‘Rome’ and John Cavendish

So you know how I was saying that playing John Cavendish in the RPG had helped me to get a firmer grip on what his character was like?  I thought it would also help if I found him a face 🙂  So I hunted around for an actor who looked how I imagined John to look, and came up with Simon Woods – the fellow in the icon – who played Mr.Bingley in the 2005 film of Pride and Prejudice.  John is blond rather than ginger, and his eyes are grey rather than that slightly alarming shade of blue,  but otherwise this is a close match.

Naturally I wanted to make icons!  But the amount of material in P&P where the man is not grinning like an idiot is very limited, (and what was with that?  Did they deliberately set out to make Bingley look like a right pratt, so that Darcy would look better?  I did find it difficult to imagine why a sensible girl like Jane Bennett would fall for such a gurning loon.  But probably the least I say about the 2005 P&P the better.  That’s a subject for another rant!)

So anyway, I thought I’d check out what else Simon Woods had been in, to try and find some better pictures.  It turned out that he’d been in ‘Rome’,

so on a whim (provoked by the fact that Andrew is in America and I was a bit lonely and miserable) I bought the boxed set of the second series.  With the result that after a two day marathon of watching it (provoked by my internet connection going down and not being able to get on LJ or answer my emails) I’ve now become a confirmed Octavian fangirl.

‘Rome’ is an amazing series!  I wish I’d known about it when it was on, because all the communities I can find for it seem to have already become moribund.  It’s a bit like Torchwood, in that there isn’t a single character in it who is admirable 100% of the time – in fact most of the people are cruel, petty, vindictive, lust addled monsters – and yet you can’t help feeling for them.  *All* of them; no matter which side they’re on at any particular moment.  I think that’s what Pirates of the Caribbean tried to do in its sequels, but IMO failed.  You need really to establish the universe the people live in as an amoral one to start off with before that kind of thing will work.  If they live in an amoral time, then them being amoral is par for the course.  PotC didn’t do that… but that’s also another rant for a different day 🙂

I have discovered though, on a quick voyage around the fansites, that *yet again* I’m in a severe minority for having Octavian as the character I find easiest to identify with, and would want to read or write about.  I seem to have a knack for falling for the characters that no one else can stand 🙂  I’m rather puzzled as to why the characters in the series would call him cruel, given that he’s not the one torturing his enemies or shooting random slaves for sport – but perhaps that’s admirable historical accuracy, and exposing his mother and sister to the possibility of humiliation *would* have been seen as more cruel than anything physical at the time…

I’m slightly worried that the programme is making me think things like ‘wouldn’t it be nice to see a proper conversation between Pullo and Octavian now that Octavian is grown up’, or ‘what’s between Octavian and Maecenas that allows Maecenas to be so corrupt and get away with it’, or even ‘why does Cleopatra say that Octavian has a rotten soul when she’s been living with Marc Anthony all this time (and he’s a complete shit)?’

Of such things is fanfiction born, and I *really* don’t need another fandom right now!  OTOH, if anyone knows of any Octavian fanfic out there, written by other people, I’m definitely in the market for recommendations!

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15 years ago

OMG! I can’t believe there is someone else out there with the same fascination for Octavian, which is absolutely great. BTW, I much prefered the younger Octavian played by Max Pirkis, but I think it has got a lot to do with the fact that the older Octavian and Livia have a completely bizzare relationship.

Alex Beecroft
15 years ago

Octavian is a fascinating character. I do like a character who behaves intelligently and who wins against the big macho types. I just love the way Octavian takes Marc Antony down by outsmarting him at every turn.

I think they deliberately tried to turn adult!Octavian into a villain, which is a bizarre thing to do, considering what everyone else in the series was like!

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