as most of you have probably seen, deslily has a badass giveaway running on her blog and all one has to do to be eligable is to write a post about a character you liked a lot from a book you’ve read. well, heck! i do this all the time!
which to choose though…?!
well, before i discuss the one i chose, it’d be an injustice to not at least mention some of the other characters that have been memorable for me.
as carl, jeff and chris know, i absolutely love boromir from ”the lord of the rings”. boromir, to me, was the perfect warrior and i was so sad (and rather despondent) when he died. he’s a very human character and i loved the way that even when he makes a mistake he does all he can to rectify it.
i like lestat from anne rice’s vampire chronicles a lot. he’s such a good friend – really! as anyone who has read one of the lestat books will know, the books are narrated by him and end and begin with him addressing the reader. he is such a warm and gracious host and is very good to me. rice has crafted a truly complex, deep and interesting character with lestat.
recently i’ve found myself missing the characters from “kafka on the shore” a lot. murakami creates such warm and interesting characters in that book that they became friends and now find myself wondering where they’ve gone?!
my favourite character of all, though, is duke leto atreides from “dune”. even though paul is the main character and leto only features in about 1/4 of the book, it is leto that is the more memorable for me.
herbert employs the classic fictional technique of introducing an enigmatic father figure and then removing him so that he achieves symbolic significance and resonates through the rest of the novel. with leto, herbert applies this technique suberply well – so much so that i have never forgotten him.
the novel starts with the house atreides’ impending move from their native caladan to arrakis, commonly known as “dune”. we soon learn that it is a political trap and that the move to dune is frought with danger – and what’s more is that leto knows this. why, then, does he still decide to go?
his reasons are complex and as the novel progresses we gain some insights into them, but not until the end of the novel do we fully comprehend just how well he understood the political and tactical potential of dune. until then, though, there are times when we, along with many of the characters, think him a right fool and yet he never tries to make us think otherwise. i guess that noble suffering really appeals to me ;), its part of why i also like boromir so much.
jurgen prochnow did a good job as leto in david lynch’s film version of “dune”. he is seen here, in costume, talking to a very young looking lynch.
the duke is stoic and incredibly proud; he firmly stands by his beliefs and is intensely loyal; and he is fair and a very intelligent politician. he is also a loving father and deeply in love with his concubine, jessica, whom he is utterly devoted to. all these are qualities that i greatly admire.
he is not without his faults, of course – his pride and loyalty are also his greatest weaknesses and he pays dearly for them. these are such human faults, though, that for me they make him even more endearing as a character.
his political acumen is incredible. he appears somewhat simplistic and even blinkered, but it is part of his strategy to appear this way, so that his opponents underestimate him. i haven’t before or since reading this novel encountered such intelligent political warfare. the levels upon which him and his prime opponent, the baron harkonnen, operate is amazing. they are like chess grandmasters in the way they are able to read the potential permutations of their actions and the minutiae of the advantages and disadvantages inherent in them. the attack and counter-attacks; the bluff, counter, and double bluffs that are employed; and the motives, within motives, within motives that exist behind their actions is incredible.
i greatly identify with leto and, though i’m no duke or political genius, i see a lot of myself in him. i find that at every stage in the novel i would’ve probably done exactly what he does and i can’t disagree with his reasoning. much of what he holds dear, i do too and many of his qualities are qualities that i have or try to develop in myself.
i also think he is a bit of a father figure for me, which is mainly because i only knew my own father for such a brief time. he is a role model and someone whom i aspire to be like.
he is one of those characters who i always wanted to learn more about, read more about and who i found myself wishing was in the next chapter. since the first moment i encountered him i have never been able to forget about him.
it is as if his portrait hangs in the dining hall of my mind.