Femme Friday is here!
What about a strong female antagonist? The bad guy being a big bad space princess? Oh yeah, Science Fiction Romance has that, too. Remember Princess Aura of Mongo from Flash Gordon? No? I’ll wait. She’s on YouTube with a short video of the Bombshell of Mongo.
She is sexy. She is evil. She has a shiny hat. She is a space princess with a penchant for control. But what heroine or anti-heroine doesn’t have to feel in control? Right? No no, don’t go to the “but it’s romance, and that means our space princess needs to be rescued while she’s affecting the change in the hero”. Waaaa-waaa. No.
Who said? Not always! Sometimes she is the active rescuer, sometimes being rescued is the catalyst for the change in our hero. Sometimes badassery is the catalyst for change. Princess Aura of Mongo was the kind of sexy bad girl that made the boys’ boxers swing. She could be good or bad, depending on the situation and was, for decades, the standout example of complexity for female characters.
Sometimes it pays to be bad. Sometimes it pays to be good. Sometimes you never win, no matter which route you choose. .Poor Princess Aura, always in competition with Dale Arden for Flash’s affection, never wins. Wisely, Flash steers clear of Aura’s bad case of bipolar disorder. As the object of her affection, he’s the focus of her too-often trigger happy torture button but she could just as easily wield her ray gun at foes of the good guys, too. Complicated? Yup! But that’s the best kind of character.
Aura’s confusion is aptly drawn. Her father, Ming the Merciless, proudly passed on his lack of compassion to his only offspring. She strove to please her father and yet at the same time, longed for the affection of her golden boy, Flash. When you love the man your father hates, you’re already fighting an uphill battle. And Ming was no chump when it came to making life hard for everyone around him.
Two men–both objects of a desire—are in direct conflict. From her father she needs approval; from Flash she needs a carnal desire fulfilled. Both needs and wants fulfill a deep seeded hunger to please and be pleased. At the core is selfishness. This is Aura’s fatal flaw. She wants it all. Her father has given her permission to go after whatever she wants, no holds barred. Except for Flash. She can’t have him and that is the red itchy zit of her blemished sanity.
But that blemish is her beauty mark. At one point , thinking they’d erase all our memories with one wave of the cinematic wand, they tried to make a Glenda the Good version of Aura—Aura.2 we’ll call her—who turned out to be the limpest mop in the Mongo palace. Every hero needs an enemy. For that brief time when blonde Aura prevailed, they had to make another badass. Lady Sonja. Who, I assure you, was no lady. Villains exist to make life interesting. Villains with conflict (such as our most recent one in the Star Wars Saga, Kylo Ren) are fascinating.
If you shine, there is always a shadow.
Posted originally to JayneFury.com