So, with the resurgence of love for L.M. Montgomery’s books due to Anne with an E (Anne the series for you lovely Canadians), and how everyone on here and other social media sites are “aoijwepoijvpsoempseotpaoijrtvpo” over our new version of Gilbert (Lucas Jade Zumann) or staunchly “aoejrpoiwcmpraowiruec” over Jonathan Crombie’s version, or even “ierq2945sig;fgjapturoaijf;alksdjf;lkj” over the book version, I started thinking about what it was that makes Gilbert so easy to love and adore.
Now, I have not read Anne of Green Gables in I don’t know how many years. One of my reading goals for summer is to tear through the series (as I only read that first one). But I do own the 80s movies, watched them often when I was younger, so I feel like I’m not completely underqualified to give my opinion.
It was @thebluepaladyn‘s post here that put my thoughts in order. Gilbert likes Anne for all the reasons she thinks (and others think in the new version especially) she’s lacking. Give the post a read before continuing here. I’ll wait :).
I write all types of stories, but some I write just for my own enjoyment (and maybe a few friends’ as well). When I do, I write a character that’s more of an extension of me. She’s far more uninhibited, confident and conventionally beautiful than me, but at the core, she’s me. We’ll call her June for the purposes of this post.
June always gets a guy (it’s my story world and I’m a cynical hopeless romantic, so sue me). Sometimes I write the beginning of the relationship, or sometimes I write a one-shot of a more settled relationship between June and whoever the guy is. In rereading some of these stories, I realized that June’s guy often loves her for the very things I wish someone liked me for: too talkative, likes to sing loudly in the car, has hips (significantly), discusses story for hours, dances around the kitchen when no one is watching…etc., etc. June’s guy loves these weird, silly things about her. Some are just quirks, some are what others see as flawed in June. June’s guy makes her negatives (in her head) out to be some of her best features.
That’s exactly what Gilbert does. He marvels at how smart Anne is, he likes her red hair (’carrots’ turns into an endearment in the 80s version), he thinks she’s pretty, he admires her bluntness, her dramatic nature (sometimes, he also pulls her in when she needs it); in the 80s version, he tells her what she should really write and when she heeds him, she’s successful.
In fact, he reminds me of Jess Mariano in the revival of Gilmore Girls, (or Jess reminds me of Gilbert) when Jess shows up and somewhat straightens Rory out (ugh, won’t go there).
Gilbert Blythe is that guy: both encouraging and challenging his girl, Anne, so she becomes a better person. That’s why he so loved. That’s why we still get a little weak when he walks on screen (and you know, cute as anything). It’s more than looks because cute guys can be jerks, or they can be shallow, or badly written stalkers who are forced to seem romantic, but are really just horrible horrible partners in a relationship (that’s another post).
Gilbert is exactly what I would want myself and any female I know to strive for in a partner.