Bonnie and Clyde
For the development of this article, I think it is important to explain who Bonnie and Clyde were and how they are similar to our Runeterra characters: Tobias Felix (Twisted Fate/TF) and Malcom Graves.
Bonnie Elizabeth Parker and Clyde Chestnut Barrow were a US-based criminal couple who traveled through the central region of the United States, with their gang, during the Great Depression (1929 Crash). Many thefts and bank robberies were committed by the couple, but their most "common" crimes were small store and gas station robberies. In 1967, a US-American movie revived and told the couple's crime trajectory, and the name of this movie was (I bet you won't guess it) Bonnie and Clyde, by Arthur Penn.
One of the main characteristics attributed to Bonnie was that she smoked cigars, but that was what we call today fake news. When police found one of the couple's hideout, there was a picture of Bonnie with a cigar there, this picture was sent to every newspaper and her picture with the cigar was aired for many years, until one of the gang members told the truth.
TF and Graves
Twisted Fate and Malcom Graves met during a "high stakes game" in Mudtown. And soon, both discovered that they shared the same reckless passion for danger and adventure, which encouraged them to form their partnership. With Graves being the brawn, and TF being the brains, since the beginning they were an extraordinarily effective team, which made them famous very quickly.
In the short stories Destiny and Fate, Burning Tides and The Boys and Bombolini, we see the development of their partnership throughout the years. Their relationship had many ups and downs. As, for instance, when Graves was arrested and spent years nurturing a grudge against TF for abandoning him. Some time later we could see in Burning Tides Tobias' effort to regain Graves' trust, who in the end, reached his goal and the pair could finally get back to work.
Short Story The Boys and Bombolini
So far from what I've written in this article, this is the most recent short story featuring Graves and TF. The short story depicts a robbery in which the pair was hired to steal a powder load that was going to Noxus. I want to stress that this was all a plan from the contractor, because the same person who was bringing the load was the one who hired these partners.
Okay, what a terrible plan, you would say... but the plan is awesome! The contractor's idea was to get the insurance money for the load's theft; however, he would still be in possession of the load, as Graves and TF would have stolen it and delivered it to him. Too bad it didn't turn out that way...
During the robbery, the pair was discovered and were cornered, but as the whole load was gunpowder, there was this care to not explode anything and that triggered a negotiation attempt to start between the partners and Bombolini's crew.
Bombolini was an old crime partner of Graves' and TF's who was betrayed by the pair and left behind after an unsuccessful "job". And it is from this on that the short story begins to give us clues of how deep this partnership between Graves and TF is.
After many verbal jabs between Bombolini, Tobias Felix and Malcom Graves, an "honest" conversation starts and after a few lines and a lot of thinking, Bombolini comes to the following conclusion:
"The two are together", he guessed confidently.
“We know that,” replied Goby.
“No, they’re together,” Bombolini repeated, even more confidently. “I knew they’d end up with each other. Graves always had the worst taste in men, and Fate is the worst man I’ve ever met. It all makes sense!”
And the conversation carries on, but now with TF and Graves:
“He thinks we’re together,” whispered Fate. “Like, together-together. A couple. Romantically.”
“I know what ‘together’ means, Tobias,” Graves whispered back, now decidedly more discreet than before. “But how do we use it? What’s the play? And why was he so mean?”
Because of these conversations, TF and Graves start to question themselves about the real shape of their relationship.
Jared Rosen (writer of the short story) starts to present their sexual orientation to us, and tells us that Malcom Graves identified as gay for at least 40 years, and that his relationship with Vayne was just a "joke". It isn't clear what Tobias' orientation is, but clearly he feels emotionally shaken by, what they call, his PARTNER.
(2022 LGBTQIA+ Pride celebration Event Teaser)
Any resemblance is a mere coincidence
"Okay, Barba, you wrote a lot, but what do Twisted Fate and Malcom Graves have to do with Bonnie and Clyde?"
I'm glad you asked that question, my dear person who is reading this article.
The answer is quite simple: There is a possible inspiration taken from Bonnie and Clyde for the development of the relationship between TF and Graves.
- Both pairs identified right away with their future partners (I wonder if we can call them soulmates?);
- Both pairs have a similar modus operandi for their criminal actions;
- Bonnie, for the media, smoked cigars, as her Runeterra's version, Malcom Graves;
- Clyde was an extremely smart man and would do anything to have Bonnie on his side - the ones who were able to read Burning Tides know that TF, besides smart, would do anything to get Graves' trust back and to be at his side;
- Bonnie didn't like killing and because of that avoided as much as possible to resort to that action, as we can see in Graves lines, like this one: "We are here for the gold, not to kill... I don't want anyone playing the hero."
The similarities are many and even quite clear. Can it be a coincidence? Yes, but I don't usually cling to coincidences. When we see the depictions of Bonnie and Clyde in the movies, and read tales about the couple and the way they behaved towards one another, it becomes more evident the inspiration for Graves and TF's relationship.
From the start, in my final thoughts, I want to be clear here that I know that the individual inspirations for Twisted Fate and Graves are not Bonnie and Clyde. I know that, for instance, TF is based on the comic book character Gambit. But the question is the similarity between these relationships.
I wanted to write the article this way, because I saw a lot of people arguing that the Graves+TF couple was manufactured because it was always clear that they were "partners in crime", so I opted to bring a comparative approach with a couple that really existed and didn't stop being partners in crime just because they were a couple. And I want to stress, too, that friends can also become couples!
With my last paragraph, I want to dedicate your attention, reader, to the fact that, for the FIRST time in 11 years, Riot Games used the word gay inside their fantasy world. The importance that this brings? It is the representation of a whole minority that rarely sees itself represented by the entertainment industry.
After years of negligence from this Industry, nowadays more and more, we see the search for representation of many minorities, not stopping with the LGBTQIA+ acronym but also extending itself to ethnic representation.
I leave a message to you that might be upset by this representation – just don't comment, don't say your opinion, be a human being and accept that there are different people.
Nonetheless, I send my hugs to all the people that read this article and I remind you that, above all, we must have fun!