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Chatacters that Impacted You


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This is me, again, doing more of my things. This time I'm asking for characters that have impacted you. Anywhere from 5-10 (or 20, if you're so inclined). You choose whether it's from a book, a movie, or a mix of both. Tell us where the character is from and what made you notice them more than another character.  And,  just like last time, it doesn't have to be a good impact.

 

Let's hear it!

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Fiction:

-- Winnie the Pooh, because he is never worried about understanding nor outcome. (He believes the Heffalump exist because Christopher Robin saw one. He had no problems going on a Expe...? Going to search for the North Pole, but was happy to find the East Pole. And his number one problem always is if he has enough honey.)

-- Paddington Bear because just living was enough adventure.

-- Huck Finn because... well traveling down the Mississippi on a raft with Jim before the Civil War. Can you think of a bigger adventure?

-- Ayla in The Valley of the Horses simply because I love the whole concept of living on your skills alone. (I love the concept. I do not want to live the experience.)

-- Threadbare who proved teddy bear golems can save their little girl even in a country that is purely RPG. (Warning: R rated.)

 

Non fiction:

-- Job because he didn't sin even after nothing else could go worse.

-- Esau, who was the type of guy I could be friends with, and yet “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”

-- Jonah, who reminds me to take the boat rather than the fish gut. And who, despite it all, went away grumbling. (Reminds me of me. 😳)

-- Peter, who assumed he could do it all right the first time, until he failed doing it right at all. BUT he was teachable, and well loved.

 

And number one, and probably the only one who completely and utterly impacted and impacts me -- Jesus. (No explanation needed, right?)

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Sydney Carton--A Tale of Two Cities. Call me obsessed if you like--you wouldn't be wrong--but this is one of the best fictional characters ever written! There is nothing sympathetic about him, and yet I was cheering for him from the very first moment I saw him. And I've never met a character whom I could see as well as Sydney. Who needs movies when he's hanging around literature, making his every move visible through print?

 

General Bounine--the movie Anastasia (1956). Watching a character go from icky to hero, yet retain all his characteristics--just how?

 

Hamlet--I love this poor character so much! he is a really great man, confronted with situations I hope no real person ever has to face, and triumphed!

 

Billy Jack--I will never forgive myself for liking this character or the end of this movie. But this man has lived a selfish life throughout the whole movie, (though masked by his seemingly unselfish fighting for the native Americans) and at the end he gives up everything for the woman he loves and her dream, and goes to prison against all his instincts.

 

King David--the Old Testament. He has a problem with women and a big problem with lying, yet he is a man after God's own heart. Such an impetuous, wise, humble king.

 

Joab--while we're on the subject of King David, I'll bring up Joab. Obviously a little bit of a jerk, yet a contradiction in the worst way. One minute murdering someone so he keeps his position, the next calling on God to help Israel and giving David some darn good advice.

 

Roy Rogers--the man and the character. I love them both.

 

Tony Stark and/or Loki--unfortunately. There is just so much character in Tony, how can you not notice him? and as for Loki, I find him very interesting, although I am rapidly getting annoyed with the people in charge of making him...

 

Iago--JERK, JERK, RACIST JERK...Need I say more?

 

Lord Peter Wimsey--From Dorothy Sayers's mysteries. It's almost impossible not to love this character, and his persistence in winning over Harriet Vane.

 

Jadis, Queen of Narnia--how is it possible to write a character like this?

 

Martha, the sister of Mary and Lazarus -reminds me of me, and I love her conversation with Jesus in John 11.

 

 

 

 

 

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Don Quixote De La Mancha -- he's mad, mad mad... yet his ability to see beauty where there's little to be found inspires his single follower to carry on for him, after he's gone. I've been fortunate to be able to visit southern Spain, and travelled through the region in Andalucia, where the story is set. It's a truly hot, bleak and empty place, and it would take a special kind of person to live there and see the wonders he did...

 

Willie Keith (The Caine Mutiny) -- Is it possible to experience a second "coming of age"? The MC is not merely a grown man, but a naval officer as the story begins, but as intense trials unwind, he grows from an idealistic, naïve young man, into a competent, resourceful, savvy, (uppercase)Man. Truly exquisite.

 

All of the prisoners in Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's The First Circle. A group who will live the rest of their lives inside a single building, working together, keeping one another going, and finding a kind of hope where there's not much around.

 

Atticus Finch -- 'nuff said.

 

Jeremiah -- As long as we're including Bible characters, here's one we don't hear a lot of. His book is all scrambled, chronologically, so many never put his story together. But here's a guy called by God as a young man, almost terrified at the prospect, and yet totally willing to trust God and let Him lead. He continues on for decades, watching everything collapse around him and probably feeling a sense of failure for it. Almost nobody ever listens to him, except his faithful scribe (almost sounds a little like Don Quixote, but saner)... Yet he never gives up...

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Wes - so true about Willie Keith.  When I taught a leadership course for an ROTC detachment, “The Caine Mutiny” was among a handful of films I’d show to cadets to afterward discuss lessons learned.  The Keith character generated a lot of talk, as did Thomas Keefer.  The “12 O’Clock High” cast caused more debate, though.

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30 minutes ago, Ragamuffin_John said:

Wes - so true about Willie Keith.  When I taught a leadership course for an ROTC detachment, “The Caine Mutiny” was among a handful of films I’d show to cadets to afterward discuss lessons learned.  The Keith character generated a lot of talk, as did Thomas Keefer.  The “12 O’Clock High” cast caused more debate, though.

 

I'll bet that was fun. I think 12 O'Clock High is the gold standard for stories that contrast leadership, "leadership," and influence when there's no real authority (I suppose that's stealth leadership...) It would have given the group lots to work with.

 

Keefer turns out so stunningly different from our first impression, that he stands out. While the Caine Mutiny movie doesn't show it in nearly as much detail as the book, that story is about how people are not who you think they are. In the book, every single character, right down to the relatively minor character of Willie's girlfriend, turn out to be blatantly different from our first impression. (I can't think of another story that leaves me feeling sympathetic toward the bad guy, even tho he's still definitely the bad guy...) 'Course, Willie is different at the end because he's undergone so much change, not because he fooled us at the start. Still, the Willie at the end is as different from when we first met him as every other character...

 

One is more about contrasts in leadership, while the other is about contrasts between impression and reality.

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Obscure movie character alert!

 

Wedge Antilles

 

Who??

 

wedge.0.thumb.jpg.7438a6eed4e42550c486215bfdc7e1c0.jpg

 

From Star Wars episodes 4-6 (New Hope, Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi): "A talented young rebel pilot from Corellia, Wedge Antilles survived the attack on the first Death Star to become a respected veteran of Rogue Squadron. He piloted a snowspeeder in the defense of Echo Base on Hoth, and led Red Squadron in the rebel attack on the second Death Star above Endor."

 

Why am I drawn to him? Because he's a secondary character who made significant contributions while surviving some pretty steep odds (and he's a really, really good X-wing pilot). Do you remember how many fighters survived the attack on the original Death Star? Three - including Luke Skywalker. And after having saved Luke's bacon, and pulling out of the first Death Star trench, he was on the leading edge to take down the second Death Star. A fitting reward for a reliable, steadfast character.        

 

Edited by Accord64
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11 hours ago, Wes B said:

 

I'll bet that was fun. I think 12 O'Clock High is the gold standard for stories that contrast leadership, "leadership," and influence when there's no real authority (I suppose that's stealth leadership...) It would have given the group lots to work with.

 

Keefer turns out so stunningly different from our first impression, that he stands out. While the Caine Mutiny movie doesn't show it in nearly as much detail as the book, that story is about how people are not who you think they are. In the book, every single character, right down to the relatively minor character of Willie's girlfriend, turn out to be blatantly different from our first impression. (I can't think of another story that leaves me feeling sympathetic toward the bad guy, even tho he's still definitely the bad guy...) 'Course, Willie is different at the end because he's undergone so much change, not because he fooled us at the start. Still, the Willie at the end is as different from when we first met him as every other character...

 

One is more about contrasts in leadership, while the other is about contrasts between impression and reality.

Stealth leadership.  Great way to put it.  Yeah, I hated it when Keefer got the drink in his face.   With so much gray in the characters, it felt way over the top.   I suspect that was the price the film director had to pay for portraying the factor of weak leadership that can lead to mutiny—not to mention all the freebie Navy logistical support.
 

Classroom wise, I assigned the cadets the roles of the characters from “12 O’Clock High”, to hash out their arguments real time.  Kind of like “Copenhagen” in the classroom:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copenhagen_(2002_film)

 

There were a lot of laughs, especially when I required the “Savage” cadet to address me as the Air Force captain I was.   

Edited by Ragamuffin_John
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Aaron and Hur -- they taught me that no matter how close our relationship with God, sometimes we will face battles that require others to help us hold up our arms.

 

Hagar -- she taught me that God isn't only faithful to the major players. He's also faithful to the supporting cast.

 

Joshua -- he taught me the importance of having courage in the face of insurmountable obstacles. 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Ragamuffin_John said:

Stealth leadership.  Great way to put it.  Yeah, I hated it when Keefer got the drink in his face.   With so much gray in the characters, it felt way over the top.   I suspect that was the price the film director had to pay for portraying the factor of weak leadership that can lead to mutiny—not to mention all the freebie Navy logistical support.
 

 

The movie leaves out so much that a lot of the story's depth is lost. The drink in the face is symbolic on multiple levels, though the movie misses most of it. Keefer has become a secondary villain, in his long having instigated the mutiny, but in the trial, refusing to support anyone else, and doing everything to protect only himself. His outward sanctimony earlier on totally vanishes, revealed as we see that he never left a single bit of evidence that could trace any of the outcome back to himself. He was covering only his own backside, all along. He's revealed as the coward he is.

 

While as the reader, i gradually got an uneasy feeling about Keefer through the trial, that splash in the face was a splash in the face to the audience, as well, saying that everyone's not who we thought they were. Greenwald's diatribe after tossing the drink lays out the whole picture about everyone (even blaming himself), in case we haven't seen it yet. He also adds the further background info on Queeg, the makes him more sympathetic, and less a villain.

 

Further, in the book, the author points out that it was yellow wine that Greenwald hurled, and in his diatribe, Greenwald repeatedly reminds us that their nickname for Queeg had been Old Yellowstain. Here, Keefer is also stained in yellow, symbolically becoming a secondary Queeg. (And while Willie is far more an observer than participant in the events, he's not free of guilt, there. The author mentions that a few drops of the wine splash onto Willie; he's stained, too...)

 

Anyway, the movie had to rush through so much because there's so much there. Most everyone else I know who's read the book did not like the movie at all. They're not writers though, and they just see how much experience was left out. We can look and see just how the magic was put into the story, and how impossible it would be to put it all into a two hour drama that can only communicate as a movie does. I'm more sympathetic about the movie, and realize there's only so much you can do to try squeezing ten pounds of stuff into a five pound bag...

 

1 hour ago, Ragamuffin_John said:

Classroom wise, I assigned the cadets the roles of the characters from “12 O’Clock High”, to hash out their arguments real time.  Kind of like “Copenhagen” in the classroom:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copenhagen_(2002_film)

 

There were a lot of laughs, especially when I required the “Savage” cadet to address me as the Air Force captain I was.   

 

It sounds like that was a really memorable experience. I'd love to have somehow been there to peek in on the exchange

 

 

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Wow, thanks so much for the in-depth explanation Wes.   I am definitely going to read the book.  

 

I'm wondering if the initial, outgoing captain (and later to be Keith's captain again, at the end of the movie) is even portrayed at all in the book, and if so, as affably.   It was good for a laugh after such a tense post-court martial gathering.

 

A lot of the cadets were musicians in the football team marching band.   They were chagrined by the triumphant movie theme.   Funny how they got my attention about that.   Until then, dramatic, even loud undertones, were practically subliminal to me.

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People, characters that have impacted me are from the Bible: God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, Moses, Elijah, Ingrid Bergman--the actress, the movie, Marjorie Morningstar, Audrey Hepburn--her acting and her spirit of life, the movie, "Two for the Road," Burt Lancaster-- the actor, and the main characters in the movie, "Mr. Skeffington." 

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On 9/21/2021 at 10:42 AM, Ragamuffin_John said:

Wow, thanks so much for the in-depth explanation Wes.   I am definitely going to read the book.  

 

You will not be disappointed. If you liked the movie, the book will floor you. It doesn't always mean as much as it sounds when a book had been at the top of the NYT bestseller list for two years and won a Pulitzer as well, but in this case, I don't think they gave it enough. Some honors are truly and thoroughly earned...

 

On 9/21/2021 at 10:42 AM, Ragamuffin_John said:

I'm wondering if the initial, outgoing captain (and later to be Keith's captain again, at the end of the movie) is even portrayed at all in the book, and if so, as affably.   It was good for a laugh after such a tense post-court martial gathering.

 

Actually, the book ends quite differently; they chopped off a lot, to fit what they did into the movie. Without spoiling anything, Willie becomes the final captain of the Caine, and that's after his leading of a group of volunteers to save... well... maybe you'll just have to read the book to find out all of that... I'll just say that even though Keefer exits the stage visibly unscathed, as his kind so often do, he leaves as a saddened and humbled man...

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I guess I've had enough time to think.  I'm ready to share mine!

 

Atticus Finch, who needs so explanation.

 

Sydney Carton, whose redemption is beautiful and heartbreaking beyond words.

 

Hans and Rosa Hubermann, from The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak.  The author is actually making me absolutely hate and despise Rosa.  She's a vulgar, rude, annoying woman, and I cannot stand her.  But her husband Hans is literally the kindest, sweetest old gentleman.  I have no idea why they're even married to each other.

 

Sherlock Holmes, because it was becoming obsessed with Sherlock that eventually made me the classic film connoisseur I am now.  Thank you, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

 

Johnny Nolan, from A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.  He was so sweet, and so loving, and he didn't have to be a failure!  He could have cleaned up his act.  He could have been something!  He was a marvelous singer.  If only his wife had believed in him, supported him more.  I didn't want him to die!  He makes me so sad.

 

Gloria Dump, from Because of Winn-Dixie.  What a fun, wise old lady, willing to be anyone's friend.  I wish I had her for my neighbor!  I just reread the book for the first time in so many years and realized what a great character she really is.  And she had the best quote in the book: "You can only love what you got while you got it." 

Edited by Grey_Skies
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I agree with you, Grey Skies, Atticus Finch; what a wonderful character! I also loved A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. This movie shows what you can do if others support and love you. The trials and tribulations of life can certainly bring you down but with God in your heart, hard work and believing in yourself; you can accomplish so much! I also love Sherlock Holmes. What great mysteries he wrote! 

I would also like to add the movie, Camelot. So much of it is fiction but the theme of the movie and story is fantastic--As King Arthur voiced in the end, "Some of the drops sparkle, Penny, some do sparkle!" We all have the potential to sparkle.

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