Character Thoughts – Ethan Grimley III


final-cover-with-bookThose who’ve read The Chronicles of Ethan Grimley III know that Ethan can be a bit strong-willed. He also has a certain disregard for the rules when it suits him, especially when he thinks he’s doing the right thing. The first time we see this is in A Walker is Born when Ethan skips school and disobeys his mother to check on Damion. Needless to say, his mother has four kinds of hissy fits, but Ethan just jumps right back at her. After all, he doesn’t understand why she worries so much about him. In Cronus Attacks Ethan takes off out the door when the Shadow Walker guild hall is attacked even though the students are ordered to remain indoors. He does it again when Faylen is taken, and it is because of Ethan and his friends that Cronus is defeated.

Much of Ethan’s behavior can be chalked up to childhood recklessness. From the perspective of an adult who’s raised three boys, I can understand how the adults around Ethan would want to keep him and the others safe. They’re children after all. On the other hand, I wonder if we keep our children too safe, keep them too shielded from the world around them. We have this idea that everyone gets a trophy and that no one should fail, but is this fair to the kids? Do they benefit from being raised in this environment?

From a parental perspective, I can understand not wanting your child to carry the weapon of a god, and I can understand wanting to keep him safe. Mine are grown, but come for them. I dare you. However, I can also see the wisdom of letting the children figure things out for themselves. I can understand how Ethan would feel that he was capable of handling the situation himself because I felt like I knew what I was doing at that age. (Doesn’t mean I did know, but I felt like I did.) I was quite capable of analyzing a situation and deciding on a course of action. I didn’t need someone standing over me telling me what to do every minute of every day. In fact, what I needed more than anything was for folks to back off and let me figure it out.

I think this is one of the things I try to portray with Ethan and his friends. The decisions Ethan has to make are his and his alone. No one can tell him whether to accept Gaia’s gift or not, and determining how to fight an enemy that is coming for him is knowledge he needs to have. You don’t get it in the classroom, regardless of what the subject is. I’m surely not encouraging students to skip school and the like, but I think there are times when we, as adults, need to back off and let them figure it out. Our children need to be able to enter the adult world knowing they can handle it. Will that happen if we hold their hands until they’re thirty? Do we want them to go out into the world frozen as Electa is so much of the time?

How much freedom of decision do you think children should have?

Character Thoughts – Gwennyth Grimsbane

aradias-secret-cover-with-book-woman.png.pngGwennyth 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?

Best wishes!

Lissa Dobbs