Tristan Farnon: Character Connection

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We all have characters we love. Let’s spotlight these fantastic creations! Whether you want to be friends with them or you have a full-blown crush on them, you know you love them and want everyone else to love them too!

Most of you will probably post about how much you love each character, but this is a great place for the more creative ones among you to let go and have fun! Write a love letter to Captain Wentworth. Write yourself into a scene with Anne and Diana. Draw a picture of yourself in Jamie’s arms. 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.

My character this week isn’t exactly a “character” in the sense readers usually mean the word. I’m choosing Tristan Farnon, one of James Herriot’s friends in the non-fiction series of books beginning with All Creatures Great and Small.

Tristan is based on the real-life British veterinarian, Brian Sinclair, who died in 1988 at the age of 73.

Tristan is hilarious! His older brother, Siegfried, supports him as he goes through vet school, but his heart’s really not in his studies. He just sort of comes home when he feels like it, goes back to school whenever he wants, and takes tests occasionally. His happy-go-lucky attitude grates on Siegfried’s nerves and Tristan is on the receiving end of some epic rages on Siegfried’s part. They always end with, “You’re sacked!” and Tristan slinking out the door, only to reappear again a few days, weeks, or months later, depending on the severity of the crime.

Tristan doesn’t really like to work any harder than he has to. He likes to sit in the pub and have a pint–or two, or three. He can really put it away, but rarely appears the worse for wear.

He is also master prankster when he wants to be, but he usually gets caught and catches a lot of grief.  This story from All Things Bright and Beautiful, the second in the series, is pretty typical of his luck.

It’s hard to think of these books as having spoilers, they’re so episodic, but if you don’t want to know one of the stories, skip to the end.

     I [Jim] was home within ten minutes and trotted up the stairs, looking forward to catching up on my lost sleep. Opening my bedroom door I flicked on the switch and felt a momentary surprise when the room remained in darkness. Then I stood frozen in the doorway.
     By the window, where the moonlight flooded in, making a pool of silver in the gloom, a monk was standing. A monk in a brown habit, motionless, arms folded, head bowed. His face was turned from the light towards me but I could see nothing under the drooping cowl but a horrid abyss of darkness.
     I thought I would choke. My mouth opened but no sound came. And in my racing mind one thought pounded above the others–there were such things as ghosts after all.
     Again my mouth opened and a hoarse shriek emerged.
     “Who in the name of God is that?”
     The reply came back immediately in a sepulchral bass.
     I don’t think I actually swooned, but I did collapse limply across my bed and lay there gasping, the blood thundering in my ears. I was dimly aware of the monk standing on a chair and screwing in the light bulb, giggling helplessly the while.
     “Hell, I’m sorry, Jim.” Then he patted my shoulder reassuringly. “But don’t worry. If it was going to be fatal you’d have dropped down dead on the spot. And anyway, a good fright is very beneficial–acts like a tonic. You won’t need a holiday this year.”
     “Thanks,” I said. “Thanks very much.”
     “I wish you could have heard yourself.” He began to laugh again. “That scream of terror…oh dear, oh dear!”

Later, Tristan is caught “haunting” a local abbey. A giant of a man gives chase, intent on teaching the “ghost” a lesson by beating him with a stick. Tristan does get away, but Jim later finds him in his room.

     Tristan was in pyjamas and he cuddled two hot water bottles to his bosom. He turned his head and gave me a single haggard glance before pushing one of the bottles between the sheets and lay on his back with the second bottle clasped across his chest and his eyes fixed on the ceiling. I went over and looked down at him in some concern. He was shaking so much that the whole bed vibrated with him.
     “How are you, Triss?” I whispered.
     After a few moments a faint croak came up, “Frozen to the bloody marrow, Jim.”
     “But where the heck have you been?”
     Again the croak. “In a drainpipe.”
     “That’s right,” Tristan whispered. “When I saw that big bloke pounding into the wood I cut straight back and dived into one of the pipes. God only knows how long I was in there.”
     “But why didn’t you come out after we left?”
     A violent shudder shook the young man’s frame and he closed his eyes briefly. “I couldn’t hear a thing in there. I was jammed in tight with my cowl over my ears and there was a ninety mile an hour wind screaming down the pipe. I didn’t hear the car start and I daren’t come out in case that chap was still standing there with his bloody great shillelagh.”
     “They’re horrible things, drainpipes, Jim.” He looked up at me with hunted eye. “They’re full of muck and they stink of cats’ pee.”
     Clearly it wasn’t only the cold that was bothering him; he was still in a state of shock. And no wonder. The poor fellow had been enjoying a little session of peaceful haunting with never a care in the world when without warning there was a scream of brakes, a blaze of light and that giant bounding into the middle of it like the demon king.

Life with Tristan might never have been exactly peaceful, but it must have been entertaining!

Who did you connect with this week?  Click the Mr. Linky logo, link to your post, and see who other bloggers have connected with!

Just a reminder–I have plans for Misty’s Jane in June event, so hold off on any Jane Austen characters until June!  You might want to start thinking about any of her characters you’d like to spotlight then.  I’ll announce what I have in mind next week.

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  1. Honestly, I never read the book too. But tristan really sounds a nice character =)

    BTW, i have an award for you =)

  2. I barely remember this book! I read it when I was in middle school/high school when I was on a huge animal book binge, thinking I would have a career in animals. What a great refresher!

  3. I never read the books, but watched the tv series and I really liked his character.

  4. Thank you so much for choosing Tristan! I read James Herriot a long time ago and remember enjoying his books very much. Your description of Tristan is great, it brings back so many memories for me!

  5. I do love the name – Tristan 🙂 and again.. Haven't read the book – but it sounds fun!

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