Do you ever wonder what your favorite characters actually look like? There’s a tweet today by Mulholland Books that asked if readers ever wondered what Michael Connelly thinks Harry Bosch should look like. Here is the interview the author did with Mark Billingham (it’s a two part series):
MB: Have you always had a strong visual sense of Bosch?
MC: Yeah, I have, but I don’t put it in the books. I don’t have a lot of descriptions of him. I like it when the reader can build their own character or attach it to someone they know, or a movie star or TV star or something like that.
That’s the way I prefer it to be and he stopped short of actually naming anybody. I’m one of those readers who have a very firm picture in her head about how Harry Bosh looks or even Harry Hole (Jo Nesbø) for that matter. One of the things I don’t like is when a writer says their protagonist looks like the hottest actor/actress on TV or film. Descriptions like that can ruin the book for me. Okay that’s a bit exaggerated. It can be somewhat annoying how about that? What is the point of reading than to use one’s own imagination?
I have been way off when my picture of the character clashes with the author’s. What a laugh. In my head I’m going: really? At the end of the day I stick to my picture anyway. LOL. I avoid visual depictions of my favorite characters when and wherever possible. Diana Gabaldon’s fans love to draw Jamie and Claire from the Outlander series and I run the other way when I see them because I don’t want anyone messing with the image I have in my mind already. Even after seeing them it still does nothing to remove the ironclad image I have of them. That’s not always true for everybody else though. There have been some horrible depictions of characters on the big screen, in graphic novels and so on.
Film adaptations are the same. I turn the other way. There are exceptions of course. For me, I may imagine the character wrong. I may add something I like or take away something I don’t. Or totally missed the picture completely. That’s the power of the reader’s imagination: to have characters be whatever you want them to be, right? I think so. Right or wrong. In closing I must mention that the cinema produced two depictions of Lisbeth Salander, but who had the right one? The Swedish or the Americans? or neither? I tend to go with neither. Share your thoughts.
Notes: pic credit goes to 123RF.com