Dining With Characters! Part I




The other day I was thinking about which 2 or 3 fictional characters I would like to sit down with over coffee, tea, or beer and with whom I would like to have a conversation.  When I first thought about it, I believed it would be an easy choice to make, but then I realized that there were so many that I would have to do this in parts.






For the initial meeting, I thought I would extend an invitation to Merlin from Sir Thomas Malory’s Le Morte D’Arthur, Gandalf from J.R.R.Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, (not from The Hobbit), and Dumbledore from J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series to join me over beer, mead, or even butterbeer, if that were preferable at a nice Public House.  I chose  these characters because they are central figures in three works that are deeply important to me, not only from the perspective of study but also from the enormous pleasure I have had from reading these works. I have taught all of them in different classes, and I love to reread these writings over the years.



I am fascinated by the connection among the three of them, all wizards in tales of British mythology. Among the questions I would want to ask would be: Do you see a connection among yourselves? Do you approve of your portrayals in the writings? and Are you descended from the Druids?


I think this would be a lively and enjoyable conversation, although if too much was drunk, I wonder what inebriated and arguing wizards would be like.



Who would you choose to invite to such an event?  I would love to hear your choices.

69 thoughts on “Dining With Characters! Part I

  1. Oh this is fun, Charles! I’d have wanted Gandulf there, if only for the smoke rings:)). But I do have to say – I think arguing with wizards is a dodgy pasttime… They are quick tempered, arrogant and unwilling to concede when they are wrong – and when drunk, maybe a bit too willing to use the odd spell to put you in your place!

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  2. What a clever idea! While I’d love to see Britain’s greatest wizards after a few rounds, I would choose Doc from Cannery Row, by John Steinbeck, Archie Goodwin from Rex Stout’s Nero Wolfe mystery series, and Hans from The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. I have a thing for side characters, I suppose.

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  3. I love the idea of the wizards. 😊 I’m intrigued by flawed, conflicted characters. I would invite Edmund from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Gene from A Separate Peace, and Draco Malfoy from Harry Potter.

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  4. But I truly wouldn’t mind smoking a bit of leaf with Gandalf and Bilbo… let’s face it… If I had the choice I would head to Bree and sit for hours in the Prancing Pony watching Barliman Butterbur serve drinks… Or course once in Middle Earth the possibilities are endless… :)) – But until she goes to Kindergarten, I have the best brunch companion of all… my daughter Sofia!

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  5. As well as the three illustrious characters you name, I’d like Rincewind (he of the pointed hat with Wizzard written on it), Cohen the Barbarian, Lord Vetenari, Grimes (Commander of The Watch) and Cut Me Own Throat (CMOT) Dibbler (all from the late Terry Pratchett’s Discworld Series 😃

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  6. I believe it was mentioned in the book “The Once and Future King” that Merlin lived backwards! If that is so, then he would be a fascinating individual to talk too. In the play and film of the same name “Death Takes a Holiday” the entity, Death, can’t rationalize why we mortals fear him—after all, he’s only doing his job. And so for three days he decides to mix it up with humanity to understand why they fear him. But, during that time—although accidents and crime continue—no one dies! I think the conversation at the dinner table might prove very intriguing. And Abraham Van Helsing, and asking what it was like upon encountering Count Dracula, knowing what he did about, said Count.

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  7. That is an impossible question! There are so many characters…although Gandalf is definitely one of those I would have to invite …over beer because Gandalf simply wouldn’t do wine unfortunately…as for the others…no, I can’t answer that off the top of my head…this requires some intense pondering 🙂

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  8. Okay, so I have thought about it and choosing 3 characters is impossible, I pondered for days and ended up with a list as long as my arm so…I’ve decided to go with the 3 that first came to my mind. I think I’ve already said Gandalf would have to be there because I’m such a big Tolkien fan and the lord of The Rings is my bible. I would want to ask Gandalf how come he didn’t see Saruman turn to the dark side…I mean, it can’t have happened in a day, there must have been signs, and yet Gandalf missed them all…how? Gandalf is wise, he shouldn’t have missed them…or is it, as Saruman says, a case of: “your love for the Halflings’ leaf has clearly slowed your mind.”
    Right, number 2 is Jeeves from Jeeves and Wooster, P.G.Wodehouse, because I’m currently re-reading the books. I would love to ask Jeeves what it feels like to be the much smarter valet to a young, likeable certainly, but rather foolish gentleman. Also, how did Jeeves perfect that eyebrow trick? How can he always be that unflappable?
    My third character is Larry Darrell from The Razor’s Edge by Somerset Maugham, because it’s one of my favourite books and Maugham one of my favourite writers…this particular book tackles something very close to my heart: the rejection of materialism and the search for spiritualism. I would want to ask Larry how difficult it was to go against everything he knew, reject his environment and life, to devote his life to trying to find out if there is a God. I would ask Larry if he thinks he was selfish although everything outwardly seems to show that he was far from, he did give up on Isabel the love of his life, to pursue his quest for spirituality…a grand gesture or a terribly selfish one?
    Anyway, I’m going to stop now before I start analysing the book on here, not the time or place 🙂
    Sorry if this answer was too lengthy but I couldn’t possibly reply to this in a couple of sentence, and I *had* to reply because it was too good a question not to.
    If you’ve read this far, congratulations, and thank you for giving this bookworm the opportunity to express herself 🙂


  9. Great post and question. I think that would be a very interesting table with all those wizards and pretty funny to hear them arguing. Dumbledore reminds me of Gandalf in a lot of ways, so I think they would really relate to each other.

    I would pick Elizabeth Bennett, Nick Carraway and Nancy Drew. It would be interesting to hear their opinions about people and human nature.

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  10. It should have to be an extremely large table but I actually prefer to do a series of intimate chats. The first two that spring to mind this morning would have to be Jonathan Swift (A Modest Proposal) I should love to hear is views on society today. My second guest would be Dorothy Parker “The first thing I do each morning is brush my teeth and sharpen my tongue” (Enough said!).

    On another day it might be Hemingway and Antoine Saint-Exupéry…

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  11. OK, I’ll bite. Who would I like to site down with for coffee or lunch? Jack Ryan from Tom Clancy’s novels, Captain James T. Kirk (star Trek – what else), and Don Quixote. Now real people from history: Jesus, George Patton, and Sitting Bull.

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