Babylon Nights Question #9 ~ Special

by Daniel Depp

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DeppInTheHeartOfTexas
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Babylon Nights Question #9 ~ Special

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Sat Jan 15, 2011 12:08 pm

What did you think of Special?
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Re: Babylon Nights Question #9 ~ Special

Unread postby Bix » Sat Jan 15, 2011 2:58 pm

Special is the Potts of this book for me, the one you can't help but like in spite of what he does. And don't get me wrong. I do not admire Special, any more than I admire Walter. Being a pimp is a despicable livlihood. But I like him. I like that he is tough and, I think, brave. I like that he loves and knows much about opera. He is extremely charming and charismatic when he wants to be. He certainly didn't sit around nursing his wounds and blaming his bad fortune on others. He just started working on how to find Perec and 'his' money. And along the way, I think he added protecting Anna to his motivation. I think Special has a lot of potential yet to be realized.
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Re: Babylon Nights Question #9 ~ Special

Unread postby nebraska » Sat Jan 15, 2011 3:11 pm

Bix, I agree about Special being the Potts of this book. :cool: He was making his living in an illegal despicable way but I got the sense that underneath it all he was still in many ways a "nice man." Smart for sure, cultured to a certain extent, very clever. And I felt like he was a victim as well, which made him a sympathetic character - when Perec took the money, Special was in real danger.

I think Special started out dabbling as a small time bad boy and ended up in way over his head without ever meaning to be in serious crime business.

Edit: I wonder if there is a connection between the way Daniel writes about nasty criminal types, giving them a sympathetic human side -- and the way Johnny plays his roles. Seems like even characters like Sands and Dillinger become lovable when Johnny portrays them.

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Re: Babylon Nights Question #9 ~ Special

Unread postby Betty Sue » Sat Jan 15, 2011 3:24 pm

I agree, Bix and nebraska. Special deserved his name. He was uncommon, out of the ordinary. I was impressed with his courage and his detective skills and his ability to give up on his own future to save a life. He survived 6 shots (I was shocked to find he lived!) and appreciated opera and had mighty sharp business acumen (even while lying half-dead!). At the same time, he was "part of the dregs of humanity"....that's for sure! He could be needlessly nasty and violent, to put it mildly. I agree he has a lot of potential and think that, with a different background, he could have had a lot to offer society without all the illegal stuff.
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Re: Babylon Nights Question #9 ~ Special

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Sat Jan 15, 2011 4:25 pm

He was aptly named, wasn't he? I like him too and he reminded me of Potts as others have said. I thought he was one of the most interesting characters in the book. He was used to surviving on his wits and his instincts and they served him well. I agree with you all that had he taken a different path in life he could have had a lot to offer.

Interesting comment nebraska about his similarity to some of Johnny's bad guys. No one is ever just one dimensional.
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Re: Babylon Nights Question #9 ~ Special

Unread postby Buster » Sat Jan 15, 2011 5:28 pm

Special reminds me of Hawk in Robert B. Parker's Spencer series. Big, tough, inscrutable, funny...and self-aware. Just an aside - why are black side-kick types so often portrayed as larger-than-life, both figuratively and literally? You never seem to run into small self-effacing guys in that kind of role.... ;-)

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Re: Babylon Nights Question #9 ~ Special

Unread postby gemini » Sat Jan 15, 2011 6:31 pm

Yes, I agree with the concensus here on Special. I also l thought he stood out among the other characters of the book and I wondered how others would see him. He is the antihero which is a trend that is picking up. I agree that he had his wicked side but he certainly took life’s low blows in his stride. I thought he was pretty much fearless, knew the underworld and its perilous consequences whether you were at fault or not. He decided to fix his own problems. We do see he can be wicked and saintly and still win our hearts. In many ways I admired him more than our leading man. I am glad he survived, so hopefully we can see more of him.
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Re: Babylon Nights Question #9 ~ Special

Unread postby fireflydances » Sat Jan 15, 2011 7:06 pm

Mostly agree with the consensus. I guess the one difference is I don't feel the same sympathy with Special as I did with Potts. I think Potts was accutely aware that he could be a different man. It's like he was standing on the precipice of a whole new life and then suddenly, no more time. You felt it; bitter loss. But Special is out for Special through and through, very funny but reptile-cold in his heart. He made me laugh and I liked all the edges of his personality but man, I don't trust him. I think he'd kill his mother if the need arose. Both are basically instruments of destruction, armed explosive devices. Potts didn't mean to go off but Special set the fuse and calmly sat back and let it rip, just taking care of business ma'am. This says it all "Yes, it was easy to overcomplicate the whole thing, and you could mess your head up pretty badly if you spent much time thinking about it. Screw that philosophy s**t, we are all just a bunch of big g*ddamn monkeys with car keys."
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Re: Babylon Nights Question #9 ~ Special

Unread postby Liz » Sat Jan 15, 2011 8:16 pm

Well isn’t that special?

Image

Couldn't resist, mates. :captainjack:

I’m loving everyone’s answers…..especially the comparison to Potts. :ok: My mind hadn’t even gone there. :dunce: But I also agree with firefly, who said that Potts wasn’t quite as self-centered as Special. "Being on the precipice" is a good way of putting it. Potts had planned to change his way of life. I don’t think that Special had any intentions of that.

I did like Special, though, despite his flaws. He had so many contradictory layers to him—a little like Jack Sparrow. I found Special to be the most interesting character in the story. Yeah, he was pretty special alright.
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Re: Babylon Nights Question #9 ~ Special

Unread postby Linda Lee » Sun Jan 16, 2011 12:30 am

I agree with the thoughts expressed about Special. He was a very interesting character, I felt he knew who he was and certainly understood that there are no excuses in the world he lived in. Whining or trying to get out of returning the money, would have just gotten him killed. He was street smart but there was more to him, he had found an escape from his everyday life in opera.
He certainly turned things to his advantage (and knew who he was negotiating with) in the end. He also understood something about the movie business.
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Re: Babylon Nights Question #9 ~ Special

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Sun Jan 16, 2011 12:21 pm

firefly said:

I think Potts was accutely aware that he could be a different man. It's like he was standing on the precipice of a whole new life and then suddenly, no more time. You felt it; bitter loss. But Special is out for Special through and through, very funny but reptile-cold in his heart.


I wonder if Special had already passed that point in his life and made his choice? Or maybe he never had the kind of life that gave him much choice. Danny certainly has a way of creating interesting "minor" characters.

More on Special in our next question...
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Re: Babylon Nights Question #9 ~ Special

Unread postby nebraska » Sun Jan 16, 2011 1:19 pm

fireflydances wrote:Mostly agree with the consensus. I guess the one difference is I don't feel the same sympathy with Special as I did with Potts. I think Potts was accutely aware that he could be a different man. It's like he was standing on the precipice of a whole new life and then suddenly, no more time. You felt it; bitter loss. But Special is out for Special through and through, very funny but reptile-cold in his heart. He made me laugh and I liked all the edges of his personality but man, I don't trust him. I think he'd kill his mother if the need arose. Both are basically instruments of destruction, armed explosive devices. Potts didn't mean to go off but Special set the fuse and calmly sat back and let it rip, just taking care of business ma'am. This says it all "Yes, it was easy to overcomplicate the whole thing, and you could mess your head up pretty badly if you spent much time thinking about it. Screw that philosophy s**t, we are all just a bunch of big g*ddamn monkeys with car keys."


Potts had a lot of pipe dreams about changing and getting his daughter back and all of that, but I didn't see him going out and getting a "real" job and cleaning up his act. That "I'm just going to do this one last time" mentality doesn't usually work out very well. Changing takes more than wishful thinking.

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Re: Babylon Nights Question #9 ~ Special

Unread postby moviemom » Mon Jan 17, 2011 11:30 am

As a character in a book, I liked Special. In spite of his despiciable line of work, he had a moral code. Also, having this character made the book even more interesting than it already was.
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Re: Babylon Nights Question #9 ~ Special

Unread postby Liz » Mon Jan 17, 2011 2:29 pm

Agreed, moviemom. He did spice it up.
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Re: Babylon Nights Question #9 ~ Special

Unread postby fansmom » Mon Jan 17, 2011 10:31 pm

Most operas are about sex and death, so it's no wonder Special found a bond with them.

I must say that on page 302, I thought, "Darn it, you did this to me in the last book when you killed Potts and now you've done it again." I was subsequently relieved that not all of Spandau's associates were destined to be redshirts.


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