Gollum’s Precious by J Vincent

When the topic of writing about the most prized possession of a character was suggested I presumed it would be an easy blog to write. After thinking about my main characters for several days I came to realize that it is a difficult subject due to very slim pickin’s. There’s not even a whimper of a glimmer of Gollum’s enslavement to the ring among the characters that inhabit my mind. Now I wonder, why don't my characters have some object they prize above all else? Notice that I didn’t say I wonder why I didn’t give them precious objects, but why they don’t have them. I give my characters problems to overcome which is only just since they always go their own way even when I object, but back to our topic for the day.

The first characters I considered didn’t cherish possessions but intangibles. Daphne Stratton, in my unpublished Regency Never to Part, prizes her ability to read auras. She thought this ability a nuisance as a child but grew into it, so to speak and finds it helpful in wending her way through life’s pitfalls. After all, you can hardly be led astray or fooled if you can “read” when a person does not speak the truth. Not until she finds a person, the hero, whose aura she cannot read does the full value of this talent become apparent to her. But of objects she treasures, Daphne has none.

My second round of cogitation proved more fruitful. Lady Barry Gromley, the widowed heroine of my published Georgian set circa 1760, A Promise Rose, Avalon Books, 2003, kept the rose given to her by Mr. Prideau as a pledge of love for twelve years. This despite Prideau’s betrayal of his promise rose. He went to America to make his fortune and when he had, wrote her a “Dear Joan” letter. She stores the long dried rose in a paper mache box she made for it the first month she had it. Though tempted to throw both box and rose away after she was forced to marry the much older Baron Gromley by circumstances beyond her control, Barry could not. The box secreted beneath old gowns in the bottom of a trunk in the attic, she strove to forget the rose and Prideau. Lady Barry never completely manages to do this but it fades into the background of the life she builds for herself. That is until Prideau, now an earl, reappears. Retrieving the box that holds that long ago pledge Lady Barry studies the fragile dried petals. Betrayal again or love? Which does Prideau bring?

The other instance starts with a six year old boy rescued from the Terror in France by his aunt as told in A Bond of Honour a Regency set circa 1795, published by Dell books, 1980, and now available as an ebook from
Regency Reads. When the aunt saved the young boy and his infant sister she allowed him to take with him some toy tin soldiers, gifts from his parents. At the end of A Bond of Honour the tin soldiers are discovered to contain emeralds. By the time this boy, Andre Ribeymon, Baron de la Croix, appears in my Honour Series (as yet unpublished) he is a young man (and a British spy) whose aunt had one of the emeralds set in a gold stick pin for his cravats as a memento. This he treasures. She risked her life in saving him, raised him, and he loves her as he did her sister, his mother.

But of equal, if not more, value to Andre are the tin soldiers which once held the emeralds. They are the only keepsake he has of his murdered parents. Andre stores them carefully arranged in an intricately carved box that once held his mother’s trinkets. (How he retrieved that from France is another story.) This box he has on a shelf on a book case in his bed chamber. Whenever he handles the toy soldiers Andre recalls his mother and father and finds solace. They touched them as he now does when they played “battle” with him and the soldiers.

A long dried rose and tin soldiers. Nothing like Gollum's ring. But do they tell you something about my characters?

What object would you like to give a character? Why?


Reese Mobley said...

Great post, Joan. I love the tin soldiers and the rose because these things mean the world to your characters. Nice job.

Joan Vincent said...

Thanks for stopping by Reese!

Elaine Morrison said...

Joan, even your blog is well written, making interesting reading. I enjoyed hearing about your characters and want to read each book. You asked what object would we give a character and why. In real life, when my grandpa died, we divvied up his Bibles. Why? He never even owned one until the age of 62, but they had things underlined, highlighted, and notes written in the margins. Notes that revealed his thoughts and dreams...as good as a journal in a way. I could see doing that in an inspirational. It definitely reveals something about the owner and the one who treasures it later. (We learned things about grandpa that we never knew while he was alive.) One thing that hit me in your blog was the fact that what the hero or heroine treasures reveals something about their personality, intergrity, etc. It's a great way to help develop them as a character, and also works well with villains to reveal that they are, well, a villain, lol. Again, great blog...and is there any way to read Never To Part, hmmm?

Joan Vincent said...

Thanks for sharing your grandpa and his bibles, Elaine. That would be a very good object point for a character in any book. Thanks also for the compliment on my writing. There is still a chance Never to Part will be published. I'll let you know when I get word on it.

Yes, the objects we give, whether to hero or heroine if treasured by them, do provide information about their personality and character or their quirks. I hadn't thought of it as character development. Thanks for that idea. Pat and Reese have also broadened by thinking on this topic so I'm really glad it was suggested. Thanks Penny for coming up with it and Rox for setting for this month.

Pat Davids said...

You've made me love all your heroes. Especially the bad boy. Oh, what a hero he is.

Penny Rader said...

Great post, Joan. I hope you are able to publish Never to Part. Sounds like an intriguing story.

Elaine, thanks for sharing your grandpa's bibles. What a wonderful, meaningful inheritance. I'm always afraid to mark up my Bible, which is weird because I'm a highlighter kinda girl and if it's non-fiction and I own it, it's probably highlighted all over the place. Maybe it's because it's a holy book and I don't feel so worthy. Then again, God wouldn't have given us the Bible if he didn't want us to use it, right? (Sorry, just thinking out loud.)