Allegra’s Cos-Friends - VisibleSpectre and Ongaku88: Kevin and Tracy
I’ll always remember—not verbatim, but paraphrased—the tweet I received on the Friday of New York Comic-Con 2011. It was basically: “Hey, are you still here? I’d love to see your Isabela in person!” from a twitter user named visiblespectre. I’d never spoken to him before, but, always eager to make new friends, I told him to come find me downstairs where I was spending time with some Assassin’s Creed cosplayer friends.
What ensued was the first of many lengthy conversations with my soon-to-be friends Kevin and Tracy, and their friend who I had actually met at PAX East earlier that year, Smitty. I was really impressed by how intelligent and mature they seemed—I’m so used to meeting very excitable people at cons that it was very refreshing to talk to people who legitimately wanted to talk. In fact, the ultimate goal of taking a picture of my Isabela only came in hindsight when we realized after a very long talk that we had never done just that.
I didn’t realize this at the time, but Kevin and Tracy would, very quickly over the course of the next year, become some of my closest friends—in fact, I would argue, among my dearest friends that I’ve made throughout my lifetime. We have our rituals and habits, most often spent eaten copious amounts of food in the East Village at our favorite dessert places and drinking far too much bubble tea. No really, far too much bubble tea.
Kevin and Tracy had done a bit of cosplay before then; if I remember correctly, Kevin had cosplayed from Black Butler at the very least, and I don’t remember if Tracy had done anything prior to then. But when they shared their plans to do Warden Bethany and Genderbent Merrill with me—I think this conversation took place really early on, possibly still at NYCC—I jumped on the idea encouragingly because seriously? Manrill? Fuck yes. And, as always, I offered to help, and we did spend many an afternoon chatting over bubble tea about where to buy fabric or body paint or how to handle x or y section of this costume.
Not that they needed too much help, frankly. I’m always thrilled to see how they tackle the problems they face. There’s something so delightful about seeing someone work on a specific kind of costume piece for the first time—a jacket, a bodice—hearing them talk it through and finally seeing the finished piece. As Kevin and Tracy can attest (and just about anyone else I’m friends with), I always run up to them when I see their completed cosplays at conventions and immediately start complimenting how they handled the trickier sections. I once actually got on my knees in front of Tracy (*wink*) to stare at the way she handled Anora’s incredibly non-intuitive bodice. And then the cycle starts again, and they share their new plans over bubble tea and I start bouncing up and down at the opportunity to watch their work unfold.
But what I always appreciate about spending time with Kevin and Tracy is and will always be the conversations. I don’t think there’s ever been a dull moment, awkward pause, or tense instance between us. This is a friendship, I am incredibly proud to say, that was born on mutual respect for each other’s insights and intelligence. And I’ve never felt like a third wheel spending time with them either, even though that seems unlikely when you’re the third person spending time with a couple who has been together for over a decade. But they are just that respectful, just that considerate. They are, to me, just about the epitome of Good Peoples.
As I think about leaving New York for Seattle and all the people I’m leaving behind, I think two of the people outside of my longtime friends and family that I most regret leaving behind are Kevin and Tracy. Their friendship is stabilizing, their support is endless. I’ve never regretted a single moment that we’ve spent gorging ourselves on amazing food and talking about musical theatre and video games, about problems and hurdles, about life and the universe and everything. I know I’m fortunate as a convention-goer that I have the ability to see my friends every few months at this or that convention, but it’s going to be really painful to not get that text every once in a while that they’re going to be in the city that weekend so am I down for some bubble tea?
The answer is and will always be yes, I am down for some bubble tea with Kevin and Tracy, no matter where we are in the country and in life. I’m impossibly grateful to have friends who I know, even after only a year of friendship, will stand by me. And I will stand by them.
My good friend Ash of Nerd Appropriate took and posted some awesome pictures of us this weekend! He managed to catch me in two costumes, which is always great—I love when photographers get to catch me as more than one character! He also got an awesome picture of Beth and Kevin as Evangeline and Cole from Dragon Age: Asunder, and all of us with Tracy’s gorgeous Anora…. And then a candid in which Aria holds a sword, since shit be awesome like that ;)
Plus, pictures from a meetup we had before the convention started! Behold Beth and I being adorable, and us being sultry with Ali Hillis, who is a ridiculously nice person, guys. Her husband is a fellow New Yorker, so bonus points there!
CAN’T I JUST GO BACK TO PAX RATHER THAN BEING A BORING ADULT ;___;
So…Anora update! The construction is basically done, so now it’s just finish modifying the blouse (sew on the second cuff, add the collar and trim, detail the cuffs), finish the belt/obi/corset…thing (get fasteners, detail), and…figure out how to style the wig. I’m quite poor at styling my own hair (which is why I usually keep it short), and this un-leveled skill set also affects any hair-like substance. However, I at least did learn from my first attempt that trying to style it on the wig stand results in Leia-esque buns. The second attempt was more accurate in placement, but I’m not comfortable with how secure it is, and I’m going to keep trying to improve the look of it. In the meantime, I’m going to be buying a lot more bobby pins.
I’ll get the pictures of the wig let down on here eventually, because VS insists it makes me look like Cercei, but they are currently on his external hard drive, so…later. I realize I went with a slightly more golden tone than Anora’s hair, but really it’s worth it…lighter blonde wigs make me look jaundiced ^^;; But yes, tomorrow…buy all the hair pins!
Anora is coming along crazy great! I am very excited for PAX :D. I enjoy the two separate trials on display simultaneously on the wig - the one on the left (er, your right) definitely nails it. Hopefully I will get my Cole wig soon so I can get some pics up too!
I love it bb! Also totally going for the left one—the low bun is definitely the right look :D
A man tries to grab power, he’s ambitious.
A woman tries to grab power, she’s a power-hungry bitch.
Thanks and get the fuck out.
Word. I don’t understand all the Anora hate- I mean, I totally understand it, hi misogyny- but she’s kind of stone cold awesome. And, you know, was already queen and had every right to keep on being queen and expecting to not be deposed from their rightful place doesn’t actually make someone power hungry. :\
Man, no, I hate Anora. She is a power-hungry bitch, but only because she is a two-faced rotten cuntrocket.
You see her throughout Dragon Age and you feel sorry for her, especially during the scene when she realizes Loghain left her husband to die.
But no. You all are singing her fucking praises, and you forget.
This bitch got you locked up in a dungeon, and if your coercion wasn’t high enough, you were FUCKED.
Not only did she get you locked up, she played it off like an accident, and she did want the throne. You could marry Alistair to her, sure, but FUCK THAT HE IS YOURS.
Anora is a bitch. She is a power-hungry, selfish widow. She is too conniving and devious, and after betraying what little trust I had in her, she should be locked up in the Tower of London. Anora is, though, very clever, but her father is a horrible man, and her father is also being catered to by Arl Howe, and I have many problems with him also.
All in all:
First emphasis mine.
A small confession of my own: people like this are part of why I dislike so many Alistair fangirls. There seems to be an entire subset of Dragon Age fans who think that the point of the first game is to woo Alistair and become his queen as the Warden Cousland, and anything that stands in the way of that goal or makes for a different experience of the game is to be hated, like Anora, or ignored, like the other origins.
Personally, I like Anora for her combination of inner strength and vulnerable dependence on her father (and conflict over the sins he’s committed). I find the other origins fascinating for the insight they offer into the other parts of Thedosian society and the world it takes place in. The richness of that world is what keeps me coming back to these games and writing ornate essays on them, not the ability to romance a cute king and become his royal bride.
Going back to the outpouring of jealous misogyny that is the quoted post, I am also slightly staggered by the possible implication that Anora should be blamed for her father’s crimes on some level (or perhaps just that she should be hated for retaining affection and love for him? I’m not sure). It makes me want to defend the value of Loghain as a character as well.
The figure of a fallen hero driven to atrocities by the same patriotic fervor that once made him heroic, now burned down to the ashes of bitterness and paranoia, is much more interesting as a villain than the looming spectre of the archdemon. He is, like many characters in the series, a victim of oppression who fails to realize just how thoroughly it has damaged him and shaped his world—or at least fails to triumph over that damage. The way he submits to the Warden’s sword if you decide to kill him, with wry grace and a last parting word of gentleness for Anora, suggests that he is perhaps aware of just how unworthy and morally bankrupt he is now, even if he’s been unable to resist the urge to fall down that path.
Unlike the other characters with similar issues related to the cycles of oppression, though, Loghain has accumulated enough personal and political victories to rise to power himself, and so he is able to project his damage out onto the world, thus perpetuating the same cycle of warfare and stolen lives that instilled him with paranoia and hatred. He is a brutal lesson in how war and occupation chase each other around and around without end, leaving a lasting legacy.
It’s through villains like Loghan and flawed, three-dimensional characters like Anora (ambitious, ruthless, clever, charming, dependent in her own way, vulnerable) that we learn best about a world and the forces both political and personal that shape characters within it. Lashing them with hatred, in the worst cases merely for being female and getting in the way of your ideal fictional romance, only makes your own experience of the game poorer.
Okay, I swore I wasn’t going to care about this confessions blog business, but god damn it is this post far too fucking awesome not to reblog. I love Anora, I love that she’s a capable woman who was basically running an entire kingdom on her own while her good for nothing husband ran around sleeping with other women (and not even batting an eyelash at the same time).
Fuck, I have entire list of reasons why I love her and I could go on and on, but this is getting far too fangirlish for me. So in conclusion: Anora is awesome.