Essays, Raves and Rants

"You'll have to try harder than that."

Methos, "Comes A Horseman"

Last Updated 05/21/2000

On this page youíll find an essay ďTo Review or Not to Review?Ē, a Cassandra debate between Janeen Grohsmeyer, Tiffany and Sandra, a link to Janeenís excellent essay on Cassandra at her own site, an essay ďCassandra, Consensus and Character MutilationĒ by Jo Raumo, and another section of comments about why the fans of the character like her.

 

 

Cassandra, Consensus and Character Mutilation
Jo Raumo

Rab asked the questions:

Can fans of a character -- say Cassandra since she is most often the object of bashing in HL -- tolerate a negative portrait of her in a story, if the story is technically proficient? Or does a negative portrayal of our favorite, even though it's more in the way of being a critical look than a bash, automatically mean it *cannot* be a good story?

These were my answers:

Iím pretty sure I can distinguish competent writing from incompetent writing, regardless of the content. From a strictly technical point of view I can tell if a work is spelled correctly, if it effectively communicates itís ideas, if the grammar is reasonable. I can tell if a work is balanced, if it contains elements of dramatic tension, if the characters act in a manner consistent with them being human (if indeed, the characters are human). If I am reading a work of original fiction I can judge if the characters are acting in a reasonably believable manner. I can do this independent of my enjoyment of the story.

In fact, quite often my enjoyment of a work of fiction is independent of the quality of the writing. Iíve enjoyed some awfully derivative stuff in the past, devoured it, put it on my list of guilty pleasures and then moved on. And Iíve run across works that are clearly well written that I find a real yawn.

Fan fiction contains the added dimension that authors are usually writing about characters that have well-developed personalities. I can make a determination about how well the authorís portrayal of a character matches the canon portrayal. Still, most fan fiction is actually interested in pushing the characters out of their canon portrayals. So now my determination becomes this: does the character act in a consistent manner that is not completely at odds with the canon portrayal. The author may stretch my interpretation of a character but that character must remain recognizable. Iíd say when the character is no longer recognizable the author has stepped over the line dividing artistic licence and character mutilation.

So, does that constitute *bad* fan fiction? I would hold that it does. As writers of fan fiction, we are not simply endeavoring to write an entertaining story. We are writing a story within a pre-determined structure. Part of the judgment of our work has to be how well we adhere to the limitations of that structure. This holds for character bashing stories as well as overly complementary stories and, in a sense, is independent of the technical proficiency of the work. A story might easily be a competent piece of fiction but if the characters in it share nothing with the canon characters except their names then I do think it qualifies as *bad* fan fiction. Yes, itís a judgment call. You may see something you recognize in a portrayal that I find completely unrecognizable. You may very well see something in canon interpretation that I do not or choose not to see. What I see in canon interpretation will influence what I recognize in fan fiction. What you see will influence what you recognize.

All right, lets talk a bit about Cassandra. I hold that Cassandraís reception within the Highlander fan fiction community is unique. Iíll admit that Iím not incredibly widely read so Iím willing to rethink this position. Just send me links to twelve stories that have as their basic plot Felicia going insane, torturing Richie and getting whacked. Or send me twelve links to stories that have as their basic plot Grace going insane, torturing anyone and getting whacked. Or Ceirdwyn. Or Amanda. If thatís too difficult send me twelve links to stories about any one of these four women going insane, torturing any one of the principles and then getting whacked.

The phenomena of Cassandra bashing is not simply a case (many cases) of an author failing to find that line between artistic license and character mutilation. It is too virulent and widespread. It speaks to a much deeper issue within the Highlander fan fiction community. In this sense I am willing to give an author of such a story even less leeway when they stretch the canon interpretation of Cassandraís character.

Remember that I said we might disagree about interpretation? Part of what fan fiction does is build a consensus about what is an acceptable interpretation for the characters. This is especially true with minor characters. Every story that portrays Cassandra as being insane pushes the consensus needle a bit further towards the wacko bitch end of the scale. The better the story, the more technically proficient, the further the needle moves. As a fan of Cassandraís, I am very unlikely to recognize the character in any portrayal of an insane woman. Letís say, though, that a portrayal of Cassandra as insane comes along that is well written and true enough to canon that I do recognize the character. Will I enjoy such a story? Probably not, but I will be able to distinguish it as being *good* fan fiction as opposed to character mutilation. I will also probably be pretty depressed by the specter of such a story and my opinion of it being used as justification for the fan fiction community to engage in another round of general Cassandra bashing.

A writer contemplating an insane Cassandra story no longer has the luxury of expecting such a story to be analyzed in isolation. Every writer that is now contemplating an insane Cassandra story should have some understanding of the extent to which Cassandra has already been distorted by the community. In addition, they better have a really good reason for covering this particular patch of ground again.

Jo Raumo, FCA, CWPack

This essay first appeared on the HLfanficchat onelist. Iíd like to express my appreciation to Rab for creating and maintaining the list and for providing the questions that inspired me to write this. Sign up at http://www.onelist.com/group/HLfanficchat

The Fanfiction Critics Association hompage can be found at http://www.trickster.org/fca/

Contact me at jraumo@yahoo.com

Why We Like Cassandra

Leah CWPack says: Like Lore, I recognize the many moments of *courage* that she showed. Faced with captivity by the foremost monster of her time, her village newly slaughtered, she still fought. She spit in his face, tried to steal his horse, grabbed for his knife. Not very wimpy. She may have succumbed to Stockholm Syndrome under his treatment, but even Kronos felt that Methos had never completely broke her spirit. Kronos thought Cassandra had spirit, and yet some fans still regard her as a wimp. I guess it's hard to live up to the standards of some. I don't think I would have the spirit to bamboozle Kronos and ram a dagger into him in order to escape. I wonder how many other of the Horsemen's captives ever managed that?

More courage? Living in rural Scotland during the year Duncan MacLeod reached 13. However long she'd been waiting and watching over him, she was in terrible peril. A study of the witch hunts shows that this was the decade where the frenzy to hunt down and hang witches reached its absolute maniacal height in Scotland. If she had been caught, she would have been 'interrogated' under torture and summarily hung. Read up on the subject in detail.

More courage? Owning up to her mistakes. She tells Duncan exactly who was responsible for making Kantos powerful. She was. Rather than insist that he fight her battles for him, she not only tells Duncan he isn't ready to face down Roland Kantos successfully, she stops Mac herself, much to his anger. She rescues him on the cliff, she helps him draw on the faith he had in his youth and she gives him every clue he needs to win.

More courage? We are shown Cassandra stalking Kronos HERSELF in Seacouver twice. Despite her insistence, once again, that it's her fight and not MacLeod's she is forced to sneak away to face Kronos down in the power station. Yet some fans only see weakness of character because her swordplay wasn't as expert has his. She made a mistake, you see. She had no way of knowing that her traditional advantage, her Voice, wouldn't work on Kronos. She still fought him, and was resourceful enough to get away by giving him a face full of steam. I enjoyed his cursing and frustration that she'd outwitted him again, 3,000 years later. You go, girl!!!

Kindness. She has a strong protective streak toward others, perhaps because Hijad raised her as a healer. We first see her helping others, we see her standing distant watch over her young champion in the middle ages, we see her doing everything she can to help him in the modern day. Perhaps the ultimate demonstration of this kindness is taken away from her and attributed to Duncan. I don't agree. I feel if Cassandra had truly intended to kill Methos at the end of REV, she would have swung that ax without the hesitation she showed.

There's more I admire about her, which I'd be happy to discuss at length for those interested in positive thought.

Cassandra Ė The Shattered Goddess

Janeen Grohsmeyer has written an excellent little essay about Cassandra, entitled ďCassandra Ė The Shattered Goddess.Ē Check it out by clicking on the link!

Cassandra Debate

Janeen Grohsmeyer has contributed a debate on Cassandra for this page, with the permission of Tiffany and Sandra, the other two participants:

TIFFANY:

It's really hard for me to discuss this topic, because I really STRONGLY DISLIKE (trying to avoid use of too strong words, here) Cassandra and I really LOVE Methos (which pretty much justifies the first one, don't you think? I liked her until "Comes A Horseman," but after that, all I could do was insult her...hehehe...and, yet, for some reason, I wrote a story in which she is a good person who saves the day? What's wrong with me!!??!! Anyway, on with the commentary...)

CASS: "Will you kill him, Duncan?" She turned to look at him. "Can you kill him?"

DUNCAN (uncomfortable) "If I have to."

CASS: "You will."

DUNCAN "Did it ever occur to you that maybe's he trying to help us?"

CASS: "No."

Did you notice the HUUUUUGE difference in MacLeod's attitude in this episode as compared with how he acted in CaH? After he found out about Methos' involvement in the Horsemen, he was dead-set determined to help Cassandra out, but in THIS dialogue, he REALLY hesitates before saying "If I have to," and doesn't sound very convincing. Maybe he just needed to cool off? Put things in perspective? I still don't believe Mac listened to Cassandra over Methos!!! (the fact that she was right has nothing to do with it) And, wouldn't you think Mac would realize that if HE himself can change over four hundred years that Methos could change in, what, like two thousand??

Anyway, more of my wonderful thoughts for the day...

~Tiffany

~~~~~~

JANEEN'S RESPONSE: (Tiffany's quoted comments are in italics)

>It's really hard for me to discuss this topic, because I really STRONGLY DISLIKE (trying to avoid use of too strong words, here) Cassandra and I really LOVE Methos (which pretty much justifies the first one, don't you think?"

I'm not sure. Let me think about that.

Proposed: that loving one character justifies strongly disliking another character.

Is this because Cassandra didn't like Methos, so therefore if you like Methos you are justified in disliking Cassandra?

I prefer to like or dislike each character on its own merits.

Some people like both Kronos and DUncan, even though those two characters loathed each other. Some people like Duncan and dislike Anne, even though those two characters loved each other.

"I liked her until "Comes A Horseman," but after that, all I could do was insult her...hehehe...and, yet, for some reason, I wrote a story in which she is a good person who saves the day? What's wrong with me!!??!! Anyway, on with the commentary...)"

She did seem a very different person in Prophecy and the Horsemen episodes.

>"Anyway, I think that Methos figured he'd get MacLeod to do it [kill Kristen]--first of all, because MacLeod had more control (over his anger and strength, plus he was pretty much used to taking Quickenings and had not become "addicted")"

So, since Methos was ... scared (? apprehensive, uneasy?) to whack Kristin himself, he asked somebody else to do it for him. Or now wait, he wasn't just asking MacLeod, he was "getting MacLeod to do it," i.e., manipulating MacLeod, using him.

> and also because Methos was his friend,

But it's ok for Methos to manipulate Mac, because MacLeod is his friend. (Sarcasm mode on for this sentence.)

>and he must've known that this was something that MacLeod should settle himself.

MacLeod had settled it to his satisfaction. He walked away from her.

Then Methos decided to step in and settle it to his satisfaction. He whacked her.

I guess if MacLeod had really wanted Kristen to live he could have yelled at MEthos the way he yelled at Cassandra.

>"Think about it, the only reason Methos had to want Kristin dead was because she was a threat to Mac...she'd never done anything to him personally, so why else would he want her to be killed?"

There is speculation that Methos was angry at Kristin for doing something to a friend of his a while ago. She didn't know Methos, so they apparently had never met, but Methos did seem to have some sort of personal grudge against her. (I have heard that PW deliberately played it that way.)

Again, we have MEthos protecting MacLeod. Why? What game is he playing? (g)

Second on the agenda, Cassandra...

CASS: "Will you kill him, Duncan?" She turned to look at him. "Can you kill him?"

DUNCAN (uncomfortable) "If I have to."

CASS: "You will."

DUNCAN "Did it ever occur to you that maybe's he trying to help us?"

CASS: "No."

>"Did you notice the HUUUUUGE difference in MacLeod's attitude in this episode as compared with how he acted in CaH? After he found out about Methos' involvement in the Horsemen, he was dead-set determined to help Cassandra out, but in THIS dialogue, he REALLY hesitates before saying "If I have to," and doesn't sound very convincing. Maybe he just needed to cool off? Put things in perspective?"

Yes, he did need a chance to cool off. You're absolutely right. He'd probably been doing a lot of thinking during those 6 days of tracking the horsemen to Bordeaux. Even though he knows Methos has been a Horseman, he still trusts Methos; he's willing to follow the clue of the matchbook, and hang around waiting for Methos to call. Then he meets Methos on holy ground.

He did, however, think Methos had set him up to be ambushed by Silas and Caspian. (That's how I interpret his line "You set me up" anyway. It's open to several different interpretations.) So when Mac showed up at the submarine base, I don't think he was feeling very friendly to Methos, and I think he was regretting trusting him.

The fact that he was wrong about MEthos setting him up doesn't change how he was feeling right then.

I still don't believe Mac listened to Cassandra over Methos!!!

He didn't need to. Cassandra didn't contradict what Methos said. Methos himself admitted he was a Horseman. Seemed quite gleeful about it.

And, it seemed to me that Mac was surprised by what Methos told him in the church in Bordeaux about keeping Cassadnra as his slave. Cass could have told Mac all the gruesome details, hoping to get him more on her side and more against Methos. It doesn't seem as though she did. (discussion on this point?)

(the fact that she was right has nothing to do with it)

Well, no, being right has, of course, nothing to do with it. (sarcastic mode on for this sentence.)

When has Mac ever listened to someone else, especially when they were right? (rhetorical question)

And, wouldn't you think Mac would realize that if HE himself can change over four hundred years that Methos could change in, what, like two thousand??

Yes, Mac ought to realize that. (Even Cass realized that at the end. She decided to let Methos live.) But Mac still goes around whacking people he disagrees with (like Byron) instead of giving them a chance to change in the next few hundred years.

But that's Duncan MacLeod for you.

- Janeen

~~~~~~

TIFFANY'S RESPONSE: (Janeen's quoted comments are in italics)

Janeen wrote: Proposed: that loving one character justifies strongly disliking another character. Is this because Cassandra didn't like Methos, so therefore if you like Methos you are justified in disliking Cassandra? I prefer to like or dislike each character on its own merits.

Okay, okay, so I make ONE little remark about Cassandra and her fan club comes up out of the woodwork... I'm sorry, Janeen, I didn't mean to offend anyone who likes Cassandra... She's a very interesting and intriguing character, but the fact that she wanted to kill my favorite character just...well, bothers me a teensy bit... And, no, loving one character does NOT justify hating another, I'm just explaining my reasoning for disliking Cassandra.

So, since Methos was ... scared (? apprehensive, uneasy?) to whack Kristin himself, he asked somebody else to do it for him. Or now wait, he wasn't just asking MacLeod, he was "getting MacLeod to do it," i.e., manipulating MacLeod, using him.

Methos proved through his behavior (think dojo, Mac's katana...) earlier in "Chivalry" that he wanted MacLeod to realize Kristin's deadliness and how she would kill him if he didn't kill her first. I think the idea about Methos having known of her at some point and having some other reason for wanting her dead is interesting, but for the moment, I'm just going by what I know is true from watching that episode over and over again. And, if you abandon the Methos-wants-revenge-on-Kristin-for-some-other-reason theory, then it's obvious that the only reason for him wanting her dead is to save MacLeod from a possible threat... So, if he IS manipulating MacLeod, it's only to PROTECT him.

MacLeod had settled it to his satisfaction. He walked away from her. Then Methos decided to step in and settle it to his satisfaction. He whacked her.

This seemed to be like sort of a last resort for him...he knew MacLeod wasn't going to do it, so he stepped in. It doesn't strike me as cowardice OR as manipulation, it was just Methos doing what he felt had to be done.

Cassandra didn't contradict what Methos said. Methos himself admitted he was a Horseman. Seemed quite gleeful about it.

In my personal opinion, I think the reason Methos was acting like this, like he had enjoyed killing so much, was because he wanted to distance MacLeod from himself... Don't forget, Kronos had told him to kill MacLeod only because he was his friend, so by getting MacLeod away from him and by having him renounce their friendship, I think he was actually trying to SAVE MacLeod from Kronos...and, himself.

Okay, that's it for now. Again, I'm sorry I insulted Cassandra, I just don't like her very much after the Horsemen eps. (She was really cool in Prophecy, though!!!)

~Tiffany

~~~~~~

JANEEN'S RESPONSE: (Tiffany's quoted comments are in italics)

RE: the ongoing and immortal debate about Cassandra and Methos:

I would like to clarify a few things:

First, I was not offended by anything that Tiffany wrote in her earlier post. It was not my intention to respond in a manner that suggested I was. On re-reading my response to Tiffany, I can see that my "sarcastic mode" was turned on for most of it, and it should not have been. Nor was it my intent to give offense to anyone. I apologize if that occurred.

As Tiffany said, it is a difficult topic to discuss because of the strong emotional bias we hold toward the characters. Therefore, in this post I will try to refrain from being sarcastic and instead use a logical mode which is more suitable for calm, reasonable discussion.

On to the debate:

Earlier Tiffany wrote:

I really STRONGLY DISLIKE (trying to avoid use of too strong words, here) Cassandra and I really LOVE Methos (which pretty much justifies the first one, don't you think?)

Since Tiffany specifically asked for thoughts on this subject, I responded:

Proposed: that loving one character justifies strongly disliking another character. thinking this through logically, this implies:

Since Cassandra didn't like Methos, if you like Methos you are justified in disliking Cassandra.

Or, you could look at it another way:

Since Methos didn't seem to dislike Cassandra intensely, then if you like Methos you should not dislike Cassandra intensely.

My conclusion was: I prefer to like or dislike each character on its own merits.

Tiffany agrees: And, no, loving one character does NOT justify hating another, I'm just explaining my reasoning for disliking Cassandra.

Tiffany writes:

Okay, okay, so I make ONE little remark about Cassandra and her fan club comes up out of the woodwork...

Since the subject of the post was "Cass and Methos," it does not seem unreasonable to me that people who are interested in Cass would respond.

The "ONE little remark" was

"I liked her until "Comes A Horseman," but after that, all I could do was insult her...hehehe...and, yet, for some reason, I wrote a story in which she is a good person who saves the day? What's wrong with me!!??!! Anyway, on with the commentary...)"

As a Cassandra Flag Waver, this remark put me on the alert for upcoming insults to Cassandra. (I didn't see any, but it did make me close attention, and it also prompted me to reply, thus "coming up out of the woodwork." I admit that Cass's Fan Club (all four of us), should not be cavalry galloping to her defense. (Cass having her Fan Club on Horses seems a bit much.)

However, I do not care to be seen as emerging from woodwork, rather like roaches or termites who avoid the light of day. My sig has included the line "CassandraFW" for several weeks now. I have come out in her defense before. I am not ashamed to be a CFW (both kinds). I prefer to think of Cass's Fan Club as being wolves on the prowl. Anyone else want to join the pack?

I'm sorry, Janeen, I didn't mean to offend anyone who likes Cassandra... She's a very interesting and intriguing character, but the fact that she wanted to kill my favorite character just...well, bothers me a teensy bit...

No offense taken, and no apology necessary. It just...well, bothers me a teensy bit that it seems perfectly acceptable to insult Cass (and the actress who portrayed her) for minor things like nails and hair. It also bothers me that behavior which is considered reasonable and amusing in Methos is thought to be deceitful and manipulative in Cassandra.

Which brings us to the rest of the debate.

Methos proved through his behavior (think dojo, Mac's katana...) earlier in "Chivalry" that he wanted MacLeod to realize Kristin's deadliness and how she would kill him if he didn't kill her first. (snip)

Very true. Methos likes MacLeod and wants to protect him. We've seen this in several instances. Cassandra likes MacLeod and wants to protect him. She protected him from Roland in 1606, and helped him again in Prophecy. She tried to protect him from the Horsemen, by warning him about what they had been like. She didn't think they had changed. Three of them hadn't, but she didn't trust the fourth either. After Methos handed her over to Kronos, she probably didn't trust him at all. So, if she IS manipulating MacLeod, it's only to PROTECT him.

Janeen (earlier)

MacLeod had settled it to his satisfaction. He walked away from her. Then Methos decided to step in and settle it to his satisfaction. He whacked her.

Tiffany's response:

This seemed to be like sort of a last resort for him...he knew MacLeod wasn't going to do it, so he stepped in. It doesn't strike me as cowardice OR as manipulation, it was just Methos doing what he felt had to be done.

Right. Absolutely. I never meant to imply that Methos was a coward. He's...efficient. And when Cass stepped in to whack Methos, it doesn't strike me as cowardice OR as manipulation, it was just Cassandra doing what she felt had to be done.

Janeen (earlier)

Cassandra didn't contradict what Methos said. Methos himself admitted he was a Horseman. Seemed quite gleeful about it.

Tiffany's response

In my personal opinion, I think the reason Methos was acting like this, like he had enjoyed killing so much, was because he wanted to distance MacLeod from himself... Don't forget, Kronos had told him to kill MacLeod only because he was his friend, so by getting MacLeod away from him and by having him renounce their friendship, I think he was actually trying to SAVE MacLeod from Kronos...and, himself.

An excellent point, that Methos was trying to push MacLeod away from Methos to SAVE him. And by warning Duncan about how dangerous Methos was, Cassandra was trying to push MacLeod away from Methos to SAVE him.

They both like MacLeod. They just have different ways of showing it.

Okay, that's it for now. Again, I'm sorry I insulted Cassandra,

Again, I don't think you insulted Cassandra. I do think she gets a less than fair hearing sometimes.

I just don't like her very much after the Horsemen eps. (She was really cool in Prophecy, though!!!)

She didn't like the Horsemen (can't say I blame her much), but she did listen to reason at the end. She did not whack Methos, and she very easily could have. She showed more forgiveness to the man who killed her father than Duncan showed to Kanwulf.

But that's Cassandra for you.

- Janeen

~~~~~~

Sandra McDonald joins the debate:

Hi everyone!

Janeen rose soundly and admirably to Cassandra's defense:

It just...well, bothers me a teensy bit that it seems perfectly acceptable to insult Cass (and the actress who portrayed her) for minor things like nails and hair.

Er - and I'm really not being sarcastic here - is it acceptable to "insult" her on other things? Can I substitute "criticize" for insult? Because yes, Cassandra does come under fire for things like nails or hair or wardrobe, but that's just part and parcel of being a character on Highlander. You don't think there are many Richie fans enamored of that green vinyl jacket from season one, do you? <g There are also larger, more substantive issues to criticize her on.

It also bothers me that behavior which is considered reasonable and amusing in Methos is thought to be deceitful and manipulative in Cassandra. (followed by) So, if she IS manipulating MacLeod, it's only to PROTECT him.

I'm not sure which behavior in Methos is amusing and in Cassandra is manipulative. I think they're both maniupulative. But I *like* Methos, and I don't like Cassandra. Part of it is what I perceive to be her neediness, her inability to let go of the past (we've danced down this merry argument before!), her dependence on Duncan. We get to see Methos as an Immie who can take care of himself, but in the episodes where we see Cassandra, she needs Duncan's help.

Right. Absolutely. I never meant to imply that Methos was a coward. He's...efficient. And when Cass stepped in to whack Methos, it doesn't strike me as cowardice OR as manipulation, it was just Cassandra doing what she felt had to be done.

One of my most basic criticism of Cassandra and the plotline is that she steps in to kill Methos, for whatever reason, and she stops. Completely, Irrevocably. Gives up her opportunity to kill Methos because Duncan - a *child* - yells at her not to.

Now, in that supremely dramatic moment, with emotions running high, I don't see Cassandra taking two steps backward analyzing the situation with calm detachment (Duncan doesn't think I should kill Methos, maybe he has good reasons, maybe I should consider them more at my leisure.)(Or, perhaps I should forgive Methos, now that I've got this sword over his head and I've distrusted him until this very moment.) She stops. She surrenders to Duncan's will and command. *That* has always annoyed me.

Other reasons I dislike Cassandra: sensing another Immie and answering her hotel room door without a sword in hand, and going after Kronos when her swordfighting skills so obviously need work.

Sandra sandra1012@aol.com

~~~~~~

JANEEN'S RESPONSE TO SANDRA

And the debate goes on:

Earlier I wrote: It just...well, bothers me a teensy bit that it seems perfectly acceptable to insult Cass (and the actress who portrayed her) for minor things like nails and hair.

And Sandra answered:

Er - and I'm really not being sarcastic here - is it acceptable to "insult" her on other things?

Oh, certainly yes. And it's acceptable to insult her on those things, too. (NOT that I am trying to tell the members of this list what is acceptable or not. I would NEVER presume (again) to tell people what to discuss or not to discuss.) I worded that poorly. What bothers me (a teensy bit) is the amount of attention paid to things like nails and hair. Sure, go ahead and bash away, but I think those are minor things and not really enough to decide one really really dislikes the character. Duncan has worn things and hair styles which I did not care for, but that didn't change his character or my opinion of him.

Can I substitute "criticize" for insult? Because yes, Cassandra does come under fire for things like nails or hair or wardrobe, but that's just part and parcel of being a character on Highlander. You don't think there are many Richie fans enamored of that green vinyl jacket from season one, do you? <g

Ack. I hope not. <g Criticism is probably a better word, and more fair. Some of what I have read struck me as being more insulting (getting into flaming style of stuff) than criticizing.

There are also larger, more substantive issues to criticize her on.

right. Lots. I admit that. She's not perfect. She is (as I have described her before) seriously messed up.

Janeen (earlier)

It also bothers me that behavior which is considered reasonable and amusing in Methos is thought to be deceitful and manipulative in Cassandra. (followed by) So, if she IS manipulating MacLeod, it's only to PROTECT him.

Sandra:

I'm not sure which behavior in Methos is amusing and in Cassandra is manipulative. I think they're both maniupulative. But I *like* Methos, and I don't like Cassandra.

Ok. fair enough. I like 'em both, and neither one is perfect, so we can criticize them both, yes?

Sandra:

Part of it is what I perceive to be her neediness, her inability to let go of the past (we've danced down this merry argument before!), her dependence on Duncan. We get to see Methos as an Immie who can take care of himself, but in the episodes where we see Cassandra, she needs Duncan's help.

True again. Methos is in a lot of episodes. Cassandra is in three, but she has survived for three thousand years without Duncan, so she must have been doing something right. (What about Amanda? She seems to come to Duncan for help on a regular basis. )

In "Prophecy," she believed (for reasons never made clear in the show) that only Duncan could whack Roland, so she didn't try to. (I have my own ideas about those reasons; see my story "Hope Forgotten.") In "Comes a Horseman," she didn't start out asking Duncan for help. She was going after Kronos on her own, and didn't seem eager to hang around with Duncan and wait for him to help her. She wanted to charge out and find him.

Once she found out Methos was alive, she still went off on her own and tried to whack both of them. She did challenge Methos in the dojo (who hid behind Mac), and she did challenge Kronos. Ok, so she lost, but even Mac didn't find Kronos an easy target, and Methos wasn't all that excited about going up against him, either. She was foolish and ill-prepared, but she wasn't a coward.

As far as her "inability to let go of the past," yes, I think she had some problems there. Duncan doesn't let go of things easily either. Not many immortals do: Kalas and McCormick come to mind. Methos and Amanda seem to be the most laid-back.

For most of the immies we've seen, it's been a few centuries. For Cass, it was 30. Long time. They didn't explain things very much in the eps (which is nice for me, because it gave me a lot of leeway in my fanfic), but she does say she's tried to forget, and then something happened and it all came flooding back. So... what happened? Did Kronos do something to her more recently? (I have ideas about that, too, see my upcoming story "Hope Remembered.")

Sandra:

One of my most basic criticism of Cassandra and the plotline is that she steps in to kill Methos, for whatever reason, and she stops. Completely, Irrevocably. Gives up her opportunity to kill Methos because Duncan - a *child* - yells at her not to.

I think she had a lot of reasons to stop. Methos has not been nasty to her this time, the way (it looked like) the other Horsemen were. Methos is Mac's friend, and she knows DUncan well enough by now to know that he doesn't make friends with evil people. Methos is on his knees in front of her. She doesn't seem to enjoy killing very much; she's been a healer. She doesn't want to be like the Horsemen, killing for the sake of killing. Maybe she did love him, way back when, and that's stopping her too. I don't think she would have stopped if it had been Kronos.

Killing someone is an irrevocable step. She knows that. I think a lot of these things could flash through her mind in the few seconds it takes Duncan to yell at her.

Sandra:

Now, in that supremely dramatic moment, with emotions running high, I don't see Cassandra taking two steps backward analyzing the situation with calm detachment

Why not? Can't she think under pressure? Is she so emotional, so warped and twisted by her hatred for this man who raped and enslaved and abused her three thousand years ago, that she can't stop to reconsider her actions for 5 seconds? Haven't we ever seen anyone else about to kill somebody and then stop? (hmm... Jennifer in "Haunted," Ceirdwyn in "Take back the Night," Richie in "Leader of the Pack"?)

(Duncan doesn't think I should kill Methos, maybe he has good reasons, maybe I should consider them more at my leisure.)(Or, perhaps I should forgive Methos, now that I've got this sword over his head and I've distrusted him until this very moment.) She stops. She surrenders to Duncan's will and command. *That* has always annoyed me.

I wonder how many people would be annoyed if she had whacked Methos, considering the amount of dislike she incurs simply for *wanting* to whack him.

Sort of "Damned if she does, and damned if she doesn't."

I don't see it as surrendering. She listens to her friend. SHe re-evalutates the situation and decides that Methos is simply not worth killing. It won't help. It won't change things. Nothing can change things. She is finally letting go of the past. It took her a while, but she let go of it. (You wanted her to do that, yes?)

Other reasons I dislike Cassandra: sensing another Immie and answering her hotel room door without a sword in hand,

Ahem, yes, well now, that one is pretty inexcusable. I'm trying to come up with some vaguely believable reason for that in my story, and it's tough. Almost as tough as explaining those awful shoes she was wearing when she went after Kronos in the abandoned power plant. (yes, that is criticism of her clothing.)

and going after Kronos when her swordfighting skills so obviously need work.

She was planning on using the Voice on him. (Poor planning.) He disarmed her using some trick she hadn't seen before. Happens even to good sword fighters. Yes, she was too impatient; she should have practiced fighting for another ten years or so. After waiting centuries to whack Roland, I guess she was tired of waiting.

- Janeen

~~~~~~

TIFFANY'S RESPONSE

Wow, Janeen! I never realized how similar Methos' and Cassandra's motives and actions were before I read that email!! That's really weird... But, yeah, it seems as if they both act the same towards MacLeod...they both try to protect him, they both manipulate him to protect him, they both do what needs to be done when it needs to be done, they both attempt to save MacLeod from the Horsemen... I guess the reason most people (including me) don't really give Cassandra a fair chance is because of how she was presented in the Horsemen eps...she wasn't acting at all like she did in Prophecy... She wasn't in control, and she was presented almost as a villain. And, she did try and kill Methos, which made a lot of Methos fans (me included, again) judge her right then and there.

Good job promoting Cassandra!! Wow... ~Tiffany

To Review or Not to Review?
Ann Wortham

There's been some discussion on the Highlander lists I frequent regarding reviews of fan fiction. This is a subject that periodically comes up and I've seen opinions on it run the gamut in the 20+ years I've participated in fandom, both on and off the net. Since I host a review site, I think my position on the subject is self-evident. But I'll state it here for the record: a writer who places their work in the public eye, whether it be in a fanzine, on a website, or on an internet mailing list, has opened themselves up to critical review. Reviews of fiction are written not to benefit the writer, as some seem to think. Once the work is published, it is assumed that the writer has no further intention to edit it or polish it. It is not a reviewer's job to edit or assist a writer in their craft. That is the job of the writer and his/her editor. Having a work "beta read" is not the same thing as having it edited unless your "beta reader" happens to be an editor. Reviews are written to benefit the potential readers.

This site happens to focus on fiction containing the character of Cassandra, so of course we highlight how that character is utilized in the course of any particular story. I'm well aware that there are just as likely some of you who hate Cassandra and read these reviews to find more stories to feed your hatred. That's fine. The reviews are here to help you decide whether or not you would like to read a particular story. I do not consider it a crime to hate Cassandra. I consider it inexcusable to hate Cassandra and to write about it badly.

I've seen some accusations lately that because Leah and I like Cassandra and defend her, we therefore hate Methos. I won't even dignify that absurdity with a response.

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