Topic per maryperk73703: What do I think about reincarnation in my various fandoms
I have a confession I don't think I've ever made here on my LJ. I talk about it very rarely, and never without prompting. It's about my thoughts on reincarnation. I worry about people thinking I'm nuts, to be honest. To best understand my views on the subject in my fandoms, though, I think you need to know where I'm coming from. So here I am, sucking it up and getting it out there.
While I was raised Lutheran, I have been aware of the theory of reincarnation since I was six years old. At that time, my parents were still married, and my dad was writing westerns. He was rather obsessed with the Native American branch of his genealogical tree, and because I was the oldest, I was the target for all his talking about it. I didn't learn about reincarnation per se, but the concept of the soul living on after death.
My parents split up a year later. In third grade, I discovered Greek mythology and threw myself into it. That expanded into non-Christian mythologies and religions, where I eventually landed in Hinduism and fell back into the theories about the eternal soul. I will be frank. This core belief system answered things in me nothing ever had before, and honestly, nothing has since. I love the elegance of it, as well as (personally) feel it resolves questions I couldn't otherwise explain. I never talked about it with anyone, though. My grandmother was *very* religious. Anything that didn't fit with her worldview was mocked, belittled, derided, you name it. If I'd said anything, life would've been even more difficult for me than it already was.
When I got to college, I made a friend who was Wiccan and willing to explore it with me. I left school with an extensive library (that has since been whittled down to a dozen core books) and the knowledge that yes, I thought reincarnation could be real.
So what does that have to do with my fandoms? Well, in a fandom like Buffy, it doesn't really come up a whole lot because of the duality of the human/vampire issue that is honestly more interesting to explore. But if it did? I'd probably be all over it.
In Merlin, however, it's a common trope, but what is already out there...well, it's less interesting to me, but that stems purely from my knee-jerk reaction to anything that gets done to death. I'm not nearly as invested in Arthur/Merlin as a romantic couple as 90% of the fandom, which is what most of the reincarnation fic focuses on. I find it infinitely more fascinating to consider that they can all come back. What lessons must they still learn? Who will they interact with this time? In this context, Arthur's return becomes a well of possibilities. What if Uther was his son this time around? Or daughter? Or if his and Gwen's genders were reversed? What if he and Morgana fall in love? Then there's the knights. How destructive is Gwaine's path without the influence of his mortal childhood? What if Merlin finds a suicidal Lancelot, overwhelmed by personal guilts because he lacks the means of rectifying them? What happens if Mordred comes back as an inquisitor?
See? Endless. Fascinating. Don't get me wrong. I do love the idea that Merlin needs a reborn Arthur to save the world, but that relationship to me isn't romantic. I like the filial tones to it more, especially if there's antagonism in there. Merlin's age has to get explained away for most romantic fic (though I'd probably read something like a Harold & Maude relationship, oh hell yeah). I'm sure they find some way of doing it (or they ignore it completely, which is a little annoying to be honest), but I haven't read enough to know what those ways are.
Man. I've rambled. Have I really said much of anything? I don't think it's fair to talk about how reincarnation might be in other fandoms. The only other one I've read extensively in is Hunger Games, but I can't read fic there that's too AU. Alternate to canon, sure, but pick up Katniss and Peeta and drop them into a different setting, and it doesn't work for me. Probably because the setting is so vital to them as characters for me.
But reincarnation as a general trope? I love it. I've written it. I adore the belief that souls find each other regardless of their fleshly vehicles. But unless it's going to be about the soul's journey in some way, I don't think it's necessary. I've seen it used as a cheat to explain OOC behavior, which is just lazy, or to avoid obstacles or issues the writer doesn't want to or can't address for the purpose of getting characters together. Not my bag, and turns me off almost as fast as a ton of technical mistakes.