Tag Archives: George Challenger

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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Character Review: Marguerite Krux

*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.

It’s not uncommon in adventure series to see a lopsided ratio of male characters to female characters. Female characters are either the damsel in distress, the native girl or the background character who is not seen or heard.

While Marguerite Krux (Rachel Blakely) may not be a cannon character in the original Lost World novel, she is certainly a modern and complex addition to the character list.

The audience is first introduced to Marguerite in the pilot. She is walking to the Zoological Society meeting where Challenger (Peter McCauley) is presenting his findings to his colleagues. Finding that she is being followed, she shoots the man and goes on her merry way.

Marguerite Krux is initially a mystery to the audience and her fellow explorers. Her past is a well guarded secret. While she appears to be selfish and self-serving, Marguerite is hiding the one thing that no one expects her to have: her heart.

Orphaned at an early age, her parents are a mystery to her. Shrewd, intelligent and independent, Marguerite has learned early on to survive by her wits. The things she wants most in this world are family and love. They were also the things she did not have when she needed them most.

Her ultimate goal is to find her birth certificate. Finding her birth certificate means finding out not only who here parents are or were, but finding the identity she has been longing for. Like many who have learned to survive early on, Marguerite has learned how to hide her emotions and do what needs to be done.

The Lost World was cancelled just after the third season ended, leaving quite a few story lines open. While Marguerite may not have found her parents (as of the final episode of the third series), she found the family she was looking with her fellow explorers and love with John Roxton (Will Snow).

To sum it up: Not all characters have easy lives. Sometimes, all a character knows is survival. Do whatever you need to do to get by, even if that means doing something shady or dangerous. Marguerite Krux is one of those characters. But in the hands of a skilled writer, a character of this nature goes beyond the stereotype. Whatever they are looking for, that is the key to their growth over the course of the narrative. Survival for survival’s sake is fine early on in the story, but without eventually learning the character’s motives and needs, the audience or the reader is unable to latch on the character and follow them across the narrative.

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Character Review: George Challenger

*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.

Some of us are blessed with a talent in a specific area. This often leads to acclaim, a large ego and a prideful nature. Pride always goeth before a fall.

In The Lost World, the mad scientist with the prideful nature is George Challenger (Peter McCauley). Thought to be either a genius or crazy by his colleagues, it is Challenger who gets the ball rolling on the expedition to the undiscovered Amazon like world that contains living dinosaurs, missing tribes and creatures thought only to have existed in the imagination.

While his wife, Jessie, waits at home, Challenger is exploring the globe, trying to prove that his theories hold water. The problem is that he spends more time on his work than at home. Over the course of the television series, he begins to realize that there is more to life than work. He begins to appreciate his fellow explorers and regrets that he has lost out on the time with his wife. But of course, that appreciation and regret only comes when his pride is gone and his ego begins to deflate.

 

To sum it up: We have faults. No one on this earth is perfect. As a writer, our job is to use those faults to create characters who not only go on a journey, but learn from the pitfalls of their mistakes. Characters who are faultless, who never encounter any challenges or make mistakes are boring and unappealing.  As one of my writer friends often explains, “you have to put your character in a tree and throw rocks at them”.  In life and in fiction, a person’s character is marked by not only how they deal with their faults, but how they deal with the consequences of their faults.  Those faults are what brings the audience in and keeps them in until the very end.

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The Lost World

There is something about a favorite television show. No matter what is going on in life or how good or bad the day is, your favorite television show just makes it that much better.

The Lost World, airing from 1999 to 2002 was loosely based on the novel by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

In the early part of the 20 century, a group of explorers, led by scientist George Edward Challenger (Peter McCauley) goes on an expedition seeking a lost world that has been isolated from the rest of the world. The rest of the group includes Lord John Roxton (Will Snow) an aristocratic big game hunter with a certain reputation, Marguerite Krux (Rachel Blakely), an heiress with seemingly ulterior motives and an unknown past, Ned Malone (David Orth) a young American reporter looking to  impress a woman back home and Professor Arthur Summerlee (Michael Sinelnikoff), a fellow member of The Zoological Society who initially egged on Professor Challenger when he presented his initial findings to his colleagues.

When they reach The Lost World, they are befriended by Veronica Layton (Jennifer O’Dell), a woman raised in jungle. Her parents discovered The Lost World a generation ago and disappeared when their daughter was still very young. In season 3, Finn, a woman from the future  (Lara Cox) joined the cast.

The Lost World was part of the action/adventure/fantasy trend that appeared in the late 90’s started by Hercules and Xena. I happen to love this show, it’s one of the few shows that I have the complete series on DVD. The special effects, well, Jurassic Park, it is not.  But it is a good show with good story telling and well drawn characters. I just wish that it has lasted more than 3 seasons, but such is life.

I recommend this show.

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Its All Coming Back To Me Now

*As usual, the characters are not mine and of course this beautiful song is also not mine, I’m just borrowing it.

*-Spoilers from Tapestry, Voodoo Queen, Amazons, Prophecies and the Secret.

*Its All Coming Back To Me Now- Meatloaf

It’s All Coming Back To Me Now

“Dinner, Lord Roxton” the guard opened the door.

“Not hungry” he mumbled.

“Suit yourself” the guard slammed the door, dropping the tin plate on the cold, hard floor.

There were nights when the wind was so cold
That my body froze in bed
If I just listened to it
Right outside the window

It has been a perfect night, their return home. They were heralded as heroes, their return the greatest event London had experienced since the end of the war. George Challenger refuted his critics; Ned Malone earned the respect and accolades he had always dreamed of. And he, Lord John Roxton had the greatest treasure of all, worth more than any inheritance; Marguerite Krux.

There were days when the sun was so cruel
That all the tears turned to dust
And I just knew my eyes were
Drying up forever

If Lord John Richard Roxton knew nothing else, he knew women. He knew what to say, he knew how to say it, and if he did everything just so, he knew exactly where they would end up. But Marguerite Krux was not one of those women, and that alone intrigued him. Little did he know that this would be the woman who would finally mend his broken heart.

I finished crying in the instant that you left
And I can’t remember where or when or how
And I banished every memory you and I had ever made

He decided moments after she left that he could get over her. After all, not only was he a lord, but he was the hero, women would be literally throwing themselves at him. He could have any women he wanted. Then the egg cracked and the glory evaporated.

In the end, he lost everything. Challenger was dead, killed by the men who were so eager to steal the egg. Veronica and Ned were also gone, killed by the T-Rex they tried to stop from destroying London. As much as he had grown to love Challenger, Ned and Veronica, it was Marguerite’s death and her betrayal as the mastermind of the attempted theft of the egg that broke his heart. In the end, the T- Rex was herded into the Thames and drowned, but not before the reputation and good legal standing of Lord John Richard Roxton went down with the T-Rex. As the only surviving member of the Challenger Expedition, he was charged with premeditated murder and city wide destruction. His sentence was death by hanging.

But when you touch me like this
And you hold me like that
I just have to admit
That it’s all coming back to me
When I touch you like this
And I hold you like that
It’s so hard to believe but
It’s all coming back to me

The prison was cold, lonely and empty, far from the warmth and laughter that had permeated the tree house that the Challenger expedition had called home for a year. He could hear the voices of his friends; smell the aroma of dinner from the kitchen. Ned was writing in his journals, recounting the day’s adventure; Challenger was busy in his lab, excited about his latest discoveries and Veronica smiling warmly, talking about her parents. And Marguerite in her room, separated from the group, as she had done from the beginning. She knew he always watched her, even if she didn’t say it.

With her usual sarcastic tone, she would demand to know why he stood in her door, but if he caught her at the right moment, he saw another side to her, the softer side and that was worth everything.

There were moments of gold
And there were flashes of light
There were things I’d never do again
But then they’d always seemed right
There were nights of endless pleasure
It was more than any laws allow
Baby Baby

If I kiss you like this
And if you whisper like that
It was lost long ago
But it’s all coming back to me
If you want me like this
And if you need me like that
It was dead long ago
But it’s all coming back to me
It’s so hard to resist
And it’s all coming back to me

After his arrest, he finally learned the truth about Marguerite. The lost childhood, a series of abusive husbands, her work as Parsifal, a triple agent for both Germany and England during the war and finally paying for the expedition with laundered money, on the condition that she find the ouroboros and then she would receive her birth certificate.

I can barely recall
But it’s all coming back to me now
But it’s all coming back

The shock had sent him reeling, the woman was far more complicated than he had ever realized. Then he knew he was in love. She was the most complex woman he had ever met and if he could do it all again, he would tell her he loved her, whatever she had been through was of no importance and whatever future obstacles stood in her path, he would be there with her. But he couldn’t and that hurt most of all.

There were those empty threats and hollow lies
And whenever you tried to hurt me
I just hurt you even worse
And so much deeper

He knew what he was doing with those women. Danielle, Isadore, even the Amazon Hippolita had tried to pry Marguerite from his heart. But in the end, no one else could replace her.

There were hours that just went on for days
When alone at last we’d count up all the chances
That were lost to us forever

It seemed that something was determined to keep them apart. Whether it was dinosaurs, native tribes or their pasts, their destinies seemed to be separate.

But you were history with the slamming of the door
And I made myself so strong again somehow
And I never wasted any of my time on you since then

Every time she pushed him away, he told himself she wasn’t worth it. He was Lord John Roxton; he could have any woman he wanted. But for some reason, the more she pushed him away, the more he wanted to know more.

“Time to go, Lord Roxton” the guards stood at his door, chains in hand.

But if I touch you like this
And if you kiss me like that
It was so long ago
But it’s all coming back to me
If you touch me like this
And if I kiss you like that
It was gone with the wind
But it’s all coming back to me

He would give anything to see her one more time, to kiss her, to assure her that he was for real and nothing, not even death, could pry them apart.


There were moments of gold
And there were flashes of light
There were things we’d never do again
But then they’d always seemed right
There were nights of endless pleasure
It was more than all your laws allow
Baby, Baby, Baby

When you touch me like this
And when you hold me like that
It was gone with the wind
But it’s all coming back to me
When you see me like this
And when I see you like that
Then we see what we want to see
All coming back to me
The flesh and the fantasies
All coming back to me
I can barely recall
But it’s all coming back to me now

“Any last words, Lord Roxton?” he forced his fear down as the noose came into sight.

“No”.

If you forgive me all this
If I forgive you all that
We forgive and forget
And it’s all coming back to me
When you see me like this
And when I see you like that
We see just what we want to see
All coming back to me
The flesh and the fantasies
All coming back to me
I can barely recall but it’s all coming back to me now

He felt rope securing his hands as he was led up to the podium and a rag tied around his eyes.

“Marguerite” he whispered.

“What was that, Lord Roxton?” the executioner asked as he lowered the noose.

“Marguerite”

And when you kiss me like this
And when I touch you like that
If you do it like this
And if we…

The executioner kicked the trap door open and he fell through, not seeing or hearing anything, just remembering the last time he saw her and for the first time in life, he was truly and deeply in love.

“John…” he heard her voice in the distance.

“John” her voice was louder and clearer.

“Marguerite?” he woke up slowly, as the fuzzy faces of Challenger, Veronica and Malone and Marguerite came into view.

“Easy old boy, you had us worried” Challenger helped him sit up.

“What happened?” John asked.

“Raptors”.

“How many?”.

“Five, if we had arrived a few minutes later, you might have been Raptor lunch” Ned’s grim attempt at a joke did not go well.

“Excuse me” The baby wailed in his crib.

Now he remembered. Marguerite and John’s son, William Arthur had been born six weeks earlier, and after six weeks of being cooped up in the tree house, Marguerite was eager to join Veronica on a trip to the Zanga village.

“John, we’re only going to the Zanga village, we’ll be back before dinner”.

“You can’t leave him alone, Marguerite”.

“He won’t be alone, Ned will be here and so will Challenger. I’ve left milk and food for him, everything will be fine”. Inspired by Marguerite’s pregnancy, Challenger had come up with breast milk pump and a cooling system for the icebox.

“You’re not going anywhere” John thundered, grabbing her arm.

“I can do whatever I want, Lord Roxton” Growling, she walked into the elevator with Veronica.

“Dam woman, she gave birth six weeks ago and she’s ready to leave” He trekked through the jungle, looking for their next meal, not focusing on the terrain around him, including the pack of Raptors that were ready to pounce. The next thing he knew was waking up in his bed nearly a week later to his fellow travelers standing over him.

Later that night, he watched her as she walked into the bedroom. Sighing, she removed her robe and undid the braid.

“Marguerite…”

“Forget it, John” she blew out the candle and climbed into bed.

“I’m sorry” he rolled over and whispered into her ear.

“For what? For telling me I can’t go out or for scaring me?” For the first time since they found him, she cried.

“For both”.

“I’m sorry” he murmured.

“I know, don’t ever scare me like that again” she snuggled next to him. As much as he could, he wrapped his arms around her and for the first time in nearly a week, they slept together peacefully.

The End

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