Alert: unlike most of my other posts, this one WILL have spoilers for the stories below.
Well! Anyone in the US of A who watched last night’s Super Bowl sure had a worthwhile game to watch – especially during the last 30 seconds!
Obviously a major topic of conversation, I was thinking about the game for most of today. The ending, an incredibly unlikely catch followed by an even unlikelier play call/interception, were literally of a storybook variety. And, if you’ve learned anything about me yet it’s that most of my thoughts turn to stories. So I pondered: in literature, what were those most unlikely events that tipped the scales in one side’s favor? I thought I’d examine two of my favorite old stories.
I had originally planned to do this as a “good” vs. “evil” bit, with ultimate winners New England Patriots the “good” side and unfortunate losers Seattle Seahawks the “evil,” but that didn’t quite work for me. In reality, having talked about the game for so long over the last 24 hours, it was almost like “luck” vs. “skill” in a way. So my new plan: two days of posts! Yay, more posts! Today we’ll focus on the “good” for each team.
Alert: unlike most of my other posts, this one WILL have spoilers for the stories below. DO NOT KEEP GOING IF YOU DON’T WANT SPOILERS.
With less than a minute left last night, the Seattle Seahawks were driving down the field to try and win the game. It was looking like they weren’t going to make it, until a most improbable catch was made. After falling onto the ground and having the ball tipped, Seattle receiver Jermaine Kearse was able to corral the ball after it hit BOTH of his knees, his hand, and his chest. Amazing! But also lucky. So what lucky event in literature did this evoke? (It actually pains me to write what’s next…)
Harry’s miraculous non-death in JK Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
Now, as a disclaimer, I have to say that I totally believe in JK and everything she does, and I understand HOW she made this whole shenanigan work. I really do. But at first glance, DAMN. How does that even happen! Harry is literally hit with the death curse, but somehow survives? Because Voldemort attached a part of his soul onto him the FIRST time he tried to kill Harry? HUH? Basically, that’s how Kearse’s catch felt. At first you were like “Oh! That was such a good try!” and then you come away going “HELL YEAH! VICTORY!” Harry Potter is phenomenal in every way, shape, and form. But if we’re talking about not a “well-duh-she-wrote-it-that-way” sort of way, it’s incredibly lucky he was able to survive that curse and come back to save the day.
After Kearse’s catch, the Seahawks used their NFL-best rusher, Marshawn Lynch, to get to the 1-yard line. And then things got weird. Patriots’ coach Bill Belichick didn’t take a time out. What? There were only 4 seconds left in the game! What are you doing?! This decision, however, turned out to be a genius move. Because the defense didn’t burn a time out, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll “didn’t have time” to sub (despite having a timeout of his own) and therefore decided to run a pass play, as that was a “better matchup.” The Seahawks lined up, Patriots rookie cornerback Marcus Butler knew it would be a quick slant, and intercepted Russell Wilson’s throw to end the game in the Patriots favor. What initially seemed to be asinine decision making on the Seahawks’ side (and it was, don’t get me wrong) later seemed to be slightly ingenious decision making across the field. So who’s quick thinking saved the day in their own story?
That’d be Portia, from William Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice.
When poor Antonio is going to have a pound of flesh taken as payment after failing to pay back a loan from sinister Shylock (who, to be fair, was just collecting on an agreed upon deal, but that’s a different post…) it’s up to beautiful Portia to save the day. Dressed in drag as Antonio’s lawyer, Portia outsmarts the banker by arguing that his agreement was for a pound of flesh, but NOT blood. How can Shylock collect on his debt if he cannot take the blood as well as the flesh? Well, short answer is he can’t! And Portia saves the day, revealing herself to her husband Bassanio, Antonio’s best friend, after she has saved Antonio from a gruesome fate. Luckily for Antonio, Shakespeare decided to make this one of his comedies, so all’s well that ends well in this story.
Stop by tomorrow to see how these two plays fared with the “evil” side of the coin!