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Digest - 17 Jan 2007 to 18 Jan 2007 (#2007-13)

Thu, 18 Jan 2007

There is 1 message totalling 93 lines in this issue.

Topics of the day:

  1. Suicide and the Pipe Bomb from OtLo


Date:    Wed, 17 Jan 2007 22:08:53 -0800
From:    "Amy R." <akr@l.......>
Subject: Suicide and the Pipe Bomb from OtLo

      At lunch on Tuesday, I read a story from volume three of
_Knightbeat_ (1993-94), "By Virtue of Necessity" by Winifred
McBeth.  (I'm under the impression that none of the _Knightbeat_
stuff is on-line ... ?)  At one point in that hiatus-era fanfiction,
Nick admits something fairly unusual, and I found that atypical angle
on canon so much fun that I wanted to try to share the giddy burst of
FK-analysis it inspired.  Thus this post.

      NICK:  No. Not by my own hand.
      ERICA: By whose then?

      Looking forward toward "Last Knight," we know what that
quotation from "Last Act" portends.  We know the answer to Erica's
question.  And it's all unhappy and finite, at the least.

      But what if we look in the other direction?  Drop third season
off the face of canon, spin that quotation around and look back --
back before "Last Act," before "Dark Knight"!  Inside the story, that
line's prescience is accidental.  It came to Nick's lips from his
past, not his future.  So when and where and what in his past?  What
was he really saying at that moment, in that first-season world?

      Perhaps it came from his loss of others to suicide.  There's
Matthew ("Dying to Know You").  Erica herself, of course.  Ilsa
("Dead Issue").  Those are the first-season suicides who left Nick
behind, all before he spoke that line.  Second season experiences a
sharp drop in flashback suicides, but a rise in present-day
ones.  While both Casey Brooks and Tran suicide ("Can't Run, Can't
Hide"), and of course Dr. Carter ("A More Permanent Hell") and Dr.
Welsh ("Crazy Love"), those come after the line in question.  Angela
in "Beyond the Law" circa 1968 is the only one in second season,
unless you want to count Amalia ("Crazy Love").  In third season,
Angel's suicide ("The Black Buddha") is not Nick's memory and the
Inca's fate not exactly Nick's burden, and there isn't really another
-- is there? -- until "Ashes to Ashes" and "Last Knight" themselves,
with Vachon's fraught end and the inestimable Lora Haynes.  What a
pattern!  So many suicides to so few, Nick's personal issue (cf. LA)
to Natalie's (cf. AMPH), over the seasons.  And then LK.

      But dropping the other seasons, consolidating back to first,
the pattern disperses and no longer limits the possibilities.  Nick
might have rejected suicide for inculcated cultural or religious
reasons -- hope of heaven -- as much as by virtue of experience on
the receiving end, or sheer desire for life and all it offers, but in
conditioning his answer, he was not exhibiting the "constant fear of
death" Joan ("For I Have Sinned") attributes to those "who choose to
live forever."  He does not, in "Last Act," fear death.  He simply
prefers life.  And yet, as no longer one who chooses to live forever,
there's a potentially overlooked opening -- invitation -- to
death.  The conditioning of his answer may reveal an understanding of
the limits of his endurance.

      In that "By Virtue of Necessity" zine fanfic, Nick confides to
an original character that when he heroically threw himself on the
pipe bomb that landed him in Natalie's morgue ("Only the Lonely"), he
rather hoped he would never wake up, that the force and fire of the
explosion would end it all!  Completely aside from the story's other
merits, that angle on canon excited me.  It's probably just my poor
memory, but as I read, I could not off-hand recall bumping into that
particular take before.  And though it was not the plot thrust of the
story, suddenly I was surrounded by questions about the pipe bomb,
questions about what Nick was doing and feeling right before he met
Natalie, and the daringly atypical supposition that he was on some
level seeking to go out in battle, to find an honorable end, as it
were -- like but so unlike the approach eventually used in "Near
Death," quite selfish by comparison.

      A good excuse to re-analyze FK still always makes my day.  :-)

      So what does that pipe-bomb possibility bring to your
mind?  Might Nick have thought the pipe bomb would kill him, or would
he have known it wouldn't?  Might he have felt a flash of relief at
the thought of an end, or would he have felt something else
entirely?  Might he even have consciously or unconsciously sought out
potentially fatal danger?  Through eight centuries of flashbacks,
Nick is not suicidal.  What might be different right before he meets
Natalie?  And how might that then influence his perception of Natalie?

      Just for the fun of thinking it through.  :-)

Amy R., Knightie
Bright Knight: http://users.LMI.net/akr/fk/


End of FORKNI-L Digest - 17 Jan 2007 to 18 Jan 2007 (#2007-13)

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