There’s no doubt about it, Anne Shirley is my all-time favorite fictional heroine, and she always will be.
When I turned 12, I received my favorite birthday gift ever: The entire Anne of Green Gables collection in a nicely packaged holder. I even have a picture of me with it, though you’ll never see it. I look 40 years old. Sigh. The fashions of the 90s with a hopelessly unfashionable mother.
Anne epitomizes everything I wish I could be. Intelligent (although I think I am at least a little of that), determined, talented, impulsive, curious, passionate, and so much more. Her life began tragically, but she makes it a memorable one and rises above the tempests that storm her way in every chapter of every book.
L.M. Montgomery has influenced my writing more than any other writer. The only other author who comes close to the impact she had on my life is J.R.R. Tolkien. Those two, but primarily Montgomery, showed me what writing and reading should be about. The passion and drive that’s required, as Anne herself finds out, in the written word is something to be cherished and encouraged, and not smashed to bits by ignorant people.
The friendship of Anne and Diana is the basis for the friendship between my MC and best friend in the middle grade fantasy I’m writing. Ava, the MC, has Anne’s curiosity and tempestuousness, but also her love for other people. Ruth, the best friend, shares Diana’s softer antithesis to the quirky and outspoken Ava (Anne). Their friendship is one that lasts a lifetime, and even when they argue, they’re always there to pick the other up out of the dirt and dust them off.
And can I just say a few words about Gilbert? Whoo-eee!
Despite their tenuous beginning, Anne and Gilbert become friends. And that friendship is the basis for one of the sweetest and truest love stories of all time.
Gilbert is the perfect match for Anne. He’s just as smart as she is, and doesn’t take her crap. Anne is such a powerful character with plenty to say and a boundless energy for life. She isn’t afraid to speak her mind, but sometimes that needs tempering. Gilbert provides Anne with a sounding board, but he is also the person that doesn’t let Anne walk all over him. Anne is such a strong woman that she’d trample anyone that wouldn’t fight back.
I think Hugh Jackman said it right:
Haha! Honestly, Gilbert is my favorite hero, just as Anne is my favorite heroine. He loves Anne without fail, and even when they go through rough patches, and Anne’s imagination runs away with her, he’s there to steady her and keep her sane.
He respects her talents and intelligence, and still treats her like a lady.
And Anne, for all her impetuousness, vivacious arguments, and willful nature, still acts womanly (after she is taught what that really means). The depth of her character isn’t altered simply because she is a woman, and her feminine nature only acts as a catalyst for the story. She’s courteous and proper (as much as possible), while still being a force to be reckoned with.
Anne of Green Gables. Anne and Gilbert. My favorite fictional couple ever. Nobody will ever compare.
Happy writing, all!
“There’s such a lot of different Annes in me. I sometimes think that is why I’m such a troublesome person. If I was just the one Anne it would be ever so much more comfortable, but then it wouldn’t be half so interesting.”
― L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables
“For a moment Anne’s heart fluttered queerly and for the first time her eyes faltered under Gilbert’s gaze and a rosy flush stained the paleness of her face. It was as if a veil that had hung before her inner consciousness had been lifted, giving to her view a revelation of unsuspected feelings and realities. Perhaps, after all, romance did not come into one’s life with pomp and blare, like a gay knight riding down; perhaps it crept to one’s side like an old friend through quiet ways; perhaps it revealed itself in seeming prose, until some sudden shaft of illumination flung athwart its pages betrayed the rhythm and the music, perhaps. . . perhaps. . .love unfolded naturally out of a beautiful friendship, as a golden-hearted rose slipping from its green sheath. ”
― L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Avonlea