I have recently been reading the Diary series (by Amanda Grange) which re-tells Austen's stories, but from the heroes point of view. (I am loving them and will soon post my thoughts about them!)
The latest one I have read was Colonel Brandon's diary, and it really let me see a new and different side to him. He became a much deeper and intriguing character, and this diary has moved him up leaps and bounds in my estimation! So, I was compelled to write about him.
I think three words to describe Colonel Brandon would be calm (but still passionate), patient and faithful.
I found this description of his character on 'The Jane Austen Wiki' and to me, it sums him up beautifully.(http://janeausten.wikia.com/wiki/Colonel_Brandon)
"Ever heard the expression, "Still waters run deep"? That's basically Colonel Brandon. On the outside, he's a quiet guy – at 35, he's a bachelor approaching middle age, and he doesn't seem to have any family to speak of. He's dignified and well-to-do, but beyond that, we don't get much from first impressions. The Colonel appears to be rather dull to the insensitive eye, but beneath his tranquil surface, there's a whole lot going on. Elinor is the first to appreciate this, but gradually, other characters (including, finally, Marianne , when she decides to marry him) realise that he's a whole lot more than meets the eye.
All in all, Colonel Brandon may seem to be on the boring side, but he's actually not – he's just more under control than the other folks we meet here. We don't get to know him too well, but we can imagine that he's a pretty rewarding friend to have, once you get past his rather stiff exterior."
I felt this was a very good description of Colonel Brandon.
My first experience of Colonel Brandon was when I watched the 1995 film (with Alan Rickman) To begin with, Brandon to me was a very placid character, and very much in the background. As the film progressed he became a more sweet and caring person, with a horrid past, but still he was not too appealing to me. Next, I read the book. As I heard more about him from the novel, he seemed to be actually quite deep, and his faithfulness to his first love, Eliza, was truly honourable. Shortly after reading it, I saw the 2008 series (with David Morrissey), and Brandon was slowly working his way up in my estimation. The 'extra scenes' which showed more of his courtship of Marianne at the end, helped to flesh out his relationship with her, and the way Morrissey portrayed him made him seem, to me, heart-broken, and yet very passionate underneath. Finally came the diary, and now Brandon is one of my favourite heroes!
The diary started when Brandon was 19, and he wrote about his time with Eliza, continuing onto when they almost eloped when Eliza was forced to marry his brother. The separation was heart-wrenching! We then see some of his time in the Indies, away from his home life after it made him so unhappy, and then receiving a letter to say that Eliza was divorced. We then have an account of all the Brandon did to find her, and then once found, the last few days they spent together until her death, which reduced me to tears! All this background gave a whole new dimension to Brandon, as he is portrayed as a very fun and happy person when he was with Eliza, meaning the separation and loss of his love is what subdued him to how we meet him in the novel.
We then are taken to the time of the novel, and see his thoughts about Marianne, and shortly afterwards, Willoughby. I felt so sorry for him as he was coming to terms with his new affection, having previously believed that he would never love again. This continues and then comes the day of the picnic. You see what was in that letter which took him off to London so quickly, and then all his ventures in London, trying to save his wards reputation as much as possible. He comes across as so caring in these scenes, and I felt that he would make a great father.
The next entries, once he found out about Willoughby, shows his frustration that he abandoned his ward, and that now he was messing with Marianne! The entry about the duel was wonderful, making him appear very powerful and strong, and I really respected his action; risking his life for his ward, (and Marianne)! You can't help but feel sorry for him as he is tyring to deal with the news that Marianne is to marry Willoughby, which everyone seems to be talking of!
Once the truth has been revealed, Brandon's sincerity towards the Dashwood's and the friendship he offers them is really admirable. Seeing his feelings as he sees Marianne struggle and suffer as a result of Willoughby's treatment of her, and once she falls ill, how he fears he will loose his love for a second time! You really feel for him, and see that he really does love Marianne, and to see her suffer, just as Eliza did, is so painful for Brandon!
You really start to see the nature of his affection once Marianne is recovering, and the fact that he does not rush his courtship as he wishes Marianne to accept him for who he is and not as a safety blanket after Willoughby, is very right, and very romantic. The extra parts you see of Marianne and Brandon are perfect, and gives a lovely incite into their increasing relationship, which I wished we had seen in the novel. It also made their marriage not seem as rushed and sudden. The ending itself was delightful and a perfect ending to this diary!
All these events and unseen parts which appear in his diary give a deep incite into the real Brandon, making him a more major character, who is more than he first appears and who actually has a lot going on under the surface!
Brandon is the romantic hero in this story, not Willoughby. He is the one who has true, deep feelings and is very passionate, insightful and devoted, making him seem to me, a very desirable friend, and even a very attractive husband!