12

A friend of mine was a few dozen pages into Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman, and refused to read anymore if Door was going to be nothing more than Richard's Manic Pixie Dream Girl. His arguments were basically the definition of the trope: she shows up unexpected, rescuing him from a miserable relationship, and whisks him off to wonders before undreamed-of, without having much actual depth of character, but equipped with an unusual worldview and a penchant for crime.

I couldn't remember if Door fit the trope or not, but my instinct said no — did I lie?

21

Let's take it one by one:

  • She shows up unexpected. Check.
  • Rescuing him from a miserable relationship. At the time Richard is engaged to a domineering woman who basically controls his life. Check.
  • Whisks him off to wonders before undreamed-of. London Below is certainly wondrous. Check.
  • Without having much actual depth of character. Hmm. Debatable. Door has her own back story and struggles to face, with or without Richard.
  • Equipped with an unusual worldview and a penchant for crime. Also debatable. She has unusual powers, and comes from an unusual place. Her worldview is different than Richard's, but that's because for all intents and purposes she's an alien.

Personally, I would say Door does have some characteristics of the MPDG but has enough depth on her own than she doesn't fully qualify.

12

I'd say the main thing that separates Door from the Manic Pixie Dream Girl profile is the manic element. She's not obsessed with Richard, and she's not wacky or playful (except in one scene, which stands out against the otherwise serious events). I don't think she cares whether Richard learns to live freely; she just needs help. She's a woman on a mission, and instead of flitting around thrilling the boy with her life of crime, she puts him in mortal danger as she tries to escape the people who massacred her family.

There are some elements of the MPDG, but her effect on Richard is not to get him to loosen up and enjoy life, but to make him a hero.

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