But note I didn't bring up Clarke in the litany of unease. He utterly loves Lola and, while he'd probably need a minute to adjust, would always support her to Hell and back.

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It's a "BOOM!" Chapter - not in exciting, twist-plot-threads-together-also-there's-a-bomb way, but through character growth and background. Yes, that can all be a "BOOM!"

Obviously, I twigged to Lola being gay since the introduction of Daryla. Been "shipping" that for awhile, too, and, now that moves have been made along those lines, you've injected unease, you bastard. There's a lot to untangle here, from the addition regressive Mid-Earth backstory to hints of an unhealthy relationship for Lola and her parents (annoying yipping dog? Really?), through "plaything," and (something which jumped out on second read) "rags." While Lola's clothing is probably plain, I doubt they are anything resembling "rags."

I still want this relationship to work out, but, yes, you've injected doubt and uncertainty rather than the hope that two people can just be good together.

Cis-het, white, middle-class, 50 and privileged as I am, I view gender and sexual preference almost as a "McGuffin" in relationships. Love is love. Find it where you can, and may it work out for you. I don't understand same-sex attraction, but I don't understand people who like nasty, moldy bleu cheese. Did I just compare someone's sexual attraction to their taste in food? Yup. Neither should affect anyone other than themselves (ok, one's partner in relationships).

Did you seek that third opinion before publishing? Ah, dammit. Till now the app was allowing carriage returns. Now continues the run-on paragraph. Writing cultural views outside of one's own is stressful - especially in semi/pseudo historical. Of course in SF/fantasy one can make it all up, but, in response to the Monday blog I, again, brought up my decade of world-building. I'm using real world historical cultures as starting baselines, and there's been much research over the years. I want things "right," and to treat my inspirations with respect and dignity and not have my cultures be stereotypes or cartoons. Takes time to get it right.

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Yeah, there's a lot of weight to some lines and phrases in here. The brief reference to Lola's parents being one. I think we can assume she didn't have a particularly supportive childhood.

One aspect to note here is that I think Lola is misjudging Clarke - I think she's brought him a long way in the time they worked together, and that she'd find an ally in him now. Understandable that she's cautious there, though, given the toxic culture she's lived in her whole life.

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Huh. Just caught my prior reply posted out of sequence. Also not seeing pull quotes at the tops of chapters with this version of the app. Also, no carriage returns this time. Apparently Substack is as reliable as Twitter this week. But enough digressions - one more comment on Clarke. Simon Jones' writing is ultimately optimistic and he wouldn't have spent an entire arc making Clarke a better man only for him to turn around and be hateful to Lola over who she loves. That's George RR Martin level of mean to a character. 🥁*non-existent cymbal emoji* OOH! Next Chapter Time!

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