Gwennyth Grimsbane is the daughter of Ravyn Grimsbane, leader of Crowrest in E’ma Thalas. She’s also the protagonist of Aradia’s Secret. I think I’ve already done a character sketch on Gwennyth, but I was thinking about her the other day, trying to figure out what happens next, and wanted to share some of those thoughts.
Gwennyth is one of those people who’s been trained most of her life. Her mother consistently took her into the forest and taught her how to defend herself. She had other teachers that instructed her in the use of magic, history, and the like. Beyond that, Gwennyth has spent over a hundred years studying on her own and helping Ravyn run Crowrest. In short, she’s extremely capable. She knows what needs to be done, when it needs to be done, and how it needs to be done (can’t say what it is because of spoilers for those who haven’t read the book).
But Gwennyth doesn’t see this in herself. Instead, she sees herself as inexperienced and incapable. This is what makes Ravyn’s death and the subsequent quest so difficult for her. It isn’t that she doesn’t have the knowledge or skills to do what has to be done; it’s that she doesn’t think she has them. This lack of confidence in herself leads Gwennyth to feel overwhelmed by all she has to do. She feels like she’s drowning, and she dithers here and there trying to find an anchor in her sea of uncertainty. Her mind is so eclipsed by her fear that she can’t think straight or find a solution that isn’t nearly as difficult to comprehend as she makes it out to be. If she’d just settle down within herself, she’d know what to do (and I wouldn’t have a story to write). Instead, she wanders here and there as she tries to figure out Ravyn’s letter.
I’ll admit that Gwennyth isn’t one of my favorite characters. Her inability to get ahold of herself gets on my nerves. Her paralysis drives me nuts! But there’s a reason for this.
While I can’t stand Gwennyth’s wallowing, I can understand it. I know what it’s like to be terrified, to feel like I can’t do something, even though I’ve had more than enough training and experience with it. I understand the lack of self-confidence and the desire to hide in the library and let the world pass by. Believe me, most days I’d just as soon do the same. There are times when I want to hide from life and from the responsibilities that seem overwhelming, and, like Gwennyth, there isn’t anyone else to take over. I think we’ve all experienced this at one time or another, that longing to lock the door and let the world do what it will.
However, Gwennyth doesn’t have this option, and neither do we, most of the time. And while her whining annoys me to absolutely no end, I can respect that, while she’s whining, she’s also acting. I can respect her forcing herself to do what scares her, and I’m curious to see where she goes next (when she decides to tell me).
Who are some other characters that lack self-confidence? What about yourself? Can you identify with this?