I’ve been watching the television series Arrow on Wednesday nights and thoroughly enjoying it. Reflecting on the delicious Oliver Queen today, it occurred to me that Oliver has much in common with my Princess Alecia in Princess Avenger. Yes, I know, it’s taken me weeks and weeks to realise this but what triggered the realisation was disguises.
When we see Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) we know he is the vigilante who stalks the city by night complete with hood and painted mask, trying to bring the city’s leaders to justice. But in the story, at least so far, the connection has not been made. No one expects that the hooded man with almost super-human physical skill might be the wealthy young playboy, Oliver.
This is what Alecia relies on in Princess Avenger. She meets Captain Vard Anton when she is disguised as a youth; hair tied back, no makeup, cap and hood in place and weapons slung about her. She has confronted a mercenary and come off second best. No princess would act as she does and so when Vard is assigned her protector and meets Alecia in her regal attire, he never guesses he has already seen her, rescued her, in the street earlier that day.
Our behaviour and what others want to see and also the context in which we view people all contribute to the ability to really see what is right in front of us. Vard knows Alecia seems familiar, naggingly so, but her dress and makeup tricks and the context of the palace plus the fact that the lad seemingly has nothing in common with the princess all help to keep her secret.
Disguises aren’t the only common aspect between the princess and the playboy. Oliver has been traumatised by his family and events of the past. He has received a baptism of fire on the island, alone for five years, and has emerged a different person. He is physically stronger, scarred and has a need to right the wrongs of his father. He attempts to do so by forcing corrupt businessmen to make the right choice. He really tries not to kill.
Princess Alecia has been hurt by the loss of her mother and by the rejection of her father. Things are going wrong in the principality as her father, the prince, collects more and more taxes to maintain his luxurious lifestyle. Alecia appoints herself the protector of the people and stalks the streets at night, freeing prisoners wrongly persecuted and bringing death to murderers. Unlike Oliver Queen, she isn’t reluctant to kill the mercenaries she believes responsible for the death of a close friend. When she’s confronted with physical violence to her person, she realises that all her training in weapons was not enough to prepare her for confronting killers. Still she perseveres because eventually, her life takes such a turn for the worse that succeeding in her vendetta is all she lives for.
So, Oliver and Alecia are both damaged, vengeful people and they have both chosen the bow and arrow as their weapon; privileged young people who choose a path of violence and direct action to right the wrongs of society. Oliver finds it difficult to be understood by others after his time on the island but I think Alecia would have understood him. A pity for Oliver that Alecia has found her true love in Vard Anton, a man who has his own demons to fight but who will always put her first.