*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 posts, I wrote about the title character, Ross Poldark , his wife, Demelza, Ross’s cousin, Francis, Francis’s wife, Elizabeth and Elizabeth’s second husband, George Warleggan. Today’s post will focus on Ross’s cousin, Verity Blamey (nee Poldark).
Three of the standard character tropes for women are the love interest, the ex-girlfriend and the girl next door. In the world of Poldark, Demelza is the love interest, Elizabeth is the ex-girlfriend and Verity is the girl next door. Winston Graham’s answer to Anne Elliot from Persuasion, Verity is Francis’s sister. Unmarried and dangerously near the age of spinsterhood, she is the put upon daughter that is seen, but unappreciated by both her father and brother.
Like Anne Elliot, Verity’s choice of a husband is not exactly what the family had in mind for her. Captain Andrew Blamey is a Navy Captain who is whispered to have ill-treated his wife. A widower with growing children, Captain Blamey and Verity are mutually attracted to one another, but her family’s objections to him will force her to choose between the man she loves and the family she was born into.
In creating a character like Verity, Winston Graham created a universal character. There are so many who feel like Verity. They are the ones that are not spectacularly handsome or beautiful, but they keep hoping to find a partner. They are the ones that stay within the familiar circle of family and friends out of loyalty and respect, even if they are unhappy. When they do find happiness, they take that bold step, even if it means moving out of the comfortable circle of home and family.
Out of all of the characters within the Poldark universe, Verity is my favorite. She followed her heart, knowing full well that she would be estranged from most of her family. She is brave and bold and even if she is not as physically beautiful as Elizabeth or Demelza, her bravery stands out and makes her beautiful.
To sum it up: While Verity might not be the most obvious choice to be a heroine, Winston Graham clearly created a heroine. When one is bold enough to follow their heart and their gut, despite the objections of well-meaning family and friends, they become a heroine who can be admired and appreciated long after the writer has finished telling their story.