The Sunday Salon: Casting Call

Whenever I read a book, the mental images I develop of the characters can be anything from vague to pretty firm. For instance, since I had a very vague image of Fleur from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire that consisted of mostly “French, gorgeous, and blonde”, the casting was perfect. But I had such a firm image of Viktor Krum that I was a little shocked by his casting. My Krum had floppy hair and a big nose- the film Krum looks a great deal tougher than I pictured him as a lass of nine.

Usually, my images of characters are fairly fluid, so it’s rare for me to find that the protagonists of a few of my recent reads gave me such specific mental images that I was basically casting them in my head. This, to me, is interesting, since it usually only happens when I’m reading a novel after an adaptation is released, like Atonement. (Saoirse Ronan is simply perfect for Briony.)

While reading Boneshaker, I had my usual sort of images–Zeke, in my head, was slightly bug-eyed and weaselly. But when I finished reading the description of Briar, Lena Headey’s face instantly popped into my head.

Lena Headey

Lena Headey has already played a speculative fiction mother protecting her son as the titular character of The Sarah Connor Chronicles. I’ve never watched the show or any Terminator film, to be honest. I’ve only seen Lena Headey in Imagine Me & You, a very adorable queer romance movie. But, even though I haven’t seen her be anything other than a dashing florist, I think she would make an amazing Briar if Boneshaker was ever adapted into a film. She’s got the presence required. Also, she could totally rock a pair of goggles.

Reading Graceling was a similar experience, imagery wise, to Boneshaker. Po, especially, was a vague image for me. It took me a while to see where my image of Katsa was going, to be honest–her face was difficult to nail down. But, in the middle of a fight scene, as Cashore described Katsa’s fighting style, I was reminded of nothing so much as Summer Glau as River Tam.

Summer Glau
Summer Glau

In the television show Firefly and the film sequel, Serenity, Glau plays River Tam, a mentally unstable girl who is also an unstoppable killing machine. Glau is a trained dancer, and I’ve always been very impressed by the fight scenes she’s done for Firefly and Serenity. They’re very beautiful, in a way. Watching Katsa fight reminded me of those scenes, although Katsa isn’t as elegant a fighter as River is. It’s a bit cliché, to reach for Glau’s image for a speculative fiction girl who’s an amazing fighter, but I’ll be honest. That’s who Katsa looks like to me now.

In other news, I have a big week ahead of me, and it’s getting off to a poor start. A button popped off my favorite military coat, it’s cold and raining in Atlanta, and a heinous biology final is glaring at me from Monday morning on my calendar. Still, I have my dorm room to myself until I head home, and there’s going to be a fresh Zelda game waiting for me… hopefully. And something absolutely wonderful is going to happen on Monday- I’m going to see Neil Gaiman! He’s coming to my campus to talk, answer questions, and sign books. I figure, even if I do poorly on my biology final, I’ll still average an awesome day. My next Sunday Salon will be entirely about his visit. I’ll bring my camera.

How do you usually see characters in novels? Do you ever mentally cast like I’ve done?

5 thoughts on “The Sunday Salon: Casting Call

  1. I totally do this! Whenever my sister and I are sleeping in the same bedroom (at holidays etc), we stay up late making cast lists for books we like. Good to know we’re not the only ones!

  2. It is fun to do isn’t it? But then there is the disappointment when actual and imagined casting are so far apart. To go back to Harry Potter casting, Richard Harris was exactly as I imagined Dumbledore but his replacement as the hippie headmaster was not.

    Enjoy Gaiman this week! Great opportunity. Happy reading!

  3. Well, I actually don’t do casts by myself; but I really like watching other people ones. The reason why I don’t cast is that when I’m reading, I can perfectly see the character in my mind, but at the same moment I close the book… Oh, surprise! All the beautiful details are gone.
    Luckily, they come back as long as I start reading again 🙂
    What most bothered me was Hermiones hair in Harry Potter. I saw the first movie before reading the books, and now I just can imagine her blonde! Anyway, I will never imagine Emma’s perfect ringlets in Hermione…

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