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Carter Hall and the renunciation of the forces of evil - Barnstorming on an Invisible Segway [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Marissa Lingen

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Carter Hall and the renunciation of the forces of evil [Jan. 20th, 2011|05:08 pm]
Marissa Lingen
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I am extra, extra careful about giving my characters my point of view on comparatively obscure things. For one, it's not always appropriate, and for another, I don't really like having people assume that I mean to use some character or another for a mouthpiece in general just because we agree on a particular point.

So I have thought long and hard, and I am absolutely sure that Carter feels as I do about godparents. It is appropriate and right that he should do so. His world--both the one in which he grew up and the one in which he finds himself now--requires it. Your godparents help give you your name, they help fix your identity to you, they give you a place to stand, somewhere you can move from wherever you will go. Your parents should do all that, too, but it's a big job. Standing with the kid, teaching them what they need to know, taking on all comers: it's more than parents should have to do alone. And it's not just my relationship with my godfather that makes me say this*, and it's not just my relationship with the godkids. It fits with the magic structure of the world Carter lives in.

But it's also in mine, and apparently I need to give fair warning yet again: I don't approve of ignorant prejudices in general. None of us do, or we would call them "sensible notions" instead of "ignorant prejudices." But if you say something ignorantly prejudiced in an area that pertains to one of my godchildren, either them personally or categories they belong to? You should consider yourself lucky if I don't pull the heavens themselves down on your head. That is not what we do, folks, and there's one less person welcome in these parts today than there was yesterday because she apparently forgot it. Do not. Mess. With my godkids. Really serious, people.

So in related but actually Carter-ish news, if he says he doesn't want to say it until he's at the font (because Tommy Heikkanen trained him good) but he knows what he's going to name his son, do those of you who have read some of the stories know what it has to be?

*Like Jessica Lin-Laird, like my own godkids, I have three godparents, two male and one female. I love my other godfather, and I love my godmother. But when I say "my godfather," I always mean Dave. And Jess will always mean Carter when she says "my godfather"; if she means the Puck, she will say his name or "my fairy godfather." Jess is not me, and Carter is not very much like Dave at all. But sometimes you have my godfather, and that is that. I mean. My godfather. You know.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: rosefox
2011-01-20 11:24 pm (UTC)
I'm sorry you lost a friend over ignorant prejudices. I hope your godchildren know just how lucky they are to have such an awesome and fierce godmother!
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2011-01-20 11:26 pm (UTC)
Cordial acquaintance rather than friend, thankfully. But thanks.
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[User Picture]From: txanne
2011-01-20 11:32 pm (UTC)
My goddaughters matter to me as much as my nephews, no question, it's how things are. I regret that you had to call down fire, though. That's never fun.
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[User Picture]From: carbonel
2011-01-20 11:44 pm (UTC)
...if he says he doesn't want to say it until he's at the font (because Tommy Heikkanen trained him good) but he knows what he's going to name his son, do those of you who have read some of the stories know what it has to be?

If he's of a culture where people name children after living people (I'm not, which is why I qualify that), my first thought would be either a male variation on Janet's name. Or maybe Coach Laird's name. I assume Robin would be a bad idea, under the circumstances.

So no, no good idea.
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2011-01-21 02:09 pm (UTC)
Yes, he is definitely from a culture where the living are reasonable sources for names, at least for male names. Coach Laird is Rob, for the record, and Janet's brother is Bobby. I have no idea what a male version of Janet would be, though. Jan, I guess, but that's what Carter calls Janet half the time, so it's not going to register as dudely for Carter.
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[User Picture]From: swords_and_pens
2011-01-21 01:14 am (UTC)
I find this utterly fascinating if for no other reason than, in my family, being a godparent was a formality at best. It was an honor bestowed, of course, but not something that was thereafter acted upon. Honestly? I can't say who my godfather is, but I think I know who my godmother is. Think, mind you. Which tells you where that role falls within my family's schema.

So to see it mean so much to someone else is both edifying and heartwarming. I think it's wonderful it means so much to you and Carter both, even if I can't quite relate.
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From: fmsv
2011-01-21 02:07 am (UTC)
I'm feeling the same; I know who my godfather was, but don't think I ever had a godmother.

I'm likewise glad to see such relationships mean so much to someone.
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2011-01-21 02:23 pm (UTC)
When porphyrin and Mike asked us to be the children's godparents, I had to clarify that they were not asking for this honorary stand-in, she was asking for the real thing. In medieval Icelandic law, for example, the fact that we are Rob and Lil's godparents would prevent any future child I might have--by birth or adoption, no distinction is made--from marrying either of them. That is the degree of relatedness that is conferred in my cultural conception of the relationship. And porphyrin said yes, that was how they thought of godparents, too, that was just what they were asking. Which is good, because I didn't want to say no, but I'm not sure I could do it the other way. My other two godkids live half a continent away, but we still try to be involved and influential within the limits of that.
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[User Picture]From: reveritas
2011-01-21 05:41 pm (UTC)
And it also means if they die, you and your family raise the kids? That's how it was with me and my godfather.
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2011-01-21 06:22 pm (UTC)
That's not a universal implication, but it's very common, yes.

When I was small, I would tell people that if something happened to my folks and my grands, I would go live with Dave. And my mom would correct me: "With Joe." (My other godfather--older, at the time more established in his career path. They are brothers and very close.) And I would say, "But Dave would come and help us out." And Mom would say, "Probably, yah." And then the next time it came up, the same conversation all over again.
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[User Picture]From: cakmpls
2011-01-21 03:46 pm (UTC)
That's the way it was in my family of origin, too. Catholic family, so they had to be Catholic; big family, just pick a man and a woman. No further obligation unless the parents died, and then only a religious one.
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[User Picture]From: dichroic
2011-01-21 06:56 am (UTC)
I know. I have a "my uncle" despite having other people I'd call Uncle [name]. He's the only one who actually *is* an uncle rather than an older cousin or a great-uncle, but that isn't why he gets the title. (In fact technically he's also my godfather, but Judaism doesn't really do that in a formal way, I don't think.)

It was difficult to know what tense to use in this post because he died a couple of years ago, but I have used present tense, because I'm pretty sure it doesn't change.

But no, despite having read all of the Carter stories I've seen linked, I don't know the name. His uncle/adoptive father?
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2011-01-21 02:24 pm (UTC)
His uncle/adoptive father is Uncle Larry, and that is indeed the middle name, Lawrence.

And yah. Even after my godfather is gone--we hope many, many long years from now--he will still be my godfather.
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[User Picture]From: dichroic
2011-01-21 02:51 pm (UTC)
Ouch!!


.........................you want to guess my uncle's name?
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[User Picture]From: reveritas
2011-01-21 09:18 am (UTC)
Carter has a kid? Or is this just a theoretical son?

It has to be Bobby. Or Wayne. Or Larry.
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2011-01-21 02:25 pm (UTC)
This particular story takes place when Jessica Lin-Laird is seven years old. And you're right on the middle name, Lawrence for Uncle Larry.
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From: yasmara
2011-01-21 08:04 pm (UTC)
Gordon???
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From: jenfullmoon
2011-01-21 03:30 pm (UTC)
I think your idea of godparents is a helluva lot nicer than the way I've seen it played out in real life, as a token thing. In my case, my dad's Catholic relatives insisted on calling dibs (forcing it to be a Catholic baptism limited the pool), and thus my evil aunt and uncle had to get the titles. And then did nothing thereafter, as my mother grumbled.
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[User Picture]From: ashnistrike
2011-01-23 02:04 am (UTC)
This is not a custom to which my family holds, so I've never really 'gotten it'. You make it make emotional sense, and make me realize that it's not so different from the way our social circle does some things without formal names. So, thank you.

-Nameseeker
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2011-01-23 02:49 pm (UTC)
Sometimes the formal names are really useful when dealing with outsiders. This is how my cousins and I started referring to each other as cousins and our parents as aunt/uncle: Kari was off at college, and "my uncle is in town on business, and he's picking me up for dinner" required no explanation or extended comment, where "my parents' best friend--well, the guy half of my parents' best friends--he's been around my whole childhood--I'm actually closer to him than to a lot of my blood relatives--" would have been a conversation at least.
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[User Picture]From: asciikitty
2011-01-24 03:33 pm (UTC)
That's how I got my godparents. "My godfather" was a lot quicker than "My father's college roommate, who we're still really close to, who's been around forever but who isn't quite blood family."
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