Nettles and Lilies


Love is like dew that falls on both nettles and lilies. – Swedish proverb

Most everyone is familiar with story plots that have an Old West gunman, a mobster, a murderer, or some other bad guy fall in love.  Several of these stories end with the guy riding off into the sunset a changed human being who gets to spend the rest of his life with the love of his life.  Movies from The Angel and the Bad Man on down to Tangled make extensive use of this plot gimmick.

I have to say that this is a plot twist I am rather fond of. It is always fun, to me, to watch a bad guy or a ne’er-do-well fall in love and become a good guy. However, I do think that people might tend to take this plotline directly to heart a bit too much.

An example of this would be – and I really hate to go to comic books for this – the story of Batman and Catwoman. Writers for DC comics have had these two characters doing the Romance Reel for years. There has always been an attraction between the two. In some storylines, Catwoman marries Batman and gives up her thieving ways. In other stories, the attraction remains but Catwoman will not go the extra step to secure their relationship.

And this is the point of my little note right here. Not all bad guys fall in love and leave their lives of crime for the good guy life. That does not mean that they do not actually fall in love with someone (an argument could be made that they are merely in lust and it is not true love, but that can wait for another day). This simply means that they are not willing to change because of their love.

This is where I think some people make a mistake. They assume that because a villain falls in love with a good person, then that villain will become a good guy because they love that person.

Unbelievably, or believably in some cases, there are people in real life who think like this. There are people who actually think that the “love of a good woman” will turn a man from murder and evil into an upstanding citizen.

This is an extremely rare accomplishment in real life. However, stories need a plot, so this character twist shows up fairly often in fiction. As I said, I enjoy this kind of storyline. My only point in bringing it up is that what we read in books or see in theaters and on television is not necessarily true to life.

Love is like dew that falls on both nettles and lilies. – Swedish proverb

Translation, even the bad guys fall in love. But are they willing to change because of that love? That is where we readers and viewers have to stop and think, observing the situation from as many angles as possible to discover whether the answer is yes – or no.

Does Catwoman love Batman? Sure she does. But she is not always willing to give up her life of crime for that love.


The Mithril Guardian


About The Mithril Guardian

I like stories.  Whether they’re on film, in song, or in print, I always remember a good story.  They remind me of paintings.  People cannot see them without learning something.  So it’s a good idea to look at a story from as many angles as possible.  I can watch the same movie a million times and still I will learn something that I did not know before.  Thoughts on the Edge of Forever is where I get to focus on what I learned from stories; what was not obvious the first time, the second time, or the umpteenth time. Earlier posts are written in the form of letters, usually to specific characters, to point out what I saw in a particular story or heard in a piece of music. Some of those letters, though, are like letters to the editor. Why did someone write a story this way and not another? Would the story have turned out better if the writer had done something different? These ‘letters to the editor’ will probably never be answered by the writers - the characters certainly will not answer anything - but their contents are still up for debate. After all, unless you ask a question, you will never get an answer. Still, civil ground rules apply. Any foul language or other form of abuse will not be tolerated in Thoughts on the Edge of Forever. I mean, who wants to be around the guest at the dinner party who is being nasty? Practically nobody, since people go to a party to have fun, not to hang around a grouch. So let’s have fun! The Mithril Guardian
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