Rage and “Marvel’s Agents of Shield – The Well”
So, this blog is about heathenry and dealing with rage and anger. Like it or not, a common way people hear about Norse and Teutonic things is Marvel comics. I am aware that many people are annoyed by this but nothing any of us will do changes the fact that their movies and now television show reach a lot of people. I do watch Marvel’s Agents of Shield but amusingly had not seen this episode when it came on for various reasons. Suddenly, many friends were asking if I had seen it. I finally managed to watch it and, after about five minutes, saw why.
While the premise uses the Marvel Thor movie background to posit berserker ground troops in a way against the Frost Giants on earth during the Viking period using a special staff that focuses rage, the way in which the show deals with that rage rings very true to my experience. Essentially, some rather flawed interpretation of some kind of angry Nordic groups (maybe crossing religious groups with some of the metal movements?) seeks the staff through ancient stories and finds the pieces to wreak havoc as sort of berserk terrorists looking to become gods.
I looked for an online version to link to for people to watch but I cannot find a current one. I trust that, if you really want to find it, you can. Here is IMDB:
So, if you discard the story justification, you are still left with several examples of dealing with rage with varying levels of effectiveness. The character who turns out to be the ancient Asgardian berserk says that the magic of the staff shines a light into your very dark places and brings that rage out. The main character affected, Agent Ward, had repressed very dark things from his childhood that bubbled forth. So, what do we have:
1) The Norse “Paganist” berserks (RAGE) – Well, they are mostly just the villain extras of the week without much of a coherent philosophy beyond seeking power for themselves but they do represent a type of person I was warned against when I started down this path who seeks rage as an end in itself. These are, frequently, the people I call the “wretches”. They end up failing and, sadly, often taking others down with them before dying by their own hands or those of the police. Other than an example never to follow, they teach us little.
2) Agent Ward (DENIAL, SEETHING AND REPRESSION) – Ward had childhood experiences he left behind but never faces and carried that seething anger as a sort of low level focus. He built up a huge wall of self-control but the staff shatters that and he is left having to work through it. He uses the power later to fight off the Paganists until he is left exhausted and in tears. Once the wall breaks, I have found it next to impossible to just rebuild. I had to move on to other things.
3) Agent May (ACCEPTANCE OF SHADOW WITH A TOUCH OF NIGHTMARES) – Agent May, who helps Ward and ends up being the only person in the program to bear the completed staff and also give it up, seems much more controlled and at ease with her “shadow self” (my words, not in the show). She mentions that the darkness is where she lives (at that point, her backstory had not been revealed) and strongly implies she has come to better terms with that part of herself. I would have liked to see a bit more about her philosophy but we do not. She has made sufficient peace with her shadow to control the rage that courses through her although, perhaps, not as far as she might need to.
4) The Asgardian (PEACE) – After 1000 years, he has come to a peaceful state and declares himself a pacifist. He has learned to let all of the rage go and be mostly tranquil. He is still a womanizer, so they do not portray him as a saint.
If someone asked me, I am somewhere between 3 and 4. Many of the crutches and anger I carried are gone or can be easily released through laughter or exercises, although I am hardly perfectly calm. Granted, I will never be over 1000 either