In Defence of Harry Flashman

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  • Topic: George MacDonald Fraser, Royal Flash, Harry Paget Flashman
  • Pages : 3 (836 words )
  • Download(s) : 237
  • Published : January 12, 2011
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It is understandable why the first mention of the character of Harry Flashman – the opportunistic philanderer of his Majesty's service who lied and cheated his cowardly way through the Victorian pages of his fictional memoirs by George MacDonald Fraser – is enough to deter the browsing lady, though far be it from anyone to say it should. Since patterns of book-buying snake across the sexes like a flailing sidewinder, it would be hopeless to say as to where on the shop shelf the hand might lay to rest. Nevertheless, for a series of stories far too overlooked for the public's common good, what could the otherwise fairer sex also find to appreciate in a man whose charm seems as fictitious as the women who fall for it? To put it more simply: can this man – to borrow the blurb – be all bad?

If the name “Flashman” is shouting forward from the back of your mind, dare the “Lord Flashheart” be named as the bothering heckler? Don't think him an unwanted associate, for 'Blackadder's' slavering womaniser could be seen as an exaggeration of the “Flashman persona” and certainly close to what Harry himself may have become had he not, by hand and boot of queen and empire, been thrown into the Flemingesque scenarios he haphazardly emerged from, some the wiser and better-shaped. Unlike the all-consuming debauchery of his comedic counterpart, Harry's lechery is merely a tempered impetus; punctuating his desire for the English comforts that makes for the only form of patriotism you'll see in him, if you can call it patriotism – the patriotism of Bond it most certainly is not. What differs Harry from James is awareness, and when taking stock, the idiom trumps the ammo.

It would be daft to credit Harry's decision making with the weighing of political consequence, however; that would be a laughable excuse; something he doesn't begin to admit. It's fear that has his mind running back to the jolly English riff-raff and the spread of beds that await. Though isn't to think with your...
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