01 August 2011

Characters Welcome, And Readers Too!

Greetings, Kittens!

Happy August and thank you for joining us here at Beyond the Veil today. You may have noticed some new faces among us, I'd like to formally welcome our new bloggers and share with the world how thrilled we are to have them with us!

Members aren't the only new thing we have going on at Beyond the Veil, this month we've launched the first of our new monthly themes. Each blogger with touch on the topic of the month in their own unique way. Whether a member brushes by the theme, barely disturbing the air, or dives deep and lays down a point by point dissertation on the whys and wherefores, you can rest assured that it'll be worth the read.

The theme for August is: Characters Welcome: Favorite Characters We Love or Love to Hate

Yes, I watch more than my fair share of USA Network and it was a perfect slogan to pay homage to as we each brought you our personal viewpoints on the characters that touch us the most. Some will be favorite characters we've written, others will be those we've read and still others will be our favorite screen characters, who knows, it may be all three and more if you catch one of us in the right mood!

As the author kicking off this lovefest, I thought I'd play to my strengths and go straight to the idea of Character Crushes. *smile*

I'm a generous veiwer and I hope a generous reader. I may grumble over the things that I'd do differently, but I embrace a good segment of the genre work out there and a few offerings are even met with fangirl abandon.

My first literary crush in memory is Lestat from Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice. Yes, it was Interview and not his redemptive book The Vampire Lestat, that brought that initial crush. Think what you will about that, (people usually do), but Louis' whiney tome could not hide how deeply in love Lestat had fallen with Louis and the family they created with Claudia. I was young and impressionable and I felt for Lestat with an intensity that only a pre-teen girl in the throws of early puberty truly could. I wanted to run off and be forever with Lestat, gathering others as the times changed and forever falling in love and living intently with those that came our way. I was an intense kid.

Running a very close second in the early book based crushes is Nick Andros from The Stand by Stephen King. Nick was the first character with a disability that I'd ever read and I was deeply invested in everything to do with him from the moment he walked across the page. Add to it that he'd just taken a beaten by multiple foes and yet held his own, and all I wanted to do was take care of him and let him know I had his back in the viral apocalypse. As that kind of dedication undoubtedly always leads, Nick is also the first literary character I ever wept for, I mean unabashed grief that struck me consistantly the first few times I reread the book. Adolescence is a trip.

The character of Stu Redman, also from The Stand, has become a clear crush in later years, but that's entirely the work of Gary Sinise portraying him in the mini-series. Technically that makes it a movie/tv crush and I'll happily follow that transition to my most enduring series based crush.

I took to the character of Dr. Daniel Jackson in the original Stargate film. I think that James Spader did a wonderful job of being brilliant and vulnerable and needing to be taken care of by the right person. (Are you sensing a theme within the theme?) Yet as lovely as Spader did, it was Michael Shanks as my beloved Daniel Jackson in Stargate SG-1 that caused me to fall in love.

From the pilot in 1997 to right now as I type, my crush has only grown stronger. And why wouldn't it? Daniel Jackson is perfect and cursed. He's absolutely brilliant, cultured, compassionate, empathetic, intellectually passionate, intense, kind, wholly benevolent and went from cute in the pilot to outright hot in later seasons. Oh and all his girlfriends die or become Goa'uld. She he's got the whole dangerous to love but born to be loved thing that became so popular in vampire fiction recently, but without the fangs and emo brooding. I wanted to break the curse, not necessarily with me, (but I'm at the front of the line), I wanted him happy with someone and I'm still waiting on my movie where he gets married and she survives. Although I'd happily see the "ship" fans and "slash" fans both happy and have him end up with Jack and Sam. But why breakup the band, let's throw in Teal'c too. I'm not like that, it all works for me.

Moving solely to the big screen, I blame Lestat for my insistance on becoming endeared to the ambiguous, chaotic-neutral-striving-towards-chaotic-good characters. (Is my geek showing?) I don't like villains, but I can come to love the redeemable character left with little choice but to act villainous. To that end, the character crush that surprises my friends the most, (and proves they don't really know me), is Riddick from Pitch Black and The Chronicles of Riddick.

Admittedly, I like my men and women of questionable intent a little less questionable on average, but Riddick was clearly another Lestat. His rejection of the things around him don't stem from a desire to be done with the world, but rather from being convinced that the world was long ago done with him. Both were killers but neither come off as murderers and yes, there's a difference. Riddick is the classic example of a character that puts himself first because no one else ever has. He doesn't want to destory the world or to rule it, he just wants to be left alone and he doesn't take well to it when others refuse that courtesy. He doesn't want to be a hero and doesn't think he can be, but he's willing to let that doubt go the first time he's sincerely shown that it doesn't have to be that way.

Riddick, like Lestat needed someone. Not merely someone to love, but someone to die for and in turn, live for. For both of them the entire world would be a different place with the right person at their back, covering their six and refusing to be moved. (I know what you're thinking, I must be an awesome friend. Yes, it's true.)

Since I mentioned Men-of-Questionable-Intent, I can't close without talking about Captain Malcolm Reynolds of Firefly and Serenity. Another wronged and lost man who falls to the criminal side of things when the world moves on without him. The only reason that Mal's moral compass runs truer than Riddick or Lestat's, is that Mal had Zoe at his back. He never had a doubt about her loyalty and knew that they would die together with their boots on--preferably in a retirement home at the age of 100. I wanted Riddick and Lestat to have their Zoes too.

I'd be remiss if I didn't wrap by touching on one of my own characters. After all, I spend more time with them on a more intimate level than I will ever view or read another's creation. The problem is that the first ones to come to mind for this are in stories you can't read yet, because they haven't been released yet. They came to mind first because everything I wanted to say about the characters you can read, threatens to give something away. Still, I'm going to go for it because it's a great chance to talk about Quintus from Ghost of Christmas Past and Dawn's Early Light.

Quintus rather snuck up on me. He was always meant to be a background character, perhaps coming into his own somewhere down the line in an unrelated story. By the middle of the first chapter in Ghost of Christmas Past, I was taken. By the fifth chapter I was in love and by chapter ten I was ready to give him anything he wanted--and I did. The strength, vulnerability, dignity and passion in Quintus run down to his marrow, and his willingness to sacrifice for the agents in his care is extraordinary. After Ghost of Christmas Past I was ready to give him Dawn's Early Light and then to hand over Saint Valentine, but he's so unassuming that he refused to take them. He gets his chapters in all three and Ghost of Christmas Past is as much his story as Torrin's, so it's enough. How can I not love that?

I could go on and on, and I plan to, but not here. Crush of the Week will become a regular Friday feature at Erotic Diaries and will include several characters, so come by, hang out and talk about your favorite crushes!

In the meantime, while I have you here, who are some of your favorite character crushes to date? Have you ever wept over a character in a book? Who's your favorite misunderstood anti-hero? Who do you want to take home to meet your family? Who do you just want to take home? *grin*

And there you are, Kittens.

Character Ramble ~ Done!

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