V is for Vanellope von Schweetz and Van Helsing

V

[Loz]

Wreck-It Ralph: You’re a winner!
Vanellope von Schweetz: I’m a winner…
Wreck-It Ralph: And you’re adorable!
Vanellope von Schweetz: I’m ADORABLE!

Many people may be surprised that I have chosen a cartoon character for my ‘V’, but I sort of love Vanellope Von Schweetz from ‘Wreck it Ralph’. She is an example of determination triumphing over adversity, with a little help from her friends.

We meet Vanellope as an irritation for the titular Ralph, when it emerges she has stolen his- admittedly stolen- medal so she compete in a race and become a valid character in her own video game, ‘Sugar Rush’. The only way that Ralph, also a friendless reject can get his medal back, is to help her compete and win.

Through this, we see the two of them develop a deep friendship, though Vanellope expresses it as many damaged children would. She shows her love through casual insults and mockery, interspersed with occasional moments of deep affection, which Ralph handles as all grown men who aren’t used to kids do. With confusion.

The factor that nails it with this character for me is much more personal though. It the reason Vanellope is ostracised. In the context of the film, it is because of a disability. Being classed as a glitch, so therefore not working in the same way as everyone else gets her rejected by everyone, which I can relate to.

Even at the end of the film, when her glitch nearly kills her and Ralph and she has the option to have her glitch removed, she chooses not to, embracing it as part of herself and her own uniqueness, which I think everyone can learn from.

[Mich]

Professor Abraham Van Helsing is a character from Bram Stoker’s Dracula. A Dutch doctor of medicine, philosophy and letters, Van Helsing is best known as a vampire and monster hunter and expert, as well as the archenemy of Dracula.

There have been many portrayals and adaptations of Van Helsing with the vast majority playing up the vampire hunter and expert as his main occupation. In the novel, however, he is contacted by his former student simply because of his knowledge of ‘obscure diseases’ and it is only later that he is the first to realise that Lucy Westenra was a victim of a vampire.

Perhaps the most famous portrayal of Van Helsing is that of Peter Cushing, opposite Christopher Lee’s Dracula, in the Hammer series of films. But I have to admit, I do like the film starring Hugh Jackman, the concept was fun and it was refreshing to see a completely different take on the character.

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