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Created on 2014-06-28 01:47:17 (#2283043), last updated 2015-12-17 (91 weeks ago)

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Name:Dorian Gray
Like Dracula, Dorian Gray is one of the seminal myths of modernity created in the 1890s and made popular in the 20th century through the emerging medium of film. The story, as written by Oscar Wilde, is as follows:

In the studio of the painter Basil Hallward, the decadent socialite Lord Henry Wootton meets a beautiful young man of good family and secluded upbringing, by name of Dorian Gray, and sets about to corrupt him into sensualism and hedonism. Lord Henry sets such great store by Dorian's looks that the young man makes the wish, on completion of the portrait Basil was painting of him, that the picture will grow old and he himself will stay forever young and beautiful. He takes the portrait home, and puts it in pride of place. Soon, he begins an affair with a lovely young actress named Sibyl Vane whom he honestly loves and means to marry; Lord Henry, however, cynically dissuades him from the misalliance, and he breaks up with Sibyl, who proceeds to kill herself. After that, Dorian discovers that his portrait has taken on a look of cold cynicism while he remains unchanged, so he banishes the portrait to an attic, where it proceeds to age and show all the effects of his dissolute lifestyle of sex, drugs and opera. Years later, Basil Hallward confronts him about the picture; Dorian shows it to him, then murders him to keep his secret, and blackmails a chemist into dissolving the body in acid. Subsequently, Sibyl Vane's brother James, returning to London, begins to suspect and stalk him as he still looks exactly as he did back when he ruined his sister, but the man is killed by an accident before he can expose Dorian. Dorian, very relieved, vows to reform his habits and be good from now on, but even after that resolve, and sticking to it, he can see no improvement of the portrait. In a fit of rage, he slashes the portrait with a knife and is then discovered stabbed dead in the attic, old and disfigured by excess and recognisable only by his rings, beside the young and flawless portrait.-

So far, so Wilde. This, however, is 'Penny Dreadful', a brilliant modern remix of several important supernatural novels from the 19th century, so everything is up, and beyond of what we see of a character in the show, we can't say much. So, things known about this Dorian Gray are:

  • He is young and beautiful, wears many silver rings and lives in a splendid, sumptuous home with a marble-floored ballroom full of portraits from the middle ages onwards.
  • In a secret room beyond a mirror cabinet, he keeps a huge painting that he sometimes unveils and looks at; in the presence of that painting, some cuts incurred during BDSM play magically heal. We have not, as yet, seen the painting itself.
  • Dorian is omnisexual, hosts orgies, drinks absinthe and goes slumming in working class dens of vice; he also is knowledgeable and fascinated about art history, botany, and music.
  • Dorian is ahead of his time, or slightly out of time -- his interior foreshadows Art Nouveau, he has a phonograph and plays music in a way that was not yet usual at all in 1891 when the show is set, even among the rich, and his clothing is least period-correct among the characters of a show that sets such great store by these details that some of Vanessa Ives' outfits can be traced to specific contemporary paintings. In contrast to that, some of the portraits on Dorian's wall look as if they'd been painted 20 years in the future; one in particular, a painting of an emaciated blonde woman, looks positively expressionist.
  • Dorian is all about new experiences and savouring life to the fullest; he doesn't hesitate to live dangerously as long as it provides a new thrill. One thing that he is very (period atypically) conscientious about is consent: - even with a prostitute he hires for pornographic pictures, he asks her consent with every new step they take. His BDSM comes with positively modern BDSM etiquette.
  • How exactly the powers of his painting work, and what the backstory of this Dorian might be, may become clear in the second season of the show; until then, I will try to hedge my bets as far as possible and fall back on the Wilde canon only if absolutely necessary.



This version Dorian Gray is from the Showtime series 'Penny Dreadful' and belongs to that channel and showrunner John Logan. This journal is solely for the purpose of role-playing in [community profile] milliways_bar, from which no profit whatsoever is being made. The mun behind the curtain is [personal profile] yakalskovich
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