The ‘old friends’ in this instance happens to be theBelgariadseries of books by David Eddings. There are no major spoilers in this post, but I will be naming characters and what-have-you. If you’ve never read them, do it. They’re great fun. Bubblegum for the eyes in a lot of ways, but entertaining nonetheless. Regardless… a cut just in case.
I have been around these books for a long, long time. I remember my mum reading them and seeing them lying around the house long before I picked up Pawn of Prophecy and actually started to read it. Once I did start reading the series, I ate them up like they were going out of fashion. Here was a world so rich I could smell the rich loam of Sendaria; feel the icy chill of Cherek and the stifling heat of the jungles of Nyissa. I could picture every single character in that book perfectly… except one. Garion. He never formed fully in my mind. Just your average teenage boy with ‘sandy hair’.
As part of this, I randomly flitted around the interwebs to see how other people visualise the characters. I love the concept of ‘dream casting’, as in… using an actor alive or dead and from any period in time to best demonstrate how you see a particular character. So I’m going to visit the ‘main crowd’.
Garion – like I said, I have problems properly visualising him. Some people have said ‘a younger Haydn Christensen’, but that’s not really working for me.
Belgarath - a lot of people have said ‘Sean Connery’ fits their image of the ancient sorcerer, and also I’ve seen a smattering of Michael Caine’s about the place (not a lot of people know that). I can’t help seeing him as Richard Attenborough as he was in Jurassic Park.
Polgara – seen a few suggestions on this one. Angelina Jolie? No. Too pouty. Liv Tyler? Possibly too duck-like. Catherine Zeta-Jones? Actually, that one kind of works in my head, but again, I see Polgara as more stately and classically beautiful. Like Audrey Hepburn, possibly.
Durnik - throughout the book, Durnik the Dependable Sendarian Blacksmith is described as being plain and non-descript. I found a suggestion of Greg Grunberg and he does have that sort of dependable solidity about him.
Barak - oh my word, Barak. In my head, he’s always looked like Any Of William Wallace’s Army. Or James Cosmo in his Angus MacLeod days.
Silk – this is one of those difficult ones. I see Silk perfectly inside my head, but externalising that is much harder. I am deeply amused by the repeated suggestions of ‘Johnny Depp’ and much as I love Mr. Depp, that’s a resounding NO from me. I’ve seen a suggestion of David Tennant, which is better – but still not quite right. DT is far too tall. Perhaps surgery to reduce the length of his thighs? Failing that, some other quirky-looking actor. Steve Buscemi may be slightly too bug-eyed, John Cusack may be slightly too handsome… Silk’s a toughie alright. Although having said that, Steve Buscemi in this picture works well as the ‘rat-faced little Drasnian’.
Ce’Nedra - until the actress who’s perfect for her came along, I’d always just pictured her happily in my head. But then along came Lily Cole. She has that perfect, exquisite, doll-like loveliness about her that works perfectly for the fiery little Tolnedran Princess.
Mandorallen - has to be someone tall, dark and dashingly handsome (with the ability to brood prettily) and always looked a bit like Pierce Brosnan in my head.
Lelldorin – heh. Any one of a number of throw-away pretty blond boys over the years, but recently settled into the shape of Bradley James.
Hettar - ah, the top-knotted Horse Lord. Most people settled on Daniel Day-Lewis as he was inLast of the Mohicans. I have no problem with that.
Relg – the Ulgo diviner, zealot and character who I largely ignored the first few times I read the book. This time, however, I have found myself quite taken with him and find him massively sympathetic. And still massively annoying. He’s a difficult character to cast again. But Gary Oldman as he was in the Scarlet Letter works well.
Torak - That’s where your Johnny Depp comes in…
That’s the main character list sorted. I’m not going to start going into the assorted kings, queens and other hangers-on that make up the tapestry of the books!
So there you go. An interesting exercise in putting faces to characters. I’m sure most people do it; transpose their own ideal casting onto a character. With that in mind, those of you who’ve read the series… what do you think?