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Jon Northborn

June 8, 2017

 

This is going to be my last post in this character analysis series. Beyond the characters I have already covered, I think the supporting "cast" would be done better justice if their focus posts were written after book two was published. Their roles can be more fully explored at that time. However, one of the most important characters in The Breacher can't be forgotten: Jon Northborn.

 

Now, I consider Jon to be a unique character when compared to the others - not necessarily in terms of personality but rather in significance. Jon is the catalyst for the entire trilogy. His injury is the event that sets Nathan into motion, Nathan's motion sets the other elements of the plot into motion, and ultimately Nathan's actions allow Jon to become involved in the underground world of the Lows. All of the events of the trilogy can be traced back to this one moment. In this way, I consider Jon to be one of the most important characters in the story, regardless of how much "screen time" he was given in the first book.

 

But this significance bred a bit of worry in me. For most of book one, Jon was in serious peril of becoming a plot device. When a character is seen by the writer as merely a tool by which the plot can be propelled, aspects of personality, relatability, and depth are lost completely. In fact, Jon was one of the few characters with whom I had real difficulty entering mentally. With Seth, Porter, Lawrence, and even Eve, I can imagine myself as them and thus unearth their attitudes and motives. With Jon, however, I always felt barred from the thoughts swirling around in his head.

 

This, I believe, may be due in part to his relationship with Nathan. As the writer, I embrace and view the story through the eyes of Nathan Hardline. Everything and everyone within The Breacher is, in a sense, tinted by Nathan's perspective. And so, with Jon, I find myself struggling to fully understand what's going through his mind. Since beginning The Breacher, I saw this as a problem. Now, though, I have learned to hone this disability into a narrative blessing.

 

See, although Nathan and Jon are incredibly close, they remain fundamentally different. In fact, Nathan would better understand Councilor Eve's thought processes than his own brother's. As the trilogy will elaborate upon, this is a crucial element to their story as brothers caught in the storm. Therefore, this gap, this lapse of understanding between Nathan and Jon has been more fully cultivated by my own understanding - or lack thereof - of Jon Northborn. While I am aware of his motivations, his goals, and his views, Jon as a person remains out of reach. In the end, this contributes to the sense within the narrative that Nathan and Jon are doomed to forever stand on either halves of a great chasm, two brothers separated at their cores.

 

This, I would claim, is the essence of Jon Northborn. He is that nagging frustration in the back of Nathan's mind, that beloved brother destined to remain a stranger.

 

 

Creed

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