This morning I got up early for a run, discovered it was 16 degrees outside, and then decided not to go. The rule of thumb is to dress as though it’s 20 degrees warmer outside. I’m sorry, but there is a WORLD of difference between 16 degrees and 36 degrees. Once it gets below freezing, the air burns my bronchial tract and I spend the rest of the morning coughing cold air out of my lungs.
But that has nothing to do with what I wanted to discuss today, which is the last installment of my Literary Crush series. (A wee bit delayed, I know.) You’ve probably all guessed by now what sort of character this post will be about. I’ve only written about this type a million times before.
You’ve all heard me crush on this character a million times, who is perhaps best summed up as The Magnificent Bastard. There are many incarnations: Benjamin Linus, Melisande Shahrizai, Gaius Baltar, Mrs. Coulter. In many ways, I feel I don’t need to explain the character to you again: The Magnificent Bastard is a person who usually does despicable things, but all in accordance with his/her own unique, but deeply held honor code.
People usually ask why I’m drawn to Magnificent Bastards in fiction, and the honest truth is I don’t know. Certainly I’m fairly conventional when it comes to my own moral standards, but there’s something admirable about the Magnificent Bastard, even as s/he does terrible, terrible things. Or at least, I find the MB admirable, even if most others don’t. There’s some part of me that wants to be them, I think. Heroes can get tiresome. But MBs occupy a very grey area between heroic and villainous that I find both interesting, and in a strange way, brave.
I find sometimes that it’s easier to be “good” than “bad”. It takes a certain amount of courage (and genius) to throw off societal expectations and live by your own rules. The thing is, I’m not interested in redemption for these characters, or rather, I’m not interested in redemption that doesn’t come from within. In fact, I could take it or leave it. If redemption comes from within, I’m okay with that, but if they are punished for their despicable behavior and/or saved by the Power of Lurve™, they immediately lose crushworthy status. No, Magnificent Bastard, you are better than that!
Often I like to see these wily characters get away with it. Certainly Melisande Shahrizai gets away with her terrible crimes in KUSHIEL’S LEGACY. Adrian Veidt/Ozymandias from WATCHMEN does as well. Gaius Baltar not only gets away with his despicable behavior, he gets rewarded.
What does that say about me? I don’t know. I suspect that deep down I wish that I too, had the courage to say “fuck you” to good behavior and get away with it.
So that’s it! The last the Literary Crushes. I hope that I will have more time to blog in the coming new year, especially as I am taking two weeks around Christmas to rest, relax, and be with my family.