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Ah, Rufe Brush. The squirrel who was so infamously "strong and silent" in Mariel of Redwall...and then inexplicably turned into a complete wimp in The Bellmaker. Who could forget him. Or shall I say, them?
I'm here to analyze Rufe's strange personality change, and what may have been Jacques' reason for it. I remember totally liking Rufe when I read Mariel of Redwall, so when I heard he was going to be on the quest in The Bellmaker (yeah, I sorta looked ahead), I was excited to see him again. But...I was disapointed, yet could not figure out why. It wasn't until someone pointed out the HUGE difference between the Rufe in Mariel of Redwall to the Rufe of The Bellmaker that I realized why. Heck, even this wiki points it out! It offers a possible explanation for it, saying, "One can assume he was bold when in his home where he knew every stone and twig, and timid to think of leaving it to adventure where there are things strange and dangerous." I still am somewhat skeptical about this. I still feel that, even if it meant leaving his home, the Rufe of Mariel of Redwall would never have acted the way the one of The Bellmaker did. You can see I'm talking about them as if they are two different characters. Well...are they?
Whereas Rufe's age is never stated in Mariel of Redwall, it is implied that he is a young adult, around Oak Tom and Treerose's ages---he is good friends with the former, and the latter is attracted to him. The two end up happily married, and remain so during The Bellmaker. Yet, something strange seems to happen to Rufe. He is now constantly---perhaps as much as 50 times throughout the book---described as being "young"---and it's pretty well implied that Jacques now sees him as a kid, about the age of Durry Quill, whom---coincidentally---he is suddenly and inexplicably best buddies with. (I'd like to point out that Durry toughened up a lot over the course of Mariel of Redwall, and a good thing, too, because Rufe somehow, between the books, "toughened down"!)
The tough Rufe of Mariel of Redwall breaks down only upon the deaths of Clary and Thyme---Jacques even states, "The normally tough Rufe Brush broke down and wept". Yet the wimpy, almost pathetic one of The Bellmaker sheds a tear at the very thought of leaving the abbey, and has a TON of character development, something the original Rufe didn't need.
And let's get back to his age. After reading The Bellmaker, I somehow had it instilled in my brain that the Rufe of Mariel of Redwall was a kid as well, but after hearing the audio book, just one listen to his gruff voice reminded me that back then, he was, really, a different squirrel. I found it mind-boggling how they'd manage to record The Bellmaker with this VA doing, as I like to call him, "Wimp Brush". I still, to this day, have not heard it, have discovered some info on his talk page that tells me.
Silva of the Hazel eyes said:
"I thank you for giving an idea of why Rufe seemed not as tough in The Bellmaker. Your suggestion makes perfect sense, and I believe that is what I will take to answer the question that has haunted me since I read The Bellmaker."
(I assume this was the idea presented on the character's page I mentioned earlier.)
Bluestripe the Wild said:
"Yeah, I found that odd, too. In the audiobook, his voice is higher in The Bellmaker, which I find odd because he is older and had a deep voice in Mariel of Redwall."
Which pretty much confirms what I thought. I would like to hear his voice in The Bellmaker audiobook, but sadly, it is not available on the internet, and I have no desire to purchase the whole book to hear it. What's odd, is, Paul Braithwhite voiced him both times, so unless Bluestripe is spamming, Braithwhite intentionally changed his voice to go with Rufe's new personality!
Finally, an unregistered user wrote this:
"I also noticed that in Mariel he is portrayed as being a bit older than Dandin, Saxtus, et. al., whereas Durry belongs to that group (and is perhaps even a tad younger), while in Bellmaker, both Durry and Rufe seem to be a good deal younger than them "
I am sooooooooooooo glad that someone other than me is finally seeing this----seeing that Brian wrote about Rufe in The Bellmaker not just as if he'd changed Rufe's personality, but practically forgotten who Rufe was. Seriously---it's as if he was writing about a different character!!!
Now, it's very far fetched to believe that Mr. Jacques confused Rufe with someone else, but keep in mind, he had written six books at this point that he never looked back on. He could have easily remembered "that squirrel character" from Mariel of Redwall whom he hadn't have leave the abbey last time, so he could this time around, and give some character development. He completely forgot how much he'd fleshed out Rufe as this brave, mature, strong, and silent adult in Mariel of Redwall...and as a result, Rufe Brush this pathetic, cowardly kid who grows up a bit along the way. Would have worked if he were a new character---but didn't since he had already been established as an adult.
Again, this is just my theory, but I find it logical. I'm glad I can finally write about it somewhere and share it with all of you. I just want to add that I hope Brian never ended up realizing this apparent mistake he made with Rufe. Can you imagine how embarrassing that would be as an author? -- Argulor —This unsigned comment was added by Argulor (talk • contribs) 22:59, May 29, 2013. Please sign your posts with ~~~~!