I saw a comment today wherein the author of the post declared loudly and vehemently that Tony Stark was a spoiled and selfish drunk who had had a charmed life and honestly cared only for himself and partying. A man who blustered through life laughing and joking. That he really wasn’t a hero of the same caliber of the other Avenger’s and they (the author of the post) were surprised the Avenger’s even let him join. Further, they summarized that since he had always been that way, had been born with a silver spoon in his mouth and was doted on since birth, he would never change.
I sat for a while. Re-read the post. Read it again. Went and had a smoke. Came back. Read it again. Contemplated moving on and couldn’t. It just kept whispering away at me.
I have no idea if the blogger was considering MCU Tony or 616, but either way, imo, they are so far off base, the game changed at half time and the diamond became a muddied pitch.
Anthony Stark was born into wealth, yes. Doted on since birth? By whom? Certainly not his father. Howard Stark was a physically and emotionally abusive bastard and I don’t care how much money and power you stand to inherit, that shit leaves scars. Deep ones. Scars that no-one can see but which you can still feel the blood flowing from and the ache of the bruise decades later. Spoiled? Perhaps, in the sense that young Tony was provided with all the tools his father’s social standing and bank accounts could afford. He lived in a mansion, had a butler, went to private schools. None of that though compensated for the fact that those private schools were boarding schools that Tony started attending when he was seven. Barely out of babyhood, he was sent away from his mother, from his home, from all he knew and was left with the distinct knowledge that if he didn’t excel at everything, his father’s hand would exact the price.
He’s a drunk? Absolutely. Tony Stark is a recovering alcoholic. Does he do it just to look cool and party with the in crowd? No. Fairly sure Tony graduated from that school decades ago. He is a dyed in the wool alcoholic in life-long recovery. It isn’t a cool story line. It isn’t a funny thing to throw into a fic for light relief. It is a day to day, minute to minute struggle that Tony will face for the rest of his life.
Laughing and joking? In another life Tony would have been an award wining actor. To understand this man you need to pay attention not to what he says and does, but to what he doesn’t say and do. Tony has a suicidal/depressive streak the size of Texas. Insecurities were implanted in this man at birth. Tony is a showman. He can hide anything. however, deep inside, in that still, small quiet place that only he hears, the pain is black and thick and muddled and confused and only those that truly know him, that pay attention to what he isn’t saying, know just how self destructive this man can be….and only those that take the time and effort and are willing to pay the fee of heartache and tears that are the toll exacted to get close to him, know why.
A charmed life? Really? Are you sure we are talking the same Tony Stark here? The Tony Stark who’s parents died in a car accident and left him orphaned as a teenager? The same one who’s surrogate father had him kidnapped and held thousands of miles from his home and family? Tony Stark who was tortured by same said kidnappers and operated on without anesthetic while he screamed himself hoarse in agonizing pain and crippling terror? Anthony Stark, who has lost his company, had everything taken from him and clawed his way back? Stark who lost his mind, his family, his best friend in a bitter war that left bodies, hearts and souls stained with the blood of soul mates and lovers? That Tony Stark? Yeah, his life as been charmed as hell.
Not good enough to be an Avenger? The team he houses and funds? The same Avenger’s that he founded? The Avenger’s that he deleted his brilliant mind to protect? Not enough of a hero you say? Tony would actually agree with you. No-one loathes him as much as he does himself. No-one feels his inadequacy as much as he does. He would agree that wrapping himself in metal and launching himself bodily into battle to save his city, his country isn’t good enough. Carrying a nuke on his back to certain death? Tony would very much agree that this doesn’t constitute a hero. However, his friends and family, the one who had to watch the man they love risk killing himself over and over and see him coming back again and again, bloodied and bruised with just that much more of himself taken away, all to keep them safe, to keep the country safe, 'to protect those who can't do so themselves', Those people would take you to the floor and fight you in the dirt to be sure you know that Anthony Stark may be a lot of things but selfish isn’t one of them and that above all Tony Stark is a hero and a patriot who has before, and will again, sacrifice himself willingly to protect those he loves. No matter what it takes from him personally and no matter how little of himself it leaves him with, he will throw himself on the line every time, because he doesn’t feel he matters, because the people always come first…because that’s what heroes do.