Thursday, December 13, 2007

The boy called Liir grows up with more questions than he has answers for. Of his parentage he is uncertain, of his talents he apparently has none, his lot seems to be nothing more than being a target for bullying or otherwise suffering. His purpose in life? Dunno.

When we first encounter him in Maguire's "Son of a Witch", he's in such bad shape he practically has to be scraped off the desert floor with broken bones, a broken face, and bordering on death. His shallow breath and his erratic heartbeat are his only signs of life. How he got there and in this condition is also a question that needs an answer.

"SoW" is the sequel to "Wicked" in which Liir is introduced as a permanent tag-along of Elphaba, aka the Wicked Witch of the West. By proximity alone Liir is assumed to be Elphaba's illegitimate son, but there is no evidence of any biological bond between the two in "Wicked".

Apart from Liir's history, "SoW" also explores how this nobody of a character -- plagued with uncertainty, inertia and self-doubt -- attempts to cope with growing up, orhaned and abandoned as he is after the watery demise of his guardian, Elphaba.

But Liir is no hero, as such. Liir's flawed sense of self leads to a tragedy that will haunt him for life, and in atonement he undertakes a series of loosely related tasks that sets him against the new political-military machine that has arisen since the Wizard's departure from Oz.

Liir must live a very frustrating life. From Dorothy (from Kansas) to the Elephant disguised as a human princess, Liir manages to find closures to their quests, and others besides. But for himself, well, let's just say that he doesn't demand much out of life, perhaps just some answers to his questions, and even then he finds that in life there are always more questions than there are answers for. How familiar that sounds.

What's admirable about Liir is that his questions determine his actions. Hence, for the most part, he really is quite a self-directed individual. It's only when he subordinates his questioning mind to the will of others, that's when his greatest regret occurs.

In life, having questions with no answers is better than accepting answers with no questions. Any questions?

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