fawatson: (10YO (Minotaur))
[personal profile] fawatson posting in [community profile] maryrenaultfics2
Title: Interview with Ralph and Laurie 2014 (Part Two)
Author: Florence A. Watson
Book: The Charioteer
Characters: Laurie Odell, Ralph Lanyon, The Interviewer
Length: 1195 words
Disclaimer: I do not own these characters and make no profit by them.
Author's Notes: (1) Part One of the 10YO interview was originally posted to LiveJournal’s maryrenaultfics community on 03/08/2014. It has since been added to The Collected ITOWverse which provides open access here: http://www.foreverknight.org/FK4/10YOInterview_RalphLaurie.htm
(2) The questions about why Ralph reacted the way he did when seeing Laurie with Bunny were kindly provided by LJ member “debbiraahh”

Interviewer: I’d rather given up hope of you returning. Not that I’m not pleased to see you here. It’s just that it’s been a while since we took a break.

Laurie: Ralph wasn’t at all sure about speaking with you again but I insisted.

Interviewer: You insisted? Whatever for?

Laurie: To correct any…misimpressions you might have – after your interview with Old Jeepers.

Interviewer: Oh, I see. But I’m not quite sure what you mean by ‘misimpressions.’ I have read your novel, after all. I know the role Mr Jepson played in Lieutenant Lanyon’s expulsion. But I also know what came after that. And I am considerably more Modern than he. Judging by his age he must have been born at least 100 years before me.

Ralph: Sometimes it isn’t a matter of when one was born, but how one has lived.

Laurie: And Jeepers lived entirely in his prurient imagination.

Ralph: Not entirely, Spud; the fact it wasn’t entirely his imagination was why I was expelled.

Laurie: And he let his imagination run riot for the whole of the next year, what with constant prowling of the corridors, spot checks into studies and lectures about ‘moral hygiene.’ The man was obsessed before and subsequently became totally impossible. You didn’t have to live with the aftermath.

Ralph: I rather think I had my own ‘aftermath’ to live with.

Laurie: (looking stricken) Yes, of course.

There is an awkward silence, bridged by the Interviewer offering the two men a refill of tea.

Interviewer: I have one last question from one of the community members, if I may.

Ralph: If you insist.

Interviewer: What were you thinking and feeling when you came up the stairs with milk to find Bunny chatting with Laurie?

Ralph: Slightly sick.

Interviewer: Slightly sick?

Ralph: You have to appreciate: I’d already decided Bunny was a mistake. I knew that before I met Laurie again. Having just spent the day with him I couldn’t have been more aware of the differences between the two men. Laurie was – is – sterling silver while Bunny is broken pinchbeck. The last thing I wanted was for the two of them to meet. I’d never have taken Laurie back to my rooms had I had any inkling Bunny would be there. Remember, he was supposed to be over at one of his friends. Of course, the moment I saw him I knew that had been a lie. One of his gossiping friends must have told him Laurie was at Alec’s birthday party and when I told him I was planning to be out that afternoon he must have realised I was meeting Laurie and decided to pretend he had things to do in the hope I would bring him back to the flat. That sort of manipulation was Bunny all over. Was it any wonder I didn’t want them to meet? I didn’t want Laurie to think the worse of me. When I saw them together, I kicked myself for having fallen for Bunny’s trick.

Laurie: I never realised that. Ralph, I am able to take care of myself. You don’t have to wrap me in cotton wool.

Ralph: I know that now but she’s asking about back then. We’d only just met up again after several years. I wanted us to continue to meet. You may not have understood it that day but it cannot have taken you long to know I had hopes. I didn’t want an encounter with Bunny to throw a spanner into the works.

Interviewer: Were you worried that Bunny would see and treat Laurie as a rival?

Ralph: Bunny always saw everyone as a rival. That’s just how he saw life. Plus, by that time, even Bunny understood I had had enough of him, which meant anybody who was a friend of mine, whether or not I was romantically interested in him, became a potential target for his venom. Fortunately Bunny wasn’t actually that bright or he’d have been more dangerous.

Interviewer: I see. Later, when you were walking downstairs to Bunny's room, you bumped into Laurie and gave him a quick hug. Why?

Ralph: At that point I wasn’t sure what Bunny had said to Laurie but he looked a bit white round the gills, so I thought he must have done something poisonous. I wanted Laurie to know I was there for him.

Laurie: So that’s why!

Ralph: You didn’t realise?

Laurie: Not really, no. I suppose it was all a part of you seeing me as someone who needed to be protected. I didn’t though. You always think I do, when I am perfectly capable of managing those things for myself.

Ralph: You mustn’t believe I thought any the less of you. Only we had only just met again, after I thought I’d completely lost you, and I knew just how nasty Bunny could be. I wouldn’t do it now, not after all these years.

Interviewer: You say that as if real time has elapsed but it can’t have. You are characters after all.

Ralph: And you, young lady, are a figment of the Mods’ imagination!

Laurie: Ralph! There’s no need to be rude. It’s a valid question.

Ralph simply frowns.

Laurie: Actually, that question about ‘real time’ is pretty pertinent to why we agreed to this interview in the first place.

Interviewer: I don’t take your meaning.

Laurie: How old do you think we are?

Interviewer: Well in the book you are both in your early to mid-twenties, at least by its end.

Laurie: Yes in the novel we are; but outside of that? How old are we?

Interviewer: Well, I suppose, if you count from when the first interviews were held that would make you about six years old. Except…you clearly aren’t children. So….

Laurie: So now you see the problem. What are we? It does change so, depending on who is writing. In some stories I’m a little boy. Sometimes I’m a teenager. Sometimes I’m a lot older than I am now; sometimes Ralph is. And it isn’t just age. Sometimes I’m with Ralph; in fact quite often as it seems a lot of the fans like us to be together. But not all the fans agree and there are other times when I’m with Andrew. The same goes for Ralph – different people, depending on who is writing. One story even had him married to Nurse Adrian! I don’t think they ever even met in the novel! And it doesn't stop there. Consider the story that turned most of Bridstow into zombies (and brought Bim back to life to boot!) It can be a bit disorienting. I did raise this in my journal but very few community members seemed to notice.

Interviewer: Do you want the writers to stop writing about you?

Laurie: No, I wouldn’t say that exactly. I suppose I just want them to be aware of what they are doing. Renault had a clear conception of my character which shaped me.

Interviewer: And you want them to be true to canon.

Laurie: Not necessarily. I’ve certainly grown as a character since the end of the novel. Ralph was right in a way; the first time I met Bunny I wasn't as able to deal with him as I am now. Now he could try his worst and there would be nothing I couldn't deal with. I can’t unwish how I've developed. I guess what I’m asking is for the fic-writers to ‘grow’ me with some awareness of what they are doing.

Date: 2015-01-14 02:43 am (UTC)
greerwatson: (Default)
From: [personal profile] greerwatson
A fair bit of meta in this interview. (Not that the whole ITOW thing isn't itself meta.) Meta on meta, I suppose I mean: an investigation of the ITOWverse itself, not to mention fans and their fictions.

Thoroughly enjoyable and it makes one think a bit.

Date: 2015-01-14 12:16 pm (UTC)
charlie_cochrane: (Default)
From: [personal profile] charlie_cochrane
Smashing. Love the bits about Bunny, and Jeepers post Ralph's expulsion.

Date: 2015-01-14 12:27 pm (UTC)
naraht: (Default)
From: [personal profile] naraht
I suppose I just want them to be aware of what they are doing. Renault had a clear conception of my character which shaped me... I guess what I’m asking is for the fic-writers to ‘grow’ me with some awareness of what they are doing.

You've excellently captured Laurie's judgmentalism here. I love how he assumes that fic writers don't think about what they're doing.

Of course defenders of the "fourth wall" in fandom would say that Laurie either ought not to be reading the fic about him in the first place, or he ought not to admit to having read it.

Date: 2015-01-14 03:58 pm (UTC)
greerwatson: (Default)
From: [personal profile] greerwatson
But once one admits computers into the ITOWverse, how could any character resist visiting their fans' journals to see what they say about them? From there to AO3 is a mere click on a link.

Date: 2015-01-14 11:20 pm (UTC)
naraht: (Default)
From: [personal profile] naraht
Well, indeed. The same seems to be true for real people, which is why we've seen so many tempests and panics in various RPF fandoms over the years.

Date: 2015-01-15 08:06 pm (UTC)
greerwatson: (Default)
From: [personal profile] greerwatson
I suppose it's understandable that Laurie assumes the writers aren't thinking too clearly when their stories vary so enormously. If the version of him that visits the ITOWverse for the 10YO celebrations and is interviewed, i.e. the one here, is an adult in his mid-twenties living with Ralph (leaving aside war-dependent absences), then it is understandable that he would think it odd that people could write quite seriously of his having a life with Andrew—the more so since such a story could well be written as taking place contemporaneously with the life that this Laurie is currently leading with Ralph. It might actually seen less odd (because less serious in its reception) that fans write of Ralph married to any woman, let alone Nurse Adrian.

Yet, of course, we know that this is not the only Laurie to attend these celebrations. This is not the Laurie who enjoyed a picnic with Pooh!

Indeed, the co-existence of both at the same time in the ITOWverse (even if they never met) allows for the possibility of yet more Lauries in this series.

(Fancy a try?)


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