D is for — Dustfinger and D’Artagnan — from the Inkheart series and The Three Musketeers.
Reading a character out of a book… or reading yourself into one… Who wouldn’t want to be able to do that? Such adventures to be had! I can’t count the books I’ve read myself into in my imagination. But it only works if you can put the characters and/or yourself back where they belong when you’re done. If you can’t, things get messy.
In Cornelia Funke’s trilogy: Inkheart, Inkspell, and Inkdeath, Meggie’s father Mo reads Dustfinger out of the story and into their world. The problem is, Mo can’t put him back, leaving the “fire dancer” stuck here in this world. For ten years, Dustfinger yearns to return to his family in the Inkworld. I empathized with his desperate need to go home and cheered when, in Inkspell, he finally made it back. To me, he is by far the most interesting character in the series, and I was immensely glad for the turn of events that allowed him a happy ending.
When I originally read Alexandre Dumas’ The Three Musketeers, I never realized the story was based on a real person — Charles de Batz-Castelmore, Comte d’Artagnan. The real D’Artagnan lived from 1611-1673 and was Captain of the Musketeers under Louis XIV of France. Dumas’ D’Artagnan Romances, including the Musketeers, were based on the partly-fictionalized memoirs of D’Artagnan written by Gatien de Courtilz de Sandras.
I always loved the adventure, the swordplay, and the camaraderie of D’Artagnan, Athos, Porthos, and Aramis. Of the many movie versions of the Musketeers — and I confess I haven’t seen them all — my favorites are the Richard Lester productions: The Three Musketeers from 1973 and The Four Musketeers: Milady’s Revenge from 1974. The wonderful chemistry of the heroes, played by Michael York, Oliver Reed, Frank Finlay, and Richard Chamberlain drives the story. Add in plenty of sword fights, derring-do, and slapstick humor, and you’ve got one fun afternoon at the movies. By the end, I’m ready to add my voice to the rousing shout: “All for one, one for all!”