Wednesday, July 29, 2015

When one door closes, there's always FANFICTION

Enzo Cilenti as Mr. Childermass.
Bertie Carvel as Jonathan Strange.
Very dark indeed describes two knights so recently found, then lost, when the BBC miniseries in which they appeared concluded.  JONATHAN STRANGE AND MR. NORRELL (yes, let's use all caps) was a story into which one could disappear, pulling their imagination behind them before the portal closed.  As I have not read the book upon which the program was based, I hoped wildly that episode 7 was not the finale but merely the end of the first season.  Alas.  No more Bertie Carvel at his disheveled best, no more of Enzo Cilenti's cheeky disregard of orders from his so-called betters.

Across the past several years, however, I learned from my son about the existence of fanfiction,  a refuge for disappointed viewers of, among other things, concluded television shows.   And what storylines the amateur screenwriter could restore to life, if one cared to.  I will not go and find out if there is fanfiction for Jonathan Strange.  There are things we may be better off not knowing, such as the truth of what happened to Lady Pole (if you haven't seen the program, as you can guess I recommend it with embarrassing enthusiasm and will try not to give anything away).

My son tells me that, in rare instances, fanfiction may have opened up real screenwriting opportunities.  No promises, no guarantees, perhaps a foot across a threshold.  Most notable in this category is (see linked Wikipedia article) 50 Shades of Gray which began as fanfiction for the Twilight  movie series.

Such is not my path.  The writer who creates original, compelling work deserves better than to have his or her characters hijacked and shoved around to suit the expectations of dissatisfied customers.  As a genuine senior citizen who has learned the world cannot be made over to match what I think it ought to be, I find something familiar, if not exactly comforting, when an entertainment from which I receive so much pleasure comes to an end.  Let a bit of time elapse, then go back and watch or read it again, either remembering or forgetting important events.  See/read it often enough and it becomes part of us, full strength, just as we fell in love with it.

When the Harry Potter books were at their peak of popularity, my son told that one reporter's suggested answer to the question girls so often asked of J.K. Rowling, "What happens to Harry Potter?" was, "He grows us and marries YOU.  Okay?"   I am nearly content to leave Jonathan Strange, Mr. Norrell and the beautifully enigmatic Mr. Childermass, with his tarot cards, to find their way without me.   I know we'll meet again.


Kass said...

"...the world cannot be made over to match what I think it ought to be..."

In a convolutedly similar vein, Stuart Smalley (Al Franken) from Saturday Night Live used to say, "It's easier to wear slippers than to carpet the world."

Marylinn Kelly said...

Kass - Oh, so much easier, the wearing of slippers. Yes, that's it. xo