Monday, July 8, 2013

Consortium of Chaos superhero romance novel character bio #9: The Librarian

We’ll do Marian today, simply because I was looking over her book The Guy Your Friends Warned You About last night, and realized that I didn’t do her bio yet.  There may be some minor character history spoilers in here if you’ve never read the book, but nothing major.

Dr. Marian Kristen Willson AKA “The Librarian” is head of the Consortium’s Legal, Research and Accounting Departments.  She handles payroll, as well as all legal issues which the Consortium gets involved in.  Additionally, she is CEO of the Consortium’s legitimate business arm, the Commodious Corporation, which she grew from a single used car lot in Nebraska into a multinational conglomerate.

Marian has the ability to absorb written information through contact, which she uses to learn things at an astonishing rate.  She claims to have “memorized the internet,” has degrees in every field you can name, and can speak several dozen languages.  Her IQ is reportedly somewhere well above 250, she practices Wing Chun martial arts, and collects antique buttons.  She is one of the few members of the Consortium who has a record indicating no arrests, no warrants and no known altercations with any superhero; anywhere, at any time.  …Because she broke into Federal databases and erased them all.
She’s probably about 5’8”, has blonde hair and blue eyes.  She wears her hair in a bun, and is 30 years old.  She dresses in old style clothes (long skirts, button boots, long-sleeve shirts, etc.), and has a habit of never using contractions.  She’s almost always perfectly calm and graceful, and keeps her emotions in check.

Marian is the only daughter of an Indiana college Assistant Dean, and another researcher.  Her father seems to have had an interest in mechanical engineering, but studied all sorts of different fields and passed on his love of learning to Marian.  Her mother got fired from several different positions at the college due to her anger control issues, and as a result, had to become the custodian.  After her father’s mysterious disappearance-- which Marian suspects her mother was behind-- they lived in the library of the school, until Marian was old enough to leave. 

Her formative years have left Marian with anger towards the world, and guilt over her past.  She keeps all of her emotions in check, unwilling to express them for fear of someone using them against her.

Marian is probably the scariest character on the team.  She scares everyone.  She’s competent, ruthless and utterly unaffected by morality.  Her contention is that heroism makes no sense, as people are too selfish to ever do something out of the goodness of their hearts.  Evil on the other hand, makes perfect sense to her and she understands its self-seeking ideology.  She has the ability to bottom-line situations and can always be counted on to view a situation a rational way. 
She’s one of the few people on the team who both Wyatt and Tyrant are wary of crossing, and most of the Consortium is afraid of her wrath.  She’s smarter than the rest of them, and she knows it.
If I had to describe her, I would probably go with what someone from her past once said: that she’s the “Tiffany” cutout from the first Men in Black film: The scene in question.

The person’s contention was that Marian was like that cutout, because: “...the cutout was more evil and dark than any of the monsters which surrounded her, no matter what she might look like on the outside.  Because what lurked beneath was the worst thing in the room.  Evil wasn’t governed by form.  Evil could be anything and anyone.  It didn’t need claws or tentacles or astonishing powers to do its foul work.  Sometimes evil could simply be a little blonde girl with an above average intellect, calmly walking with monsters.  But through her, evil could accomplish all manner of hell.  More terrible things could spring from her mind than even the other monsters could ever imagine.” 

While I don’t think Marian is a bad person, I think she’s definitely capable of doing bad things if pushed.  Despite this, I actually like Marian a lot.  I think she’s funny, and I find her rather sweet.  She genuinely seems to want to help people at times, and I’m glad she found her HEA.  I think she had a hard life and is afraid of getting hurt again, so she’s always on guard.  …Her ideas still scare me sometimes though.

Marian is a deliberate attempt to take a standard cliché and turn it on its head.  I wanted to take the idea of the innocent wallflower Librarian, and make her the hardest character in the series, while trying not to lose what makes the character type interesting in the first place. 
She’s based on any number of stereotypical “librarian” characters, but is mainly based on a law school professor I used to have.  The woman also wore long skirts and dresses every day, and always used an utterly calm speaking voice.  She knew absolutely everything about her area of the law.  But if you made her mad or disappointed her, her voice would change and she was the single scariest person I’ve ever met.  I don’t know how she did it, but the woman was terrifying.  I liked that dichotomy, so Marian took on this trait and career.  I also seem to recall being inspired by a “Librarian action figure” which the staff at my local branch library have on display, Shirley Jones in the 1962 “Music Man” film (obviously), and a pin-up image from the 1960s, showing a woman in glasses in a library.  I also remember being obsessed with the “Return to Oz” film as a kid (don’t judge me), and there’s a character in that named “Nurse Wilson”, who wears old style clothes and has a calm menace.  I don’t specifically recall remembering that when I began writing Marian, but I suppose it could have come into play as well.

She was one of the first characters to be added to the series, and has always had a very distinctive “voice”.  From the moment she first appeared, she’s basically been who she would end up being.  Her dialogue does take me a long time to research, but I‘ve learned a lot about everything from explosives to microbiology as a result, so it wasn’t a total waste.


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