The Magic in Grief
“Wanda? Wanda. Can you hear me?”
It has been 7 weeks since the first episode of WandaVision aired, and I still can’t find any suitable competitor. Part of that opinion is influenced by the fact that I enjoy majority of MCU movies (not calling myself a big fan because it carries weight), the rest is due to the exciting storyline that successfully invites audiences into the mystery of Westview. Wanda Maximoff happened to be my favorite Avenger since her first appearance in Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014) along with her twin brother, Pietro Maximoff, and now you know where my bias is coming from.
WandaVision is nothing like what I expected it to be, referring to its early promotions that showed Wanda’s and Vision’s life as a happy couple through many eras. Little did I know every episode always ended with a twist. The more I watch it the more I sink into unknowingness, cautious of what might happen next.
This is not going to be a review or such. What I really want to address is how Wanda deals with loss and sorrow which I think is the foundation of this whole series. It is known that she has to overcome numbers of death involving people she cares the most — her parents, Pietro, and, of course, Vision, in order to save the world. I believe some people out there demand her to move on and grow up because, in fact, people are dying every single day, even if they are superheroes, so it is wrong of her to do whatever she is doing in Westview. However, coping with grief is not that simple, especially when you are a living witness of certain deaths. The trauma will always haunt you no matter how hard you try to shrug it off. I am not speaking as a witness myself because, honestly, I have never experienced that kind of event, but there are people around me who did.
Wanda has been suffering a great deal ever since the attack on Sokovia occurred. Losing her parents, she only had Pietro who had to go through a rough betrayal alongside her. But the war took him away, leaving Wanda without a single thing from her past. Not to mention she had to be ‘grounded’ by Tony Stark and Steve Rogers due to her unstable power. Thank universe Vision was there to take care of her, although I believe it was not easy to navigate himself in the human world for the first time, thus made them both vulnerable. They got each other, what else can go wrong?
Oh, right. Thanos.
That particular scene remains a jab to my heart until this very moment.
With that being said, I understand why Wanda decided to build an exclusive area, even an exclusive life, to herself (despite of the fact that we further learn about Agatha Harkness’ role in this world-building). When the world crumbles beneath your feet, you often wish you could have gotten things under your control, as if you have all the said ability in your hands. Wanda’s life is a series of restraint from her free will, continuously dictated by others telling her how to live and pick a side so that her existence could mean something. I see that Wanda finally chooses herself here with all the freedom to write her story. No interferences from Ultron, Tony, nor Steve. She is free to choose her own way to overcome the most painful memories, though very unusual, like bringing Vision back to life somehow.
I am constantly amazed at her power that seems to expand, exceeding what people think — at least for the movie fans who do not read the comics like me — she is capable of. I remember Wanda attempted to fight Thanos in Endgame, saying he took everything from her, yet he said that he had no idea who Wanda was. That hurts a lot, and I think it is somehow paralleled to real life situations in which unpleasant statement from anonymous or strangers on the internet can change someone’s life so drastically. And now she ensures everybody knows how powerful she is by controlling Westview.
She resembles phoenix — rising from the ashes stronger than ever. This is what I learn a lot from her and the biggest reason why her arc resonates a lot. These days I have been reflecting on my own life and times when I hit the rock bottom, maybe even now. Despite of having friends around me, I still feel lonely. It is getting harder in the night time, my mind likes to play tricks on me, showing me all the responsibilities and milestones I have yet to accomplish. Not a single day passes without me questioning my own worth — I do not appear sufficient for this world, why did I do wrong?
I am trapped in an invisible prison I made myself but sometimes I act like it does not bother me. A joke, indeed.
Everyone seems to be so busy with their own lives to the extent that I feel like they are walking away from me one by one. Trust me, seeing people happy and successful, especially those I cherish, brings me joy. However, the other side of me is tempted to be jealous. Instead of taking it in as a motivation, it makes me feel inferior at times. My parents tirelessly encourages me that I will have a bright future and this period of time in particular is hard for everyone, but the flame that keeps my ambition warm is slowly dying. I do not know where to go and at the end of the day, I only have me. I realize eventually I need to be brave and keep pushing through because no dreams come true without effort.
“[…] Don’t let him make you the villain.”
“Maybe I already am.”
See, there is something about a character having morally gray depiction that is so personal to me. Growing up, I believe that no one is a 100% protagonist, both in terms of real world and fictional world. Idealism might get the best of you, but a human being is comprised by countless paradoxes and complexities. You can not judge someone based on either their kindness or bad habits only. It should be a mix of both so you can fully understand the reasons behind their every action. Sometimes I feel like villains make more sense than heroes/heroines do because they know how to transform their agony into a force that protects them and then come up with rational ideas of how to implement it. Redemption arc is one thing, but even inherently bad guys are able to teach you valuable lessons.
To sum up, you can create magic whenever, even in the darkest time, does not matter if you consider yourself a certain identity — heroes, villains, commoners, no one. There are pieces of everything inside you. Who knows you can create wonders when you put them together?