Wednesday, August 5, 2009

My Views Are Validated by Agreement with People Who Have Larger Audiences

Den of Geek has an excellent essay, which they published only a few days after mine, on why Ianto Jones should stay dead to preserve the aesthetic triumph of Torchwood: Children of Earth. We each have our central points in common, though I do focus more specifically on the character development of Captain Jack over the past four years. Either way, I’m glad to see that I’ve tapped into a flow of clear, critical nerd thinking.

People who want to bring Ianto back to the show just because they liked him so much always make terrible television, simply because they become so distracted by the big shiny thing they love so much that they forget about the importance of the story which that shininess should service. For an illustrative example from Doctor Who, see Warriors of the Deep and every Master story from 1982 to 1986.
Having begun The Fugitive, I am already tired of dealing with this petulant moron of a narrator. He has spent the first fifty pages of the story pining over Albertine’s having finally left him, but instead of honestly coming clean to her about his indecisive and anti-commital attitude, he cooks up a scheme to manipulate her into coming back to him while still making it seem as if he doesn’t care about her all that much.

This narrator is trying to save face for no reason that I can discern, and all he has done is make himself absolutely miserable and wave it in the reader’s face for the past three volumes. At least Sodom and Gomorrah had enough subplots and philosophical digressions to keep me interested. Albertine was an intriguing character when the narrator wasn’t hoarding her in his house like a favourite pet that he didn’t want to escape. His jealousy was ironically interesting when it was impotent. When she was in his power, it became frustrating and a little disgusting.

Perhaps The Captive and The Fugitive are slightly more sloggish because Proust never lived long enough to expand them to the size of the earlier volumes, which had enough variety in their plots to keep the narrator’s mysoginistic obsessiveness from weighing too heavily on a reader. While the earlier, longer volumes had more material, they never felt long because there was more variety, and more shifts of emphasis and mood. Thankfully, Albertine will fade into the background of the story as The Fugitive continues into the sections I’m whimsically calling, ‘Catching up with the Swanns.’

Apologies for the whimsy. I’ve been reading some Stephen Fry lately as well.

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