The NEXT Action Hero

Why Thursday Next is the Literary Heroine We Need on a Big Screen

thursday_danversEach summer, the local cinema floods with blockbusters packed to the gills with explosions, car chases, and, more often than not, brawny dudes in starring roles. These men will spend two hours dodging bullets and hooking up with a hot chick in a bikini (or a leather jumpsuit). These men will often have been spawned from comic books, though some are part of a film franchise and others have made the leap from television to silver screen. Some may have had their humble beginnings in bestselling spy thrillers or crime dramas. Regardless, it’s time for these men to step aside for a new literary action hero.

Thursday Next is a woman with whom some readers may already be familiar. The brainchild of the deliciously zany Jasper Fforde, Thursday has already headlined six books full of time travel, gun battles, a classic car with an absolutely incredible paintjob—and so many books. Thursday Next is an operative with SpecOps, which incorporates innumerable divisions of British intelligence that have sprung up to battle the stranger shadows of reality in alt-1980s Great Britain. There are agents who tackle everything from werewolves and vampires to disturbances in the space-time continuum.

And then there’s Thursday, an agent of SO-27, LiteraTecs. Readers know immediately that Thursday inhabits a fictional realm, as this version of Earth is full of voracious readers who treat authors like rock stars and change their names to those of their favorite literary figures. But what is normally a fairly mundane job becomes extraordinary when Thursday discovers the ability to leap into books by reading herself into them. And it’s in BookWorld that Thursday discovers Jurisfiction, the policing force that works to keep order within all books in the Great Library, whether already published or wallowing in the Well of Lost Plots.

At her heart, Thursday resembles any overworked, underpaid FBI agent in any big-budget summer blockbuster. You know the type: loves the job, but wishes there was something more; discovers something bigger than herself; finds herself leading a double life as she straddles mundane reality and the awesome new secrets into which she is drawn. Thursday is an army vet with specialized weapons, combat, and detective training, and she wants nothing more than to protect and promote literacy throughout the United Kingdom.

Basically, Thursday Next is a big nerd with a gun and a badass attitude, taking out international gangsters and grammasites with equal verve. Who else could better force the big boys aside and give bookworms (not the ones chowing down on verbs) someone to root for?

Addendum #1: …and, you know, if Rosamund Pike is free, she would be a perfect Thursday. Just saying.

Addendum #2: (If you disagree, let me know in the comments, and I promise to try to be civil.)

Addendum #3: (Also, thoughts on Dominic Cooper as Landen?)

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