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Melancholy and the infinite badness

…Of Thomas Shelby, that is.

I started this post on Monday morning. It encapsulated my mood at the time. It’s a bit scatterbrain, a bit melancholic – but mostly just ramblings I had no intentions to publish, specifically about the Peaky Blinders. (A television series I’m obsessed with). But then I thought to myself, I should be making better use of this mental state. You know? I should be putting it to work…

After all, perhaps this melancholic state I’ve adopted since watching Peaky Blinders will unlock some creative stores in my brain? Either way, it’s got me thinking about story telling and character development in ways I never thought before. It’s turned me onto the idea of writing fiction.

The post went like this:

Another Monday morning. Same as the rest. Monotonous to say the least. My hunger and eagerness has subsided. The high from the last few weeks has dissipated. All I can think of now is the television series Peaky Blinders. The lead protagonist’s temperament has worn off on me. Damn him. Damn those talented screenwriters for dreaming up such a compelling character.

I’m watching the series again, back-to-back. I just can’t resolve to watching it once. I feel like I’ve lost a little bit of my way in this process. I feel a subservience setting in. Like a complacency. It feels good to exercise my writing muscle. Albeit, if only to prove that I haven’t lost all sense of reality whilst engrossed in my new favourite show.

Maybe I should try my hand at some fiction. Maybe I should develop a storyline romance so good I can’t put it down – like Thomas Shelby and his love interest, Grace.

I’ve spent the last two weeks contemplating why that union works so well. I believe it lies in the character development of Thomas. The show is built around him as the lead protagonist. You can’t help but root for him, despite the fact that he’s a bad man and does bad things.

The character trait most useful to him, however, is his status as a decorated war hero. This status supersedes all conflicts and characters in the show. It makes cops and robbers respect him in such a way that could never be achieved by any other means. It’s the lynchpin that holds the series together.

The conditions that gave rise to Thomas Shelby – namely war – created the foundation of his character, his appetite for risk, and his willingness to die. Which he uses to call bluff on the dozen or so characters that attempt to kill him in the first twelve episodes.

Thanks to this show, I’ve developed a divine appreciation for the art of character development. From the way they speak, look, dress, the way they wear their hair, the music that accompanies them on screen. It all comes together to build a facade that is so believable you can’t help but become infatuated with the character.

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