Category Archives: Sources of Conflict

Boys Over (Blood-Spattered) Flowers

Anger frequently plays a major role in conflict, especially violent conflict.  In one of my favorite stories of all time, Boys Over Flowers, almost every conflict that occurs throughout the story is driven by one character’s inability to express his anger in ways that do not involve assaulting people and/or punching walls.   Continue reading

Penny Dreadful and The Exorcist: Demons Are So Clingy

I am about to discuss an extremely creepy topic during a thunderstorm, in a dark room.  (Why is the room dark? Oh, wouldn’t you like to know, Theoretical Reader, wouldn’t you like to know!) This week I am blending two different stories that share a conflict: possession.  No, not that possession; I’m referring to the one that involves either extreme psychological phenomena or non-corporal-but-sentient-beings, depending on whether or not the characters believe in ghosts, demons, and/or spirits.  In Penny Dreadful and The Exorcist*, characters become actors in deadly conflicts that turn their bodies and minds into war zones.

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Penny Dreadful: Part 1

While there is plenty of internal and interpersonal conflict in Penny Dreadful, the plot is driven by the clash of mortal values and supernatural desires. The group of characters that I refer to as generally “Pro-Human” (Sir Malcolm, Vanessa, Ethan, Victor, and Sembene, and Dorian Gray) have personal goals that vary widely but are not incompatible. They are united in the search for Sir Malcolm’s daughter Mina, who has been kidnapped by mysterious creatures.  This is an example of a classic super-ordinate goal: mortals vs. evil non-humans, but this is only one layer of conflict woven throughout Penny Dreadful’s story. (Warning: there are more spoilers in this post than there are pale people in British period pieces).

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Ripper Street: My Imaginary Friendship

One of these days I will actually write about a book, comic book, or movie, instead of just TV show after TV show… but for now I’m going to talk about Ripper Street (starring Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice, Bronn from Game of Thrones, and this guy)

I watched the first three episodes on Netflix, and instead of focusing on the societal tension between a police force that failed to find Jack the Ripper and citizens who really wanted to not get murdered, I got distracted by the interpersonal conflict between Inspector Reid, the main character, and a journalist named Mr. Best (I didn’t catch his first name, and frankly it’s a miracle I figured out his last name since I cannot tell skinny white men with mustaches apart from each other). Continue reading