[personal profile] k_puff
I've got to get something off my chest.
There has been something really, really bothering me for about a week now, both as a fan and as a fic-writer. Help me out, over here.

First, I should preface this by saying I consider acting and the theater to be a big part of my life. It's really how I approach all of my most beloved shows and characters; in some way, shape, or form, I have to connect with them, UNDERSTAND them on an actor's level. I need to know what makes them tick, what I call their "primary characteristic". Some characters I connect with completely -- like Rose from Doctor Who (one of my most favorite characters in all of pop culture, actually). Some are more of a stretch, like Donna's Mom.

So naturally, one of the first things I do upon venturing into Alice-dom (after squeeing my little brain out, that is) is think hard about what makes these characters tick. That's just something very important to me -- especially since I immediately wanted to start writing fic, and I wanted to do it right. ^_^

Alice I figured out almost immediately. I like Alice. I GET Alice. Alice makes sense to me on a very basic level.

Alice's primary characteristic is loyalty. You can trace almost everything she does in the show back to loyalty -- her search for her father, the way she stood up for Charlie when they first found him, her stubbornness to find Jack, her continued stubbornness to believe in Jack even after finding out he lied to her, and even her hesitancy to fully trust Hatter. When loyalty is your driving force, you become really careful who you grant it to -- then, when you do, you latch on and never let go. I get that. I GET Alice.

It took me the longest time to GET Hatter. Within hours of Part 2's airing, fandom had already run off and characterized him as slightly crazy, childish, spontaneous and charming. And, while I LOVED those fics, they didn't ring true to me, and I couldn't for the life of me figure out why.

About a week ago, I was in the shower, puzzling through Hatter's character and *why* it was that I had so much more difficulty writing him than Alice, when I had one of those in-the-shower epiphanies. Then I called [livejournal.com profile] abscondinabox* and we talked about it for ages, because she is my fandom sounding-board on all things and I wuv her. <3 We came to this conclusion:

Hatter is indeed charming and slightly crazy, but he is not in the least childish or spontaneous. Hatter is, in fact, one CALCULATING and SHREWD bastard! XD I mean, think about it: he lived as a double-agent for a good chunk of his life, in the kind of world where one wrong word would get you beheaded! It just doesn't make sense that that kind of character would be, well... silly and reckless. In fact, the only character in this whole series just recklessly running around without planning ahead is Alice. -_-;; (More on that later.)

Hatter thinks EVERYTHING through, from the very first time we meet him -- even if his plan isn't fully formed (setting himself up as bait for the Jabberwock, um whut?**) he at least HAS a plan. He places the value of his own skin (and, very quickly, Alice's) above everything. That kind of prioritizing is just routine in the Wonderland that Hatter lives in. The whole series is this exact give-and-take between the two of them:

Hatter: Okay, now do this!
Alice: No! I’m going to run off and do this! *gets into trouble*
Hatter: >.< (<-- no seriously, HE MAKES THIS EXACT GODDAMN FACE. Oh, Hatter, ILU.)

Alice is something Hatter's never seen before: someone who puts loyalty for others above their own well-being. Hatter is jealous of that loyalty for Jack, I believe, before he even realizes that he wants that loyalty for himself. Hatter's never known anyone who thought like that before, and it inspires him.

The only time Hatter ever does anything without planning, indeed, AGAINST his own plan, was jumping through the Glass after Alice at the end. Thus, completing his character arc. <3 (AND BEING ADORABLE)

Is he awkward? Yes. Is he charming and adorable? Endlessly. Is he spontaneous and recklessly either of these characteristics?


I LOVE fanon!Hatter. I do! His spontaneity, mixed with Alice’s down-to-earth skepticism but grudging acquiescence because he’s Hatter and adorablecharming, makes for a great fic-writing/reading pair that is wonderful and sweet and… completely out-of-character. Based only in fanon.

So here’s my dilemma. The two differences may seem subtle, but I’m really settling in to this fandom as a fic-writer, and to me it’s huge. I have to write Alice and Hatter in-character to the best of my ability. I HAVE to. It’s a compulsion, both as a fan and as an actor. On the other hand, I do recognize that once a series has aired, nay, ended even, the fans sort of rule the roost. I mean, majority rules, I suppose. So is it just me overthinking that it bothers me so much?

There’s room enough in fandom’s hearts to accommodate both fanon!Hatter and canon!Hatter, especially as subtle those differences may seem to people. But, whenever I get an idea for a fic that requires one or both of them to act out-of-character (at least, the way I perceive it), it really rankles me. It’s like… petting a cat backwards, or something. I have to qualify that stuff as crack or humor fic when I write it so that I don’t go crazy.

The best way I've found to reconcile the two is this: I do honestly believe that Alice's recklessness on behalf of those she loves left a deep impression on Hatter. He wants to be able to feel that kind of loyalty himself -- indeed, he does feel that for Alice. I can believe that, once out of Wonderland and away from the life he led there, he would start to loosen up and become a little more crazy. ^_^ But it would take awhile; Hatter's changing his whole way of THINKING, it's not just some epiphany that happens overnight. Hatter's conditioned to live life "playing both sides of the coin", and I think it would take him some time to learn to think differently. He's willing to do it for Alice, because he loves her and he loves that part of her. ♥♥♥

Thoughts? I really want a good discussion on this: I’ve got a war in my head to reconcile, and fandom sounding-boards are the best. >.<

*[livejournal.com profile] abscondinabox has this really amazing theory WHICH I LOVE and has become a part of my own personal canon and the subject of a future fic I’m planning: Hatter’s secretly always wanted to be a Knight. ^_^ Thus, the riding around on horseback with swords, and his constant drive to protect people *cough*Alice*cough*. I love this idea and I am totes going to fic it in the very near future, before anyone else can steal it from me. >.>

**Let's face it, we all know the only reason they had that whole "let's trap the March Hare" subplot in the first place was that so they could have a Jabberwock Chase Scene. HOW IN THE WORLD was Hatter going to trap Mad March with a JABBERWOCK!? Not exactly stealthy. Especially when March hadn't even hit SHORE yet. Was Hatter just going to run to the shore, Jabberwock on his tail, and then... what, wait for March to get there? -_-;; That whole thing was complete CGI fanservice. But it did end with Hatter PUNCHING THE JABBERWOCK IN THE FACE, which was awesome. (Actually, on second thought, this totally sums up the entirety of Alice: the occasional poor excuse for REALLY AWESOME FANSERVICE.)

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