Wonder Woman’s magical lasso is a lariat, a zip line, a whip and anything else you can make from an unbreakable, seemingly tangible and infinitely extendable rope.
And yes, it has quite a big impact on the human mind as well, the kind that, if the creators aren’t careful, can cause the end of a Wonder Woman story (and especially the ending of) Wonder Woman 1984) seem kind of trivial. A A rope, if you want.
But the lasso is not just an overpowering item that you would never give the player characters in a D&D game. The lasso is the whole point of Wonder Woman.
[Ed. note: This piece contains spoilers for Wonder Woman 1984.]
The creator of Wonder Woman came up with some ideas that were ahead of his time
William Moulton Marston is rightly notorious for not being your typical Golden Age superhero creator. The polyamorous psychologist and inventor saw Wonder Woman stories as an opportunity to express his view on a more harmonious way of living together for men and women. At the core of his philosophy was the concept of “loving submission” and the idea that only those who have the ability to willingly submit to loving authority should demand equal submission from other people.
His original take on Wonder Women’s golden magical lasso was a shortcut to loving submission, forcing those in his coils to submit to Diana’s compassionate dominance.
You may be wondering what the difference between forcing and forcing is. “How do we know they’re not just mind-driven?” So it is magic, Of course. Wonder Woman stories are not about how the lasso works logically, any more than Superman stories are about how it creates enough thrust to fly. It’s just part of the rules of fiction: people under the lasso are forced to choose freely, and that’s not a contradiction in terms.
Marston also helped invent the polygraph test, and while we now know it’s not as accurate as he’d hoped, he shows another of his personal interests that have shaped the stories of Wonder Woman. Of course, a person who submits to Diana’s loving authority will tell her the whole truth when asked.
The golden perfect
Modern Wonder Woman writers, including George Peréz, Greg Rucka, and Gail Simone, have expanded this idea of truth and refined the action of the lasso to include a volcanic mind-amalgamation with a decade of therapy summed up in a moment. It has been shown capable of turning the loyal infantry of paramilitary fundamentalist groups around within minutes.
Some of the best Wonder Woman stories offer a path to salvation for even the worst of monsters without being tolerant of mistakes. Some do so by recognizing that it is easier to offer the hand of forgiveness when you are a near-indestructible princess from a society of immortal philosopher-warriors. Others use a specific scene setting, like in 2017 Wonder woman. Jenkins and Co. established Diana’s origins in World War I and shot the last scenes in which German troops throw their arms down, just as relieved and likeable as our heroes. These scenes would not have worked in the usual historical context of Wonder Woman during World War II.
And still others emphasize that Amazon forgiveness has important limits. in the Wonder woman # 25, Simone gave the Amazons a saying, “Don’t kill when you can wound, don’t wound when you can submit, don’t submit when you can calm down, and don’t raise your hand at all until you’ve got ‘me expand it first. ”
In what is perhaps the most memorable Wonder Woman story that is not her ancestry, Diana fought against Max Lord, who had found a way to control the minds of others over great distances. Max promised that he would never stop getting Superman to murder thousands of people and that the only way to stop him was to kill him. Diana grabbed her neck and shouldered the public accusations on live television.
He had made all this confession while he was tied to her lasso and had established the fundamental and incisive truth of what he was saying. It’s a rare case of the golden lasso as a plot tool that negates a compassionate decision instead of enabling one – but ultimately, it’s still a plot tool that allowed the story to uphold Wonder Woman’s empathy-first bonafides.
The lasso is a magical abbreviation, the type of MacGuffin that is common in comics but is getting into modern superhero films much more economically. It simplifies Wonder Woman stories, forces their bad guys to remain compassionate, and encourages results where reaching out in friendship always works. It’s not particularly realistic or related to everyday life.
But of course that’s the point. Most classic superhero stories are not about presenting the world as it is, and Wonder Woman’s fantasy is the fantasy that radical empathy can work, even if only through magical intervention. A fantasy that tells the reader that an outstretched hand may not always be reciprocated, but should always be tried.