A/N: I really did not expect this to be so long. And I’m actually working on a longer piece that discusses some of the things I go into here. Also, I’m still working on the playlist too. If I’m not finished that by tomorrow, I’ll just post a few ideas about music and writing (updating last year’s list) and some things that remind me of Trygve.
But today I speak of Trygve and my relationship with him. Without mincing words, I fucking love Trygve. He is, so far, my favorite of all the original characters I’ve created. Don’t get me wrong, I love Elspeth too but Trygve, apart from his personality, motivations, and moral compass, is special to me for the simple reason is that he is my favorite type of character. The one who is charged with speaking uncomfortable truths, of pointing out when our heroes are acting self-absorbed, reckless, self-serving, or just plain being dumb.
It is for this reason that Trygve also frustrates me because I am highly invested in doing this type of character justice, without reducing him to a one-dimensional, formulaic, trope. I also want to be true to the person he is, not just the type of character, which means he’s also flawed and as he offers his perspective, he can be arrogant and condescending. And sometimes he’ll be wrong. I can’t promise that he will always be likable, but I will try to make him compelling.
I don’t think so highly of my writing that I’m comfortable putting Trygve into any sort of literary or pop cultural tradition. I do, however, have many other characters in mind as I write who serve as inspiration. From Buffy the Vampire Slayer, I think of characters like Anya and Spike who spoke their mind, with little regard for protecting people’s feelings. Often these characters are evil, pointing out the similarities between themselves and the hero. Or just that they know the hero better than the hero knows themselves:
“Sooner or later… you’re gonna want it. And the second–the second that happens, you know I’ll be there. I’ll slip in… have myself a real good day. Here endeth the lesson.”~Spike, BtVS, S5.07 , “Fool For Love”
I could spend several paragraphs unpacking that quote and it’s importance to both the show and Spike’s character, but I won’t subject you to that since it’s a tangent at best.
One of my favorite moments in The Desolation of Smaug is when Bard the Bowman confronts Thorin Oakenshield, pointing out the repercussions of his endeavor, and its accompanying greed and hubris:
“All of you! Listen to me! You must listen! Have you forgotten what happened to Dale? Have you forgotten those who died in the firestorm? And for what purpose? The blind ambition of a Mountain King, so riveted by greed he cannot see beyond his own desire!”
And then of course there is Rory Williams who comes to us a bit insecure, adorable, but somewhat unremarkable and grows into the kind of person whose quiet observation of the Doctor and his world brings wisdom:
“You know what it’s dangerous about you? It’s not that you make people take risks, it’s that you make them want to impress you. You make it so they don’t want to let you down. You have no idea how dangerous you make people to themselves when you’re around.” DW, S5.06, “The Vampires of Venice”
And in Game of Thrones, when Jaime Lannister speaks of what happened the day he slew the Mad King, he destroys the illusion of loyalty that Brienne of Tarth professes to aspire to:
“Tell me, if your precious Renly commanded you to kill your own father and stand by while thousands of men, women, and children burned alive, would you have done it? Would you have kept your oath then?” GoT, S3.05, “Kissed by Fire”
The is perhaps what I like best about this sort of character. They aren’t necessarily good. Some are downright awful. And it’s not a characterization that is always consistent. Sometimes characters you least expect have moments of insight that shatter ideals, reveal hypocrisy and greed, and acknowledge the impossible choices that heroes sometimes have to face. One day I will prepare a more in-depth discussion of this topic with more and better examples. But for now it is enough to say that if anyone is going to tell Elspeth something she needs but doesn’t want to hear, it will probably be Trygve (though he won’t be the only one). He is committed to protecting the Dragonborn’s life, but not her feelings. He says the things that Lydia is unwilling to say and reveals the things that Elspeth’s sometimes too self-involved to notice.