Saturday, June 16, 2012


When I celebrated my brother Bill's birthday back in March, I chose his favorite character from 'Game Of Thrones' to mark the occasion in the "ASOTV" showcase.

Today is my brother Andrew's birthday. And to mark this occasion, I've chosen the most evil O'Brien in all of literature.

Oh, I'm not suggesting that AJ is evil. No, in my family that honorific goes to my nephew Ian......


George Orwell

Andre Morell

The actor even had a variation on your first name!

'BBC Sunday Night Theatre'


Alternate Toobworld

From Wikipedia:
O'Brien is a fictional character and the main antagonist in George Orwell's novel "Nineteen Eighty-Four". The protagonist Winston Smith, living in a dystopian society governed by the Party, feels strangely attracted to Inner Party member O'Brien. Orwell never reveals O'Brien's first name.

Winston suspects that O'Brien is secretly opposing the Party. Eventually O'Brien approaches Winston with some leading remarks which seem to confirm Winston's suspicions. Winston finds the courage to approach him candidly, declaring himself an enemy of the totalitarian state. At first, Winston's intuition seems to be correct: O'Brien presents himself as a member of the "Brotherhood" seeking to overthrow the Party.

When Winston is later arrested, it turns out that O'Brien is actually entirely loyal to the Party. He reveals himself as he enters the cell by responding to Winston's exclamation ("They've got you too!") by wryly commenting, "They got me a long time ago." This may mean that he once had rebellious feelings like Winston, or it may simply refer to him becoming involved with the totalitarian Ingsoc movement at an early stage. The point is never elaborated on again in the novel.

O'Brien's job appears to be to search for potential thought-criminals (citizens who think something that is deemed to be unacceptable by the party, this could even be done by accident), lure them in by pretending to be on their side, then arrest and "cure" them. O'Brien tortures Winston to cure him of his "insanity," in particular his "false" notion that there exists an external, self-evident reality independent of the Party; O'Brien explains that reality is simply what the Party defines it as.

He is entirely honest about the brutal cynicism of the Party; the Party does not seek power to do anything good, but simply to revel in that power: "Always, Winston, at every moment, there will be the thrill of victory, the sensation of trampling on an enemy who is helpless. If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face — forever."

Even in the torture scenes, there is a strange intimacy that persists between Winston and O'Brien, who displays an uncanny ability to infer what Winston is thinking. O'Brien even states that Winston's mind appeals to him, and that it resembles his own mind, except that Winston happens to be insane. Eventually, in Room 101, O'Brien does manage to torture Winston into submission so that he "willingly" embraces the philosophy of the Party.

While "O'Brien" is a well-known Irish family name, there is no recognizable Irish background to the character other than his name. Various commentators have tried to infer why Orwell had given the character this specific name, but Orwell's surviving notes provide no real clue.

In the 1954 BBC Television adaptation of "Nineteen Eighty-Four", the character was played by André Morell. Canadian actor Lorne Greene played O'Brien in a 1953 adaptation on CBS's anthology series 'Studio One'.

In a third production for TV, Joseph O'Conor played O'Brien on 'Theatre 625' in the episode "The World Of George Orwell: 1984". Over in the Cineverse, Michael Redgrave played "O'Connor" in the 1956 movie version. (It is believed the name was changed to avoid confusion with the star, Edmond O'Brien, who played Winston Smith.) Decades later, Richard Burton's last film role was as O'Brien.

The second-best gift Mom and Dad ever gave me was you as a brother. Although technically you were there to change the TV channels for me and to get me a soda. (And let's face it, I have to say the best gift was Leah as not only my sister but my god-child as well. I have to say it or she'll kill me.)

Later today will be a more appropriate celebration of your birthday here at Inner Toob - we'll be planting a tree, I mean, we'll be inducting a new member into the TV Crossover Hall Of Fame in your honor....

And remember, Little Brother.....

Come on, you had to figure I'd use that!


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