Portrait of a Character – Kevin Madden-Beckett
I wanted for there to be a tragic figure, a child who would not survive a month. This would, in many ways, be a direct statement about Doug and his origins in the Mirror Universe, where he was forced to memorize the Five Signs of Weakness, as shown in Paving Stones Made From Good Intentions. This child, symbolically, would be a complete and utter rejection of that twisted philosophy.
As I was writing Fortune, I hit upon the idea of a sixth child. I had had Kevin O’Connor in mind for a while, so to have a consanguineous ancestor he was named after was an idea I wanted to explore. A baby entering the family’s lives at this time is quite the disruption. Had Kevin lived – and even if he did not have genetic issues – it would have still caused a great deal of upheaval. After all, at the time of Kevin’s conception, Neil is nearly fifteen.
In Fortune, Doug, Lili, Malcolm, and Norri all see Kevin as a child in the afterworld, and he is always depicted as holding a seedling in his hands. There is loss, yes, but the seedling is symbolic of growth, and of hope.
There is no actor to portray an infant who dies so young (none of the above images are intended to be of him). There are no relationships, there is no truly known personality, and there is no theme music. There are no quotes.
Kevin’s existence in the Mirror is impossible, but he has an analogue, Takeo Masterson Sato, as they both symbolize hidden potential.
I wanted very much for the Beckett-Madden–Digiorno–O’Day–Reed family to not be utterly perfect. Cri du chat is a very real issue and in some ways Kevin is a sign to fellow writers to lay off the perfection and wish fulfillment. Kevin’s life is tragic, but he teaches the people around him about love and acceptance and, after his death, he even assists them in the afterworld, comforting and guiding Tommy at his end, and being a signpost for Leonora and a bit of proof to Lili that there really is something there, beyond the end.
Please give generously to Cri du chat charities and support those who are directly affected. The Cri du Chat Support Group of Australia is a great place to start.
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