28 Day Challenge: The Adventure Zone, Day 21: Favorite Merle Highchurch Moment

Out of the boys, Merle is my favorite. Sure, I adore Taako and Magnus, and it does seem like Merle isn’t the most consistent or prominent of the three. He doesn’t have the same type of tie-in story as the others do, with Taako and his sister, Lup, and Magnus and his path to discovering the true meaning of strength. But his journey is no less important.

He’s not a very good cleric, is a terrible father and former husband, and he doesn’t seem to have a good grasp on fighting. Sure, occasionally, he’ll do something badass, like when he used planar ally to tug Magnus and Taako back from the astral plane, but he’s more often suffering from some type of shit roll or trying to seduce vines.

Similar to Magnus, it’s Clint McElroy’s connection to the character that makes me love him so, and in no other place is that as evident as it is in my favorite Merle moment. His meetings with the Hunger’s John were my favorite parts of “The Stolen Century” because of how incredibly passive Merle was. That may sound strange, but his approach – a stereotypically feminine manner – was no less strong than when Magnus would die swinging his weapons. Merle died while simply talking to John, who would kill him at the end of each session.

Merle’s meetings with the Hunger’s John were my favorite parts of “The Stolen Century,” and my favorite of those is in the above video. It starts with a simple question: “Are you my friend?”, continues into Merle’s famous “I choose joy” speech, inspired by Clint’s late wife, and resolves with Merle refusing to participate in John’s negative opinion of existence. It’s fucking powerful to reject that sort of thing, and Clint so effortlessly accepts Merle’s fate at John’s hands that I honestly believe that he would make that choice in real life.

There is a lot of wisdom within Merle, and this scene perfectly encapsulates it. I can only hope that I have the same type of graceful strength if I ever face something so hopeless.

Art Credit: Maximum Fun

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