A short while back, I was asked to provide three fictional male characters that I self-identify with. Obi-wan Kenobi from Star Wars was first to my mind. I was always impressed with the character’s development with Ewan McGregor playing the part. Obi-wan seems more interested in finding solutions to issues with his mind than he does with his light-saber. I have always correlated myself as being of that same sort of ilk. I prefer talking and discussions where the genesis of a solution was to become.
My second choice was that of Seamus Harper, the mechanic/programming genius on the short-lived TV show “Andromeda”. I have a huge affinity for the engineer/mechanic types on Science Fiction shows. Their problem solving skills are the stuff that I just marvel over. And in my job, what I do is very close to what they accomplish. People ask questions, I get the data that answers those questions. Plus, Seamus is a proverbial smart-ass with nearly every statement accompanied by some form of zinger aimed at a crewmate, the ship or an enemy. I see a lot of myself in these types of characters.
I chose Jamie Lannister. And it wasn’t for any quality that I could readily see in myself. Rather, it was due to my draw to characters with major flaws, and Jamie certainly has his share of those. Jamie has many smart-ass comments, but its not the smart-assery that pulls me in. Its the manner in which he deals with adversity, and how he tucks away the perceptions that others have of him as the “kingslayer” – a perception he tells to Brianne in the hot spas, shortly after he gets his hand cut off. His momentary loss of that wall of derision that he protects himself with, is a momentary, naked (literally) revelation of who Jamie is. I have a weakness for characters that display these areas of shadow in themselves.
I admit it, I love the concept of the anti-hero. But not because I grow tired of the Batman, Superman, Iron Man personas – though I really do. No, I like the anti-hero characters because of the stark reality of an individual that stands out against the rule of law, but does the “right thing” because it is exactly that – “the right thing” to do. These characters are direct fits for my own persona. Sure, I am setting myself on the couch now.
I am a rebel at heart. I have always bristled against following the rule of law, simply because it is the rule of law. I need to see a reason for the law to be, but it must be pliant. Laws are made to be bent, particularly when a circumstance arises where going against the law was for a measure of what is “right”. Rules and laws are shaped and tinged by circumstance, meant to bend to some degree. However, bent too far, and the law cannot break – everything comes set right back to where things started, and the law becomes rigid and unpliable. But I am also smart enough to realize that I am not the upholder of those laws either. I merely find a way to live between the line of the law, and the grey area where things remain pliable. A lot of this is why characters such as Jamie Lannister appeal to me. Those characters that try and remain within the law, while acknowledging that sometimes the rules just cannot be applied.
I am not sure that Obi-wan, Jamie Lannister, and Seamus Harper are really all archetypes of who I am, but I can see trace elements of these characters in myself. And much like I admire the complexity that each of these characters’ had within their respective mythic universes, I can also acknowledge that a similar complexity provides the makeup for who I am. I can be contradictory at moments in time, and each of those contradictions can clash at this particular moment – taken individually, none of those moments of opposition will cancel out any of the others. For they are/were all right and correct for that particular moment in time – consequences be damned.
Have you ever thought about what three fictional characters might be useful to describe you? Who are they, and why? I wonder if you will come across a similar dichotomy as I did – a part of you that upholds the law, a part of you that utilizes the law to solve complex issues, and a part of you that rebels. This was a fun exercise for me, and one I will likely keep coming back to within my journals. Give it a try…see what you get.