Where are all of the women of color in science fiction?

The Underrepresentation of Black Women & Latinas in Science Fiction

Fun facts before I get started: According to “Richard Whettestone of firsttvdrama.com, as of 2005 only 15 science-fiction TV series have featured black women in lead roles. Less than 9% of Science-Fiction TV series have featured black women as main characters… Including recurring characters who were usually tossed in the background.” [Source]

There aren’t that many Black women and Latinas in science fiction and that is a problem, and not a new problem by any means. The fact that we can probably easily name all of the Black women and Latinas in sci-fi that we’re or are lead characters and creators means there isn’t enough. We shouldn’t be able to name them all, there should be so many that we forget. Being a Black and Latina woman and sci-fi fan, I can tell you how important it is to see people who look like me in a genre I love so much.

It does not go unnoticed when people of color are continuously underrepresented in a genre. As self-proclaimed geeks, we read and watch these stories not only because they are fascinating, but because we connect and relate to these characters and their struggles. However, personally, I always seem to hit a wall. I’ll fall in love with strong female characters, but when I try to relate their experiences to my own, I eventually come to a point where I’m not being addressed anymore because I’m a woman of color. My connection to the character I’m watching or reading is over. Their experience can no longer be my experience. This doesn’t happen always, but fairly often. I’m fully aware of women being misrepresented in misogynistic ways in the genres, but unfortunately it’s still a different fight for me. Most of those women being negatively portrayed are white, Blacks and Latinas are barely even in the story. If I fight for women’s rights, or in this case, women being accurately depicted in a genre, I’m fighting for white women because they are what are represented. I have to fight a separate battle for women of color.

Our exclusion from the story is both conscious and subconscious. There are those who say, “Well you have that one black guy or that one Asian, you should be happy.” But in reality there are only a handful of us included and often times, when we are it’s solely for the purpose of adding some color. We’re tokens. You’ll rarely find more than one person of color that’s a lead character, and when they are lead characters, they are often stereotypes.

But then again, we are being represented, but not in the way we’d like. We are “the other” in science fiction. We’re the aliens, literally. Whether we’re being depicted as the Na’vi from Avatar, the wild and violent aliens from Predator or Jar Jar Binks from Star Wars. The fact that undocumented immigrants living in the United States are called illegal aliens has to ring some kind if alarm in your head.

A way to directly change this is for women of color creators to write and direct stories that feature women that look like them. Simple right? Not really. Other than the mountains they’d have to climb to get their story heard, there’s a cyclical problem that even limits them from the genre itself. Women of color are barely represented in sci-fi, so many women who could have become sci-fi creators by first becoming fans avoid the genre because they see it as a “white boys clubs” where they don’t belong and aren’t welcomed. In turn, there is no progress in the amount of women of color being represented in the genre, and the cycle continues.

Science fiction is a haven for us folks of color, the future is one of the ideal fictional narratives we can fit since our past is filled with oppression, colonization and slavery. A lot of us who read, watch and create science fiction see the genre as our possible future. These are worlds that are meant to signify what may come. The fact that women of color, and to be completely honest, people of color entirely, are not included in these futures is scary.

What can we do to change this? If you’re a creator, create fictions that include all people. If you’re a reader and watcher like me, let your voice be heard. A little blog post, email to an author or tweet may not seem like a big deal, but with the the internet you never know who or how many people can come across your words. No matter what anyone says, it is extremely important for everyone to be represented. If we don’t say anything, or do anything, we can’t expect anything to change.

The Bard goes to Brooklyn: Interview with Ronald Wimberly

Prince of Cats, written and illustrated by the talented Ronald Wimberly, is a reimagining of Romeo and Juliet told from Tybalt’s POV that takes place in a samurai-­­­infused Brooklyn during the 1980s. I really shouldn’t have to say anything else to convince you to check this out, but I will, because I can’t seem to stop talking about this graphic novel.

Shakespeare adaptations come a dime a dozen. But Prince of Cats turned me into a devoted fan before I laid eyes on the first panel. (And this is coming from a girl who plans to name one of her future cats Shakespeare.) The opening couplet is part Shakespeare, part Biggie with a dash of Langston Hughes. It’s one of those combinations you never imagined would work so well until it was right in front of you.   

I go around preaching the gospel of PoC to anyone and everyone who will listen. It’s that good. However, it wasn’t until recently that I discovered why I had such an affinity for this story. That’s when I realized that it impacted me on multiple levels. Most of my favorite books, shows, films, etc. only affect me on one, maybe two, levels (yes even Doctor Who). I fall in love either visually, sonically, emotionally or intellectually. It is rare that something affects me on more than two levels. Prince of Cats did.

Visually

I have yet to come across an artistic style with the same energy as Wimberly’s. His balloonless panels explain more than most talk bubbles. The atmosphere is illustrated so vividly that you can practically turn the page and smell the seawater from Coney Island or the rusty scent of the blood dripping off Tybalt’s katana.

Sonically 

Wimberly’s rhythmic illustrations make Prince of Cats look and feel like a song. You can hear the roar of subway car rolling by as your eyes travel across the page. The mashup of the original Shakespeare text and street talk (all written in iambic pentameter) make it sound as if you’re right in the middle of an Elizabethan hip-hop mixtape.

Emotionally

There’s a very special place in my heart for talented black writers and artists, and another place in my heart for fictional characters of color. So immediately, Prince of Cats is occupying quite a bit space. On another emotional level, I felt connected to these characters very quickly which doesn’t happen often for me. Not to mention my mixed feelings about the slightly incestuous relationship between Juliet and Tybalt. Their relationship in PoC reminded me of when I fought with myself for liking Humbert Humbert (Lolita) as a character. Now you know that’s good writing!

Intellectually

When I read a good book, it’s usually left dog-eared and covered in illegible markings and neon highlighter. Or as I like to call it, loved. Prince of Cats is far too beautiful for me to graffiti, but mentally I was tagging it up like the side of a train car. My highlighter finger itched when I would read lines like, “That wooden skeleton doth rattle my nerve. The night is warm, the sky is clear, the spring breeze it whispers Summer’s name. Let’s ride the wheel, eavesdrop on season’s conversation and gaze on Astroworld from above.” Prince of Cats injected new life and a fresh perspective into an old tale. You’re guaranteed to love it, verily.

Interview with Ronald Wimberly

Can you tell us a little about yourself? 

Ronald Wimberly: I’m born in DC and raised in DC and Maryland.

I first came to Brooklyn in 97 and, though I’ve ventured far and wide, I always find myself back here.

I got into comics when I was a teenager. First character I remember liking was Grendel, Hunter Rose…remember thinking he should’ve beaten Batman.

What inspired you to create your graphic novel, Prince of Cats

RW: “My greatest inspiration is my empty stomach.”, he lied to the interviewer.

You retold, or rather, remixed Romeo and Juliet, from Tybalt’s point of view. Was there a reason behind that?

RW: …my inspiration…several things.

I’m often interested in supporting characters or characters that spend a lot of time off screen. The idea that they are the center of a story makes me ask questions.

Mercutio’s description of Tybalt always piqued my imagination. There’s a whole story in that monologue.

Also, when I was a kid, reading Romeo and Juliet, I thought it was the worst of Shakespeare’s work. My young ego preferred Hamlet to Romeo as a reflection or the lurid spectacles of a Coriolanus, Titus or Macbeth; however, when I got a little older, I began to look back and see myself and kids I knew in the child cast of Romeo and Juliet, children with passion that could destroy themselves and each other.. (The language also endeared me to the work long after the first time I read it as a kid; it’s what stuck with me).

Juliet’s reaction to Tybalt and his death also attracted me. It was a strange relationship, and damn if she didn’t get over his death quickly. Hehe

If you could retell another piece of classic literature, with a Wimberly twist of course, which would it be and why? 

RW: I would and I will, but it may be a while.

I’ve played with Theseus for years… Did a Perseus strip too back in the day.

…there are more but I don’t like to tip my hand so soon.

In the end we’re all telling these classics over and over…as were they. After all, Shakespeare wasn’t even the first to tell the story of Romeo and Juliet, nor the second.

What’s your writing and illustrating process like? Do you listen to music, go through several drafts, etc.? 

RW: My process is still taking shape. I’m most likely writing in silence when I’m… with white noise while breaking down…jazz or audiobooks while I ink and color.

…The final IS a draft.

I read you’re also an animator for Black Dynamite. Can you tell us about that? 

RW: I didn’t animate in the truest sense, but I was a part of the animation production team. I was a character designer and assisted the art team with their duties. I worked with Chase Conley and Lesean Thomas to create and maintain the look of the show. I even got to do some layout.

What was the transition process like from illustration to animation?

RW: Fortunately for me, the look of the show was not too far from one of my established styles. Even then, the volume of work made it quite formidable. Lucky for me I was surrounded by capable talent at titmouse and an uplifting producer, Carl Jones.

Are there any future projects that you’re working on that you can tell us about?

RW: I’ve got several things in the works, but for now I can only mention my month long retrospective at Superchief Gallery in Williamsburg on the sixth of November. It will be a retrospective of my work as well as a peek at new series I’m on which I’m working.

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers, animators and illustrators? 

RW:  Work hard/smart/often. Observe. The value of the answers are often in the process of finding them yourself.

What are some of your current obsessions? 

RW: Life… My art… Food… People.

If you were to have an author and artist create a graphic novel based on your life, who would they be? What would the graphic novel be called?  

RW:  This question is self indulgent, but I’ll indulge myself. 
Jose Munoz words by Murakami Ryu. Murakami Ryu could come up with a title.

Ronald Wimberly’s work:

Check out Ronald Wimberly on the web:

Tattoo Tuesday Featurette- Sue-Ann’s Serenity, Stargate SG-1 & Discworld Ink

Sue-Ann’s Serenity tattoo & Stargate tattoo

It’s been a while since I’ve had time to write up a Tattoo Tuesday post, so I’m glad I’m back with some awesome sci-fi ink from a reader! Sue-Ann, nickname ysabelkid, is a huge science fiction fan (if her tattoos didn’t already give that away). She shared with me the beginning stages of her sci-fi back piece which includes Serenity and Stargate SG-1 pieces. Sue-Ann and her boyfriend are even planning a Stargate-themed wedding on Pi Day in 2015!

Ysabelkid’s Discworld Grim Squeaker tattoo

She went into depth on her blog about why she chose to have the sci-fi ship and portal, but the short version is, “Each of the ships I will have represent the concept of creating one’s own family, and exploring new places with them. The family idea is most prevalent in Firefly, Star Wars, Star Trek and Farscape, and of course, what better way to immortalise travelling to new worlds than Stargate, Star Trek and Robotech? I’ll also be including a quote from Galaxy Quest – ‘Never give up, never surrender!’.”

Her artist, Ryan ‘Busta’ Bolton from The Golden Tiki specialises in cartoons. She was completely amazed by his attention to detail and intricate shading on these pieces, which she noticed was very different from his normal style. The full back tattoo will most likely take another year before it’s finished. But she’s not done yet! She plans to dedicate a tattoo sleeve of women she adores which will include Wonder Woman, Ripley and Sam Carter to name but a few.
Sue-Ann’s very first tattoo was a Hanie Mohd fan drawing of the Grim Squeaker from Discworld. She plans to match it with the Librarian on the opposite ankle. The Squeaker tattoo was inked by Abigail at Electric Eye Tattoos in Durban. But it’s incomplete since the tattoo artist has since left and she’s still tracking her down.
Sue-Ann tells us why she decided to get the Squeaker tattoo, “Terry Pratchett’s writing means a great deal to me, and with his Alzheimer’s, the world is losing one of the greatest minds that ever lived. So it makes sense to me to immortalise him with some of the characters who mean the most to me.” I can’t wait to see Sue-Ann’s complete sci-fi back tattoo and her strong sci-fi female characters sleeve!
If you’re interested in being featured in a Tattoo Tuesday or Tattoo Tuesday Featurette please email me at jamila@girlgonegeekblog(dot)com.

Book Crush: Review of ‘Beyond the Wall: Exploring George R. R. Martin’s a Song of Ice and Fire’

“Beyond the Wall” covers the series up until “A Dance with Dragons” and season one of the television series, Game of Thrones. This post contains no major spoilers. If you’ve only watched the show or haven’t finished the series you won’t be spoiled.

Beyond the Wall: Exploring George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire is a book of essays about our beloved series. After the second season of Game of Thrones ended and I finally finished A Dance with Dragons, I was a mixed bag of emotions. I was happy to have finally completed the massive series, and sad that I had no more Game of Thrones to consume. But then I realized I could finally enjoy my copy of Beyond the Wall without a fear of spoilers.

I’m a huge fan of A Song of Ice and Fire series and the Game of Thrones show. After 16 years since first being published, the conversation still burns as bright as the fires of R’holler. The authors in Beyond the Wall take these conversations a step (or two) further. It’s thought provoking and thoroughly entertaining. Topics such as feminism, sexual violence, outcast/the other, fantasy realism, religion and more are all explored in this book of essays.

Not only does Beyond the Wall break down the world of Westeros and Essos, but it exemplifies, page by page, something that us fans have known for a long time, that A Song of Ice and Fire is not only a great work of fantasy, but also a great work of literature. In the foreword, R.A. Salvatore says, “A writer writes to get people asking questions more than to give them answers, and the ultimate achievement of literature is to begin a conversation. To read [Beyond the Wall] is to recognize the depth and breath of the conversation A Song of Ice and Fire has started.”

This book is filled with essays that analyze characters, events and scenes in a captivating and still very accessible way. If you were to look at my copy you would think it has been through the red waste and back. It’s dog-eared, covered in neon pink highlighter, and graffitied with barely legible scribbles, exclamation marks and notes that only I can decipher. Because of Martin’s POV chapters, you get an even deeper sense of the characters. However, there are essays that I’ve read in Beyond the Wall that gave me a better understanding of characters I thought I knew like the back of my (Quran Half)hand.

One of the more enlightening essays is “Art Imitates War: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in A Song of Ice and Fire” by Myke Cole. In this, Cole describes how Arya Stark and Theon Greyjoy are both suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in very different ways. Not only did I learn about PSTD and the Cooper Color System, but, for me, Cole also focused the lens on these two characters storylines. One of my favorite essays is by Matt Staggs, “Petyr Baelish and the Mask of Sanity”, which basically goes on to say that Littlefinger is a psychopath. Literally.

To say that George R. R. Martin writes strong female characters is an understatement. From Arya to Brienne to Cersei, all of the women are strong in their own way and all embody very different and complex representations of woman. There are several essays that delve into the women of Westeros (because one just isn’t enough). In Caroline Spector’s essay, she can condense in one sentence the role of women in ASoIaF by stating, “Martin has created a subversively feminist tale.”

You can’t talk about Game of Thrones without talking about magic and religion. The two worlds are connected; overtly like R’holler and Melisandre and in more subtle ways like the green-seers and old gods. The aptly titled essays, “Of Direwolves and Gods” and “A Sword Without a Hilt”, by Andrew Zimmerman Jones and Jesse Scoble respectively, explore the fascinating ways magic and religion are portrayed in ASoIaF and how it effects Westeros, Essos and its people.

Whether you pray to the old gods or the new, if you consider yourself a fan of Game of Thrones and A Song of Ice and Fire, you should read Beyond the Wall.

Order the book on Amazon

Tattoo Tuesday Featurette- Kaity’s Lord of the Rings Ink

Lord of the Rings Tattoo by Dwayne at The Tattoo Shop Aurora, CO

If you’re interested in being featured in a Tattoo Tuesday or Tattoo Tuesday Featurette please email me at girlgonegeekblog(@)gmail(dot)com. 

Tattoo Tuesday Featurette Interview with Kaity

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Kaity: well my name is Kaity and i’m 18. I am a film major and I work as a waitress, i’m not terribly interesting.

What is your tattoo of and why did you get it?

Kaity: Well my tattoo is the inscription on the ring of power from Lord of the Rings. It goes across my stomach and ribs. I got this because Tolkien is one of my favorite authors and I grew up reading his books over and over. They’re really special to me and the symbolism is fantastic. The rings is essentially the main symbol and the basis of the entire story, so that’s why i got it.

Any plans for future tattoos?

Kaity: …I’m getting a freeze frame from the movie The Boondock Saints. But nothing generic like copies of their tattoos… It’s going on my inner left arm.

Who is your favorite Lord of the Rings character?

Kaity: Well in the books, Gandalf is my favorite character. But I will admit, I had a little crush on Orlando Bloom in that blonde Legolas wig from the Peter Jackson films.

Didn’t we all… What are your other favorite fandom’s?

Kaity: Well I’m a big movie geek, so it varies. I really liked House of 1000 Corpses and the Boondock Saints, but recently my vice has been the AMC series The Walking Dead.

Where can we find you in the web?

Kaity: Facebook and I’m also on Youtube: Youtube.com/kaityrantsaboutstuff . But it’s just what it sounds like, it’s like a diary, but again, I’m not terribly interesting.

The Boondock Saints tattoo done by Josh at The Tattoo Shop Aurora, CO(unfinished)

Etsy Crush of the Week & Giveaway- Beth Yates’ Adorable British Fandom Bookmarks

I’m a fan of many things, two of them being extremely cute things and print books. So it should come as no surprise that I am a big fan of Beth Yates’ bookmarks. She used her graphic design talents to bestow charming bookmarks upon the world in the form of our favorite British fandoms. I’m one of those people who does not want to buy an e-reader (yet), so there are plenty of books that I’m reading that will become a temporary home for the Doctor, Ron and Sherlock bookmarks. Although, carrying around some books will surely give me scoliosis (I’m looking at you A Dance with Dragons), I do it for the love of print. Now my only problem is, how will I get any reading done when I’ll be too busy staring at the bookmark?! Long live print and very cute bookmarks to put them in!

Girl Gone Geek Interview with Beth Yates (giveaway below)

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

Beth: Well I’m a Graphic Design student, currently coming up to the end of my second year at university. I live just outside Leeds and I’ve always been a total geek. I love videogames, movies, anything to do with fantasy, superheroes and the like. I also love reading, hence the abundance of bookmarks.

How long have you been designing?

Beth: Well I’ve always been creative; I was always drawing and doodling through school. I really started to get into drawing and design around age 15 – inspired by other fandoms; I was particularly into Kingdom Hearts at the time. It’s only in the last couple of years though that I really started to get into serious design and its completely taken over my life (in the best possible way). I just get the most amazing buzz from designing and creating things, and I’m hopefully going to be able to turn this in to a fully-fledged career.

Why did you decide to make an Etsy shop?

Beth: I’ve always made things for myself and thought it would be cool to share the stuff I make with others, see what they thought. It’s been a great platform to get feedback on my designs, and its also helping to pay my way through university, which is brilliant!

So I think it’s safe to say that you’re pro-print books since your adorable bookmarks don’t work on Kindles, right? What are your feelings on these e-readers in general? Do you think they will eventually make print books obsolete? 

Beth: I don’t think print is ever going to be obsolete, there’s just something about the experience of picking up a book, the feel and smell of the pages, the whole experience is so much more than the printed words. I’m a total gadget nut, but there’s so much about our lives today that’s completely ephemeral; music, photos, even money – its all digital and so transient, there’s a physicality and realness to a book that for me you just cant beat.

Since you’re a fellow Whovian I have to ask, who is your favorite doctor and favorite companion?

Beth: Oh its so hard to pick, I just love the whole program. I think it’d probably have to be Tennant and Catherine Tate as Donna. I didn’t really get into Who till Tennant took over (now I’m completely obsessed) and Donna was just brilliant! The chemistry they had was so entertaining to watch. Saying that I really love the new series too! Fishfingers and custard all the way!

What Hogwarts house would the sorting hat put you in and why?

Beth: I got sorted on Pottermore into Gryffindor! Twice! (I wanted to see if it was a random generator or not) I actually squealed. I think it’s quite accurate really, although I’ve always been quite academic I’ve got a quite strong sense of justice. I see and read so many instances of people being wronged and it really makes me want to just go out and do something about it. There’s also nothing more important to me than my friends, I love spending every day surrounded by such fun and brilliant people.

What are your other favorite fandom’s?

Beth: I absolutely love Sherlock and Merlin. They’re the main two, but I’m also a big fan of Star Trek, Star Wars, so many different video game franchises (old and new), though I don’t really take part in the online fandoms, I tend to just geek out with my mates.

If you were on a deserted island what would video game, book, movie, TV show would you bring?

Beth: I would have to bring the whole Monkey island series, the whole Harry Potter series, Megamind and all the series of Merlin.

Where do you live on the Internet? 

Beth: You can find me on Etsy and tumblr :D feel free to drop me message anytime, any requests for new bookmark sets are most welcome!

etsy.com/shop/bethydesigns

bethybookmarks.tumblr.com

 

Beth Yates Bookmark Set Giveaway!

Tattoo Tuesday- Game of Thrones

War and winter are here! Season 2 of the HBO series Game of Thrones premiered Sunday and if you’re a fan like me, you were buzzing with excitement! Because of my love for the show, I began reading the series it was based on, A Song of Fire and Ice by George R. R. Martin. I obsessively devoured the series and finally made it to the massive hardcover A Dance with Dragons.

For me, the major thing about the series is the characters. I’m pretty passionate about a lot of books and shows, but when characters grow on me is when I know I’m in deep. The character development is rich and dynamic. You feel like you know them, you relate to them, you’re protective of them. Of course, the story is amazing as well. The characters wouldn’t grow to who they become without the story. Simply put, Martin is brilliant. He knows how to keep us on our toes!

Most of the tattoos I found were House of Stark, no surprise there. But there were even two Greyjoy tats! Granted, I haven’t finished A Dance with Dragons yet, but they have been pretty much assholes throughout the series. So I’ll assume that person got that ink for Crow’s Eye and Asha, because they are pretty bad ass.

Oh and it’s my name day today!

I include all the information about the tattoo that was available. If you are interested in having me feature your tattoo on a future Tattoo Tuesday feel free to email me at girlgonegeekblog[at]gmail.com.

[Source: chiefsplanet]

“Knocked this little zinger out on my friend/fantastic Kiwi tattoo artist, Erin Chance… Game of Thrones, Stark family sigil…” [Source: archivetattoo]

[Source: noellesmith13]

Felippe Rodrigues from São Luis, Brasil and his Stark (and enterprise) tattoo [Source:  fyeahtattoos]

Tattoo by Erin Chance [Source: erinchancetattoo]

mrjacktorrance‘s tattoo, “I am a tremendous nerd. I fell in love with the Song of Ice and Fire books recently, and have devoured each book ravenously, watching the HBO series (Game of Thrones) twice and now, I will forever have a reminder of why I became a fan. House Stark, the wardens of the North. Their sigil, a grey and black direwolf, their motto: Winter Is Coming. The artist that inked me is a friend of mine, and a pretty talented guy for an apprentice. I can honestly say that of the few tattoos I have, this was the most fun.”[Source: fyeahtattoos]

Game Of Thrones Inspired Wolf – Sink The Ink, Doylestown, PA – Artist Benji Harris [Source: reddit]

[Source]

[Source: scrone-a-palooza]

House Targaryen tattoo, “Got my second tat at Wooster Street Social Club for HBO promotional free Game of Thrones day. Fire and Blood!” [Source: kdags4060]

 House Baratheon tattoo,”Done by Mig at Electric 13 Tattoo in Austin, TX.” [Source: fyeahtattoos]

Terry’s Greyjoy kraken tattoo, “My house greyjoy kraken tattoo, got today for free at Wooster social club, nyc” [Source: terryftw]

Read all about Wendy’s experience getting a free Game of Thrones tattoo curtosy for HBO on her blog,

“I wanted to get the Greyjoy kraken.  Here’s my reasoning:

A.) It’s a fucking Kraken! Krakens are badass, the Greyjoys are badass. (Shut up about Theon. He can suck it.  I just love Asha, and the rest of the drowned crew) Done.
B.) It was the best art. Let’s face it, it is a tattoo.  It’s for life.  I’m gonna go with what I would actually want on my body. I don’t really want a floating lion or direwolf head hanging out randomly on me.  I’m also not really a fan of getting a kinda tribal-y looking dragon – just not my style.  The Baratheon stag reminded me too much of the John Deere logo.  Nope, Kraken, you are for me.

My tattoo artist was Jeb. He usually tattoos at Fly Rite Tattoo in Williamsburg”  [Source: wendywatches]

Iron throne Ttattoo done by JD McGowan, “This is the first sitting for a full sleeve from the Game of Thrones. The iron throne took a good 6 hours to do but well worth it. thanks Miss Robyn.”  [Source: forbiddenimages]

Zac Scheinbaum tattooed this,”The tattoo of the cloaked skull is a nights watch tattoo I made up from the best books ever written! A song of ice and fire series by George R. R. Martin!!” [Source: zachsheinbaum]

“This tattoo was done by Sean at Ink Tattoo Studio in Kingston, Ontario. A couple of my buddies discovered this artist back in October and as soon as I saw his black and grey work I knew I had to have something by him. All I told him was “hawk”, “mountains”, and “Valar Morghulis”, and he did the rest. In the future, I might have the body and other wing of the hawk expanded, although at the moment I’m partial to the round shape of it.

“Valar Morghulis” comes from George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series and literally translates to “All men must die”. My personal attachment to the phrase comes from something Ygritte says in A Storm of Swords:

“You’re mine” she whispered. “Mine, as I’m yours. And if we die, we die. All men must die, Jon Snow, but first we’ll live.” [Source: fyeahtattoos]

[Source: cursedarmada]

“My 2nd tattoo, the House Stark heart tree from George R. R. Martin’s Game of Thrones. Art and tattoo by Jason, at Mind Over Matter.” [Source: tyshalae]

[Source: tattoosday]

Tattoo reads “I am the watcher of the walls. I am the sword in the darkness.”

Why Noelle Smith go this tattoo, “On the morning of my eighteenth nameday, my father came to me. You’re almost a man now, he said, but you’re not worthy of my land and title. Tomorrow you’re going to take the black, forsake all claims to your inheritance and start north. If you do not, he said, then we will have a hunt, and somewhere in these woods, your horse will stumble and you’ll be thrown from your saddle to die. Or so I will tell your mother. Nothing would please me more.

My story and Samwell Tarly’s is so similar it hurts. My father mentally and physically abused me for seventeen years. Constantly telling that I wasn’t good enough, that I would never become anything. One of my last memories of him is, him trying to kill my mother and threatening to kill me next.

From the moment I read Samwell’s story, I felt such a kinship with him. He was someone relatable. So broken and useless was exactly how I felt for many, many years. So I decided if Samwell could take the Black and say the words and come away a stronger person, that I would do the same. And here I stand.

I am the sword in the darkness. I am the watcher on the walls.” [Source: noellesmith13]