Friday, December 31, 2010
2. I WILL be organised. I WILL keep a diary.
3. (Actually I should have put this at No.1) I WILL make time for Bible reading/prayer/quiet time everyday.
4. I WILL keep my bedroom tidy. I WILL be neat and organised.
5. I will not buy any more books until I have read all the books I've bought/mooched and not yet read.
6. I will post on my Gallery at least once every day. I will post on this blog at least twice a week.
7. I will practise my music for at least one hour every day.
I'm trying to think of another 3 to make it 10. Never mind - 7 resolutions are more than enough for me to try (and fail) to keep. . .
Thursday, December 30, 2010
Feeling starved of beauty in an ugly, postmodernist world?
Sick of being force-fed images of stick-thin celebrities by the media?
Tired of a fashion industry that upholds hideous emaciation as something we women should aspire to? (Not to mention trying to pass off bizarre and repulsive creations as "clothes" and "art".)
Fed up with ugly, abstract, modernist art? Ever wondered if the emperor is indeed naked?
Introducing. . .
My Other Blog. For your daily dose of timeless beauty.
Thursday, December 23, 2010
It's just occurred to me that I'd better write my "Happy Christmas" post now! Tomorrow is Christmas Eve here, and we're going to be busy all day!
May every one of you have a HAPPY and BLESSED Christmas, surrounded by family.
And remember the reason why we celebrate this holiday.
This is probably goodbye until next year! Until then -
"God bless us, every one!"
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Love Aussie Christmas. . .
Monday, December 13, 2010
Outside my window....... A hot, steamy summer day.
I am thinking about......... Miss Wade. :-/ Trying to dissect and understand her character. Also about a couple of movies I recently watched (thanks, Rebecca!).
From the kitchen.......... Nothing right now. . .
I am creating......... Again, nothing at the moment!
I am reading......... Little Dorrit.
I am hearing....... How to Train Your Dragon soundtrack. :-D As currently featured on my playlist.
I am hoping......... That Australia's cricket team can pull their act together for the third test. . .
I am planning.......... To read and read and read over the summer holidays!
I am wearing............ Denim skirt, blue t-shirt. . .
Around the house.......... We recently set up the Christmas tree. . . we also had new blinds put in our main living area.
My wish of the week......... That I could continue to build stronger friendships with all of my siblings.
Saturday, December 11, 2010
Friday, December 10, 2010
Or thrift store, or whatever you call them in America, LOL! An armful of classics for $3! Now, to show off the spoils:
From top to bottom: Gone With The Wind, What Katy Did at School, Far From the Madding Crowd, The Eustace Diamonds, and an almost-complete set of the Bronte sisters' novels - only Villette and Wuthering Heights are missing.
The Bronte set are published by the Folio Society. The FOLIO SOCIETY!! And featuring beautiful woodcut illustrations.
Bound in silk *contented bibliophile's sigh*. . .
I am a happy girl. :-D
Thursday, December 9, 2010
Oh boy. All those months and years of waiting over at last. I woke up yesterday morning. . . after a minute or two of semi-consciousness I suddenly remembered with a thrill - "We're going to see the Dawn Treader today!!!"
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Monday, December 6, 2010
Outside my window....... Sunshine, for the first time in about a week. We've just had one of the wettest Springs on record.
I am thinking about......... Lots of things.
From the kitchen.......... I made a double batch of Anzac biscuits today. On my mum's suggestions, I made them with freshly ground flour from our wheat grinder for the first time. Normally I dislike the results when I try substituting wholemeal flour for white flour, but the Anzacs turned out quite well.
I am creating ......... Planning on crocheting some snowflakes sometime soon. We'll be setting up our Christmas tree soon!
I am reading......... Getting back into Little Dorrit! I am making some progress at last - nearly 3/4 of the way through now. I also recently read this book. And this one.
I am hearing....... Siblings. A crow outside. Blue wrens. Sparrows.
I am hoping......... That I don't have to speak at the Church Ladies Breakfast in a few weeks time. I can think of few things I dread and dislike more than public speaking.
I am planning.......... To get organised and intentional and active! Inspired by this article.
I am wearing............ Denim skirt, blue cotton tunic top thingummy. Can you tell I'm not into fashion that much? I always have a hard time describing what I'm wearing.
Around the house.......... Lots of bustle and activity. We have guests staying with us at the moment - they have 6 young children! That makes 14 children in the house altogether.
My wish of the week......... That Voyage of the Dawn Treader will be as good as I'm hoping it will be. . .
Friday, December 3, 2010
Thursday, December 2, 2010
Disney's incredibly beautiful masterpiece, Sleeping Beauty
I have been remiss in not posting this sooner! As many of you know, I love cooking, but my rather shocking memory can be a great hindrance in the kitchen. ;-) Burnt biscuits, wrong measurements of ingredients, leaving ingredients out - I can't tell you how many scrapes I've gotten into in my baking escapades. Well - my memory (or lack thereof) can also be a jolly nuisance when it comes to blogging, too.
Ahem, so yes, I meant to post about this a long time ago, but hey, better late than never!
They are also considering having a "Shakespeare" month (partly in honour of the upcoming film version of "The Tempest"). This will be similar, I presume, to the Disney Princess month, only featuring reviews of Shakespeare film adaptations instead. Sounds like fun! I actually haven't seen that many Shakespeare movies yet. Part of what puts me off is the fact that the Bard incorporated a good deal of bawdiness in his plays, and naturally, modern filmmakers tend to play up that element of his works as much as possible! But there are a few Shakespeare adaptations that I would really like to see sometime, including:
As You Like It - partly because it has a couple of my favourite actors in it (Romola Garai and Alfred Molina), and partly because the poster just looks so darn gorgeous; Twefth Night - because Helena Bonham Carter is amazing; and Much Ado About Nothing - though I gather there are couple of scenes in this one that will probably warrant fast-forwarding through.
So - if you have a weakness for Disney Princess films (like yours truly), head right over here.
And about Shakespeare - any Shakespeare-based films that you love - or loathe?
Just wanted to let you all know that the new issue of Costume Chronicles webzine is now available to download! I've been looking forward to this - the current November/December issue and next year's Jan./Feb. webzine are dedicated almost exclusively to Jane Austen and Austen adaptations. :-)
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Sunday, November 21, 2010
Check out the new look! I'm still fine-tuning it, but let me know what you think. I'm open to suggestions. Everything's much less cluttered and more streamlined - far less image-heavy, too, so it shouldn't take as long to load. The only thing I miss is Waterhouse's "The Tempest"! (formally my blog header), but I don't know how to incorporate it into the new layout. . . I mean I know how, but I think it would clash with the background and so forth.
Whew! I haven't had this big a makeover since this blog began! It does feel good to de-clutter.
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
The long wait is finally over! The long wait for the trailer, that is. We still have to wait another 4 months or so for the film itself.
But in the meantime, the trailer offers plenty for us Bronteites and Period Drama Maniacs to pick over, examine, turn upside down, criticise, mull over, discuss, praise and protest.
Warning: some spoilers may be disclosed in the following post.
0:00 The first thing that presents itself upon viewing the trailer is the fact that the film has been rated PG-13 for "Some thematic elements including a nude image and brief violent content". Disappointing news for the more conservative among us, or for anyone who had been wanting to take younger sisters to see this.
0:07 Graves being dug, coffins being lowered into the ground; the typhoid epidemic at Lowood. Dark, sombre, suitably Gothic tone immediately established. . .
0:09 Jane running through a hallway at Gateshead, with a book in her arms. What would she be running from? John Reed? The young actress cast as the Young Jane looks remarkably like Mia Wasikowska. (A nice change - in many of the earlier adaptations, Young and "Old" Jane didn't bear much resemblance to each other at all - Georgie Henley and Ruth Wilson, Sian Pattenden and Zelah Clarke, etc.) Voiceover from Mr. Brocklehurst begins.
0:10 Is that our first glimpse of Thornfield Hall? Very dark and Gothic. Funnily enough, Thornfield (as a building) and the surrounding landscape are actually supposed to be very green and pleasant, but of course this is never portrayed in the films adaptations, because "Dark and Gothic" is supposed to be much more interesting and romantic.
0:11 Poor Helen Burns - identifiable by her red hair - being beaten.
0:12 Presumably Bertha holding a match and lighting the fire in Rochester's Room.
0:12 The "fire scene".
0:13 Jane running again.
0:14 Mr. Brocklehurst, looking very slimy and unpleasant. Nice bunch of flowers, though.
0:16 John Reed, looking appropriately sneaky and slimy - but what on earth is he doing with that sword in his hand!! As I recall, a book was his weapon of choice. . .
0:17 Jane in her beloved retreat - behind the curtains, in the window seat.
0:18 Jane, taken into the Red Room. Which of the two women is Bessie, I wonder? I wouldn't be surprised if they all but do away with Bessie's character altogether, partly because they don't have time to develop her character, partly because they want to make Jane's childhood seem as bleak as possible, with no kindness or affection whatsoever. Hm, I wonder if they'll do the same with Miss Temple's character?
0:19 Jane answering Mr. Brocklehurst.
0:21 Mr. Brocklehurst and the flowers again.
0:23 Jane in the Red Room.
0:24 This is random, but the red wallpaper kind of matches my blog's background.
0:25 So it's a sort of explosion of smoke that scares Jane in this version! Rather less creepy than that light moving across the wall in the dark, I should have thought, though perhaps more cinematically plausible and impressive.
0:27 Poor Jane, having passed out. She looks tiny on the massive carpet in the great big room.
0:28 Jane speaking to Mrs. Reed. So far, most of the dialogue seems to have been taken straight from the book. Always a good sign.
0:29 I'm really liking this Young Jane. In many of the adaptations, Jane as a child comes across as being almost a bit bratty, because they only show the scenes where Jane is, for the first time, speaking her mind and rebelling against Mrs. Reed. Hopefully this Jane will do a good job in portraying Jane's normal meek, subdued state, as well as her passionate outbursts.
0:30 What we've all been waiting to see! That seemingly incomprehensible piece of casting - tiny, fragile, beautiful Sally Hawkins as the large, robust, cruel Mrs. Reed!
0:31 First glimpse of Lowood - since the very opening scene, of course.
0:32 Mr. Brocklehurst giving "that" speech to the girls and teachers at Lowood. What a striking picture, of the light shining in on Jane standing on her stool, while all the other girls file past. Lowood doesn't seem as OTT gloomy and gothic as it did in the JE 2006, thank goodness.
0:36 The grown-up Jane running away from Thornfield and Rochester, though weirdly it is implied in the trailer that she is running away from Lowood, to Thornfield.
0:39 Jane as she is always pictured, always imagined - quakerish and bonneted. Interesting to note how the costume department once again included just a scrap of red in Jane's outfit, to imply that beneath the restrained exterior, there is a passionate nature lurking within. Remember that red neck-tie thingy that Jane wore a lot in JE 2006?
0:41 What on earth?? So Mr. Rochester sort of sneaks up on her and frightens the heck out of her, rather than galloping past until the sight of Jane spooks the horse? Probably it won't really be like that in the movie, but that's how they make it seem in the trailer. :P Oh, and where's Pilot? They can't leave Pilot out!! They'd better not!! Gorgeous atmosphere though - mist, dead leaves, bare trees - very wintry and bleakly beautiful.
0:42 The familiar "Necessity compels me to make you useful" scene.
0:43 Thornfield Hall. I think those two figures at the far right of screen are Jane and Rochester, running in together to escape the storm, just after the proposal scene. You can just hear a roll of thunder. Voiceover by Judi Dench/Mrs. Fairfax begins.
0:49 First look at Judi Dench as Mrs. Fairfax.
0:50 I'm guessing this scene is after J and R have known each other some time, since R doesn't appear to be limping. Our first proper look ar Michael Fassbender as Mr. Rochester. He doesn't look quite Rochesterian to me. Perhaps because he isn't dark enough. Oh well, maybe he'll grow on me. . .
0:55 Nope, sorry, he doesn't look like Rochester. Something just isn't right!
0:58 I hope they left out a big chunk of dialogue for the trailer, because if this is how the dialogue goes in the movie. . .
1:00 We have passed the 1 minute mark! :-D I think this is Jane arriving at Lowood.
1:03 First glimpse of Bertha.
1:04 Jane speaking to Rochester of seeing Bertha tear her wedding veil.
1:09 What does he say here? I can't make it out. It sounds like “You've transfixed me quite”, which is bad English.
1:10 Is it just me, or would Jane never wear a dress even this low-cut?
1:13 After the fire. It seems they've pushed this scene forward several hours – it appears to be dawn, rather than the middle of the night.
1:17 Rochester exercising after he hurts his ankle, I suppose. Beautiful tree!
1:18 Yes! Yesss!! *fist pumps* Blanche Ingram is a brunette, as she is supposed to be, rather than a blonde, as we had feared! :-D Imogen Poots looks nicely snooty and stuck-up. Gorgeous dress.
1:22 Another striking dress. Now what is going on here, in this scene? Another set-up of Rochester's, to make Jane feel jealous?
1:24 What do ya'll think about having a red-headed Jane? To my knowledge, Mia Wasikowska is the first ginger Jane in the history of Janes. Has there ever been a blonde Jane, does anyone know?
1:26 Jane after she has run away from Thornfield. But then, what is the building? Another possible expanation could be that this is a dream sequence. Remember that dream Jane has just before she sees Bertha tear her veil in two?
1:27 Now this is intriguing. It appears that in this film even the staircase leading to Bertha's room is concealed. Just to add to the sense of mystery. Whose bedroom is this supposed to be? Rochester's?
1:32 Proposal scene, proposal scene! :-D What do you think of Mia's delivery of that famous line?
1:36 Jane running away.
1:37 Rochester discovering that she is gone. Now, this is different to how it is in the book!
1:40 Beautiful photography once again.
1:41 Bertha lighting the fire – again?
1:42 It's that concealed staircase again!
1:44 First glimpse of Jamie Bell as St John Rivers! He's nowhere near good-looking enough, IMO. No offense to Mr. Bell.
1:44 Proposal scene again! That seat running around the tree-trunk looks like a halo with the light shining on it. It looks quite odd, actually – must be made of very thin board.
1:45 Jane destitute after running away. Knocking on the Rivers' door, perhaps?
1:46 There've been a couple of shots of Rochester riding on horseback – just to show how strong and manly and stuff he is, I suppose.
1:47 Jane running away. You can see the anguish on her face. Oh and once again, just that hint of red – this time, her bag.
1:48 A fly – on a Bible – I think.
1:48 St John again.
1:48 Eww! I mean, awww. . . J and R just after running in from the storm at 0:43.
1:49 No idea what this is. Who's the little boy? Unless it's the grave scene from 0:07.
1:49 Jane springing on John. Go Jane!!
1:50 Jane running. . . again. . . not precisely certain where she's running to/from, or if it is indeed even Jane. The clothes seem to be too pretty and frivolous. . . hang on, perhaps it's after the “wedding”, and they're running from the church back to Thornfield? No, that doesn't seem right, either. . . I give up. . .
1:51 Can this be – the library scene? Or is it just after she arrives at the Rivers'?
1:51 Bertha slapping Rochester!
1:53 Who was that leaping off the fence? St John? Well, it has be either St John or Rochester, since they're pretty much the only men in the book.
1:53 Fire scene again!
1:56 Naughty, naughty screenwriter! Making up dialogue that wasn't in the book! This must be after Mr. Rochester has been blinded.
The verdict: I think this will eventually rank at about the mid-point on my list of Jane Eyre adaptations. Better than the 1997 JE, possibly also better than the the 1996 one. Not as good as the 1983 one. Maybe on par with JE 2006, though that version will always have an advantage over this one because of its length – twice as long, twice as much time to develop the story and characters.
From what I've seen, I'm really liking both the young Jane and the grown-up Jane in this version. Mia Wasikowska has a wonderful, child-like quality about her. It'll also be nice to have a Jane who is roughly the right age – Jane Eyre is supposed to be 18, Mia has just turned 21.
On the hand, I'm less than convinced by Michael Fassbender's Rochester. We'll see. . .
The cinematography looks absolutely stunning. This will be the most visually impressive JE to date. I wonder who's composing the score? *Goes off to check IMDb*
Alright, I couldn't find out who the composer is, but I did discover a couple of other interesting tidbits from IMDB – Harry Lloyd fans, Harry plays Richard Mason! And Tamzin Merchant (Georgiana in P&P05) plays Mary Rivers. Also, have a look at the list of filming locations. Looks like it was almost all shot on location in Derbyshire (including Chatsworth, aka Pemberley). I'm guessing Chatsworth was used mostly for the interior shots of Gateshead.
I also found out what that bothersome “nude image” is – according to the IMDB forums, we very briefly see – don't laugh – Mr. Rochester's rear.
~Thanks to Charleybrown for screencaps of the trailer!
A day or two late this time, but I thought I'd do it anyway - to help get me back into blogging mode, I guess. :-)
Outside my window....... A warm, humid day, after yesterday's rain.
I am thinking about.........Books; and how wonderful it is to have good friends.
From the kitchen..........Nothing right now.
I am creating .........I recently knitted a couple of dishcloths.
I am reading.........See my Goodreads page. :D
I am hearing.......The Washing Machine. Noisy ol' thing. Funny thing is, it isn't old at all, it's almost brand new - but contrary to the normal order of things, it's a good deal noisier than our old one was.
I am hoping.........That the guitar lesson I'm going to give someone this afternoon will go well.
I am planning..........To start blogging regularly again.
I am wearing............Blue top, denim skirt. . .
Around the house.........There is a desperate hunt going on for a missing library book. Mummy has put up a $1 reward for the person who finds it.
My wish of the week .........That I might visit Ireland one day. And Scotland. And England. Okay, that's three wishes. . . guess I've used up three weeks' worth of wishes in one go.
Saturday, October 30, 2010
click here to read Meggie explain her vision for the blog.
I think this will be a wonderful way for SAHDs to fellowship and encourage each other. If you are: a girl of 15-30 who is living at home, learning and preparing to be a helpmeet and mother, let me encourage you to follow/comment/post/get involved. Generally, I strongly dislike the expression "get involved". It's always what people (especially at church) say when they want you to join in with something that is difficult, uncomfortable and inconvenient. Well, rest assured "getting involved" with Meggie's blog won't be any of those things! :-)
And boy, is it good to be back! It's been good to have this little break, but I've missed blogs and blogging just the same.
I want to say thank you to everyone who commented on my last post. I read and appreciated every one of your comments. Thank you all so much for taking to the time to share your thoughts, encouragement, and personal testimonies. I was very blessed by all of your comments.
And now a question for you all: what would you like me to post about over these few weeks? Book reviews? Movies/period drama? Art? Music? Any suggestions? (And no, I haven't read that great big book yet, so I can't write the next "Top 15" posts just yet!)
Monday, October 11, 2010
Mariana by Marie Spartali Stillman
"So what are you going to 'do'?"
A familiar question to stay-at-home daughters in or approaching their late teens, frequently put to them by well-meaning friends and acquaintances.
I'm not good at talking, even at the best of times, and when posed by the above question, I almost invariably end up a red-faced, stuttering mess! The truth is, I know exactly what I want to "do" - have a home and a family of my own! But you can't just say that. The simple desire to be a wife and mother isn't acceptable - you also have to have some sort of a career, even if said "career" is just a farce, a pretext.
Family friend: "So you've finished school?"
Me: "Um, er, sort of. I'm still doing a bit of studying, and always reading, so I guess I'm still learning, you know, even if I have essentially finished school," *nervous laugh*.
FF: "Okay, so are you going to uni?"
Me: "Um, ah, well, not planning to at this stage. . . but there are lots of options available these days - for doing courses and uni degrees at home, by correspondence - especially with the internet, you know. . ."
FF: "Mm-hm, yeah that's true. So - have you decided what you're going to do yet?"
Me: "Um, ah, well. . ." *stutters and stammers, eventually subsiding to red-faced silence*.
A couple of hours later:
Me: Despairingly wonders what this person must think of me. Only losers stay at home with their parents after they've completed school, without going to university, or going to work, or going somewhere and doing something, right?
How do I convey to that person that I am busy, I am happy? I am learning and - I hope - contributing? I may be at home almost all the time, but I am not just sitting around at home doing nothing! I am (I pray) learning and maturing a little more everyday; and I am a contributing member of this mini-community of sorts, called a family?
But I can't seem to help it, I always find myself trying to fight back the insecurity and the doubts that gnaw at me because I am endeavouring to follow a different path than the world's way. Nearly every time someone asks "the question", I find myself battling all those doubts, all over again.
*Sighs*. . . Anyway, the whole point of this post is that last night, as I lay in bed, I was thinking about all this, and feeling terribly weighed down by it all. Then it hit me: Elise, you're worrying so much about what other people think of you! About what the world thinks of you! Stop worrying about something so stupid! God loves you and accepts you just as you are, so you don't need to worry about all this. You don't need to try to "prove" that you are mature or intelligent or an adult by going to university or pursuing a career. As long as your heart and your motives are pure in God's sight, you have nothing to worry about!
And it was amazing - I felt the weight lift right off me! I felt so free and happy.
Now if I can just keep that in mind (God loves and accepts you, who cares what the world thinks?) over the coming months and years - if I can only bear that in mind next time someone asks me "the question"!
I know quite a few of my readers are stay-at-home daughters - any hints or suggestions as to how to deal with those inevitable questions?
BTW, I am SO GRATEFUL for the internet as a means to "meet" and be friends with other young women who are in the same boat as I am - being a SAH daughter can seem a lonely path at times, it's so counter-cultural!
Sunday, October 10, 2010
First off, let me say that I feel totally unqualified to write any POTO-related post! I haven't read the book, haven't seen the stage production. . . Fairly new to the phandom of the Phantom, I am just a girl who happened - quite by accident - upon a movie called "The Phantom of the Opera", and found myself being swept away!
Oh, and this will be a relatively brief post, unfortunately, because I don't have much time left to write it! I've been meaning to write a POTO-themed post all week, to join in with Alexandra's Phantom of the Opera week. Tonight came, and I panicked a bit, realising this was my last chance to write this post!! Fortunately America is a day behind Australia, otherwise I would already be too late!
[This post is rather image-heavy - I hope it doesn't take an awfully long time to load. . .]
~The Stunning Baroque Splendour of POTO~
I'm going through bit of a Baroque stage at the moment, especially after watching this excellent series. A couple of observations on The Baroque: it is more of a living entity than an art movement. And: the Baroque can be a bit silly at times, but at its best, it is extremely powerful - it grabs your attention, then sucks you into its vortex of drama (often melodrama), emotion, romance, and beauty. It isn't subtle, and it doesn't appeal to everyone, but if you ask me, there is an almost unequaled scale of power, passion, and human longing and emotion in the truly great Baroque works of art. Yes it's messy and over-the-top, but I love it for that!
The Phantom of the Opera well and truly embraces that Baroque spirit, in the story, the music, the set design, costumes. . . you name it! And it is glorious to behold! Every element of this production - the colours, the textures, the music - everything melds together to create a most amazing experience. The word delirious comes to mind - a sort of dazzling, dizzying assault on the senses.
Saturday, October 9, 2010
I like! It's clear they have taken some liberties with the book, but overall, I think this looks pretty awesome. . . especially the sea serpent! :-D
Friday, October 1, 2010
Right! Since writing this post ages ago (was it really only last year?), I have seen various new (for me) period films, and discovered many wonderful new heroes. Plus, there are several heroes who didn't make it into my original Top 10, but who deserve to be recognised!
So, without further ado. . .
Top Costume Drama Heroes ~ Part the Second
(And I think there may even have to be a "Part the Third" sometime, too ;-)
The Scarlet Pimpernel aka Lord Percy (Anthony Andrews - The Scarlet Pimpernel 1982) is sitting pretty with Henry Tilney at the top of my list of all-time favourite heroes! Lord Percy is awesome beyond awesomeness; his awesomeness defies description. (Yes that sentence is cringeworthy - forgive me, I'm an SP fangirl.) The ultimate superhero - the original "superhero" in fact - and the ultimate romantic hero. And guys, I still haven't gotten round to reading the books or watching the 1999 series, but I'm convinced Anthony Andrews (of SP 1982) will forever be the Scarlet Pimpernel, as far as I'm concerned.
Arthur Clennam (Matthew Macfadyen - Little Dorrit 2008) is a different kind of Dickensian hero. Many of Dickens' best-known heroes (think David Copperfield, Pip) tend to be young, earnest, and idealistic. Arthur is considerably older - approaching 40 - and has experienced great sadness and rejection. He has had almost no joy or light in his life. But in spite of all this, he remains tenderhearted and compassionate, rather than growing embittered with life and with others. A gem of a hero.
Eugene Wrayburn (Paul McGann - Our Mutual Friend 1998). Eugene, Eugene! Not really a hero - more of an anti-hero. A troubled soul who comes good in the end. For the first 20-odd years of his life, Eugene is aimless, lazy, purposeless - until love jolts him out of his apathy. I'd always had a great deal of sympathy for Eugene, but I had never thought of him as being a truly - well, deserving hero. *SPOILER WARNING* I mean, his intentions towards Lizzie were undecided and potentially less than honourable. If he hadn't been bashed almost to death by Headstone, his relationship with Lizzie would probably have ended in shame and heartbreak. Well, I put all this to my blogging friend Lizzy, and her response was an interesting one! (See the comments section in linked post.) In the end - Eugene didn't deserve Lizzie's love, and he did not deserve to live happily ever after with her - but he did. He was undeserving, but he was redeemed by unconditional, selfless love. Sound familiar? :-)
John Harmon's (Stephen Mackintosh - Our Mutual Friend 1998) and Bella Wilfer's romance is perhaps a little more conventional and predictable than Eugene and Lizzie's, but it is none the less beautiful. John Harmon is a wonderful hero - strong, patient, good-hearted, yet also with a vulnerable side that endears him to the reader/viewer. Stephen Mackintosh gave an excellent perfomance as John in OMF 1998.
Faramir! (David Wenham - The Two Towers/The Return of the King) I disclosed in my earlier post that I've always had a soft spot for Boromir - essentially the "tragic hero" of The Lord of the Rings (the fact that he was played in the films by the amazing Sean Bean doesn't hurt, either ;-). But Faramir certainly doesn't suffer by comparison with Boromir - in fact, Faramir is arguably the more truly heroic of the two characters. Boromir is a great warrior and leader - strong, courageous, charismatic. Faramir is at heart a man of peace, not of war - though he still has courage and valour in bucketloads! And ultimately, he showed more true strength of character than his brother. Faramir's and Eowyn's romance is possibly one of my favourite love stories in literature.
Mr. Knightley (Mark Strong - Emma 1996). Mr. Knightley (it is impossible to call him anything else; "George" doesn't sound right, and one daren't call him "Knightley" for fear of being thought an upstart, vulgar being) has legions of female admirers - indeed, he is probably Fitzwilliam Darcy's closest rival in the Most Universally Adored Jane Austen Hero stakes, and deservedly so. He is the nicest, kindest, most honourable. . . in fact, he's almost Mary Poppins-ian - er, practically perfect in every way. (Actually, I'm curious - can anyone think of any fault in Mr. Knightley's character?! If you can, please leave a comment!) I loved both both Jeremy's Northam's and Mark Strong's Mr. Knightleys. Jonny Lee Miller. . . hmm. . . yeah. . . maybe he'll grow on me. I still haven't re-watched Emma '09, so we'll see.
John Ridd (Richard Coyle - Lorna Doone 2000). Gentle giant, and hero of R.D. Blackmore's epic Lorna Doone. Contrary to its title, Lorna Doone is really John Ridd's story - it's almost a coming-of-age tale, really. Richard Coyle's John differs considerably from the book's John - he is physically smaller (in the book he's a giant of a man, and a champion wrestler), and mentally quicker. However, he still captures the basic essence of John Ridd's character - a genuinely good, decent, big-hearted man.
Gabriel Oak (Nathaniel Parker - Far From the Madding Crowd 1998). Gabriel must surely win the prize for being the most patient, long-suffering hero in literature! He is infinitely kind and good; the only stupid thing he does in the entire story is fall in love with Bathsheba. Why, why, why?! Oh well. . . if Bathsheba Everdean is one of the silliest, most frustrating "heroines" in English literature, Gabriel has got to be one of the nicest, most amazing heroes. He also has the decided advantage of being in one of the very few Thomas Hardy novels that actually has a happy ending! So he gets the girl in the end - without either of them dying or committing murder or suicide or anything like that. I found Far From the Madding Crowd 1998 a frustrating story at times (if there's one famous 19th author I don't like, it's Thomas Hardy), but Gabriel makes it all worthwhile. And Nathaniel Parker. . . wow! :-D
James Percy (Thomas Gibson - The Inheritance) Once again, the film and the book incarnations of this character are somewhat different. Thomas Gibson's James Percy in the 1997 TV movie is a dashing, handsome, lively young (well, young-ish) man. James Percy in the book (actually, he's referred to as Lord Percy - Louisa May Alcott's book, written when she was seventeen, is set in England at some indefinite period in the 18th or early 19th century) is "old" (35 or so), quiet, and plain. If anything, I think I prefer the book's version - he's such a lovely, Colonel Brandon-ish sort of character.
Whew! And that rounds out the sequel to my Top 10 Heroes post! This has been a fun post to write. . . I hope you enjoyed this as much as I did!
Please share your thoughts on any or all of these characters in the comments section! Or tell me who some of your favourite costume drama heroes are, and why.