WHY ARE WE OBSESSED WITH MERWOLFS STORIES
A Merwolfpack survey
The following is a compilation of answers to
the above question from the merwolfpack mailing list, Spring 1999. These are numbered in
terms of mentioned the most times... There were lots of ties (note numbers repeated). On
another day the rankings might come out different as they were not that far apart.
1) CHARACTERIZATIONS: There is a depth to
these characters. They are 3-dimensional. We watch them deepen and grow. They change over
time, and the changes occur in a way that is consistent with the experiences we see them
have. This is related to #2. We have come to feel that Xena and Gabrielle, especially, are
as Missy has written them. She has re-created them.
About Xena, Shari writes:
Her portrayal of Xena really gets to me. Missy has said that she has a soft spot for
Xena. I guess I do to. In many stories and in the show, Xena is much more 2-dimensional,
while Gab gets to display a wide range of emotions. I love that in the Missyverse we get
to see so many different facets of Xena's personality. She is playful, fun, spontaneous,
loyal, intense, moody, smart, powerful, etc., etc. Missy takes us inside her head to
really get a feel for how she thinks, what she feels, what hurts her and what gives her
joy. And then, Missy lets her experience all of those feelings. It's perfect.
About Gabrielle, Morph writes:
A major draw for me in Missy's stories is her version of Gabrielle. Missy's Gabs is, for
me, the best anywhere. She's kind, courageous, loving... you can practically feel her
warmth leaping out of the screen. It is such a breath of fresh air to see Gabrielle
portrayed with true maturity and depth, and as someone who has an equal partnership with
Xena on every level.
2) DRAWS OUT THEIR INNER DIALOGUE: An extension of character development,
but deserves mention in its own right. Missy allows us to listen to her characters
feelings and thoughts, painting a picture of their inner life. It makes us feel like we
really know them. It helps us believe their relationships and actions in a way that other
writes dont and that the limitations of the medium of tv just doesnt allow.
She makes us feel like we are there, listening to them talk, and understanding what they
were going through.
3) GROWTH OF THE RELATIONSHIP: We have watched them from the beginning
and develop their incredible bond over thousands of pages. Layer after layer gets built
between them and we feel included.
Xena and Gabrielle act like people in a relationship. They have their ups and downs
(Missy's Rift was the real one) and they fight and make up and disagree and agree and do
people do. Only they seem to do it better. When they fight, they don't attack each other.
When they disagree, neither gets their feelings hurt. Well, sometimes they do, but they
forgive each other and move on. Missy's Xena and Gabrielle love each other, pure and
3) FABULOUSLY WRITTEN: We love Merwolfs style. Clear, fast moving,
beautiful imagery, great action, smoothly written. Her dialogues are true to her
characters, her pacing is perfect. She has captured us with the craft of her stories as
well as the content. Were read tons of fanfic on the web. Missys stands out as
some of the best written.
4)MAKES US FEEL: We are caught up in the depth and range of emotions
played out in these stories. We feel the characters from the inside out as well as
experiencing the play of the story from the outside. She makes us consider out own
reactions and emotions. Not only does Missy make us feel deeply in every story, she whips
us around from pathos to hilarity in a few keystrokes. We revel in mushy, revile evil,
grieve injustice and fall on the floor laughing with great regularity. The emotionality of
her stories are a feast, leaving us full and satisfied. Humor should be given a special
mention. There is a quality of mirth and playfulness running through all her stories. We
are all grateful for the many many many belly laughs.
Missy's stories make me laugh. In that deep, joyous, soul-fulfilling way that is just
disgustingly rare in real life. For that, she has my earnest thanks. Without her fine
sense of comedy and wonderful turn of phrase, I'd be a poorer person right now.
5) PLOTS UNPREDICTABLE: There are many of us hanging on the edge of our
seats reading update to update. We have acquainted ourselves with Missys devious
mind through thousands of pages. AND I STILL CANT GUESS WHAT IS COMING NEXT. Merwolf
is the master of the curveball. I never knew it hit me. It is delightful to be privy to
such a twisted and unique mind. Special mention for SUSPENSE. She really knows how to
leave us hanging.
6) MINOR CHARACTERS REAL AND USEFUL: Despite their tendency to lose their
names and occasionally their heads, Missy brings all the characters to life rather than
skimming over them as vehicles in a scene.
I'm also a big fan of the way Missy has fleshed out characters from the show, invented
reoccurring characters of her own and made me hooked on dying to know what happens to each
and every one of them.
7) FLASHBACKS: Missy uses these to bring a sense of continuity to her
stories and depth to her characters memories. She layers in each story like nesting boxes
and the flashbacks keep us current in each story so they all stand on their own (nice
writers trick) as well as giving us a sense of the meaning of this history and complexity
in each characters psyche. She blends flashbacks from her own stories and moments from the
I love Missy's use of these. They add depth to the characters and give me a real sense of
a 'real' relationship. One that has grown over time to become the incredible bond the
characters share. Plus, any flashback that erm, flashes to a particular episode of the TV
show, more often than not makes me enjoy the episode involved tenfold.
7) SOULMATE/BOND: The bedrock of Missys stories is the bond between
Xena and Gabrielle, and now Dar and Kerry. (Ardwyn and Elevown) She created the concept of
a bond beyond life, beyond understanding. It touches us all in the deepest way. We are
moths to flame. (Luckily she hasnt burned us for it).
Then there is their Bond. How marvelous to know what your partner is feeling. To know,
from the bottom of your soul, that they love you, would die for you, and that you are the
most important person in your partner's life. It is both wonderful and one of the scariest
things I've ever read. Both women not only have the weight of their own lives on their
heads, but the knowledge that their partner's life is riding on every decision, ever
fight, and every chance encounter that they have or make. But it is a burden they both
carry because they BOTH carry it. They are not alone in a vast and lonely universe. Even
unto and beyond death, they will be together. And they know it.
HONORABLE MENTIONS GO TO:
- Intelligence of the stories (and the writer)
- Including a wolf puppy
- Including the best parts of the mythical tv show based on Missys
- Novel length allowing for depth and development of characters and themes
- Interaction with fans, BBs, List, email, cons, minor characters, in
on the joke....
- Forest Dwellers are a cool species
- Subtext, a world where they are pretty much accepted as a couple
- Archetypal themes without being trite: good/evil, love/hate,
- Mush, just needs to be mentioned again
- Visuals and images, Missy makes us see, hear, smell and taste the world
they are in
- There is no Joxer.
- Happy endings.
And Missys favorite comment re the effect of
It changed how I think.
This may sound dumb, and I've mentioned it before but Missy's stories have made some major
changes in the way I think. When I read some 'alt' fanfic once and I thought (now don't
flame me, I've repented) "oh, yuk, homosexual stuff, that's so un-natural and
weird" I was a total homophobic. Then I accidentally read part of one of Missy's
stories. I was immediately impressed with her writing style. I was drawn right into the
story. So I hunted down her stories so I could read them in order. By the time I was
through with AWBAON I was convinced that Missy's characters were the real ones. By the
'kiss' scene in AAD I couldn't picture X&G in any other kind of relationship. Through
out her stories as Missy's characters grew and changed my attitude changed.
We needed it. The show left us all hanging, tons of loose ends and
unbelievable solutions to a horrifying rift. Missy helped us retain our connection to the
show by making the resolution seem more real than what the show allowed us. We shared in
that turmoil and Missy helped us all find our way home. It was painful, it was cathartic,
it gave us hope.
I loved the way Missy rebuilt their shattered relationship and took the readers through
each building block by relating the characters thoughts, fears and actions.
Yup, We love Dar and Kerry. The bond made the jump through time without a
hitch. The same things that made us love the warrior and bards relationship made us
fall in love with two geeks in Miami.
At A Distance and Home Is Where The Heart Is:
Tied for the next most loved stories. Distance was an entry point for many
folks and was beautiful. HIWTHI took us inside Gabrielles childhood and personality
in a new way. It resonated for many.
Favorite Scenes...... Tropical Storm and AT A Distance, both for THE