Sunday, January 15, 2012
#6 - The Evil Baron Von Briar Thorn
But why is he so evil?
That is the question several ask during the course of The Princess Knight. Scarlet only sees him as the threat. She doesn't care about his motives. Chester, on the other hand, thinks he sees something more than an evil ruler. The Baron's people have varying opinions as well. His servant witch, Vesper, loves his evilness. While his minions wish to be free of his hold over them.
And then there is the Therapist. For reasons unknown, the evil Baron Von Briar Thorn has hired himself an anger management therapist to work through these villainous ways. Over the course of the show, we see cracks in the facade of nastiness and maybe, maybe there's more to the Baron than just blasting spells and badness.
Some of the best heroes really are made by the best villains. Batman has the best rogues gallery. Joker, Mr. Freeze, Catwoman, the Penguin, Scarecrow, Riddler, I could go on and on. Having these great villains makes Batman way more interesting. People would probably appreciate Superman more if he didn't have the lamest bad guys to fight. Who really wants to be Luke? Darth Vader's got the cloak and the red lightsaber, and the voice. The bad guys are the roles people really want to play. It's way more fun to be bad in plays. Othello's all right, but everyone wants a shot at playing Iago. Villains get the best clothes and usually have all the fun one-liners to taunt the heroes with. And the songs they get to sing are usually the best songs in the show. "Poor Unfortunate Souls", "Mr. Oogie Boogie", "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch".
But beyond the costumes or dialogue, the villains can often be more complex. Why are they the way they are? What led them to wanting to be the kind of person they are? And the more interesting the history - the more colorful and twisted, the better the character. Who was the Wicked Witch of the West before she was dubbed Elphaba? She was just the green meanie who was all "I'm melting!" and "I'll get you my pretty!" But then we got Wicked, and well, who wants to play Dorothy now?
The Baron has an arch. Just like the interesting princes, our villain is more than just a plot device. At first glance, sure, he comes off as just "The Bad Guy", but then Chester asks him why:
Baron, let me ask you something.
Is it... evil?
Uh... no... It’s just... Why are you such a - a - a mean guy?
(Shrugging and not understanding the question.)
Because it is what I do.
“What you do”?
Correct. I am the bad guy. Or have you not noticed?
Oh, I’ve noticed. But... why? Why not be something else?
Because this is me. This is what I am.
Well haven’t you ever thought about being - I don’t know - something else? There is a world of possibilities. You could be something else entirely.
(Pointing HIS wand sharply at CHESTER.)
You have never even thought about the possibilities, have you?
I - I - I -
Thought so. Let me tell you a story, Baron. Once upon a time, there was a dread pirate who sailed the seven seas...
The Baron is being bad because that's his role. But like many of the characters in our show, he starts to learn that there is more to life than being what you're told to be; or doing what you're told to do. There are possibilities...
Posted by T.C.