Not sheepish, but individ-ewe-al (livredor) wrote,
Not sheepish, but individ-ewe-al

Three fictional characters

I'm really enjoying the meme that's going round mostly short-form social media where people pick three fictional characters that represent them, or describe themselves using three fictional characters. I'm not exactly from an under-represented minority, but I also think most fictional characters, at least those major and memorable enough to be picked for a meme, aren't really like me at all. I'm basically too boring for fiction, I think. I'm not young enough to be sexy or the usual protagonist for a quest of self-discovery, and I'm not old enough to be an elder. I'm nowhere near beautiful enough for Hollywood, nor am I exceptionally fat or unusual-looking enough for that to be a plot point. I'm not very brave or adventurous at all, which already means I'm rarely in a protagonist's position.

Also lots of elements that are important to who I am don't get shown much, or get shown badly, in media. I'm a scientist, but not an evil mad scientist who wants to take over the world with absurd death machines. I'm an academic, but not an adulterous middle-aged man. I'm a teacher and a mentor and tend to provide practical support behind the scenes, but I'm not particularly motherly; I did consider some of the older sister characters in children's literature, probably more like Susan Walker from Swallows and Amazons more than Susan Pevensie from Narnia, but even the former is braver and more... feminine, I suppose, than me.

I'm intelligent but not a genius with effectively magical superpowers. When I was a kid I was frustrated by people assuming I would identify with Matilda whereas in fact I was really exasperated with how little Roald Dahl grasped what it's actually like to be an intelligent child. Dinah Glass in Gillian Cross' The Demon Headmaster is slightly better, but she's still a lot more protagonisty than I am, and often her intelligence is just a magical key to unlock the plot.

Actually the first time I was told to pick a fictional character like me, by a teacher when I was seven or so, I wanted to pick the first person narrator of Mouldy's Orphan by Gillian Avery, someone who kind of ineptly tries to help the eponymous orphan and gets into scrapes and eventually does triumph through kindness, but she wasn't much like other people perceived me to be, so it wasn't a very successful creative writing exercise.

So in the end I went with the following:
  • Pippin from LotR, even though he's way more heroic than I am. I've always thought of him as like me, because he's curious and impulsive and loyal, and I do like that all the hobbits are basically ordinary grown-ups who fall into an adventure in order to support their friend Frodo, rather than the destined chosen heroes of many Tolkien imitators or the adolescents of a lot of pre-Tolkien quest stories.

  • Harriet Vane from the Dorothy L Sayers detective series. Perhaps too obvious or too wish fulfilment-y a pick, she's really such a great character and people like me always want to be her. Because she's intelligent and believably intelligent, and she's a middle-aged woman with a somewhat unconventional (for her society) love life. And she's intensely romantic but still retains her identity and independence when she falls in love.

  • Lynne de Lisle Christie from Golden Witchbreed by Mary Gentle. She's generally competent without being an amazing genius, and she gets into a position where she can use her intelligence through a mix of native ability, hard work and family connections. She's not quite a scientist but definitely intellectually curious. She is a bit naive and impulsive and loves easily and is deeply loyal to those she commits to.

And it's Bi Visibility day but I've basically given up on trying to find any bi characters to pick. Certainly not anyone who's poly in anything like the way I am. Christie is alllllmost bi in that she has a strong romantic friendship with an alien who is mostly female (though the aliens do gender differently from humans, that's a big plot point), and sexual-romantic relationships with men and male-ish aliens.

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Tags: books

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