Sunday, March 26, 2017

My WALKING DEAD Theory: Negan Is Sterile

One of the shows I watch when I have time is The Walking Dead. It's not my favorite show (I like Game of Thrones better), but it's a good chance to hang out with my church friends after services and dinner. And lately I've developed an interest in the character Negan, the current Big Bad who introduces himself by killing Abraham and Glenn and, for a time at least, forcing Rick and his crew under his thumb.

One thing that stuck out about Negan from the comics (I've only read a little of them) is the weird paternal thing he has going with Carl. In the comics and in the show, Carl attempts to assassinate Negan, but rather than kill him, Negan takes him on a tour of the Sanctuary and when forcing him to reveal his empty eye socket makes him cry, Negan actually feels guilty and apologizes. And in the television show, rather than merely returning him to Rick, Negan comes to Rick's house, teaches Carl how to shave, makes him and baby Judith dinner, and sits there with both kids waiting for Rick to return.

The prequel comic "Here's Negan" revealed that before the zombie apocalypse Negan was a high school gym coach, so Carl is about the right age to have been one of his students. However, the teaching him to shave, making dinner, dandling and kissing baby Judith, etc. goes beyond being a teacher into being outright paternal.

Furthermore, in "Here's Negan," Negan and his wife don't seem to have any children. And in polygamous societies, the dominant men with many wives tend to have lots of kids. Murad III, one of the more lusty Ottoman sultans, had over 100 children from many concubines. I remember an illustrated kid version of the Guinness Book of World Records depicting a tired-looking Moroccan sultan who had over 500 children. It turns out there might have been much more than that. However, even with his much smaller harem, Negan has no children at all. It could be that Negan is dousing them all with birth control to avoid the complications of children (especially since many of them, like Sherry, are other men's wives or partners he's keeping as hostages), but no children whatsoever seems significant.

(Lori and Maggie managed to get pregnant after all, despite much more trying circumstances.)

So here's my theory. Negan is sterile. He can't have any children. The harem thing, the prominence of a baseball bat (phallic symbol) as his signature weapon, his attempts to usurp Rick as Carl and Judith's father, the very tight pants a female friend pointed out, his obsession with sex (he's even turned on when Olivia slaps him for making fun of her weight), they're all attempts to compensate psychologically for his shooting blanks.

(I'd theorized his attempt to claim Maggie after Glenn's death was an attempt to usurp Glenn as little Herschel's father, but friends more familiar with the show have told me he has no way to know she's pregnant. I watched the clip on YouTube and his comments about wanting to see Maggie seem totally driven by sex, without any reference to her being pregnant.)

Of course, there might be other reasons he does these things. The harem thing is intended to control and degrade possible rival males (in the comics, Negan admits his treatment of Sherry was intended to neutralize Dwight), his waiting for Rick with Carl and Judith was clearly an attempt to screw with Rick, and Maggie would have been another hostage to control Alexandria. However, someone can have more than one reason for doing something, especially a more complex character like Negan.

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