Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Author vs. Character

If characters from books and films were actually real we would have the most chaotic and miscellaneous world ever. I would love it...or would I?

Having just finished Stieg Larsson's sequel to "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo", I think I've actually created a profound love for his twisted and intensely secretive main character, Lisbeth Salander. Larsson takes his female lead to a whole new dimension, compared to other authors who pertain to the classified protagonists and antagonists, so I've found. After watching the first film while it was in theaters, I anticipate greatly what will be shown in the second film and can't wait to view the raw, articulate, Swedish version of the sequel. The fact that the U.S. has even considered making a Hollywood version of the first film is mind-boggling and lacks enormous amounts of taste, but that's another rant for another day. Salander portrays a head strong woman who is all business and sometimes freaky play, yet looks like an underdeveloped teen. She grabs you by the shoulders and shakes you immediately once you start the novel and doesn't let you go till the last sentence (in which you can carry on to the excruciatingly unfair teaser at the end of the book for the following novel, damn those excerpts).

Interestingly, Larsson created Lisbeth from a real live character from his own life. According to recent articles detailing Larsson's past life (ABC New's "Stieg Larsson Silent as Real-Life Lisbeth Raped", for example) Larsson had witnessed a gang-rape involving a woman named Lisbeth in the late 1960's. From then on he was haunted by the occurrence but plodded on to write critically about social justice and human rights problems in Sweden and globally. While other characters in the trilogy were based off of people he knew personally, Larsson never thought of himself as the male protagonist, Mikael Blomkvist, but more like Salander herself, aside from some specific and unordinary traits. Unfortunately, Larsson died in 2004 of a heart attack and has been taken away the chance to write any more thrilling yet informative pieces about greatly significant issues that our world faces today; we, as readers, are left with the hollow yet equally satisfied feeling of finishing a good book, once those last pages of the third novel are turned.

Now, directing our attention to the point of this post (although admittedly, I truly am inspired by Larsson's novels; not obsessed, but impressed by both his plot and Salander's profile) the creation of fictitious and powerfully influential characters has led to greater imagination and weirdly enough, the lament of real life human beings. When James Cameron's "Avatar" was released to the public, it was reported that several individuals had given up their lives in despair for not living in a world represented by the movie. It's crazy yet I suppose realistic to understand why people fell into depressions after seeing the film; Cameron created a universe in which we can never even begin to conceive as being a reality here on earth.

Characters from books and films already have set personalities, goals, achievements, talents and so on, yet according to literate geniuses, each character is a reflection of some part, external or internal, of the author. It is possible to create complete strangers for our characters but its known to be difficult to carry their personalities, talents, etc. through the story because there is no connection between the creator and creation. So if fictitious characters were already a part of our norm, they would be representatives of their creators, or more simply, part clone. This is all speculation of course; it hasn't been "proven" that an author can't illustrate a character through a novel if they have no relation to it at all, just more or less generalized and guessed that that is the case. But besides that point, our world would be a mess of individuals and situations pertaining to those individuals.

I can't decide whether I'd be OK with seeing Lisbeth Salander saunter down the street in her iconic dark apparel and slip into gloomy alleyways. I'm not sure if I would enjoy seeing Edward Cullen stun passersby with his "sparkling", revitalized corpse. But I do think I would succumb to the incessant powers of Darth Vader, being a long-time fan of his. If he were around wreaking havoc in the resonant space beyond the Ozone layer, there would be no doubt that I wouldn't join the Dark Side ;)

Think about it; what characters would you want to stay between the covers of their books? Who would you be OK with stealing your cab that you were going to ride to Starbucks? What do you think of Stieg Larsson's novels and his characters?

P.S. One of Stieg Larsson's inspirational movies was George Lucas' "Star Wars"; maybe he shared my fondness for Darth Vader as well!


  1. Hmmm... I've had this book on my nightstand for a month now. I think you've just convinced me to finally pick it up and read it!

  2. yay! thank you very much for commenting. It's so hard to get this thing going! And yes, the book is quite good :)
    Your blog makes me laugh btw, so don't stop writing!

  3. I have heard so much about this book and as Charlotte said, it is your review that will finally get me to go pick it up!

  4. Im interested in what you thought of the movie. I thought they didn't give Lisbeth's intellect enough credit, she was just angry.

  5. Hi Chris, I actually haven't watched the second movie (or third, now that it's out) although I am dieing to see it! The trailers gave me the chills and I think Noomi Rapace really nailed Salanders character in the first film. I've read reviews though about the second and third film and from what I've seen, they weren't rated as well as the first one. Like you mention, apparently Rapace is strapped to a hospital bed for most of the third film according to critics. But, of course, I will take it into my own hands to decide whether I like them or not :)