Character Connection: Tom Builder

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Rufus Sewell as Tom Builder

The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett takes place in the 12th century. Times were tough. One bad summer could wipe out a crop, causing many people to starve. Medicine was for all practical purposes non-existent. Anyone different or new was greeted with deep suspicion. England was on the brink of a civil war.

Yet in all this, we meet Tom Builder. He’s a dreamer. He’s also quietly brilliant. In the first few pages of his story, he loses his job, gets attacked by bandits, and loses his wife as she gives birth to their son. Yet he dreams on.

He accepts people for what they are. When he meets Ellen, a woman whom others see as a witch, he eventually accepts her help. When her bastard son shows a genius for architecture, Tom teaches him.

The Pillars of the Earth

The cathedral of his dreams is a thing of beauty. He feels that when you are worshiping the Creator of all Heaven and Earth, you should do so in an airy place filled with light and beauty. Convention holds that cathedrals can’t be built that way because they’ll fall down. Tom knows they can. As other people tell him that he can’t build the cathedral that he dreams of, he goes about showing them that he can.

Other men might stand back and watch as others do all the manual labor. Tom is out there working harder than anyone. I can’t remember if he actually helps quarry the stone, but he definitely helps dig foundations and lay block and whatever other dirty work goes into building. He also supervises the men, who are mostly untrained, and I remember him as being fair and patient. He does have a blind side when it comes to his oldest jerk of a son, but nobody’s perfect.

Rufus Sewell up there portrayed Tom in the mini-series. I haven’t finished watching yet, but so far he’s doing a great job. I loooooooathed his character in A Knight’s Tale, and usually when I react to a character that badly, I dislike the actor afterward as well. Not fair, I know. Sewell has made me change my mind about him with his characterization of Tom.

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

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.

I have an affiliate relationship with Malaprop’s, my local independent bookstore, and Better World Books. I will receive a small commission at no cost to you if you purchase books through links on my site.

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  1. Awesome pick! I love Rufus Sewell BECAUSE I loathed his Knight's Tale character so bad! I have plans to watch Middlemarch soon and it will be interesting to see him as the good guy in that.

    I'll have a post up this time around… link to come tomorrow.

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