On Harold Lauder

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May 17, 2017
1
3
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#41
Harold Lauder was screwed by Nature. But not by God. Or should I say, King?

Unattractive, fat, socially left-handed and incredibly sensitive, Harold was a combination guaranteed to be frustrated by adolescence. But I would never say I pitied him. Far from it. I thought Harold was incredibly lucky considering all of those negatives. He did get to have several months of fantasy sex with Nadine, a highly attractive girl he never, ever could have had if not for the super flu. Do you know how many women a man has to date before he meets a girl like that? And I'm talking about a good-looking man with lots of potential mates. He could go his whole life and never meet a women that fun.

Okay, so Harold skidded his bike on some oil that should never have been there, and knows that Flagg did it to get rid of him. So what? He could have shot himself long before he had any real pain, right? We've got to keep things in perspective here, people. A dorky, fat, unattractive teenager. He's had one girl--a girl who was with him for the last few months of his life. And it was a fantasy situation like that?

That's not a bad trade-off in my book. :angel: :icon_evil: :angel:
 

FlakeNoir

Original Kiwi© SKMB®
Moderator
Apr 11, 2006
41,406
161,528
New Zealand
#42
Harold Lauder was screwed by Nature. But not by God. Or should I say, King?

Unattractive, fat, socially left-handed and incredibly sensitive, Harold was a combination guaranteed to be frustrated by adolescence. But I would never say I pitied him. Far from it. I thought Harold was incredibly lucky considering all of those negatives. He did get to have several months of fantasy sex with Nadine, a highly attractive girl he never, ever could have had if not for the super flu. Do you know how many women a man has to date before he meets a girl like that? And I'm talking about a good-looking man with lots of potential mates. He could go his whole life and never meet a women that fun.

Okay, so Harold skidded his bike on some oil that should never have been there, and knows that Flagg did it to get rid of him. So what? He could have shot himself long before he had any real pain, right? We've got to keep things in perspective here, people. A dorky, fat, unattractive teenager. He's had one girl--a girl who was with him for the last few months of his life. And it was a fantasy situation like that?

That's not a bad trade-off in my book. :angel: :icon_evil: :angel:
Welcome to the site Sebastian714.
 

doowopgirl

very avid fan
Aug 7, 2009
6,601
22,616
60
dublin ireland
#46
Harold Lauder was screwed by Nature. But not by God. Or should I say, King?

Unattractive, fat, socially left-handed and incredibly sensitive, Harold was a combination guaranteed to be frustrated by adolescence. But I would never say I pitied him. Far from it. I thought Harold was incredibly lucky considering all of those negatives. He did get to have several months of fantasy sex with Nadine, a highly attractive girl he never, ever could have had if not for the super flu. Do you know how many women a man has to date before he meets a girl like that? And I'm talking about a good-looking man with lots of potential mates. He could go his whole life and never meet a women that fun.

Okay, so Harold skidded his bike on some oil that should never have been there, and knows that Flagg did it to get rid of him. So what? He could have shot himself long before he had any real pain, right? We've got to keep things in perspective here, people. A dorky, fat, unattractive teenager. He's had one girl--a girl who was with him for the last few months of his life. And it was a fantasy situation like that?

That's not a bad trade-off in my book. :angel: :icon_evil: :angel:
Welcome. While I never felt sorry for Harold, that's a unique view.
 

César Hernández-Meraz

Wants to be Nick, ends up as Larry
May 19, 2015
571
4,143
38
Aguascalientes, Mexico
#47
As others have said, Harold was the author of his own disgraces, even before the flu came.

Let's see different aspects:

Fatness should never be a reason to dislike someone, although some people actually act like that in the real world. And some people cannot help being fat, no matter how little they eat and how much exercise they make, their body is built that way. We see that Harold's case was not how his body works, it is just that he eats a lot and does not do physical activities. This should not be anyone's business, though, as (aside from being bad for his health) his being fat should not be bothering others. But this is just one aspect of his behavior that we see complemented by the fact he has bad hygiene habits. He does not shower, he does not wear clean clothes. This actually affects other people around him, and he shows he simply does not care about that (he may not even be aware that this is the case, but what matters is that he does not consider how his hygiene affects others).

That last point may have been one of many that made his family look down on him. If he felt they all loved his sister and did not like him that much, he should have known it was not just because they were unfair. They may or may not have told him about how his behavior was not the one they expected, but I think it is possible they actually did, at different ages, even. He would ignore this and give them more reasons to not show the same level of "family love and pride" that they showed for his sister.

Harold also is very arrogant, thinking he is better than everyone else around him. He is smart, yes. He is actually very smart in some fields, even. But he is not as smart as he likes to think. We see that with the pretentious and amateur style he uses for his writing, and his use of high-level words that only complicate his writings. His arrogance is shown in his written works, not only in his attitude and his bragging.

He does not let go of his anger. Worse, he imagines aggressions that do not exist. He never matured into thinking about others, so he still sees himself as the center of the world, and thinks that everyone else's actions are done in function to him. So every little act or word others do or say ends up being an attack to his person. He then carries those grudges with him forever.

The smart part of him knows that most (if not all) of this is just in his mind, but he only accepts that truth at the end, when it is too late.

We see how he can use his skills to make society better. We see how others see him as a valuable member of the group. We even see how his body starts cleaning itself when he works and eats better. He had everything he wanted (besides Fran, of course), he had real respect, but he was blinded by his imagined attacks. Just like he was respected in Boulder, I am sure he could have easily become a great kid in his hometown, if he only had not been so self-absorbed.
 
May 18, 2017
15
78
46
Caledonia, Ontario, Canada
#48
I'm fascinated by the character of Harold, mostly because pretty much everything about him pre-plague is a shadow of me. I completely identified with him, and felt the internal pain he suffered. Now, I don't agree with his choices in Boulder, but I definitely understand how he got there. He also had Flagg recognizing this and manipulating things, which took away a lot of his ability to think rationally.

As for Nadine, she was similar. She recognized she was going to make a bad choice, and didn't want to do it. She tried to stop as well, by approaching Larry. Larry would have been her savior, as she would abandon Flagg for him, but it was too late, since Larry had developed a relationship with Lucy. Like Harold, I don't agree with her choices, but understand how she felt when she decided to turn to Flagg.
 

GNTLGNT

The idiot is IN
Jun 15, 2007
80,997
307,755
56
Cambridge, Ohio
#49
I'm fascinated by the character of Harold, mostly because pretty much everything about him pre-plague is a shadow of me. I completely identified with him, and felt the internal pain he suffered. Now, I don't agree with his choices in Boulder, but I definitely understand how he got there. He also had Flagg recognizing this and manipulating things, which took away a lot of his ability to think rationally.

As for Nadine, she was similar. She recognized she was going to make a bad choice, and didn't want to do it. She tried to stop as well, by approaching Larry. Larry would have been her savior, as she would abandon Flagg for him, but it was too late, since Larry had developed a relationship with Lucy. Like Harold, I don't agree with her choices, but understand how she felt when she decided to turn to Flagg.
....have one on me....
 

Zone D Dad

Well-Known Member
Apr 17, 2017
358
1,786
Chicago Suburbs
#51
I would be hard-pressed to say anything kind about Harold Laudner, except that I was saddened by the path he chose to follow in Boulder when he had a legitimate shot at redemption. I'd say happiness, but I don't think that state exists in the world of Captain Trips.
 
Likes: GNTLGNT

GNTLGNT

The idiot is IN
Jun 15, 2007
80,997
307,755
56
Cambridge, Ohio
#53
To me, the saddest thing about Harold was the cookie cutter John Hughes-esque portrayal of him in the mini series (at least when we first meet him). He even had the stereotypical pimples on his face.
....King pretty well had him drawn as the quintessential brainy, pompous loser, with all the baggage that entailed.....
 

Great Dane

Well-Known Member
Sep 8, 2017
71
310
The Land of Cheese
#54
....King pretty well had him drawn as the quintessential brainy, pompous loser, with all the baggage that entailed.....
'tis true.
Seeing it still made me think, "Really?"

I suppose, though. The movie and book are different animals. We have to have a visual representation. Though his mannerisms and tentative dialog certainly did more to convey the nerdish nature more than the pimples and perpetually greasy hair. LOL
 
Likes: GNTLGNT

GNTLGNT

The idiot is IN
Jun 15, 2007
80,997
307,755
56
Cambridge, Ohio
#55
'tis true.
Seeing it still made me think, "Really?"

I suppose, though. The movie and book are different animals. We have to have a visual representation. Though his mannerisms and tentative dialog certainly did more to convey the nerdish nature more than the pimples and perpetually greasy hair. LOL
...true dat...he looked nothing like the image Steve helped paint in my brain....
 

César Hernández-Meraz

Wants to be Nick, ends up as Larry
May 19, 2015
571
4,143
38
Aguascalientes, Mexico
#56
...true dat...he looked nothing like the image Steve helped paint in my brain....
I think you've already seen this, but here's how I saw him by reading about him in the novel.



He's the one wearing the glasses, by the way.

If done today, they could use technology to show the passage of time to have him go from this to someone leaner and with more muscle definition, due to better diet and more physical activity.
 

GNTLGNT

The idiot is IN
Jun 15, 2007
80,997
307,755
56
Cambridge, Ohio
#57
I think you've already seen this, but here's how I saw him by reading about him in the novel.



He's the one wearing the glasses, by the way.

If done today, they could use technology to show the passage of time to have him go from this to someone leaner and with more muscle definition, due to better diet and more physical activity.
...exactly....
 

melindaville

Well-Known Member
Nov 14, 2011
307
1,061
Boston and San Francisco
#59
I agree that there should be some pity for Harold - he was lonely and cast out, and there are hints of his life before the superflu that imply he was dealt a bad hand, but on the whole? He is a villian for me because he was unwilling (not unable) to overcome his personal adversity, something nearly all the heroes did. He had a number of chances of redemption throughout the events of the novel, had choices to make and was foolish and self obsessed each time, ending up with nothing. His immaturity, envy and petulance in the first half of the novel could be argued as a troubled young man reacting to the decimation of mankind, but then all the survivors had to go through this readjustment. I think King took great pains to show Stu and Fran trying to reach out to Harold to have him on side during the whole unfolding love triangle etc. Harold just didn't have it in him to join in and be a team player, even when he was presented with a fresh start in Boulder.
And he killed Nick Andros, among others. And Nick Andros was awesome.
Interesting. I really don't think of Harold being dealt a bad hand in life--when you compare his life to so many others. Even in America, his parents were wealthy and successful, he was well fed (maybe a bit too much so), and he had a fine mind. That's not being dealt a bad hand--being dealt a bad hand is being raised by alcoholic/drug addicted parents who beat you up and abuse you, and not having money for food, clothes, or any necessities of life. And if we want to look beyond our own country, compare Harold Lauder's life to any normal North Korean citizen. He lived like a king while they are picking kernels of corn out of cow poop to eat (seriously--I have read maybe 50 books on North Korea).
 
#60
Harold is an interesting character. He fits the definition of a tragic hero in that it is his own choices which lead directly to his destruction. Can we identify with Harold? Of course we can. Can we (should we) pity him? I think it would be hard not to do so, at least on some level. But Harold, not Flagg, is his own master and commander. He is smart enough (and boy is he clever) to know what is happening. He knows better. There is a difference between ignorance and willful ignorance. The various people who take part in this end of the world event all have a choice (even the so-called bad guys). None of them go in blindly. That would defeat the point of the exercise.
 
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