Sunday, November 25, 2012

Something that interested me about Underworld that Rise of the Lycans erased

Since I'm talking about the Underworld series, here's something that I actually found rather interesting in the original that Rise of the Lycans, which theoretically would have shown it, retroactively erased.
We were slaves once. The daylight guardians of the vampires. I was born into servitude. Yet I harbored them no ill will. Even took a vampire for my bride. It was forbidden, our union. Viktor feared a blending of the species. Feared it so much he killed her. His own daughter. Burnt alive for loving me. This is his war. Viktor's. And he spent the last 600 years exterminating my species. 
Nothing we see in the first movie, and nothing we hear from Viktor, contradicts this.

Slavery in the Middle Ages and Early Modern Period is not a subject I have much studied.  Roman or Greek Slavery I could tell you a bit about, American Slavery as well.

Anyway, slavery wasn't racial at the time, but for vampires it really had to be.  They couldn't have members of their own race guarding them during the day, such slaves would go up in flames and die.  They could have had human slaves, but why have humans when you can have the more powerful werewolves?  (They may well have had both.)

For an average of twelve hours a day the slaves wouldn't be able to be supervised in any place that daylight touched.  And yet the slaves remained slaves.

Lucian's description of being born into servitude and harboring his masters no ill will is one that is completely believable.  There have been times in history when slaves have been trusted with immense amounts of power and proved completely trustworthy with it.

So we get a picture of a largely content group of slaves, tough surely some must have wanted freedom, and the one who led them in the revolt that gained their freedom, and the war that followed, did so not out of a desire for freedom, not out of a desire to avenge some wrong done to his species, but out of the love of a vampire.

Lucian rallied the lycans to take their freedom from the vampires because a vampire executed another vampire and Lucian wanted to avenge that.  Viktor killed Sonja because she was pregnant by a lycan.  Viktor considered that an abomination, and a betrayal, and her painful death what was necessary.

Lucian was forced to watch, and then made his escape.

Then rallied the lycans, freed them, fought a war for survival, faked his death, made a bargain that endured for centuries (before he was stabbed, er... shot, in the back) to get a peace treaty, and started looking into how to make another like the "abomination" that Viktor killed.  His entire research into creating a hybrid can be seen as trying to give life to the child Viktor executed Sonja to prevent the birth of.

But think about this story for a moment.  He's a slave who harbors no ill will toward his masters, he loves one of them, and yet he becomes the leader of the slave revolt.  If he's been discussing the question of slavery before the execution of Sonja he's been doing it on the pro-slavery side.  And yet, somehow, he gets them to rally behind him.

And do they know?  Do they know that it's for the love of a vampire that they're rising up against the vampires?  Does Lucian yell, "For Sonja," as a battle cry?  Does he tell about the fact that vampires and lycans can apparently interbreed as a part of his argument why they shouldn't be slaves?  (We're the same species  look, we can even have kids together, Viktor killed his own daughter because he was afraid that you'd learn that and realize you weren't lower beings than them.)

That's a story I'm interested in hearing more about.

But that is not the story told in Underworld: Rise of the Lycans.  Instead he's someone who wants his freedom from the start, and there's not a lot involved in getting other lycans to rally behind him.  Also he's, like, super special because he's the first lycan who can take human form and isn't that all awesome and stuff?


  1. Well, to be fair, the whole series is about people who are super special because they're all awesome and stuff. Selene starts as a death dealer, is cherished by one elder and wanted by another; Michael becomes the first true hybrid - a descendant of Alexander Corvinus, infected by a werewolf but then infected by a vampire as well before his first change; Selene becomes sunproof and vastly stronger by taking blood from Alexander Corvinus (but, strangely, still considers herself a vampire - despite being clearly another sort of hybrid); and then there's the daughter, a third hybrid, who has presumably Inherited All The Awesome.

  2. Heck, even the primary bad guy in the last film is a super-werewolf.

  3. The series is, by the end, about super special because they're beyond average awesome and stuff. But if you look at the first movie it's not so much.

    Selene is a death dealer who Viktor likes because she reminds him of his daughter. As far as we know she has no relationship with the other two elders, she doesn't much like the the person Viktor left in charge of his area while Amelia (or whatever her name was) was the awake Elder.

    There's nothing particularly special about her, she just stumbles onto and falls in love with Michael.

    Lucian is the greatest Lycan commander, but he got that way because (remember, using first movie only) he happened to fall in love with a vampire.

    With the exception of Viktor the vampires were all ordinary vampires, and his position as Elder didn't seem to mean much more than being really old.

    Including Lucian, the Lycans were all presented as ordinary Lycans.

    The only one with super special anything was Michael, and it was dormant until very near the end of the movie. It was more a liability than a, "I'm so awesome," thing and if not for being bitten, injected, and then bitten again, all evidence is that he would have lived a perfectly ordinary human life.

    In the first movie it's much more relationships than special blood that drive anything.

    Lucian is against Viktor because Viktor killed his wife, he wants a peace treaty because he never wanted a war to begin with, he wants a hybrid because:
    1) Should make it easier to get rid of Viktor.
    2) His and Sonja's child would have been one. She died because she almost brought one into the world, now he's going to finish the job.

    Selene is a death dealer because she reminds Viktor of Sonja, so he sees her as a replacement for his daughter (who he killed) which probably gives her more leeway and independence than most but it's because of her relationship with Viktor, not her being super special thingy-thing. Her relationship with Michael will drive much of the plot of the movie.

    Kraven is powerful because of his relationship with Viktor (mess cleaner upper) and his with Lucian (death taker-of-credit for, secret ally.)

    Michael is the only one with special blood (unless you count the scene where Marcus opens his eyes) and for most of the movie instead of making him the super special thingy-thing it made him a target and the person in need of saving. And then in the end he becomes super special thingy-thing.


    As the movies go on, everyone get super special and it becomes much less about what you do and much more about what you happen to be. A change for the worse, I think. The perfectly ordinary human cop in the last movie is probably a more interesting character than any of the super specials.

    Michael and Selene's kid is presumably god incarnate given what she's got going for her. She has as as one parent a seemingly unkillable (if he appears dead just drop some blood on him, he'll come back) hybrid of vampire/human-Corvinus/werewolf, which makes him the first to bring all three of the Corvinus lines together. The only thing Michael doesn't have is the immortal-but-still-human blood of Alexander himself, and the kid gets that on her mother's side.

    So the girl has all four types of special blood, and thus far there are only four types of special blood.