Friday, September 27, 2013

Alpha vs. Omega: A Couple of British Spies

Hello again! This month on ALPHA VS. OMEGA, we feature a couple of fictional British spies.


James Bond, first of all, must be the WORST secret agent ever -- introducing himself by name to virtually everyone he meets, and what's more, saying it twice.

In keeping with this utter lack of secrecy, he seems to be constantly getting into public gunfights and fistfights and car chases. Also chases ass constantly, which often leads him into traps (and usually leads to the girl getting killed.)

"Secret" is not much a part of THIS agent. Drinks and smokes so much he probably would have died of cancer before the bad guys got him, anyway. Often has to rely on stupid gadgets to get him out of situations he shouldn't have been in in the first place:

In addition to a fondness for pointless and destructive stunts, he is almost always either captured and tortured by the enemy, or forced to leave his job and do things without sanction, usually after some kind of violent bungling.

Married once, but, as usual, proves unable to protect his wife, Tracey:

He does manage to get the job done, usually, albeit at the last minute and usually only with the assistance of other countries' intelligence agents like Felix Leiter, Tiger Tanaka, etc. So we'll give him a few points for trying hard.

Yet somewhat regretfully, as he's basically a tragic figure who deserves our pity, we must declare him:


Our next contestant: GEORGE SMILEY

Colorless and boring British intelligence service bureaucrat on the wrong side of middle age. Often butts heads with his employers, and usually on the verge of retirement. Poor guy even has an unfaithful wife.

But this is the man who gets shit done. A spy's spy. Early in his career, using his cover as a lecturer, he recruited and organized spy networks, and then became a higher-up in British intelligence. Used psychology and cunning and manipulation. You know, like a spy is supposed to do.

After years of maneuvering against his Soviet arch-enemy Karla, does Smiley kill him, or have him killed?

No, the clever bastard eventually forces the guy to defect:

And yes, he does eventually toss the cheating wife out on her ass.



Cynic said...

This is why I much prefer the ruthless and much grittier Bond of the novels, who was much more of a Gamma (or Lone Wolf as I recall you calling them elsewhere).

Literature somehow seems much more wolfish than the movies, anyway.

English Teacher X said...

Mmm, yes, but the Bond of the novels seems even more prone to being tortured or nearly killed than the guy in the films. By the end of the DR. No book, for example, he's been beaten, burnt, sliced, and electrocuted nearly to death; he has to be rescued by his Bond girl Honey Ryder!

John from Daejeon said...

You picked the wrong torture scene from Casino Royale. Any scene featuring Jimmy Bond, Woody Allen, is pure torture to watch, but the Bond Girls, especially Ursula Andress and Daliah Lavi, were some of the all-time greats.

Eccentric Expat said...

Here's all you had to say about George Smiley: portrayed in film by Gary Oldman. 'Nuff said.

Lucian said...

'Nuff to say he's at least on par with Syd Vicious, sure.

English Teacher X said...

Or Count Dracula or Beethoven!