Blake/Jenna

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Pairing
Pairing: Roj Blake/Jenna Stannis
Alternative name(s): Jenna/Blake, B/J, J/B
Gender category: het, m/f
Fandom: Blake's 7
Canonical?: unclear; Jenna is strongly implied to be attracted to Blake
Prevalence: not very common, often used as a background ship
Archives: Blake/Jenna on AO3
Other:
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Blake/Jenna is a pairing in Blake's 7 fandom involving Roj Blake and Jenna Stannis.

One Blake/Jenna shipper described their relationship in the following way:

They are probably the closest thing to canon that the show has in relationships. In the first couple of episodes I was half convinced that they were going to get together. But they stay blessedly in subtext, and could easily be together through most of the series. Jenna is one of Blake's full on supporters, but she is not a blind follower to the point that Gan is, or confrontational 100% of the time like Avon. Jenna is experienced and smart, and while her affection for Blake may tint her view somewhat, she will give an honest warning and limit him when he's getting very extreme. It is not all onesided either, Blake shows more personal concern for Jenna than... virtually anyone else in his crew, which is saying a lot, since he treats them pretty impersonally a lot of the time; all instruments to The Cause.[1]

Another shipper, Sue Clerc, was more critical of how the series portrayed the relationship:

It could've been so good if they'd had any idea of how to incorporate sex without weakening the female character. The sad thing is they still don't--I dread to think what would happen on The X Files. As it was, we didn't get either a strong woman after the first few episodes (except for occasional flashes) or a decent ongoing romance.[2] <...> If only they'd let her develop as she began, she and Blake could've been the best thing between Mrs. Peel and Steed in the 60s and Scully and Mulder in the 90s. The scenes in the first season where the two of them are alone on the flight deck discussing what to do are among my favorites.[3]

Some Big Finish Blake's 7 audios (Fractures, The Spoils of War) feature the pairing in a more pronounced way than the series.

Fan Reactions

The relationship between Jenna and Blake lacks this fundamental equality and Jenna's clear affection for Blake may be interpreted as incorporating a kind of hero worship. Blake himself never seems to be aware of what we all take to be Jenna's obvious feelings for him, to the point that he appears not to notice her pique at his kissing of his cousin in Hostage. The character of Blake undoubtedly suffers from the 'man in the white hat' syndrome which in his case is more sharply characterised as a 'hero of the revolution' syndrome... such men being rarely noted as great lovers, being generally pursued more than they pursue. Alternatively in such cases, a consort materialises who satisfies an important part of the revolutionary myth and thereby couples such as the odious Nicolai and Elena Ceaucescu or Mao Zedong and Jian Qin are created. Jenna could never have been this, because her revolutionary credentials would have been too tainted by her greedy criminal past. If Blake had been a more ruthless seeker of power, he could have found a way to fabricate a more politically correct past for Jenna, but in fact he probably couldn't have cared less since there is hardly even a hint that he is interested in her or any other woman. [4]
I've really only seen one Blake/Jenna, which seems odd. Maybe it's too easy? (Maybe I've got a non-representative set of tapes???) [5]

Popularity

Despite being the second most popular pairing involving Blake and the most popular one involving Jenna, Blake/Jenna is relatively uncommon, and so are the fics that focus primarily and exclusively on it. However, it is often featured as a background or minor (sometimes extremely so) pairing in gen stories and in stories that focus on other pairings, and the line between gen and het is sometimes blurred in fics that center more on Blake and Jenna.

Fanfiction and Tropes

The romantic relationship between Blake and Jenna is generally shown in fanfiction as friendly and respectful, but more fraught with tension than in canon. Jenna is often portrayed in fanfiction (both Blake/Jenna and non-Blake/Jenna stories) as less subtle about her attraction to Blake and more forward in showing her interest in him.

Jenna and the Cause

Some fics explore how Jenna's love for Blake inluences her worldview and her feelings towards the rebellion against the Federation. A popular interpretation shows Jenna being uncertain, attracted to Blake's idealism but not always wholeheartedly believing in it, though wanting to. Some fans see Jenna as an unquestioning, uncritically loyal follower of Blake and believe that she became more idealistic and supported the rebellion only out of love for him; however, other fans disagree with such interpretations, citing the examples that may point to her having some strong moral principles and being interested in the rebellion even before meeting Blake (refusing to smuggle the dangerous drug in Shadow, smuggling the guns for the rebel leader Avalon in Project Avalon), as well as to the scenes where she is critical of Blake's plans. Sally Knyvette, the actress who played Jenna, also shares this view:

Jenna was attracted to Blake's integrity, his desire to help the dispossessed and to do good by fighting the Federation. But Jenna was a freedom fighter in her own right, fighting against the Federation in the best way that she knew how. The other characters all had a tendency to be 'slippery', but Blake was honest. <...> I disagree with 'everything being for Blake'. Jenna does what she does for her own sake, she's off having her own adventures. She kept Blake in mind, because she had been utterly loyal to him, but she also has her own integrity and her own strength.[6]

Fics that explore Jenna's feelings towards the cause, idealism and Blake include:

  • True Believer by babel and other fics by this author
  • Starburst by Serenade
  • Torn by still_lycoris

Unrequited Love

Unrequited love is a relatively popular trope in Blake/Jenna fanfiction. In some fics Blake is shown to be oblivious to Jenna's feelings towards him, in others he deliberately avoids returning them even when he is attracted to Jenna, often because he is too focused on the rebellion and has no time or energy for romantic relationships. Sometimes Jenna gets too exasperated by this apparent lack of response and either calls Blake out on it or gives up altogether.

Post-Star One

Stories dealing with Jenna and Blake's relationship are often set in the period between the Andromedian War and the end of the series. Because the characters leave Liberator together and Blake in the final episode knows about the circumstances of Jenna's death, some fans speculate that they were together during that period. Generally in post-Star One stories they find each other after the war and become companions, sometimes also lovers, participating in the rebellion together and eventually ending up on Gauda Prime. The common theme in such stories is Jenna getting disappointed in Blake, who becomes more cynical or depressed in comparison with his previous self.

Deathfic

Deathfic is also quite a popular genre of Blake/Jenna stories. Usually those stories are about Blake reaction to Jenna's death or Jenna thinking about her feelings towards Blake in her final moments.

In some fanfics it's Jenna who outlives Blake (they generally present his story of her death as a lie). In those stories she often confronts Avon about his murder of Blake.

There is a particular subtype of Jenna deathfics that have her die in a different (and usually more horrible) manner than in the canon, usually to give Blake more angst. They usually focus on different pairings, but feature or imply strong relationship between Blake and Jenna.

Kidfic

Kidfics for this couple are not very common. They generally address the difficulties of bringing up a child while fighting the Federation, or are Post-Gauda Prime fics that feature Blake's and Jenna's child as a character.

As a Background Pairing

Gen fics and fics focused on other pairings with Blake/Jenna as a background pairing, as well as fics featuring other pairings besides Blake/Jenna, pretty much outnumber those that feature only Blake/Jenna or focus primarily on it.

Their relationship is also often addressed in fics that pair one or both of them with other characters. Many Blake/Avon fics mention Jenna's interest in Blake; surprisingly many of them portray Blake and Jenna as lovers:

Often Blake/Jenna relationship in such stories are shown in darker light in comparison with both canon and primarily Blake/Jenna fics. Some Blake/other or Jenna/other fics that don't make them lovers nevertheless also explore in depth their relationship (portrayed as romantic love or friendship).

In other fics that pair Blake with Avon or other characters Jenna is shown to be jealous of Blake's relationship with his partner, sometimes acting in exaggerated, posessive manner or trying to destroy the relationship in question.

Such portrayals are more typical for the older fandom and are regarded by many fans as character bashing (see also the discussion on Checkers). Interestingly, jealousy features less often in the fics that are primarily Blake/Jenna, and is at least as likely to be displayed by Blake as by Jenna (Not to Know by Harriet Bazley, Jenna by Vanessa Mullen). More modern Blake/Avon fics that deal with Blake/Jenna tend to treat Jenna in less negative manner and usually show her getting over Blake quite easily and sometimes getting together with other canonical or original characters.

Threesome and poly fics featuring Blake and Jenna with other characters, almost exclusively Avon, are rare and tend to be either smut or humor, but more serious examples also exist.

Examples of Blake/Avon/Jenna fics:

Jenna is often one of the people paired with Blake in (usually but not always humorous) Blake/everyone fics.

Authors

Authors who shipped Blake/Jenna or wrote several Blake/Jenna fics:

Other authors who explored both romantic and platonic relationship between Blake and Jenna:

Fanart Gallery

Fanvids

Other Resources

References

  1. popcorn-oracle lifejournal
  2. Review of The Way Back on the Adrenaline and Soma Powered Blake's 7 Pages
  3. Review of Time Squad on the Adrenaline and Soma Powered Blake's 7 Pages
  4. From Relationships in Blake's 7 by M.G. Harris, an article on Horizon website
  5. From the essay Pairings in B7 songvids
  6. Interview with Sally Knyvette by Jackie Emery and Jude Constable
  7. from a multishipping Valentine's Day post in Drawing Blog of Fun by i-fought-space, February 14, 2016