Thursday, 9 August 2012

Character Thursday: Athos

I didn't believe in love at the first sight. And then there was Athos.

“You have sent for me, Sir,” said Athos to M. de Treville, in a feeble yet perfectly calm voice, “you have sent for me, as my comrades inform me, and I have hastened to receive your orders. I am here; what do you want with me?”

Thus he appeared, majestically, heroically, before M. De Treville. His being wounded to the point of dying makes his appearance even more commendable.

He's the oldest of the three, the most silent and the most grim. He even has a lackey, a man called Grimaud, whom Athos has “trained in his service in a thoroughly peculiar fashion,” that is to say, to serve without a sound. I even start to think that they communicate through telepathy.

Alright, to make this post more systematic, and easy to read, let me divide my impression in several little headings.

His looks

He is young, about 30, of “great personal beauty and intelligence of mind.” But of his mind we will talk later. He always makes sure his apparel is worthy of his being a Musketeer and a descendant of ancient nobles albeit he never pays much attention to his looks.

“He was of middle height; but his person was so admirably shaped and so well proportioned that more than once in his struggles with Porthos he had overcome the giant whose physical strength was proverbial among the Musketeers. His head, with piercing eyes, a straight nose, a chin cut like that of Brutus, had altogether an indefinable character of grandeur and grace. His hands, of which he took little care, were the despair of Aramis, who cultivated his with almond paste and perfumed oil. The sound of his voice was at once penetrating and melodious; and then, that which was inconceivable in Athos, who was always retiring, was that delicate knowledge of the world and of the usages of the most brilliant society — those manners of a high degree which appeared, as if unconsciously to himself, in his least actions.”

His personality

Matthew Macfayden as Athos
(The Three Musketeers 2011)
Athos is weird. Even his friends say so. As stated before, he scarcely talks, and talks only as much as he needs to say, no more. He trains his lackey to obey his gesture, and I can imagine his house as a very quiet silent place, with neither him nor Grimaud, his lackey, uttering a single word except very necessary.

But as a proverb in my country says, “Calm water sweeps away swifter still.” Athos silence hides many great qualities that any man would respect and envy at the same time.

First of all, he is brave. His courage is one of the greatest trait one should look in a Musketeer. He is always ready to fight, even when he is badly wounded, as you can see in the opening of this post. He is not afraid, even of the cardinal, upon whose heart he places a singular blow, when he is so desirous to safe a letter that compromises his friends, calmly said, “Monseigneur, the letter is a woman’s letter, but it is neither signed Marion de Lorme, nor Madame d’Aiguillon.” Both lady have love affairs with the cardinal.

This quality, combined with his brilliant mind, produces an excellent man in him. Athos, with his vast knowledge, deep wisdom, and clever strategy would flourish in his military career or anything he likes to choose to do. Still more, he qualifies to be one of the greatest comtes in France. He knows etiquette by heart, and no one can deceive him upon heraldry. I can assure you that both matters are so complex you don't even want to let me start babbling about both. (Now I remember that I still have some posts about coat-of-arms to do.) And the point that makes me love me even more: he understands Latin.

“If a repast were on foot, Athos presided over it better than any other, placing every guest exactly in the rank which his ancestors had earned for him or that he had made for himself. If a question in heraldry were started, Athos knew all the noble families of the kingdom, their genealogy, their alliances, their coats of arms, and the origin of them. Etiquette had no minutiae unknown to him. He knew what were the rights of the great land owners. He was profoundly versed in hunting and falconry, and had one day when conversing on this great art astonished even Louis XIII himself, who took a pride in being considered a past master therein. 
Like all the great nobles of that period, Athos rode and fenced to perfection. But still further, his education had been so little neglected, even with respect to scholastic studies, so rare at this time among gentlemen, that he smiled at the scraps of Latin which Aramis sported and which Porthos pretended to understand. Two or three times, even, to the great astonishment of his friends, he had, when Aramis allowed some rudimental error to escape him, replaced a verb in its right tense and a noun in its case. Besides, his probity was irreproachable, in an age in which soldiers compromised so easily with their religion and their consciences, lovers with the rigorous delicacy of our era, and the poor with God’s Seventh Commandment. This Athos, then, was a very extraordinary man.”

Some more things to say. He never borrows money, though he would lend money easily for his friends. He drinks, but rarely drunk. He doesn't have any mistress, something I find very honourable indeed. He has fatherly tender affection for the young d'Artagnan. He is certainly one of the most exemplary soldier.

His past

Nobody's perfect, and so is Athos. His excellent qualities would make him perfect if not for his dark demon that lives inside his soul. His friends notice that Athos dislike any discussion upon women, and at times, he would stay alone, undisturbed, in the corner of the room, drinking all by himself with a complexion that would move anyone to a mixture of pity and fear.

"Then the demigod vanished; he remained scarcely a man. His head hanging down, his eye dull, his speech slow and painful, Athos would look for hours together at his bottle, his glass, or at Grimaud, who, accustomed to obey him by signs, read in the faint glance of his master his least desire, and satisfied it immediately. If the four friends were assembled at one of these moments, a word, thrown forth occasionally with a violent effort, was the share Athos furnished to the conversation. In exchange for his silence Athos drank enough for four, and without appearing to be otherwise affected by wine than by a more marked constriction of the brow and by a deeper sadness"

It's Milady. Both of them are united in the middle of a secret that nobady knows, but those two. Because of that lady, Athos leaves his home, his land, and his title to become a humble musketeer. But, as Dumas believe, God is just. He doesn't leave unpunished those who commit sin deliberately.

So, can you imagine my face when I read his name on the page? Yes, rosy red. I bet the cardinal would love to give 20 of his best men for this man's service, and a hundred at least in exchange of the four in package. But for me, give me Athos, and do what you will with the rest.

Wait! Maybe, I'll take all four.


Character Thursday
Adalah book blog hop di mana setiap blog memposting tokoh pilihan dalam buku yang sedang atau telah dibaca selama seminggu terakhir (judul atau genre buku bebas).
- Kalian bisa menjelaskan mengapa kalian suka/benci tokoh itu, sekilas kepribadian si tokoh, atau peranannya dalam keseluruhan kisah.
- Jangan lupa mencantumkan juga cover buku yang tokohnya kalian ambil.
- Kalau buku itu sudah difilmkan, kalian juga bisa mencantumkan foto si tokoh dalam film, atau foto aktor/aktris yang kalian anggap cocok dengan kepribadian si tokoh.

Syarat Mengikuti :
1. Follow blog Fanda Classiclit sebagai host, bisa lewat Google Friend Connect (GFC) atau sign up via e-mail (ada di sidebar paling kanan). Dengan follow blog ini, kalian akan selalu tahu setiap kali blog ini mengadakan Character Thursday Blog Hop.
2. Letakkan button Character Thursday Blog Hop di posting kalian atau di sidebar blog, supaya follower kalian juga bisa menemukan blog hop ini. Kodenya bisa diambil di kotak di button.
3. Buat posting dengan menyertakan copy-paste “Character Thursday” dan “Syarat Mengikuti” ke dalam postingmu.
3. Isikan link (URL) posting kalian ke Linky di bawah ini. Cantumkan nama dengan format: Nama blogger @ nama blog, misalnya: Fanda @ Fanda Classiclit.
4. Jangan lupa kunjungi blog-blog peserta lain, dan temukan tokoh-tokoh pilihan mereka. Dengan begini, wawasan kita akan bertambah juga dengan buku-buku baru yang menarik


  1. You know, it's difficult indeed to not fall in love with Dumas' novels and characters, don't you think? But wait until you read all the three books in d'Artagnan Romances, then you'll know the true qualities of each of them

    1. Fanda, Fanda, you say that as if you had something against Athos. Say it. Do you have any? Is there anything you don't like in Man in the Iron Mask? Please tell me, so I can judge him better. I don't want to like a wrong character.

      I think the musketeers will dominate my Character Thursday for several weeks. I already want to write of Athos again based on Twenty Years After. After reading Ten Years Later, perhaps, I will write about Aramis.