One For All

Forgive me a lapse into teeny-bopper crush mode.

BBC’s The Musketeers is coming back for a third season. All I have to say about that is…PORTHOS!!!

Okay, I’m back to ‘adulting’ now.

I read Alexandre Dumas’ books in junior high, with my favorite being The Three Musketeers.

(An aside – does anyone say ‘teeny-bopper’ or ‘junior high’ anymore, or am I dating myself?)

As a result, the character of Porthos caused me to dump my first crush, Huckleberry Finn, leaving him behind on that raft so I could run off wielding a sword.

I’ve watched all the incarnations of Musketeer movies over the years. My favorite was the version with Oliver Reed as Porthos. Other female hearts pitter-patted for Michael York as D’Artagnan. Not me.

One thing the movies have in common is an underlying theme of humor – of almost slapstick humor. Again, think of Michael York and Raquel Welch. And in some versions that slapstick humor was done with such a heavy hand that the original characters and story lines were barely visible.

What I love about the current incarnation from BBC is that the slapstick humor is gone. This show is not a comedy. From Peter Capaldi (loved him in Local Hero) who is amazing as Cardinal Richelieu, to Season Two’s Marc Warren as an excellent, villainous Rochefort. Scary bad guy with a tortured past. And Howard Charles as Porthos…well, as I’ve said, I do like that character. Even Constance becomes a strong young woman, especially in season two, and not just the female prop to D’Artagnan.

Okay, season one was a bit rough, as new seasons can be, but wow, season two. More fully developed characters, great story lines, multiple layers of conflict everywhere. I should add a caveat here that my husband says what I consider to be excellent, award winning television, most people consider ‘B’ shows at best.

Alexandre Dumas (assumed, by the way, to have had at least forty mistresses) wrote The Three Musketeers in 1844. In well over a hundred years, that story is still with us. Just like countless others written by countless authors, over hundreds of years that pull us in with the timeless hero’s journey. Even today books on writing dissect the hero’s journey for us struggling writers. People have spent their lives writing essays and books on why these stories still resonate so strongly in our psyches.

Not me. I’m going to return to Porthos.

What has been the appeal of that one particular character? I mean, D’Artagnan is always popular. Aramis with his love of women certainly attracts his fair share. As does Athos with his doomed love for Milady D’Winter.

It’s that strong silent type. You know what I mean. The character in the background, with the mysterious past, the gruff exterior, and that hidden sweet soul that only a few chosen ones get to see.

Hmmm. Just realized I married someone who very closely resembles that description, minus the mysterious past. I guess the character of Porthos left a lasting impression on my teeny-bopper, junior high heart.

I’m not sure yet when season three will be released but I’m going to see if I can pre-order it. I mean, after all, ‘adulting’ just isn’t as much fun.


BBC’s ‘The Musketeers’ from