Welcome, welcome. I’m kicking off a new set of features for the site, kind of marrying the old style of Muse features with the new focus on the fiction itself. Tip of the hat to fellow author Marie Loughin for inspiration on that front and helping kick my butt into gear.
For the next few entries (roughly until the middle of next week), we’ll look at five characters in pop culture – mostly movies and novels – who are much older than they appear. This topic centers around one of the main characters of the Among the Dead cycle, Tommy. Born 9,000 years ago in a very different-looking version of the fertile crescent, Tammuz got his start as a scholar in pursuit of the knowledge of the really ancients. The Station tells the story of his discovery and how he ended up trapped in a child’s body, providing vital impetus to the story of City of the Dead, but we’ll get to that later.
For now, let’s start at the bottom.
5. Claudia (Interview with the Vampire). I can’t point to one character as the “inspiration” for Tommy, but Claudia sure had a lot to do with his existence. For those few who haven’t read the series, Claudia was a six-year-old girl (twelve in the movie) turned into a vampire by Lestat in a particularly horrific turn of hubris and a desire to hold onto Louis. One of the more uncomfortable aspects of her character was the development of human female desires and traits in the body of a child. Tommy’s case is a little different, as he begins a man and ends up in a child’s body, but there are echoes of Claudia’s feelings for Louis in the relationship between Omarosa and Tommy. I tried to avoid the squick factor. I really did. But those characters practically insisted that they be lovers. Anyway, divorced of the ickiness, Claudia’s tale is actually quite fascinating. She’s a slave to others’ perception of her as a child, and it’s something that Tommy struggles with over the course of the series as well.
4. Eli (Let the Right One In). I guess it was inevitable that this list contain a lot of vampires, though Tommy himself ended up in his predicament through a strange glitch in the system that maintains the Multiverse. Eli shows up suddenly as a mysterious neighbor in this movie and the boy next door is immediately fascinated with her. As she explains once he learns her secret, “I’m twelve…. but I’ve been twelve for a long time.” Eli is conflicted by her place in the world in a very different manner from Claudia. Where Claudia and Tommy struggle with others’ perception of them, Eli has more directly embraced being both a “child” and the nature of being a vampire, but seems to suffer loneliness from living inside of that world that is only alleviated by the arrival of the protagonist, who struggles to understand her world. It’s an interesting angle, and one that could work well for a future story with Tommy.
And that’s it for this entry. Watch over for two more entries in this series over the next few weeks. Your hint for next time: