Since I’ve written such a huge amount of fic of Connie’s characters, people have requested some sort of masterpost so they’ll know WTF is going on and where they might want to start reading, et cetera. So here’s a post to tell readers what sort of stuff to expect in each story/series, tone-wise…
As it says right there: I finally made a masterpost of all my Connie character fic. I’ll keep it on LJ because it’s easier to edit on just one platform, but since it was mostly Tumblr people who asked, here you go. It’s a bit weird to sort of rec one’s own fics and it kind of got rambly because I’m better at that than at self-promotion, but anyway. You wanted a guide to the Veidt pr0n, you get a guide to the Veidt pr0n. From fluffy sexbot!Jaffar/Jaffar crack and deeply spiritual Jaffar/Princess historicals to the most fucked-up and dark Torsten kinkfests, it’s all there.
Your lord and master awaits.
ALL THE PORN.
ALL. THE. PORN.
*throws penis-shaped confetti and goes to read*
June Duprez and Conrad Veidt in The Thief of Bagdad (1940), one of the greatest fantasy films ever made.
First of all, I will make two quick points:
1.) This is a plug for my new blog (I am nothing if not direct) about the wonderful filmmakers Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger - their films are gorgeous and wonderful, and if you love imaginative cinema you should love their work. Give the blog a follow to see what I mean.
2.) This image has nothing and everything to do with Labyrinth.
Please correct me if I’m wrong (if any of you have seen The Thief of Bagdad, I’d love to hear from you!), but since I imagine none of you have seen the film I will provide some context for you. The Thief of Bagdad is a very simple and old-school fantasy film, and was the model for Disney’s Aladdin - this is perhaps most evident in the ‘villain’ of both films, since the Jafar of the Disney film bears the name and the general appearance of the Jaffar of The Thief of Bagdad (played by the inimitable Conrad Veidt).
There is a key difference between the characters, however; Veidt’s Jaffar is far more interesting.
In the film, he essentially has one goal: to make the princess (June Duprez) love him. How he came to fall in love with her in the first place isn’t covered, since it’s entirely irrelevant - just as character psychologies are irrelevant in fairy tales. He pursues this goal single-mindedly, and I can only say that you should watch the film to truly comprehend the rather remarkable lengths he goes to.
In the still above, the princess has been tricked onto a boat by Jaffar, who is taking her away from her true love, Ahmad. Ahmad (a handsome but rather drippy young fellow) has been struck blind by Jaffar for princess-related reasons, and his sight will only be restored when the princess allows Jaffar to embrace her. Being utterly selfless and noble (of course!), the princess permits him to embrace her; this still is from that scene, and I think it’s rather marvellous since it embodies Jaffar as the proto ‘villain in love’.
Now, Jaffar is far from the first ‘villainous’ character in cinema to be drawn towards a good, beautiful and pure-hearted woman: that’s practically the plot of every Universal monster movie ever made. Jaffar is, however, different in several key ways. For a start, he’s not physically deformed; if you can find that now rare beast, the Conrad Veidt fangirl, you will learn that some people even consider him rather gorgeous. Secondly, the only really evil thing he does is go to eye-popping lengths to keep the princess to himself (admittedly, this involves animal transformation, conjuring epic storms and a murder).
To really get to the point, this still of the princess and Jaffar reminds me in many ways of what, in my opinion, appears to be the main crux of the Sarah/Jareth relationship: it involves a powerful older man with magical powers (Jaffar admits to being a magician when pressed) being rendered impotent by the resilience of a young girl. Despite the afore-mentioned ridiculous lengths that Jaffar goes to to make the princess yield to him, she does not; she constantly states her refusal of him and points out that she’s a slave despite his protestations to the contrary.
Labyrinth is much more progressive than The Thief of Bagdad in that it features a girl resisting an older, magical man for her and her brother’s sake rather than the sake of her bland love interest. But still, I think the parallels are rather self-evident – and worth drawing your attention to. While the Jareth/Sarah relationship is striking and strange, it is far from a first.
*FLAILING ARMS* HELLO. YOU ARE RIGHT. There are massive parallels there!
I am pretty damn sure that Terry J was influenced by the “you could command me. Try. Ask what you will” scene at least subconsciously when he wrote the “love me, fear me, do as I say and I will be your slave” line. I really got big Sarah/Jareth vibes from the film because being an Eighties kid, I’d seen Labyrinth first—but of course, the whole slinky, androgynous magician with a powerful sexual aura thing did not hurt. Veidt is right up there with Bowie (and personally, for me, even surpasses Bowie) when it comes to the sexually ambiguous, spellbinding, erotic allure that just leaves you breathless. They aren’t all that different, so if you like that kind of thing, Thief is definitely worth watching.
It’s one of those beauty-and-the-beast ships fangirls have been shipping from the get-go (I recently heard from a woman who saw the film in 1941 and definitely wanted her to end up with Jaffar and wrote her own stories to make that happen). I’m pretty sure it has all to do with the proper love interest being a bland, canonically dumb prince and Jaffar being shown as incredibly passionate in comparison (and just like with Jareth, the scenes that are meant to be sexually threatening read as pretty damn alluring instead). Even if he does go very dark in his pursuit of her, he still comes across as the more attractive husband candidate, IMNSHO. I even wrote a long ramble on LJ about how Jaffar invokes consent and reminds her that she could rule him several times, whereas apparently it’s just okay for the prince to come and sweep her off her feet and she automatically falls in love with him.
But I’ll stop now or I’ll go on forever, because my Jaffar feels are NEVERENDING. *quiet sobbing*
Oh my god, oh my god. This post. I need to calm down to express my thoughts properly.
I watched Thief of Bagdad nearly five months before watching Labyrinth, as an almost 20 year-old (I’m explaining this because I think it’s important). Aladdin had always been my favourite cartoon film since I was a kid, so when I came across ToB I had a vague idea of what I would find, but it blew my expectations completely, mainly because of Jaffar.
As you both have mentioned, Jaffar is not a typical villain, or at least not the sort of villain we’re used to seeing in fairytales. Jaffar can make the viewer feel not only empathy, but pity, sadness and - yes, I’ll say it - love. Jaffar is really different, and I think the reason is that he doesn’t force the Princess (as Ahmad kind of does), he really fights for her love, and that makes him unique; I’m not the only one who feels sympathy for him, I have showed the movie to others and they agree with me.
Moreover, and this is the point where I see a resemblance between Jaffar and Jareth: there’s the sexual ambiguity and the attraction the viewer might feel, something that goes past the classic “fancying the villain” situation and enters the area of what the actor can make you feel. You’re attracted to Jaffar and Jareth, not only because of the character himself (although he’s the main reason), but because Veidt and Bowie project such a sexual aura that permeates their characters (and here I concur with aikainkauna; I find Veidt more alluring, too).
So, could you even imagine the effect the ‘slave’ scene had on someone who had just seen Thief of Bagdad ? I’m pretty sure I nearly screamed “that’s Jaffar!” when I watched it, as if the movie hadn’t given me ToB vibes already!
Therefore, I recommend anyone who enjoyed Labyrinth to watch Thief of Bagdad, because you can find a fantastic Jareth/Sarah kind of couple in there.
PS: I have to get this on a T-shirt:
If you can find that now rare beast, the Conrad Veidt fangirl, you will learn that some people even consider him rather gorgeous
Forever rare beast then! :D