We spend a lot of time here at the Midnight Myth discussing heroes, villains, epic adventures, and feats of derring-do. But it’s easy to lose sight of those characters just outside the realm of glory, just to the right of the protagonist, propping them up in times of need. This week, we’re talking about the sidekick—through the eyes of one of the greatest sidekicks in all of storytelling, Dr. John Watson. As he accompanies the great detective Sherlock Holmes and chronicles their adventures, Watson may seem like a lesser man, but time and again proves himself essential to Holmes’ success. We’re taking a close look at the pilot episode of the BBC series Sherlock, ‘A Study in Pink,’ to break down what makes Watson both so ordinary and so exceptional.
As we wait with bated breath for the final season(s?) of HBO’s Game of Thrones—another delay, ugh—the Midnight Myth is here to quench your thirst with another deep dive GoT character study. This week, we’re exploring one of the series’ most charismatic and manipulative monsters, Cersei Lannister. We’ll compare the ruthless queen of the seven kingdoms to the philosophy laid out by medieval author Niccolo Machiavelli, and introduce modern psychology’s dark triad. We’ll dig into feminist studies and examine how Cersei intersects with the monstrous feminine, and the long line of literary ladies who came before her, with ambition as her tragic flaw.
Eleven years after the iconic, genius, frustrating, scintillating, upsetting finale—the cut-to-black heard round the world, we’re jumping headfirst into the underworld of New Jersey crime, and into the den of the Sopranos. HBO’s critically acclaimed series captured viewers instantly by asking a simple question: what if a mob boss went to therapy? But instead of turning it into a punchline, the show used that springboard to open up questions about humanity, mental illness, family, and the American Dream. Now Derek and Laurel pull apart the characters, the influences, and the ultimate successes and failures of the series that brought epic, romantic stories back down to earth. Brief lessons on Italian Opera, the theatrical form Commedia dell’Arte, and the most famous thought experiment in quantum mechanics.
Last week, we talked about the Force awakening in Rey, our hero. This week, Derek & Laurel explore the continuation of Rey’s character journey through the Last Jedi. As a mentor-less orphan wandering the galaxy in search of guidance, Rey’s coming-of-age is unique in the Star Wars universe. Where the heroes who came before her were aided by the likes of Yoda and Obi-Wan Kenobi, Rey must find her way more or less alone—with the fate of the galaxy quite literally hanging in the balance. Join us for part two of a deconstruction of Rey, a new kind of Star Wars hero.
What makes a Star Wars hero? In a world concerned with fan theories and mysterious backstories, how do we assess the value of who our hero is here and now. Join us for the first of a two-part mini-series on Rey, the central hero of the new Star Wars saga. This first part tracks her journey through the Force Awakens, compares her to the heroes we recognize, and tries to understand what makes Rey truly unique for a new generation of Star Wars fans. When an ordinary scavenger goes head to head with the strongest Dark Side Force user we’ve ever seen—and makes it out the other side stronger—we know we’re dealing with something new.
From Dragon’s Daughter to Mother of Dragons. From Orphan to Wanderer to Warrior to Martyr. With the most straightforward hero’s journey of almost any character on Game of Thrones, it’s easy to fall in love with Daenerys. She wins us over from episode one. This week on the Midnight Myth Podcast, come with us back to Westeros, where characters often represent whole schools of thought and morality. We’re exploring Secular Humanism through the arc of Daenerys Stormborn of House Targaryen, of the blood of Old Valyria. We’ll also dive into her personal hero’s journey, and the religious imagery surrounding and elevating her. Will she win the Game of Thrones? Let’s hold up a magnifying glass to her greatest virtues as well as her most glaring faults.
If you’re like us, you’re missing Game of Thrones hard. As we wait (and wait, and wait) for Season 8 to drop, we’re jumping back into Westeros and its gray moral landscape to study fan favorite character, Tyrion Lannister. He’s a hedonistic nobleman whose philosophical alignment makes our heads burst with ethics questions, whose constant quips make for great tee shirts, and whose arc is as hard to parse as it is fun to watch. Join us as we deconstruct why we love Tyrion, and why we should look closer at some of his actions before we pick up where we left off with him. Questions of morality, monstrosity, and Medieval English history abound in this SPOILER-FILLED adventure of an episode.
Few themes of storytelling and mythology are as widespread or as powerful as the resurrection myth. From the ancient to the modern world, the idea of resurrection, reincarnation, and escape from mortality lies at the heart of religions, belief systems, and popular BBC television shows. Revisiting one of our favorites, Doctor Who, we learn to say goodbye to the old and welcome the new during the Doctor’s process of “regeneration.” Derek & Laurel take a look back this week over Peter Capaldi’s legacy as the legendary Timelord, and seek to understand the timelessness of the character through the lens of Egyptian mythology and contemporary psychology. Some spoilers for Series 9 and the latest Doctor Who Christmas Special.