When I was younger I wasn’t a big fan of books, until my mom read me Winnie the Pooh at 3 years old. I still have that copy of the book thirty something years later. I loved the teddy bear having a personality and being “real”. It opened my eyes and mind to what could be found in books.
Since then I decided I liked books more and tried to expand beyond what I would normally read, but I always read the same ones over and over again. I still do this now with books and movies. I learn more about the characters every time I read or watch something.
What I love, and hate, is seeing a character I read in a book come to life on the screen. It’s a little nerve-wracking to see a character you know so well and love come to life. They might not be anything like you imagined them, but they might be the actual embodiment of the character.
This week I am focusing on fictional characters that originated in a book and came to life on a screen.
Jane Eyre: Jane Eyre
One of the reasons I love Jane Eyre is because she’s an introvert, as am I. She was picked on, bullied, and sent away from the family that despised her to a horrid school. She left school on her own terms and made her way as best as she could; taking a job as the governess of a young girl who was the ward of a bachelor, Mr Rochester.
He was the man she fell in love with. When he tried to marry her it was discovered he was already married to a mad woman and the wedding fell through. He tried everything he could to persuade Jane to stay, but she resisted and left him.
Through it all she remained true to herself and her beliefs. She never compromised on what she knew to be wrong, or right for that matter. It was always on her terms.
She was a very strong willed character, another thing I could relate to so well, who used that “will of iron” with a purpose. It is something I have tried to learn over the years, to channel that strong will for a good purpose, not just because I must always use it.
Choose your battles wisely.
How much do I love the story and the character? I own 6 film versions and have read the book multiple times.
Lucy Pevensie: The Chronicles of Narnia
The Chronicles of Narnia were among the first books I remember my mom reading to my sister and I. I always felt my sister was more like Susan and I was like Lucy; probably because I was the annoying younger sister.
One of the things I loved about Lucy is how she knew she was right and stood by that until the others realized she was actually telling the truth. Lucy annoyed her brothers and sister by insisting she’d found a land in the back of a wardrobe.
How frustrating it is to know that because finding a world in the back of the wardrobe is too fantastic a tale to believe, she was being discounted because of her age, even when she was the one that was always truthful. They believed her older brother, who was lying, because it fit with their views of what is real.
Lucy had a good heart and wanted to help others. She was kind and gentle, and adventurous. She seemed to really live in the moment no matter where she was or what she was doing. She never changed that as she got older over the course of the series.
She may have grown up and dealt with things in life that come with it, but she never changed who she really was, she learned and matured and accepted who she was.
Seriously though, how many of us were jealous of her finding Narnia in the back of a wardrobe and we didn’t? I know I was.
Meg Murry: Time Quintet Series
Meg Murry was introduced in the book A Wrinkle In Time, which was the first book in the Time Quintet series.
She was a stubborn, awkward, unpopular, intelligent teenager. In other words, she was me at that age. I know, I know, everyone says that. I think this is why she’s such a great character.
Meg had courage. She went with her younger brother and friend to rescue her dad. Her love for them drove her to go. They faced the greatest evil in the galaxy, fought it, and won. She couldn’t have done it alone, but she still went and did what she had to do with the people she cared about most supporting her.
I think this book made me really realize that we can’t do it alone. We need our friends and family to support us. We shouldn’t shut them out.
I think she inspired many teenage girls over the years. The books are truly some of the most influential of all time, and Meg, to me, most of all.
I am so excited they are making another film version of A Wrinkle in Time. The 2003 tv movie wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t as good as I was hoping either. It will bring another generation to the story and she can continue to inspire.
Anne Shirley: Anne of Green Gables
Being Canadian there was one iconic character we all knew and loved: Anne Shirley. Anne of Green Gables is a rite of passage for young Canadian girls. The books were to be read and, fortunately for movie buff me, there was a mini-series filmed on location where the books were set.
Anne was that hot headed orphan who was not only intelligent, but imaginative, opinionated, and lively. Trouble seemed to follow her like a magnet.
She fought to be the top of the class, took on the boys whenever possible and put them in their place when they needed it. That was something I always did growing up as well.
It frequently got her in trouble, but she had a big heart and loved as fiercely as she lived. She won the heart of Gilbert Blythe, her main antagonist and competition at times, who loved her in spite of her flaws and faults.
I was inspired by her to just live life to the fullest no matter what, and always be yourself no matter what people think.
There is definitely a pattern to the characters I looked up to when I was younger. They were true to themselves and didn’t change who they were for anyone.
They’re stubborn, do what’s right, intelligent, determined, and have a fighting spirit.
They are everything I wanted to be and I feel I have accomplished that, in my own unique way, by being who I am and fighting for what I believe in.
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