(Note: I’ve put a fair degree of revisiting into the 3rd Act and Byron’s original Character Background has bothered me for some time. It has been rewritten and for kicks and giggles i’m posting the revamped version as today’s post.)
We have now reached the 3rd generation of McAlistairs, Byron the son of Edgar and Fay. Who is he?
He is a politician, aspiring to be Mayor of New Camden. His platform is heavy on the need to keep government small and out of everyones’ affairs, and a strong accent on fear that the government will soon become an invasive force, a police state which will rule it’s citizens with an iron fist. He also stresses a return to more traditional society and believes the city’s moral compass is disintegrating fast as exemplified by the youth and their embrace of the religion of Voudon for their new subculture. His campaign is very dynamic and energetic and in fact he’s more than a bit of a rabble rouser.
This political stance does not come out of nowhere. Since his father Edgar ended up with his mother Fay through a rather nasty act of coercion, their marriage was a truly awful one and Fay despised Edgar. Their son Byron picked up on this and he too resents his father deeply. Government, that is to say authority, represents his father, and after seeing his mother’s misery he does feel deeply that authority is coercive, invasive and should be kept severely in line, if not done away with as much as possible while still keeping order. He does not consciously know that his politics are mostly him railing against his father, but he wouldn’t be unduly shocked should he have the revelation.
He is not an anarchist, mostly because after his father Edgar died while he was in his teens, he was left with his mother Fay, who he loved and whose gentleness kept him from rebelling to the point where he dismissed the notion of societal order. Had his father lived this would likely have happened.
It should be noted here, that although this will never be used in the opera, Edgar died rich, immensely powerful and absolutely alone and miserable. His family life was cold and devoid of any love. His warmth of companionship came through high class prostitutes. He tried affairs, but due to his immense wealth, they often turned ugly, with the women attempting to blackmail and bleed money from him and thus his safest option was a few favorite professionals. He died of slow poisoning. Fay lived to see him become miserable and finally killed him slowly and in an untraceable manner.
It is after Fay dies that Byron, in his grief, turns to politics to try to fix the awful world and deal with his anger over her death and a lifetime of resentment toward his father. This all comes out in his political stance, which is impassioned and makes him very noticeable and quite popular amongst a certain segment of New Albion.
Byron is gay and it should be noted that this fact does not come into conflict with his political convictions. However he has no lovers and perhaps few if any real friends. What he does have is Jasper the Doll. Jasper the Doll, who was first brought back by Annabelle and then again by Edgar (since he was in fact Fay’s father) is still in the family, passed down to Byron. In fact Byron bonded with Jasper while still a child and now in adulthood continues to keep Jasper with him at all times. This type of behavior is not uncommon in New Albion these days. Many citizens take a certain special Doll, that is a dear departed loved one, with them wherever they go.
A question could be raised as to whether Byron is attached to the Doll obsessively because he is stuck in the comfortable child-like relationship he had with Jasper which was similar to a child and his teddy bear, or whether Byron is in fact someway in love with Jasper and therefore unintersted in pursuing real world sexual and romantic relations. This is unclear, perhaps even unlikely, but what is clear is that Byron desperately wishes Jasper could communicate more openly and intimately with him. Despite his attachment to the Doll, they never the less have a huge distance between them because of Jasper’s lack of communication.
While he is pleading with Jasper on a one to one personal level, these kids are getting together and enacting these huge, garrish, blasphemic Voodoo rituals, channeling and venerating the dead, and it anger Byron outrageously. All this feeds into his political passion and positions and makes him all the more charismatic.
Naturally, in Byron’s love for Jasper is wrapped up his misplaced love for his father. Unable to love his father out of resentment, he kept his father emotionally distant, which was easy since Edgar spent more and more time away from his family and terrible home life. Thus Jasper’s emotional distance resembled his father, but Jasper was passive and harmless, unable to inflict any sort of pain and torment on the world. Or Byron. Jasper’s hyper passivity is the perfect antithesis to his father’s central act of cruelty.
Jasper, the Doll, is meanwhile learning how to use his ability to transmit radio to work out a way to communicate with the living, so that he can acheive his ultimate objective of being dead again and released from his miserable existence living in the mannequin body.