Magnus Burnsides, the protection fighter, was definitely my least favorite of the Tres Horny Boys at the beginning. Maybe it was the bravado or maybe it was Travis McElroy’s delivery, I can’t really be sure. He played him well, understanding the initial core of his character – “Magnus rushes in” – but it just seemed like he was a typical fighter. Weirdly enough, he was the most fleshed out and consistent of the three, which is normally something I really appreciate, but it just didn’t seem to give him the room to grow that Merle and Taako had.
But as the series progressed, Travis realized that Magnus’ central focus wasn’t about foolhardily lunging into danger because he was unintelligent. He wanted to protect and was willing to put his life on the line to do so. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve figured out that a lot of my tendencies that I carried past my youth were rooted in something much deeper. For instance, my flightiness wasn’t necessarily a lack of interest or immaturity (although that’s definitely a part of it); I want to learn as much as humanly possible, so I was torn in as many directions as there can be. I’m still working on using that to my advantage, and it’s a process that will probably continue until the day I die.
Which brings me to my favorite Magnus moment: his death. It’s every bit as much a Travis moment as it is the character’s because he just knew that Magnus wouldn’t die as he thought he would at the beginning of Balance, bravely in battle; instead, he passed away peacefully in bed, clutching his wife’s wedding ring. It’s such a beautiful moment to experience because of the growth for both Magnus and his creator that you can see throughout the campaign, from the moment he starts his journey to Phandolin to his training with the Power Bear to the final battle with the Hunger. On the surface, he didn’t change much. He was still the heavy hitter who had a million actions before the next player got his turn, but he had purpose in living by the end, and not just to have a training school for dogs. You can hear Travis choke up as he’s describing the scene, and I have yet to listen to it without tears welling up in my eyes, as well.
It truly is my goal to have characters like this, where I grow with them as they fail and learn and try again, if for no other reason than to show me that it can be done: that I’m not perfect, but I’m going to do the best I can do.
Art Credit: Maximum Fun