Debuting a new feature here on Ye Olde Blog! Every Wednesday, I plan to focus on a character from adventure fiction (film, comics & prose) that I simply adore. The first one to get that treatment: Marion Ravenwood!
Introduced in Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), Marion is the daughter of Dr. Abner Ravenwood, a professor of archaeology obsessed with finding the Lost Ark of the Covenant. Abner was the mentor to Indiana Jones, who accompanied the Ravenwoods on many archaeological digs. Marion entered into a sexual relationship with Jones when she was just 14 years old (Indiana was 24) and the relationship continued until Marion was 17. Indiana abruptly left her in 1926, a move that left Marion seething with anger. When they met again, in 1936, Marion confronted Jones by saying, “I was a child! I was in love! It was wrong and you knew it!” Jones showed little remorse, and simply replied “You knew what you were doing.”
During their time apart, Abner Ravnwood had vanished, leaving his daughter in possession of a headpiece for the Staff of Ra, an artifact that would later prove crucial in locating the Ark. When Indiana found her, she was living in Nepal and running a bar known as “The Raven.” Refusing to simply hand over the Staff of Ra to Jones, she accompanied him on a dangerous mission in which he was attempting to reach the Ark before the Nazis did the same. Terrorized by Nazi agent Arnold Toht and nearly seduced by Jones’ rival, Rene Belloq, Marion eventually helped rediscover the object that her father had so coveted.
Following this, Marion returned to the states. After a failed turn at journalism, she re-opened “The Ravens Nest” in New York City. Jones abandoned her the week before their planned wedding day, unaware that she was pregnant with their future son, Henry “Mutt” Jones III. Three months after Indy’s departure, Marion met RAF pilot Colin Williams and the two eventually married. Her life with Colin and Mutt was a happy one but it ended far too soon when Colin was killed in action during World War II.
Many years later, a friend of Marion’s named Harold Oxley was captured by the Russians, who were interested in the power of the crystal skulls. Marion sent Mutt to find Jones, knowing that only he could rescue their mutual acquaintance. Jones learned the truth about Mutt and Marion forgave him for his many transgressions. The two married at last and set out on new adventures together.
I love Marion’s spunk — the way she drinks her patrons under the table and delivers a powerful roundhouse punch. Plus, she’s cute as a button and her smile can light up a room. She’s intelligent, sexy, funny and capable. What’s not to love?
I never liked how she forgave Indiana for dumping her at the altar, though — I love Indy but considering that this was the second time he’d abandoned her, I think she should have kicked his ass to the curb for good. Despite that, Marion is one of the inspirations for virtually every pulp heroine/love interest I’ve created.
Definitely a wonderful character!
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