The Paper House: Heroes Or Criminals?

“La casa di carta” appeals to the search for freedom, to the recovery of values ​​that seemed forgotten. It is the rebirth of Robin Hood, who does not use a bow and arrow, who has adapted to the current era. Do you want to find out what is the key to the success of this series?
The paper house: heroes or villains?

The paper house is one of the most successful Spanish series of recent years. At first it was a series for the small screen, until Netflix acquired it and gave it international fame. Filming began in 2017 and still continues to collect hits. It looks like she has come to stay, but what has happened so much?

Thanks to the internet and new forms of use, we can approach productions from other countries that otherwise would never have reached us. For this reason, we can therefore say that much of the success of La casa di carta is due to Netflix.

Yet, a series does not triumph only thanks to the medium; it must present some ingredients capable of catching the viewer’s attention. The paper house is the story of a robbery, but not of any one, but of a large-scale one: without robbing anyone, apart from the largest fish in the sea.

A group of robbers who use code names and do not know each other will follow the orders of the brain of this difficult operation: “The Professor”. All of them, except for the Professor, will enter the Spanish State Mint, for the “simple purpose” of manufacturing 2,400,000 euros.

They have 11 days, hostages and everything has been planned down to the smallest detail. From the outside, the Professor will give orders and negotiate with the police to buy time. A claustrophobic series with its own identity, framed by the partisan song Bella Ciao  and the masks of Dalí (whose origins are claimed), which will not leave anyone indifferent.

The Robin Hoods of our times

Robin Hood stole from the rich to give to the poor, lived outside the law, fought against the sheriff (figure of power and oppression), was the hero of the poor. But it is not said that an outlaw is a scoundrel, he can perfectly become a hero, a man on the side of good.

We have a classical conception of the hero which is strongly associated with order; a hero who respects the rules and what has been established, playing the role of justice within society. We think, for example, of the numerous medieval heroes, such as the Cid.

He was exiled by King Alfonso, suffered injustices and, however, never rebelled, did not face him or try to invade his territory. Medieval heroes swore loyalty to the king, a superior and powerful figure. Honor and loyalty were key issues in the Middle Ages and in subsequent centuries as well. At the present time, there is a pre-established system and everything that is not part of it will be “evil”.

Robin Hood, however, does not respect the rules, yet we consider him good. Because? Because we perceive order as unfair, as an oppressive organism that feeds inequalities. Robin Hood is a hero that we could hardly place in the same archetype as the Cid, despite both having medieval roots. This hero who breaks the rules has his own conception of justice and, according to him, evil corresponds to the figure of the oppressor: power and authority.

Defying the laws, it proposes a more just, more egalitarian society, and therefore one that will attract the masses. And this is exactly what we see in The House of Paper : a group of thieves led by an unparalleled brain who, far from being considered the villains, renew hope in society.

The paper house logo

Heroes and villains

The line between hero and villain dissolves more and more each time the oppressor wields his power, each time he suffocates the oppressed. What is the focus of contemporary life? Without any doubt and without thinking too much: money. Money is the axis around which our world revolves, what determines whether we can live better or worse, and which gives the oppressors the power.

Robin steals from the rich to give to the poor: he is an executioner. The thieves of The House of Paper will not give the loot to the most needy, but they have done what we all want to do: access the heart of power and, from there, destroy it. Do not destroy it in the literal sense, but penetrate it, demonstrate that even power can falter and make fun of it.

In the series we see the influence of the media. We discover that the news is being manipulated and, however, public opinion is still on the side of the thieves. These outlawed executioner heroes are inspired not only by Robin Hood, but also by romance. There is a romantic current that has left us marginalized characters who sing about freedom.

We see an example of this in the Spanish poet and journalist Espronceda, or rather in his works. Espronceda conceived characters who were a projection of his ego, the romantic ego.

Among his characters, the pirate represents the absolute romantic hero, whose only goal is to live in freedom. An individual hero, executioner, who rejects the values ​​of the world and lives at sea because there is no law there. He is quite a recurring character in European romanticism and authors such as Lord Byron will include him in their writings. 

This pirate, who wishes to live in freedom, is a reflection of the struggle against what is conventionally established, he is the romantic hero. Much of the success of The House of Paper is due to the fact that we, as the imaginary viewers of the TV news of the series, extol these characters as noteworthy heroes, heroes fighting for their freedom.

Characters from The paper house with Dali mask

The paper house , the real message

Far beyond the robbery, The Paper House wishes to question dogma. It is no coincidence that the partisan song Bella ciao was chosen as the soundtrack of the series. Much has been debated on whether singing has become mainstream for the show, and perhaps in part it is, and many of those who sing it do not know its true meaning.

We know for a fact that thanks to the series and the mass media, the message of this song seems in a sense, to have come back to life. That is to say that starting from a large and powerful medium it is possible to recover values ​​from the past that seemed to be dormant, as happens with the Guy Fawkes mask in V for Vendetta .

Even the Dalí mask seems to have acquired, in part, a whole new meaning. These elements are well integrated into the format of the series, they penetrate deeply into society, generating a strong impact. And the point is that in a world so controlled and dominated by money, we sometimes need to believe in heroes who save us, but not heroes with cloaks and swords, but revolutionary heroes who invite us to fight for freedom.

The Paper House is a series that gives us just that: heroes of all kinds, some of them of dubious morality, but heroes nonetheless. In some passages, the series sins of slowness, of scenes perhaps too sweetened for a climate as suffocating as the one represented, but we forgive it because it offers us a song of freedom.

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