Rhythempoets

Home of authors Holly Hunt & Jophrael L. Avario

Like the end of HP. You know what I’m talking about. Yeah, that one.


I am of the belief that fictional literary characters, especially much-loved and -lauded ones like Sherlock Holmes, Dr Jekyll, Sabriel, The Doctor, Tori Alexander, Alana of Tortall and Beka Cooper – to name my own personal heroes – are “timelocked”, meaning that they shouldn’t age, shouldn’t grow old, shouldn’t become senile or grow Altzimer’s or lose their cognitive function. They should not age like mortal men, but instead remain the epitome of youth, of stamina, of wit, logic and genius.

This was impressed to me upon watching Ian Mckellan playing an aging Sherlock in “Mr. Holmes”. He’s growing old, losing his cognitive prowess, no longer able to recall memories that mean so much to him it drove him from his profession and into retirement. This Sherlock is 93, frail, aged and clearly losing his faculties, the doctor having made him mark a diary every time he forgot something important (spoiler, there’s a LOT of marks in there by the end of the movie).

I find this to be a frightening and horrific story. Not for the story itself, but for the implications of the circumstance behind it. A desperate, lonely old man, aware of his own failings and his growing issues in health both physical and mental, once a proud logical King, now reduced to the very essence of old age. 

I don’t want this. I don’t want my favorite characters to grow old and face reality, a reality I specifically read fiction (my favorite genres, at least) to avoid. 

I want Alana to stay thirty-something forever, to defend Tortall from Wild Magic, Spidrens and slavers.

I want Tori Alexander zipping her way back and forth through time, the ultimate mum with immortality at her fingertips (and, yes, even the immortal with access to magic, quantum physics and the ears of gods later ‘ages out’ of the world of fantasy). 

I want Sabriel to remain 18 forever, ringing Death’s bells and taming the Free Magic beings. 

Most of all, I want Sherlock to remain his witty self, top of the game, never outmatched and never growing old, sneering any senility and high as f**k on cocaine.

So for god’s sake, stop injecting reality into my fantasy, stop hitting me with the reality of where my life will probably end. These characters are my friends, and no one wants to sit by and watch their friends die, so why are you doing this to me? 

Advertisements

December 21, 2015 - Posted by | Uncategorized

2 Comments

  1. Hi Holly. I understand your desire to maintain characters as they first appeared to us, full of life and exuberance and power. I even share it to a certain extent. But, perhaps because I’m a lot older than you are and because I’ve recently watched both my parents go through this decline, I also can appreciate a well-written take on those same characters in the latter parts of their lives. I want to see how Luke, Leia, and Han handle their roles now. I love watching the Doctor as exuberant as a child and as world-weary as a 2000-year-old should be.

    In particular, I loved Mr. Holmes. Yes, it was painful to see the confusion and forgetfulness. (Maybe it was all that cocaine?) Yet what I came away with was admiration for his questing thirst to *know*, to solve problems. There is a solace in knowing that one’s essential, core being continues to the end. Holmes’ search for truth, my father’s anger, my mother’s gentleness–these things remain, and I find that hopeful.

    And the great thing about fiction is that we can revisit our heroes again and again, at whatever stage of their lives we prefer–or need.

    Love,
    Nikki

    Comment by Nikki Andrews | December 22, 2015

    • You’re right, Nikki, I am at a different stage of life than you, I haven’t had to go through the same – I find no solace in the idea that even the great can fall. Indeed, I find it a terrible thing.

      Holmes was always his mind, and in his later years, that it what abandoned him, not his body (still tottering around after bees, racing to save a boy from wasps at 93? I should be so lucky). I prefer to pedestal youth and the easy problems and betrayals that come with it – after all, if your body or your mind betrays you, what hope do you have of getting past it, really? That’s a life-long betrayal.

      Comment by Holly Hunt | December 22, 2015


Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

%d bloggers like this: