When I was writing the Templar novels, I didn’t read much beyond magazines and Facebook, because I didn’t want to subconsciously borrow anything from sources that weren’t already in my head. For the same reason, I didn’t watch much that I wasn’t already familiar with. Because of that, I missed Jessica Jones when it first aired.
Now, working my way through Jessica’s first season on Netflix, I am amazed by the similarities between the Templars’ heroine Raena and Jessica. There’s the physical things: the black hair and the black eyes, the slim body, but Jessica is a paler shade than Raena.
The part that astounds me is their relationships with their exes. Both Raena and Jessica have escaped from deadly, controlling men who will stop at literally nothing to get “their” women back. Both women start out terrified: Jessica is as fluttery as a trapped sparrow; Raena makes herself so ill that she nearly dies. In both cases, their first instinct is to run as fast and as far away as they can.
Both of them stall when they realize what their exes will do to the friends left behind. Raena has already rescued her girlfriend Ariel from Thallian once. She knows Ariel will not survive a second encounter.
The parallels were driven home to me when Kilgrave tells Jessica that he never realized how much he loved her until she left him to die. She was the first thing he had ever wanted and couldn’t have, so he’s going to threaten everything, everyone, until she sacrifices herself to protect them and comes back to him.
I got chills. That speech echoes what Raena tells everyone who tries to get her to hide during her flight from Thallian: he will not stop, until he has me back. No one is safe. It takes her a while to accept that there is no one who can stop Thallian but Raena herself. From that point on, she is hunting him, rather than vice versa.
In No More Heroes, the third book of the trilogy, Raena talks with Jim, one of Thallian’s sons, about his father. Raena says that Thallian lived alone in a galaxy full of ghosts. No one was ever real to him. Jim points out that Raena, at least, was real. Thallian was willing to sacrifice all his brothers, all his sons, to get her back.
Raena says, “I was only ever real to him after I ran from him.” She was the only thing — having her was the only thing — that ever made Thallian feel alive.
It gives me goosebumps to see my characters reflected on the TV.