When Louis relaxed, it was an indication that a threat was at hand and he was preparing to act, as when an archer releases a breath simultaneously with the flight of an arrow, channeling all of the tension into the flighted missile itself.
Louis is another protagonist of the Charlie Parker novels. I will never use the word hero to describe any of the central characters in this novel. They aren’t heroes, they aren’t even meant to be and that is what makes them believable, they are fallible, irritable and real.
Louis is an impeccably dressed and groomed hitman, who seems designed to fit into not a single societal mould. A large black man with a huge aura of danger, to look at him is to fear him, unless of course he’s listening to country music, in which case he will be wearing a hat. This is a man who considers himself well brought up, but that can conjure an arsenal in seconds, will kill with impunity if the reasons and moreover the money is right and has one huge weakness.
His lover and partner in crime, Angel, a fast talking, unkempt, weasley, little man. His absolute antithesis, Angel reveals Louis’ softer side. They met in a way that would have got most killed, when Angel broke into Louis’ apartment to steal his TV and got stuck halfway through the apartment window when it’s owner emerged from the shower. They have rarely been apart since and it is telling that the love of these two amoral mismatched individuals is by far the most enduring and strong of the novel series. They needle and bicker and fight, but they are not to be separated, and the true glory of Louis, loving, sarcastic, quirky, hard done by and loyal are bought out by his partner and to a lesser extent best friend Charlie.
Charlie Parker (My C) is the reason I started reading these novels, Louis and Angel are the reason I struggle to stop.
I’m returning to Middle Earth for my L, with Legolas from ‘The Lord of the Rings’ trilogy.
Son of King Thranduil of Mirkwood, Legolas is first introduced at the Council of Elrond. In the books, he was sent there by his father to deliver a message concerning the escape of Gollum, who the wood elves had been watching. He then pledges himself to the Fellowship and acts, mostly, as a scout
Legolas age and physical appearance have had some debate due to the lack of backstory and description within the book, despite Tolkien describing most of his characters and world well enough to visualise them. There have been some rumours that Legolas lacked this aspects because Tolkien had plans to write something else with the character but these have never been confirmed. Although, it does seem a tad odd that something who loved his descriptions left out one member of the Fellowship.
Recently, there has been mixed reactions to Legolas inclusion in ‘The Hobbit’ films as he doesn’t appear in the book. Personally, I have no problem with the decision for him to be in the films. For one thing, they’re an adaptation and having more links to ‘The Lord of the Rings’ trilogy makes for better cinematic story, but for another, Tolkien hadn’t developed the ‘voice’ and overall story he wanted to tell when he wrote ‘The Hobbit’. Thranduil was only known as the ‘Elvenking’ in the book and none of the wood elves were named or described. It’s not exactly a giant leap to assume that Legolas was there during Bilbo and the Dwarves imprisonment.
One thing to know about Legolas is that he certainly wasn’t meant to be described or portrayed as ‘pretty’ or ‘effeminate’. When he was it prompted Tolkien to then write the following description:
He was as tall as a young tree, lithe, immensely strong, able swiftly to draw a great war-bow and shoot down a Nazgûl, endowed with the tremendous vitality of Elvish bodies, so hard and resistant to hurt that he went only in light shoes over rock or through snow, the most tireless of all the Fellowship.
—J.R.R. Tolkien on Legolas