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ingebjorg9: (Champ)
Sunday, July 14th, 2013 10:11 pm
In my last post I wrote about how Kurt Wallander is my hero.  However, I have another, real-life, hero, and exactly a week ago today he walked out on Centre Court at Wimbledon and won the men's singles - the first time a British man has done this since 1936.  He is of course Andy Murray.

2012 2013
From tears to triumph: what a difference a year makes

Probably everyone remembers Andy's tears on losing the 2012 final to Roger Federer.  It was a moment that was hard to take, both for Andy and for those watching him, but it was a major turning point.  Up until 2012, the Andy Murray we saw out there on the court still had something of the look of a boy to him: very talented and hardworking, but prone to adolescent moments where he would make mistakes or lose heart.  Since last year's Wimbledon final, all that has changed.  This year it was the man Andy Murray who took to the court.

In every game he played during this year's tournament, he came out looking like he belonged there.  He was determined, he was strong and he never lost heart, even during some difficult games during the second week.  His performance in the final itself was immense, battling against a resilient Novak Djokovic in stiflingly hot conditions.  Even though Djokovic kept coming back at him, Andy outplayed him, displaying the skill, courage and strength of a true champion.

Things I will never get tired of, no.1

There's so much to like and admire about Andy.  As well as having the raw talent to be a great tennis player, he works so hard to maintain his skills and fitness.  He's one of the most determined people I've ever seen, and his coach Ivan Lendl has helped him channel the immense reserves of mental strength and courage that have always been there.  With his big heart and will to succeed he shows what you can achieve, even though life may kick you in the teeth, and this year he was ready for whatever got thrown at him.  As a fellow Scot, but more importantly as a fan, I'm so proud of everything that he's achieved.

AndyMurrayMontage


Cometh the hour, cometh the man, and that man's name is Andy Murray.
ingebjorg9: (The bad dreams all go away with you)
Sunday, May 19th, 2013 12:27 am
Okay.  This is probably going to sound strange, but hear me out here.  I don't have many heroes, and over the years their already small number has steadily diminished, but when I was thinking about this a couple of months ago it dawned on me.  To the extent that a fictional person can be your hero, Kurt Wallander is mine.

To anyone not familiar with either the Wallander books or the adaptations this probably does sound weird, and would definitely have sounded odd to me four or five years ago.  However, on reading the books and seeing Krister Henriksson's beautifully nuanced portrayal of Wallander, I've come to know and love the character, and to learn a lot from him.  There's a lot to admire about him:

  • Courage - in spite of all the dangers he chooses to face in The Dogs of Riga, he admits that he doesn't consider himself a brave man, and is frequently afraid.  Yet this is surely the definition of true courage: not a lack of fear, but the ability to act in spite of fear, and even though he doesn't seem to realise it Wallander has great reserves of courage.

  • Humanity - he makes mistakes, gets things wrong, annoys or angers people, and yet is still able to do what he does.  There are few duller and more alienating things in fiction than the boring invincible hero, but Wallander is neither boring or invincible, but a very believable human being.  One that we can relate to more, perhaps, than his more eyecatching younger colleagues, and who is able to relate to the people that he deals with in his work.

  • Empathy - The White Lioness and Sidetracked show how very deeply Wallander feels for the people he has to deal with, as do films such as The Darkness and The Cellist, where he does everything he can to help and get justice for the victims.

  • Determination to do the right thing - basically the driving force behind a lot of what he does.  Wallander hates the idea of injustice and will sometimes go to great lengths to get the right person behind bars.  Just ask Louise Selander.

Wallander is, of course, far from perfect, but his flaws and failings make him more relatable, more human.  The fact that he struggles, that he doesn't get everything right, is actually quite comforting in a way.  He may be Sweden's best crimefighting brain, but he's not perfect, and nor is he expected to be.  There's hope for us all, and I only hope that I deal with the challenges in my own life with the same sort of courage and humanity that he shows.

On top of this, though, I just like the guy.  Of all the fictional characters I've ever come across, he's probably the one I like the most, and that counts for an awful lot.  He's so well-written (and portrayed) that sometimes he almost seems real:- in fact, if you go to Ystad he does seem like a very real and important presence there.  And if Ewa-Gun Westford can claim him as her soulmate and best friend, then I can claim him as my hero.  He may be fictional, but he's added more to my life than I could probably put into words here.

Teh awesum

^And frankly, who wouldn't want this awesomeness in their life? :)