With the excitement of The Dark Knight mounting, I've got Joker-Fever something fierce and found myself driven to write this story.
It's given me the opportunity to explore some of my own ideas about Harley and her relationship with The Joker.
As an old-school HQ fan, her relationship with Joker is an absolutely crucial element to me. I was horrified when they were broken up and think it is completely out of character for Harley.
Not that I don't think Harley can stand alone as a character, or that she hasn't got her own adventures to have – because she absolutely can and does, and I love to see them.
But the one thing that should always be constant, in my opinion, is her all-consuming obsessive love for The Joker.
This story is my attempt to find a balance between the depiction of the characters and their relationship in both the cartoon and the comics.
Whilst I absolutely adore both the comics and the cartoon, my issues with them in relation to HQ and J are as follows:
The cartoon, being made for kids and being, well, a cartoon, pushed the bounds of reality on many levels. (eg: the concept of 'parole' from an asylum, these dangerous psychos being allowed time in a 'common room'), so ends up being a bit too 'unreal' for me (hilarious, I know, when you consider the material we're talking about)
On the other hand, in the comic things can and do get a lot nastier and uglier, the boundaries are pushed a bit more, things can be more 'realistic' and outrageous. Unfortunately, as far as the comics are concerned, to keep HQ in character in terms of her lashing out at Joker when he 'betrays' her, it requires pushing The Joker slightly out of character. The idea Mainstream Joker would tolerate it, is simply impossible. He wouldn't.
And while Harley might have every intention of opening up some whup-ass on Mainstream Mistah J, one thing would stop her before she actually gets there: fear. The very natural and sensible fear of The Joker and the fear she would have of losing him.
I think for the writers, with how much they cared about her, breaking her up with The Joker was a protective measure; a need to 'save' her from the abusive relationship trap and see her get out there and get independent and stand up for herself. Which is pretty natural when you care about someone.
But, in doing so, they also removed something absolutely integral to Harley Quinn's character, what makes her who she is.
It was The Joker who tipped Harley over the edge. Without The Joker, she might still be insane, she'd certainly still have her unique personality, but she would no longer have the need to be 'Harley Quinn'.
The idea also, that you could come out of a relationship with someone like Joker reasonably unscathed is impossible. The life she led – in and out of Arkham, being an accomplice to horrific acts (Joker's attempts to murder all the babies during NML for example) being absolutely insane, suffering severe psychological abuse, etc, etc… well, even if fully rehabilitated, adjustment would not be as easy as it's depicted. You would naturally carry some very deep scars.
It is also my opinion her infatuation with The Joker is ultimately the focal element of her life; otherwise her motivation falls away. And you don't just 'get over' something like that. As long as he's in her life, I don't think she could.
So here I am, attempting to do a lot of things: depict a more 'realistic' view of a rehabilitated Harley, remain true to her obsessive infatuation with The Joker and what that would actually feel like in a very real sense, and explore their relationship a little bit. Cos one thing is for sure: they do have a relationship. HQ definitely changed something in The Joker and he knows it. I don't think he likes it, but he knows it.
I was a bit unsure about depicting sex between them, as I'm one of those people who feels Joker is at least eighty-per cent asexual. But as for that other twenty per cent – well, I'm sure it happens between him and Harley – I'm just not sure how. I've done my best. I am of the opinion Joker favours psychological torment to the mere physical though. I am also of the opinion he does love her, in his own very twisted way, and that he views her as one of his most special creations.
Not everyone is gonna agree with that, and that's totally fine. Personally, I really do like to see different depictions of this cos just about everyone has something interesting to say.
The canon I write in is a combination of the mainstream comics and the animated series. Basically I just pretty freely mix and match: leave in what I do like, ignore what I don't. :)
So this author's note is just to explain my intentions and reasonings because I know not everyone will agree completely with my depiction.
But I do hope that, regardless, you will enjoy it and my very deepest and sincerest thank yous to anyone who gives this fic a chance: I really appreciate it!
Oh and one last thing… if Harley seems like an unreliable narrator at times… she is. Heh.