I Love My Characters

Image result for images of the cellar beneath the cellar by lee duigon

Ellayne at work

I have to admit an embarrassing thing. I have fallen in love with my characters.

They’re fictional. I made them up. But by now I’ve spent so much time with them, they don’t feel like made-up people anymore. They feel like real people.

Yesterday–sometimes it’s like I just watch this stuff come out of my pen–Ellayne had a set-to with Lord Orth. I love Ellayne because she has so much go to her: you just can’t keep her down. And I love Lord Orth for the totality of his conversion, which took away the gourmandizing theological show-off and left a humble servant of God… who is now more himself than he ever was before.

I love Wytt for his resourcefulness, his complete lack of fear, and his very small size that never stops him from doing big things.

I love Gurun for her courage: here’s a girl who’s deathly afraid of riding a horse, dreading that she might fall off in front of all these men who insist she be a queen; but that doesn’t keep her out of the saddle.

I love King Ryons for his earnestness, Fnaa for his irrepressible sense of fun, Uduqu for his cheerful bluntness, Obst for his devotion, and Helki for his wildness–and for the fact that there’s no one else remotely like him.

I even get kind of fond of the villains. Lord Reesh. Ysbott the Snake. Lord Chutt. Just don’t let them know I said that.

And I love Nanny Witkom standing up in the cart in the middle of the world’s worst downpour, hair flying every which way, crying “Behold the salvation of the Lord!” No wonder Chief Zekelesh, who couldn’t understand a word she said, was so attached to her.

Of course, if you haven’t read any of these books, you won’t have met any of these characters. But that’s a problem easily remedied.

But if you have, tell me–are there any characters you’ve fallen in love with?

Yeesh! At one point, when they thought I’d killed off Chief Uduqu, both my wife and my editor were ready to tan my hide… I guess I’m not the only one who gets kind of involved with these books.

18 comments on “I Love My Characters

    1. For sure, UnKnowable! Lee’s characters – even the villains – have something lovable about them. I’d be hard-pressed to make a sliding scale. I love them all, tag along on their journeys, share their fear and excitement . . .
      One would be challenged to find a more precious series – one like this one whose author loves his characters. If he didn’t, how would we?

    2. That’s a very good point, Linda–and as obvious as it may seem, it appears to elude quite a few writers.

  1. I admire Jack who came from such undesirable circumstances to become a faithful vessel for the Lord’s work. Ellayne draws a lot of her strength from Jack. I don’t like Ysbott and the way he uses and abuses people with no cringe of conscience. I am reading right now the part where he is planning to get the Thunder King’s gold with his recent gang of low-lifes, and then plans to kill them and keep all the gold for himself. He is the epitome of a Snake.

    1. I’ve always imagined him as having a wispy scrap of beard, but his facial hair is something I’ve left to the reader’s imagination. I believe too much description, unless it’s necessary for some aspect of the story, is a mistake. If the character is done right–actions and words, you know–the reader will have no trouble generating a mental picture of him.

    2. I see! I have always imagined Lord Reesh as an old man with a bushy gray moustache and beard, somebody like Brian Blessed. And sometimes I imagine him as Charles Dance with no facial hair. I like to imagine what the characters in the books I’m reading look like. It’s fun.

    3. Yes, it is fun! Brian Blessed, eh? Gotta find a role for him! Charles Dance, too. The Lord Reesh in my imagination is played by an old Claude Raines.

    4. Cool! Claude Raines looks like a good actor for him. It’s my opinion, but I think Brain Blessed can be a good Judge Tombo.

    5. Ha-ha, you typed “Brain” instead of “Brian”! How many times have I done that!

      I was thinking Victor Buono for Judge Tombo, but I can see Brian Blessed acing that role. Wouldn’t be the first time he had to wear padding.

    1. Speaking of Lord Reesh, I typed his name in Japanese for the first time on my PC.

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