[identity profile] inathunderstorm.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] ship_manifesto
Title: Inside the Labyrinth Walls
Author: [livejournal.com profile] sionnain
Fandom: X-Men Movieverse
Pairing: Magneto/Rogue
Spoilers: X1 and X2, speculations for X3 but no actual spoilers.
Email: Sionnainw at gmail dot com
Personal Website Sionnain's Fics.

AN: Thank you to [livejournal.com profile] kethlenda for the beta! The title of the manifesto and the quotes used within are from the Vienna Teng song My Medea.



Inside the Labyrinth Walls: A Magneto/Rogue Ship Manifesto

For it's my thoughts that bind me here; it's this love that I most fear.

Heaven Kept us Apart: Character Studies

Erik Lehnsherr, Magneto

Erik Magnus Lehnsherr survived an atrocious childhood as a prisoner in Auschwitz during World War II. His mutant powers manifested (according to movieverse) as he was being separated from his family as they were entering the camps. Magneto has the ability to control magnetism, though his comicverse powers extend to a more general control over all magnetic fields than is shown in movieverse. His traumatic childhood leads him to become a formidable force for mutant superiority, as he knows first-hand what happens to those who are born different and are feared by those in positions of power. Magneto is portrayed as a sympathetic villain in both the comics and movieverse; one cannot help but understand his wariness when it comes to the more pacifist idealism embraced by his former friend Charles Xavier. Magneto subscribes to a theory of Mutant supremacy. He believes his people will be in danger from humanity’s brutality until they take their rightful place on the top of the evolutionary ladder. In the comics, Magneto vacillates between wanting mutant superiority, wanting mutants to be the leaders of the world, and wanting a separate land where mutants can be free from human persecution.

In movieverse, Erik Lehnsherr’s goals tend towards more extremist ends, though not necessarily violent ones. In the first film, he attempts to mutate world leaders attending a summit in order to make them sympathetic—out of necessity—to the cause of mutants. To do this, he must use a machine that works with his particular mutant powers of magnetism, but the effort would kill him before it was successful in mutating such a large group of non-mutants. Therefore, he kidnaps a mutant named Rogue who, in addition to being a great deal younger than he is, has the ability to absorb a mutant’s power and life force for a short time. The machine is faulty, however, and end in the Rogue is saved by the X-Men before Magneto’s plan is successful. In the second movie, Magneto joins forces with his former enemies to save Charles Xavier—and all Mutant-kind—from an extremist named William Stryker who attempts to use the psychic Xavier’s powers to kill every mutant on the planet. Magneto is able to stop Charles before this happens, and then re-aligns Cerebro to target humans instead. The X-Men thwart his plans once more and Magneto’s attempted genocide is not successful.

In the upcoming X3 film, Magneto is leading his Brotherhood against the so-called mutant Cure, naturally seeing it as a threat to their survival.

Marie D’Ancanto, Rogue

Rogue’s real name remains a mystery in the Marvel-verse, though in the movie she is named “Marie” and is credited with having the last name “D’Ancanto.” She commonly appears as Anna-Marie in the comics, and as she is Irene Adler (Destiny) and Raven Darkholme (Mystique)’s foster daughter, one could suppose her last name was either Adler or Darkholme. Movieverse Rogue, however, does not share this connection with Mystique and the two are apparently unknown to each other. In Movieverse, Rogue is a seventeen year old suburbanite who resides in Meridian, Mississippi until the onset of her mutation, which causes her to put her boyfriend David into a coma when she kisses him. Rogue’s mutant power is one of the more restrictive—any skin-to-skin contact with another human being will cause her to draw out their “life force”—memories and thoughts included—and eventually kill them. If she touches a mutant, she is able to absorb their powers for a short while as well.

Rogue spends eight months on the run until she’s attacked by Sabretooth and Toad, Magneto’s henchman, intended as the vehicle by which Magneto will power his machine. She is saved from their kidnapping attempt by Wolverine and the X-Men, and comes to live in the mansion. She runs away again after draining Wolverine of his healing powers after he inadvertently stabs her after she wakes him from a nightmare. She’s captured by Magneto, who transfers his mutant powers—and his memories—to her when he straps her into the machine. Eventually rescued, she’s nearly dead but draws Wolverine’s healing powers once more and is eventually restored to full health. According to Jean Grey, she manifested several of Wolverine’s “more charming traits,” giving credence to the popular belief that Rogue absorbs not only memories, but also characteristics, when she uses her powers for an extended period of time.

In the second film, Rogue flees the mansion with Pyro and Bobby after it is attacked by Stryker’s agents, and ends up confronting Magneto on the X-Jet as they approach Alkali Lake. She goes to remove her glove after Magneto makes a rather cruel remark about the white streak in her hair (comicverse implies this is a genetic trait; movieverse gives her the traditional white streak in her hair as a result of Magneto’s machine in X1), but is stopped from harming him by Bobby Drake. Rogue is dating Bobby in X2, though they are unable to physically touch each other, which apparently puts a strain on their relationship—in X3, it is insinuated that Bobby is romantically interested in Kitty Pryde. In X3, Rogue is one of the mutants who considers taking the Cure because of her limiting powers.

In comicverse, Rogue is very different than her movie counterpart; she’s older, feistier, and romantically linked to Gambit in the comics, who also cannot touch her. She remains a survivor, however, throughout all of her various incarnations.


As the Daylight Falls: Canon/Subtext Evidence

At first glance, the pairing of Magneto/Rogue is a strange one, especially in movieverse where they have such a violent history between them. It is not an unheard-of pairing in comicverse, however; in the Age of Apocalypse timeline (an alternate universe where, following Charles Xavier’s death saving Magneto from an assassin, Magneto becomes the leader of the X-Men) they are married and have a small son, Charles. Magneto is able to touch Rogue by manipulating the “magnetic field” surrounding her body. Also in the Uncanny universe, Magneto and Rogue have both been attracted to each other in various plotlines, including a brief stint together in the Savage Lands.

In movieverse, Magneto and Rogue’s interactions seem to be violent and counter-productive to any sort of romance. Rogue, however, has good reason to be wary of Xavier and his ideals of peaceful co-existence; her mutation makes it difficult for her to survive in a world that hates and fears mutants. Not to mention, Rogue has absorbed Magneto’s memories and would have had a sense that he wasn’t trying to kill her out of any reason other than what he said; to make the world safe for mutants. Having his mind in hers would certainly undermine her ability to have, say, Cyclops’ total and unfailing belief in Xavier’s methods. Rogue, who has shown herself to be determined, self-sufficient and willing to do what it takes to survive, has more in common with Magneto than one might think. Magneto, for his part, has what one might call an attraction to dangerous women—for example, Mystique—and is arrogant enough to find Rogue’s physical limitations as a challenge rather than a deterrent. While the X-Men would want to keep Rogue’s powers contained or teach her “control”, Magneto would rather encourage her to use them, praising her gifts as an asset. To someone who has long struggled with a sense of “other”, this inclusion would no doubt make Magneto’s Brotherhood attractive to Rogue. Indeed, it has in comicverse—Rogue was first a member of the Brotherhood (albeit Mystique’s incarnation) in both 616 and Ultimate ‘verses, although she eventually joins the X-Men.

Rogue’s unique ability to understand why Magneto had tried to kill her—because of her glimpse into his mind on Liberty Island—and Magneto’s disdain for treating mutation as a “curse” makes for interesting interaction between them, and forms a common bond that could easily become romantic by nature. Magneto would enjoy overcoming her physical limitations for intimacy, even if motivated by the purely arrogant desire to “triumph” over nature and subdue that which could kill him. (Hey, I never said the pairing wasn’t without its baggage!) As to their rather large age difference, Magneto isn’t the sort who would care about human law that would label his relationship with Rogue “wrong”, and would likely enjoy flaunting the rules of a society to which he thinks mutants no longer belong.

Finally, if one wants a more darker perspective (which is, admittedly, a must if you want to fully enjoy the pairing), if Magneto could offer Rogue the one thing she obviously wants—physical intimacy, if her desire to possibly take the cure in X3 is any indication—it would likely be a sufficient draw to ally her to his cause. It’s all very twisted, which is what makes it so delicious.

I’ll Tap into Your Strength, and Drain it Dry: Pairing Interpretation

My interpretation of the pairing is that they would make a good team together if Rogue were able to leave the X-Men and embrace Magneto’s ideology. I think that she would be able to do this, if she were faced with circumstances that proved to her that being a mutant with such a devastating ability would make it difficult for her to ‘fit in’ with ‘normal’ people. While Iceman, Kitty, Storm, and Logan could easily pass for human and live among them with no real trouble, Rogue would constantly be on guard so as not to hurt anyone with her powers. I imagine this is an exhausting worry for someone so young, and if X3 is any indication, will entice her to cure her mutation entirely. Alienated from her family and friends, and held back from participating in any sort of physical intimacy, her mutation likely causes a great deal of resentment on her part. In addition, while her teammates get to train with their powers, Rogue’s must be constantly kept under wraps so as not to harm anyone, though she really does have a vicious ability to be useful in a battle.

Young, untouchable, and alienated, Rogue would find solace in Magneto’s Brotherhood, where for once her powers would be an asset instead of a disability to be protected against. Magneto is charismatic and offers Rogue a world where she no longer has to hide her powers for fear of retaliation—where instead of her having to be on guard from everyone, others would have to learn to be on guard from her. While I think this is a subtle difference, it is still important. In my multi-chaptered fic where Rogue ends up in the Brotherhood, she tells Magneto that his methods are wrong because it teaches humans to fear them. Magneto responds with, “Shouldn’t they?”

There are darker elements to the pairing that I just love; their former interaction where he tried to kill her, for example, adds a delicious touch of angst when one considers how, with his memories, Rogue must have at least understood his plan and even, with his mind in hers, agreed with it in a sense. She’s also attracted to older men (if her crush on Wolverine is any indication) and I think any man who would be willing to blatantly disregard how dangerous she is to touch her would prove to be alluring. Magneto’s arrogant enough to do it, and together, they would make a dangerous team in support of mutant supremacy—a world where Rogue could finally see her powers as an asset rather than a curse.

Magneto, in my chosen shipping scenario, is attracted to Rogue for that very thing which makes her so dangerous, for her survival instinct, and for that unique perspective into his psyche that she gained in Liberty Island. Rogue, if she is able to overcome her initial dislike of the man who once tried to kill her, would be a loyal soldier of the Cause, which is also an asset to Magneto.

Come to me, My Love: Background/Why ship Magneto/Rogue?

I ship Magneto/Rogue for many reasons—I have an inherent love of the older male villain/younger woman relationship, for one—because I sense so much potential in the ship. There’s the undeniable darkness in a relationship fraught with mental and physical tension (I tend to keep Rogue poisonous in my fics, not allowing Magneto any sort of immunity to her powers). I think on some instinctive level they understand each other; Magneto understands why it is hard for anyone to get close to Rogue, and Rogue understands the same about Magneto. It’s a pairing that many find uncomfortable because of the age difference, but I find that irrelevant.

There is also a beautiful power exchange dynamic between them, which I love to play with, as this pairing is absolutely perfect for it. While I say that, I also maintain that they are able to have a fulfilling relationship despite all the reasons why it would seem, at first glance, to be impossible.

My first introduction to the pairing came through co-writing a fic with a friend of mine, where Rogue is kidnapped by Magneto and is slowly converted to his way of thinking. He’s able to touch her in the fic by subtly changing the magnetic pulses around his body (similar to Age of Apocalypse) and uses touch to convince her to join him. While my take on the characters are now slightly different—Magneto is not immune to Rogue’s powers, for instance, and in my particular universe he does not touch her intimately until she joins the Brotherhood—this is how I first became interested in the pairing. I began searching for fics on the XMMF archive, but could find nothing for Magneto/Rogue, so I began to write. My attraction, as I’ve said, was to both the power-play angle as well as the darker, more compelling relationship that the two inevitably end up in. It’s not easy, it’s not pretty, and it’s stark and often frightening, but that’s why I love it so much!

For You I’d Burn the Length and Breadth of Sky: Meta/Insight

Why should you, dear reader, be reading Magneto/Rogue? Because I promise it isn’t as inherently impossible, even in movieverse, as you may think. It isn’t for everyone—those who don’t like a little bit of angst and a darker tone to their ‘ships might not care for it at all, but those who like reading/writing about couples with a layered relationship might very much enjoy reading stories featuring the pairing. Magneto is without a doubt the most complex villain I’ve ever come across, and his philosophy and ideology is not inherently flawed, though his methods are of course quite questionable. Add to this a young girl, estranged from her family and wanting to belong, and you have all the makings of an intriguing, passionate, dark, problematic and haunted relationship. If you like this kind of thing, especially if you enjoy a bit of mindfuckery and d/s in your fics, give M/R a chance!

Stories where the “heroine” goes dark are a popular theme that many enjoy reading. I believe it is very possible to convincingly turn Rogue into a member of the Brotherhood; like Pyro, she’s estranged from family and friends and possessing a deadly gift that makes her an asset to a man who espouses mutant superiority above all else. I’ve often wondered what would have happened had Rogue left the helicopter instead of Pyro—I think with her deeply-ingrained survival instinct, she might have gone with him. Men like Magneto amass followers from the disaffected and the dis-empowered, and I see Rogue as both of those things in movieverse; living in a house with a group of young people to which she cannot fully belong thanks to her physical mutation, and unable to train with her powers as are the rest of her teammates. This sort of disenchantment and dissatisfaction may be an impetus to cause Rogue to leave and embrace a more extremist point of view, similar to Pyro’s choices at the end of X2.

Magneto is a powerful, charismatic, and intense man with a passionate devotion to his cause.
Rogue is fierce, proud, dangerous, and searching for a place to belong. If she could overcome enough of her fear of him (though, admittedly, the relationship is more interesting if she still has some of it), it is easy to see her attracted to a man who tells her she does not have to live in harmony with humans (which will be very difficult for her with her powers), but rather, she is above them and they should have to find a way to live in harmony with her.

If you enjoy stories of heroines-going-dark, or pairings which include darker elements, I highly recommend the Magneto/Rogue pairing. There is enough mental and physical anguish to appease any angst lover, and I also strongly believe that there is enough of a common bond between them to create a reasonably healthy relationship. Always tainted by a delicious touch of darkness, the M/R ‘ship is one that would appeal to anyone who thought Christine should have stayed with the Phantom, or that maybe Hermione would be better off with Voldemort than Ron. If you like villains-as-lovers, it’s a great pairing, and anyone who likes the older man/younger woman scenario will also be happy.

There’s love, there’s darkness, there’s angst, and there’s explosions and super-powers. What more could you want?

I Can See What I’ve Begun: Short Fandom Guide

Interested? Here’s some links! While I’m a devoted M/R shipper that will pair them up in any ‘verse, the below are primarily movieverse recs.

The Magneto/Rogue fan community at: [livejournal.com profile] demented_allure Includes weekly challenges, icon contests, and a great group of M/R fans who are welcoming and always happy to read about our favorite pairing. All ‘verses are welcome; comic, movieverse, and X-Men Evolution.

Fic Recs: Sionnain

I hope it isn’t horrid to rec one’s own fics, but I’ve written a multi-chaptered novella which deals with Rogue’s disillusionment with the X-Men, her leaving and eventual joining of the Brotherhood, and subsequent relationship with Magneto. The novella is called Ideology.

In addition, I’ve written quite a few M/R fics in that universe, found Here.

I am particularly proud of Disassociation, which showcases Rogue’s growing dissociation towards humanity as she begins to completely embrace Magneto’s particular ideology.

I am also working on a sequel to Ideology called “Eschatology,” which will be up on my fic community this summer. It will be AU after X3 is released, though set within the Ideology universe as well as incorporating some comicverse characters and universes, including the Age of Apocalypse timeline.

Fic Recs:

[livejournal.com profile] penknife, Phantom

[livejournal.com profile] ion_bond, Dowsers and Grey Area

[livejournal.com profile] willowaus: Everything she writes is M/R! Her fic archive (including great Age of Apocalypse fics) is found: Here. I particuarly enjoy her Adaptation series.

[livejournal.com profile] lady_draherm, Blue Sky Fallen Black

[livejournal.com profile] worblehat, Seriously Disturbed, Just Say No, and A Whole Bunch of Drabbles.

[livejournal.com profile] lunalelle, Memories, Untitled, and a great HP/X-Men crossover, Dangerous.

If you're interested in X-Men Evolution M/R:

Inappropriate Conduct by Miss Information

Progression by Sionnain

Please come visit us at [livejournal.com profile] demented_allure! We'd love to see you there!
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