Motley Crew

Book Meme 2012

Question 1: Book Crush(es)

And so we begin with a very personal question.

Though there are many characters I find attractive, I do not develop crushes easily. There are no Byronic Heroes here, for I would rather hit Mr. Rochester with a brick. Also absent are the characters who attract me by their interaction with another character. You will not find Mr. Darcy below (Addibus, if you read this, don’t disown me!), because as much as I find him attractive, it is in his context with Elizabeth. On his own, I like him, but he is not crush-inducing. There is also a dearth of the traditional “hero” types below. While I have respect for chivalry, and the heroes of legend, I find that for me there is such a thing as too high and noble to induce a crush.

So my parameter is simple: Do I have a crush on this character, and why? I will do my best to deconstruct. When I consider these “men” all together, I find it difficult to pinpoint my literary “type.” They do have some traits in common, but on the surface they are very different.

So, who does Jubilare swoon over? Let’s begin with four honorable mentions, and then we will come to the king of my literary heart.

Faramir, son of Denethor
“We are truth-speakers, we men of Gondor. We boast seldom, and then preform or die in the attempt. Not if I found it on the highway would I take it, I said.” -Faramir

There are few heroes that can match Faramir’s quality, and he is a secondary character! Dear authors, never neglect the folk who walk on the edges of your central story. Faramir’s role in J. R. R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings is small, and yet his personality fills every corner of it. Son of a maddened ruler, brother to an ambition-corrupted man, Faramir is in a most difficult position. He loves his family, but cannot be blind to their flaws. He must stand in the gap for his people, honor his father, and bear up under the weight of growing despair. Often these three duties conflict. Reserved on the surface, warm-hearted beneath, he is brave and fierce at need, but has no love for war. He is humble, but also a leader, grave but with a sense of humor. For me, he outstrips all the elves and Aragorn as well. Faramir is an “old soul” with a “young heart,” while the elves are often young souls with old hearts, and Aragorn is an old soul with a heart that, while perhaps not yet old, has lost its youth. Faramir is vitality with a steady mind, and he sticks to his honor while taking full advantage of his liberty. In short, he is an excellent balance.

Samuel Vimes
‘Now I know what you’re thinking,’ Vimes went on, softly. “You’re wondering, after all this excitement, has it got enough flame left? And y’know, I ain’t so sure myself…’ He leaned forward, sighting between the dragon’s ears and his voice buzzed like a knife blade: :What you’ve got to ask yourself is: Am I feeling lucky?” -Sam Vimes

Here’s a mess. Faramir is one I would marry if he existed and were interested (both equally unlikely), but Sam Vimes? I am not so self-destructive as to think of him in that way, and yet he is definitely a crush. Is he handsome? No. Is he admirable? …that depends. Whatever he may be, he is NOT balanced. When the reader first encounters Sam (assuming the reader begins with Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett) the good captain is drunk in a gutter. The relevant question is, “why is Sam drunk in a gutter?” The answer is that he is a good man trapped in an impotent job. He is Captain of the City Watch, which has been hobbled in order to allow for a self-regulating ecosystem of crime in his city. Over the course of the aforementioned book and its sequels, Vimes is pulled out of the gutter (and eventually off the bottle) through the efforts of friends, the love of a great-hearted woman, and the shreds of his own determination and nobility. Under the stony face and sharp layers of sarcasm lies the heart of the ideal copper. Vimes is the policeman I want on my case (assuming I am not the malefactor). He cares about people, he cares about justice, and despite the fact that he is often underestimated, he is a very intelligent chap. Despite his rough edges, or maybe partly because of them, he earns a strong place in my heart. Hear the fangirl squeals at his one-liners? That would be me.

Atticus Finch
“Courage is not a man with a gun in his hand. It’s knowing you’re licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what. You rarely win, but sometimes you do.” -Atticus Finch

A single father of two who is both firm and loving enough to bring them up well.  In To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee, Atticus tries to uphold justice against the tide of popular “feeling” with a quiet but indisputable strength. I would give a great deal to sit with him on his porch, watch the fireflies and talk. To me, the best mark of a man is that he has no need to prove his manliness. This rural lawyer follows his moral convictions and when he opposes them, a lynch-mob stands down, less out of fear than out of the knowledge that he is in the right, and they in the wrong. I am not sure what more I can say. If I cannot have such a man for a husband, then God give me such a man for my friend.

Blackberry
“‘Frith and Inle!’ said Dandelion. “They’re sitting on the water! Why don’t they sink?’
‘They’re sitting on the wood and the wood floats, can’t you see?’ said Blackberry.”

This is a weird one simply because Blackberry is a hare. I find Leporids cute, but I do not find them physically attractive, so please call off the men in white coats. I would not have mentioned him here if it were not for a funny conversation between my housemate and I. D mentioned that she had a crush on one of the rabbits from Richard Adams’s Watership Down, and I laughed and said that I had a crush on Blackberry. It turns out that he was her crush as well. To be fair, we were both children when we first encountered this story. So, what is it about this hare that makes me wish he A. was not fictional, B. was my species, and C. liked me? Blackberry is the brains of Hazel’s  operation. If there is planning to be done, Blackberry is at the heart of it, and Thlayli owes the clever bunny his life. While others panic, Blackberry has a clarity of mind and a will for action. For all this, he is not a cold, calculating braniac, nor a powerful mind attached to a frail body. He may not have Thayli’s or Captain Holly’s raw power, but he is no pushover, and he is brave when there is need for bravery. His ties of friendship are strong, and he often shows compassion. Loyalty is another of his distinguishing traits, and, lets face it, he just has style! Blackberry proves that Smart is Sexy, even if one is the wrong species.

^^^ All Hail King Samwise ^^^

“‘What am I to do, then?’ he cried again, and now he seemed plainly to know the hard answer: see it through. Another lonely journey, and the worst.” -Samwise Gamgee

Yep. My #1 book crush is Samwise Gamgee. If any character manages to usurp his throne, I will be shocked.

Every time I read Lord of the Rings, Samwise amazes me. At first glance he might seem simple, or even timid. As the story progresses, his hidden facets begin to shine. Early on it is clear that Sam has a poetic soul; a deep appreciation for beauty, peace and simplicity that echos my own feelings.

Courage and determination overcome his natural fears and launch him into action against some of the most terrifying creatures and situations to be found in the books. Who, among us, would take up a short blade, elven or not, and stand alone against a GIGANTIC SPIDER? What diminutive farmer’s son would storm an orc-filled tower in the faint hope of rescuing a friend? Who would carry said friend up the slope of a fire-mountain in order to finish a task that cannot save their lives?

Sam.

His greatest flaw is the humility that makes him doubt his own abilities, but even that serves a purpose. If he were aware of his a worth, he might be intolerable. Samwise considers himself stupid. Hah! He is unlearned compared to his traveling companions, but that is no measure of his intelligence. When there is no one to direct him, when he must take charge, he proves himself quick and capable. Tolkien lets us see into the noble halfling’s mind and there we find him hard at work navigating the rough terrain of the world, as we all must do.

Sam is often credited with loyalty and tenderness. These, he has in abundance. If I had to choose only one fictional character to have at my back through a conflict, it would be Sam. He will not betray his friends, he will not shrink from the task that must be done, and he manages to hope when others around him fall into despair.

Finally, his love of peace, and home, and Rosie touch me sharply. My heart aches with Sam’s longing. I weep when he is sad, and rejoice in tears and smiles when he is happy. Despite not being human, he is staunchly human in his abilities, thoughts and feelings, managing to represent the best that is in us while not denying our weakness.

Therefore, if I have to choose just one fictional crush, one who, if he were my species, not fictional, and happened to like me, I would marry in a heartbeat, I would soon be a Gamgee.

I have made some interesting conclusions about my own heart after seeing these “men” juxtaposed. I will, however, let you draw your own conclusions on the matter.

Here are the links to the rest of this series, in order:

1. Motley Crew

2. Cue Music/Shout Out

3. Villainy Most Vile

4. Very Ominous Endings

5. Shapes are Only Dressess… and Dresses are Only Names

6. Chridonalchett

7. Verbage

8. The Scent Test

9. Personal Question

10. Packing Lightly

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About jubilare

Just another tree in the proverbial forest. Look! I have leaves! View all posts by jubilare

39 responses to “Motley Crew

  • Colleen

    This is fun. Can’t wait for more.

    • jubilare

      Glad you’re enjoying it. I imagine your red pen of death is twitching, as I pretty much ignored all paragraph rules, and I have some sentences that need rearranging. ;)

  • Addie Graham

    Totally agree with Atticus and Faramir. I understand you leaving out Darcy under the parameters that you created, but I also think that if you leave out anyone who is most attractive based on their interactions with the female lead, Jane Austen’s men don’t stand a chance ;). I understand what you see in Sam…I just haven’t ever “crushed” on him. I do admire him and adore his character though. Your imagination is much greater than mine because I’m afraid that I have not ever been able to think this way about animals (as much as I loved the rabbits in Watership Down). I haven’t come up with a complete list, but I believe that Atticus Finch would be the winner for me :).

    • jubilare

      No Austen men today. It isn’t so much that their interactions with the characters disqualify them… how to put this… It is that I crush on Darcy for Elizabeth’s sake. I don’t want him for me, I want him for her, and I swoon over their relationship more than over him. Faramir, despite his delightful romance with Eowyn, escapes this problem because I am borderline. I love his relationship with Eowyn, but there is still a part of me that wants him for myself.

      I didn’t crush on Sam for a long time because he’s… well… Sam. But the more I began to look at him and think about him, the more I began to respect him. Adding high respect to the “oh my gosh Sam is adorable” feelings I already had for him created a powerful crush. Sam is awesome as well as adorable!

      I think that kids are more susceptible to having crushes on personified animals because they don’t have the same physical component to crushes that we adults have. I also wanted to marry Martin the Warrior as a child, and he is a mouse. At the time, it didn’t seem like a problem. Of course, at the time I wished I had been born a panther, which would have created all kinds of other problems.
      I may be an outlier, with my rabbit crush, but you are a bit of an outlier too, as most people seem capable of crushing on cartoon characters. No wonder we are friends. :)

      I am not surprised. I guessed that you might squee when I was typing out Atticus’s section. *sigh*

  • mjschneider

    Great post. And kudos on picking Sam. I have arachnophobia. If I ever came face to face with Shelob, I would evacuate my esophagus through my trap door, squeal like a crack-addled piglet, and shove my nearest companion in the direction of the shuffling shadows while I made good my escape. I love my friends dearly, but we’re talking about a giant, man-eating spider here. In such circumstances, friends are expendable, and I believe I would feel vindicated in behaving accordingly.

    Which is precisely why I admire your choice. Sam inspires me to be a better person. After many years of applied practice, I am now able to squish spiders with a kleenex, instead of making my wife do it. Progress!

    • jubilare

      *sighs* Sam…
      I love spiders, and yet I am scared to death of Shelob. She’s just so… massive and horrible and deadly and then there’s Sam standing alone against her with a dagger and a starglass. In his place, I would have the exact same reaction as you, I fear. That hobbit has a spine of steel, and the amazing thing is few people seem to realize it!

      Hey, progress is progress. My main irrational fear (zombies are not an irrational fear, I will have you know…) is camel crickets. *shudders* I am making progress there, though, as I no longer climb onto furniture and shriek. Sometimes there’s no one else, and I have to deal with them myself. Plus I feel that they shouldn’t suffer because I am insane, and so I have to try and get them outside alive. It ain’t easy.

  • Urania

    I understand exactly what you mean about “too high and noble.” That’s why I respect Aragorn, but adore Faramir.

    Yay for Watership Down! I loved that book, and I can understand what you mean about liking a character, regardless of his species. I was in love with Disney’s fox Robin Hood when I was a kid. :D

    Yes, Sam is a very good choice. One of my favorite moments in the LotR is Sam’s discussion of the nature of adventures and stories (which I used in my essay over on Pages Unbound. It went up today, so you should read it.).

    Yes indeed about the spiders! Whether I play a great Elven warrior in video games (Dragon Age: Origins) with three mighty companions at my back, or the diminutive but resourceful and well-equipped Link, I still run away from the giant spiders, screaming like a little girl.

    All in all, a very good list.

  • palecorbie

    Ha! I think you have “nobility of spirit” as your primary crush-inducing quality there. My list would be pretty much a rogues’ gallery: Elric of Melniboné, Steerpike, Gwynn of The Etched City

    • jubilare

      Hmm, possibly. I think it more likely that the traits that attract me result in nobility of spirit, because there are definitely some very noble characters out there who are not crush-inducing to me.

      That does not surprise me. :) I would be surprised, though, if it were entirely rogues.
      I have some far less admirable crushes when it comes to video games and films. I am not sure exactly why I don’t when it comes to literature. I think it is because, when I am reading, I see characters in a different light. Of course, there are notable exceptions, for me, among my writer-friends’ characters. Schiri, for example.

      • palecorbie

        Which traits, those?

        I’m trying and failing to think of any literary character I’ve felt vague attraction to who’s brutally killed less than eight people…
        It’s easier to see thoughts/motivations in literature, and things which follow the Rule of Cool in games and films. Care to hint at any?
        [has to hold tea abruptly away from keyboard mid-cough] You’ve been crushing on Schiri?! O_o

        • jubilare

          Loyalty, warm hearts, honor and intelligence, among others.

          Really? Hmm…

          If I shock you for having having a crush on Schiri, I’d better not name any others. It would be unfortunate to baptize your computer in tea. ;) And yes, I’ve had a crush on Schiri since I first ran across the dear sadistic maniac. Don’t ever tell him that, though.

          • palecorbie

            I think it’s mostly the warmth breeds nobility from that…

            Aye…Snufkin and Lucky Luke remain my heroes, but that’s something else entirely.

            I don’t have any this instant, though I want more…it’s just he’s sort of like a grown-up, maladjusted kitten to me…he might come under my “feed soup to” category, but again, that’s quite different. I won’t.

          • jubilare

            Mostly, perhaps, but not solely, as warmth alone is not enough to make me have a crush on a character.

            Aye, that is something else.

            I want coffee. I need to cut back on coffee…
            That’s a pretty good description of him. I offer no justification for the crush, it just is. The nature of a crush is often illogical.

  • Book Crush: the Sandman « Egotist's Club

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  • thalia3

    Beautiful! Bravo! I love Faramir, he’s on the top of my short list. I like Sam Vimes too, but he’s a new comer for me. Mel’ introduced us about a year ago. :)

    • jubilare

      Thanks! Faramir was originally the top of my list, and only by slow and steady steps has Samwise overtaken him. The true Steward of Gondor is very dear to my heart.

      Welcome to the Sam Vimes fanclub. :) He’s one of those who gets better the more and the longer you know him.

    • jubilare

      Thalia, wordpress seems to have decided that I am spam. Melpomene approved a couple of my comments, but I seem only to be able to post on Urania’s posts because she approved me personally. All that to say, some comments from me on your posts are probably lurking in the spam folder. I am sorry for the inconvenience!

  • David

    Sorry for getting to this late, but since I’m behind on the meme, I wanted to at least get some of my thoughts on the topic together before reading everyone else’s. And I happily note you’re expessing thoughts similar to some that I’ve been trying to work through in my rough draft: 1) the difference between wanting a character for another character and wanting them for yourself, and 2) how some character are just too “high” to be loved romantically by the reader, however admirable and lovely they may be. I won’t spoil my choice, except to say that I ultimately couldn’t choose Luthien for these two reasons, even though she’s my favorite female in Tolkien’s legendarium and one of my favorite romantic heroines ever.

    Also, Sam’s the Man (err, Hobbit). If I were in Middle-Earth, he’d be my best friend, I think, despite not being much of a book-person. Good choice.

    • jubilare

      No worries.

      “The leaves were long, the grass was green,
      The hemlock-umbels tall and fair,
      And in the glade a light was seen
      Of stars in shadow shimmering.
      Tinuviel was dancing there
      To music of a pipe unseen,
      And light of stars was in her hair,
      And in her raiment glimmering.”

      You are right, the difference between “love” and “crush” is the important distinction. There are so many kinds of love, and many characters we may love without crushing on them.

      *sighs* Sam… I think he’d be more of a book-person (and might become one, after we leave him in LotR) if he could read well. He loves stories, and that is the most important thing.

  • Creative Blogger Award! | jubilare

    […] of them are very reactive to music). I’ve said this before, but please don’t call the folks in white coats. I’m really not delusional. My characters will vouch for me. […]

  • stephencwinter

    Although you left the link to this piece on my blog (thank you so much for that!) I wanted to think about it on yours although I will leave a comment asking others to read this on mine.
    I love this posting! We have spoken about Faramir before and I agree with everything you say about him. I think there is more to say about Aragorn but love is a deeply personal thing and we have agreed before that Faramir is the man for Eowyn.
    I don’t know Sam Vimes but I like what you say. My mother used to say to my sisters, “Never marry a man believing that you can change him.” I think that is true and yet I am struck by the number of women who want to “save” a man. Laura and I are watching an excellent serial based on the novels of Bernard Cornwell set in the time when Wessex stood alone in England against the Danes, the time when Alfred was king. The central figure is an Anglo-Danish warrior called Outred. Laura has been struck by the fact that he does some terrible things and yet she is still drawn towards him (as is Outred’s wife, Mildreth, by the way, even though she is horrified by the things he does). My own thoughts here are that this is because Outred’s wife (and mine!) can both see a goodness in him that is not wholly obscured by his terrible deeds. We have not yet reached the end of the story but my instinct is that his goodness will be revealed but that he will have to travel through humiliation and dereliction first. Mildreth will not “change” Outred but I think she can help him find his true self within. If you are able to find it the serial is called “The Last Kingdom” (BBC).
    I must hurry onto Sam. How true your words are. If Faramir or Aragorn (or Beren for that matter) had vanquished Shelob and stormed the orc tower they would be lauded as deeds of the highest heroism and yet somehow Sam seems able to carry them off without anyone ever noticing! I think Rosie knows the quality of the man she has got. I love the way she puts his child on his knee as she draws him into the house at the end of the great tale. “This is where you belong now!” she is saying and she is right!
    As a man I am drawn to the kind of men of which you speak. For years I looked for a captain to follow like Faramir. I worked under some good men but never found a Faramir to follow. I have no desire to cast away my life but if I were to die alongside Faramir I would not feel that my deed was wasted. It would be enough to die beside him. And I would be deeply honoured to have Sam Gamgee alongside me.
    I hope you forgive me if I say that I hope that you find your man and that he finds you also.

    • jubilare

      ^_^ Well, I love Aragorn, I just don’t have a crush on him. He falls into the “too high and great for a crush” category, for me. Faramir, while still awesome, also feels smaller, more accessible. I think it may be because he’s a cross between a knight and a book-geek.

      Oy, yes. My grandfather, in his wry way, was fond of saying “A woman marries a man hoping he will change, and he never does. A man marries a woman hoping she will never change, and she always does.” Though, to be fair, I’ve met men who have the save/fix impulse, too, and it’s equally disastrous. It does seem to be more common among women, though, and I am certainly not immune. I wonder, sometimes, if this is something we picked up in the Fall, or if it is an echo of the heart of God that the Enemy uses to lure us into bad situations.
      Alfred! :D I will have to look for that. I think my mother would be interested, too.
      In fiction, I’m often drawn to the villains or the really damaged characters. In my own writing, I seem to be incapable of telling just one side of any story. Tolkien is an exception for me, though. I’m not drawn to his antagonists, with the notable exceptions of Gollum (sympathy, not attraction) and Maeglin (gaaaah!), and I am attracted very much to several of his protagonists, especially, of course, the two mentioned here. ^_^
      Fortunately, in real life, I seem to be attracted to nice guys. If only the feeling were mutual. :P I hope, too, that I find the partner (if he exists) that God intends for me. Like most people, I have that hunger. But I begin to think, more and more, that I’m meant to be single… that maybe the work I have to do is work that would be hampered by the work a partnership and a family would take. But time will tell, and God’s plans for us don’t always align with what we think we want, and if I follow Him, He will sustain and fulfill me.

      Aye. I think if a Faramir ever walks the earth, he is a very rare creature indeed. Sams are, perhaps, more common, but by no means common. I’ll settle for men and women around me that are trying, as I am. There’s beauty in that, too, under the Grace of God, eh? ^_^

      • stephencwinter

        In thinking of your thoughts on Aragorn I tried to imagine falling in love with Arwen. No, she is way, way above me! To be her knight, to offer her my service, that I can understand. To have that service received would be a great honour. But a lover? That could never be and to attempt it on my part would be to dishonour her. Eowyn is closer but only a great man like Faramir could be worthy of her. Now I find myself going through Tolkien’s women to see who might be one I could marry. I rather think that I am a hobbit and that it is Rosie Cotton that I am closest too, or perhaps it is Elanor their beautiful daughter who brings elvishness into the world of hobbits thanks to Sam’s gift from Galadriel.
        In thinking about marriage I found myself thinking about my daughters. There is a basic parental instinct that wants to see them safely married to good men but surely, above all, I should want to see them become the women God wishes them to be. That is a challenge to me and I am glad to receive it.
        My own life as husband and father led me to decide (some years back now) to give up career ambitions for their sake. I am so glad that I made that choice and now I see signs of life flourishing in new ways for me that I did not anticipate and that have little to do with career paths. Getting married is always about being overwhelmed by something too big for us. Every other choice thereafter flows from that first experience. In a wedding I conducted on Saturday the bride chose a poem by the English poet, Wendy Cope to be read in the ceremony that captures that sense beautifully. She describes standing on a bridge over the Thames in London and realising that she has just fallen in love and what is she going to do? Strong winds flow over and around her and she compares them to all that is happening in her heart. I loved it!
        However your path is laid out before you (to use Sam’s words) it is one that leads to glory not just as its goal but also in every one of its steps. May we both have eyes to see that.

        • jubilare

          “There is a basic parental instinct that wants to see them safely married to good men but surely, above all, I should want to see them become the women God wishes them to be. That is a challenge to me and I am glad to receive it.” While I don’t know what that’s like from the inside, of course, I know that my parents struggle with it, too. And it’s understandable. While marriage has it’s own trials, it’s hard to go through life without a good human partner, and the enemy, of course, tries to use it for his own ends. Usually he just tells me that I’m single because there’s something “wrong” with me, and I have to look outside myself to realize that most of my friends, whether in a relationship or not, are no better off. There is something wrong with me because there’s something wrong with everybody, and changing myself for any reason other than to better follow Christ is a fool’s errand. But that’s what the enemy does. He takes a truth and twist it into a believable lie.

          And see! Here you model the idea that giving up something one thinks one wants brings blessings.

          Amen.

          • stephencwinter

            Experience tells me that most people like to think that life ought to be governed by certain rules. Of course, when it comes to moral choice, they generally consider that they should be exceptions to the rule. Dietrich Bonhoeffer used a musical analogy, that of the Ground Bass that gives structure to the music but which allows it to move in a whole rich variety of directions. David Ford, an Irish theologian, uses a Jazz analogy of the theme and the improvisations based upon it. Thus we can give each other a freedom while recognising that the original theme is being honoured. God bless you in your own improvisation on the life of Christ.

        • jubilare

          “Thus we can give each other a freedom while recognising that the original theme is being honoured.”
          I like this idea a lot. ^_^ Clearly, I need to read more Bonhoeffer (I’ve known this for a while)

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