Following up on the previous post
April 24th, 2010 - 03:16 pm
|So, my thoughts on the Kuei/Toph fanfics:|
I haven't read either of the two fics in their entirety yet, but these are my opinion thus far: Overall, the fics have many, many problems. These include copious Mai-bashing to the point of outright character assassination, Aang-bashing, Sokka-bashing, devaluing of characters' past relationships to make the author's preferred pairing seem "perfect", and Katara cheating on her husband (Jet) with Zuko. In this fic, the deities of the Avatarverse are apparently Zutara shippers. Characters have a nasty habit of spouting Zutara catchphrases, like "opposites attract". Azula's cruelty and eventual insanity during the series are apparently being attributed to demonic possession, leading to an all-too-convenient and all-too-easy change of heart for her. The prose is good, but the story sucks. But... the Kuei/Toph relationship is kind of adorable.
"Shall I ask what all that was about?" he said good naturedly, opening a new piece of parchment. Toph smelled ink and heard the scratch of a brush within moments.
"Specs, that was a girl talk. Despite my dislike of frills and lace, I do enjoy helping my fellow ladies now and then."
"Ah. Well, then, I shall not pry."
Toph sat down on the bed, picking up a scroll from the bedside table. Kuei had had it specially made- the characters were raised, so Toph could feel them and read what it said. She was in the middle of this story, a dramatic adventure scroll. All was relatively silent for a few moments.
"Did you talk about Katara and her husband? Because somehow I feel that romance is a common topic during these girl talks-"
"Kuei, I'm going to earthbend you out the window if you don't quit asking me questions."
Aww, he invented Braille for her. <3 C'mon, that's pretty cute.
Kuei pushed his glasses back to their original place- they had a tendency to slide down the bridge of his nose, especially in the hot courtroom. Toph was seated at his right side as they discussed the upcoming events with the council. She looked rather bored- her chin rested in her palm, and her elbow was on the table. It wouldn't have been so obvious, except she kept yawning rather conspicuously.
"The Festival of Terra is due to be held next week, as the eighth month leaves," said Councilman Feng, "We expect that the visitor count will be higher this year with the boom in the economy. I can have extra men placed at the major locations in the city for protection, there's sure to be some troublemakers out and about."
"That will be fine," Kuei agreed, "And be sure to watch the merchants- I don't want any Non-Tradable goods sold inside the city. After all, there was that report about that disease they found on cabbages from the southern region… best to keep anything dangerous out of the city."
"Specs, are you really making requests to keep cabbage out of Ba Sing Se?"
"Toph, dearest, this disease is said to be deadly."
"No one even likes cabbage," Toph muttered. Kuei sighed in an exasperated way, looking to his council. They all shrugged.
"And keep an eye on suspicious figures- you remember last year, when that strange man sold those pendants- the ones with poison in them?"
"Then I think this meeting can come to a close."
They all filed out, Toph rather sleepily.
"Cheer up, Toph," Kuei said, patting her shoulder lightly, "The Terra Festival will give you a chance to show off your Earthbending."
Terra was the goddess of Earth, and Toph had neglected to ask if Zuko and Katara had met her. After all, she had heard from Aang of their adventure into the Spirit World. The badger moles had been the first earth benders, and Terra was said to have learned it from them around the time Omashu became a city. Either way, the festival held in her honor was hosted at Ba Sing Se every year in the eighth month.
"Why isn't the Terra Festival held in spring?" Toph asked bluntly.
"Why… I'm… I'm not sure," Kuei said, faltering slightly, "You'd think it would be, wouldn't you?"
"That's why I asked you, Specs."
"I suppose… well, we do hold the Lily Festival at the beginning of spring," Kuei said thoughtfully, "Well, now that everything's over, shall we go for a cup of tea with Iroh? I'd like to see how his niece is doing."
"Crazy's prob'ly going around and blowing things up, as usual," Toph replied, rolling her mint-green eyes, "I'll go and see Pops, but I don't wanna see Little Miss Lightning- she messed up my game of checkers."
"Well, technically, you won't be seeing her-"
Toph punched him in the arm.
"That's how I show affection. Now shut up and take me to get some tea."
It's also not very romantic. There's nothing at all about their interactions that says "we're in love". The arm-punch means very little, since Toph does that to everyone she cares about. I mean, you could swap their engagement for them being BFFs and it wouldn't change anything. On the one hand, the large age gap makes the blandness of their on-screen relationship something of a relief. On the other hand, as a fan of both characters, it strikes me as highly unfair to stick them in such a lukewarm relationship. Kuei and Toph both, IMO, deserve some real romance, though preferably not together because the age gap makes it kinda weird. The other characters in the two fics have all been given relationships that are quite passionate, or at least very sweet and loving. It kinda feels like the author's selling Toph and Kuei short with this pairing.
And there's another problem, which I've seen in nearly every other fic that Kuei is in: he exists solely to host big parties that act as a convenient reason for all of the main characters to be in the same place at the same time. He's a bit more involved in these two fics than he usually is, though. And at least he has a name, a personality, and a love interest here. In most other fanfics, he's just "The Earth King" and isn't really a character so much as a plot device. So there's that.
So, to revise my previous estimates of the amount of Kuei!fic on FFN: I've now found two fics that pair him with Jun, two that pair him with Toph, one that's a gen!fic about his travels, one where he's King George, and one where he's paired with an OC (mine). Um... yay?
I'll keep y'all updated as I read further.