Things you never wanted to know about Highlander and probably didn't care to ask...
Immortals differ from mortals as follows: they (male and female) are sterile from birth, they heal quickly from almost any wound, they don't age, they can only be killed by decapitation, and they can sense each other's presence by an internal Buzz they feel when they come in close proximity to each other (a distance ranging from ~20-~100 feet).
An Immortal will 'die' from anything that will kill a mortal. But they regenerate and recover. The more extensive the injury, the longer it takes to regenerate. Scars received before the first 'death' remain but scars from almost-decapitating wounds don't disappear and they don't seem to be able to regenerate a lost limb.
Immortals (male and female) are sterile from birth. An Immortal carries the "seed" of his Immortality within him in life. If he is "killed," he becomes Immortal and never grows any older and heals quickly.
They can sense each other's presence. The producers call it "The Buzz." It's a kind of aural sensation that can be a little disorienting until the immortal accustoms himself to the other's presence.
Immortals appear to have all the characteristic of mortals when they are born except they are sterile and have a very faint Buzz. They cannot sense other Immortals with the Buzz. Their healing abilities and other Immortal traits remain latent until they receive a mortal wound.
In the TV series, Immortals appear to actually die and then recover/reawaken. TV Immortals have been pronounced dead by modern medical professionals. But they all recover quickly (rate seems to be dependant on the severity of the damage that caused the 'death') and their wounds heal. Occasionally we've seen instances in which a wound on an Immortal has healed with sparks and little lightning effects.
THE GAME: All immortals (or immies, as they're known by the fandom) are engaged (willingly or not) in The Game. The Game says that in the end, there can be only one. One immortal must kill another until there is only one remaining who will win an unknown Prize. Most believe it is rulership of the world and the gift of all knowledge. Some fans (including me) believe that The Game is simply a form of population control. The rules are that one immie meets another one on one in mortal combat, the victor taking the loser's head. The resulting fireworks is known as a Quickening.
THE QUICKENING: The official definition from the producers is "An Immortal can only be killed by beheading. When an Immortal is killed, the Immortal who killed him receives his power and his essence and his knowledge through a mystical process known as "The Quickening." The power of the Quickening is the equivalent to a major electrical storm hitting -- windows explode, lights short circuit, it is almost as if the victorious Immortal is in the center of a lightning storm." Traditionally 'quickening' is a term used to describe the first discernible movement of a baby in the womb, i.e. when the fetus first shows signs of life. It has been theorized that Greg Widen chose this term do describe the peculiar life force of Immortals. As Adrian Paul describes it, "The Quickening is the receiving of all the power and knowledge another immortal has obtained throughout his/her life. It is like the receiving of a sacrament or a massive orgasm." There are also "Dark Quickenings" in which the essence of an evil immortal overcomes the personality of the receiving immortal, driving him mad and altering his personality. Methos helped Duncan MacCleod (The Highlander) through a Dark Quickening at the risk of his own life. Something MacCleod seemed to have little problem forgetting in *Methos'* hour of need... In the TV series if a mortal decapitates an Immortal nothing happens, no Quickening.
At the time of the Gathering, immortals feel an irresistible pull towards a far away land, to fight for the Prize. They must fight until only one remains. For the most part, however, the Gathering seems to have been a non-event. I won't be mentioning it in my story.
An immortal is only safe on holy ground. Their Code will not allow them to fight in sacred locations. Holy Ground is any place held sacred by any religion.
A sword is one of the best way to ensure that when an Immortal takes the head of another he will be close enough to receive the Quickening. As with any weapon, to use it effectively you must practice to maintain your skill. So Immortals probably prefer the weapon that they are the most familiar with. Considering the age of most Immortals, it stands to reason that the sword is usually the weapon of choice. In addition the relationship between an Immortal and his sword (or other preferred weapon) is almost a mystical one, considering the way they almost always them on hand and their weapons also seem to be connected to the Quickening process. For example, the sparks from the swords when they contact an opponent weapon or other metal object during a battle with another Immortal and, at the end of 'Innocent Man', a small flash of lightning appeared on Lucas Desiree's sword from atop his grave where Duncan had planted it, indicating some residual force left over. Also, these guys (and girls) seem to be able to conceal their swords even beneath the shortest jackets. Fans call this katana space (named for the Highlander's sword). It's a kind of endless pocket in their coat that accomodates an immortal's sword, no matter how long the weapon or how flimsy the material. It's just one of the things HL fans accept to get on with the storyline. I'll try not to stretch the limits of your imagination too much on this subject myself.
The Watchers are a very secret organization that, well, watch immortals. Their primary objective (which they forget from time to time -- and yes, there's some real bastards in the lot) is to watch and record but not interfere. They've been in existence in some form of loose organization since 2000 BC although most immortals don't know they exist. The exceptions to this rule are Duncan MacLeod and Methos and about two or three others we won't be concerned with.
So much for the universe. <g> Here's the characters:
DUNCAN MACLEOD (THE HIGHLANDER):
DM's the show's principle character. An Immortal and a good guy. Let me rephrase that: He's a Good Guy. Hero, you know? Think Kirk. 'Nuff said. Alive for 400 years, he seems to have learned very little about human nature or himself. Like Kirk, he's unable to really grow simply from a writer's POV. For Duncan to change too much, the premise of the show would change too drastically, apparently. He has a high code of Honor (which he expects everyone else to follow...) But whilst saving the world and lopping off the heads of naughty immortals, he has frequent encounters with the opposite sex, most of which die, leaving him all sad-faced. But no need to worry, he'll have another in a week or two, no need to grieve too heavily. All of his love-interests are petulant, self-involved, emotionally immature types, be they mortals or immortals. No exceptions. Personally, I have little patience with Duncan MacLeod, as you can see. <g> He's tolerable, but too often very uninteresting. There's a lot of Duncan/Methos slash out there, but personally I don't see it. But then again, I don't see *most* slash, anyway. (Shush! Don't tell Joyce! <g>) He once had a very young protégé (Richie) whom he killed (a huge no-no for an immortal) but he wasn't quite himself at the time and all is forgiven. ::snort:: I never know where a tale will take me but DM won't figure very prominently in my story as far as I can see.
Joe is DM's Watcher and friend. He's handicapped, both legs blown off when a bomb exploded in Vietnam (the actor is similarly handicapped but by a car accident at the age of 24). Joe was discovered by DM and the two formed a friendship. Joe is considered a bit of a renegade by the Watcher's organization, but is tolerated. He's a fantastic blues guitarist and singer (also true of the actor who plays him). He's late forties/early fifties, graying.
METHOS: (pronounced Mee-thos, in case you needed to know <g>)
Introduced as a recurring character late in season 3, Methos is an immortal, the oldest, in fact, born 5,000 years ago. He no longer recalls his own origins, his very distant memory a blur. By contrast, he looks to be merely a tender 26 and affects a grad-student persona while masquerading as one Adam Pierson -- a Watcher. <veg> Adam Pierson is a likable fellow working out of the University of Paris. He has several degrees and is proficient in computer technology. He has a British accent and wears sloppy over-sized sweaters and slouches a lot, (but a lovely slouch it is <g>) probably to disguise his fairly well-developed physique (swinging that sword will put some chest muscles on ya.) He's very slender built, nice lean long legs and very nice tush (hey, you didn't think I was into this genre for the intellectual value, did you?) and stands about 6 foot. Anyway, our dear Mr. Pierson is assigned to research the Methos Chronicles. (Not even the Watchers, it seems, believe that Methos is still alive.) Yes, our wily immortal has been assigned to watch himself. <g> METHOS: "I'm in charge of finding myself and I make sure it never happens."
Methos the immortal is considered a myth by most -- Watchers and Immortals alike -- and
as Methos says, it's good to be a myth. No one hunts for them. And if most immortals knew
he was alive, Methos would be hunted. If an immortal were to gain Methos' quickening --
5,000 years of knowledge and strength and all the quickenings that Methos himself has
taken -- that immortal would become impossibly strong. In fact, when he first met Duncan,
Methos had a deathwish and offered Duncan his head so that Duncan could defeat a mutual
enemy. Duncan refused. And since his head would be quite a prize, Methos likes to lay low.
He's shy of other immortals when he's not toting a sword but he usually does tote one, as
all immortals do. His weapon of choice is a 13th Century broadsword named Ivanhoe. (And
yes, I'm researching swords and swordsmanship and have some interesting fight scenes
planned. Incidentally, this isn't fencing. The broadsword is a cut-and-thrust battle
weapon and he means business with it.) Methos also totes a formidable dagger and a pistol,
but he doesn't like to let that bit of information get around. <g>
Methos prefers to remain out of The Game as much as possible, having had his fill of killing. When Duncan first met him, he set Methos on a pedestal, even though Methos continually warned him against it, that there were things in his past he was ashamed of. The truth came out finally and for a while, Duncan turned his back on Methos; his hero didn't quite fit the mold. Apparently, during the Bronze Age, Methos had ridden with a band of other immortals, killing, raping and pillaging their way across two continents. (Personally I think Methos' involvement in this was a result of a Dark Quickening given what we know of his character otherwise. Methos himself offers no excuses for himself for anything, so at this point, we don't know, and there's no other living immortal old enough to tell us. There's at least one fan fic on the web that has Mulder analyzing Methos from the standpoint of a criminal profiler. The plot's not all that great, but the analysis was pretty good.) Anyway, this gang was so fierce that they actually foreshadowed the Biblical Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (and in fact, the consensus is that they were the Four Horsemen incarnate and at least one -- Methos -- is an instrument of divine judgment being held in reserve by God for the last days (hey, some of these folks are really into this stuff. Anyhoo...) Methos was Death. Here's a quote:
DUNCAN: "Did you kill all those people?"
METHOS: "Yes. Is that what you want to hear? Killing was all I knew. Is that
what you want to hear?"
DUNCAN: "It's enough."
METHOS: "No, it is not enough! I killed, but I didn't just kill fifty, I didn't
just kill a hundred, I killed a thousand! I killed ten thousand! And I was good
at it. And it wasn't for vengeance, it wasn't for greed. It was because I liked
it. Do you know who I was? I was Death! Death on a horse! When mothers warned
their children that the monster would get them, that monster was me. I was the
nightmare that kept them awake at night. Is that what you want to hear? The
answer is yes...oh, yes."
Methos wearied of the killing, however -- basically coming to his senses a few years (we're not told how long) after getting into this situation -- and he escaped the other horsemen. (Present day they're all dead but Methos.) Still, Methos seems to believe that he is beyond redemption and that even God cannot forgive him. More speculation: he fights so hard to live because he is so fearful of facing his just judgment.
Once free of the horsemen, Methos became a scholar -- and only *sometime* warrior -- studying with the likes of Aristotle to name only one. He's kept a journal almost since writing began and part of it is in Egyptian hieroglyphics. He speaks and writes well over a dozen languages and has, in various eras, studied medicine and been a physician. He's stood on the same stage with Julius Caesar and the Rolling Stones, seen the face of Helen of Troy and crossed the Atlantic to Greenland in a boat full of monks (and thus, hates the sea). <g> He's been warrior, general, lord, slave (at least once), and all manner of men in between. We learn most of this, however, in an off-hand fashion, just from little things he's let slip, but fails to elaborate on. He enjoys anonymity and refuses to put his life on display -- even if doing so would gain him something. For all his experience, he is also not one to deliberately hand out pearls of wisdom and unsolicited advice. (Richie: Got any words of wisdom? Methos: Nope.) He tells Joe: "What were you expecting? Einstein? Freud? Buddha? I'm sorry, Joe. I'm just a guy." Joe: "Yeah, right. Next thing I know you'll be telling me there's no Santa Claus." Gotta love Joe. <g> Methos has said that he has been married 68 times, yet, given life expectancies, etc, that still leaves at least 3,000 of his 5,000 years spent alone -- and fighting the loneliness. Not that he'd ever admit to being lonely....
In one of the better eps, he falls in love with a mortal woman and courts her, even
though she has been told she has only one year to live. He tells her she can borrow his
strength and that she can spend the rest of her time dying, or living with him. When she
asks him why, his only response is: "Because the alternative is unthinkable."
This is Alexa, incidentally, and I'll probably mention her in my story. In my story she's
been dead a couple of years. Speculation is that she was his 68th wife.
One of the most endearing qualities of the character is that after all he's seen, after all he's done, Methos is still unable to shake off his capacity for hope. Think Mulder, alive for 5,000 years, everyone he's ever known dead or dying, yet still he endures. Actor Peter Wingfield: "I think Methos would think his greatest weakness is his ridiculous tendency toward compassion." But Methos is never maudlin, condescending or saccharin in his kindnesses. His is a tough love and a tougher friendship. When push comes to shove, he's harder than nails and capable of calmly executing all manner of violence.
His wit is very dry but hip (think Mulder, here). He's mercurial, sliding instantly from wry commentator to complete son of a bitch in seconds. It's a protective measure only, however; he has no chip on his shoulder and no axe to grind. He keeps actual anger firmly in check, rarely allowing himself the luxury. Duncan's impulsiveness and constant meddling in other people's affairs riles him faster than most anything, but he comes through for Duncan every time, no matter the cost. Not that Duncan goes out of his way to reciprocate, but that's just Duncan.
Metho is elusive, and although a master swordsman, would rather run from a fight if he can. For a while, Duncan assumed that Methos simply couldn't fight all that well, only to find out the truth: "Just because I don't *like* to fight," Methos admits, "doesn't mean I *can't.*" And how. It's a bit amusing that here Duncan is supposed to be the hero, frowning as Methos tells him: "The man's a problem? Lure him outside and take his head. Problem solved." But this is exactly Duncan's answer to most of life's problems: using his sword. Methos has learned better. His only interest is surviving and enjoying as much of the journey as he can, when he can. He's not out to police the world and *make* it a better place whether it wants to be or not, and he is particularly not into telling other people how to live their lives. Duncan's most "positive" influence on Methos has been to drag him out of retirement and back into The Game. What a pal.
A few quotes that may help you get a feel for the character:
METHOS: "Look at this! It's an exhibition of Greek antiquities."
DUNCAN: "Oh, yea, I can't wait. A two thousand five hundred year-old garage sale."
METHOS: "Listen, some of this stuff could be mine."
AMANDA: The plot is devious, methodical and underhanded. It's just like him!
DUNCAN: "You know, I never know when you're kidding."
METHOS: "Part of my charm."
JOE: (admiringly) "You are one calculating son of a bitch!"
To which Methos smiles.
DUNCAN: "There are times I really don't like you."
METHOS: "Sometimes I don't like myself."
There's more, but I hope to write him well enough that you'll feel like you know him once you're done with the story. Which, of course, is the whole idea.
More info, if you want it can be found in the galleries at my web site. I've got quotes from the scripts amongst the screen captures, but only a few episodes are up yet. Quit laughing, Pat. You've got Jackman, I've got Methos. <g>
Here are photos:
|One of our first glimpses of Methos -- as Adam Pierson||Methos teaches Duncan a lesson||Methos and Joe (Joe likes to call him Adam.)|
|Playing around||Not playing around, but definitely biding his time.||Methos and his Ivanhoe|
|Peter Wingfield||A site we never got to see on the HL. What were the producer's thinking!??!||Peter again.|
|Methos and Duncan||I think you get the idea. <g>|