You know when you’re sick, and your dreams are that weird combination of vivid and senseless? Your sleep isn’t restful, and the dreams feel real and then you wake up and you can’t even begin to explain them to anyone? This happens to me just about every time I’m sick. Once I had a stomachbug and all I can tell you now about my dreams from that night is that it was like being stuck in circuitry, the way it appears in movies when you follow the electrons down the wire. This is, I imagine, where the term “fever dreams” comes from.
Of course, being the giant weirdo that I am, this happens to me when I’m not sick too.
In this particular case, my fever dreams came from watching the first five episodes of The 100, a CW show based on a YA novel by Kass Morgan about a group of teenagers sent back to Earth after a nuclear apocalypse. I’d originally come to this show in part because Kelly watches it, and in part because Bitch Media wrote a really positive review of the show’s treatment of the post-apocalyptic narrative. I was attracted to their discussion of the way the show “takes problems as complex and consequential as anything on Game of Thrones or Battlestar Gallactica and puts them in the hands of a believable teenage girl.”
It also helped that most of my Tumblr dashboard was also watching The 100, so I was familiar with the main ship. It’s a strange tension, to come to a show both because of its powerful feminist slant and because you already know who you want the main girl to end up with.
Luckily, I’m a complex individual.
I don’t know what it is about The 100 that kept me tossing and turning all night, consumed by a post-apocalyptic landscape and the teenagers running around trying to navigate it. Clarke is a phenomenal main character – fragile in some ways, all steel determination in others. She knows when to put up a fight, and when to roll her eyes and do whatever she was going to do anyway. She’s dismissive and righteous and brilliant and a precious baby angel who needs to be protected at all costs. Bellamy Blake, the dark hero to Clarke’s avenging angel style of heroism, starts out the series as a rebel with a really, really dumb cause. But his stupid voice, and his stupid hair, and the stupid way he falls in love with Clarke while she’s performing a mercy killing is just downright unbearable.
I know, I know. Mercy killings are not appropriate places to fall in love. Bellamy and I have that in common though. I fall in love in all kinds of inappropriate places.
I’m not sure what it is that keeps me awake with stories like this. I like circumstances that challenge. I like to watch people win even when they are backed into a corner. And I like to find optimism in the strangest of places. I also like couples that start out hating each other – probably because I read Pride and Prejudice much too young. In this particular case I think the world building really helped. The stories that I become obsessed with are the ones with worlds I want to stay in.
In all likelihood The 100 flooded my fever dreams because of some combination of my love for the show and other unnamable anxieties. But I ignore those other things. Instead, I listen to Imagine Dragons and their anthem for our post-apocalyptic generation. I try to fall asleep by imagining charged moments between Clarke and Bellamy, moments in which Clarke saves the world and also gets the boy. As is her due. Writing fanfiction used to help me sleep. I wrote this like that. And this. But that doesn’t work much anymore. I might be too afraid to lose the story, or I might be less sure of what I’m writing in my head.
Or, it might be that James and Lily definitely got together and had a son who saved the world and I’m not even entirely sure that Clarke (or Raven or Octavia or Bellamy) is going to live.
Right now, however, you’re probably thinking more about why I get so emotionally invested in fictional stories than you are about The 100
But that, my friends, is another blog post entirely.
**A note on the images: If you haven’t gotten texts like these from me while I’m watching television, you’re missing out.