Earlier this week, Yelena Casale, the fabulous executive editor at my publisher City Owl Press, tagged me in a Facebook game, asking, “Which three fictional characters best describe you?”
I looked over the other posts by my editors and co-authors and saw amazing heroines like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Daenerys Targaryen from Game of Thrones, and Eowyn from the Lord of the Rings, and La Femme Nikita, and other gun-and-sword-toting, ass-kicking women.
My first reaction was to be a little intimidated by my editors. 😉
My next reaction was, sure, I’d like to be the woman who faces vampires without fear or the one who rides a flaming dragon, but that’s just not who I am.
I am confident enough to share the real me, though, so here it goes.
Number 1: Meg Murray from A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
When we first meet Meg, she’s home from a really bad day. She was called into the principal’s office for fighting at school. What?! That’s so not me. Not the fighting, not the outburst of anger, not the principal’s office — none of it. But the real Meg behind that anger? The insecure kid who nobody likes, who struggles to understand the world, who doesn’t get why it’s so easy for other people, who hates the way she looks, who doesn’t even really like herself? Yeah, that Meg was me. And the glory of it is how she grows into herself. She figures out that it’s okay for all of them — brilliant Charles Wallace and “normal” Sandy and Dennys and awkward Calvin and even her herself — to be just who they are. And then in the final book when she’s all grown up, she’s so at peace, and it gave young me hope that I could get there too.
Which I absolutely did.
If you want to understand the power of books, that’s it right there.
Number 2: Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter series
Brains. Curiosity. Insatiable appetite for knowledge. Dedication. Always has the answers (and a little too eager to let you know it).
What the heck was this kid doing in Gryffindor, doing the homework for those slacker boys? She was a Ravenclaw through and through and the Sorting Hat got it wrong. (Yeah, I know, the Sorting Hat can make choices and individuals can ask, like Harry did, and as an author I know that J.K. Rowling needed this character in the same house as Harry and Ron, so there she is. But still. She ought to be in Ravenclaw.)
Hermione was always me. First with her hand up, first with the homework done, first to figure out what a teacher wanted and give it to them. It didn’t win me any friends, but I couldn’t help myself, any more than Hermione could. I wanted to KNOW things, to know EVERYTHING, and school is where you learn things and get rewarded for it. How could you not like school?
Even today, you still want me on your team in Trivial Pursuit.
Number 3: Belle from Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast”
I know it’s not PC to identify with a Disney princess, especially as they have warped from their movie forms into marketing caricatures of women who are all eyes and breasts. But I love the Belle in the movie, not that other Belle who is all about physicality.
I love the Belle who is smart and loves books, who lives in stories that carry her outside of the world she lives in. That was me as a girl, and is still me now. The Belle who walks around with her head buried in a book — that’s me. The Belle everyone thinks is a little different — that’s me. And I embrace that now, in a way I couldn’t when I was younger.
And how could I not be the Belle who thinks the greatest gift anyone could ever give her is a giant library full of books? Best movie scene ever!
What about you? Who are your three fictional characters?