Saturday, September 6, 2008

Lucius Vorenus, Titus Pullo and YOU!

posted by Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy

Last night, I finished watching the DVDs of the HBO series Rome including the “Bonus Features.” During the latter, a comment made by one of the show’s creators really resonated with me. He said that people were attracted to the show because of the characters. One minute, viewers would say, “Wow! Those people are just like me!” Then five minutes later they would say, “Wow! Those people are nothing like me!”

I couldn’t agree more, and I believe the same duality is true of all fictional characters. The audience needs to be able to identify with a character’s traits and actions, but at the same time, the character must go far beyond most ordinary human beings.

In Rome, it’s easy to identify with and like the character Lucius Vorenus. He is honorable, courageous, and highly moral in all his deeds. We would all like to think we too could be as noble and upstanding, and we love watching his character.

However, I know I’m not the only one who finds myself even more intrigued by Vorenus’ comrade and nearly polar opposite, Titus Pullo. Most of the time, Pullo is ultra-violent, killing and maiming anyone with seemingly no conscience. He is an amoral, drunken, whoring brute who never seems to think about his actions beyond how he can be instantly gratified. His character is exaggerated to the extreme, and he is not like someone you would ever hope to be! And yet… he is infinitely fascinating to watch! The few moments within the series when Pullo showed his sensitive, caring nature, or when he actually understood something beyond his own immediate need were my favorites.

Am I alone in my weirdness?

Think about some of your favorite characters. Were you drawn to them because they were
just like you? Or did the attraction lay in them being nothing like you?

17 comments:

  1. Cindy, I love Rome, and Titus Pullo was my favorite character on the show. There was something very appealing about him, despite his many obvious flaws. I like characters who remind me of myself or someone I love, but characters who are very different from me, yet still possess motivations I can at least comprehend, are fascinating.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Cindy,
    I absolutely loved Rome and wish they would continue it. I hate television but will watch the occasional movie or series especially if they are period pieces.
    Titus the bad boy that he is was my favorite character. I could very easily fall for him with his bad boy charms and electric appeal.
    Mark Anthony on the other hand I wanted to strangle. Nothing like a self centered SOB to really stir the pot that you don't know if you hate him or love him.
    I really don't think I look at the characters from the point of view that you do but I look at them as, "Oh my he's fun", "Boring" or "Safe and Respectable". I really like to think of what kind of trouble I can get into then go towards the safe route. Guess it's cause I'm a Libra and everything has to be balanced. Hey, gotta blame it on something don't I! ;)
    huggs,
    Terra

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi Christina!

    I started out LURVING Vorenus because he was just so darn noble and... Oh yeah, he was quite a hunk! But the more I watched Pullo, the more he drew me in. Finally, by the scene where Pullo is sentenced to death in the arena, I was yelling at the TV, "Vorenus! Get in there and SAVE HIM!"

    LOL! Yes, I truly identified with these characters.

    AC

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hey Terra, if you're a Libra then you've got a birthday coming up soon. Happy Bday even if a wee bit early!

    As for Mark Antony, I have 2 words for you -- OIL BATH! OMG!!! I'll admit, I hit rewind on that scene more than once. Yes, Aunty is a Dirty Ole Lady, but sometimes I just can't help myself. ;-) I do LURVE me a bad boy, but only in fiction, NOT real life.

    I was so very disappointed to learn there would not be a third season for the show. :-( Even if I don't have cable and watched it on DVD, I definitely thought it was top quality.

    AC

    ReplyDelete
  5. Yes, you are alone in your weirdness.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hahahaha! Just kidding, Cindy! You make some wonderful points about relating to certain characters. Haven't seen the Rome series, but I've heard great things. Thanks for a great post!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Great post Cindy I agree that I seem to be drawn to people that are different to me I am basicly a quiet person although I love a good party and love to have fun I don't go overboard I worry about what people think of me a lot even though I perhaps shouldn't I am always being told by people I am too soft but that is me.
    I haven't seen the series Rome but it sounds like something I would like.

    Have Fun
    Helen

    ReplyDelete
  8. Marie,
    It is LONELY here in the midst of my weirdness..... HAHAHAHAHA!

    But seriously, you should put "Rome" season 1 in your Netflix queue. I GUARANTEE you will enjoy it (and season 2 will instantly go to the top of your queue)!

    AC

    ReplyDelete
  9. Thanx for dropping by Helen!

    I am drawn to characters who are nothing like me, but if I can identify with their basic humanity and the emotions they portray, I'm THERE!

    The series "Rome" is ultra-violent in places, and there is full-frontal nudity, so it is definitely not for the faint hearted or easily offended. You know yer olde Aunty is pretty blood-thirsty (which is why I write romantic suspense!) but some of the scenes were a little too violent for even me. GAH! So be forewarned. But overall, some WONDERFUL characters and intriguing storylines. You'll never view Julius Cesar and the rest in quite the same way again.

    AC

    ReplyDelete
  10. I loved Rome, watched it faithfully. I agree with you, the Lucius character was honorable, but Titus felt more like a real person. Although interestingly Lucius lost some of that "goodness" towards the end.

    I used Rome as an example of how historical novels should be written. The characters moved through their world very naturally. There were lots of things I wasn't familiar with, but there was not attempt to explain, it was just part of the scenery, or part of the plot and as it went on it became clear.

    Obviously a writer has to describe stuff, since we do not have the luxury of visuals, but it needs to be done in a way that is true to the character living at a time when they knew exactly what an amphora was, and alway ate feasts laying down.

    I thought the writers and the actors did a great job on that series, and for me, I liked Titus.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Michele,
    COOL that you use "Rome" as an example of "showing and not telling." I loved that about the series too. The clothing and details were amazing.

    And yes, Lucius lost a bit of his "goodness" and Titus gained quite a bit... Well, if not "goodness" at least he won our empathy. :-)

    AC

    ReplyDelete
  12. Rome is also one of my favorite programs along with The Tudors and Dexter. And I can see some similarities with Dexter.

    Linda

    ReplyDelete
  13. Cindy thanks for the bday wishes but I do have a wee bit to go yet. I am a true Libra with being smack dab in the middle. My only problem is that I really am not all that balanced. Unless you can consider warped balanced. LOL!
    Anywho, just for all you lovely ladies I have put up Sunday's Honey over at Yankee Romance Reviewers early. Yup Aunt Cindy is going to get to be extra dirty minded with this one. ;D
    Go on over and take a gander if you dare.
    huggs,
    Terra

    http://yankeeromancereviewers.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
  14. Hi, AC! I confess I have never seen an episode of Rome--I'm a bit scared off by the promise of all that violence... As for fictional characters in general, I guess it depends on what I'm in the mood for--sometimes what I like is reading/watching something where I couldn't possibly relate (she's gorgeous/brainy/wealthy-beyond-my-wildest-dreams/lives in tenth-century Mondavia/is a wolf-shifter...) but other times I want a heroine who feels more like reality. I guess no matter what though, I don't want a big dose of reality in the plot--I want the HEA :) Hmm... not sure I'm answering the question... Maybe I'll go have some chocolate...

    ReplyDelete
  15. Rome? Rome? Did somebody say Rome?

    {Deep Breath} My favorite subject.

    I agree with you AC, that the characters made the story. Sure, it was set as the Republic morphed into the Empire but the characters. The story was told not by the historical setting but by the characters.

    I loved Pullio. For just the reasons you gave. He'd grown up a slave, had no sense of self really and when situations came on him like his love for the slave girl...he was awed and bewildered and unable to process the depth of his feelings.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Ah... Rome.

    Gosh I loved that series and I really, really wished they would continue it. And yep, Pullo was my favorite too.

    Other favorite characters: Dexter (he'so twisted but I totally get him -- should I be worried?)

    Methos (from Highlander, the series. Who can resist a 5000 year-old immortal?)

    Fox Mulder (X-Files. I just loved the way his mind worked LOL)

    ReplyDelete
  17. Oh, and I'm looking forward to the new Christian Slater series 'My Own Worst Enemy'

    Seems fascinating...

    ReplyDelete