Booking Through Thursday: Different Kind of Romance

Ted asks:

Have you ever fallen in love with a fictional character? Who and what about them did you love?

Well the short answer is, yes. Multiple times. Here is a glance at a few characters that really stand out to me in particular.

Captain George Wentworth from Persuasion by Jane Austen

I think Captain Wentworth is impossible not to love. He is everything masculinity should be. Strong, but not rigid. Proud, but not to a fault. Also, he speaks to the heart of every single person who has ever lost a love over a misunderstanding, or circumstance, or happenstance. He is the promise of love conquering over all even when time and everything else imaginable has intervened in the worst way possible.

Edward Fairfax Rochester from Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

Rochester is all about charisma. He has one of the strongest charismas of any character that I have ever encountered, and charisma is inherently attractive to me. I’ve always thought of Rochester as Anne Shirley’s “someone who could be wicked but wouldn’t.” Of course, Rochester was a little wicked, but he changed his ways for Jane. He was tempted to go on in his wicked ways, but Jane wouldn’t allow it, and eventually was able to marry her rightfully.

Ron Weasley from the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

I know, I know. A lot of people don’t care for Ron. A lot of people write him off as the jealous one of the HP trio who simply can’t grow up. This is not how I see Ron. I see Ron as someone who, despite having less natural ability or inclination towards greatness, wanted nothing more than to be great. As someone on my tumblr list pointed out, we see this in the very first book. In the Mirror of Erised, Ron sees himself as having made great accomplishments. His greatest desire was to be Extraordinary. And that’s really something we can all relate to, isn’t it? This isn’t even going into his unquestionable loyalty—maybe it was overridden by jealousy once in a while, but whenever it counted, Ron never hesitated.

Finn in the Books of Bayern by Shannon Hale

This one is a little more obscure, but one of the dearest characters to my heart. Finn is the epitome of the slow burn. His love for Enna is calm and quiet, but fierce and strong. Finn probably says less than 150 words in all four of the Books of Bayern, but his action and presence are tremendous in their quiet steadiness. He was also willing to change himself—make himself stronger and better for Enna. He’s like what Westley from The Princess Bride would have been, had he never become the Dread Pirate Roberts. (Speaking. Of. I love Westley. I guess for the same reasons.)

Something Expansive

What author set off that spark of inspiration for your current Work in Progress?

I don’t know that there’s one particular author who set off the inspiration for my WIP. I’d been reading a lot of young adult and middle grade fantasy of various types, and really what drove me to work on this story was the wish to write something expansive. Not “epic” necessarily… but definitely expansive.

If I had to point fingers, though… I think I’d have to single out Shannon Hale.

Despite what I just said, I’m really not much of a reader of fantasy. There is very little of it out there that doesn’t give me the urge to roll my eyes… especially high fantasy. Unless you’re J.R.R. Tolkein or Brandon Mull, you can keep your dragons to  yourself, thanks. And fairies? There was the occasional brilliant book (Lament and Ballad by Maggie Stiefvater) but mostly they seemed like a thinly veiled analogy for teen angst, which I didn’t care for. And unless it’s Harry Potter, don’t even talk about wizards.

But Shannon Hale’s The Goose Girl reminded me of the fantasy that I loved—had always loved. Fairy tale magic. Subtle, natural magic. Magic like the whispering of words on the wind, or later on in the series, of the language of fire and water. The Goose Girl also had this wide, sweeping landscape and crossed whole nations. It had castles and communities and class-action suits. Okay, not exactly that last one, but close enough—a group of people who were fighting for equal standing, for recognition.

Shannon Hale’s world was so real that I felt like I’d been there, maybe in a dream. I wanted to create something like that. A dream-memory-worthy world. That sure sounded expansive to me. I didn’t want to retell a fairy tale, though. Too many people were doing that… or just about to do that. I wanted to write my own fairy tale. It’s one I’ve fallen dearly in love with, with elements from many of my favorite stories throughout folklore, but I’d like to think with my own special twist.

Other inspirations for my WIP include things like Willow, The Princess Bride, and The Polar Bear King, a movie that I loved to death when I was a kid. I wanted my world to stand alongside worlds like these… quietly magical, wonderfully alive fantasy. Even Robin Hood has had its influence here and there.

Another thing all these worlds have in common? The hero in the story isn’t quite what you’d expect. Sad girl, pirate, misfit… There’s a lesson in a lot of these stories that strength can come to anybody who stands up and fights for it. That’s something I wanted to write about, too. About extreme conditions, extreme need making even an outcast into a hero.

Wish me luck with it.

There Are People Watching the Last Harry Potter Movie Right Now.

I, sadly, am not one of them. It’s still two hours to midnight where I am right now, and I don’t have tickets to go, anyhow. Hopefully I’ll see it sometime this week—funds are extremely tight right now and you have to pick your battles.

Also…  I have to admit that I’m not so keen on the idea that this brilliant phenomenon is over. Oh I know, there’s pottermore coming, but the essentials—the books and the movies—they’re done for good now.

I was an extremely reluctant Potter fan. In fact, when the books were getting really popular and the first movie came out I turned my nose up at it all over the place. So much hype could never truly deliver. My sister had read the first three books, and my brother was starting to read them, and I was busy freaking out about starting high school—which had them teasing about me being so much like Hermione behind my back. I rolled my eyes at it then, but looking back, I’m going to choose to take it as a compliment. I think Hermione is pretty dang awesome.

Anyhow, I went along to see the movie—see what the fuss was about. Harry was your basic orphan-turned-something-awesome-in-some-other-world kid, and a bit of a brat, truth be told. I have to confess that I didn’t like him at all in the movie. What I did like, however, was the banter between Ron and Hermione. I have to admit that when I started the books, it was entirely to see how and when Ron and Hermione* were going to get together. For the most part I still didn’t like Harry very much… but that would change.

*(On the way home from the movie I asked my sister, “So, in the end it’ll be Ron and Hermione, and Harry and… Jenny? Was that her name?” I totally called it.)

Each book at first was breath-held anticipation as to whether Ron and Hermione would finally kiss, and then every movie was hoping-beyond-hope that they would portray things faithfully.

I really only started liking Harry a lot during the sixth book. Before that he was always so angry. In the seventh book, I fell in love with him. He’d grown so much, come so far, and was so profoundly grateful for the ones that had helped him get there… and that was what I loved most about him. That he was so thankful for his friends and for the people who’d sacrificed for him, and I was so touched by it all that I wanted to cry.

And because I saw the movie first, I’ve loved the movies just as much as the books. Watching Dan, Emma and Rupert grow up has been a lovely experience… and well, I adore Rupert, always have. Ahem…

But now the last movie is coming out, and it’s all going to end. It’s a good thing… but sad, too. I’m glad that I have a little extra waiting time to see how the last Potter flick turns out.

 

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P.S. I’m participating in the Independence Day blogfest tomorrow, details are here, come check it out!

Reactive Reading

My husband has started reading the first Fablehaven novel by Brandon Mull, which is one of my favorite series, ever. Probably my very favorite kid-lit series (I’m not counting Harry Potter here, he’s in a realm of his own). Fantasy like you’ve always wanted it—scary at the right times, but always uplifting and full of awesome heroics. (Not half so emotionally dark as something like The Spiderwick Chronicles, either).

Anyhow, back to my husband. Now, I read pretty intently. You sit me down with a good book and I’m glued to it. I don’t want any interruptions if the book is really good. When something shocks or worries me, I probably gasp or widen my eyes, possibly clench the book closer to me, but really I’m still all alone in my little world—or rather, I’ve forgotten myself entirely, because I’m so deep in the world I’m reading about. And I’ll admit, sometimes I don’t want anybody near me when I read. When I read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, I shut myself up in my room for three days, only coming out when it was absolutely necessary.

My husband on the other hand, has sat next to me while doing most of his reading (I’ve been reading too, but mine is a mix of business and pleasure), and he reacts vocally to what he reads. He’s gotten incredibly frustrated with one of the characters—Seth, if you’ve read the books—and has vented that frustration loudly to me. I’ve read all but the last book (I really hate for it to end, so I’ve been prolonging it. That, and I was getting married, so I was a little busy) so I love Seth, despite his rash ways that always lead him into trouble. I tried pointing out that he didn’t know what he was doing in a lot of the scenes that irritated my husband so much, but he would have none of it.

I honestly love it. I think his reactions are great, and I really should have expected nothing less, as my husband’s personality could never quite be mistaken for quiet, like mine. Anybody else seen someone read so reactively?  Do you, by chance?

P.S. I’m really excited to watch as he reads the rest of the series. The Fablehaven books just get more and more awesome as they go, and his reading them makes me want to reread them. And okay, finally finish the series.

P.P.S. The Jayne icon is the closest I could find to relay the obvious reactions my hubby’s been having, but on a sidenote, I’ve gotten him watching Firefly, too. We’re about half-way through the series now. The hooks are in. He’s caught.