Yes, this does begin likewise — with a … in my mind.
I have loved stories ever since I was a child. My father would often tell me small stories, many of which I still remember. He was also the one who inculcated in me the interests of reading and writing.
If I try to walk back to those days and try to remember the stories, the memories that shine most prominently are still plot and character. In particular, Cinderella.
I don’t quite know what I liked about Cinderella, but what I remember most is the dresses she wears to the three dances. I practically do not remember or like anything at all about the Prince. Pretty dumb he was, if you ask me. The other thing I liked about the story was – and most of us would – the Fairy Godmother.
I also read Beauty and the Beast – and loved the Beast. On the other hand, I didn’t think the Beauty had much brains, at all.
I remember reading a comic strip – The Happy Days – about a girl called Sue Day. She was this common kid, naughty and funny – a trouble-maker. Loved her!
As I grew up, I don’t remember much of anything I saw on TV, but I read so many books that hardly a few stand up brighter than others.
I remember Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz. I loved her spirit of never giving up her quest for getting back to her family.
I remember Heidi. Brave, honest, loving – Heidi was a darling! I also remember her friend, Peter. How well he stood by her; equally brave and caring.
I remember Batman! Actually, I remember Bruce Wayne. This intelligent man who has a secret identity he uses to work with police to fight crime. He has no superpowers, except his passion to see victims rescued and criminals paying the price of their deeds. One of the best things I liked about him was that he did not execute judgment himself. He’d hand over the culprit to the police and then his work was done.
I especially liked the 1950s-60s series on the Telly – Adam West, Burt Ward, and the best – Alan Napier. I think I liked the butler more than the batman.
Then, for the longest time, no particular character or story impacted me.
Many years later – I saw The Mummy. The first two minutes had my attention. High Priest Imhotep was one intriguing character. He dared to have an affair with the Pharoah’s mistress, Anck-su-namun, whom no one could touch. He dared to kill the Pharoah when he discovered the affair. He dared to go against everything to raise the dead girlfriend to life – even if it meant he’d be killed for it.
And even when he is brought back to life, his first move is to get Anck-su-namun back – the woman who eventually ditches him to save herself.
Perhaps it was the actor and the way he played Imhotep that made all the difference in bringing Imy to life. The character speaks in ancient egyptian and the movie had subtitles for him. I don’t think, even the first time I watched it, I needed the sub-titles. The actor’s eyes spoke whatever he was saying.
Imhotep’s character and story had me hooked for more than a year. Eventually, it wore off.
Almost a year later, I started reading the LOTR series. Although no character was a favorite with me, there were a few that I liked – Aragorn, Gandalf, Gollum, Gimli – of all these I liked Gimli the most for his straightforwardness and fearlessness, and rarely found honesty in friendship.
And then, came Harry Potter.
Hmm… I don’t think Harry was my favorite character from this entire world full of fresh characters. Perhaps, the one I really looking forward to seeing in the book and the movie were: Severus Snape, Remus Lupin, Sirius Black, McGonagall, Fred and George, and of course, Voldemort.
There are times, actually, when I cannot stand the main three or even Dumbledore!
It is perhaps JKR’s gift that she’s perfected the character sketches of even minor characters, such as, Mrs. Figg and Mundungus so well. One remembers them and one remembers what they stood for in the story.
It is hard to relate with Voldemort’s desire to cheat death and rule forever – unless you see where he came from and then all is justified. While not many would agree with his approach to live his life, yet he became understandable even in his madness, his insanely cruel desire.
It took some time before the Harry Potter craze died down – and then for many, many years, there was a famine.
In 2011, a TV show began and Arnav Singh Raizada became the new craze for many all over the world. I didn’t really see the first few months of it – but when I did – something similar to High Priest Imhotep happened. I didn’t really need to hear what the character was saying (he spoke much less than what the audience wanted), his eyes spoke it all.
Following a close second was, Khushi Kumari Gupta, the love of Arnav’s life.
There was a time when I was following The Mummy fanclubs, we’d engage in role-play games where a person would take up one (or more) characters and we’d play out fanfiction. Each person was responsible for the dialog and reactions of the character they played. It was fun.
Then, with Harry Potter, there was no fanfiction that would hold my attention against the real thing. However, there were these detective clubs, bent on picking out and solving every little clue that JKR had planted in her books or on her website. I don’t know how many certificates I had from there.
With ASR and KKG — I think it is just re-runs of the original show that can ever compete with the original.
On a Lighter note:
How are Fanfictions born?
I’d say – if it was me, it’d go something like this:
What if Arnav Singh Raizada, the businessman, went with his happy-go-lucky associate Khushi Kumari Gupta to Thebes to put on a fashion show.
He hears of Hamunaptra and heads to host a show there instead, in its mystical surroundings, but somehow upsets the undead High Priest Imhotep who now wants to use Khushi’s body to bring his dead girlfriend, Anck-su-namun, to life.
The mighty ASR then realizes he needs to save her from a gruesome death, because … of course, he loves her. But ASR initially fails because, of course, he knows neither hokus-pokus nor ancient egyptian hieroglyphics. He is in deepest gloom when, out of the blue, help comes knocking.
Quite unknown to him, Khushi has a Fairy Godmother who pops up to help him rescue her. Sure enough, ASR can strategize the battle royal on his hands, but hokus-pokus can be fought with hokus-pokus. So, the Fairy Godmother calls for Harry Potter’s help – who’s there to visit Ron’s brother who works for Gringotts in Egyptian Pyramids.
Well, Harry is brave but needs Hermione to go through all those books of the dead and the book of amun-ra…. so they together manage to fight off Imhotep’s mummy army and strip him of the undead powers – before ASR has a go at him man-to-man and – actually does him a favor by moving him from ‘undead’ to ‘dead’.
Okay.. if someone really pulled that through, they’d have vast fandoms of four different lines of fiction – either panting for more or tearing at each other!
On a serious note:
I hope no one tries it.