“I hate snakes.”

Posted by : E.v.R. | On : May 8, 2008

I watched Raiders of the Lost Ark again, in anticipation of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. It’s remarkable how many things Lucas & Spielberg did right in crafting their iconic hero. The whip and the fedora, the fedora which especially works well and the exploit a lot through the use of silhouette and shadows on the wall in various scenes. But those are physical/appearance characteristics, while important, do not necessarily reveal tics of character.

“I hate snakes.” You know what I’m talking about. This one simple line, and littering the first movie with snakes that Indy can react to, gives the audience a quality they can identify with and latch onto in the hero.

It also opened up opportunities, such as the scenes in Last Crusade where they show a young Indy falling into a train car full of snakes, illustrating where his phobia came from. Later, when Indy is making his way through a sewer full of rats, he makes a comment to the effect that his father wouldn’t have made it past the rats. Like father, like son. One hates rats, the other hates snakes.

It’s so simple. Some might say even shallow. But it is a character tic that is nonetheless endearing, and defines an inner part of an iconic character. Besides, it gives the storytellers an excuse to throw snakes into each story. And as the audience we may be suckers, but we never get tired of it.

What does your hero hate?

Comment (1)

  1. Eve Isk comment said on 19-06-2008

    Excellent Post