Author has written 5 stories for Fate/stay night, Mass Effect, Harry Potter, and Persona Series.
On Swords and Sorcery:
Since I seem to get a lot of the same questions/complaints about S&S, let me clarify a few things here.
C) I want Shirou! Give me Shirou! Shirou's perspective is best! Fic needs more Shirou perspective! Shirou is best MC and should be only MC!
A) To address this, I want to point out that Shirou has already been through the UBW route, so his major character arc has kind of been done already. There will be changes to his character, but they will happen over a long period of time. As opposed to that, Iris is an emotional mess, and she can have a lot of little arcs as things affect her in positive and negative ways, which tends to make her a more interesting character.
Shirou is also an 'adult' looking at much of his situation in a logical and forward thinking manner. This kinda gets fucked up as his short term "protect everyone from the snake" goal gets drawn out over a long period and starts to interfere with his longer term goals, which is interesting, but in general, "go to school and learn things so that I can apply it to future projects" is not necessarily an interesting perspective to follow along behind.
The other problem with Shirou as the main perspective has to do with his self-perspective and self-analysis, in that he does very little of it. Or, I guess, he does it in a very skewed manner. Sort of paradoxical to his normal straightforwardness, Shirou is generally not very aware of his own feelings beyond the very surface of them. When he understands them, he won't hide them or be ashamed of them, but it might take him some time for him to understand them.
Unless you shove all sorts of metaphors or just straight up facts about him down his throat, which was the Grail War in a nutshell, he's not likely to draw much out of self reflection.
Shirou's character arc in this story is going to be really long, subtle, and heavily influenced by the people who essentially shove their ways into his life in Hogwarts.
But, because of this, he doesn't have a lot of groundbreaking interactions with the people around him. He's well-enough adjusted and hasn't actually had to fight Berserker yet, so his friends don't quite understand the problems he has, so no one is really trying to understand them, unlike Iris, who is a bottle of emotional problems all ready to explode, and people like Rin and Luna will try to help her in their own ways.
Q) Why is Iris a girl? Did you do this purely to ship Shirou w/ fem!Harry?
There are a number of reasons for this, but there are two major reasons. Both of them having to do with my writing preferences and what I wanted to convey with this story.
The first one is rather shallow: When the primary two characters are both male, the dynamic can be hard to convey. The perspectives can tend to be similar, and the relationship between them tends to be based on simple gender things. Also, one of them tends to fall into the role of second fiddle unless the writer is absolutely amazing (I know I'm good, but I don't think I'm that good).
The second reason is a bit more complex, and once again has to do with gender expectations.
Harry/Iris have had a pretty shitty childhood, with all sorts of expectations layered onto them once they get out of hell.
You can pick up some of the crazy leaking through in male Harry, but the expectation for boys is that they just internalize all that suffering or express it as violence or anger. Which Harry does in the fifth book, which is where most people start to hate him.
What I get to do by having Iris, is show all of her suffering, all of her emotional turmoil, all of her low points. And it doesn't necessarily come across as weak or wrong.
There may be some people who have trouble sympathizing with all of her plights, since many of her problems are rooted in a horrible childhood that we can't fully conceptualize.
When you see/hear about/read about a boy crying, some deeply ingrained societal instinct cries out against it.
If you see Harry crying, your brain says: "Harry shouldn't be crying. He should be standing up, punching whatever it is that's trying to make him feel feelings. Feelings are bad and you should punch them!"
When you see Iris crying, your brain tends to have a completely different reaction.
To give you some examples of this, you can look back through the Spacebattles thread.
When Shirou gets insulted or hurt in the story, people tend to respond with something along the lines of "Shirou should stab that guy."
When Iris gets insulted or hurt in the story, people tend to respond with something along the lines of "Shirou should stab that guy."
Iris is perfectly capable of stabbing people on her own. In fact, she's probably more likely to stab someone willy-nilly than Shirou is, even if he has a better arsenal.
The story I want to write involves a person expressing their trauma and laying out their mental wounds for the readers to see (wow that makes me sound like a horrible person).
I definitely could write such a story with a male protagonist, but the expression of his suffering would tend to be much longer in telling or oblique in reference.
Just compare Shirou and Iris here. (Yes, Shirou has kind of already had his major character arc, since he's coming from UBW (there's a post about that) so he's not a good control group for this)
Both are expressing their suffering in very different ways, and both even have different ways of recognizing their own suffering.
Shirou really wants to get home. For reasons he can't articulate and can barely even understand. This is a very 'male' form of expected emotional behavior, though it is exacerbated by Shirou's PTSD and martyr-complex. As a male protagonist, society would be satisfied with him figuring out what the most basic emotional backing for that desire is by the end of a seven year story stint
Iris is a bundle of emotions that she feels constantly, but she hasn't been socialized correctly, so she doesn't know what they mean or how to react to them. Her discovering that that awkward feeling she gets when she watches Rin and Sakura interact is envy, and she's envious of their relationship as siblings? Yeah, society expects that to be step 2 of 40 where she sorts out her emotions and puts herself together as a stable human being (we'll see if that ends up happening).
Iris can cry and scream and shout and rage gloriously; but Shirou has to do push ups and brood. That's boring to me.
I want to write realistic characters, but I also want to write characters that people like. And an emotional wreck of a boy is for some reason less endearing that an emotional wreck of a girl.
Once again, this is my interpretation of gender and character. It isn't an insult or anything like that, even to people who responded to the story in the way noted above. If you found yourself thinking in the ways I mentioned, that doesn't make you a terrible human being, it just means that you are part of society.
Either way, it may be something interesting to examine about yourself.
If you have legitimate complaints or critiques about my writing, e.g. pacing, characterization, grammer, or writing style, I'm open to listening. If your complaint is "I don't like this anymore, I'm not reading it anymore", then please don't write a review with that, because I don't care about your empty comments and they're honestly annoying to receive.
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