We all adore Milo the Goat. That’s a fact, but what we need to talk about when breaking down this scene in Shadow and Bone’s “The Making at the Heart of the World” is the way in which this grounds Jesper Fahey so brilliantly.
Jesper is such a fascinating character because while show only viewers know very little about him, Kit Young does an incredible job of layering him through smaller moments, which bring out the details that at the end of the day, he’s just a human being trying to survive. Jesper might be a risk taker and someone who gets an adrenaline rush from gambling, but that’s so often deflating from the fact that there are fears in him that touch on uncertainties bigger than he can even grasp.
He isn’t just the suave sharpshooter who looks good doing literally anything, he’s a human being who’s also going to scream and have moments of genuine fear, which makes him more realistic in a fantasy world where he could’ve easily just been one dimensional. Instead, Jesper is entirely multifaceted, so incredibly nuanced in how he reveals that when something seems terrifying, he is going to show it. It is a part of him, and it is a part of him that makes him that much more endearing because it allows people to see that even those who are great at their craft have moments of perilous anxiety.
But in this scene, we have Milo, an emotional support goat, something to hug because, really, if this pandemic has taught us anything, it should be that having something tangible to grip onto is of great importance. You can’t tell me hugging your pets doesn’t immediately fill you with a sense of ease. That is the case here, though Milo isn’t his pet. Jesper’s display of his abilities following a moment of comfort, a moment of solace is so interesting to note when taking into account the fact that companionship can be strikingly healing.
It’s a showcase of the fact that his character is driven on the desire for hope, which we also see in the season finale when he needs Kaz to reassure him he has a plan, even if he doesn’t. Jesper might be a risk taker and an unbeatable sharpshooter, but Jesper is still very much a human being with very real fears. All of The Crows are at the end of the day, and it’s largely why their arcs work best on the show.
There are a lot of things Jesper still doesn’t want the TV audience to know about him, things he’s hiding only book readers have picked up on, but this is one of those moments which reveals that there’s a very specific reason for why he operates the way that he does. There are fears in him about disappointing people and there are fears in him about whether or not it’s all worth it. It’s not just about the enjoyment for him, there’s so much more. There’s also the detail that he is very clearly driven off of highs and lows even while the parts of him that are bound to something bigger shine through in moments like this.
He’ll give 110% when need be, but sometimes, even that is difficult when he is so completely flawed and life hands him moments that catch him off guard, in situations that seem to bleak. But this is a moment that gives him comfort to think, comfort to pull himself together, and comfort to fight through because it’s what his friends deserve. It’s what his family deserves. It’s a moment that reveals his heart, and the part of him who’s holding so much back comes through remarkably when it becomes clear he is motivated by the people around him. The things he can hold onto, The Crows who matter.