28 June 2012

#1: Spotlight on....Gabriel

*The place where I continue to gush about authors, books, and characters, because the overflow won't fit into a review :D*

Anyone who knows me knows that I like to go on and on and on ad nauseum about the angel Gabriel.

For starters, who is Gabriel? Gabriel is the male lead in one of my most favorite books of all time, Archangel, written by Sharon Shinn. And he is definitely in my top three all-time favorite heroes. The best character analysis for Gabriel comes from the book itself, when his stepmother, Hannah, was describing Gabriel to Rachel, his bride-to-be, also chosen for him by the god Jovah.

"... he takes most things seriously. He can be difficult. He can be very sure of himself, so other people's opinions do not always matter to him. He thinks it's a very easy matter to separate right from wrong, good from bad, so subtleties often elude him. He is not patient. But he is - he is never less than committed to making things right. Everything he does is with the goal of bringing goodness to the world. I can't explain what I mean. There is no evil in him. That is a rare thing to say about anyone, even an angel."

What a wonderful description of a person! It struck me when I first read it, and it strikes me each time I see it.

Gabriel is not a badass - on the contrary, he can be quite uptight and all sanctimonious. But his heart is always, always, in the right place. He will do the right thing every time, even if it is unpopular, simply because it is the right thing to do.

When you read the Samaria series, you notice that there are more 'fun' characters around, and certainly more well-liked by most people (in the series): Nathan. Obadiah. And sure, once or twice they - Obadiah especially - would express outrage at the injustices going on. But that was just in passing. It is Gabriel who speaks out openly against slavery; it is he who is viscerally disturbed at the injustices in Samarian society. Not any of those 'fun' people. For that alone, I'd take the stoic Gabriel over them a thousand times any day.

His seriousness is a big part of his character, but so is his love, his strength, his leadership, his dependability, his dominance, his wisdom. And he can be funny and witty when he wants. Another thing I noticed while reading the series was that even the ones who hated him could vouch for his character. Literally the only insults you could come up with for him are about his being uptight and sanctimonious  and a bit autocratic at times. That was it. Everyone acknowledged (even if grudgingly) that he was an amazing leader, a good man, a fair man, a wise man.

Also, everyone who was close to him knew all of his faults - hell all of Samaria knew the dude's many faults- but they loved, respected and admired him. This happened without fail. Hannah did; Ariel did; Obadiah did; Nathan did; Josiah did... and finally Rachel did.

I love, love, love Gabriel. What is there not to adore about a man who does everything with the goal of goodness in mind, a man in whom there is no malice? If you disagree with me, you are just wrong! (hehe. But I am serious, lol). Gabriel is deeply flawed - and none of those noble and fake flaws you have in PNR/UF either: no possessiveness or feeling overly responsible blah, blah blah, but proper weaknesses. Yet he also has amazing strengths that outshine his weaknesses. He is not 'cool', but he has strength of character that is etched immutably in stone. Again, I'd take that over 'cool' any day! If he were real, I do think I'd marry him if only I could get past Rachel!


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