Character Analysis Of Haven

Character Analysis Of Haven

While watching season three episode five of Syfy’s HAVEN I had an “AHA!” moment, in which I could see screenwriter Laurie Hutzler’s ETB character types become real and tangible.

The Show’s Premise And Main Characters

Haven is a small town on the coast of Maine populated with people who suffer from supernatural afflictions, known as ‘troubles,’ which travel down family lines and cycle through the town every few years.

Police chief Nathan Wuornos, his fellow officer Audrey Parker (the protagonist), and their friend Duke Crocker struggle to control ‘troubled’ people and protect the town from the effects of the ‘troubles.’

  1. Nathan is afflicted with a ‘trouble’ that makes him impervious to pain and touch.
  2. Audrey (after a time) discovers she has the uncanny ability to decipher and resolve troubles.
  3. Duke (after a time) reveals that he has the terrible power to permanently stop individual troubles.

Haven is a Power of Truth Show

This means the protagonist feels the lines between truth and lies, perception and reality, and loyalty and betrayal are blurred.

As the weekly episodes play out, the characters must search for hidden answers to solve the story secret. The most fulfilling journey happens when the protagonist uncovers a piece of their internal (character) mystery to help solve the external (story) mystery.

Other Power of Truth shows

  • Mad Men
  • Burn Notice
  • The Mentalist

Audrey Parker is a Power of Truth Character

This means that her role in the story is to uncover or become the repository of what is hidden, secret or concealed in the story.

These characters are typically detectives, secret keepers and skeptics. They are wary of shifting alliances and secret agendas. Although dedicated and resourceful, they fear betrayal and loss of support. They need to learn how to manage their doubts and act in spite of fear and suspicion.

Other Power of Truth characters

  • Fox Mulder in the X-Files
  • Chief Brenda Johnson in The Closer
  • Dr. Jennifer Melfi in The Sopranos

The Haven Characters In Motion

In this episode, “Double Jeopardy,” Nathan and Duke continue to pursue their separate ways of helping Audrey deal with her impending disappearance.

If you don’t watch the show, those last two words (impending disappearance) won’t make sense, but that won’t interfere with the rest of this post. Suffice to say, Audrey’s time with them is coming to an end by a quirk of fate.

Both men care deeply for Audrey and are focused on helping her cope with the seeming inevitability of her fate as well as searching for any possible way of escape.

NATHAN, Audrey’s co-worker and the chief of police, continues to work his way into the Guard, a secret order that helps protect the troubled, and by extension, Audrey. However, his connection to the Guard takes a darker turn here, moving him physically and emotionally AWAY from Audrey.

He is a Power of Conscience character.

These characters wrestle with their own internal values, feel responsible for the greater good, and that they are their brothers’ keeper. Improving themselves, others, and the world at large is of paramount importance. They feel responsible for the greater good and for doing good. They wrestle with how far they should go in seeking justice and fairness for others, in exposing corruption and injustice and in standing up against evil or wrong-doing.

DUKE, Audrey’s landlord and a bar owner/smuggler, continues to be, well, Duke, which lands him smack into the middle of a court battle and the Trouble of the Week club. This puts him physically and emotionally UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL with Audrey.

He is a Power of Excitement character.

These characters believe life is a playground and a grand adventure. They are good humored, endlessly optimistic and great fun. An agent of chaos, their rakish push-the-envelope devil-may-care attitude inevitably shakes things up in a story. They’re not much for personal responsibility but their charm, ready wit and natural talent as an escape artist or improviser often saves the day.

How It Shakes Out

Knowing that TRUTH is essential to Audrey, it’s easy to see the effect Nathan and Duke’s actions have on her in this episode.

Conversations with Nathan have become strained and uncomfortable to the point of non-existence but Duke has an easy, quirky candor that constantly catches her off guard and captivates her.

The more Nathan pursues the Guard in secret, the bigger the wedge between he and Audrey (and the more he compromises his personal values and career).

The more Duke continues to spend time with Audrey, and to be someone she can depend on, the closer he comes to being the steadfast touchstone she needs (and the more he steps into the role of an adult and valuable member of the community).

As a character in search of truth, both the mysterious origins of the “troubles” (the external story) and her own mysterious origins (the internal story), the worst thing that can happen to Audrey is to learn that someone she trusts has lied, omitted the truth or covered up something.

 

In this episode, I saw so clearly how:

Nathan’s sincere desire to save her has dissembled into a secretive downward spiral that endangers their personal and professional relationship, and compromises his career and possibly, his life.

Duke’s sincere desire to save her has evolved into a constant companionship, the ability to be open and honest,  and reveal hard truths that others keep from her in such a genuine way that his empathy is unmistakable.

Nathan is descending into the dark side of his character, becoming secretive and hypocritical, thus, alienating Audrey.

Duke is ascending out of the dark side of his character by overcoming personality flaws such as superficiality and fear of commitment, thus providing the temperate and trustworthy companionship Audrey covets.

 

Final Thoughts:

These are the kinds of complex characters and fascinating character arcs I want to create. How about you?