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Avon was a Natural Leader 
5th-Oct-2010 03:47 am
I've taken leadership courses and there are many types of leaders and Avon definitely falls into one of those types. He's actually a natural leader. He expects people to follow him, he slips into a leadership role quite easily without having to ram it down people's throats like Blake and Tarrant, he initiates actions and people naturally look to him for leadership when someone louder and more distracting isn't around.

Being a loud, bullying, manipulative liar isn't a prerequisite for being a leader. If it were then only people like Blake could be leaders. Usually, at my work, leaders like that are detested and hated and no one respects them. People who lead like Avon, who know what they're doing, who don't throw their weight around constantly, who don't insist their way is the only way, they are the ones who are loved as leaders, even if they are cold emotionally. They aren't flashy leaders but they are competent ones. They are rational, logical and responsible who are able to think big picture and long term. They are able to understand complexities and know how to problem solve by fixing the problems. This is Avon. Blake? Not a hope. He's the kind of amateur who comes up with emotional, knee-jerk bandaid solutions that usually end up destroying everything and solve nothing. But they look really good and flashy solutions on the surface and that is typical Blake.

Avon wanted to be leader and he wanted to take leadership from Blake, that was very clearly specified several times. Avon never hid that. Of the two, Blake had the advantage as leader, he was more charismatic, forceful and was much more of a bully. That doesn't make Blake a good leader nor does it make Avon not a leader, just different types of leaders, with one people are more inclined to follow. Though they will follow both types, just as it works in the real world. To assume that just because Blake was a leader then Avon couldn't also be a leader too is a very limited and narrow way of thinking.

Even when Tarrant came onboard and tried to take leadership from Avon, he never succeeded. Watch their interaction carefully. From the beginning, even when Tarrant was trying to give orders, he always recognized that when there was anything important to be done, when there was real danger or if there was a policy decision to be made, he always asked Avon's permission.

Avon kept a careful eye on Tarrant's performance. If Tarrant looked like he couldn't handle things Avon immediately stepped in and took over and led the others in what needed to be done. Avon left the dreary day-to-day operation of the ship to Tarrant.

What does this sound like? This sounds like Avon was the exec and Tarrant was the junior officer who took care of less important and boring tasks. Tarrant didn't realize this at first. He thought that because Avon let him shoot his mouth off that he was the leader, but he learned soon enough and it became very clear Avon was always and only the leader.

And Avon never followed Blake. Avon never acknowledged Blake as leader. He was only on the ship for his own personal agenda. Any actions he took on the ship was because he was a team player or Blake bullied him into it. Avon never followed despite himself. He was a failure as a follower because Avon was never a follower, he was a leader in conflict with another leader who was a bully. The only time Blake ever gave Avon a real choice on a mission, Avon categorically refused to go, and he didn't. Blake learned that the hard way.

Avon needed time alone, but he was never a loner. Avon constantly sought out companionship, something we never see Blake doing. Avon played board games with the crew, he shared meals with them and had chats, he went with Vila to have some fun. Even when he was working and didn't need to be with everyone else, Avon hung around the others. That's a very strange definition of a loner. In comparison, Blake never did any of those things with the crew. The only interaction he had with them was by necessity, it was never social. So who was really antisocial according to canon? It was Blake, not Avon.

From the beginning to the end, Avon was usually right about everything. He had a far greater and deeper understanding about people and how society worked. Blake was completely clueless. Avon knew it was all about money and power, that's how the world runs. Even in our society that is true. Vila was right that Blake strutted around arrogantly thinking he could handle everything and he knew all about handling the Terra Nostra, when in reality he didn't understand a thing about the lower classes or the underworld. Avon knew though, he knew Blake's silly plan would never work. Like most of Blake's plans, it was an ill-conceived failure that this time didn't even have the benefit of luck.

Blake understand what it was to be human? If he didn't understand those things which should be common sense, he doesn't have a hope of understanding what it means to be human. The only one who did was Avon.
Aftermath Avon enigmatic
8th-Oct-2010 02:13 pm (UTC)
I've never thought of Avon as a saint, far from it. He was a flawed hero. What pisses me off is that everyone seems to bash Avon and take a very prejudice view of everything he does, where Blake does far worse but he gets a pass and despite what he does, he is constantly described as better, more moral, successful, pleasant, loyal, and compassionate when he was rarely. And Avon, the descriptions we often get are failure, violent, insane, selfish, self-serving, nasty...sound familiar? In almost every post on LJ, I see these words assigned to Avon and Blake. It's a highly prejudiced view of them that is not supported by most of canon. And that is why I am so rabid in pointing out all of the things Blake does that people turn a blind eye to and defending my poor Avon from such unfair attacks.

And the idea that Blake loved Avon and respected him and trusted him when he treated Avon so horribly most of the time and constantly encouraged the others see him negatively and constantly questioned everything Avon did, just makes my stomach turn. And seeing Avon and Blake pictures where Blake is holding Avon and being nice to him make me want to hurl because of all the times Blake shafted Avon and betrayed his trust because his cause and anything he was doing currently that wasn't even remotely connected with the cause was far more important than the lives of the crew.

Yes, PD has often said that his preferred acting style is to keep people guessing. So when I see people interpret everything Avon does as automatically negative even when he's trying to do something good...and even go to the point where they make up stuff that is not canon to prove it and case in point is the horrible transcripts on Hermit which are not only clearly anti-Avon in the way it describes and interprets Avon's facial expressions, it contains some whoppers of lies which do not occur in the series and which make Avon look really bad. That really makes me really angry and I will defend my poor Avon against people who think he was so terrible and Blake such a saint because everything he did was for non-selfish reasons so anything he does has to be excused.

Edited at 2010-10-08 02:28 pm (UTC)
8th-Oct-2010 02:29 pm (UTC)
Surely there are others out there who defend Avon. Of all the 7 I thought he was most liked. I probably don't visit enough B7 comms to notice Avon bashing, 'cause it never occured to me that there were people out there who are mean to our Avon. I can understand that one gets carried away in comments sometimes, but I didn't notice a vendetta against Avon (but then I've been away for a long time).

The Avon/Blake love angle is probably as old as the series is among certain fans. And here I mean love in the broadest sense of the word (meaning it sometimes actually resembles hate). I never knew slash existed before I came to Lj and this com. I saw B7 as a child and it was just fun to see these two arguing all the time. I began to read slash stories ( the milder ones; I'd rather the writer left out the explicit bits)) and thought they were okay. Some of them are nice reads on a cold, rainy evening.

The fact that some people think Avon was insane is probably due to episodes like Orbit (in which PD played Avon pretty insane), but I don't think he was insane.
8th-Oct-2010 02:45 pm (UTC)
Yes Avon was by far the most popular character but that doesn't mean people view Avon positively. They to love the negative image of Avon. They love the 'bad boy' image and really play it to the hilt. These are the people who I consider as bashing Avon a lot, they don't consider it as bashing because they love that aspect of him. A lot of how they describe Avon is villainous behavior but they love that. They love how supposedly nasty he was all the time to people and how he killed everyone who ever betrayed him. Which is such a cartoonish version of Avon that only takes a few things he does and make that Avon when that was not all that Avon was. Most of the time he had legitamate reasons for behaving the way he did and he rarely behaved that way unless he had no choice or he was provoked.

Yes, I understand the reason for slash and pron. Those have never interested me and the pairing of Avon and Blake just makes me ill considering what really happened in the series.

PD has categorically said that Avon was not insane, he was only reacting under extreme stress. He's also said that if he had been put under the stressors that Avon had been, its naturally that he would behave that way too.

I don't really consider Avon that insane in Orbit. He made a logical, albeit very selfish decision in Orbit. I doubt if he would have even thought of it if ORAC hadn't suggested it. But once ORAC did, Avon was really tempted and he made a horrible mistake, which is very human. I don't think Avon wanted to and once he found a different solution, which was really a crazy one that had little hope of success, he chose that rather than continue doing something wrong. Perhaps he had a lapse of temporary insanity when ORAC gave him a solution and he let his fear override his better instincts. But when he ran into the alternate solution, he became himself again and did the right thing.
9th-Oct-2010 12:29 pm (UTC)
I'm trying to remember why I fell in love with Avon all those years ago. I don't think it was because of the bad boy image. I think part of Avon's charm is actually born out of the fact that there was Blake. I liked their fights, their arguing, Avon's attack on Blake's conscience and vica versa. I liked the way he questioned every order; that he didn't accept Blake as a leader, but tolerated him in that role so long it was to his advantage. He was the brake on Blake's gung-ho attitude. Without the character of Blake I probably would never have noticed Avon. That is obvious in series 3 & 4. I watched them only a few years ago for the first time, but was rather disappointed. Of course the writers tried to recreate the same concept by introducing Tarrant, but it just didn't work for me. Apart from a few episodes (namely Rumours and Sarcophagus) I didn't like the show anymore. I didn't like Avon anymore. Although I'm sure he's a great leader, I liked him better when he was (not) being led.

I'd like to think that Blake was actually glad Avon opposed him. When Blake came up with a new plan, there was always Avon who would scrutinze every aspect of it, trying to leave nothing to chance. Blake knew very well how valuable Avon was to him. But he also knew there was a risk he would leave him. I don't think he ever suspected Avon would just betray them. He knew Avon's sense of honour would have prevented that.

Oh, I forgot to mention that another reason to fall in love with Avon were of course his good looks and pleasant (voice that got all the great lines).
10th-Oct-2010 02:16 pm (UTC)
For me, I detested Blake from the very first episode that Avon wasn't in. A friend of mine introduced me to B7 and after the first boring episode with Blake, I wasn't interested. I really couldn't imagine forcing myself to watch an episode with someone like Blake in it. But I gave it another try and thank god. The moment Avon entered, a geek as the hero, he had me hooked. I loved Avon's blasting of Blake and his intelligence as opposed to Blake's stupidity. It made me love Avon, but only to the extent I wanted him to get rid of Blake. After awhile I couldn't watch any scene with Blake in it without becoming ill and wanting to wish Avon would shoot Blake and just get it over with. I really felt for Avon and how increasingly frustrated and angry he became because of Blake.

The only scenes I enjoyed were the ones where when Avon was without Blake. Destiny was my favourite episode of S1, and Deliverance. Avon happy and interested in otehr people after Blake leaves the picture and a natural leader who looks quite comfortable in the role, except for the fawning. Avon with Cally without the blight of Blake on the scene causing tension. Avon playing detective. I like a happy Avon.

My favourite season was S3. I applauded when Blake was gone and Avon was finally able to come into his own and do what he wanted, which was lead intelligently. Yes, there was no conflict and Tarrant was a poor substitute but for me it was still better than anything with Blake in it. It was the writers fault they didn't create good enough tension, but Avon as leader was great. The writers should have done what they originally intended, not a young incompetent buck like Tarrant who did not have the charisma. He was a poor substitute for Blake and every one of Blake's stunts in Tarrant's hands becomes clearly despicable and despisable because he didn't have the charisma to pull it off and cover up how bad he was.

But I didn't want Avon to get rid of Tarrant as badly as I wanted him to get rid of Blake. I celebrated when Avon killed Blake at the end. Why couldn't he have done that earlier?

I only liked any scene in S1/S2 without Blake in it, even when Avon was there. I've started doing my owen version of S1/S2 episodes and editing Blake entirely out of them.

I think Blake hated Avon opposing him. Blake couldn't stand anyone opposing him, it had to be his way or the highway. He stomped on anyone who did, using threats, bullying, yelling until he got his way and making Avon back down, or he would do his normal lying and manipulation to get his way. That doesn't sound like Blake being glad anyone opposed him. Because if he did then the opposition from Avon, which usually made far more sense and would have avoided getting them into more trouble, would have made some difference to Blake's plans but it never did. Blake always got his way even when he recognized it was the stupidest thing to do.
10th-Oct-2010 02:16 pm (UTC)
Blake knew Avon would never betray him...is that why whenever Avon is even a little late in bringing Blake up, Blake immediately is suspicious of Avon, without first asking if he had a good reason to do it? Blake might have good reason to be suspicious at the beginning, after CA, but not after Avon had saved Blake's life numerous times and had proven himself. Blake never trusted Avon. That is why he deliberately kept Avon a prisoner on the ship by adjusting the odds to make sure Avon could never have the conditions to leave. Blake knew Avon wanted to rid himself of Blake. But look at every time Blake lets Avon leave the ship alone. In Breakdown, Blake deliberately shows his face on the research station even though they could have used someone else to pretend to be the captain. Blake whose face is known all over the Federation. He tells Cally that he wants Avon to make up his own mind and he's not going to stop him, but he makes sure Avon cannot stay by showing his own face on the station, and giving a really weak lie to convince the station people. Yeah, a weak lie from someone who lies as easily as breathing. And in Killer, again Blake shows his face on a Federation station when Avon and Vila go down to get the crystal. Blake didn't have to do that. He could have easily sent one of the others. But it makes sure Avon could never stay on the base with Tynus. It's no wonder Avon was so livid with anger and wanted to free himself from Blake in Star One. He recognized after Blake's admission in Horizon that Blake was deliberately keeping him a prisoner on the ship against his will.

For me, Avon's good looks and voice are great bonuses. But I am always drawn to the intelligent geeks who usually play the second banana on a show. SO when I saw Avon as leader, I loved it.
11th-Oct-2010 06:40 am (UTC)
Maybe the fact that I never saw the first episode (at least I can't remember having seen it in those days) is the reason that I was introduced to a different Blake than everyone else. The Blake that took action and organised their escape (which admittedly went wrong); the one who was not prepared to let innocent people die in order to stay in control of the ship's computer.

The way you view him, I'm surprised you put up with him all these early episodes. If I hated a character that much, I would probably have stopped watching, but I suppose it's your love for the character of Avon that kept you going.

I like a happy Avon I'm afraid I've always had a knack for unhappy people, suffering from a guilty conscience,a dark secret or some other kind of physical or mental pain. Maybe that's why I like Blake there.

I've started doing my owen version of S1/S2 episodes and editing Blake entirely out of them
Looking forward to reading it.
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