you know quite a bit.

Least important is hard to say. Love or family, perhaps. I lack neither. I am happily married, and my family and I are on amicable terms, if not as close as some. But I value the friendship I have with my husband over the love between us. Money is a tough one, too. On the one hand, I am poor and money is perhaps the most valuable thing I can have in my life. On the other hand, I'd sooner see the whole world without jewels or gold or any other luxuries than join those who sit on thrones built on the backs of destitute.

It's tough. I'll go with family, I think.

5. What's one quote (or passage, song lyric, etc.) that effectively describes you and your values? Explain.

  • Did you never think, even once, that I loved lipstick and rouge for more than their color alone? I am a student of their lore, and it is arcane and hermetic beyond the dreams of alchemists. ...cosmetics are an extension of the will. Why do you think all men paint themselves when they go to fight? - Deathless, by Catherynne M. Valente

I am a feminine woman, but it took me years to get there. I find my love of fantasy, my love of history, my love of mathematics have all - in a strange way - brought me to this point where I could pick flowers and wear lipstick and twirl around in skirts and feel like that represented some part of me. I fought myself on that for a while, and now it's one of the most important parts of my identity. This quote just sort of stuck with me, so there you go.

6. How do you manage your money? On that note, how important is money/financial security to you? Go into as much detail as you can.

As I mentioned above, I'm poor. So financial security is of a great deal of significance to me because if it falters, then I don't really want to know what would happen. I manage my money by never spending it, basically. I spend two hours in the grocery store taking note of every sale before I even write down a grocery list, and I measure all my fruits and veg on the scale before I decide how much to buy. I'm quite good at math, so the accounting part of it all is the easy part. A bad job market and a lack of experience make it hard for me to add much to the bank account, though.

7. Name (and elaborate on) some of your hobbies. What are your favorite things to do outside of school/the office?

Writing. I hesitate to even call it a hobby since I don't have a job and this takes the place of it. I write fantasy and science fiction novels, usually with queer protagonists and a more white v. grey kind of moral alignment than most of what I read.

Cooking. I'm an ambitious and fairly good chef (although I have a high tolerance for spice that does not pass on to everyone I make food for). I usually spend two or three hours on dinner every day. I brine my poultry, I make bread from scratch, the most expensive thing in my kitchen other than the oven or the fridge is my knife block.

Gaming. It's what brought my husband and I together. Mostly tabletop gaming, 3+ hour board games and TCGs, but I sometimes binge on video games as well. I can go months without playing any, only to spend a week or two doing nothing else.

Babysitting. Since I usually do it for free. I love kids, but I don't really want any of my own, so I just watch and spoil other people's. Also, it gives me an excuse to go see Dreamworks movies in the theatre when none of my friends want to.

8. Name three things you are afraid of. Explain.

Poverty. I don't think that one really needs explaining.

Shots. Trypanophobia, the irrational fear of needles and syringes. I seriously feel a little uneasy using a dental syringe which just shoots water and has no needle, and I have full blown panic attacks getting a flu shot. My mother thinks it was because of the two months I spent in the hospital when I was six, with weekly blood tests and an IV. It doesn't help that I have pale veins, so often doctors have to try a couple of times to get it in correctly.

Not being able to write. Specifically, due to anxiety. I have an anxiety disorder, and it is a severe hindrance on my ability to write regularly (or do much of anything, some days). The fact that I'm not writing due to my anxiety causes more anxiety, which means I'm still not writing. I've always been able to take advantage of good days and force myself to type even when I hate what I'm writing, but still, it's a vicious cycle of self-doubt that I'm terrified will eventually lead to me not writing anything at all.

9. Name (and elaborate on) your top three BEST and top three WORST qualities (personality-related, not physical). Please answer as fully as you can, as this is an important question.

My three best traits are my intelligence, my creativity, and my optimism. I don't really like to categorize intelligence, and I think most people are some sort of smart, but in an academic sense, I'm not really shy to admit that I am very intelligent. I can do calculus problems in my head, I can be eloquent when I want to sit down and think about my syntax and diction, and I can memorize the names of French kings as easily as most of my friends memorize the names of all the characters in ASOIAF. That's a big part of me, and it's part of me that I like. My creativity, I need not elaborate on much more. I'm a fantasy writer and I'm a chef. I come up with my own stories and my own recipes. I literally cannot do anything without my mind running ahead of me and crafting some abstract problem I need to solve or applying knowledge to some unrelated field of study. I draw connections between moss and maps, you know? And optimism... well, I think it's the only part of me that pushes through all of my worst traits.

Which are, for the record, my anxiety, my ambition, and my indifference towards others. Anxiety, well, I've touched on this. It's a mental disorder, so it isn't really something I can help, but it's a big part of who I am all the same. My ambition, well, I am a Slytherin. I used to regard it as a positive trait, but all it ever does is fight with my anxiety and make me a bit over-competitive. And apathy, that's an odd one and really where my optimism has to fight. People, I love. I can empathize with plights and be outraged by injustice; I would fight for them, and if such a thing were likely in Western Canada, I'd probably die for them. But an individual? A friend crying over a break up? I just... disconnect. It's not that I don't care, but it's that I can't really empathize. Even if I should be able to. I have to speak about generalities or myself in order to connect or I just can't, and that kind of puts more distance between people and I. Which is hard, when I love the world and want to be part of it. But I still smile through all of that, and it's genuine.

A Song of Ice and Fire Related

1.How many books from the series have you completed? All of them.

2.Who are your favorite three characters in the series? Why?

Sansa Stark. She's a lovely girl who deserves the world, and I find her arc a bit more compelling than her sister's (though I love Arya too). Sansa is playing the game from within without ever breaking the rules, even the other 'feminine' women break the rules. She is a court woman with a dreadful life, but she is neither passive nor naive. Which I adore. She also just has some of the best POV chapters.

Stannis Baratheon. He's just a great king. He values the opinions of slaves and sailors, he went to the Wall to serve the kingdom while sacrificing time and men he could use to claim the title of king, and he's looking out for his little girl. What's not to love? He makes some big mistakes, yes, but he's a character in ASOIAF, so the bar is pretty low. Not to say it won't bite him in the ass, but everyone in this series is due a big pile of karmic justice.

Jaime Lannister. From Storm of Swords onward, I have just enjoyed all of his conversations and quips and his interactions with his sister, in particular. The 'break up' of an incestuous couple is amusing, tense, and made worse by the events around them with Tyrion and Tywin. His relationship with the Lannister code, his honor, and Brienne are all interesting, and though I could have cared less about his swordsman antics before SoS, I do like his story now that he's lost his hand and him getting the Oathbreaker from Tywin (and giving it to Brienne in turn). Also, I think I just like characters who lose a hand - Tyr, Luke Skywalker, Beren...

3.Who are your least favorite three characters in the series? Why?

Joffrey Lannister. Honestly I don't think I need to explain this one. Although I must say I adore the way he is played on the show - I hope his actor has a long career after this season.

Bran Stark. He's okay, but I'm just uninterested in his story and find every chapter that goes to focus on him an incredible bore. I think I stop reading for a few hours every time I hit one, in fact.

Viserys Targaryen. Again, I don't think I need to explain this one.

4.#1 Favorite moment in all of ASOIAF so far? Why?

The golden crown. Narrowly avoiding my top 3 characters list is Khal Drogo, and Dany is in my Top 20, so add to that Viserys meeting his well-deserved end and it's just a good moment. It's an image that sticks with you more than most from this world, as well. For the most part, Westeros is a bloody but standard medieval fantasy. Dragons, priestesses, ice giants, golden hands and rare steel. Nothing sticks out a whole lot, but that scene was the right mix of brutal, justified, and well-written that it stands on its own.

5. In your dream-world, how would you like to see the series end, and why?

The Seven Kingdoms are ruled by Stannis Baratheon, perhaps with one or two kingdoms breaking away. He is the rightful heir to the throne, and though his choices with regards to Melisandre are poor, I think he is the most deserving if only so he can give his daughter the crown. Sansa Stark (married either to Petyr or a Bolton) will rule the North, at least until Rickon is willing and able to take over. The main line of the Lannisters is dead, Cersei, Jaime, their children, and Tyrion are all dead and a cousin takes over as the head of the family. They probably lose some money along the way.

Daenerys and her dragons die protecting the Seven Kingdoms from the white walkers and anything else that comes from the North. By doing so, she redeems the name Targaryen in Westeros and is acknowledged as a 'Queen' before ending the line for good. The remaining Starks - including Jon Snow - become more powerful as a result of the war with the others, which is why they are separated from the Iron Throne in the end. They will also likely take control of the Vale, the Riverlands, and possibly the Iron Islands.

I'd also like to see Dorne and the Reach form their own Kingdom, just because. Margaery would overlook a family feud with the Martells to marry a king and combine their power for another war in 20 or so years, maybe when Stannis is dead and his daughter takes the throne. As you do.

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