Scott Pilgrim’s Finest Hour: some thoughts

Cheer up, Ramona.

Spoilers follow.

Thanks to a pal with his finger on the pulse, I read Scott Pilgrim’s Finest Hour last week. It was the final instalment in the Bryan Lee O’Malley series, which began in 2004 with a simple premise – for Scott Pilgrim, the endearing loser to win over the heart of Ramona Flowers, he has to defeat her seven evil exes (not ex-boyfriends). Ramona’s past romances chucked out a revolving door of increasingly ridiculous villains, ranging from vegan rockers to twins. Twins! Yes, she dated both of them.

In the last book, Scott, as expected, has to face off against Ramona’s final ex, Gideon. Gideon is an idiot. There was a long battle, some laughs and one character came out of the closet. I read it from back to front. I enjoyed it! I even wrote about it on my Facebook page and two people liked my status. That’s, like, a record for me.

Still, one thing cropped up in my mind: I couldn’t shake the fact that Ramona… is kind of ungrateful. At the end of volume four, Ramona just disappeared as Scott was on the brink of defeating all of her exes, leaving him to wallow in his own misery at the start of Finest Hour. Frankly, I don’t think she was worth fighting a bunch of guys and one girl for. It didn’t affect the quality of the book, for me, I just think Scott’s efforts would’ve been better applied elsewhere.

I have a lot to thank Bryan Lee O’Malley for, though – during a faintly horrific visit to the US embassy I made last year in order to secure an I-VISA, the somewhat barbaric rules mean you can’t take any electronic equipment into the premises, including a mobile phone or my trusty DS (I literally had two hours to go in Chrono Trigger. Burn). Stumbling around at 3.30am, I picked up volume five of Scott Pilgrim from a pile of underpants in the corner of my room, and proceeded to read the whole thing three times on the train journey there and back. Convinced that the embassy would refuse my visa application, Scott Pilgrim calmed my nerves during a particularly annoying stretch of time in my life.

Judging from reactions to the movie’s trailer by my fellow SciFiNow contributors, Scott Pilgrim is not something people understand properly if they haven’t read the books. To them, it’s all bubblegum special effects and pop culture nonsense; to those educated in the way of the Pilgrim, the series is an endearing, touching story that hit the right note on a number of levels.

But Ramona should be more grateful.