Poldark Character Review: Francis Poldark

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about Poldark, both the books and the television series. Read at your own risk.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using Winston Graham’s series of novels, Poldark and the subsequent television series to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

In the previous two posts, I wrote about the title character, Ross Poldark and his wife, Demelza. This post will be focusing on Francis Poldark, Ross’s cousin.

Francis and Ross grew up as brothers. In England at that time, the law of primogeniture ruled. Primogeniture basically means that the first-born son inherits the lion-share of the family assets. Francis is the first-born son of the first born son. He is born into a life of privilege and wealth. But money does not always buy happiness.

At the beginning of the series, we meet Francis when both the audience and Ross learn that he is engaged to Ross’s first love, Elizabeth (to be discussed next week). With Ross home, Francis begins to question if Elizabeth still wants to go on with marriage.  Even after they Francis and Elizabeth marry and bring their son into the world, he is still consumed by jealousy and low self-esteem. He becomes good friends with George Warleggan even though he is aware of the bad blood between George and Ross.

By the time we reach book 4 and series 2, Francis has become a new man. His relationship with Ross has mended, his marriage is flourishing, he has broken with George and he has developed a healthy self-esteem.

Then he is killed in mining accident.

Some people are not meant to live to see old age. Some people unfortunately, find themselves and then die before they can truly live. These are the characters that truly break the reader’s heart and remind them of the fragility of life.

To sum it up: Francis is the type of character that unfortunately meets a tragic and unexpected ending. He grapples with so many issues for so long and when he finally decides to be happy and grab life by the balls, he is gone.  Francis’s death not only breaks the heart of the characters and the readers, but also forces the fate of those around him into unforeseen territory.

When a writer creates a character like Francis, they are challenging the audience. They are challenging the audience to not only appreciate life, but to also look at the character as a whole, not just his or her problems.




RIP John Glenn

Today, we lost one of the greats of American history, John Glenn.

On February 20th 1962, he made history when he became the first American to orbit the Earth. His trip into space became legendary overnight, his name became synonymous with not only the space race of the 1960’s, but of the hope of America at that time. After leaving NASA, John Glenn served became a senator for his home state of Ohio. Known for his humility, he married his high school sweetheart in 1943 and raised two children.

For many, John Glenn was a hero. Not just because he was the first American to leave Earth, but also for representing dreams and how powerful they can be. Before 1962, leaving the boundaries of Earth was a dream. John Glenn proved that dreams do come true and barriers can be overcome.

John Glenn was 95.


Hairspray Live Review

In 1988, filmmaker John Waters introduced audiences to a new film and a new heroine. Hairspray is the story of far from modelesque 1960’s teenager Tracy Turnblad (Ricki Lake) whose dream is to dance on the local teenage dance show. What starts out as one girl’s innocuous dream represents a larger goal of diversity, respect for others who are different and self-love.

From there, the movie became a hit Broadway musical with Marissa Jaret Winokur, and a movie musical starring Nikky Blonsky. Last night, Hairspray evolved again to become Hairspray Live on NBC. Stepping into Tracy’s buffont hair was newcomer Maddie Baillio.

I have mixed feelings on this production. What keeps this piece relevant and will continue to keep this piece relevant are the issues that lie just below the surface of the narrative. The problem was that it felt like a high production or a community theater production with a much larger budget and a cast of actors that many of us know and love. While the casting was perfect, especially with Harvey Fierstein once again stepping into the shoes of Edna Turnblad after doing it on Broadway, something was just off for me. There was something missing that I get from live theater that I did not get from this production.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

Throwback Thursday-Chaplin (1992)

Charlie Chaplin is one of the icons of the silver screens and one of the original movie stars.

In 1992, his life was made into a film, Chaplin.

Directed by legendary director Richard Attenborough, Robert Downey Jr. stars in the title role. The film follows the life of Charlie Chaplin, from his early years in East London, to his film career, through the scandals the plagued him and finally, late in his life, when his contributions were finally recognized.

If there was blueprint for filmmakers to follow when it comes to biopics, this film is it. A good biopic fully represents its lead character and the person who the film is based on, warts and all. While Charlie Chaplin was not perfect (but who is), he was fully developed human being whose received a proper biopic.

I recommend it.

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