Okay, this is going to be a very self-centered and not very funny blogpost, and I as you all forgiveness for this.
One of the simultaneously glorious and pathetic things about being in a fandom – and there are a lot of things that fall under this description – is that you tend to fall helplessly in love with complete fringe-characters. You know, the kind of characters that have no real bearing on the story in itself, and possibly only turn up to be charming/annoying/out of their fucking mind at one point.
Take the Harry Potter fandom and the love for the young Marauders as an example. We only get to see them at one point – well, correction, we get to see young Sirius and James again in Deathly Hallows – and yet a whole huge section of the fandom orbits around these four boys – did I say four? I meant three-and-sometimes-Peter, of course – and their antics. True, their grownup selves have a somewhat more central role in the actual story, even James in his absence, but from what we can see, their grownup selves seem to be rather different people for a number of reasons – prison, betrayal, loneliness and… and, er... And yet… the shipping, the slashing, the mary sue-ing… the fanfiction and rpgs… the heated discussions, the fandom stereotyping (if I read about one more Remus with golden eyes I might just SCREAM)… All of these are signs that at least three of these guys are loved and adored, despie appearing only briefly in the HP books, and then as bullies.
What is my point? My point is that in my current fandom, the Havemercy fandom, all of this is abundant, mostly because it is rife with interesting fringe-characters of the big, hunky, man-candy variety for fangirls to play with. That’s not to say that the main characters aren’t fascinating, because they are, but there’s something special about taking a fringe character and, by means of fanfiction or roleplaying, making him your own and giving him a bit more than just the brief breath of life that the author allowed him. I think this is probably one of the reasons why one of the most popular pairings in the fandom is Raphael/Ivory, despite them barely even having five lines each in the entire book.
That, and they turn into pure sex when written right…
All this aside, even small hints of a personality can make you feel a deep and wonderful connection with a character, just like that. And that’s the case with me and my current favorite character, Evariste.
He’s really a no-character, even by the means of the more obscure airmen, having only a couple of stray lines and a hiss to him. But my heart still goes out to him somehow. And because I have nothing better to do at the moment, and because I have been working the night shift and I am therefore prone to rambling, I will tell you. In excruciating detail.
This is his first appearance in Havemercy:
“Merritt, I swear by the bastion, if you don’t sit still I am going to lynch you in the showers.”
At the opposite end of the line, a man entirely too freckly for his own good scowled in hurt dignity. His companion, the one who’d spoken, turned in his chair to face me.
“This training, will it make Merritt less irritating?”
Now, there is a lot of sniping among these men, but for some reason I always took this as an honest question; as in, he is actually interested in hearing whether or not this training will make Merritt less annoying. I don’t know why, but I really imagined him as sincerely considering this as an opportunity. And, sad as I am to say this, so would I.
I am not among the people who would ever dare to ask that question – a lot of trial and error has proved to me that saying things like that make people think that you’re rude and obnoxious, and I'm terrified of that – but I would think it. Oh how I would. Because people quite frankly annoy me, but I have a very limited understanding in how you all truly work, and so I wouldn’t disregard the alternative that some kind of training could be applied to make everyone less annoying. I’m quite sure that this makes me into a really unlikable person.
The one who’d complained—Evariste—chewed at his lip. His hair stood at ends, like he’d often tugged at it in thought. “I fly Illarion. What about me, what about me . . . oh yes! Once I ate a pound of butter.”
I really wish that this wasn’t something that I totally couldn’t be goaded into if teased enough/ given enough alcohol. I really do. But alas, I am a moron.
Let’s move on to another scene. In this, the main character who does all the thinking in the above scene, Thom – or, as he is often referred to, ‘the professor’ – has handed the group of men he is supposed to be training in the art of being civilized people an assignment of sorts. They’re all given a slip of paper describing a role they’re supposed to play, hopefully managing to describe the sensitivities and motives of that individual. And how does Evariste fare here?
“Um,” said Evariste. “My card says, ‘That Kid Ghislain Hit on the Head When He Dropped Merritt’s Boots out the Window.’”
“It was really an accident,” said Ghislain mildly.
“Yes,” said the professor.
“Well, I guess my head hurts,” finished Evariste.
Ah, yes. And there we have it again, because that too would be my gut reaction to an assignment like this. Don’t get me wrong, I am rather good at constructing scenarios inside my head, and use it frequently for writing, but what meager skill I have has very little to do with any real ability to understand what someone else is feeling. No, it’s a learned skill, gleaned from reading and painstaking observation. It’s like mathematics for me. Fear + stress = anger. Lust + fascination = attraction. Unexpected boots + head = what the flying fuck?
I can feel sorry, in an abstract way, for that poor kid, and reflect, like Evariste somewhat later does, that, “All right, I get it now (...) I wish whoever had been dropping heavy boots had been more considerate of . . . who might have been standing there. Below. I wish they’d looked.” But when it comes to true understanding of what the kid is going through and thinking, it basically stops at “I guess my head hurts”.
And that’s basically all there is to that character. But just those few bewildered lines have made me take Evariste to heart, believing to have briefly glimpsed in a book someone who is just about as bewildered by humanity as I am.
PS. I will at some point stop making these cheap Twilight shots. I promise. DS.
PPS. And yes, there had to be at least one picture of a cat, why? DS.