Talkfest Thursday: Immortality and Rebirths

I have decided to come up with a feature for my blog, just to spice things up. Henceforth, today marks the debut of *drumroll* TALKFEST THURSDAY.
Talkfest Thursday is a feature that acts as a discussion post of sorts, where I will feature a topic (usually literature related), of my choice, and then proceed to talk about it at great length. This will appear, at least once a month, on a Thursday (or more depending on how cooperative my brain is).

 A few days ago, I found myself in a particularly lively state. Lively enough to haul my ass to the gym. The gym I go to is pretty small. It will take me only about 7 wide strides from one end to the other. So, conversations have a tendency to be overheard by anyone. So, no I don't eavesdrop intentionally. Just wanted to make that one clear. Haha.


The said gym only has one television and at that particular time, it was playing the latest James Bond movie entitled Skyfall. As Daniel Craig was doing his customary sprint (it's not as legendary as the Tom Cruise sprint, but it's pretty close) our fitness trainer exclaimed: "James Bond has been around for so long." "There always seem to be a new movie adaptation." He was talking to a client who responded by agreeing to him and saying: "Yeah, it's like those Lord of the Rings movies." and "The Hobbit is only one book but they split it into three movies." I did not get the connection. But that's what he said. Moving on. He then proceeded to say."You know what? I want James Bond to die." He meant it in jest, I think. I'm sure he's a swell guy. It's like it's okay to talk about Bond dying because it's an impossible thing. It won't happen. Much like saying: You know what? I want it to rain cats. Won't that be a hoot?

James Bond can't die. He just can't. If he does (which he won't), mass hysteria will ensue, buildings will collapse, the ground will open up, the sky will fall. The sky will fall. Get it? Sky Fall? Hahaha. Sorry about that. Anyhow, so this all got me thinking, James Bond is one of those characters that is granted immortality. He won't ever die. Our children will know of him. Our children's children will probably know of him too. He will just keep on being resurrected both on film and in the books in the hands of various directors and authors. Now that we are on the subject of Bond, I like Daniel Craig's take on it best, because he is much more physical and gets down and dirty (and because he has the second "awesomest" sprint). I haven't read any Bond books but I do know that there are already several re-imaginings. There is Charlie Higson's Young Bond, targeted for middle grade readers. Post-Fleming, we have had several from Kingsley Amis, John Gardner and many more. And I imagine, each of those Bonds, as much as they are the same, are quite different from each other depending on who the author is. (But there is an interesting theory going around, that James Bond is not a man, but rather a codename, passed from one agent to another. But I'll take it as what it says it is, a theory.)  

Other literary characters that share the same immortality would be Sherlock Holmes, and Robin Hood. Sherlock will forever regale us with his genius in solving cases. While Robin Hood, together with his merry band of outlaws, will forever vex the Sheriff of Nottingham. Sherlock has enjoyed many reiterations on screen. We have Guy Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes starring Robert Downey Jr. On TV we have Elementary with Johnny Lee Miller. And my absolute favorite, BBC's Sherlock with Benedict Cumberbatch. Aside from the Conan Doyle ones, Sherlock Homes has been given life in Caleb Carr's The Italian Secretary. As for Robin Hood, I have a particular fondness for the spoof comedy Men in Tights (1993) by Mel Brooks. In books, aside from Howard Pyle's, we also have The Outlaws of Sherwood by Robin Mckinley and Hood (King Raven #1) by Stephen Lawhead.

How about you? Do you know of any more literary characters that enjoy immortality? Those that constantly undergo a rebirth? Any favorite reboots, portrayals, or re-imaginings? Do share in the comments section! Or else this feature will just be all talk (by me!) and no fest. :D

Comments

  1. Hi, Tin! Hmmmmm. . . . Oh, thanks to graphic novels and modern novels featuring these characters, Frankenstein, Dracula, Dr. Jekyll, Cthulhu, and other supernatural characters seem immortal! I have no problems with this, of course, but I do hope that the younger generation's interest in them will lead toward their discovering of the original novels. I guess that's what happened to me. When I read Stephen King's Salem's Lot, I got intrigued about vampires and picked up Dracula. I never looked back.

    King Arthur also seems immortal. In fact, I lost count on all the various Arthurian legends in bookstores today. My favorite would be The Once and Future King by T. H. White.

    Oh, I just remembered -- the house of Tudors! Henry VIII, Queen Elizabeth, Queen Mary, et al! People are always fascinated by these real-life historical characters. Just recently, I think it was last year, I read this YA novel about Katherine Howard, who was one of the wives of Henry VIII. It's entitled Gilt, and it's part of a series actually. The first novel is entitled Tarnish, which features Anne Boleyn.

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    1. I'm glad you brought all these characters to my attention Peter! I haven't read any books about them. (Save for one Arthurian Legend retelling called Song of the Sparrow by Lisa Ann Sandel, which is a YA novel in verse featuring Elaine of Astolat, the one who died of heartbreak pining for Lancelot.) The little I know of them are from tv or movie adaptations. It's usually the language that gets me when reading their original versions. I do have trouble with the classics, most often than not. Hihi. But I did read The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle last year, (because I loved the BBC show Sherlock and wanted to be able to compare it to the book), and I found it to be a great read. It wasn't at all that difficult. I remember starting The Once and Future King, but only got a few pages in. Again, it's the language structure. But I do love the Arthurian Legends. Knights, and chivalry, and magic swords, I mean what's not to love? I will try and give TO&FK another shot. I will also keep in mind Dracula (all I know is that he's a vampire, that's about it), Dr. Jekyll (I only know of the Bugs Bunny cartoon's hilarious episode on this particular character. Haha.) and then Frankenstein (I heard they're going to do a movie adaptation again, with James McAvoy as Victor and Daniel Radcliffe as Igor!)

      I have also long been curious about Tudor Books. I do have a copy of Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantle, which scares me, just looking at it. Have you read that one? If yes, do I have to read Wolf Hall first? I wonder if it’s anything like a historical A Game of Thrones? You know, sans blood and gore and magic and Khal Drogo? Haha! Also a YA Tudor? That is awesome. :D

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  2. Hi Tin! Cool new feature! (Because we do love talking about books, right?)

    I am no James Bond fan so I don't really care if he dies haha :P But I agree as to Sherlock and Robin Hood (this reminds me to read The Italian Secretary). Do I know of other literary characters who enjoy immortality? The first things that came to my mind are the fairy tale characters: Snow White, Cinderella, Peter Pan, Rapunzel. Haha. I'd love them to stay forever because I am looking forward to reading their stories to my little girl someday. :)

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    1. Thanks Lynai! I know right? Books and talking, yes. More so if combined. :)

      Lol! I am not a big James Bond fan either. I hardly get into the espionage stuff but they do make for an entertaining movie. Love them fairy tale characters! And yes, they undergo quite a number of rebirths in many a modern adaptations on both film and paper. Ay, the little girl will love eet! I know I did. Those tales about princesses, mile-long enchanted tresses, ticking crocs, and fairy dust! Can't you make her grow up faster? Haha! Naw, enjoy her in all her baby glory. We will get to the growing up part soon enough. :D

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  3. I agree with Peter and Lynai's comments, too -- King Arthur and fairy tale characters have endured over the years. :)

    Lizzie and Mr Darcy have literary immortality, too! There are just countless of incarnations of them (the most among Austen's characters) in print (from re-imaginings to contemporary takes), TV, and film. Even web series! Another romantic couple to enjoy immortality beyond their fictional deaths are Romeo and Juliet. Isn't there a new Romeo and Juliet film coming out soon? And a YA title from a contemporary Rosalind's POV? Then there's also Peter Pan, who in a way gets his wish of never growing old. ;)

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    1. Hi Chris! True, P&P have so many adaptations in both books and film already. Austenland, The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, and there's even a P&P zombies! Romeo and Juliet too. Are you referring to the one with Hailee Steinfeld? I think it was released in the US already, late last year. I haven't seen it though and I'm curious about it. The actors cast as the lead seem kind of young. Oh there is a YA title with a Rosalind POV? Cool! She's a pretty obscure character. (although, I think because of that obscurity, there is much more room to play around for the author/s (or film maker) wishing to create a retelling of sorts.) As for Peter Pan, never growing old is probably almost akin to immortality. I remember the movie Hook the most. The one with Robin Williams. Rufio! Rufio! Hihi.

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