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Duncan Macleod as the Archetypal Knight

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  • Duncan Macleod as the Archetypal Knight

    Hello Everyone,

    I just uploaded a video in which I talk about my interpretation of Duncan Macleod as the archetypal knight. My YouTube channel isn't primarily about entertainment and so most of my subscribers won't be familiar with Highlander. For that reason I use a lot of unaltered footage from the show to make my points. Thought I should warn you ahead of time since obviously the people on this forum will probably know the series off by heart already.

    Formerly known as "Quickening"

    My latest video in which I visit an ancient broch and cairns:

  • #2
    That was very good.

    While I disagree in some minor ways, I think you are right about most of it, especially about Duncan. I think Methos is much more than a rogue, although he started that way. It might be better to say that Duncan is an idealist and Methos is a pragmatist.

    What I liked most about the series was the presentation of moral dilemmas. I write some fan fiction and I try to present different sides of issues. Highlander is great because it crosses over with anything. I' did one, and presently doing another, with Highlander crossing with Law & Order SVU because I see similarities between Duncan and Olivia Benson. They are both knight archetypes with some points at which they were pretty dark.

    I did one which crossed with Buffy, the Vampire Slayer. In that one, Buffy was the antagonist because she learned of immortals and decided they are evil. Her rigidity won't let her see she's wrong. The most interesting antagonists are the ones that you can almost agree with - like the old cattleman in "Shane" who tries to drive the settlers out. One could see shades of Methos in Shane.

    BTW, there has been debate about how no other immortal noticed Methos' arrival as Duncan is about to sacrifice himself. There was speculation that he can cloak his quickening. He also seems to have just enough sword skill to achieve what he wants. We really don't know how good he is. He is playing more moves ahead than anyone, which makes him dangerous. Another debate is whether he may be befriending Duncan to set him up.

    Knights can become boring in a pre-Game of Thrones world. Even if Duncan wasn't so rigid, we knew he wasn't going to get killed. It is the moral debate that makes it interesting. This is especially true when the antagonist might actually occupy the moral high ground to some viewers - such as Ingrid in The Valkyrie episode.

    Some want a Methos based spinoff. I think it would be difficult to base a series on an antihero archetype. They would need to give him a purpose to risk himself.

    There is also the difference between the knight archetype and real knights.

    In my country there has been a drive to remove the statues of historical people who held views that would not be "politically correct" in the present. I think Highlander had a big jump on that issue. Times change, what we should have is a good understanding of the times along with the good and the bad in them...lest we be judged by the standards some future we can't know.


    • #3
      Oh, just an aside - I liked the Lost Girl series, but I think they missed the fertile ground for moral debates that their premise had.

      They had a secret society of Fae, who live long lives but feed on the chi. life force, of humans but some of the characters are human. The Highlander writers would have had a field day with it.


      • #4
        Thanks. And yeah, Duncan as idealist and Methos as pragmatist is a good way to put it. Methos actually calls himself that in One Minute to Midnight.

        I thought about why no-one noticed the approach of Methos when Duncan is about to sacrifice himself while I was watching the scene again. There's a brief moment when Duncan is walking back to O'Rourke from Joe where it goes into slow motion and a "buzz" like sound plays. I interpreted it to mean that they sensed Methos, but mistook it for a buzz from getting closer to one another.

        Yeah I completely agree that it was wise of them to not even pretend that Duncan was ever in danger. There are some ways I would change a few episodes that I feel would better reflect the emphasis on morality. For example, I'd have liked it if Steven Keane had actually beaten Duncan, but spared his life. It felt a bit wrong that, in the end, Duncan had it all in hand the entire time and once again knew better than his friends. I think it'd have been more powerful if Duncan had to accept the fact that he only survived because another showed him mercy.

        It's funny that you mention Game of Thrones because I recently watched the entire show recently for the very first time and doing that made me decide to talk about Duncan as the archetypal knight. I tend to avoid watching TV shows until they're finished because I don't like waiting an entire year to see what happens, but I gave in with Game of Thrones one season short of the end. I thought it was a great show, though there are some elements that bother me a bit. I like Jaime Lannister as a character, but it seems strange to me that he goes from a guy willing to kill a ten year old kid in season one, to someone who's rather decent from season two onwards, especially after his journey with Brienne. I just don't see where the transformation from child-murderer to half-decent guy happened. My favourite characters are Brienne and Tyrion Lannister by a fair degree. I get that the show is meant to be down and dirty, but I really do like morally good characters, which I think they both are.

        Yeah I follow such political events closely. A similar thing happened here in Scotland at one of our universities down south where they removed statues of white historical figures and replaced them with those of ethnic minorities for the sake of "diversity". I'm totally opposed to all of this kind of thing. If people really care so much about the injustices of the past then they'd be better of leaving things as they are to ensure that no-one forgets it.
        Formerly known as "Quickening"

        My latest video in which I visit an ancient broch and cairns:


        • #5
          Have you ever watched some of the old American western movies? You would likely find the archetype you like aplenty. I've seen Youtube commentaries on some that gave me a deeper appreciation for them. There are plenty of them. If you haven't seen them, I'd recommend a few: "Shane", "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence", "The Searchers", "The Tin Star", "The Magnificent Seven", and "The Shootist."

          Jaime Lannister is interesting. I think he would be an ideal real knight. He has a moral code, but he deviates from it where he sees an urgent pragmatic need. Ned Stark is a knight archetype. I read some of the books where the characters are less likeable. I don't get HBO, but I watch clips on YouTube which is sort of like watching a sporting game by watching the highlights. The guy who plays Tyrion grew up in the same small town I did, but he's so much younger I didn't know it until recently.

          I heard recently, and I don't recall if it was in the US or Europe, some one didn't want a statue of a Von Trapp of "Sound of Music" fame because they spanked their children. By that standard, you'd have to exclude everyone who was a parent in the 1940's and before.

          But it isn't that new. If you've ever seen the picture of the three firemen who raised a flag at ground zero right after 9-11 and the statue that commemorate the scene you'll notice that they changed the firemen to be more "diverse."


          • #6
            I've watched a few more of your videos and they are quite good. First, let me say that I like your accent. My father had a friend who had such a thick Scottish accent that I needed to listen to a couple of sentences before my brain adjusted and I could understand him. My sister and her husband lived in a two family home with them in the other half. One day my father's friend's wife was talking to my brother in law - she also had a thick Scottish accent, but she also talked faster - and he realized he wasn't understanding her at all anymore. Her husband saw the confused look and explained that his wife had slid into speaking Gaelic.

            I don't know if you've come across my take on what the Quickening is, but it works as follows. Say there is a non-comporeal entity that wants to learn about Earth and its history and cultures - not an omnipotent omnipresent being, just not a physical one that can divide its essence and still survive. It spreads itself across the planet in location and history. In order to prolong its experience, it makes its hosts immortal, but allows for them to die in a way that recombines its parts. In the end, it has learned and can move on leaving its host to age normally. It is based on the concept that sentient beings all possess a divine spark.

            I used to ponder a lot on free will vs. prophesy - if there is free will how can there be prophesy? My answer came from "The Foundation" trilogy. The future of an individual can't be predicted, but you can predict the future of a large group. If I have a large group of intelligent people motivated to solve a problem, I can't know which one will solve it but I can predict it will be solved.