Book Reviews





Heathcliff - scary as!

Last night I watched an ITV adaptation of Wuthering Heights... It was very good. I like Wuthering Heights... It's ridiculously dark and it amuses me all the time that it's regarded as a romance and not a horror. Heathcliff's a frickin' nutcase, not a loveable rogue! Have to say, Tom Hardy played him brilliantly. I was scared. Actually scared. When he confronts poor Nelly on his return, all gentlemanned up, and demands she "SPEAK! SPEEEAK!" oh my, I think I'd have dropped my apron of apples and broken down crying! No offense intended, but that thick Yorkshire accent has a certain... menace to it!
I spent my lunchbreak today reading some essays and character studies of Heathcliff. Partly because I'm a terrible geek and partly because, like I said, he's a psycho and I'm amazed girls go weak at the knees for him. (What are you thinking Cathy?!)

It is, in fact, the exact same odd idealisation that seems to surround Edward Cullen. Except Heathcliff will actually kill you and Ed will just watch you sleep all the time and maybe lick your face a bit.

So within my hour of reading and research I kept coming across the "Byronic hero". Great phrase! Not ironic or bionic, BYRONIC! yes yes, I know it's in reference to Byron, but imagine if it was a mechanical wit-bot! That might actually go some towards explaining Heathcliff's frightening tendancies. HE'S A MACHINE!!!!

Sorry, I'll be sensible. Byronic heroes then. What are they? Well, let me tell you... Wikipedia puts it something like this:

The Byronic hero is an idealised but flawed character exemplified in the life and writings of English Romantic poet Lord Byron. It was characterised by Lady Caroline Lamb, later a lover of Byron's, as being "mad, bad, and dangerous to know"

Here's the character set:
  • Arrogant
  • Cunning and able to adapt
  • Cynical
  • Disrespectful of rank and privilege
  • Emotionally conflicted, bipolar, or moody
  • Having a distaste for social institutions and norms
  • Having a troubled past or suffering from an unnamed crime
  • Intelligent and perceptive
  • Jaded, world-weary
  • Mysterious, magnetic and charismatic
  • Seductive and sexually attractive
  • Self-critical and introspective
  • Self-destructive
  • Socially and sexually dominant
  • Sophisticated and educated
  • Struggling with integrity
  • Treated as an exile, outcast, or outlaw

If I ever write a book, these are completely the types of people I would write about. Hell, I want to be a Bronte. What with Rochester and Heathcliff Byronic-ing about, their worlds must have been high-drama, high-emotion, high-intensity. Every day! So long my average life and hello mysticism.

But here's the thing. If I write about these characters, they'll be listed somewhere alongside Hannibal Lecter and the Phantom of the Opera. Because, have no qualms about it, that state of mind, with all its intensity, is NOT healthy. These people aren't lovers. They are the characters that make the greatest gothic horror. I'll throw in a few ghosts for good measure, but I will always fail to understand how Heathcliff, Cullen, Dorian Gray and Frollo can ever be figureheads for romanticism. Or maybe girls are just more screwwed than I thought!

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