Tuesday 9th June 2020
Feeling a little less tired today, but I did have a 40 minute nap today after finishing the day job, and did start getting a bit fatigued again late this evening.
I’ve been watching a few TV series on Amazon prime this past week. Worked my way through Alex Rider, which I enjoyed for the way that a lot of the technology was presented very realistically (even though the general premise of the series was quite outlandish). And now I’m working my way through the first series of Jack Ryan.
One of the things that’s really grabbed me about this series is the relationship between Ryan and Greer. We’ve all seen the typical buddy movie where 2 people start off being diametrically opposed and then come together as part of the resolution of the story.
What I like here is that it’s a little different. Instead of taking a trait that might be a key theme to the story and then presenting the two protagonists as having two different approaches to the problem that’s spun out of the central conflict, there’s actually some general dislike.
From the episodes I’ve watched so far, we’re not supposed to empathise with Greer. He’s not so much being an arsehole because his views differ as he is an arsehole. There’s no effort to make him a sympathetic character because we have Ryan for that role.
It’s a buddy movie, without the buddy.
As the episodes go on, it does seem that Greer is presented in a more sympathetic light but I really like how that isn’t set up from the start. He’s made out to be an arsehole and the script doesn’t try and give any excuses for that.
I like how there’s confidence enough in the script that the writers feel they can portray him like that in the initial episodes. There’s very little in the way of Chekov’s gun being planted to make us feel sympathy for him – although I suspect whatever happened in Karachi will form part of his emotional redemption.
It’s made me think that in stories where I have conflicting characters having to work together, I shouldn’t be afraid to push the conflict, make one party dislikeable rather than worry that if I push it too far I won’t be able to redeem them. Or even that I need to redeem them.
It’s made me think about secondary characters and reader sympathy. I’m not sure it’s anything I can really use right now, but I suspect it’ll be one of those things I might very much explore if the opportunity presents itself in the future.
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