It occurs to me that I’ve had love affairs with fictional characters that have lasted far longer than some real-life relationships.
While there are some characters I will no doubt adore all my days, I often find myself briefly but fiercely infatuated with a new character, learning everything about their history and background—perhaps doing the same with the actor or actress, if someone plays them and the object of my affection isn’t simply bound into a book.
Then a new property will come my way, a new character catches my eye, a new crush will develop, and the cycle begins again. I never really stop loving any of my old favorites, but there is often, shall we say, a flavor of the month.
The flavor of February is Poe, the A.I. hotel played by Chris Conner on Netflix’s Altered Carbon. Poe is one of the most intriguing and well-rendered characters I’ve encountered as of late—and “he” feels truly, utterly unique. I am hopelessly devoted to a sentient lodging-house.
We’re told that by the time protagonist Takeshi Kovacs wakes up in Altered Carbon‘s mindbending cyberpunk future, A.I. hotels are old, mostly abandoned tech. This is because they were programmed to want and attend to guests so totally that they ended up often getting a little too attached. Everyone warns Kovacs that an A.I. hotel is outdated and will be stalker-y, but he still goes to stay at Poe’s The Raven.
Poe turns out to be a much-needed ally—he’d hope you say a friend—sheltering Kovacs and his eventual “pack” of locals both physically (he is a hotel, after all) and emotionally. I don’t want to spoil any of Altered Carbon if you haven’t seen it yet, but suffice it to say that this spirited, debonair hotel with an interest in humanity ends up being the most humane character of all.
Conner plays Poe with a winking sort of warmth that I’m not alone in appreciating—Poe has fast emerged as a major Altered Carbon fan favorite. It’s amusing when I try and explain to friends who haven’t seen the show that what I love most about Altered Carbon is a walking, talking incarnation of an Edgar Allan Poe-themed hotel, but the heart wants what it wants.
Since it’s Valentine’s Day, let’s share the love. Who’s the latest fictional character to catch your fancy?
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