You Need A Thneed!

I was skimming my tumblr dashboard and saw someone had posted a page from The Lorax, the one where he says “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”

I…sometimes cry at this part of the cartoon. But if I’m being honest, the Onceler is still my favorite character.

He’s got a fairly complex characterization and arc, doesn’t he? He’s motivated by a genuine love for the Truffula trees, but he still destroys them and everything else in his quest to be rich. There’s the scene where he rationalizes his behavior (while lounging fabulously in an armchair and smoking a cigar) with “If I didn’t do it, then someone else would!” And of course he repents in the end.

Sometimes I am astonished at the continuity in types of characters I have instaloved over the course of my life. Smooth-talking, ruthless businessman/hustler who makes it big? Check.

Other examples:

  1. Lex Luthor. Ever noticed how all Lex Luthor’s plans are classic real estate scams…that somehow require the death of millions?
  2. Pulitzer from Newsies. I don’t understand why Robert Duvall didn’t win an Oscar for that performance. But then, I don’t understand why Newsies didn’t sweep the Oscars that year, generally.
  3. Badger from Firefly.

In a similar vein, I recently read a historical novel I read as a kid (Rebecca’s War, about the British occupation of Philadelphia during the Revolutionary War). I remembered having a crush on the male lead, but when I reread it I was completely astonished to realize that he’s still exactly my type:

Aristocratic young British officer, snarky, clever, good at worming his way into your good graces, particular about his clothes and a little vain, but he’s someone you can rely on in a crisis, too—and he’s always endlessly impressed by the plucky middle-class heroine. Cf. Chuck Bass, Logan Echolls, Howl from Howl’s Moving Castle, Peter Wimsey, and any number of historical romance heroes.

Is there a type of character you’ve always loved? Rewatched any cartoons recently and been surprised by how little your taste has changed?

9 thoughts on “You Need A Thneed!”

  1. Ramses Emerson. I’ve adored him since he first appeared, and I still love reading him. And I’m still drawn to the really smart (disasterously precocious) guys! 🙂

    1. Huh. I adore the Vicky Bliss books and have really enjoyed some of her Gothics too, but I always shied away from the Amelia Peabody books because they turn into a family saga. I’ve often found I get bored with mystery series once the couple gets married and starts having kids. But if you say she does it well, I’ll have to check them out!

      1. The Amelia Peabody books were the first ones I got in to. I heard her talk about how the series started once, and apparently her publisher came to her a little while after Crocodile on the Sandbank and several of her other stand alone books were published, and told her to pick one to make in to a series. She looked at Amelia and thought that she had left Amelia married and with a young son, and that pretty much closed the door on further adventures, but once you meet Amelia and Emerson, keeping them at home is difficult. I have enjoyed them. 🙂

      2. I should also probably mention that I am very interested in Egyptology and quickly fell in love with Ramses, so I didn’t mind him being around. And he’s their only child. They quasi adopt two others later, but they’re all the same age as Ramses, so there’s no string of little babies.

        1. Okay! I don’t have a problem with kids in books or anything, in fact I like them. I guess I do get a little stressed when people take their children into really dangerous situations. More than that, though, I think it’s rare to find someone who’s good both at writing the build-up to a relationship, and good at writing about two people who are in an established relationship. So when series switch partway through, it doesn’t always turn out well. You’ve sold me, however. I will check it out! I’m pretty sure I have Crocodile in the Sandbank lying around somewhere…

          1. Well, Ramses does get into some dangerous situations, but usually it’s because he’s doing something he was specifically told not to do. And a couple time he manages to rescue his parents because he noticed a danger they didn’t.
            As far as I can remember, Amelia and Emerson start their relationship in pretty much the way they continue on. So, if you like them at the end of Crocodile, you’re probably good. 🙂
            Let me know what you think.

  2. Oh my, suddenly I’m back to my teenage years! I’ve always loved a clueless character, someone who didn’t know what to do or what feelings to have in spite of being very clever or very beautiful or very composed, etc. Like Mal and Inara from Firefly… Also, passionate,crazy and morally ambiguous characters like Heathcliff and Cathy ^^

    1. Ah yes, “good at everything but feelings”! Always fun. WH never quite clicked with me but I do adore a relationship that looks absolutely nuts from the outside, but works perfectly for the people in it. Functional dysfunctionality, I guess–I’m a sucker for it!

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