Character Connection: Merricat Blackwood

I have an affiliate relationship with and Malaprop's Bookstore in beautiful Asheville, NC. I will earn a small commission at no additional cost to you if you purchase merchandise through links on my site. Read more on my affiliate page.

Character Connection

Don’t you just love larger-than-life characters? The ones who jump off the page and grab you? Whether you love them or hate them, you can’t be indifferent to them.

I would love to know about the characters who just won’t leave you! Most of you will probably post about how much you love (or loathe) each character, but this is a great place for the more creative ones among you to let go and have fun! Write yourself into a scene with Anne and Diana. Write a love poem in elvish for Aragorn. Draw a picture of Harry obliterating Voldemort. The possibilities are endless.

Be sure to post the book’s title and author, and be very careful not to give away spoilers while talking about how much you love your characters.

Mr. Linky will be posted here on The Introverted Reader every Thursday.

We Have Always Lived in the Castle

Merricat Blackwood is an oddly disturbing little character. She’s the narrator of Shirley Jackson’s We Have Always Lived in the Castle.

Merricat is 18 years old in the book’s present, but she feels like she’s mentally about 12. Oh, she’s a smart girl alright, but she’s happier acting younger and letting her long-suffering older sister, Constance, take care of her. She has her own little rituals of protection for what’s left of her family. She’s buried and hung talismans all around the family property to protect them. She makes the rounds weekly to make sure that they’re all still in place. She even practically has a witch’s familiar in the form of Jonas the cat.  She also goes to the nearest town a few times a week to get supplies. She makes no secret of the fact that she hates everyone in the village. They make no secret of the fact that they hate her right back.

There’s been some tragedy in the past that has left Merricat, Constance, and their Uncle Julian as the last surviving members of the family. Merricat hates to talk about that, so she doesn’t. It all unfolds slowly and unsettles you as it does.

Christina Ricci

This is Merricat’s opening to the book: “My name is Mary Katherine Blackwood. I am eighteen years old, and I live with my sister, Constance. I have often thought that with any luck at all I could have been born a werewolf, because the two middle fingers on both my hands are the same length, but I have had to be content with what I had. I dislike washing myself, and dogs, and noise. I like my sister Constance, and Richard Plantagenet, and Amanita phalloides, the death-cup mushroom. Everyone else in my family is dead.”

I mean it. She’s a freaky little thing, but I couldn’t help but like her.

Describe a freaky girl and I can’t help but picture Christina Ricci as Wednesday Addams. This is how I pictured Merricat all through the book. I honestly don’t remember if this is how she’s described, but this is her in my head.  Maybe that’s why I like her–my sister looked eerily like this when she was this age!

Who did you connect with this week? Link your post on Mr. Linky, then be sure to go check out the other Character Connections!

I have an affiliate relationship with IndieBound, Book Depository, and Better World Books and will receive a small commission at no cost to you if you purchase books through links on my site.

Other Posts You May Enjoy:


  1. +JMJ+

    She sounds quite wonderful, actually! =P I love weird, freaky characters who can't help being endearing.

    I forgot to link my Character Connection post yesterday, so it's late in the linky today. Sorry!

  2. YES!!! I love Merricat SO MUCH (just referenced her in a review, actually). She is a "freaky little thing" but so delightfully so.

  3. She does sound strange! You said she and her uncle were the only surviving members of their family…and then she mentions her sister?

    It also struck me that her sister ranks alongside a historical character and a mushroom!…interesting.:D

I love to hear from you! Please contact me (menu bar, above) if you're having trouble commenting.