Hey everybody, welcome back to my ongoing series about Characters Who Are Older Than They Appear ™. Quick recap for those who might have missed last week’s entry, this list is about fictional Peter Pans, characters who are…well, older than they appear for any number of reasons. Typically, Vampires.
As I stated last week, this series is inspired by my very own character, Tommy, a 9,000-year-old man in an 8-year-old’s body, put there by a glitch in the Multiverse. Last week, we looked at #5 and #4 on the list, respectively Claudia from Interview with the Vampire and Eli from Let the Right One In. To continue with a theme…
3. Esther, from Orphan. Right away, let me say that her inclusion here is a spoiler, so apologies for that, but the movie is, what, four years old now? I think it should be safe to talk about it. For those folks who haven’t seen the movie (and I’m sure there are quite a few), Esther is adopted from an orphanage by a loving family who are looking for a child to love after a tragic miscarriage. Right away Esther shows some odd behaviors, heavily favoring the father while trying to push the mother out of the picture. It all culminates in an intensely weird and controversial twist in which it’s revealed that…okay, here’s the spoiler:
Esther is actually an adult woman with a growth disorder who poses as a child to gain access to families and ends up killing them, making it look like accidents. She doesn’t kill them intentionally, but as you can guess from her MO she’s very unstable and it almost always ends badly, especially after she makes advances toward the fathers. At the time I thought the twist sucked, but something about the story brings me back now and then so it had some lasting effect.
One of the creepiest angles about the “forever young” character is the full-blown sexuality of an adult in the body of a child. It unsettles us, and for good reason. It’s also almost impossible to ignore when writing a character like this, so even Tommy has some (rather tame) moments like this that creep out the other characters.
2. Wolverine/Logan in eight million pieces of fiction. Wolverine might actually have been my first exposure to the trope, right around age nine or ten. It seemed such a magical premise at the time: imagine a man who was still young and vital despite having experienced the early 1900s. I’m sure it had something to do with creating characters like Tommy, some connection way back in the dusty recesses of the subconscious.
Anyway, if you don’t know Wolverine’s story, he was born with a healing factor that allows him to rally from just about any injury. One of the most important side-effects is that it significantly slows his aging process to the point that he should be well over 100 years old but only appears to be about 40. The factor doesn’t make him immortal or even eternally youthful. He will die. In fact, he’s akin to a shorter-lived version of my own Aetelia, who remain youthful and vibrant to a very old age and are extremely difficult to kill. I hadn’t made the connection until this moment. Hmmm…
So let’s review where that leaves us:
5. Claudia, Interview With the Vampire
4. Eli, Let the Right One In
3. Esther, Orphan
2. Wolverine, X-Men
One more entry to go, one more post to go. Who could it be? Hmmm…
See you next time.