It has been remarked and, indeed, I remarked myself recently that one of Damian’s biggest strengths is the ability to say a lot without speaking i.e. he uses his eyes, his facial expressions and body language in general to convey his characters’ thoughts and feelings. I found myself struggling with one of my fan fictions, at a loss as where to take it, when another idea fully formed popped into my head. I had originally intended for it to only be 4 or 5 chapters long, but it ended up being 14 chapters as it took on a life its own. It sprang from the notion of Damian’s ability to make his characters say so much without speaking…from a slightly different angle.
Over the coming months we will turn our attention to other characters Damian has played, but again, this one has been inspired by Brody. It is very popular in fan fiction world that when a character who is loved is lost, to see stories popping up where the character is still alive and the offending episode of a programme where the horrid incident happened is ignored. A fan’s happy bubble in which everyone lives happily ever after. The Homeland writers do not do happy bubbles and I wasn’t really in the mood at the time to indulge in a happy bubble anyway.
This story has Brody all over it. His presence everywhere in it, but he makes no physical appearance. He lives on through his daughter and in Carrie’s memories and the intention also was to give him a voice through Carrie’s dad. Not that Frank says or does anything that Brody necessarily would, but that this is a man she loves dearly who is also now about to die and leave her. Like Brody, in the end, Frank has made peace with that reality, but Carrie of course hasn’t. She is no more ready to have her dad ripped from her than she was Brody. Brody isn’t there, but he still manages to pull Carrie in every direction as she fights with her feelings and managing life without him, but with their daughter who is a constant reminder of him.
I think part of the reason that this story practically wrote itself is because so often Damian (as Brody) had to be emotive physically rather than with words. The rigidness that plagued his reunion with his wife and son, contrasted in the same scene, with the noticeable relaxation in his posture when interacting with his daughter, and the sadness of loss that shone through just for a second when he asked about his mom, to be told she had died. There was the thousand yard stare that indicated Brody wasn’t quite in the room with you, or the cold hard and focussed stare that said he was trying to catch someone in a lie…usually Carrie. It followed very easily therefore that Brody did not actually need to be in the story to be one of, if not the, central figure in it.
The majority of the fan fiction I’ve written for Homeland consists of Carrie and Brody as one entity. While the individual characters are complex and rich and worthy of stories pertaining to only them, the bond between the two of them brought out the muse and inspiration in me. I assumed that once Damian was no longer listed as a lead on the show, my fanfic writing would cease. Turned out though that wasn’t the case.
During Damian’s cameo in season 4 of Homeland (a cameo I was slightly spoiled about and chomping at the bit to see), I was crushed and crying and excessively fangirling. Guess I shouldn’t have been so surprised that I took to writing an extension of the “Redux” closing scene as a way to cope.
Like Bookworm, my fanfic “Sanctuary” did not include Brody as a central character, however it invoked him in many ways. I built off the idea presented in the final moments of the episode, when a drugged/desperate Carrie envisions Brody while actually speaking to Aasar Khan.
Also like Bookworm, my story essentially wrote itself. While the scene between Carrie and Brody/Aasar was satisfying to watch in a gut wrenching sort of way, after it concluded I knew I wanted that conversation to continue. I wanted Carrie to be allowed to fully communicate with Brody and to somewhat come to terms with her loss.
As far as communication, watching the scene I was amazed at how Damian not only managed to convey his character, but the newer character of Khan as well. This was accomplished not only through dialogue (sounding like it could be said by both men in the face of a desperate/emotional Carrie) but through mannerisms and facial expressions on Damian’s end as well.
Although “Redux” was centered around Carrie and the frightening path she is taken on by the hallucinogenic drugs she’s given, even not being a pivotal figure Brody’s presence says so much with so few (shared) words. And it got me writing a few more thousand words more than I expected to.