Hello! This is a personal blog that ranges from Shakespeare to fandom (Supernatural, Doctor Who, WTNV, and more) to Neil Gaiman to pictures of me to puppies. Enjoy your stay!
Are there any instances of a passive main character/story being good things? Do you think there are any books which include passive characters and actually being well-written and successful?
The only example I can think of right now is Susie Salmon from The Lovely Bones, but I might be wrong because it’s been many years since I’ve read that book. She’s mostly passive throughout the book because she’s dead and the most she can do is watch.
Protagonists can be passive or reactive for a bit, but that passiveness must be limited in favor of being active. Characters who are only passive are boring characters. The reader doesn’t want to follow them because they don’t do anything. They don’t create an emotional bond with the reader because they don’t make choices or create conflict.
Slaughterhouse Five has an extraordinarily passive protagonist. Granted, I really did not like Slaughterhouse Five, but it’s considered by many a great work of literature.
So I honestly can’t believe I’ve never seen anyone talking about the art direction of this scene. If I’m repeating something, Ah,well. But I’ve honestly never seen it pointed out that this is the very first time we see Mary, and there are three important things here:
Mary reaches for John’s hand. John takes it, of course—he is used to being offered comfort for his loss, by now—but he is not reaching out to her for comfort in his sadness. She is inserting herself into his grief. Reflexively, he lets her.
We only see the back of her. It’s unusual to introduce a major protagonist any other way than by showing their face pretty much immediately. A major antagonist, however…a baddie…well, they often are introduced in a cloud of cigarette smoke, from a distance, in the shadows, as a mysterious voice on a phone, or in some other way that doesn’t tell us right away who they are. Our first glimpse of Mary gives us only the most vague information about her. Obviously a woman, obviously someone John is close to, as he holds her hand. Other than that…who is she? We don’t know.
Finally, it’s no mistake she is wearing a long, grey coat which flares slightly from the waist, and a blue scarf. But they are paler shades of those colours than Sherlock’s coat and scarf were, because Mary is but a pale imitation of the person we are used to seeing standing beside John Watson (even once, when they were handcuffed together, holding John Watson’s hand in a manner similar to what we see here). Her coat and scarf look cheap, “less than,” and her denim jeans are “less” than Sherlock Holmes’s designer trousers. Her dark hat is a visual echo of Sherlock’s dark hair. This whole shot is set up not only to remind us that Sherlock used to stand here at John Watson’s side, but also that This is some lesser, fake, replacement-Sherlock standing at John Watson’s side, and whether consciously or unconsciously, John has chosen a pale imitation indeed.
I love this, it’s brilliant. Just want to add… the black hat, I’ve never even noticed this before but it completely blocks out every part of her head/face, you can’t even see her hair. To me it’s like a nod to the ‘real’ Mary, the assassin who we see in HLV dressed all in black with a gun to Sherlock. That’s what people do when they do bad things, they dress to disguise and hide themselves so as not to be recognisable. They’ve put her in that staple ‘bad guy’ hat (when they so easily could have had her in something lighter/less threatening) right from the very start. They’re telling us from the first second we see her that she’s not to be trusted. Just brilliant.
So good. All these little hints—even the first time I saw the promo shot of her from before S3, in her purple dress with the black jewels, I thought “what a film noir femme fatale”—the black jewelry really had an impact on character design. Imagine if she had been decked in pearls instead on the night of the engagement scene? These little touches add so much.
If I have any predictions about S4 or the Christmas special, it’s that Mary is going to be dressed in a lot of red, her other major defining color. Gray, red, that smoky purple, black—these are her mystery/assassin colors; blue is in scenes where she is strongly aligned with John (reading the blog/shaving scene; planning the wedding with John and Sherlock).
I like too that it’s the same view of her that Sherlock gets when he walks in on her in CAM’s office. It’s like, when she finally turns around in that scene, she is finally turning around in this scene to look at us. To reveal herself.
But here she doesn’t turn around, because here she is still disguised. That means that Mart Morstan, the woman John married, is not in any way the real person who is here.
With John she is completely disguised. We don’t see her, we don’t even see a glimpse of who she is with John.
We don’t see a glimpse of who she really is until she shoots Sherlock.
Reblogging with caps for @cartopathy’s observation.