By: John D. Pepe
“Friends are the family we choose for ourselves.” – Novelist Edna Buchanan
This quote is strikingly true when it comes to my life. I have many friends that I have known for decades, some almost four. These are the childhood chums that I grew up with. They have become like family to me. Brothers more than just friends. And through my eyes I still see them this way.
In Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 we see this same theme. How the characters come to realize that they are more like family than just brothers and sisters in arms. But why does this phenomenon occur? At what point does a relationship with another person, who is not a blood relative, go beyond simple friendship?
In Guardians, Vol. 2 I think that each character needed family, that is how they bonded. Peter’s mother died at a young age and he never knew who his father was (at least not until Ego appeared thirty-something years later). He looked at himself as parentless once he was taken by Yandu (be we know that wasn’t how it really was when it came to the relationship between Yandu and Peter). Rocket was a science experiment. The people who created him never cared for him. Drax the Destroyer was left without a family after his wife and daughter were murdered by Ronan the Accuser. Gamora’s parents were killed by Thanos who then adopted her and trained her to be an assassin, pitting her against Nebula on a regular basis. This turned her adopted sister against her because ever time she lost, which was every time they sparred, Thanos “upgraded” her to help her compete with Gamora. And Yandu, who was abandoned by his parents and sold into slavery. When you look at this group they had no family, and so they eventually turn to each other for that familial need. That belonging to a group who cares for, and protects each other.
So, back to my question: Why does this occur? In Guardians, Vol. 2, it is patent that each of the characters has no family and therefore is looking for that need to be met. But what about those of us who had families? My friends and I all had family, in fact three of my good friends I’ve known since I was seven are brothers.
I think, at least as it pertains to me and my friends, that we all had issues that were unresolved with our mothers. That somehow, beyond the surface, deep down, we understood one another because of those issues. That commonality drew us together, and as time marched on we realized that even through the arguments and bickering that we weren’t going to sever our connection with one another. That we cared about each other as much as ourselves. That we would be there if one of us needed the other, and not because of some blood obligation but because we made that choice. We chose to be family. Kith and Kin-One in the same for us; just like the Guardians of the Galaxy.