2/11/2012

Literary Characters I'd Most (and Least) Like to Invite to a Party


If you could choose any characters from literature to invite to a big shindig - say, history's coolest New Year's Eve party - who would you invite?

(Note that I'm asking about literary characters you most want to PARTY with, which is a far different list than folks you might wish to invite over for a nice dinner party.  Completely different list, and maybe the topic of my next blog post, eh ...?)

So, with apologies to Atticus Finch (love you, but you don't strike me as a party animal), Nancy Drew/Ned Nickerson (hearing about your adventures would be great, but I'd spend the whole party worrying someone might say something off-color and shock you), and Sherlock Holmes (you really need to work on your social skills, dude) - here's a list of the literary figures/couples that would definitely top my invitiation list!

  1. Lord Harry Flashman/Lady Elspeth Morrison Flashman (various titles, George MacDonald Fraser).  Not only would Lord Harry have hundreds of fabulous (albeit invented) stories of derring-do to share with the guests, but Lady Flashman would provide a comely bit of eye candy ... and none of my single friends - male or female - would go away disappointed.
  2. Bertie Wooster/Jeeves (various titles, PG Wodehouse).  Because someone's got to spike the punch, and then someone's got to make sure everyone gets home safely
  3. Jay Gatsby/Daisy Buchanan (The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald).  Because someone's got to get the rest of the guests drinking and dancing.
  4. Lord Peter Whimsy/Lady Harriet Vane Whimsey/Bunter (various titles, Dorothy Sayers).  Sure to add intellectual depth to the ensemble without dragging everyone down.
  5. Rhett Butler/Scarlett O'Hara Butler (Gone With the Wind, Margaret Mitchell).  Counting on them to contribute dash, color, and that all-important whiff of scandal to the proceedings! 
  6. Kimball "Kim" O'Hara (Kim, Rudyard Kipling).  He's learned, he's a bit of a rogue, and the stories he could tell about his travels and adventures ...!
  7. The Wife of Bath (Canterbury Tales).  I've always pictured her as that grandmother you occassionally run across at family gatherings - the one that says outrageous things because they can.  Sure to amuse/entertain with ribald stories about life and romance. 
  8. Emma Woodhouse Knightly/George Knightly (Emma, Jane Austen).  In addition to being charming and urbane company, I'm guessing Emma would make the best wingman(woman) ever!
Can't you just picture Lord Peter and Kim talking learnedly about oriental literature while Harriet and Jay cut a rug; Daisy and Elspeth sharing fashion tips while Flashman surrupticiously hits on Scarlett; Jeeves and Bunter one-upping each other with tales of the scrapes their masters keep getting into; Bertie and Harry drinking each other under the carpet; Rhett and Mr. Knightly discussing the perils of colonialism while Emma listens with delighted shock to one of the Wife of Bath's more salacious anecdotes; ? Best party EVER!

Speaking of which, here are the literary characters I'd least like to invite to a party, for the reasons stated:
  1. Captain Ahab (Moby Dick, Herman Melville).  Please, can we talk about something else besides that blasted whale?
  2. Job (The Bible).  Can you imagine the conversation? What a downer!
  3. Lady Chatterly (Lady Chatterly's Lover, DH Lawrence).  Whine, whine, whine!
  4. Humbert Humbert (Lolita, Vladimir Nabakov).  How icky would it be to have to worry about him hitting on the daughters of my other guests?
  5. Don Juan (legend/fable).  He'd distract the female guests and annoy the male ones.
  6. Ebenezer Scrooge  (A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens). You just know he's going to double-dip those potato chips.
  7. Hannibal Lector (Silence of the Lambs, Thomas Harris).  Everyone would feel oddly uncomfortable eating the meatballs.
  8. Tom Sawyer/Huck Finn (various titles, Mark Twain).  Great guys, but I'm not entirely sure they wouldn't steal the silver.
  9. Tarzan (or Conan) (legend/fable). Sure, they've lived adventurous lives, but is there anything more annoying than getting stuck at a party talking to the guest with the poor English skills and/or indecipherable accent?
  10. The Cat in the Hat (various titles, Dr. Seuss).  I'm not cleaning up that mess!

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