Sales Pitch

Here's another reason that I could have put on the 'Who & Why' page, but that I thought might be more relevant here. The production of Merchant Prince is actually the result of an abortive attempt to create an Allen Schezar shrine, which was to have been called Janua Caeli and give a very thorough examination of the Knight of Heaven, from both positive and negative viewpoints. Unfortunately, when I made this decision I forgot about my disability. I appear to be constitutionally incapable of making websites devoted to the heroes of anime series. I can do villains and secondary characters without difficulty - actually, my first ever anime site, Focus: Yuuichirou & Rei, was a shrine for a character from Sailor Moon who looks kinda like Dryden (though he lacks his poise). But when I try to tackle a hero I lose my inspiration - this also happened when I tried to make a Sailor Mercury shrine, though I maintain that Chasing Ami would have been a cool title. (Or maybe I just can't do shrines about characters who have names starting with A, or who wear a lot of blue. Who knows.)

As I tried to compile this even-handed, dual-perspective Allen shrine, I found myself seeing him more and more from the negative perspective (even though I think he's gorgeous) and realising that I not only preferred Dryden as a character, I would much rather be making a site for him, especially since there are no other Dryden shrines that I know of, but Allen Shrinery has been well done by others. I like to be original, and I like to sing the praises of the relatively obscure. Dryden definitely deserves more attention and appreciation. With that in mind, here's my list of

Reasons why I like Dryden Fassa so much better than Allen Schezar (or 'What the hell was Millerna thinking?') *^.^*

~ The very first time we see Dryden, he's planning to give a captive mermaid her freedom. Allen wishes to keep Hitomi 'in a birdcage.' Who would piss you off less if he were your boyfriend? Allen's chivalry is one of his attractive features, but its flipside is this tendency to be overprotective and controlling. He wants to know everywhere you go, everything you do - and the impression this gives is that he either doesn't trust you very much, or he doesn't think you're bright enough to look after yourself. Although Dryden is more cavalier than chivalrous, I think he has more genuine respect for women as people, rather than stained-glass-window ideals. (This is another reason why I think Dryden must be good friends with his mother - see 'Speculation.' Allen lost both his mother and his sister when he was young, depriving him of an opportunity to gain a realistic understanding of women while growing up, and is by temperament far more inclined to set the fairer sex on pedestals and require them to behave accordingly.)


~ Quite frankly, Allen looks as though he spends a long time in the bathroom every morning. I can't be having with that. Especially since I spend a fair amount of time there myself, and I don't want to have to fight for mirror privileges. I'm not accusing Allen of being really vain or superficial; I'll give him more credit than that. But he is obviously very conscious of appearances (not least his own). Dryden is not oblivious to them; he thinks Millerna is beautiful, and he's cheerfully confident about his own good looks. But personality and intelligence are far more important to him, in others and in himself. And he obviously doesn't put hours into personal grooming *^.^* As long as he showers and brushes his teeth every day, that's fine by me.


~ Re: Dryden's confidence about his looks. I just love how he can say the cockiest things without sounding like a complete wanker. That's pretty hard to do, and I think he pulls it off because it's always obvious that he never takes himself seriously. It's true that Dryden can be a bit abrasive, especially when he's not trying to be nice. He thoroughly annoys Hitomi by upsetting and embarrassing Allen about his father, Leon. But it's Dryden's wry remark as Hitomi goes off in a huff, something like 'Oh, man - another girl's gonna hate me' that always makes me laugh, and makes it impossible for me to stay mad at him. That touch of self-deprecation, that recognition that he isn't everyone's cup of tea, that refusal to take himself seriously really endears him to me. Okay, Allen never brags, and modesty is nice too. But you can bet that he takes himself absolutelyseriously. He couldn't behave the way he does, without ever giving himself the giggles, if he didn't. This is part of his charm as a fictional character. But Dryden would make a much nicer real person.

~ There again - Dryden is like a real person. Hey, I've even got half a chance of meeting someone like him. I wish. Actually, I did meet a few guys a bit like him in my days at the University of Auckland, but they either weren't that cute or they didn't think I was cute, so boo. As I indicated above, I like Allen very much as a fictional character, but if I met him I think I'd find him very annoying - and impossible to take seriously. See, that's the weird thing, I can take Dryden seriously because Dryden doesn't. But I'm always seized by an urge to ask Allen whether he gets someone to inflate his sleeves for him or does he do it himself, or to put his hair in Sailor Moon 'odango' ponytails. I'm a bad person *^.^*

~ As far as we know, Dryden has no illegitimate children. That's gotta be a bonus. And I really don't know how Millerna can be happy with Allen, knowing he was in love with her older sister first - as Eries recognises, one reason for Allen's attraction to Millerna is that she reminds him of Marlene. (The line in the Exponents' song 'Why Does Love Do This To Me?', 'It seems I'm thinking of you, but I'm still thinking of someone else' always makes me think of Allen. 'Why Does Love Do This To Me?' incidentally, is quite possibly the best song in the world ever.) Allen comes with an awful lot of emotional baggage. Dryden is simply less messed up.

~ Oh, and did I mention he's loaded? Because if I don't he will *^.^* Even after selling his trading fleet to pay the Ispano Clan, Dryden still probably has inherited wealth to fall back on. And I wouldn't expect his circumstances to remain straitened for long. Impressively rich, but not obsessed with money and inclined to be very generous - that's very attractive. Dryden has the best possible attitude to money, that it's very useful, a means to an end, but not at all important for its own sake. We really don't know anything about Allen's financial situation, do we? I have a long-standing disagreement with a friend about what the young Allen said to Balgus when he met him, that he had no home. My friend thinks Allen means he literally has no house; that he's been deprived of his family estate, and is living as a bandit because it's that or starve. I don't see how this would happen. The Schezars appear to have been a wealthy and well-connected family; Leon and Encia's marriage was made for reasons of status and alliance, apparently very similar to the motives for Millerna and Dryden's marriage. Since Allen was the only surviving and locatable family member after Leon and Celena vanished and Encia died, it's only logical that the estate would descend on him. I think Allen meant he was emotionally homeless, without any connections in the world, no place with people who made him feel safe and happy - hence his being, as Balgus puts it, 'in a hurry to die.'


Because Dryden has been more fortunate in a lot of ways, I think he'd be able to make his home anywhere; 'home' is a feeling he carries with him, rather than a place he's anchored to, because he is so secure and contented within himself. As long as he's got plenty of books and no-one bugs him too much, he'll be quite happy. Well, gosh, that means he could stay at my house *^.^* Dryden's got mental wealth, and this is what he really prizes. (Yeah, I just borrowed a term from a PlayStation ad campaign. Sue me.)

~ Dryden's taller than Allen. By four centimetres. So there.


~ In the end, I can accept Allen and Millerna as a couple because Allen has shown he's not good enough for Hitomi, and I'm damn' sure Dryden is too good for Millerna. (Syrena Doné of Dilandau's Lair has termed her 'a chicken-legged ditz' and there are times when I'm inclined to concur. And her fondness for 'watakushi wa,' the most formal, prim way of saying 'I' in Japanese, never fails to get up my nose.) A sort of mutual runner-up arrangement. But I think that, in time, particularly when she grows up a little (she's only fifteen!) Millerna might come to share some of my objections to Allen. She's a smart girl, with ambitions of her own, and she may well come to find Allen too restrictive and confining as a partner. Perhaps as Dryden's wife she would really have more freedom.

'kay, are you sold yet? *^.^*

Of course, there's a third possibility for Millerna that you may not have even considered, especially if you are sane. In the interests of fairness, be advised that you may like to check out the theory proposed at... the Moleman Worship Page. I am not making this up.