Thursday, May 21, 2009

Characters that Count

This is not going to be a post about math geniuses in fiction, though I admit I enjoy the program "Numbers." No, one of the other blogs I peruse posted what I was hoping was going to be an interesting discussion on who is your favorite character? Only instead of a decent blog entry they copped out, wrote essentially just the question, and then turned it over to comments. Which was a complete disappointment.

So I'm going to do it here.

Now I had to think about this some, and inject a few parameters. Because there are great characters out there. Characters I can do read about again and again and again, and no matter how many times I read their story, I find something new, and enjoy reading them. Books that are on my shelves to stay, no matter what else ends up in boxes. Some of those are the predictable ones, like the Hobbits Frodo and Sam and Bilbo, or Scrooge. And some are the old standbys of Holmes, Long John Silver, and the rest.

Most of the time we only get one or two stories to get to know these characters in. Even in the case of Holmes and Watson, the truth of the matter is they aren't much different story to story. Read "Hound of the Baskervilles" and you know Holmes, mostly. Though the story he "writes" himself was interesting.

There are modern characters, too, like Lestat (when he isn't being too whiny) or Bourne... though I've stopped reading Ludlum as I've gotten older. Even the young Mister Potter has a place on my shelf that will be revisited.

But, if I had to pick just one, I think I'd have to go with Long John Silver. His was the story that I always had the sense there was more too. Yes, Harry Potter will grow up and doubtless have future adventures, and Holmes' coldly calculating manner probably came from somewhere... but those aren't really relevant to their stories. Silver's background is, as it where he goes afterwards. Why he took so fondly to Jim Hawkins, for example.

S0meone penned such a book, and while it was a good read it took liberties with the original source that made it something different. It wasn't *quite* Silver, in other words. But it gave the character more dimensions that it had, and left me wondering about where the original came from, in ways I almost never think about any of the others I've mentioned here.

Though, while I wouldn't mind sharing a dram with him, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't want to sail with him.

1 comment:

Kmcelhinny said...

You make me want to read Long John Silver now, but... why is he a character that counts to you? I'd like to know a little more :) Just my personal opinion... but you know.