To make up for the wall of text I wrote up in the last post, I decided I’d make amends by doing a bullet-pointed list.
I did a post some time ago about fictional love interests who have all the charm of a sluggish rattlesnake. And I have to admit that most of the time in fiction I’m not terribly susceptible to the designated love interests, since my contrariness is such that I tend to find fault with such guys on principle.
That said, there are many characters I’ve fallen for like a ton of bricks. And the interesting thing about these guys is that many of them were written to be flawed characters in need of several lessons and/or a good smack in the jaw.
So in order of most flawed to least, here are seven messed-up fictional guys I’d run off into the sunset with:
7) Loki from Thor.
I’d like to clarify that I’m not a crazy Loki fangirl of the variety that nearly lost their senses over the possibility of behind-the-scenes photos of him. And as far as I’m concerned, in The Avengers, Loki has gone off the slippery slope on an antlered toboggan (I still find him fascinating- but want to smack him upside the head for a century or so).
But in Thor, Loki is the kind of character I just can’t help but fall for. He’s quiet, very smart with both his power and his position- and as the movie develops, it becomes obvious he has a fairly legitimate reason to be mad at his circumstances. His brother, Thor, is arrogant and clearly unready for power, yet all he can do is sit by and watch. Or not, as he orchestrates the debacle of Thor’s escapade at Jotunheim. I know this is something meant to show Loki as a bad guy, and while it shows his moral code is warped, I can get where he’s coming from- that is assuming he’s telling the truth about his intentions.
Throughout the movie there’s doubt about Loki’s intentions and whether he’s truly a calculating mastermind or a wildly desperate individual trying to prove himself. I find this aspect of him intriguing because it seems that Loki himself is vacillating on what he intends to do in the aftermath of Thor’s banishment. When he discovers that he’s Jotun progeny, he seems genuinely upset, in circumstances where he would have very little to gain by acting. Yet he’s desperate for power and to prove that he can wield authority. What I find so interesting about this downward spiral of his is that it’s very unclear how much of his plan was a desire for power and how much was a genuine desire to prove that he was no monster. He’s got many different aspects to his personality, is struggling to find the right one, and is ultimately seduced by bitterness and ambition, and that makes for a character that I can’t help but love.
The villainous aspect: “Father is dead, and Mother has forbidden your return.”
The heartbreaking aspect: “So I am the monster that parents tell their children about at night…”
6) The Marquis de Carabas from Neverwhere.
This is sort of cheating because I haven’t actually finished Neverwhere yet, and that’s partly because the two central characters, Richard and Door, don’t stand out as characters. I don’t hate them, but I have really hard time becoming invested in them. I feel like Richard is supposed to be the audience’s eye into the madcap world of London Below, but that doesn’t change the fact that he has less personality of three-week-old oatmeal. Door has an interesting history, but only a handful of interesting characteristics. For whatever reason they really don’t do anything for me, and the world in which the story takes place, while interesting, doesn’t really hold my attention.
The Marquis de Carabas, on the other hand, did.
This character is AWESOME. He’s snarky, tough, planning six steps ahead of everyone else, has all the sensitivity of a sarcastic wolverine (him trying to comfort Door is a moment of high comedy in a very bleak scene), and is generally an awful person. And I absolutely love it.
For starters, this character has a great establishing entrance that solidifies both that he is extremely competent and highly untrustworthy. And it takes a really long time for him to show anything other than those sides. But he does have more depth of character than that, in that he does have traces of a heart and starts to show them very late in the story. This combined with his sarcastic remarks kept me going through the book- and made me into a die-hard fan.
Notably quotable: (this is said to Richard): “You are in over your head, in deep s**t, and a few hours away from a very unpleasant and untimely end. We, on the other hand, are auditioning bodyguards.”
5) Henry V from, well, Henry V.
I feel weird placing Henry V here because I feel like Shakespeare intended him to be written as a Batman-type anti-hero. He does reprehensible things, but is so marvelous doing them and has talent and justification enough that he can be forgiven.
At least, this is what I think Shakespeare intended. But the truth is that Henry marches into another country and launches a pretty bloody war all for a crown and country that he really doesn’t have a claim to. He doesn’t particularly care that no just cause has been offered; he’ll just march into that country and take it over regardless of all standard ethics or reasoning for such an invasion.
And damn, if he isn’t magnificent about it.
I’ve seen two film versions of the play, and though I greatly enjoyed both (why hello again, Tom Hiddleston- it’s most surely a coincidence you’ve shown up twice now in this post), Kenneth Branagh’s version is by far superior. And that’s not a knock on the version produced for The Hollow Crown– both had their strengths- but Kenneth Branagh’s version is so sweeping and epic, and his Henry has both incredible strength and amazing vulnerability; I fall for him every single time I watch the movie.
Highlights from each version:
The Hollow Crown: “Once more into the breach” (Tom Hiddleston)
Henry V: “St. Crispin’s Day” (Kenneth Branagh)
should be up sometime in the next week-ish is here.)