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?
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