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12 November 2013 @ 09:12 pm
The Frigyes Vassy 'verse  

Author’s Note/what is this I don’t even

The thing that I did

Links are to Google Docs.

zédille: Pooh and pigletzedille on November 13th, 2013 08:19 am (UTC)
Tbh I'm still not too convinced by the idea of Freddie as Florence's brother (I guess the whole ~American~ shtick is too firmly embedded in my perception of his character, he's not Freddie without it) but nonetheless, massive kudos to you for creating a complete Chess libretto out of the idea! (As always I remain impressed that this stuff RHYMES and has meter and is so singable.)

Specific things:

Yes, I see how you wouldn't get the idea that you like the Arbiter at all :P since he doesn't appear in here at all. Well, there's a time and a place, indeed, and I like how you distributed out his lines in the show when they appeared.

Casting Freddie as an immigrant American added new overtones to his character, which were evident in the Commie Newspapers and pre-Nobody's Side sequences (now he's got a personal reason to really dislike the Russians) and particularly in Anthem. I really liked that rewrite -- honestly it does a lot more for me than Anatoly's version of the song (what is he saying, that his actions aren't political? is he trying to make a statement for the press?)

The Viigand-Anatoly You and I (hooray for more Viigand!) is very different from anything else, but yeah if you think about it there is an element of betrayal in that relationship too... new, but I do like it!

Your alternate Diplomats/US vs USSR/Difficult and Dangerous Times lyrics were a thing of beauty, really ("hammer and the dollar sign", indeed!)

again, ALL THE LOVE for your Anthem, which really sells this alternate version of Freddie -- he's not necessarily the same character from canon, but a recognizable variant thereof.

Talking Chess as between Florence and Anatoly -- that's clever! Because yes, they are talking chess, and it eliminates the "what are Freddie's motives for having that conversation" question.

The Deal's dynamics are all switched around if Freddie is also trying to root for his own father, and trying to get Florence to help him with that -- this is a really nice reworking of the "who wants what' question. And Pity the Child as Florence-included, with Florence's comments about a younger Freddie -- genius, and really effective.

I like how your Endgame is more evenly distributed among the characters! And particularly how it lets Viigand have his say about his climactic defeat (I guess Viigand is either my third-favorite character or tied with the Arbiter for second?)

Also, I see you went the give-Florence-her-father-back route, taking a leaf from post-London? Interesting choice (I dunno, I have no real personal opinion on the topic, it could go either way). Though given your version's increased focus on Florence and Freddie's family background, it would have been harsh if you'd gone through and rubbed the NO THEY DON'T GET THEIR DAD back element in our faces.

Thanks for sharing! It was fun reading through this and singing along mentally :)
primeideal.dreamwidth.org: ravenclaw eagleprimeideal.dreamwidth.org on November 13th, 2013 03:46 pm (UTC)
Aaah, thanks so much for reading and leaving such a nice long comment! <3 I love song parodies, this sort of wormed its way into my head and won't get out.

I'm not convinced by the idea either, though like I said in my case it has more to do with the importance of the Freddie+Florence dynamic as being platonic non-familial in its own right. As far as the AMERICA YEAH tones, I'd make the argument that he could be overcompensating--he shows up in the country age nine, has a funny name and a weird accent, so he wants to totally throw himself into the US and be like "USA, USA," taking it too far.

Anthem sort of depends on circumstances--in 2008 it's sort of a press statement thing, I think? In the concept album it might be more of a personal reflection. "This is /my/ anthem, this is as patriotic as I'm ever going to be." When it's Freddie singing it, it's also a press statement thing, replacing the (Broadway? whichever version it is that has the) time when he lashes out with "Pity the Child" in public at the end of act I.

This version of Freddie is definitely most interested in his own father, and so Talking Chess wouldn't be his style. Placing it earlier is also important for Anatoly's changing character motivations...

Because I may not have been as clear as I intended with "Endgame." Viigand definitely needs to have his say, which is why I introduced him as early as I did in "You and I," but the climax is different. Anatoly is supposed to resign (after purposely blundering, after Freddie's long section)...which changes who that part is referring to. I've gone and edited that. So, yeah, if Viigand is going to emerge as the (undeserving) winner he needs to have some more characterization than he currently does. He's becoming one of my favorites for this version too--similar to my Arbiter feelings, actually, which is why I gave him the Arbiter's part in The Deal.

And yeah, I did--I'm too idealistic to really enjoy the bleak tones of most of the plotlines. So this version was always the plan.

Thanks again for commenting! :)
zédille: Pooh and pigletzedille on November 14th, 2013 08:19 am (UTC)
No, thank you for the excellent excuse for all the mental karaoke (and well, I wish you luck getting this out of your head now! It's always difficult when they're your own lyrics....)

I guess Hungarian immigrant Freddie grew on me -- at this point I think this is a very well executed and solidly done thought exercise, but I'm not ready to promote it to one of my real headcanons, I guess. Not that it was ever meant to go that far, probably, but even so.

Anthem when staged is usually construed to be some kind of press conference, I think? It's not just the 2008 version, but whenever the song is prefixed with the "Anatoly and the Press" sequence that we're meant to understand it's a public statement. I do like the thought that Anthem is actually Anatoly's internal musings -- it's less HERE LET ME SHOW YOU HOW I AM SUCH A NOBLE GUY EXCEPT I AM ABANDONING ALL MY RESPONSIBILITIES BACK HOME thing.

London's Pity the Child is at the end (ish) of Act I, though I'm not sure if that's meant to be understood as a public scene, though of course it could be understood that way? Unlike Anthem there isn't the framing sequence in the audio. I've always thought of that song as a more genuine and intimate look at Freddie's character -- much more effective at garnering sympathy than Anthem is.

And oh, I did not catch the Anatoly-resigning thing! Combining the American plots with the London-style Viigand, then? And are you going for the "Viigand who has his victory but isn't really enjoying it" type of characterization? I like that, yes. *nodnod*

Haha I guess I'm too used to all the bleak depressing endings where only Walter and Molokov really win and everyone else is left trying to put the pieces back together, but since this story has such a family focus I suppose it's appropriate :)
primeideal.dreamwidth.org: ravenclaw eagleprimeideal.dreamwidth.org on November 14th, 2013 04:51 pm (UTC)
Haha, they're my lyrics, I think I can handle them. Well, here's hoping. If not, then I might as well spread them around.

No, I'm not sure it's one of my headcanons, either, no pressure on that front! I guess the thought experiment made me appreciate (or at least tolerate) some of the more political themes of the original better, too? The political rhymes are more clever than the romantic ones.

And, okay, I hadn't remembered that about stage "Anthem." I'm definitely thinking concept album here for internal musings: "Certain he has made the right decision, he is equally certain of what he will never be able to leave."

Poking around I guess it's Broadway "Pity the Child" that's supposed to be public--I don't view the 2008/concept album versions as public, but the thought of having a long, over-the-top solo to the press as he tries to justify himself seems much more Freddie's style than Anatoly's anyway. Anyway, Freddie gets both the public and private rants here.

Hmm, speaking of solos at the end of act one, I'm wondering whether moving "Heaven Help My Heart" takes away from my ability to ship Florence/Anatoly? Because on the concept album they've been together for a year and she's like "I have loved a stranger, yep, been there, done that!" Even if she can sort of see things falling apart, that doesn't change the fact that the love was there and a real thing. Whereas when she's barely met the guy and is helping him defect, she's more like "If it were love, I would do stuff," and it seems to be much more in the subjunctive mode. Like, I wanted the ship to be there for multi-tournament plots (single-tournament is another story) but it was surprisingly difficult to make myself.

Yeah, I'm not sure which plot this lifts more from...but I wanted to include Viigand and have Anatoly lose the second game, which required me to build Viigand up all along. And yes, he definitely isn't enjoying his victory, at least under these circumstances. *solidarity nod*

Well, I don't blame you for being used to the bleak endings, they're the big thing, I just refuse to jump on that particular bandwagon. <3
zédille: Pooh and pigletzedille on November 15th, 2013 01:59 am (UTC)
Yes, haha, I am definitely in Chess for the politics and not so much for the romance (to this day I still am not really convinced of the Anatoly/Florence, I guess partially because the 2008 RAH version was ... less than convincing ... with the acting there.)

And yeah, it's definitely Broadway's Pity the Child that's really staged as a public ~scene~ -- imo it's also the one where Freddie is the most grating and unpleasant (re his conversation with Florence and the reporters, etc) It's like, we can see why he is the way he is, but that doesn't really make us forgive him. Other American productions that kept the reporters' framework made Freddie a lot less grating about it, so the overall scene is more effective. (Though hm, some versions also put Someone Else's Story as a public interview-style thing which could also work....) Basically I think if I'm to take Anatoly's Anthem seriously at all then I need to think of it as a private reflection, not the ambiguous public statement ("yeah I love Russia even though I'm leaving it, no hard feelings! this is not political at all!") And I would be interested in what canon-Freddie would have to say about his American identity in an Anthem-expy (care to try? haha)

London usually has Heaven Help My Heart at the end of Act I before Anthem, but the American productions stick it in right at the beginning of Act II when they're settling into Budapest (which is not a year either, but still a longer acquaintance then in London). And now that you bring it up I do think the song works better when it's more "Florence looking BACK and forward at the relationship" rather than solely Florence looking forward (if she's predicting that it won't end too well then why is she going through with the relationship...? though don't mind me, I only understand Florence by proxy)

I know the single-match show structure is much more cohesive dramatically, but I still prefer London partly because it's the first version I saw, partly because the longer time structure allows for more angst (you know I stretch it to two years), partly because I like seeing what Freddie's up to after chess, and partly for Viigand :) who is actually even more of a plot device non-character than Svetlana is. The "losing his innocence and realizing how much he's being used" character arc is easy to infer from the show, so (imo that's what happens if you assume he was a chess player first and Molokov's crony second; there's also the alternate path of him being a KGB agent first who know how to play chess, so Molokov shoved him in. Less character development there though, so I prefer the first.)
primeideal.dreamwidth.org: ravenclaw eagleprimeideal.dreamwidth.org on November 15th, 2013 03:43 am (UTC)
I'm watching the TV show Revolution, and let me tell you, I am completely done with the "flashbacks into antagonists' early lives to show us why they are thew way they are" trope. Antagonists are great for narratives' sake, we do not need to justify everyone to show off how shades-of-grey they are and how pretentious we writes are. Blargh.

I'd totally be up for trying canon-Freddie's American identity in an Anthem rewrite! No promises on when it'll happen, because the last time I promised someone musical-rewrite songs I kept procrastinating on it, so this really should get in line...but I will do it someday. >.>

Well, the concept album's the version I'm most familiar with, so I usually work from that where possible. I hadn't remembered you telling me that you stretched it to two years, but I really like that! For the concept album version, where there aren't necessarily any kids to worry about, I'd stretch it to three to make it sync with the RL championships even better! (And if we're going with my chess chronology anyway, that pushes the end all the way up to 1984...so the Berlin Wall only has five years left anyway, possibly a more hopeful ending. It could also solve some of the other annoying rounding errors, come to think of it.) And then there doesn't have to be so much justification of Anatoly/Florence because "yeah they've been together for three years." So if it hadn't been for the kids, I might have been tempted to add some of that in this rewrite.

Viigand. Plot device of win. (Or not.) At least Svetlana has both a name and songs in the concept album...I feel like he has to be a chess player first, because how else would a random KGB agent have become the challenger when there's the rest of the world out there to contend with? I feel like him hypothetically winning would actually be worse for him, innocence-wise, than losing to Anatoly, because at least in the last case he can be like "despite everything else going on, my opponent somehow manages to take this game as seriously as I do and I made him earn it." If Anatoly throws it to him, then the triumph's empty, but he can't really complain because everyone else's problems are so much worse than his. :(

(He's already come back from five-one down, so he's probably not going to give up even if Anatoly looks dominant at the start of the last game. But it would be funny if, once he realizes Anatoly's going to throw it, he's like "I'll throw it first," and Anatoly's like "no you can't, I've got my girlfriend's father to worry about..." and if the Arbiter was in this version he'd just be massively facepalming.)
zédille: Pooh and pigletzedille on November 15th, 2013 06:41 am (UTC)
With Freddie I don't mind the AND NOW WE WILL TELL YOU ABOUT HIS TRAUMATIC CHILDHOOD move because if done well, the character should have been just sympathetic enough that we honestly are curious. I would like to more about Anatoly's childhood, but that's because of the character. In the show itself we've already got quite enough childhood stuff with Freddie and Florence, I absolutely wouldn't want that there.

I mentioned the 2 years thing here, which you saw, but I think I added the "two years" detail in at the end after you'd already reblogged it, so. And yeah, it's definitely more complaint with IRL -- if you think about it, it's simply not practical to expect the chess Federation to go through all the rigamarole of setting a match up every single year. At one point IRL, weren't the championships biannual, though? Then I remember there was some drama with the organization and the chess title splitting though, so I dunno. (Are you sticking Act I in 1981 then? You make a good point about the Berlin Wall.... iirc Sydney/some of the American productions are set later and make reference to "we halfway miss the Berlin Wall now", so.)

But yeah, the kids are the sticking point, aren't they? It makes you wonder why they included them in the London version, I think every version since has made Anatoly and Svetlana's relationship a childless marriage (that arguably lessens the burden of the defection, too. Probably a deliberate choice?)

Re Viigand, in my main headcanon I am definitely going for the whole "loss of innocence" story arc shtick, mirroring Anatoly's own character arc from "innocent boy from the country" to "extremely embittered and angry man." Previously, he'd kind of idolized Anatoly, who had professional as well as personal success (a loving wife, adorable children, the picture-perfect Soviet family); seeing Anatoly's defection and the collapse of that delusion in Act I is a big part of this process, and by the time he comes around to Act II Svetlana is not above talking to him and trying to impress the seriousness of her own circumstances to him. Unlike Anatoly, he understands that Svetlana's interests are best served with Anatoly winning [and returning]; he makes the deliberate choice to throw the match to force Anatoly's hand. (The public affairs team back home will just use this incident to turn Anatoly into a hero, and he'll have his own turn later.... though maybe he needs to reconsider if he really wants to participate in the Soviet chess machine.) In the end he's supposed to come out favorably of the comparison with Anatoly, because he accepted the responsibility that Anatoly wouldn't. I dunno, I have a lot of feels!

(I also have the headcanon that Anatoly was paralyzed by indecision and was deliberately drawing games; the Arbiter finally had enough and threatened to end the match and put the title into abeyance (as in Sydney), so both players would have to work their way up through the qualifying matches next year; the threat of losing his title is what snapped Anatoly into action and made him decide to win. Though, you know, Viigand's throwing that final match also helped.)

The "Viigand is a random KGB agent who knows how to play chess" argument works if you're only considering the show, but yeah when you start thinking about it logically, the Soviet challenger would have had to work his way up through a whole bunch of regional qualifier tournaments, and Viigand must have been at least decent if he could do that. Unless Molokov ran through everyone else and intimidated them into not playing well? haha.
primeideal.dreamwidth.org: ravenclaw eagleprimeideal.dreamwidth.org on November 15th, 2013 07:14 am (UTC)
Ooh, yeah, I definitely missed all those edits the first time around! (Edit: maybe I didn't? Anyway I'd forgotten that I'd read that when you posted it.) But I would love to dig into that ( <3 Arbiter, never mind this fic) here or back on Tumblr, certainly agreed it's not feasible to do the same championship every year. The timing of the RL championships gets very screwy: it was every three years from '63 through '84, including the '75 tournament that never actually happened, but after that it's inconsistent, split, reunified, is and was inconsistent. (There's a championship going on right now! I should write it up later; the defending champion is from India, the challenger is from Norway, all the games are being played in India and France is just like "we could totally have hosted and been neutral but, you know, whatever...")

My act I is in 1981, yep, as is my normal headcanon (I've gone off on tangents about this before as well). But now that the end of the Cold War is very much in retrospective, idk, I reserve the right to anachronistically drag in my hopeful tones, bleepit.

Why the kids: I dunno. To make Anatoly more flawed...? And the defection doesn't look as bad without them, so yeah, deliberate (does he usually lose these matches? so he's supposed to be comparatively sympathetic?)

Viigand: yeah, I'm getting that hero-worship vibe from my own attempts at act I. But for me, we already have Freddie to mirror Anatoly's arc, though this an actual mirroring rather than "parallel by a guy we can't be bothered to give any lines to"--concept album synopsis again, "Whereas the Russian for the first time has been able to put his career before everything else, the change has gone the other way for the American." I feel like we can't have him throw the match unless we know he's doing it on purpose, and in that case we still need to have a characterization (and, like, dialogue) for him all along so we care...

...although if Act II is in 1984, then yes, the Arbiter would be chronologically-accurate in threatening to end the match. (This, incidentally, is why I got curious about the timing of the games relative to the songs; we know Anatoly blows a 5-1 lead, but is this purposeful in response to "The Deal"? Just the result of him being distracted thinking about everything, but not actively trying to lose? I eventually moved my "Talking Chess" so that there was about as much before as after, corresponding to the length of the tournament.)

The Soviet challenger would indeed have had to play a bunch of qualifiers, which again is why they shouldn't all be one year apart. And I guess if Molokov was going around intimidating people, even someone as naive as Viigand would be like "wait a minute, this isn't right." Unless he was in on it all along, but that defeats the purpose of the narrative arc too.

Edited at 2013-11-15 07:18 am (UTC)
zédille: Pooh and pigletzedille on November 15th, 2013 07:44 am (UTC)
Mostly my Arbiter gets used as the butt monkey for all my Chess crack headcanons (who has to take care of Freddie after he gets ditched in Merano by the American delegation? who has to play nanny to both delegations? who has to put up with the Merano Office of Tourism? etc); I think that linked post is about as extensive as my legit Arbiter headcanons go (Swiss; a senior diplomat; very multilingual; overworked by the chess federation but willing to abuse make effective use of his authority as head of the Chess federation. Oh, and since he sympathizes with Svetlana's situation by Act II, his eventual "this has gone on for too long, six more matches and it's OVER" thing might have also happened with full awareness of how it would benefit Svetlana's situation, but anyhow. *coughs*) I wonder what the characters would be up to now? That Anatoly -> Deep Blue thing I reblogged the other day is about as extensive as those headcanons go, haha.

I peg the Act 1 match in 1979 partly b/c I want the earliest, most intense Cold War date, and also partly because it works better for my headcanon Svetlana timeline, since I've pegged her birth year at 1941, and if her children are 5 and 12 respectively at the time of Anatoly's defection (deliberate callout to Freddie and Florence there) then she's getting a bit old to be having children (plus if 1981 is "twenty-five years on" from Budapest 1956 for Florence, it's twenty-five years on from Svetlana's first meeting with Anatoly. I abuse a lot of parallels in my headcanoning, haha) I am firmly in the misanthropic grumpy part of fandom, I pay attention to the later productions only as far as they give Svetlana material (and ok, other minor character material) and less about their political overtones.

Re the children -- "does he usually lose these matches" -- which matches? London Anatoly is arguably the least sympathetic one (not just his children, but also his judgement re Florence); in Sydney he also wins but is portrayed much more sympathetically, and in most of the American plots he loses that final match, I think. In the American versions there's often a conversation with Florence where they discuss the state of his marriage and establish that it hadn't been going well even then, so. A lot less life-and-death.

Viigand... well, anyone and everyone in my headcanon [Freddie, notably, is not in it] has the "losing innocence" story arc. The Viigand thing is also supposed to represent a turning point for Svetlana; she manipulated Anatoly into marrying her back in the day (or I haven't figured out how much he knew about her reasons, and how much was him spontaneously doing it, etc.), and after the fact he's a bit bitter about that. When Svetlana talks to Viigand, she explicitly lets him know that she has some ulterior motives for why she's doing what she's doing. Look, character growth!

(... yes, Freddie is supposed to mirror Anatoly, I don't really care, tra la la)

I have never thought about if Anatoly's loss of his five-one up lead (as mentioned in Talking Chess) happened specifically after The Deal or not. I'm inclined to say no, that by the time The Deal kicks in they had already been tied at 5-5 for a while, and people were getting desperate and pulling out the big guns, but I have absolutely no proof for that statement and that's just my personal interpretation of The Deal. Apparently as of two games in Anatoly won one and Viigand won one (or they both drew, who knows) since that's what Freddie says on TV, but after that.... *shrugs*

(Besides my Svetlana timeline, I've given up trying to really peg the show to IRL events -- The Arbiter's Song and the Chorus of Champions are so hopelessly anachronistic that there's no way getting around it. I can allude to IRL, but beyond that.... nope, I can't hear you, tralala)
primeideal.dreamwidth.org: ravenclaw eagleprimeideal.dreamwidth.org on November 15th, 2013 08:11 am (UTC)
See, I like your take on how to handle the Arbiter being the president of the chess federation? Because that threw me when I came across it, however, "there was an incident and Freddie was involved, it's just easier to have one guy in charge" is an excellent crack headcanon. (Again, concept album completely drops the arbiter after act one, I sort of figured they got someone else to run things the second time around.)

Once I tried to start writing Arbiter fic, which I sort of did on and off in a couple stints...I don't know, he sort of punches at the fourth wall a couple times, but I think there's a naivety to him too. Like, on the one hand, "chess is bigger than politics, I don't really care about your love triangles, the vagaries of politics don't matter so much, so if some guy wants to change his citizenship that's not my business. On the other hand, Sergievsky what just happened, seriously."

Love the idea of future-fic, I've seen a couple good ones, though you sort of first have to establish which version of canon you're working with--we see enough of Freddie that it's plausible he can land on his feet with Global or somewhere else doing the capitalist thing. On the other hand, the roster of RL champions provides some increasingly bizarre parallels if you want to go that way. (Kasparov's political career! Fischer's ludicrous ravings! ...that's about it.)

Deliberate parallels and callouts=excellent. And impressive job researching all the RL Svetlanas! Some bleak narratives in there but very cool backstory-building. ;)

Hmm, concept album implies (vaguely) that Anatoly won the first two games and then The Deal happens? I sort of got the vibe that Molokov and company didn't really believe in Viigand (which, if he's rallied back already, they might...) but then it also implies that at the start of the act they have their hopes built up, essentially "Soviet Machine," so I'm not really sure. Although for this version having it be after 5-5 would work too? Though I'd probably move it chronologically so the general stress of the interview, Svetlana's arrival are eating at Anatoly while he starts losing.

And, of course, I'm in the idealistic corner that's here for the chess primarily so I might as well start with making sense of as many RL dates as I can, because I'm not actually concerned about misanthropic grumpy marriages. >.> Oh well!
zédille: Pooh and pigletzedille on November 15th, 2013 09:25 am (UTC)
The Arbiter as head of the chess federation is another one of those "could not possibly work in IRL if you think about it" things, and also a "why did they include that otherwise unnecessary detail?" Him taking advantage of his Head-Of-Chess-Federation powers is half-crack, half serious political detail.

And yeah, there's a dichotomy going on with the Arbiter, where he can be played as the over-the-top and oblivious to everything else, but if you think about it he ought to be the most sensitive to politics since he's so involved in setting everything up. Looking at IRL, when Korchnoi defected I think the head of the chess federation then was involved in trying to get his wife and son out of the USSR? (I really want to read the new edition of Korchnoi's autobiography where he apparently talks more about his personal life, but I can't find it...) I don't know, I think that given how much shit was happening at the match, the blind Arbiter was never going to happen -- even if he pretended to be oblivious to all that, he would have been very much aware. And if nothing else, there must have been some fuss over which chess federation Anatoly would be playing with after his defection, and he would have had to deal with that, probably. (Crack headcanon says he paid a whole bunch of "assistants" to lurk everywhere and report back. He's head of the chess federation, nobody's going to audit his spending...)

I think my favorite futurefic is the one on AO3 where Svetlana, of all people, ends up with a political career ;) I dunno, other than the "Freddie goes into chessboxing", "Molokov becomes a caterer/wedding planner", and "Florence goes into hiding on a Greek island and plays out the Mamma Mia story" crack headcanons, there's a slightly less cracky alternate headcanon where after the fall of the USSR, Svetlana and the children leave and she ends up with the Arbiter. I mean, he would be a lot more responsible than Anatoly was... and then their daughter ends up Anthea from BBC Sherlock, who is the focus of her own headcanon. That's where it starts going back into the crack headcanon, haha. Since the Arbiter would have mentored that Mycroft...

When I was drawing up the thematic outline of the story, I think I tried to reference bits of everyone else's songs. Some are more obvious than others (Pity the Child, Where I Want to Be) but it should all be in there! Nobody's Side, Heaven Help My Heart... I should write up that list, it would be a good way to work more without actually having to Write Fic. And in the end it's supposed to be a bit more optimistic and less depressing? :P They're all a bit wiser now; Anatoly and Svetlana eventually reconcile, he falls in love (or at least respect and understanding) with her again; the children enjoy successful private careers NOT in public life (either that or they end up leaving Russia after the Soviet Union falls), and they end up breaking out of the cycle that Svetlana was in. They could have done worse. (Or, I got tired of all the angst and had to end it more happily ;) "all the RL Svetlanas" -- the guy I pegged as Svetlana's father really did have a daughter named Svetlana! A happy accident

In "Soviet Machine" I thought Molokov & co were more excited about their plotting (Florence, Svetlana) rather than Viigand's ability as a player? I mean, that Viigand was dependable to not lose immediately, but I hardly think they were anticipating a dramatic victory from him. I dunno, I'm still really surprised that I hadn't thought about the relative timing of the Interview for the scores. I guess that they were pretty evenly matched before the Interview, but when Molokov & co started stepping up their game Viigand also got a bit more confident, which helped him; they weren't quite 5-5 when The Deal happened, and after that they settle into their holding pattern which the Arbiter has to break.

I hardly think that most people in fandom are concerned about misanthropic grumpy marriages, I think I have taken the Svetlana stanning further than it was ever meant to go ;) You keep on actually enjoying the proper point of the show!
primeideal.dreamwidth.org: ravenclaw eagleprimeideal.dreamwidth.org on November 15th, 2013 05:09 pm (UTC)
Hmm. Again, going from the concept album, I can imagine the arbiter handing off the direct control to someone else for the second match ("there's no Freddie Trumper how bad can it be") and concern himself with the political details during the intermission, making sure Anatoly has some sort of federation to play for, but then not having to look oblivious or do anything else on-stage in the second act.

That future Svetlana one is nice, yeah! But I can't imagine shipping the Arbiter with anyone, unfortunately. Chessboxing Freddie is awesome though I think once Anatoly comes back, he's definitely going to try to be more amicable with Svetlana and a more stable presence for the children, so, yeah, private careers is probably good.

Thinking about the whole actual-machines thing, I started brainstorming that maybe Viigand would enjoy getting into this scene a few years later? Like (especially if Anatoly beats him fairly), he's able to sit down and realize that chess isn't life without needing a personal crisis to rattle him. So he's like "yeah, you know what? Maybe if we showed people that chess is just a game that even actual machines handle, they'll stop panicking so much about it and can allow their personal/political/choices to matter more and do people-things." I'd need to tease that out.

But I like your idea of referencing different people's songs! :D Of course after the Soviet Union falls Walter and Molokov have this anticlimatic moment of "now what"?

Yeah, "Soviet Machine" itself seems to be more about the plotting, so the line from the concept album ("Molokov and his team are confident that this time around they have a player who is totally trustworthy and can be relied upon (a) to win and (b) to stay in Russia.") seems off. B, sure, but relying upon Viigand to win seems like they're missing the point.

Heh, no, I got the vibe of the show being "you thought there would be chess in this but instead there's just angst and doomed romance, that's what you get, you naive moron," so I make a point out of deliberately ignoring the vibe. And adopt the Arbiter as an audience surrogate. ;)
zédille: Pooh and pigletzedille on November 16th, 2013 12:31 am (UTC)
I tend to default to the staged London version (though I do like the concept version of Endgame better, actually, and I really ought to think more about the liner notes since the staged version is pretty vague abou what happens when) so the Arbiter is still there in Act II. I dunno, especially after the Act I drama, I don't think that there would have been any other people willing to take on the match, so it would have gone to the Arbiter by default again? Like, the Arbiter (who I fondly call David van Boren) was all "come on guys, Trumper isn't around any more!" and everyone else is HA HA NO so he has to go. I mean, he probably couldn't find anyone else before the Act I match, and things just get worse from there, so.

I'm still kind of conflicted about my post-Chess headcanons... on one hand Anatoly desperately needs to man up and be responsible towards his children, but on the other hand I want Svetlana to leave that situation asap. *sighs* And re Arbiter shipping, you might remember that story where the American delegation ditches Freddie during intermission -- if I had been reading that fic, I would have expected it to turn into Freddie/Arbiter slash, haha, but other than that I can't seriously ship the Arbiter with anyone, either (I guess he ends up thinking of Svetlana as a "princess in a tower" he has to help rescue with his diplomatic efforts, and that makes him the knight in that situation, but even that's more related to his responsibilities and less about him personally.)

Even dropping the whole "Viigand loses his innocence" character arc, he would have been in a difficult place in Act II, when Molokov and co desperately need him to win the match, but then they go to all these lengths to make sure Anatoly loses. He must have realized at some point that they didn't really trust him to win by himself (like the Russian and Molokov sequence from Act I, really). So anyway, I do quite like the idea of his getting involved with the artificial intelligence chess programs -- he's already characterized as playing like a robot, that's a nice extension of that. Plus he, unlike Freddie and Anatoly and everyone else, isn't that hung up over the game and is able to do something like that (I'm sure everyone else is horrified at how machines are ruining the ~purity~ of the game, etc.)

To be fair, there is chess in the show, it's just.... really not the main point at all.... ;D
primeideal.dreamwidth.org: ravenclaw eagleprimeideal.dreamwidth.org on November 16th, 2013 05:03 pm (UTC)
The first paragraph dialogue is very convincing. :D Personally, I don't have a headcanon name (or almost anything else) for the Arbiter, I feel like that's one of those characters who can be played by anyone, the more inconsistent the better in that case.

Hmm, is Svetlana's problem being stuck with Anatoly because he's a jerk, or because of the political pressures on her if she's still with him? Because in the latter case I can see them working together to separate amicably, in the first, yeah, we're kind of out of luck and it depends on how much Anatoly's matured, which probably depends on which plot it was anyway.

That's a good parallel! Hadn't considered that but it makes total sense, I tend to ignore the latter "go flirt with Trumper's second, that's your best strategy" dialogue because it just seems...weird. But yeah, good point. And yeah, I read a really fascinating book about artificial intelligence that, in part, quoted people reacting to the chess-playing computers by going "okay, chess isn't all that amazing if even a single-purpose computer can do it"--I feel like after the initial horror, Freddie, Anatoly and company would calm down and Viigand would just be like "I thought you guys took a bunch of songs and histrionics to realize that chess wasn't life, several years ago, but whatever, for once I'm ahead of the game."
zédille: Pooh and pigletzedille on November 16th, 2013 11:12 pm (UTC)
I came up with a name when I was trying to write fanfic, though I still haven't figured out how to refer to him in his own POV -- surely he wouldn't think of himself as "The Arbiter" but it's weird referring to him by anything other than that since all names for him are so arbitrary.

I object to Svetlana staying with Anatoly because of how much a jerk he is, yeah. I mean okay obviously the children are a legitimate concern, and I've set up my headcanon in such a way that she still loves him, but is it a healthy relationship? Would she be better off leaving? *shrugs*

The irony of Act I Molokov is that his plan worked, a little too well. Regardless of whether Anatoly was flirting with Florence because Molokov told him to, or because he thought it was a good idea, Molokov was right that it would destabilize Freddie. The only problem is that Walter reacted -- when Freddie started failing, he started backing Anatoly and got him to defect....

"a bunch of songs and histrionics" omg truth! In the end, chess isn't the ~thing~ they've built it up to be, it's just an intellectual construct....