Tarrant/Vila

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Pairing
Pairing: Del Tarrant/Vila Restal
Alternative name(s): Vila/Tarrant, V/T
Gender category: slash, m/m
Fandom: Blake's 7
Canonical?: no
Prevalence: rare
Archives: T/V fics on Tarrant Nostra, on AO3
Other:
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Tarrant/Vila is a rare[1] slash pairing in Blake's 7. In the third series of the show, Tarrant and Vila had an often antagonistic relationship, with Tarrant (the self-appointed 'leader' of the Liberator crew) ordering Vila (whom he sees as his social inferior) into dangerous situations, or ignoring him completely. The former scenario is epitomised in the episode 'City at the Edge of the World'.

TARRANT I can't make you go, of course.

VILA That's right, you can't.

TARRANT But I can toss you off this ship.

VILA What?

TARRANT You're no use to me.

VILA I don't have to be any use to you. I was here first. I was with Blake. I've more right on this ship than you have.

TARRANT "Right"? No one survives as long as you have, Vila, without learning the facts of life.

VILA The facts of life are that I --

TARRANT [interrupting] -- are that I can dump you any time. The others wouldn't stop me. And you couldn't, could you? Now I suggest you reconsider your decision. But don't take too long. I'm not a patient man.

VILA All my life, for as long as I can remember, there's been people like you.

TARRANT And I thought I was unique.[2]

Notably Tarrant does apologise for his behaviour at the end of the episode. Notably Vila says he doesn't care.

By series 4, Avon has assumed complete command of the crew, meaning that Tarrant and Vila are more equal than they were previously. The relationship becomes less antagonistic at this point.

Fandom and Popular-ish Tropes

In Manna's meta-y fic 'The Beginner's Guide to Blake's 7 Slash', Tarrant himself describes the pairing as follows:

Tarrant turned to the Summary. "We're listed under 'less popular pairings'. But on the plus side we get a very low angst rating. One hankie."[3]

This description does seem to be borne out by the fic, possibly because the pairing is often featured as the secondary pairing in a fic that is primarily about mega-angsty pairing Blake/Avon, so a) in comparison they look less angsty and b) they have usually got over their angst to be an established couple in the background.

Other reoccurring tropes, include:

  • Avon/Vila, often as the ultimate destiny (with Vila realising he belongs with Avon) or more rarely as a past relationship that Vila is now over. Often, even when Vila is not sleeping with Avon, Tarrant or other characters will assume that he is.
    • Tarrant is often very jealous of Vila's (supposed or otherwise) relationship Avon.
  • In opposition to the relationship depicted on the show, Vila often takes the initiative with Tarrant being the more reluctant partner. This is not always appreciated by readers:
I generally quite like Tarrant/Vila stories, but this one troubled me because Vila was the dominant one, and I find that hard to gel with the characters on screen. Well written, but I couldn't get into it because of that problem.[4]

Interestingly, the pairing seems to have been more popular in the zine age of fandom (before around 2000), with relatively few fics being available only on the internet.

Fan Reaction

Most of the fan reaction preserved on the internet is that of fans of other ships who have been brought into contact with Tarrant/Vila as part of a multi-ship zine. For example:

"Bulkheads" by Oliver Klosov, is a Vila/Tarrant, which means the greatest writer in the world couldn't actually make me believe in it, but the well-caught voices and plausible scenario meant I could accept it without worrying too much about that. (And the last sentence is very thought-provoking.) It's an odd thing that a story can have characters interacting in a way you doubt, and yet still be intrinsically true to them, so that you feel "I'm not sure they'd do that, but it's still them".[5]

Example Fanfiction

  • 'All Work and No Play' by Mireille in Liberator Fantasies: a sweet, straightforward PWP that presents Tarrant and Vila as established lovers enjoying a little interlude while they are alone together on Scorpio. Both of them are charmingly in character.[6]
  • 'Path of Thorns' by Mitzi Tick and Felicia Adams: is the centerpiece of the zine-- which is saying a great deal, given the quality of the other stories. It has lots of adventure and SF neepery, but the heart of it is the thorny relationship between Tarrant and Vila. (There's also a brief A/Ta encounter, for you Avon fans.) PGP, Servalan turns Tarrant into a brainwashed sex slave by means of a new, special form of limiter. His friends rescue him, but that's only the beginning, as they then have to turn him back into himself. Highly recommended![7]
  • 'Nothing I'd Rather Do' by Willa Shakespeare in Fire and Ice (Blake's 7 zine). Blake/Avon is (arguably) the main pairing of the fic to the extent that it was originally published in a B/A-only zine.
  • Two fics by Nova, which are primarily Blake/Avon (and other pairings, including Dayna/Soolin with T/V in the background): 'Songs of Innocence and Experience' and 'Unfinished Business'

Archives

References

  1. List of Tarrant/Vila fics in zines on Hermit.org (updated 2003)
  2. Script of 3x6 'City at the Edge of the World' on Hermit.org
  3. The Beginner's Guide to Blake's 7 Slash] by manna on AO3
  4. Steve Rogerson reviewing Tales from Space City #8 on Hermit.org
  5. Hafren reviewing 'No Holds Barred' #26 on Hermit.org
  6. Sarah Thompson reviewing 'Liberator Fantasies' on Hermit.org
  7. Sarah Thompson reviewing 'Liberator Fantasies' on Hermit.org