Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Five Favourite ... Literary Characters

Today I should like to ramble at length about my favourite literary characters and so without further ado ...

At number five ... Persuasion's Captain Wentworth.


Captain Wentworth is the one Jane Austen character that makes my heart flutter. I prefer him to Colonel Brandon and certainly to Mr Darcy. I am not unconvinced this is because of who portrayed him in the BBC adaptation - Rupert Penry-Jones, who I absolutely only like in period dramas. Put him in modern clothing and I am utterly and completely disinterested.

Captain Frederick Wentworth is a fictional character in the novel Persuasion written by Jane Austen. He is the prototype of the new gentleman in the 19th century: a self-made man who makes his fortune by hard work rather than inheritance.



***

At number four ... Christine.
Yes, the car Christine.


Little is known about beautiful, misunderstood Christine's past, except that she was the property of retired war-veteran Roland D. LeBay. I fell in love with her on sight and despite red being my favourite colour, I would never entertain a red car other than a 1958 Plymouth Fury.



Nobody knows exactly where Christine came from; in the movie, it is suggested that Christine was bad from the start, because she crushes a man's hand with her hood and kills another after he drops a cigar ash on her seat, all while she was being built.

In the book, it is suggested that she may be possessed by the ghosts of Roland LeBay's family; his daughter choked in the backseat- later information reveals that LeBay deliberately left his daughter in the back seat of the car, speculated by Dennis to be him attempting to sacrifice his daughter to Christine-, and his wife committed suicide inside her front seat.

Either one suggests that she could have been bad to the bone even before those, and that she killed LeBay's daughter, rather than LeBay's family possessing the car.

In the book, it is heavily implied that LeBay himself has possessed the car, though this is rather unclear. It's also hinted that she absorbs the souls of her victims, such as LeBay's family or Repperton's gang.

What is known, however, is that she becomes extremely attached to her owners, and kills those who she sees as a threat to her relationship. She also makes her owners become obsessed with her, and kills anybody who may be hurting them. She also possesses the power of regeneration, allowing her to repair any damage sustained in her independent rampages. However, it is unclear if this ability was limited at first; Arnie did some repair work on Christine when he originally purchased her, but she was shown repairing some damage on her own, making it unclear if she genuinely needed Arnie to work on her at first or if she was merely trying to 'blend in'.


***

At number three ... Jane Eyre's Mr Rochester.


Edward Fairfax Rochester: The master of Thornfield Hall. A Byronic hero, he is tricked into making an unfortunate first marriage to Bertha Mason many years before he meets Jane, with whom he falls madly in love.

In the world of period dramas, Mr Darcy seems to set most womens hearts racing but I have always far preferred Mr Rochester to Mr Darcy. For a start, I couldn't put up with a moody, brooding individual such as Darcy in real life. I can appreciate him on paper and on screen, yes, but in real life, no. He would drive me spare. I need humour and that comes with Rochester, he amuses me.



***

At number two ... Harry Flashman.


I know many, especially women, will loathe and detest Sir Harry Paget Flashman VC, KCB, KCIE. I take him as he is, warts and all. He is tremendous fun.

Created by George MacDonald Fraser, Flashman  is based on the character "Flashman" in Tom Brown's School Days, a semi-autobiographical work by Thomas Hughes. In Hughes' 1857 book, Flashman, a relatively minor character, is portrayed as a notorious bully at Rugby School who persecutes Tom Brown, and who is finally expelled for drunkenness.

Harry Flashman appears in a series of 12 of Fraser's books, collectively known as The Flashman Papers. Fraser decided to write Flashman's memoirs, in which the school bully would be identified with an "illustrious Victorian soldier" experiencing many 19th-century wars and adventures and rising to high rank in the British Army, acclaimed as a great soldier, while remaining "a scoundrel, a liar, a cheat, a thief, a coward—and, oh yes, a toady."

Fraser's Flashman is an antihero who often runs from danger in the novels. Nevertheless, through a combination of luck and cunning, he usually ends each volume acclaimed as a hero.


***

At number one ... Dorian Gray.


I first read The Picture of Dorian Gray (my favourite book) in the nineties and developed a huge crush on Dorian.
Honestly, I thought he was the absolute bees knees.
The cats pyjamas.
The cats meow.
I simply adored him. Adore him.
We even had a reading at our wedding from the book.

However, no film version of Dorian ever hit the mark for me. For a start they were all dark and Dorian is always portrayed as having fair hair and oh, this annoyed me!
But a Dorian with the wrong hair colour who looks the part in a good version is far superior to a correct hair coloured Dorian in a bad portrayal and adaptation.

Along came Penny Dreadful and oh my, Dorian may have dark hair but be still my heart, he is Dorian. He is perfection.


Dorian Gray is the subject of a full-length portrait in oil by Basil Hallward, an artist who is impressed and infatuated by Dorian's beauty; he believes that Dorian's beauty is responsible for the new mode in his art as a painter. Through Basil, Dorian meets Lord Henry Wotton, and he soon is enthralled by the aristocrat's hedonistic worldview: that beauty and sensual fulfilment are the only things worth pursuing in life.


Newly understanding that his beauty will fade, Dorian expresses the desire to sell his soul, to ensure that the picture, rather than he, will age and fade. The wish is granted, and Dorian pursues a libertine life of varied and amoral experiences, while staying young and beautiful; all the while his portrait ages and records every sin.




****

Before I go, I do apologise for not commenting on your blogs, I have been rather poorly these past weeks and am only just getting back on my feet now.

5 comments:

  1. I'm with you on Flashman!
    Not vintage by any means but mine would include Lindsay, the ex-drug dealer, escaped convict in Shantarram and Harry Hole in Jo Nesbo's Scandi Noir series. I'm always drawn to dysfunctional men (fortunately only in literature!)
    Great to see you posting, sorry to hear that you've been poorly. Hope you feel mch better now. I've missed you! xxx

    ReplyDelete
  2. Beastly Flashy! I love a bit of Flashman. Yeah, he's a coward, and a bully, and a braggart, but at least he's honest about it.

    Christine is about as malevolent as they come, even if she is a car...

    ReplyDelete
  3. I hope you're feeling better now, Melanie. I've really missed you!
    Of course, you had to include Christine in your favourite literary characters!
    Dorian Gray is one of my favourite books too, but I must confess I'm drawing a blank on Flashman. Must check him out! xxx

    ReplyDelete
  4. Dorian is by far my fave. I hate any representation of him in movies or TV show because I created the image of him in my head and kinda fell in love - I don't like seeing other people's interpretation of what he should look like. This is the reason why I generally don't watch movies based on books I've read. I get waaaaay too attached to characters!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Love this! Yeessssss, I've never found Penry Jones remotely attractive except in Persuasion AND the 39 steps as Richard Hannaway!!!x

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for commenting!