If Game of Thrones’ Grey Worm & Missandei Die, We Riot!

Missandei-and-Grey-Worm-460There are more dragons than there are black people in the core cast of HBO’s Game of Thrones — a show on which at least six people die before breakfast every day. So, you might understand why I’m petrified that the achingly beautiful Grey Worm (Jacob Anderson) and Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel) will bite the dust sometime between the current season 7 and the final season 8. If they do…? I say we riot!

On a show that prides itself on over-the-top violence, over-the-top sex, and over-the-top sexual violence, the gentle, quiet, love story of Daenerys Targaryen’s two trusted companions has been a welcome balm. Grey Worm, forcibly castrated and enslaved as a young boy, now serves as the commander of Dany’s army. Missandei, also a survivor of enslavement, is Dany’s translator and general bestie (as much as someone can be pals with the Mother of Dragons). And, frankly, most of the time I like them better than anybody in that particular story arc.

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Dirty Dancing’s Johnny and Baby Last Forever (Fight Me!)

Baby and Johnny live happily ever after. Sure, it’s easy to write off the events of 1987’s beloved Dirty Dancing as a beautiful summer fling set to a kickass 1960s soundtrack — most people do — but I’m here to tell you that they make it. They survive past the credits and the last strains of “The Time of My Life.”

The basic plot of the movie involves a privileged, sheltered, college-bound girl, played by Jennifer Grey, falling for Patrick Swayze’s blue-collar dance instructor. But like so many romance novels we’ve devoured and loved, the emotional core is that they connect despite their differences — and they admire each other because of them. I’ve read summaries that describe Johnny as the worldly one in the relationship — and maybe he is sexually, but in all other ways…? Baby holds the power. Yes, she’s wealthy and educated, but she’s also fearless and brave and strong in her convictions. She goes after what she wants — and who she wants. That floors Johnny. Ultimately, he’s the one seduced, not her.

Johnny: “I’ve never known anyone like you. You think you can make the world better. Somebody’s lost, you find them. Somebody’s bleeding—”

Baby: “I go get my daddy. That’s really brave, like you said.”

Johnny: “That took a lot of guts to go to him! You are not scared of anything.”

Baby learns to dance so that Penny can keep her job. She goes to her father for medical help when Penny’s back-alley abortion goes wrong. She faces down her family and the Kellermans to exonerate Johnny when he’s accused of stealing from guests. Why wouldn’t she fight for an HEA with that exact same passion?

Baby: “I hurt my family, you lost your job anyway — I did it for nothing!”

Johnny: “No, not for nothing. Nobody has ever done anything like that for me before.”

Baby: “You were right. You can’t win no matter what you do.”

Johnny: “Listen to me. I don’t want to hear that from you. You can.”

And I believe she does. Past the summer. Into fall at Mount Holyoke. Baby keeps winning — with Johnny by her side. There is nothing to suggest otherwise. In Baby’s opening voiceover, she notes that she met Johnny “before President Kennedy was shot, before the Beatles came.” Who’s to say they didn’t experience those milestones together? That they weren’t huddled in front of the TV together, stunned and clutching hands, as Walter Cronkite interrupted As the World Turns? Who’s to say they didn’t dance to “Something” at their wedding?

Let’s face it, we’ve taken bigger leaps in fiction — and in life. Opposites attracting and then making a marriage work isn’t a huge hop. And, of course, there’s fanfic that covers all those pesky little skips and jumps that end with Johnny and Baby as a long-term couple. Here are a few that stand out:

A Real Grown-Up Name, by fairy_tale_echo. (Trigger Warning: contains an antisemitic slur.)

Through Every Open Door, by mjules

Waiting Room, by Missy

by any other name, by FreshBrains

Waiting For a Voice to Come, by Arsenic

As far I’m concerned, this is what happens after that fateful, forbidden, fantastic summer at Kellerman’s: They make it. They survive. They continue to help people in need. And they keep dancing.

(And, most importantly, they aren’t remade into a soulless, money-grab TV movie by ABC.)

 

Originally published on HeroesandHeartbreakers.com

Horror’s Best Romances—Yes, You Read that Correctly

Something author Tiffany Reisz once said has always stuck with me — that, to her, the closest genre to BDSM romance is horror. Presumably because they both involve facing and conquering fear. As a horror movie junkie, I totally acknowledge that if there’s a shippable pair thrown together against the threat — or maybe it’s the protagonist and the threat — I am all for it. Because there’s nothing like the combination of passion and terror. Everything is heightened. The stakes are astronomical. It’s not just hearts on the line — it’s lives, too.

Horror also tackles so many fascinating tropes — taboo relationships, us-against-the-world, lovers-on-the-run. But, unlike most mainstream romances, horror happily exposes the creepy underbelly of those plots. Just look at 2013’s Stoker, written by Prison Breaks Wentworth Miller and gorgeously directed by Park Chan-wook. Mia Wasikowska stars as India Stoker, a young woman who develops an intense attachment to her charismatic uncle, Charlie (Matthew Goode). The incestuous elements are the least troubling bits of the film — and I could not look away! I don’t know what this says about Mia’s career choices, but she’s also in two other films I’d recommend to romance readers: 2015’s Crimson Peak and 2013’s Only Lovers Left Alive. (Both co-star Tom Hiddleston, which is a huge selling point for me). Guillermo del Toro and Jim Jarmusch’s respective aesthetics are gorgeous. Just like a good romance zeroes in on the protagonists, so does horror — to an almost claustrophobic extent. These are both films about being stuck — and, honestly, I’m never going to complain about being trapped with Tom Hiddleston, whether he’s an incestuous gold-digger or an emo vampire.

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Are Jon Snow and Daenerys Endgame on Game of Thrones?

-HBO

The seventh — and penultimate — season of Game of Thrones premieres July 16, and I’m telling you right now that the most important seats at this show’s table belong to Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen. Actually, scratch the plural on those seats. It’s one big ol’ chair with Jon in Dany’s lap (or the other way around, if you prefer). Because everything in this series has been leading up to the inevitable team-up of these two characters — both on the throne and in a bed!

I know what you’re thinking: “But he’s her nephew!” Dude, Dany breastfed three dragons. I’m not all that concerned about whether her hooking up with a relative she’s never met is inappropriate. See also: Jaime and Cersei Lannister. Jon turning out to be a lost Targaryen (child of Dany’s brother Rhaegar and Ned Stark’s sister Lyanna) is nowhere near as creepy as the incestuous bone-town that is King’s Landing.

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First Look: Roshani Chokshi’s A Crown of Wishes

Roshani Chokshi
A Crown of Wishes
St. Martin’s Griffin / March 28, 2017/
$18.99 print, $9.99 digital

You don’t need to have read Roshani Chokshi’s lyrical debut, The Star-Touched Queen, to read its sequel, A Crown of Wishes, but you’ll probably kick yourself if you don’t ― because it’s a beautiful introduction to the world that continues to grow in this, her second fantasy release. Steeped and rooted in Hindu mythology, A Crown of Wishes follows warrior princess Gauri and tactician prince Vikramaditya as they struggle to prove themselves and take back their respective kingdoms ― by competing in a tournament where the grand prize is a wish granted.

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First Look: Tiffany Reisz’s The Night Mark

Tiffany Reisz
The Night Mark
Harlequin MIRA / March 28, 2017 /
$15.99 print, $7.99 digital

She has nothing to live for in the present, but finds there’s something worth dying for in the past…

Tiffany Reisz transitions to women’s fiction tinged with magical realism in her newest release, The Night Mark, while still retaining everything readers love about her erotic fiction — banter, beautiful prose and deep, emotional relationships. (And sex. Of course, there is sex.)

An aching meditation on grief and loss, The Night Mark uses a lighthouse as both a touchstone and a catalyst when deeply unhappy Faye Barlow finds herself at an emotional crossroads. Trapped by a marriage to her dead husband’s best friend, mired in the memories of a blazing first love, she obtains a quickie divorce and flees to Beaufort, South Carolina to restart her career as a photographer. Bride Island — which Reisz fans will recognize from The Bourbon Thief, immediately fascinates her. As she digs into the history of the island and its decaying but dazzling lighthouse, she’s gut-punched by an old photograph. Carrick Morgan, a lighthouse keeper from the 1920s, looks exactly like her first husband, charming baseball player Will Fielding.

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First Look: Lisa Marie Perry’s Sin For Me

Lisa Marie Perry
Sin For Me
Loveswept / February 21, 2017 /
$2.99 digital

If you love FOX’s sudsy Empire, then Lisa Marie Perry’s sizzling Sin For Me is a must-read! The twisted, drama-soaked first book in the Devil’s Music duology is set amidst the Atlanta music scene, at a record label that’s growing new talent and age-old feuds. Dangerous wild-child Delilah Bishop, voted out of her family’s company by her three best friends, Joshua Drake, Emma Toledo and Chelsea Coin, wants back in at any cost. She’ll burn things down (literally), wreck marriages — and even throw her own brother, songwriter Dante Bishop, under the bus to get what she wants. But what Delilah doesn’t realize is that Devil’s Music holds its own allure for Dante — in the form of chief operating officer Chelsea, the woman who betrayed him and still enthralls him.

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