On the concept of blorbo and other characters who are mine
There’s a persistent meme format on social media: a question describing some innocuous event or trait, followed by “or are you normal”. “Do you prefer cats to dogs or are you normal?” “Is your to-be-read stack taller than your dad or are you normal?” “Do you relate everything you see and do to your favorite fictional character, and can’t stop yourself from telling everyone about it, or are you normal?”
The term “blorbo” (long-form “blorbo from my shows”) originated on tumblr and what it presupposes is: it might be weird to relate everything you see and do to your favorite fictional character and never stop talking about it, but it’s also something everyone does.
My blorbo is, and always has been, Anakin Skywalker. Anakin is also my “comfort character”, as in the fictional character I most strongly identify with and whose story gives me solace. And I also “kin” Anakin, meaning I have such a deep connection to him that he represents me, and explains me to myself and others. All of these are themes of the same concept. Choosing a favorite character is “normal”. Kinning a comfort blorbo is the extreme (but more the rule than the exception).
In April 2019 I changed my twitter name to ‘Anakin Daenerys’, a play on my name, ‘Anika Dane’. Star Wars Celebration just revealed the title of Episode 9: The Rise of Skywalker and the final season of Game of Thrones had begun. I was incredibly, and in retrospect heartbreakingly, excited for both. It was naïve of me to believe either story would end well as neither ever had. I guess some people are just born with tragedy in their blood.
But my superpower is making the canon of the fandoms and characters I love work for me. Part of it is my devotion to the concept of the multiverse, that there are many alternate universes with alternate circumstances where alternate choices were made. But part of it is that my love for these characters is greater than my disappointment in canon. And instead of using that love as a bludgeon against the creatives and other fans —as I have seen far too many times in all of my fandoms— I use it as a magic wand to keep me happy. It’s a useful trick, and for me, a necessary one. Because the characters I love the most will never win.
I am drawn to passionate, volatile, destructive characters. The ones who try to fit in, try to be patient with the slow march of progress, try to work within the system and affect change on a small scale. And when none of that works, when they’ve twisted themselves into something unrecognizable, a ghost of who they wanted to be, and it’s still not enough for a world that deliberately chooses not to understand them — then those characters decide to burn it all down in order to start again.
If you’ve ever heard me talk about real life politics you know why I sympathize with these tactics and characters. I, too, am exhausted of trying to be good and fair and patient and polite. I, too, am desperate for change now because blind partisanship is literally killing people. Because every child has been left behind. Because guns have more rights than women and a rapist’s reputation is more important than a rape victim’s life. Because racial inequity is thriving and white nationalists are confidently recruiting people in the open. Because I know too many people who died before they could retire. Because the world is on fire and we are arguing over the cost of saving the planet. Because the people in power expect people like me — single working mom with a mortgage and a car payment and a thousand paper cuts worth of debt me — to save the poor and sick and needy.
I don’t have a dragon or the ability to Force choke someone through Zoom or to create weapons of mass destruction with the power of my will. And, maybe more to the point, I understand that burning the world causes and compounds problems as surely as it solves any. Better to do the hard and painful and exhausting and rage-inducing and anonymous and slow work of repairing broken systems.
And that’s why my characters can’t win. But they get to do what I want to do and that’s why I love them.