Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A Question of Villainy

I have been thinking about heroes and villains. To be more precise, I have been wondering if a villain can ever be the hero of a story.

As the standard myth system goes, a main character usually mirrors the postive attributes of the society. The hero carries the hopes and conqers the fears of those who create the myth. Conversely, the villain embodies the terrors and sins that humanity wishes to overcome.

Our cultutre enjoys a "good" villian, someone acting bad with such style that we love to hate him. We shiver when she gives madness an element of sex appeal.

Stories like Buffy The Vampire Slayer came out of making bad guys look good-that is to say, appealing-and ultimately act good in some way. But that is the crux of my pondering; can a villain be the center of the story without doing the good deeds that heroes are required to perform? Could 101 Dalmations be told from the point of view of Cruella DeVil? And if it was, would the audience need to sympathize with her in order to stay interested or could Cruella remain as greedy, vengeful and insane as she is in the original?

At this point, I don't know of any stories (written, filmed, staged or sung) that explore this idea of the unrepentant or unreformed villain as main character. I think the only way to answer this line of questioning is to write a story from this perspective and see how it is received. Any thoughts?

Monday, December 07, 2009

My Precious Shoes

Monkey has taken to wearing mismatched socks. I have no idea how this habit started but it is here and it seems to be here to stay. I have no problem with mismatched socks and those proud to wear them. Some of my best friends wear mismatched socks. I have intentionally knit socks that don't match for said person(s) and think this fashion choice shows moxie and individuality. The fact that I match my socks is only due to my preference of uniform texture and size. So when Monkey choose to wear one stripey sock and one spotted sock some time back I went with it, with delight. Judging by the people I know who do not match their socks I would say she is in good company.

We went to buy pants for the Monkey-Monkey pants, you might call them. While Monkey hid behind the jeans rack and called out "Mommy find me!" MyDear and I looked for pants that met our little lady's very strict specifications for clothing. Pants must be elastic, according to Monkey. The waist band on them cannot be too wide. They cannot be black or any dark colour, really, and they should, if at all possible, be pink. It being the season of brotherly love there were many fancy poofy dresses with snowflakes on them and great slouchy knit hats with pompoms at the crown.
Monkey was fondling a pair of little winter boots that looked like foot shaped Tribbles. She was bringing them over to show us, perhaps to ask to buy them (already a consumer at four, mercy) when she spied the most glorious vision of her young life. A pair of sparkly ruby slippers in just her size. She breathed a gasp of awe and her jaw dropped open. She fumbled to put the Tribbles back on the shelf without taking her wide eyes off the jewels before her. Abandoning the fuzzy boots to the floor she rushed over to the shining red shoes and hugged them to her chest.
"My precious shoes!" she exclaimed.
MyDear and I stared at each other in great surprise and amusement. Where did she come up with that phrase? Oh well, it was settled. We had to buy the shoes. Thank goodness they were not expensive. Monkey brought them to the counter, gingerly laid them before the clerk and stared fixedly at them while the transaction was made. I asked the clerk to cut the tags so Monkey could wear them right away and the woman did so with a grin. When they were handed back to her, Monkey breathed words of gratitude and plopped onto the floor to rip off her now inferior boots in order to wear her resplendent, her magnificent, her regal and stupendous, new sparkly shoes.
She has been wearing them daily ever since.