They [the mortals] envy the apparent ease of the silent, powerful monoliths standing still against the currents of time, without understanding the tremendous pain of that stand, nor the hopelessness when one may not die, except by another’s hand.
And immortals are jealous of the dreams, the hope, the never-ending fire and angst and determination of the mortals; for what may an immortal dream of? They create the dreams of their younger siblings, walking through a world that holds no surprises for them.

Most often, stories are told of the viewpoint of mortals regarding immortals. But how often are the immortals shown as jealous of humans? A sense of that trickles through in LOTR, but it is thin.

Immortals are often the weak links in a story. Even those creatures with incredibly long life-spans end up shallow and irritating. The exceptions (off the top of my head), are Moorcock’s Elric and Resolute and his kin from Stackpole (Stackpole writes a mean immortal character. Really!).

But put yourself in your favorite immortal’s headspace for a moment. Now take your life and loop it. Over, and over again. Take your fifty, twenty, thirty years of life and loop them end-to-end until you reach 1000 years. Imagine the deaths, the losses, the depression, the griefs of your life multiplied. Add in the disorientation that an immortal would most likely feel as the world changes rapidly around them. It’s hard enough for our grandparents to understand women’s lib and the internet, what must an immortal feel about entire nations falling?

Is it possible for a mortal to successfully portray a sympathetic immortal? Who has done it well, who fails miserably?


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