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dick



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 2505

PostPosted: Sat Nov 08, 2008 6:24 pm    Post subject: Characters Reply with quote

I've noticed that many posters comment on characters in books as if those characters were real people. It always arouses curiosity (or chagrin) because I don't think I ever think of them that way. I'm not sure whether it's a deficiency (thus the chagrin) or simply habit, having always stood back a ways while reading any fiction. I rarely bother to read most genre fiction--with a few exceptions--as closely as I would read general fiction or poetry or lit fic--or as admirably close as veasleyd reads romance fiction. So, am I right? Do some character become real for some readers?
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JaneO



Joined: 17 Feb 2008
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 08, 2008 7:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, some characters are clearly more convincing than others, but I don't believe I have ever thought of them as real people, as some over the years have thought of Sherlock Holmes. Perhaps it's simply easier to to discuss them as if they were real. It would be awkward to have to keep saying "The character of Mr. Micawber, as described by DIckens,..."

Then there is also the "reality" of archetypes. We could get quite involved with Platonic ideals here, couldn't we?
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xina



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 6635
Location: minneapolis

PostPosted: Sun Nov 09, 2008 12:20 am    Post subject: Re: Characters Reply with quote

So, am I right? Do some character become real for some readers?[/quote]


No, not for this reader. Fiction...is fiction and purely entertainment..IMHO, however, I did read on another romance fiction message board where a poster had followed a man into a building thinking she had found Jamie from the Outlander series. I thought while reading that, that perhaps the poster was sadly out of touch with reality.
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Kerstin



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 09, 2008 5:34 am    Post subject: Re: Characters Reply with quote

dick wrote:
So, am I right? Do some character become real for some readers?


Yes, some become real for me. There are the ones where I think they became real for the author as well and the writer emotionally invested in the character they created. Those are the character interesting to talk and discuss about at length.

Kerstin
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Schola



Joined: 10 Jun 2007
Posts: 1867

PostPosted: Sun Nov 09, 2008 8:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

+IHS+

The late Madeleine L'Engle was once talking with some college girls about one of her characters. The girls asked her what happened to the character at the end of the last book, and she said that the girl had enrolled in Medical School.

A few months later, I think one of those girls managed to get the character's name on the list of new students at her university's Medical School. If I remember correctly, she then sent a print out to L'Engle, who was delighted to know about her character's "classmates."

It was all in fun, of course. Nobody believed that Polly O'Keefe actually existed, but, oh, was she real.
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dick



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 09, 2008 10:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

to schola: A number of Jane Austen's relatives, particularly her niece (Frannie, I think?) asked the same kind of questions about Elizabeth in letters to her aunt. The only answer I recall was that Darcy had had Elizabeth's portrait painted and thought the painter didn't quite capture "her fine eyes."

to Kerstin: I once read a book about a mystery author who, in a Pygmalionesque way, tried to "find" the main character in the series of mysteries she wrote.

to JaneO: But isn't the "reality" of archetypes different because conceptual frameworks rather than a specific character?
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Amanda



Joined: 25 Aug 2008
Posts: 289
Location: the midwest

PostPosted: Sun Nov 09, 2008 11:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I caught on to the joy of Harry Potter as the fifth book was about to be published. I was reading the fourth book as a 26 year old mother of three. (I tell you this so that you understand I was an adult -- not a 14 year old girl)

Spoiler alert -- Don't continue reading if you plan on reading the series.

I finished reading the fourth book in the small hours of the morning laying in bed next to my husband. And all I could think about with the rise of Voldemort is "What are the Muggles going to do? Who would protect us?" I had a very real, very terrifying moment of wondering about the safety of mankind. Now, I shook myself out of my trauma very quickly (probably less than a minute), but for that brief time all the characters were very real to me.

So, yes, they become real to me. More real than the characters on tv or movies -- even more real than the actors who play the role. For me, that's the fun of reading and I re-read so I can visit old friends.
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Sandlynn



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 1836
Location: Washington, D.C.

PostPosted: Sun Nov 09, 2008 11:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't think I ever viewed any of the fictional characters I read or heard about as real since I was a kid -- and boy that was fun! I still remember, at 6 or 7 years old, panicking because I wasn't getting to bed on time and Santa might bypass my house Wink -- but there are characters who are richer or to whom you might have connected with that you continue to think about when the story ends. Those are the ones whose life, within the story, you wish had been fleshed out more; the ones about which you want to talk with other readers and ask the author about, the ones some fans write fanfiction about, the ones who you want to see a sequel (about that character, not a walk-on role) or a prequel or whatever will continue or enhance that character's story, including a movie.
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Linda in sw va



Joined: 27 Mar 2007
Posts: 4708

PostPosted: Sun Nov 09, 2008 1:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, occasionally some characters do seem to virtually come to life for me, though I know really they are fictional. For instnace, Jamie and Claire came to life for me in such a way that they feel like old friends, friends that I've had for years as I've read the books.

So yeah for me it happens, though it's a rare and precious thing when it does.

Linda
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Kayne



Joined: 31 Mar 2007
Posts: 899

PostPosted: Sun Nov 09, 2008 3:01 pm    Post subject: characters Reply with quote

I have characters both male and female that I have loved getting to know through books, movies and even tv shows. It is wonderful to have other readers to discuss favorite characters with here.

I also like hearing author's stories behind favorite characters and who they might be based on in real life. I enjoy autobiographies of famous authors like Agatha Christie's Come Tell me How you Live. She wrote about working with her second husband on an archeological dig. There used to be a holiday tv special about Truman Capote's Christmas holidays spent with an eccentric aunt. Stephen King's personal story is also good. The Madeline children's books were written by a father, Bemelman, recovering in the hospital for his daughter. Its neat to learn what events or people have inspired authors.
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xina



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
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Location: minneapolis

PostPosted: Sun Nov 09, 2008 7:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Linda in sw va wrote:
Yes, occasionally some characters do seem to virtually come to life for me, though I know really they are fictional. For instnace, Jamie and Claire came to life for me in such a way that they feel like old friends, friends that I've had for years as I've read the books.

So yeah for me it happens, though it's a rare and precious thing when it does.

Linda



I loved Jamie and Clare too and also, Tatiana and Alexander. I suppose if any characters came close to real, these two couples would be the ones. Also, I think that having a series of books that are beautifully written brings the people closer to reality. I suspect many who love Dunnett's Lymond Chronicles feel the same about Lymond. At least that is the impression I get when this series is discussed.
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Linda in sw va



Joined: 27 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 10, 2008 6:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

xina wrote:
[I loved Jamie and Clare too and also, Tatiana and Alexander. I suppose if any characters came close to real, these two couples would be the ones. Also, I think that having a series of books that are beautifully written brings the people closer to reality. I suspect many who love Dunnett's Lymond Chronicles feel the same about Lymond. At least that is the impression I get when this series is discussed.


Lymond came alive for me certainly when reading the series, it felt like I was living and breathing him. *G* I would count him as the second best hero I've ever read but yet there is something about him that keeps him at a little more of a distance. And while I do think of Lymond from time to time I think of something Jamie and Claire related nearly every day.

While there have been books and characters I have been fond of and very much enjoyed none seem to come alive and live with me the way these do. Sure I know they're fictional but it feels as if I could reach out and touch them.

Linda
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xina



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
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Location: minneapolis

PostPosted: Mon Nov 10, 2008 11:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lymond came alive for me certainly when reading the series, it felt like I was living and breathing him. *G* I would count him as the second best hero I've ever read but yet there is something about him that keeps him at a little more of a distance. And while I do think of Lymond from time to time I think of something Jamie and Claire related nearly every day.

While there have been books and characters I have been fond of and very much enjoyed none seem to come alive and live with me the way these do. Sure I know they're fictional but it feels as if I could reach out and touch them.

Linda[/quote]



Nearly every day Linda? Well, when I came off the Bronze Horseman series, for the 3rd time, I was doing the same with those characters. I found it disconcerting at times to think about their situations. Those two characters, many times, had a rough road ahead of them and although their love was the base of their relationship, they had to get through so many difficult situations to be happy at last. I was sort of glad when my thinking about them went away. It wasn't as if I was obsessed, but had their lives on my mind more than real, living breathing people were Laughing I suppose that's the sign of a good book.
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Linda in sw va



Joined: 27 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 10, 2008 12:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

xina wrote:

Nearly every day Linda? Well, when I came off the Bronze Horseman series, for the 3rd time, I was doing the same with those characters. I found it disconcerting at times to think about their situations. Those two characters, many times, had a rough road ahead of them and although their love was the base of their relationship, they had to get through so many difficult situations to be happy at last. I was sort of glad when my thinking about them went away. It wasn't as if I was obsessed, but had their lives on my mind more than real, living breathing people were Laughing I suppose that's the sign of a good book.


Yes, nearly every day. Of course that's helped along with the fact that Outlander has such a following. I've belonged to discussion groups that are Outlander themed. I belonged to a quilting group that is Outlander themed and for years we've exchanged quilt blocks themed with the books and characters, they are still active but I have been lazy lately. And not to mention, I have several friends that are as taken with the books as I have been so Outlander/Jamie references come up in conversation, all in good fun. Many of them have gone in groups to Scotland together to visit with places featured in the books. Oh and let's see the other day I got an email about a reproduction of Claire's wedding ring, I will not be purchasing this but it's cute. -

http://ivmoores.com/claires_ring/clairesring_info.htm

Ha! So anyway yeah it's pretty safe to say I am obsessed with the books and characters but at least I am in good company. ;-)

Your description of how you felt reading The Bronze Horseman sounds more in line with how the Lymond Chronicles were for me. I was completely absorbed while reading them and thought of them often for probably a good year after. They still retain a very special place as far as my reading goes but not quite that of Jamie and Claire.

Linda
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xina



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 6635
Location: minneapolis

PostPosted: Mon Nov 10, 2008 12:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, nearly every day. Of course that's helped along with the fact that Outlander has such a following. I've belonged to discussion groups that are Outlander themed. I belonged to a quilting group that is Outlander themed and for years we've exchanged quilt blocks themed with the books and characters, they are still active but I have been lazy lately. And not to mention, I have several friends that are as taken with the books as I have been so Outlander/Jamie references come up in conversation, all in good fun. Many of them have gone in groups to Scotland together to visit with places featured in the books. Oh and let's see the other day I got an email about a reproduction of Claire's wedding ring, I will not be purchasing this but it's cute. -

http://ivmoores.com/claires_ring/clairesring_info.htm

Ha! So anyway yeah it's pretty safe to say I am obsessed with the books and characters but at least I am in good company. ;-)

Your description of how you felt reading The Bronze Horseman sounds more in line with how the Lymond Chronicles were for me. I was completely absorbed while reading them and thought of them often for probably a good year after. They still retain a very special place as far as my reading goes but not quite that of Jamie and Claire.

Linda[/quote]


Pretty ring! I want one. Laughing Linda, do you post on the Ladies Of Lallyboch board? I think I've been going there longer than I've been posting here. I mostly just post on the Reading Recommendations board, which has been really helpful to me over the years in finding books other than romance, but still with a romance in the books. I think they had, still have a Bronze Horseman disussion group. I know they are big into every Outlander and it's a lot of fun there to read all the info about the books and "Herself".
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