Tag: Thor

Why don’t Immortals have Immortality?

By rights, immortals should possess immortality. Instead, those ”immortals” portrayed in literature and film appear to have conditional immortality.

Immortality means living forever, not able to die and not possessing mortality. By definition, an immortal is not liable or subject to death.

But in books and movies, immortals are killed. Regularly and with gory, indiscriminate relish. This confuses my sensibilities. It’s a contradiction. An impossibility, if the meaning of immortality is to be unscathed.

My husband’s answer to this conundrum: They’re immortal until someone kills them.

Highlander

This is the first example that comes to mind even though I have not seen this movie for many years.

A Highlander was immortal and would live perpetually throughout time. Unless someone cut off his head.

If another Highlander did this, he would inherit the power. What power? A larger target on his back for other “immortals” who wanted it for themselves?

If you will live forever, what else could you want?

You will accumulate wealth and possessions. You might be worshiped as a deity (since the dictionary defines an immortal as one of the gods of mythology).

To what end? If you can be killed, do you sleep with one eye open? Or do you get sick of the endlessness of life and seek out someone to curse with the “gift” of outliving anyone you might love or befriend? Unless they are also immortal.

This is false immortality. If you have unending life, no one and nothing can end it. Duh, it wouldn’t be unending if anything could end it.

Christianity

One reason this contradiction bothers me (other than the word doesn’t seem to actually mean what we say/think it does) is that it muddies the waters of theology. Most religions offer up a version of immortality to its followers.

I ascribe to the doctrines of Christianity (as presented in the King James Version of the Bible, not those taught by organized religions who claim the name of Christianity).

According to the Holy Bible, God sent His Son, Jesus, to die a substitutionary death for all mortals born on Earth. If these mortals, accepted this blood price through confessing and repenting of their natural unrighteous tendencies and believed this death could pay their blood debt,debts will be granted eternal life.

Immortality would be a gift from the pre-existing, all-sufficient Creator of their universe. Namely the Source of life would extend life to them

It’s understood that this immortality isn’t for the mortal flesh but for the eternal soul and consciousness of the believer. This flesh is cursed (as is the Earth), but once the timeline for the body is completed, the believer’s spiritual half steps through the curtain of death and inhabits a new, immortal (undying and unkillable) body that isn’t affected by the original curse.

With all the conflicting reports of immortals dying and immortality being conditional, the clear waters of God’s promised “everlasting life” is tainted, misunderstood and cheapened.

And that’s sad. Because this promise is the foundational hope of faith.

My Perplexity

In this era when new words are invented and accepted into the English language annually, why doesn’t someone construct a work that more accurately reflects the conditional mortality presented as immortality in the genre of fantasy?

Semimortal would work. This means they are half prone to death and half undying. Isn’t this the case for the “immortal” Highlanders, elves, Roman-Greco deities and the like? If allowed to live out their normal lifespan, they will live forever. The only way they can die is through murder or purposeful wounding.

Quasi-immortal is another possibility. It seems like they will live forever. They have the potential to never die. But they’re perfectly killable—whether by specific mystical means or only with certain weapons or on certain days.

In a fantasy series I wrote four years ago, I had immortal elves and dragons. In the second book, I killed an elf. So he wasn’t truly immortal, right?

Wrong. His mortal body was killed. Once his essence was transported back to Astrya (the first realm and homeland of the Creator and Sustainer deities), his body would be regenerated. He would live again, carrying memories of his physical death but not of his time as pure life essence.

It seems to me this may be the same sort of death those afflicted by the Infinity Gauntlet in the recent AVENGERS film may have experienced. If someone else wields the gauntlet, it could be used to reverse the destruction of one-third of all living things in the universe.

What is your thought on the misinterpretation or misrepresentation of the purest definition of immortality?

Why Superheroes need to conceal their identity

Superheroes might live among us. Your mail carrier could be one. Or maybe it’s the nerdy IT guy.

After all, many famous comic superheroes have alter egos. This identity conceals their true abilities and after-dark pursuit of justice.

If they didn’t live double lives, they would be considered vigilantes. Even the men and women of the Avengers who saved Earth from alien domination on two separate occasions were seen as vigilantes by some.

Because they worked outside the law to apprehend criminals.

But they always brought them to the authorities for prosecution (if they lived). Just like the A-team of 80s television, the Avengers never planned to use deadly force. Would they? Sure, if the criminals pushed them into it.

The Avengers were a special task force. And while they answered to a government agency (SHIELD), this was acceptable. Once that agency disappeared, people in power started feeling threatened.

It’s about Controlling the Power

There’s a fine line between being powerful and having control.

The Lamborghini is powerful. The driver leashes that power with a steering wheel and brakes. But what if the little plastic line carrying the fluid to those systems is cut? The power is out of control.

In the newest Captain America film, the governments of the world don’t like the idea that a powerful group of trained soldiers can fight crime and terrorism without paying homage to the local authorities.

Secretary of State says, “Where are Thor and the Hulk? If I misplaced two 30 megaton warheads, you can bet there’d be an investigation.”

So Thor and the Hulk are weapons of mass destruction? Wanda is even called that by her own team member. They aren’t people anymore. Only resources to be used by the powers that be.

And those in power are determined to control them. Were the Avengers out of control? Had they overstepped their mission?

No.

Civilians perished. It was tragic. In the process, a terrifying biological agent was kept from the hands of terrorists who would have used it to kill thousands, or even millions.

But no one’s talking about that.

In past movies, the Avengers kept each other in check. They answered to the team collective.

The Avengers were visible. Everyone knew who to blame if things went awry during the display of superhuman abilities. This visibility acted as accountability.

But that wasn’t enough. Politicians saw them only as a weapon, a tactical force to be deployed. Governments wanted a say in where they would go and who they would dispatch.

Hero_or_vigilante

It’s all in the Media Spin

The media spins the stories in our world (and the comic realities). One day they’re hailing the hero who stopped an insane murderer. The next they scream about stopping the vigilantes who are taking the law into their own hands.

In many places, the government controls the media. They can put the spin on the story so it reads like they want. Focus on the few innocents killed in a bad situation rather the thousands saved from something worse.

Superman, Spider-Man and Batman saw their heroic persona degraded and maligned. Is this why they hid behind Clark Kent, Peter Parker and Bruce Wayne? As long as no one knows who the man behind the mask is, media can only speculate and criticize.

Did they watch the news with the same hurt as Wanda and Cap? Did the fact they weren’t named keep them from feeling responsible when bystanders got hurt?

The writers make it sound like they keep their secrets to protect those they love from retribution. But is that the only reason? Is there ever only ONE reason?

After seeing the way media hype caused problems for the Avengers, it seems obvious that there are other reasons. Having a secret identity keeps them from being controlled by the powers that be.

Image from Marvel-movies
Image from Marvel-movies

Should they answer to someone? Most of these superheroes do have contacts on the police force. The masked men and women see themselves as a “special operative.” They must. Why else would they leave those they apprehend trussed up and ready for a reading of Miranda rights?

It’s not super to be a hero in our world. People are threatened by the unselfish pursuit of justice. The media is concerned about twisting things into a story that gets attention.

My hero, Captain America, would’ve been better off flying under the radar. Hard to do when the government creates you specifically to wear the face of their ideal soldier.

There’s no going back now. Cap can’t hide in anonymity.

The real losers in the situation are all the innocents he can’t protect.