Who Wants a Knight in Shining Armor Anyway?

Alright, full disclosure here . . . I gave damsels in distress a bit of a drubbing in my last blog post and I do stand by every word I said. I am so happy to see some strong heroines out there kicking butt, but I am also a sucker, every now and a then, for a well done D.I.D. tale. In fact, I use the line myself in the the blurb on the back of MY book--"She's a damsel in distres . . . " Of course, it's a little tongue in cheek and ten minutes after meeting the hero my heroine maces him. So . . .

On to the gentlemen. We'll stick with the principals of the three stories I culled out last time--Harry PotterThe Hunger Games and Twilight. Interesting to note that there are more guys in the stories than girls. Hmmm. Maybe that clues into not only the knight in shining armor fantasies as we speculated last time, but the desire to be persued? Something to think on.

Harry Potter and Ron Weasley. I know, they aren't both vying for Hermione's hand, and for the longest time Ron didn't know he was in the running, though I admit to finding the Lavender scenes in both the book and movie hilarious. They, however, are the men of the hour. I think the Harry Potter books are unique of the three series we're discussing--we watched these characters grow up and that adds a dimension to the novels the other two don't have. Harry was the ultimate underdog and he found his classic sidekick in Ron. Though, we discover as the books move on that Ron is more complicated than we thought. His jealousy, his feelings of inadequecy, his fear all make him a rather compelling character. We see, in the final book, him actually walk away from his friends, but in true heroic fashion he returns. Ron is a secondary character, as is Hermione, actually, but his genuine-ness (I think I made up that word) is what we really hold on to. He's a more understandable character from the audience's perspective, I think. Not all of us can be as herioc and self-sacrificing as Harry. We're more like Ron. We're scared, we're a little jealous, but we'd like to think that in the end we'd do exactly what Ron did and stand up.

Team Edward or Team Jacob? I read the books. I think I saw two of the movies, maybe three, and if I had to choose a side, I'd go with the guy with the pulse every time. Now, don't get me wrong, I used to like a good vampire book. One of my favorites is Sunshine by Robin McKinley. She does a wonderful job of embracing the otherwordly attraction of the vampire, but there's always that thread of fight or flight in our heroine. He's attractive, he's mesmerizing . . . deep down I know I'm a snack! Edward--no real freak factor there. Yeah, there are a lot of long humming glances where you're wondering if he's debating on whether or not to kiss Bella or serve up with some sort of garnish, but they come off as being silly instead of pulse pounding. Poor Jacob. I say poor Jacob because my girls couldn't stand him. Thought he was being such a jerk when Bella was the one jerking him around, using him. Who wouldn't be a jerk when someone's pulling you close with one hand and shoving you away with another? Talk about mixed signals! I wouldn't answer the phone either. I don't know, this triangle just didn't work for me. Edward was a mix of teenage angst and world weary knowledge that just didn't mesh well. I've seen it work well before, but I just didn't see it here. I suppose I was just busy wondering how they were going to make a movie out these books.

Finally, we have Gale and Peeta from The Hunger Games. I think I'm going to cry when I see my first Team Peeta or Team Gale shirt because that is so not what those books are about! The romance is a subplot and a political statement. Of course, I cried at the very end of the first book when Peeta realizes . . . no spoilers here! The hunter and the baker--could there have been a wider contrast between these characters? I think we all assumend that Gale would be chosen for the Games at the Reaping. That would have made sense, right? How much better that the unassuming baker be chosen? Gale has all those survival skills, a violent sense of outrage and a killer instinct. Peeta is the moral center of the book. The decent man who, no matter how the Capitol uses him as a pawn, wants to die on his own terms still himself. Though, in spite of all that, he's the most accomplished liar of the bunch who can spin a tale that has the Capitol audience right in the palm of his hand. I think one of the most interesting things through the entire series, particularly the first book, is that we, Katniss and the reader, never really know Peeta's motive. He's one of the most beautifully complex characters I've read in a long time.

So, we have the underdog and his sidekick, the world weary vampire undergoing a bout of teenage angst and his brooding canine companion, and we have the angry hunter and the complex baker . . . that's quite a crew. One thing I do notice, though, there's not a knight in shining armor in the lot. I wonder what that has to say about how literature is changing?

Comments

  1. I love how well you break down the different characters, I have not seen any of these movies but I feel like I know the characters just by what you wrote:)

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  2. Thank you so much. I've read all the books, but I've only seen three of the Twilight movies--one, two and part one of the last one. I'm an English teacher, so I love picking apart books. I'm particularly fond of characterization :) Hope you keep stopping by. Check out my facebook page too. Sometimes the conversations continue there.
    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Rebecca-L-Frencl/115163871892050

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    1. I will certainly drop by whenever you have a new post and I liked your Facebook page :)

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  3. I have to say, I hates peeta'a character. His "love" of Katniss to me based shallowly on her looks and her voice. I mean really: He's a BEILEBER;). Saying that I rarely agree with people on who romantic heroes are. I admit that I did like the Twilight books, then never was even able to finish the first movie. But yeah, Jacob every time, at least in the books.

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