Monday, September 16, 2019

Charles Wallace Murry--A Wrinkle in Time

Please allow me to introduce you to my little brother.

What? You mean I can't claim Charles Wallace as my little brother? I'm Meg Murry, right?

Okay, so maybe he's not my little brother, but I always wanted him to be. Once as a kid, I made up a little brother named Charles Wallace—though, if I remember right, that was a part of a fantasy that somehow combined an Indian in the Cupboard style cupboard with...a dance studio. Don't ask. I don't remember how it all worked. Just know that whenever I name a character Charles it's after Charles Wallace Murry. And if all you know about Charles Wallace is from the 2018 movie, forget everything you know right now. Even the personality was radically wrong for my baby brother.

Charles Wallace is a blond haired, blue eyed five-year-old, though I actually picture him like this because of the TV movie:

He's different. Somehow new. A very special little boy.

He's the youngest of the Murry children, about five years younger than the twins, and brilliant far beyond his years. But so not like anyone else. He didn't begin talking until he was nearly four—after his father had disappeared—and with none of the usual baby preliminaries, using full sentences. But he doesn't usually talk to people outside the family, except to Calvin, who basically is family, and, well, people who aren't from Earth. He always seems to know things, to be able to read people, to communicate in ways that are beyond speech, which we learn in A Wind in the Door is kything. A language beyond speech, beyond telepathy, even. He's kind and sensitive, often seeming older than Meg (who's probably about 12, since she's older than the twins [10] and younger than Calvin [14], but it's unspecified).

And just so smart. Here's an example from the book:

"I'm a sport."
At that, Charles Wallace grinned widely. "So'm I."
"I don't mean like in baseball," Calvin said.
"Neither do I."
"I mean like in biology," Calvin said suspiciously.
"A change in gene," Charles Wallace quoted, "resulting in the appearance in the offspring of a character which is not present in the parents but which is potentially transmissible to its offspring."
"What gives around here?" Calvin asked. "I was told you couldn't talk."
"Thinking I'm a moron gives people something to feel smug about," Charles Wallace said. "Why should I disillusion them?"

But because he's so far beyond everyone in his normal world, he has much more confidence in his abilities and his strength than he should. His pride and arrogance may—and do—cause his downfall, but that brings me to the next bit of his story that's just so sad (and also why he's a difficult character for such a young actor to play, though David Dorfman did a really good job).

He thought he could go into the Man with the Red Eyes, go into IT, and keep part of himself out. He thought he was strong enough. But he wasn't. And Charles Wallace controlled by IT was so cruel and evil. So not himself. It took the power of love to bring him back. Meg's unconditional love for her baby brother. This sweet little boy who's so very, very special.

And then in the next book, the Echthroi—those who destroy—are trying to kill him. He's so important to this fight of good vs. evil, has so much more to do, that they go into his very mitochondria, become part of his farandolae, to destroy him. And it's up to Meg and Calvin and Proginoskes the singular cherubim to save him. My poor baby brother.

Then in A Swiftly Tilting Planet, the fate of the world is truly on his shoulders as he uses kything to "go within" people throughout history, changing "might have beens" to prevent nuclear war.

He's such a hero. So smart. So special. So empathetic and kind. And I still wish he was my brother.

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