Monday, April 20, 2015

Tribute to Gilbert Blythe, by Anne

Thank you Jonathan Crombie, for the gift of portraying Gilbert Blythe for all the Anne's of the world.
Your role as Gil, the quintessential "boy next door" hero, is ever imprinted on our hearts as a gift first graced upon L.M. Montgomery's wide scope of imagination in Anne of Green Gables.

Though tragic your loss, we celebrate the wonderful delight of remembering your ability to capture Gilbert Blythe's essence and his chemistry with Anne Shirley.

If there's a movie I've watched a hundred times, it's Anne of Green Gables. For me if there's ever been a favorite heroine and hero pair, it's been Anne and Gil.

We all know it when we see it, that chemistry between Anne and Gil. But what made us all love them so much? Jonathan Crombie, Megan Follows, Anne & Gil, and most of all L.M. Montgomery have created a "Gil" phenomenon...
What makes the Anne's of the world wait for "their Gil"? 
What qualities must a man possess to rival Gil's ability to win Anne's heart? Can any man hope to compete with Gil? Would insulting a girl for the color of her hair do the trick? He'd probably just get called a bully. Would teasing her incessently win her heart? I've never known a girl to fall head over heals in love just because she was irritated to death! Was it his persistence with Anne? Hmm, could just get tiresome--not really a formula for success and might just get him labeled, stalker. Ick. Would sacrificing a job for her do it? That could appear as if he was throwing himself desparately at her feet. Eww. Stand up man.

But Gil did all those things and we still love him. Why? Because, first he was her best chum. They were friends. Both smart and competitive, they were each other's intellectual equals. Second, he was her worthy adversary because he cared enough to learn all about what made her tick. He knew her passion, her talent, her dreams, her hair, her freckles, her wild imagination--and he loved her in spite of all her imperfections. His competition with her brought him a thrill because it pushed them both to be better people, not because he was out to conquer her. Gil knew his pursuit of Anne, just made her become more "Anne"--a woman he not only loved, but respected. We love Gil because her rejection of him doesn't seem to twist him into a desperate pathetic chap. He knows himself, and he's invested enough with Anne to know when to give her space and when to push her.

Of course, it helps that Gil is kind, smart, handsome, intelligent, and patient.

Sure, Gil makes it pretty tough on the common man. But being Anne's Gil is not impossible. I found mine in 1985. It wasn't until 1988, engaged to be married, separated by an ocean and a slow postal system, that I learned I was partially named after Gil's Anne. Mom packed this copy of Anne of Green Gables into my suitcase for my three month culture term in East Germany.
I'd never read it before, never heard the story before. Between the pages, every evening while sitting under my light summer duvet, I met my kindred spirit and knew the ring on my finger was from "my Gil".

Twenty-six years later, he's still my worthy adversary--not a common man. I love you Teddy!

So what do you think readers? 
Are we merely in love with the idea of Gilbert Blythe? 
Does every Anne have a Gil? 
If so, what should she look for in Gil?
What are your favorite Gil-moments?

Fun parallels: I'm named Anne with an "e" and my dad is actually Gil. Our daughter is Emily, her dad is Teddy, like Emily of New Moon and her Teddy.
Blog post by Anne Love-
Writer of Historical Romance inspired by her family roots. 
Nurse Practitioner by day. 
Wife, mother, writer by night. 
Coffee drinker--any time.
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  1. Loved it...nicely done. Yes, I have my "Gil!" :)

  2. I can't seem to pinpoint exactly what it is that made me have a life-long crush on Gil. He's just.....everything you described. He was the pal, the competitor, the friend, then the man in love. It was always so sweet and romantic. Yup, I have my "Gil" also. :)

    1. Ditto! Agreed Susan! Glad you have your "Gil" :)

  3. Loved your post, Anne, thank you!! No "Gil" in my life, but I love "Anne of Green Gables" - the movie, book, sweetness, and time era!!

    1. For me it was "Gil" in the form of my Ted. But, not always so for every girl and woman. Maybe, there are other hero characteristics that are just as important--like finding redemption in a hot mess of brokenness.... I don't know why some men are like Gil, and some women get to be "Anne"... The quest for love and belonging is often not happily ever after. But Anne's life came up out of the rubble of her past, I love her because she keeps believing, keeps hoping, keeps her scope for imagination wide enough to find redemption and healing....


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