asolitaryrose said: Hello Sehn! This is going to come out of the blue but I would be interested in hearing your thoughts on Anders and why you like him so much. I admit his character doesn't really appeal to me and there are a few things about him that really bother me, but I'd love to learn more and maybe open myself a wee bit to him? You may choose not to publish this if you want to avoid the fandom fury :3
This is an excellent question, darling, and I hope my answer makes sense.
Firstly, I wouldn’t suggest that anyone is wrong to dislike him or to be indifferent. Sometimes a character just strikes notes on your heartstrings, and sometimes they don’t, just like real people, and that’s fine.
I should also say that I haven’t ever rivalmanced him, and probably never will because when I play an anti-mage or neutral character, I romance someone else, since that’s what makes sense to me.
I also don’t read him as mentally ill, or as a clumsy metaphor for mental illness.
Anders is a Dostoevsky sinner-saint, to quote Lillian Hellman. He’s not a nice person, he needles and pushes on people, and he’s single minded in every iteration of his character.
He’s one of those people that doesn’t quite fit in anywhere, and he knows it. He’s hemmed in by his own choices at every turn, and of every character we meet, he’s the one that knows, bitterly, how little intent matters in the end. He’s quick and smart without being wise, and he’s petty and even mean sometimes, which is to say, quite human.
But he is basically, in his heart of hearts, filled with a longing to help people, so much so that even when he was escaping from the circle, he was still willing to put himself at risk to save a life. That draws me to him. Tarnished silver is more interesting, speaking personally, and he certainly hasn’t been polished bright by life.
As far as the romance, there’s something in Anders that has a bittersweet familiarity for me— lonely people, perennially unlucky people, and outsiders love so few, that those they do are loved with a depth and intensity that isn’t always reasonable.
Whatever else his foibles, has a great deal of courage, and is honest until he can’t be without putting his lover at risk. He has spent his life determined to be who he is in spite of of it all, and he appreciates his joys deeply, perhaps because they come so rarely.
The merits of his politics have been argued elsewhere, at great length, and don’t need to be repeated. But I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t appreciate him as a character, for living his ideals, even when the cost is dear. There are no good choices for him, but he still chooses to heal, to help, to fight, with the expectation that it ends, as it must, in failure.
It always ends in failure, after all. He rings true for me, that way; our lives are a curious mishmash of being kicked along by circumstance and forces bigger than us, and when we do make things happen, it’s not always, or even often for the better.
Why do I love Anders, then—
He’s sardonic, and bitter, sharp and driven, prickly and stubborn; and he has a lot of heart. Not necessarily pure, certainly not flawless, but he tries, and his love, when you have it, isn’t perfect, but it is profound.
SEHN! I LOVE ANDERS SO MUCH!