Methos the Immortal

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Why Highlander?

I doubt there's a simple answer to that. Maybe it's the idea of immortal beings living among us, unnoticed, knowing that their discovery would lead to their destruction, fighting to keep their existence a secret from us and yet playing a deadly game among themselves.

Maybe it's the characters of the series, portrayed by certain actors who lent the characters so much appeal.

Maybe it's the fact that swords play such a large part in an Immortal's life (and I'll admit to finding a sword an incredibly powerful, almost symbolic thing - and no, I don't mean anything phallic!).

It's probably a little of all. Fact is, I've become obsessed, and as with all obsessions, it has expressed itself in the most astounding ways. Those of you who also are fans of a fictional character probably know the symptoms - spending an extraordinary amount of money on things in any way related to that character (like, in my case, an Ivanhoe Sword) or on conventions. If you are no fan, you'd probably be resigned to observing my antics uncomprehendingly.

Then, there's that mystefying phenomenon known as Fan Fiction. It starts out as voices in your head, whispering things like "I wonder what Methos did right after that scene ended" or "Suppose that scene ended in a different way?" or "What was Methos doing before the Horsemen, anyway?" So you sit down and write it.

Mac and Methos eating Popcorn

Well then, why Methos?

Same problem - there's no easy answer. There are three types of fans - those who've fallen in love with their idol, those who identify with him (or her), and those who aspire to be like their idol.

Methos makes it easy for us to identify with him - he's "just a guy", blending in perfectly with us imperfect mortals. He has his idiosyncracies, is the first to admit he makes mistakes, is humanly fallible - and yet he has survived for five thousand years without going insane, which proves that he is so much more than "just a guy".

He was alive before the pyramids were built, he watched Greece and the Roman Empire rise and fall, he loved and lost again and again and still has the capacity to care, is still curious about life. He is the oldest of the Immortals, probably the most powerful, yet he defers to the hero of the series, Duncan MacLeod, acting as his shield and advisor.

He has nothing to prove, no ego to defend. He has learned that survival is more important than pride or integrity, yet he will always come through for a friend.

Methos, Beer Drinker
The many facets of him are astonishing. He's capable of falling deeply, desperately in love, and will do anything to keep that love, up to and including risking his own life. During the series, we learned that he was one of the worst marauders in history, and that he murdered, raped and killed for a thousand years. He's the "reformed bad guy".

No one knows how he'll react in a given situation, no one knows his motives for saving Duncan MacLeod's life (maybe he just likes the guy, or maybe he counts on the favor to be returned, thereby improving his own chances for survival), or for exposing his Immortality to a mortal woman (maybe he'll kill her the next moment, maybe he'll excuse his rashness by claiming that he had to improvise).

Methos fighting Walker
Maybe it's the fact that this fascinating character was played by an equally captivating actor, Peter Wingfield.

There are pages more informative and better written than mine about the Welsh actor who gave up a career in medicine in favor of acting "because I didn't want to be a bad doctor". I won't go into details here, except to say that his interests and accomplishments are diverse and varied, that he's as easily bored as Methos is amused, that he's a marathon runner and plays the flute and the saxophone to studio standards, and that he has quite a record of playing bad guys, whom he considers to be merely "misunderstood".

And, as you can see, he's drop-dead gorgeous.

Peter Wingfield

Comments? Suggestions? Let me know!