Tag Archives: Arthur Conan Doyle

Character Review: Arthur Summerlee

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the television show, The Lost World (which is loosely based the book of the same name). Read at your own risk if you are unfamiliar with the either the book or the television series.

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 the characters from The Lost World to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

In every life and every story, there are two perspectives: youth and old age. In The Lost World, the perspective on old age is represented Arthur Summerlee (Michael Sinelnikoff). Summerlee is not only the ying to Challenger’s yang, but he is also the peacemaker and the unofficial father figure to the younger members of the expedition. It was Summerlee who egged Challenger on during the pilot about his findings and it was Challenger, who in turn challenged (for lack of a better term) Summerlee to join him on the expedition.

Where Challenger is hotheaded, brash and sometimes full of it, Summerlee is calm, cool and collected (at least most of the time).  Summerlee is also the first member of the expedition to see past the hard shell of Marguerite to see a woman who is complicated and has had to make difficult decisions to survive. When he was killed off (or appeared to be killed off), an emotional void was left among the characters that could never truly be filled.

Despite all of that, Summerlee had his faults. He too, was prone to having a big head. His greatest regret was walking away from his wife as she lay dying, without so much as a goodbye.

To sum it up: The perspective that one can see from having lived a great many years is sometimes hard to see, but it is a perspective that deserves to be explored. We live in a culture that celebrates the young and the youthful. But we sometimes forget that those of a certain age deserve our respect and attention, especially in fiction. Summerlee represents both the wisdom and regret that comes with reaching the stage in our lives when we are no longer young. When we as writers speak of creating well-rounded characters, we should be speaking of older characters whose contributions, wisdom and advise should be paid attention to.  We never know when this character will teach both the reader and the writer a thing or two.

 

 

 

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Filed under Books, Character Review, Television, The Lost World, Writing

Character Review: Veronica Layton

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the television show, The Lost World (which is loosely based the book of the same name). Read at your own risk if you are unfamiliar with the either the book or the television series.

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 the characters from The Lost World to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

The perspective of youth is often one of hope, light and opportunity. Sometimes that perspective fades as we get older.

Veronica Layton (Jennifer O’Dell) was the youngest member of the Challenger Expedition for most of the three years that the show was on the air.  Veronica is Arthur Conan Doyle’s answer to Tarzan. Her parents, who disappeared when Veronica was a young girl, were part of an earlier expedition. Growing up in the jungle, she learned independence and survival skills early on. But that does not mean that she has lost the innocence and light of youth.

Veronica grows from a young girl to a woman over the course of the three seasons. She has a sort of will they or won’t they relationship with Ned Malone (David Orth), falls briefly in love with a mad musician from the 19th century and begins to understand that life is sometimes hard. But her main goal is to find her parents.  In one of the last episodes of the third series, Veronica and the audience learn of her parent’s fate. Her father is dead and her mother descends from a long line of women who have ruled over the plateau for centuries. Veronica has been kept unaware of her lineage for her own safety.

To sum it up: Growing up is hard. Realizing that the life is not all sunshine and roses can be a difficult pill to swallow. Veronica is example of a great character because on one hand, she is independent and has no problem taking care of herself. But on other hand, she is still young and will be learning (sometimes the hard way) that life is complicated.  When a writer is creating a young character who over the course of the narrative grows up, the key is to make the journey of growing up universal. We all have to grow up at some point. Illustrating that journey properly through the narrative means speaking to the reader, regardless of the time and place that they are living. If the reader feels like the character is not speaking to them, then it is highly unlikely they will want to see the character through to the end of their journey.

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Filed under Books, Character Review, Feminism, Television, The Lost World, Writing

Arthur and George Review

Arthur Conan Doyle is synonymous with mystery. His most famous character,  Sherlock Holmes has not left the public consciousness since his introduction in 1887.

The latest addition to Masterpiece Mystery is Arthur and George. Arthur Conan Doyle (Martin Clunes) is at a crossroads in his life. His wife had just died, there are rumors that he had an affair with a female friend, Jean Leckie (Hattie Morahan) and he is completely lost. The case of George Edalji (Arsher Ali) might just turn him around. George is the product of an Anglo/Indian marriage. His career as a solicitor has been completely ruined when he went to jail for mutilating local animals and writing obscene letters. Recently released from jail, George is looking to return to his previous life.

Called to George’s case by his secretary, Alfred “Woodie” Wood (Charles Edwards) Arthur agrees to take the case. Is George guilty of the accusations or is the real culprit still out there?

Beyond the bromance of Arthur and Woodie and the standard whodunit story, there are interesting elements. There is the life changing experience of loosing your spouse and the harshness of racism. There is also the question of reputation, especially in the Edwardian era, when one’s reputation was everything.

Fans of British television and Masterpiece will recognize several of the principal actors.  Martin Clunes (Doc Martin), Hattie Morahan (Sense and Sensibility) and Charles Edwards (Downton Abbey) have all graced our screens before.  The problem is that I found most of the first episode to be boring. It was only within the last ten minutes of the program did I feel like I was finally getting into the story.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

 

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Filed under Books, Downton Abbey, Sense and Sensibility, Television, TV Review