Thanos and Cersei – Heroes (Of Their Own Story)

May 9, 2019 | Writing

Spoilers aren’t in this post. If you saw Avengers – Infinity Wars you know Thanos destroys half the universe with a snap of his fingers. Although I do wonder how he could snap his fingers wearing a thick metallic glove. And Avengers – End Game is about what happens next and how the heroes defeat Thanos and restore the destroyed half of the universe. Thanos doesn’t seem as happy as he appeared in Infinity Wars. He wanted to save (rule) the universe and he did, according to his way of thinking. Excited? Didn’t seem so. He’s a recluse, destroys the infinity stones. Okay that was a spoiler. Sorry.

Cersei, the emotionally abused, ignored, constantly and flagrantly cheated upon wife of Robert Baratheon, lives in the shadow of a dead woman Robert worships who didn’t love him. That’s not a spoiler. Cersei is a Lannister, a female Lannister unfortunately, yet the most cunning of them all. She learned from her father the importance of power and how to get it. However, she’s a woman and as such in the Seven Kingdoms, women don’t rule. Something Daenerys plans to change. That in itself has got to piss off Cersei, if anyone is going to be the first female Queen, it’s her. Cersei’s one true love is her brother Jamie, the father of her three children. And he deserted her. She’s been humiliated, forced to walk naked through Kings Landing, watch her children die one by one. She now sits on the Iron Throne, Jamie is off being the good soldier honoring his commitment. She’s submitted to sex with a horny, power hungry Euron who has dreams of ruling by Cersei’s side. Good luck with that, honey. Dare I say Cersei has BIGGER balls than Jamie, Tyrion, Jon, and whomever have the idea they’re going to take her down. Did you see Cersei out there pleading for peace? Hell no. Tyrion did the pleading, she smirked. And did you see where she stood? On top of the castle, looking down on everyone. To her, they are there to take what she’s entitled to, has suffered and earned. How dare they? They are the villains.

Thanos, didn’t start out evil, but when your mother believes a prophecy that you will destroy all life in the universe and tries to kill you…well that will definitely put a scar on your psyche. I didn’t read the earlier comics but through YouTube and my son, I got a quick history lesson. Thanos, due to some super powerful steroids, grew big, strong, and kinda ugly, and fell in love with Death. To prove his love he killed his children. Later he adopts Gamora and trains her as an assassin. In the movie he loves Gamora like a daughter and to secure the Soul Stone he has to kill her. He doesn’t want to but he has to. If you want power, you have to seize it, and to keep it, you have to…. Well you have to just….

Both are heroes – in their own minds. Heroes? Wait, what? The Writer’s Journey, by Christopher Vogler, is my story bible. One of his archetype’s is The Shadow. He characterizes this person as the dark side (Starwars), rejected aspects of something. I’m quoting Vogler here, The Shadow can be all the things we don’t like about ourselves. The villain, is dedicated to the death, destruction and defeat of the hero. Vogler wrote, “It is important to remember in designing stories that most Shadow figures do not think of themselves as villains or enemies. From his point of view, a villain is the hero of his own myth, and the audience’s hero is his villain. A dangerous type of villain is ‘the right man,’ the person so convinced his cause is just that he will stop at nothing to achieve it. Beware the man who believes the end justifies the means…” pg 68. Thanos? Cersei?

Vogler wrote something that stays with me every time I write, read, or watch a tv or movie, — the story is only as good as its villain. A strong villain pushes a hero to up their game and to to the end of the moral line they refuse to cross and dares them to cross it. I find that romantic. Note: In the Into the Badlands series finale, the character Moon is hunting for the witch, Cressida, who killed Lydia. He finds her and she says she’s unarmed and questions whether his honor would allow him to kill her. Moon’s response: Fuck honor! Yep he’s a hero ready to cross that line. And not one serious Badlands viewer has a problem with it. Of course, she escapes and sets up Moon searching for her. Oh right, THE SERIES WAS CANCELLED.

Villains do terrible things, hurt, kill people and need to be brought to justice. They’re egotistical, crazy, psychopaths. From our point of view, but not theirs. They have their supporters, those who believe as they do or are just avoiding getting their head squeezed like a grape by The Mountain, or twisted off by Pilgrim. The Avengers, Jon Snow, Daenerys, all are trying to take away what they’ve rightfully earned. They intend to rule, make decisions about what the world(s) should look like. They’ve suffered, see suffering, and believe they can make a difference, no matter the billions and poor folks they have to kill to do it.

Villains always have a story to tell.

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