June 17, 2008
Who Would You Be?
What a great question: Grim is looking at characters in literature:
Bond, James Bond.
If you could be a character from literature, why not this one? (H/t: Arts & Letters Daily)
What, after all, is a man's deepest wish? Freud talked about "honor, power, riches, fame, and the love of women" — and Bond certainly encompasses all those. Still, that libidinal litany can be boiled down to a single desire, half hidden in the shadowy reaches of the male psyche and more clearly delineated in world mythology: As Joseph Campbell would say, men long to be heroes. No doubt about it. And yet I think the masculine ego also hungers for something a bit more noirish, if you will. At least some of the time, guys want to be thought of as … dangerous. While it's gratifying to be called a hard-working professional or a good provider, those admirable traits don't make our hearts beat quicker. By contrast, to overhear oneself described as "a man not to be trifled with" — that's quite another matter.
There is nothing quite like it, to be sure.
Though, I might choose Indiana Jones, given all options. I do envy his capacity to speak every ancient language he encounters. I can pretty much do the rest of the stuff, but I mostly "get along" with languages. I can handle written German, Modern and Middle English, French, Spanish, and can work in Dutch and Italian (Latin, Old Norse, and Old English), but I can't really speak any of them except Modern English.
That's funny. I can totally see Grim as Indiana Jones. However, that does bring up the amusing matter of a certain *whip*. And where is Mistress Mandy this morning anyway? Moving right along....
Grim's post got the Princess thinking, which is always a bit dangerous. If you could be any character in literature, which one would you most like to be? Most of us, at one time or another, have probably either fantasized about or have recognized a bit of ourselves in a favorite fictional character.
So let loose in the comments section! Tell us which fictional character you either think you most resemble, or which you'd secretly like to be -- and why!
The one who came immediately to my mind as a secret fantasy was Valeria (warning: mildly NSFW, some rather 'colorful' comicbook art, but this page had the best description so I chose to overlook it :p Click at your own risk) from Conan the Barbarian.
Her philosophy is pretty much defined by my favorite line from the movie, a line she repeats several times: "Do you want to live forever?"
The only other characters I like are both too obscure to mention. So.... who would you be?
Posted by Cassandra at June 17, 2008 06:44 AM
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"Do you want to live forever?"
Heh. That was the line that got the 29thID moving off the beach and through the Atlantic Wall on 6 June, 1944...
Posted by: BillT at June 17, 2008 07:33 AM
I would choose Sam from LOTR. Not a great warrior, but loads of common sense and courage. I don't think Aragorn or Gandolf could have done a better job of getting Frodo to Mt. Doom.
Posted by: Schauzer at June 17, 2008 08:53 AM
Sam is one of my all-time favorite characters. If you had to sum up day in, day out integrity in one person, it would have to be him.
I also always liked Faramir - he never got much attention but he seemed like a great guy. But then I have always had a weak spot for quiet, solid men. Probably b/c they're the only ones patient enough to put up with me!
Posted by: Cassandra at June 17, 2008 09:03 AM
Gabrielle, not Xena
Posted by: Maggie100 at June 17, 2008 09:45 AM
I can totally see Grim as Indiana Jones. However, that does bring up the amusing matter of a certain *whip*.
I already know how to use a horsewhip. It's just the bullwhip I've never had cause to learn. :)
Posted by: Grim at June 17, 2008 10:41 AM
By the way, I've read "Red Nails," the Robert E. Howard story featuring Conan and Valeria. It's a remarkable story in several respects -- a classic example of 1930s pulp fiction.
Posted by: Grim at June 17, 2008 11:45 AM
I would be Beowulf Shaeffer, but that's a Long Shot, if you get my meaning. :)
Or maybe Lazarus Long; aka Woodrow Wilson Smith? At least while the evil days do not come, yet.
Posted by: Don Brouhaha at June 17, 2008 12:34 PM
I liked Sam Gamgee and Eowyn. I also loved the story of Deborah in the OT. She is standing with Barak and the Persian chariots are getting closer and closer...I can just picture this in my mind:
He is edging and itching to do something and she just tells him to wait. He can't understand this.
Then, as the chariots are full out on the plain, God opens up the heavens and rains bog down the chariots and what follows isn't pretty, but the Israelite foot soldiers won on the ground. It pays to have God on your side.
A character from literature...hm....I always have had a soft spot for Melanie Hamilton Wilkes. She had that same rock-bound integrity that Sam had, and the same courage to stand and protect her family. You can find no finer friend than Melanie Wilkes.
Posted by: Cricket at June 17, 2008 01:03 PM
Most resemble? None that I can think of. Most fictional characters tend to lead exciting/dangerous lives, and that's far from who I am.
Secretly would like to be? I've thought about it for a few hours, and while James Bond is a very tempting selection, the man has problems. One of my favorite Bond lines comes from Sean Bean as Alec Trevelyan in GoldenEye who asks Bond, "I might as well ask you if all those vodka martinis ever silence the screams of all the men you've killed... or if you find forgiveness in the arms of all those willing women for all the dead ones you failed to protect." Bond is a severely troubled man.
I'd have to go with Han Solo. He's the rogue with the heart of gold. He is suave, clever, the best at what he does, and a bit shady. But ultimately he's the hero of the stories. Luke's a bit too whiney for my taste. I do find it interesting that Harrison Ford played two of the most iconic heroes in recent film history. Both Indy and Solo are imperfect men who still manage to be heroic without being superhuman.
Posted by: MikeD at June 17, 2008 01:14 PM
I've always seen myself as Frodo, the odd duck who finds that he can handle the epic adventure. He also grasps the costs of involving himself in something above his pay grade.
Posted by: Chris at June 17, 2008 02:10 PM
We all love Han and Indy. I disliked Marian Blackthorne intensely. She was another whiny Luke and even though she got under Indy's skin, I tend to think of it as more of a rash than a burning desire needing to be slaked...
Oops. Must have read one bodice ripper too many.
Posted by: Cricket at June 17, 2008 02:25 PM
Funny, I liked Marian (though I have not seen the latest Indy film). She was a strong female character (for the time), and had a firey streak to her. Not a classic beauty, but still attractive. And mostly, I liked her because she WAS a pain in his backside. I married a redhead. If I did not like a strong, headstrong woman, I never would have. My lovely bride is a WONDERFUL woman, but she daily causes me some measure of consternation. I think it helps keep our marriage exciting.
Posted by: MikeD at June 17, 2008 02:39 PM
Hmm...I think I would like to be Harry Dresden, from the more modern series of books. Perhaps Wesley from "The Princess Bride".
Going back a bit, I think that Petruchio from "the Taming of the Shrew would suit me well enough (especially if Kate is Emma Thompson).
From the movies, I'd like to be Rick Blaine in "Casablanca" or
Posted by: Jimmie at June 17, 2008 03:10 PM
Definitely Star, Empress of the Multiverse, from Glory Road. If I were a guy, I'd want to be Oscar Gordon.
"What did I want?
I wanted the hurtling moons of Barsoom. I wanted Storisende and Poictesme, and Holmes shaking me awake to tell me, "The game's afoot!" I wanted to float down the Mississippi on a raft and elude a mob in company with the Duke of Bilgewater and Lost Dauphin.
I wanted Prester John, and Excalibur held by a moon-white arm out of a silent lake. I wanted to sail with Ulysses and with Tros of Samothrace and to eat the lotus in a land that seemed always afternoon. I wanted the feeling of romance and the sense of wonder I had known as a kid. I wanted the world to be the way they had promised me it was going to be, instead of the tawdry, lousy, fouled-up mess it is.
I had had one chance - for ten minutes yesterday afternoon. Helen of Troy, whatever your true name may be - and I had known it - and I had let it slip away. Maybe one chance is all you ever get."
What's not to love?
Posted by: Stoutcat at June 17, 2008 03:37 PM
I already am a Samwise... it runs in the family, my mom is also....
For what I would LOVE to be, bronze dragon from D&D. Lawful Good, shape-shifting, can breath underwater, known for messing with folks but always willing to go on a limb to help good people.
Jimmie! You read the Dresden files too? Did you like the show?
Posted by: Foxfier at June 17, 2008 04:02 PM
The manliest of my alter-egos, Sigurd Foe-Cleaver, bravest of vikings, looter and pillager, despoiler of saucy wenches, and quaffer of endless tankards of mead! Also life-advisor and writer of advice columns in the sunday scrolls of the Volgund Times.
Posted by: a former european at June 17, 2008 04:38 PM
My favorite would be Duncan McCleod from the Highlander series working with Amanda (Elizabeth Gracen.
Posted by: vet66 at June 17, 2008 05:09 PM
"My favorite would be Duncan McCleod from the Highlander series..."
Hey -- there can be only one.
Posted by: lordsomber at June 17, 2008 05:58 PM
MacGyver for the engineer, Travis McGee for the Don Quixote and Matt Helm for the common sense.
Posted by: Stan/Tx at June 17, 2008 06:46 PM
Posted by: socialism_is_error at June 17, 2008 07:26 PM
Don, I think if I were going to be a man, that might be who I picked :p
Certainly it was the first character who came to mind. The second, no one will know who it is (or at least I will be surprised if anyone does). But it was Nicholas vander Poele (Niccolo).
Posted by: Cassandra at June 17, 2008 07:44 PM
Lazarus Long, i already come from a family that would be accepted as a howard. i am cantankerous, and a red head. :)
Posted by: Artfldgr at June 17, 2008 08:33 PM
I dunno, guys. I think nobody's mentioning the obvious answer, so I'll say it out loud.
If you define literature as pretty much anything that has ever been written (a stretch, I know), whether fiction or nonfiction, then the obvious being to be is YHWH.
You know, all-knowing; all-powerful; never-wrong; immortal; supernatural; arbiter of what's good and evil, who lives and who doesn't; in absolute and total control over everything; supremely independent yet forever in loving relationship - what's not to like? As I recall, our common ancestors Adam and Eve had the exact same preferences, and truth be told, I suspect we do too. At least when I'm honest with myself, there's a part of me that likes the idea.
Posted by: Gregory at June 17, 2008 10:20 PM
Think a little more into it, and you'll find it's like "I wish I could live forever."
Posted by: Foxfier at June 18, 2008 12:35 AM
Gracie Hart from "Miss Congeniality"....sarcasm and a gun....What? You're surprised?
Posted by: DL Sly at June 18, 2008 12:58 AM
Maybe I could just be AFE. He is a bit of fictional character. :)
Posted by: Don Brouhaha at June 18, 2008 02:23 AM
Didn't Cheney pick Vader as his choice? I swear I heard a rumor in the Force over that.
Posted by: Ymarsakar at June 18, 2008 05:24 PM
The one who came immediately to my mind as a secret fantasy was Valeria...
Interesting that you saw yourself as a blonde.
You weren't too happy with that the last time...
Posted by: BillT at June 18, 2008 06:01 PM
Yeah, I know.
Posted by: BillT at June 18, 2008 06:04 PM
Yeah, but who would want to be an immortal hobo? Now, being an immortal *Emperor* with Palpatine-like powers is closer!
Basically, though, going back to the Princess' previous post on reborn as either male or female, just the one time I'd like to be Hyppolita. Failing which, Catalina de Erauso. She's great! And, not too bad to look at either.
Posted by: Gregory at June 19, 2008 01:32 AM
"The Ordinary Man" (Robert Service) is who I would be.
In real life I accomplished great things for our country which are not even remembered anymore. I have been married to the same wife for 28 years. I paid for my kids to go to school because they weren't football players and didn't qualify for scholarships in their areas of expertise. I am just the ordinary man out working to take care of family and friends.
PS This post is late because I am working overseas and didn't get to a computer for a few days.
Posted by: Dave at June 19, 2008 07:00 AM
Foxfier, I didn't see your comments until later last evening. sorry for not answering back.
Yep, I liked the Dresden TV show. I'm still a little miffed at the Sci-Fi Channel for the ignominious way it let the show just shrivel up and die. They couldn't even give a proper cancellation announcement. Most of us fans found out it wasn't coming back when Paul Blackthorne signed with another show.
Posted by: Jimmie at June 20, 2008 10:36 AM
CatWoman, of course...
She's naughty, sexy, looks kickin' in skin-tight outfits, and gets under Batman's skin every chance she gets. What's not to love??
Posted by: WereKitty at June 20, 2008 12:23 PM
Oooh!!! That's a good one!
When I was a little princess, I used to spend hours pretending I was The Girl From U.N.C.L.E.
I got myself into (and out of) all sorts of desperate scrapes, usually involving hanging from trees, jumping from roofs, or some sort of skinned knees or elbows.
Posted by: Cass at June 20, 2008 12:43 PM
Exactly!! I've always imagined my life as an undercover agent. Yeah, I know it's not all Jason Bourne-ish, but it's got to be more exciting that being a retirement plan consultant. Heh.
Posted by: WereKitten at June 20, 2008 04:33 PM
Perhaps I date myself, but for me it was always Doc Savage (from the serials/books, not the movie). Man of many (many) talents.
Posted by: prestonious at June 20, 2008 08:01 PM
I've found, and I was quite the fan boy, mostly, ordinary people, in extrordinary circumstances and in everyday perseverance, inspire me most.
I had my mom take me to the Conan movie premiere and got to meet Sandal Bermann in person (SP?) who played Valaria.
Mom never quit either.
Posted by: meleager at June 20, 2008 11:19 PM