Pretty, Fizzy Paradise

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Sunday, March 26, 2006

Sinestro is *Everyone's* Daddy:

I had a bizarre random thought the other day: in a strange sort of way, Sinestro is the ultimate father figure in the Green Lantern mythos right now. (Albeit a scary evil father figure.)

As we see in Flight and Green Lantern, Hal's relationship with his actual father was pretty simple. (ignoring for the moment certain writers' takes that didn't correspond, I'm going to stick with current continuity whereever possible.). His father was a teacher and a mentor, taking little Hal up in the airplane so he'd learn not to fear it, patiently teaching him skills he'd need to know later in life. But Martin Jordan (an awful name by the way) is also a factor for dynamic change in Hal's life. Hal mentions in Rebirth how his father's death took away his ability to fear. And we glimpse Martin's ghost during Hal's resurrection in Rebirth as well.

Sinestro is also both a teacher and a force for dynamic change. When Hal was a Nightlight, Sinestro was his mentor, teaching him the ways of being a Green Lantern. But Sinestro was a constant force for change/maturation in Hal as well. Sinestro's machinations brought forth Parallax, leading Hal to become possessed/influenced by the Space Bug. The "Parallax" that tried to rewrite the universe and helped temporarily cure John Stewart's paralysis and grieved at Arisia's funeral was a new entity, melding of the two, that Sinestro could be considered to have created.

There is an Oedipal element to each battle with Sinestro, that constant archetypal image of the son needing to strike down the father in order to become a man. That theme recurs often in Hal's story, from when he was nearly led to rebellion against the Corps, to his battle against Sinestro in Rebirth. And it's significant, I think, that Hal's resurrection culminates in the vision of Martin Jordan, whereupon Hal, upon waking, immediately battles Sinestro.

Kyle's relationship with his father also parallels Sinestro, in a strange sort of way. It's through Sinestro's machinations that Kyle becomes the Green Lantern himself. His machinations cause Hal to become Parallax, leading to the destruction of the Corps. This then precipitated the necessity of Kyle Rayner being given the ring in an alley outside of a nightclub.

However, where Sinestro was a close, attentive, mentoring "father" to Hal (paralleling Martin Jordan), to Kyle he's a distant influence. Involved briefly with his creation in a manner that Kyle will never really understand. Aaron Rayner (or Gabriel Vasquez, if you will) was never a real figure in Kyle's life, though naturally, Maura's no Virgin Mary, so he had *some* role in Kyle's creation.

In the Ion story, Kyle finally tracks down his father and confronts him on his own terms. In Rebirth, it is much the same. While initially he is defeated and must be saved by Ollie, he then appears in the nick of time to help Hal, wherein both men are strong and triumphant.

The parallel continues for Guy. Where Sinestro paralleled Martin's role as a teacher/catalyst for Hal, Aaron's role as absentee creator for Kyle, he does the same for Roland Gardner. Gardner was both physically and verbally abusive, constantly tearing his younger son down, belittling him, beating him and otherwise crushing his spirit.

Sinestro took on the role as abuser for Guy, torturing the man and shredding his mind until the sweet, polite and gentle special-ed/gym teacher became the raving psycho we know and I love. In that sense, Sinestro had even more of a role in creating Guy-as-he-is-now, as he had in the creation of Hal or Kyle. In an even sadder part to the parallel, where Guy had always been an afterthought in his father's eyes, in the shadow of his elder brother Mace. So Guy was to Sinestro, as everything Sinestro had done to him was for the sole purpose of using him against Hal Jordan. (Now the parallels between Hal Jordan and Mace Gardner are *really* interesting, but I'll save those for another analysis.)

Another interesting element is how when Hal defeated Guy and took back his position as the Green Lantern of Earth, stripping away the latter's Lantern-status, Guy went to Sinestro's grave and stole his yellow ring, which he used quite skillfully, it must be said. In a very real sense, in Guy, Sinestro had created his own successor. A yellow ring wielder, antagonist to Hal. Even though it must be said that at his worst, Guy was never *evil* like Sinestro, just really really angry. But not all sons grow up like their fathers.

The successor element can be seen also with Katma Tui and Soranik Natu, both of whom ended up inheriting his position as Green Lantern of their sector. While I don't know anything about either's fathers, making that comparison impossible, there is the way in which a male leader of a country/nation is often considered a "father" in a sense. As the dictator of Korugar, he does become something of an evil national patriarch, which is enough to extend the metaphor.

It will be interesting to see, now that all the Lanterns *and* Sinestro are once more active, how the comparison will hold from this point forward.


  • At March 26, 2006 6:59 AM, Blogger Ragnell said…

    There's one more Oedipal parallel in the Hal-Sinestro story you neglected, and it's one Freud neglected too. Oedipus's father is the aggressor in the conflict, forcing Oedipus to destroy him to survive. Laius causes his own death, because he's the one who left his son in the wilderness to die, ensuring that his son would grow up and never know him. Years later, on the road, Laius is the one who attacks Oedipus and the ensuing fight results in Laius' death.

  • At March 26, 2006 7:17 AM, Blogger kalinara said…

    Heh, that's a good addendum. :-)

    I hope Sinestro's not expecting a Christmas Card.

  • At March 26, 2006 1:22 PM, Blogger Michael said…

    How does Hal constantly getting hit on the head play into this theory? :)

  • At March 26, 2006 6:37 PM, Blogger kalinara said…

    Hmm, I think that's just an intrinsic part of his character.

    Or you can always imagine that God=Father=Sinestro and thus just likes whackin' him. :-)

  • At March 27, 2006 4:09 PM, Blogger Steven said…

    How does Hal constantly getting hit on the head play into this theory? :)

    Well, to stick with the Oedipus parallel, when Oedipus discovered his crimes, he poked out his eyes out of guilt for what he had done.

    Hal, we learned in GL 7, wanted a good relationship with Sinestro, but was forced into conflict by the aggressor "father." Hal was duty bound to bring him in, and Hal will do his duty, no matter how guilty he feels about it.

    So the repeated blows to the head might be Hal subconsciously punishing himself for "killing" his "father" and taking his place.

  • At March 27, 2006 7:09 PM, Blogger kalinara said…

    Steven: Nice! That's why I love having comments on this thing. You guys think of things I wouldn't have thought of!

  • At March 28, 2006 8:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Wow, I just realized, Hal the GL and Hal the computer were both reprogramed by their "fathers"into mega evil forces trying to fix the world! To quote V "there are NO coincidences."

    Also Sinestro's abuse of Guy was almost certianly more perverse then we can imagine. Guy probably joined Sand & Nightwing in the "raped in every sense possible" category during his extra dimensional torture. Proof, Sinestro's intro line in Rebirth "Who could?...Who would?...Who ELSE!" Evil PERVERSE MUSHACHED @#$% MONSTER! God I love GOODbad guys!!-)
    p.s. You did ask me to post this Kal;-P

  • At March 28, 2006 10:04 AM, Blogger kalinara said…

    Heh, *ask* isn't the right word. I just thought your crazy ramblings deserved equal time, rather than just shared with me in person. :-P

    You know, you should get a blog. They're fun!

    And now I have a mental image of Parallax-Hal going "I can't do that, Ollie..."

    And it makes me laugh. And as for the other's probably not unlikely, but I'm not gonna think about it right now. :-)

  • At March 28, 2006 1:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I would but i'm a snail of a typist. Your prodigious pen is intimidating as hell. :-)


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