o last week, we chatted about Athos, the literary character I see myself as. This week, we’ll look to Andre-Louis Moreau, the character I wish I could be.
Andre, a lawyer from Gavrillac, is a man famously described as “born with a gift of laughter and a sense that the world was mad.” He gets royally screwed (actually, in this case, nobly screwed) by the Marquis de la Tour d’Azyr, who butchers his friend and forces him (like Athos) to hide in the gutter. But Andre undergoes a series of transformations, eventually becoming a man of influence, power and deadliness. And these powers (especially his methodical skills with a sword) he uses to attack and dispatch members of the nobility who dare to challenge him.
I like Andre. He’s played with bombastic scenery chewing (which I learned to love) by Stewart Granger in the movie version. This is Scaramouche concentrated; his passions, his abilities, all culminating in an amazing sword fight (seven minutes, the longest ever filmed) where he battles the Marquis de Maynes (i.e. the Marquis de la Tour d’Azyr), first losing, then gaining confidence, and beating back his opponent’s blade (the look on Mel Ferrer’s face is priceless, that Oh shit, I’m losing! expression).
But if Athos is who I see myself as, Andre is who I wish to be, a guy who overcomes adversity, who gets the girl, who beats his enemies through study and magnificent ability, who overcomes all.
And here is the power of storytelling, a relating of character and circumstance to the plodding-through-life reader/viewer with the magnificent and interesting lives of protagonists. Be it Jane Eyre, Gilgamesh, Han Solo, Bob Cratchit, or Peter Blood (another Sabatini reference, yeah, I know) or any of the thousands of characters we come across in our media-flush world, we all associate with a couple in particular, either in our realities or our desires. That’s what I think we need to consider (as writers), not only to make our heroes sympathetic or believable or interesting or marketable, but crafted in some way that people associate with them. What better homage can an author have than to find a reader who tells us that they dwell inside our character, and share their hurts and heroics, and live through them. It’s the goal of good storytelling, the drawing in of the reader.
We might not be able to be our characters, but we should be able to craft them.
>>>I LIKED ELISHA FROM FIRE AND BRONZE. SHE WAS DRIVEN AND FORCEFUL AND HELD A COALITION OF NOBLES TOGETHER IN EXILE. ME, I’D HAVE NEVER TRIED, BUT SHE PULLED IT OFF. THAT’S MY GIRL. AND YOU CAN READ HER STORY HERE!<<<