Wednesday, May 18, 2016

To Hamish - A Love Letter

By The Vampire Daemon

Pictured here is Chatelherault - Deb Harkness' inspiration for Hamish's hunting lodge
The title may be overly-dramatic, but for me, it's a truth.  I wanted to take the time out to toss some love over to Hamish Osborne.

There’s Matthew and Diana, and Gallowglass, and Philippe. Ysabeau, and Marcus, and Fernando, and Miriam, and Baldwin.  All great characters among a great cast of characters!  Who’s my favorite?  Hamish.  Ok, Hamish doesn’t get a whole lot of attention.  He’s a secondary character at best, but for me he simply saved this series.  I was on the verge of putting down A Discovery of Witches at the end of chapter 8.  A “Did Not Finish" (DNF) is very rare when I read supernatural/fantasy stories; I usually stick it out.  Luckily, I found the energy to give Chapter 9 a go!

In opening, we are introduced to Diana Bishop, who I didn’t relate to.  She found her studies, intellect and accomplishments so comforting.  And if I’m honest, at introduction, she came off as a major snooty crank.  I was never one to be fascinated with academia.  I see schooling as a means to an end.  For me, to enjoy learning something, I need to do away with theory and know that in the end, I will have the ability execute what I learn for actual results.  It’s a “Let’s learn how to do this so I can make things happen!” attitude.  I don’t enjoy learning something just to learn unless it’s a subject that really intrigues me.

For work I had to take a personality test - I am an ISTP personality type (you can figure out your own personality type on sites like this one—> TypeFinder Personality Test.  Be honest with your answers!).  The main characteristics of my personality type are the following: ISTPs are action-oriented people. They like to be up and about, doing things. They are not people to sit behind a desk all day and do long-range planning. Adaptable and spontaneous, they respond to what is immediately before them. They usually have strong technical skills and can be effective technical leaders. They focus on details and practical things. They have an excellent sense of expediency and grasp of the details which enables them to make quick, effective decisions. As much as I wasn’t fond of being put into a personality box, it clarified a lot for me and the people I work with.  With that aspect of my personality explained, in ADOW, the pondering, sitting around, discussion and the underlying tension in chapters 1-8 just bored me to tears!  Blasphemous, I am aware!  Also, Matthew did nothing for me.  I saw him as a guy who had too many credentials - his business card - was this supposed to impress me?  At this point, for me Matthew was an overly-educated, too rich, and full of himself vampire for his own good (call me Sarah), and even the supposedly fascinating aspect of him - the fact that he was a vampire - did nothing for this fantasy fiction fan. Later on, I realized I was being set up to open my mind and deal with these difficult personalities who I would eventually grow to adore and understand much more . . . all thanks to Hamish (I suppose we should give the author some credit here too ;-) ).

The brusque encounters between Matthew and Diana culminating in breakfast, then yoga and tea at the Woodstock gatehouse - YAWN!  It wasn’t until the agitated Matthew went up to Scotland and visited his wise friend Hamish Osborne that the story finally opened up to me.  Hamish cut through the bullsh*t with patience and aggressive truth.  I LOVED that about him.  He allowed me to see Matthew as more of a complex puzzle, with many layers and vulnerabilities.  Now we’re talking!

“There’s more to the game than protecting your queen,” Hamish said. ~ Ch 9, A Discovery of Witches
Hamish is the type of guy to hold up a mirror to you and tell you to look at it, deal with it, and embrace it, because that’s what you have to work with, so get to stepping!  I loved that he was unapologetic about his choice of house which Matthew poo-pooed.  He knows who he is, what he likes and is fine with it.  I like that he doesn’t judge Matthew for his past sins and helps him see himself for the man he is.  He helped him deal with his nature (not to fight his longing for Diana).  I love that Hamish is so intelligent, but it is not necessarily a defining characteristic of his nature.  I love that he is a natural leader.  Hamish has the answers and will not hesitate to tell you what you need to do.  Much like Baldwin - perhaps with a more subtle approach - Hamish comes in and cleans up major messes.

The fact that Chapter 9 was told from a fly-on-the-wall viewpoint also helped the story along.  In writer's terms this would be an “omniscient" point of view.  It reads as if it's written in the third person, but there is a difference.  The omniscient POV can allow the reader to mind-hop and see what’s really going on with all characters in the scene whereas in the third person POV you are mainly seeing it through the main character's eyes (as if it were written in the first person).  That’s what I needed to make this story flow.  Just to have a hint of what’s driving the characters.  Ironically, after Matthew goes back to Oxford, he does the same for me with Diana.  Peeling back the layers of her fear, her need for control, and her softer side.  And there it was.  I fell in love with the story.

With that I salute the often overlooked character called Hamish.  My favorite character in the series and a daemon of distinction.

"A Conversation with Hamish" by Armitage4Clairmont on YouTube

P.S.  Do you have a favorite character in the All Souls Trilogy you'd like to wax poetic about? Contact us! You can also post your thoughts on The All Souls Gathering!

Post by V. Grendell
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