The case of Lars.
I’m actually really happy there are many posts out there “defending” Lars. Not because I particularly like him, but becase he IS the most realistic human on the show.
Personally, I strongly dislike Lars, and I get why people do as well: He’s a self absorbed, egoist and extremely insecure person governed by his own fears and, so far, he hasn’t even proved to be somewhat useful in the face of adversity, like Sadie has.
BUT- and it’s a big but- I know why I dislike Lars so much, and it has to do with the theory I have that regarding certain things, we despise on others those traits we also have, and hate about ourselves. The reason I don’t like Lars- and maybe the reason some of you don’t, either- is because he is SO desperately, intolerably human, that he embodies the sheer vulnerability we all have and despise in ourselves.
In a narrative, the spectator is supposed to empathize with the protagonist, and we perform that role gladly: Wether it’s the sassy anti-hero that unconventionally saves the day; the righteous hero whose bravery and determination will outcome every obstacle; the antagonist that outsmarted everyone and won the game, we are expected to look at them, live through them, and ultimately, identify with them, therefore attributing those desirable traits to ourselves. Are you more a Snape, or a Harry? Which Crystal Gem are you? Which Madoka Character represents you best? In all of those, we can- and want- to believe we are as smart, as brave, as cunning and as strong as those figures, when adversity strikes, we can hold our own and we can win, because we are that great.
Lars…reminds us that is NOT the case. Lars is a human and a troubled teenager, and so he displays the angst the teenager mind goes through (especially if he interpret him as a trans character, just IMAGINE the amount of angst that adds). He doesn’t have any special powers, he’s not trained in anything that can help him, he goes to extensive- and somewhat ridiculous- lenghs to conceal the good things he DOES have going on for him, and if you’re perpetually starving to be something you are NOT (popular, traditionally cool), and negating what you are, it’s no surprise that most of the time you are going to be paralysed by fear, frozen with doubt, and with your sense of self worth downer than The Cluster.
Lars is insecure of himself and he remind us how we would most likely act in the face of true fear: one- some say the- most human fear, the fear of death. Lars shows us the self preservation instinct that would likely govern us in the situations the show presents, and we also shows us how powerless we could feel, how hard we would struggle before actually jumping to the unknown. We are, after all, only human.
That’s why I think Lars being in the show is so important, he doesn’t only offers a powerful contrast and mirror to the spectators, he’s the one that represents the most raw potential of growing. Lars’ arch can be develop to what Rose woud most admire: A human being. Troubled by his own thoughts, constantly struggling with himself, but constantly learning, constantly evolving. Just like us, mere mortals, do.
But you know, it’s fantasy and nobody wants to admit that, even to ourselves.