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non-Day 18

Oddly, given how definite I was about characters not being warriors, I find I don't know what "non-warrior" is supposed to mean at all. I think it might be that I'm not at all keen on a lacking quality being used as a defining quality ("non-human" is less problematic from a descriptive standpoint, obviously). Also interesting that "warrior" is what gets this treatment. Why divide upon this characteristic? I side-eye you, meme. I side-eye you.

Day Eighteen: Favorite non-warrior female character of characteristics defined by their presence, not absence, who I'm taking the opportunity to talk about

"Sophie Devereaux" of Leverage.

Who is positively overbrimming with "present" characteristics, to the point of being – from a certain perspective – a mass of contradictions, but she knows exactly how to work every one of them to her advantage. Moreover, she is herself a conscious, unabashed, consumate celebration of classic feminine characteristics, their value, their power and their danger, their capacity for both good and evil. She deserves a much deeper analysis than what I can do justice to now, sadly, but I'm sure someone's done it somewhere.

Sophie, one of the best grifters in the world, had gone straight before the series began, attempting to make a life legitimately on acting skills that had only ever worked crooked. When she was a grifter, the thrill was the dupe of the mark, the chase, the score, while she took care that people never "got hurt". It was joining the Leverage team, doing bad things for good causes, that turned her into a femme fatale, revelling in luring their marks to their poetically-just doom. The Leverage team was also where her intensely nurturing instincts could really be expressed. I could go on, listing point and counter-point, but my head's tired and anyway you get the idea. She is mercurial, exotic, elemental, a virtuoso for whom she is her own instrument and with which can play virtually any melody.

Personally, I never really liked the idea that Leverage would tell us what Sophie's "true" name was, and was quite happy when they pulled a little "psych!" moment with that in the finale. To me, mystery is at the heart of Sophie, and the idea that she has a "true name" – as opposed to her seeing all her names and identities, given or created, as equally valid, equally real, equally ephemeral – is to reduce something of who she is. She is who she chooses to be at any given moment, for whatever purpose she chooses. Saying she has a one true name underneath it all is like trying to nail down water.

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January 2016
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