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Highlander Flashback

Highlander-highlander-the-series“He is Duncan McLeod, the Highlander. Born in 1592 in the Highlands of Scotland, and he is still alive. He is immortal. For centuries he has battled the forces of darkness, with holy ground his only refuge... I am a Watcher, part of a secret society of men and women who observe and record, but never interfere. We know the truth about Immortals. In the end, there can be only one. May it be Duncan MacLeod, the Highlander.”

If you’ve ever seen Highlander: the Series, then these lines may be familiar to you. It’s a show about an immortal Highland swordsman, Duncan McLeod, living in modern-day Seacouver (amalgamation of Vancouver and Seattle, where the show was filmed) and following his own chivalrous code of honour.

One of my favorite characters on the show was Joe Dawson, a Watcher. He is human, but he knows about the existence of immortals. Eventually McLeod finds out that he is being watched. He forms an uneasy friendship with Joe, who happens to be the proprietor of a blues bar called Joe’s Bar.

When he’s not spying on immortals, Joe likes to play blues guitar. It’s an interesting feature of Highlander, both the movies and the series, that they both go hand in hand with great music. The original score for the movie was written and performed by Queen, and the series has had some famous musician guest stars such as Joan Jett and Roger Daltrey.

highlander20However, it was Joe Dawson, played by charismatic real-life musician Jim Byrnes, who really developed a more permanent presence on the show. He added another dimension to the show, a more human presence that we could all relate to. Byrnes says, “Music is Joe’s form of meditation, where he would go; it’s Joe’s martial art.”

In a story that is mostly about immortals, we get a hint of how humans can also achieve immortality, through making music or perhaps any kind of creative action.

A Special Performance by Jim Byrnes

While McLeod often has historical flashbacks, I recently had my own flashback to the nineties, when I used to watch the show as a child…

Being a swashbuckler usually involves late-night carousing, so I am not exactly a morning person. However, I got out of bed at 6 a.m. to attend a special early morning CBC event to celebrate the 125th anniversary of Vancouver’s Stanley Park. Together with the CBC crew, Jim Byrnes was there, and I was lucky enough to get front row seats. It was a beautiful, cool summer morning, and a small crowd of spectators was there, as well as some passing dog-owners (you can hear dogs adding their creative input in this video). It was a very special morning!

 

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Dryad Characters: Anastacio

As for me, I don’t feel at home in the human world, but I am here since I must fulfil my duty.

– Anastacio

Somewhat like this but more green and leafy!

Somewhat like this but more green and leafy!

Picture a Tarzan-like creature or perhaps Conan the Barbarian, but slightly greenish of skin and very green and round of eye. Proud and sometimes arrogant, but very wise and protective of those he loves, Anastacio is skilled in dryad skills such as magic, climbing, dancing, and vine-throwing.

Interview

Why are you so proud?

Because I’m Anastacio!

Who is your best friend?

Venicio, the priest of the Great Tree. He’s very interesting to talk to.

You have much knowledge and wisdom. Have you ever been interested in the priesthood yourself?

Not really. For it would require arbitrating many quarrels and settling disputes among all these obnoxious dryads. I don’t have the patience for that.

You are very protective of outcast dryads such as Solena. Why is that?

Obviously, because they need my help. And if I don’t help them, who will?

But isn’t there just a small chance that you’re drawn to Solena because she is attractive?

What kind of a question is that?! I would help any dryad who needs my help, no matter their level of attractiveness.

Okay, let’s say we believe you… Why would you help any dryad — you just said they are quarrelsome and obnoxious?

I suppose I have a certain disdain for them as a group — they’re just so annoying when they get together — but I feel sympathy and understanding for each individual.

What makes you happy?

Roaming through the trees, watching the animals and birds going about their ways; talking with Solena about her human magazines and books.

Aha!

What?

Nothing.

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Dryad Characters: Tyler

crocodile-cartoon-012What? So I’m a minority! Big deal! The assistant vice president is a dark elf, and nobody says nothing.

– Tyler

Tyler is a talking alligator from the swamps of Louisiana. He’s recently got a position on the executive team of the Timber Corporation. But is he an undercover operative for the Alligator Alliance?..

Do you get along with your co-workers?

Yes, I do. And if they start not getting along with me, I could always bite their heads off.

What made you leave the swamps of Louisiana and live among humans?

I was very bored with my swamp life. I wanted to do something more exciting, see the world. I taught myself to speak human, by the way.

Cool. And why did you choose the name Tyler?

My alligator name is unpronounceable to people, whereas Tyler sounds like a youthful and hip sort of name.

What do you think about the environmental practices of the Timber Corporation?

They ain’t got much in the way of environmental practices. And from what I hear, the vice president, who I strongly believe is a dark elf, is cooking up some scheme to travel back in time and cut down trees so as to avoid having to follow modern environmental laws. You didn’t hear it from me, though.

Why do you suspect the VP of being a dark elf?

My instincts usually alert me of a supernatural creature. If there’s one thing I learned from reality TV, it’s that it helps to know your enemies’ dark secrets.

Enemies?

I mean co-workers. Hee-hee.

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Dryad Characters: Rodney Love

rodney-love

This guy only has the same haircut as Rodney Love. The real Rodney Love is much more handsome. He is also more “corporationy.”

I know you don’t see much of yourself in me, father, but I can be a high-stakes player too. – Rodney Love

Rodney Love is the heir to the great Timber Corporation. He’s generally an easygoing and smooth-talking guy who would rather be surfing than sitting through boring business meetings. However, Rodney wants to prove himself as a serious business-savvy corporation leader in order to impress his critical father.

Interview

What is it about surfing that appeals to you?

I grew up in a prep school on the east coast, in Boston, and found it pretty oppressive. I guess I chose surfing it for its laid-back west coast vibe.

How do you feel about your work for the Timber Corporation?

It’s mostly really boring, but it has its moments.

Why did you hire an alligator on your executive team?

Look, I don’t just hire minorities for the sake of hiring minorities. I really believe this alligator has what it takes to promote our business. When it comes to negotiations, he’s got that intimidation factor. And he’s not just “an alligator”: you can call him Tyler, or Mr. Alligator.

Who is your best friend?

I don’t have any friends. I only have admirers, buddies, or pals.

Why is that?

I’m not as stupid as I look: I can tell when people genuinely want to be my friends, and that’s never.

What are you most afraid of?

My father.

What did your father think of your most recent interview for Narcissism Carnival?

He thought it was an embarrassment to him, and that I came across as a hippie. I didn’t expect anything else. Since I didn’t say in my interview that I wanted to ruthlessly quash all competition and cut down every single tree on the planet, my dad would naturally assume I was a hippie.

How do you feel about Solena?

She’s an intriguing woman. I think there’s a mystery about her, and that makes her very attractive!

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Dryad Characters: Solena

dryad character Solena

I’m a DRYAD!

– Solena

At the beginning of our tale, Solena is obsessed with the human world, enchanted with its superficial trappings and tinsel dreams.

Is she a foolish and superficial dryad? Not at all. She is simply attracted to the superficial side of our culture, having not been exposed to anything else.

However, as she journeys into the human world, Solena finds out that it’s not at all as glamorous as she thought…

Interview

What is it that makes you so fascinated with humans?

I think it’s the drama. Humans have such short lives, yet they go through them with much passion and they have so many adventures!

Do you believe in love at first sight?

Definitely! I’m quite the romantic.

You’ve always had a passion for reading, but now you’ve switched from gossip magazines to self help books, primarily by Teddy Goldman. Why is that?

Well, a fortune teller advised me to read Positive Attitude by Teddy Goldman, and I’ve never looked back. Teddy has had remarkable success as a martial artist and as an author, but he still comes across as a humble and down-to-earth person. I find his philosophy so amazingly spiritual and yet practical when applied in the real world.

What makes you happy?

Reading, masquerading as a human, having adventures.

How do you feel about other dryads?

I feel slightly bitter because they have ostracized me, and they constantly mock me. But I would really like to be their friend one day.

You are now on a mission to prevent the humans from destroying your forest. How do you feel?

I have lots of contradictory feelings. I could never pass up the opportunity to live as a human, so I gladly accepted the mission. But it’s very confusing. The prophecy says I will save the forest, but I’m not sure how or when.

Do you think your attraction to Rodney Love, heir to the Timber Corporation, could jeopardize the mission?

Um… I hope not.