Thursday, October 27, 2016

Do I always cheer for the villain? An exhaustive analysis.

Some people say I like villains. It's true. Some people worry about me being a hidden sociopath because I like villains so much. It's not true. Some people say I'll just always cheer for the villain no matter what. Maybe true? That is what this post is going to investigate. I will be digging DEEP into my memory banks to come up with all the pieces of literature where I favoured the villain/antagonist, and all the pieces of literature where I favoured the hero/protagonist. BECAUSE SCIENCE, BITCHES.

Rules: 1. For a villain or hero to count as 'Favoured', I have to like/support them more than the opposite. If there are multiple heroes/villains in the piece of literature and 'main hero/villain' is not obvious, then I have to like the mentioned villain more than my most liked hero or vice versa.

2. An item shall not be included if I do not have a clear preference, or the character roles are not well-defined. There are extremely many pieces I have encountered where I either didn't connect to the characters enough to include them or that didn't stand out well in my memory. For instance, Die Hard is not included because I do not favour Bruce Willis or Alan Rickman whilst liking both characters. Man of Steel is not included because I didn't connect hugely to either General Zod or Superman. There are countless cases of both types in my memory. This list aims to be an investigation of who I favour in the cases where I have a clear investment in either side.

FAVOURED VILLAINS

  • Loki - 'Thor', The Avengers, Thor: The Dark World (Gray area anti-hero in Thor 2)
  • The Governor - The Walking Dead
  • Negan - The Walking Dead
  • Saruman - LOTR: Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers
  • Darth Vader - Star Wars Episodes 4-6
  • Kylo Ren - Star Wars: The Force Awakens
  • Petyr 'Littlefinger' Baelish - Game of Thrones
  • Tywin Lannister - Game of Thrones
  • Darth Maul - Star Wars Episode 1
  • Count Dooku - Star Wars Episode 2
  • Magneto - X-Men 1,2,3, First Class and Days of Future Past
  • Magneto - X-Men: The Animated Series
  • Kingpin - Daredevil Season 1
  • Cottonmouth - Luke Cage
  • The Man in Black - The Dark Tower Series
  • Agent Smith - The Matrix 1-3 (Although not so much after I completely grasped the philosophy of the movies)
  • President Logan - 24: Seasons 5 and 8
  • The Winter Soldier Bucky Barnes - Captain America: The Winter Soldier
  • Sephiroth - Final Fantasy 7
  • Kefka - Final Fantasy 6
  • Kuja - Final Fantasy 9
  • Revolver Ocelot - Metal Gear Solid 1-4
  • The T-1000 - Terminator 2: Judgement Day
  • The T-800 - Terminator
  • The Joker - The Dark Knight
  • Norman Osborn - Dark Reign and Siege of Asgard comic series
  • Loki - Numerous Thor comic series 
  • Vegeta - Dragon Ball Z (He's an anti hero from Frieza saga onwards, but my original love for him came as a villain and carried through the entire series)
  • Team Rocket - Pokemon
  • Piccolo - Dragon Ball
  • Malcolm Merlyn - Arrow
  • Captain Cold - The Flash (I'm only counting him as a hero in Legends of Tomorrow)
  • Krelian - Xenogears
  • The Penguin - Gotham
  • Freddy Krueger - Nightmare on Elm Street
  • The Predator - Predator 1,2 and Predators
  • Iago - Othello
  • Roy Batty - Blade Runner
  • Dr Doom - All Fantastic Four comic series he appears in.
  • Albert Wesker - Resident Evil: All appearances
  • Skeletor - He-Man
  • All of the eco-villains - Captain Planet (I know, I'm horrible)
  • The Illusive Man - Mass Effect 2 and 3
  • Ra's Al Ghul - Batman Begins
  • Ba'al - Stargate: SG-1
  • Kane - Command and Conquer Series
  • Harrison Wells 'The Reverse Flash' - The Flash
  • Apocalypse - The Age of Apocalypse
  • Ming the Merciless - Flash Gordon
  • Snape - Harry Potter (Gray area)
  • Dr Evil - Austin Powers
FAVOURED HEROES

  • Guardians of the Galaxy - Guardians of the Galaxy
  • The Avengers - Avengers: Age of Ultron
  • Scott Lang 'Ant Man' - Ant Man
  • Captain America/Team Captain America - Civil War
  • Tony Stark 'Iron Man' - Iron Man 1-3
  • Batman - The Dark Knight Rises
  • Auron - Final Fantasy 10
  • John Locke - Lost
  • Jack Bauer - 24 Seasons 1,2,3,4,6,7,9
  • Kaim Argonar - Lost Odyssey
  • Crono and friends - Chrono Trigger
  • V - V for Vendetta
  • Deadpool - Deadpool (Gray Area)
  • Jessica Jones - Jessica Jones
  • The Punisher - Daredevil Season 2 (Gray Area)
  • Rean Schwarzer and Class VII - Trails of Cold Steel 1-2
  • Max Caulfield - Life is Strange
  • Bigby Wolf - The Wolf Among Us
  • Snape - Harry Potter (Gray area)
  • Doctor Strange - Doctor Strange

The Final tally off the top of my head is 51 times I've favoured the villain and a mere 20 where I've favoured the hero. That is verging on 3:1. There you go, science proves that in any given case that I develop a clear preference in literature, it is almost 3 times more likely that I will cheer for the villain than the hero. 

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Scott's Introspectrum: How DragonCon Remodelled My Life

Four years ago, I was in Europe, halfway through the trip that was to be more than a pivotal moment in my life. That trip commenced with THIS. Looking back on that post, I still completely understand why I denoted the downtown area of Atlanta during DragonCon as the promised land, although now, I would amend it a bit for accuracy. DragonCon isn't the promised land. It was, and still is, the promised experience.

In 2012, going into my first DragonCon I was 26 years old. My years since the age of 21 or so had been more than a little rough. Not rough in terms of a series of painful experiences, hard times or traumatic incidents, but rough in terms of a dark and persistent malaise of  not belonging. I was deeply insecure. I writhed and contorted in the suit of my own skin that I was so uncomfortable in. I felt unworthy of the great things that I saw people around me enjoying. There was no greater unease for me than literally feeling like "there isn't a place in the world that I fit". I thought things other people here didn't think. I felt things about life, society and the world that I wasn't 'supposed' to feel. I was pretty much the boy in the bubble, surrounded by the things that made me the most comfortable and trying to make myself believe those things were enough justification for a happy life and future.

Saying that a convention full of costumes, celebrities, nerdy dedication to being a fan, fantasy and non-stop partying changed all that seems a little silly. That's because it probably is. In essence, it wasn't the convention itself that changed anything. In essence, the convention as it is would just be a cool experience that was fun but subsided back into the ether of memory as soon as I hit the ground back in Auckland. What changed it from an enjoyable experience to a transformative one was the people. The people who accepted me immediately, no questions asked. The people who were so deeply passionate about the same things I was and in their passion convinced me it was okay to make this my identity; a skin that I could be comfortable in. The people who made me feel not only part of something, but a crucial part of something. The people who made me believe that their lives and their experience would actually be missing something if I wasn't there.

Every year I meet more amazing people, and I take none of them for granted. My life is still blessed thanks to the original power couple Shanon and Patrick who I have no doubt I would have none of this if not for, and who I consider two of my best and most important friends. My life is even blessed by Brian, and I am honored to be his prank guinea pig and foreigner target of choice. I have no doubt I will never beat him, but he makes my never-ending defeats fun nonetheless (and when no one is watching, we're actually pretty tight). This year was no different, and the people I met in 2016 have already had such a changing impact on my life. I should list you all individually, but I believe you know who you are. I think you're all beautiful and amazing people. There is literally none of you who I am not better off with. If you don't know that I love you all, then I have done a horrible job of expressing myself. I take you with me back to my day to day life here, and you help make me a better person.

There are so many aspects of my experience with Con that I could remark on in terms of how they affected me. Getting to costume and temporarily adding a different and fun aspect to my identity based on a character or construct I love is something that I'll probably never be able to explain properly to the work-a-day world. Having strangers come up, tell me I look great and want to take pictures of/with me was a huge boost to my ailing self-worth. Having people of all sorts think I'm a worthwhile and good guy to know was extremely healing. Life changing events have happened to me more than once at Con and have convinced me never to let myself believe I know what the future holds for me, because everything really can change in an instant. Even having two or three big things to look forward to every year provides a model for my life that keeps me motivated and moving forward.

So in the end, four years after my first DragonCon, I can quite literally say it remodelled my life and I'm a happier, better and more fulfilled me because of it all.