#NS10 My Favorite N&S fanfiction

Lovely romantic stories to keep you warm at night…

The Armitage Authors Network

Meek Margaret Romantic tension between would-be lovers. Thornton with his book. He loves to read, too!

After watching North & South for the very first time, I was desperate to talk about the story with others because I simply couldn’t stop thinking about it. I found C19 within a few days. It saved me from certain lunacy (or did it?). What a relief to know that I wasn’t the only one suffering from the effects of watching a Victorian cotton mill owner smolder for nearly four hours. Finally I could discuss and ask questions … but that was not all. There were stories there! Other people, whom the gods had allowed to find N&S years before me, had written stories about John and Margaret.

I had discovered fan fiction! Cue the music from on high.

I spent hours upon hours immersing myself in Milton again through the creative talents of many fellow…

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Uncle Bob or Cousin Bofur?

I really like this analysis of dwarvishness. In particular, it answers the question I had about DOS — when Thorin and the crew were in Erebor, and Thorin taunts Smaug into breathing the fire that re-lights the forges, how did the dwarves escape getting burnt to a crisp just by standing behind the pillars? Surely the flames — or even the hot air — would have been enough to cause damage. But if dwarves are highly heat-resistant, that would explain how they made it through.

The Dwarrow Scholar

For those unfamiliar with the details of Tolkien’s Middle Earth, the dwarves (at first glance) appear to be short, plump, grumpy men with big noses and long beards – much like my uncle Bob come to think of it, but I digress.

Sure, they are stocky, quite a bit shorter and have long beards that can be tucked into their belts.  But they still have a human form, unlike some of the talking beings of Tolkien’s world, such a dragons or ents for example.

So the question posted here today is… “What really makes a dwarf a dwarf?”

Could we for instance, sitting at a table in the Prancing Pony, mistake a stocky chubby strong-armed man with a long white beard (aka uncle Bob) for a dwarf ? I guess we could, but might quickly identify his true form when we took a closer look and talked to him for…

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It’s not the data, it’s the meaning you give it

I love TED talks. They always teach me something new. Cool ideas and new perspectives are like shiny toys to me, things I can play with endlessly.

In this talk, Susan Etlinger discusses how critical thinking can sometimes get overwhelmed by the ocean of data and facts that wash over us daily. With all this stuff vying for our attention, it’s easy to see how we can be swayed by stories that seem true — things get lodged in our brain, cemented there by our emotions, even before we can logically assess whether the data can be trusted.

But then she told a personal story that really resonated with me. I think the point was: It’s not the data, it’s not the metrics of a situation that counts. It’s how you add the information up, how you put the pieces together — and what pieces you choose — that leads to truth or falsehood.

Facts are just facts. What they mean depends on the person who is interpreting the data.

The story she told was about her son, who was diagnosed with autism at age 2. No verbal communication, little eye contact, none of the gestures that usually accompany or, on occasion, substitute for our words. But still he was a happy and evidently much-loved kid.

At that moment, I was pointing at the computer screen going, “My son too! My son was exactly like that!” Not verbal at all — in fact, he didn’t seem to understand language. Spoken words zipped past so fast that by the time he’d figured out the first comment, the conversation had gotten away from him.  But he was happy and sweet and funny and creative.

And just like her son, mine learned how to read and write long before he could carry on a conversation. He was more resourceful than we even knew — he used his electronic spelling toys to learn words, and then watched movies with the subtitles turned on to teach himself sentences. Then he watched the movies again, over and over, matching up the expressions and emotions with the spoken dialogue so that he could master the nuances.

Of course, it wasn’t always smooth sailing. When he was five years old, he watched Star Wars: Episode 4 repeatedly. Over and over, he saw Luke and Han Solo in the control room of the Death Star as they learned that Princess Leia was scheduled for termination. Han Solo doesn’t care.

Frustrated and furious, Luke bursts out, “But they’re going to kill her!”

Over and over, my son watched this exchange — and finally he concluded that if you really really want something, and people are indifferent to your wishes, the proper thing to say was, But they’re going to kill her!

So when a day-care lady told him that this other kid was leaving with her parents, and she would be taking her toy (which he had been playing with), he shouted this alarming sentence. It wasn’t that he knew of some sinister plot — he just didn’t want to give the toy back, and if you’re frustrated and people aren’t doing what you want, this is what you say. Hey, it worked for Luke Skywalker, didn’t it?  But this whole train of logic took a certain amount of explaining by me …

Anyway, by now my son has gotten pretty good at verbal communication. I’m proud of that, but I’m even more proud of how he found a work-around for the challenges that he’s faced.

In this TED talk, Susan Etlinger mentioned Ronald Reagan’s line, “Facts are stupid things.”  I agree, facts are stupid things. Slippery things. Things that don’t mean what you think they mean. You’ve got to add them up in the right way, or you’ll miss the truth.

And that’s a fact.

Just when you think things are getting better…

About 5 years ago, I worked for a group that promoted a particularly effective reading program for youngsters who were struggling to learn to read. They had decades worth of data that proved their system worked.

However, there are two opposing theories on how kids should learn to read. Academics in the field of reading fight like rabid dogs over these theories. It’s political, too, because both groups want to convince the government that their approach is the best. There’s a lot of money and influence to be had.

Anyway, after years of quietly earnest efforts to convince teachers of the merits of their program based on the data they’d accumulated, the people I worked for suddenly found themselves embroiled in a nasty, mud-slinging political fight. Suddenly it was all about cost-savings and powerful friendships, instead of learning curves and student success. One day in the middle of it all, my boss sighed, “I never expected to become an activist at my age!”

Now when I see a discussion brewing about gun control, or about misogyny, I sigh.

I never expected to become an activist at my age, either, but it’s getting harder and harder to avoid sticking up for what I believe in. My temper is growing shorter and my tolerance for pig-headed ignorance is waning fast.

Guns: Nobody needs them. If someone wants to practice target shooting, let them go to a range and shoot, then leave their guns locked up in a vault there. As for the Second Amendment? Life has changed a lot since the Revolutionary War. If you want to defend yourself against tyranny, your best weapon nowadays is a computer, not a gun.

Misogyny: I’m shocked by the hatred that gets directed at women when they point out that the present patriarchal system is wrong. Is our society so broken that people aren’t allowed to express an opinion without getting threats of death and mutilation?  Furthermore, people shouldn’t be forced to live their lives by arbitrary rules just because they happened to be born male or female. If they’re not hurting anybody, why is it such a difficult thing to just let people be themselves?

When I was younger, I thought that by now I’d find myself living in a more civilized, more tolerant society. But I guess I was wrong.

The Objectification of Women – It Goes Much Further Than Sexy Pictures

Something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately….

Crates and Ribbons

When feminists decry the objectification of women, most people immediately think of the images that saturate our magazines, movies, adverts and the Internet, of women in varying stages of undress, dolled up and presented for the male gaze. Yet, while sexual objectification is a huge problem, it is, sadly, only a fraction of the objectification of women that permeates our world, from the moment we enter it.

Because it is all too obvious and difficult to ignore, we tend to focus on sexual objectification. The difference between the way women and men are portrayed in national newspapers and other media is stark— women are too often reduced to the sum of their body parts, heavily photoshopped to fit into an ever narrowing ideal of female beauty. It grabs our attention, we recognize that something isn’t right, and we confidently assert that this is sexism in action.

And we’re right, of…

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A real kindness story by Bernard Hare.

This is a lovely story — very much worth sharing.

A Small Act Of Kindness Can Bring Smile On Million Faces


One act of kindness that befell British writer Bernard Hare in 1982 changed him profoundly. Then a student living just north of London, he tells the story to inspire troubled young people to help deal with their disrupted lives.

The police called at my student hovel early evening, but I didn’t answer as I thought they’d come to evict me. I hadn’t paid my rent in months.

But then I got to thinking: my mum hadn’t been too good and what if it was something about her?

We had no phone in the hovel and mobiles hadn’t been invented yet, so I had to nip down the phone box.

I rang home to Leeds to find my mother was in hospital and not expected to survive the night. “Get home, son,” my dad said.

I got to the railway station to find I’d missed the last train. A train was…

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