Christine, Wondering

Random Musings of a Human Becoming

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Dark Heroes

I watched the movie version of "Phantom of the Opera" this evening for the first time since seeing it at the movies back in 2005. I liked it much better the second time around, and was quite riveted despite having seen the movie before, read the book and watched the stage version twice. I honestly couldn't remember how they got out of parts of it!

When I first saw Phantom, on stage when it came to Perth in 1998, I was utterly entranced. Like many teenaged girls, I had a fascination with "dark heroes" - male characters who are heroic in some way (usually, by being the love / lust / serious attraction interest of the heroine) yet also the villain, agitator or in some other way diametrically opposed to the heroine. Jareth in Labyrinth, Angel/Angelus in Buffy, and of course the Phantom, all have elements of this. I used to have a whole list of them, and frequently wrote them into my stories. Kidnappers, usurpers and enemies who became love interests abounded.

Sometime in my early 20s, when I had internet access on my own computer, I googled dark heroes to see if anyone else was as interested in them as I was. I promptly stumbled upon a wonderful article expressing the opinion that dark heroes encourage women to believe that abuse is an acceptable price to pay if you really love someone, or that true love comes with control, etc. I'd already been in several controlling relationships by that stage, and the article made me deeply uncomfortable. I knew it was true. The fact that I felt such an intense yearning towards these fictional relationships, and the fact that I fell for men who treated me like that? Not such a coincidence actually.

It's taken me a long time and several more bananaheads to REALLY learn the lesson, and start fighting back against those beliefs. Dark heroes are not fun. Dark heroes are not nice. Dark heroes are not heroes at all. Repeat, repeat, repeat. Bang head against wall if necessary.

For some reason, this evening, I felt like dipping my toe in the Dark Hero waters and seeing how I reacted. I was going to watch Labyrinth as well after Phantom, but it got too late. As I mentioned, I was riveted. I also sang along as much as possible, albeit sometimes an octave below Emmy Rossum :D And I found that the bits that triggered a strong emotional longing were the bits between Raoul and Christine, not the bits involving Phantom.

As a teenager, I was almost unbearably attracted to the words of "The Music of the Night" . . . 'floating, falling, sweet intoxication' indeed! This time I was drawn to the clean, honest affection of "All I Ask of You" instead, but with nowhere near the intensity of my teenage years. Part of that is no doubt just growing up and being less emotional about everything lol. But I suspect progress nonetheless.


Post a Comment