we burned the forest down

Alfred:  A long time ago, I was in Burma, my friends and I were working for the local government. They were trying to buy the loyalty of tribal leaders by bribing them with precious stones. But their caravans were being raided in a forest north of Rangoon by a bandit. So we went looking for the stones. But in six months, we never found anyone who traded with him. One day I saw a child playing with a ruby the size of a tangerine. The bandit had been throwing them away.

Bruce Wayne:  Then why steal them?

Alfred:  Because he thought it was good sport. Because some men aren’t looking for anything logical, like money. They can’t be bought, bullied, reasoned or negotiated with. Some men just want to watch the world burn.

*time and a significant portion of the plot passes*

Bruce Wayne:  The bandit, in the forest in Burma, did you catch him?

Alfred:  Yes.

Bruce Wayne:  How?

Alfred:  We burned the forest down.

Okay, so that is the entire context of the quote.  If you have not seen the movie, it is from The Dark Knight, and if you have not seen it already, you should do so.  I try very hard to avoid prescribing to this thought, but The Dark Knight is one of the few movies I honestly believed gets commonly overlooked as a great movie due to it’s commercial success.  It is one of the best movies to have come out in the past ten years.  The only reasons I can think of that it was not nominated for best picture are one: it is a superhero movie and two: 2008 had a ton of great movies, seriously, Into the Wild wasn’t even nominated.  As a film, it has the perfect storm of the most iconic superhero, Heath Ledger’s final role at the apex of his career and the general brilliance of Christopher Nolan.

As far as the quote, it just touches me as one of those stories that has been whittled down to just its meaning.  Another example of this would be the starfish story.  There is something about simplicity in a story that is very appealing.  The bandit in Alfred’s story is a great example of the anarchistic antagonist that the Joker is so well known to be, and the solution presented of burning the forest down highlights the hard choices Bruce Wayne has to make as the Dark Knight.  This quote adds a lot to The Dark Knight as a classic struggle between the archetypal antihero and the perfect foil that is found in a man governed by chaos.

This quote inspires me in now way, I just found it way too hard to pick ONE quote that epitomizes my thought and that I would be willing to have represent me on this blog.  So instead I just picked a quote I like a lot and that has no special meaning to me whatsoever.


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