Featured (Anti-)Heroine: Rynn Jacobs

Today is October 31 and that means one very important thing. No, not Halloween; today is the birthday of one of my favourite (anti-)heroines of all time, Rynn Jacobs. And that, you may be surprised to know, is despite the fact that up until about half a year ago, I hadn’t even heard of her.

Rynn Jacobs was created by the American author Laird Koenig as the protagonist of Mr Koenig’s 1974 novel, The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane. A movie based very closely on this book (thanks, no doubt, to the fact that Mr Koenig himself wrote the screenplay), was produced in 1976 and it stars the extremely talented Jodie Foster as the titular little girl. A version of the story for the stage also exists. The image which you can see at the beginning of this post is from a German lobby card for the film. It is not the whole lobby card; unfortunately the lobby card is slightly larger than my scanner.😥

I only decided to watch The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane after I stumbled upon it on Amazon Prime earlier this year. Although I was familiar with the title of the film, I only had a very vague notion of what it was about. However, within the first minute, I was hooked and by the end of it, it was one of my favourite films of all time. Not long after this, I managed to get a copy of the original novel (see the image below) and I ended up loving it as well. To give a brief summary of the plot, Rynn Jacobs is a young, but highly intelligent and fiercely independent girl, who lives a rather secluded life with her father, a successful poet. Although still a child, Rynn dearly wants to live her life as she pleases, well away from the expectations and pressures of society. However, some unfortunate events conspire to put this desire at risk…

The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane has been described as a horror story, simply because the story involves a number of deaths, but I think horror is not the best way to describe it. For me, it is more of a suspense story, and that suspense is created by the serious struggles Rynn faces in trying to maintain her unusual lifestyle. Incidentally, the Rynn from the book and the one from the film differ slightly. The book version of Rynn is darker, as some of her actions could be seen as downright malicious (even though those actions are born solely out of a powerful survival instinct). The film version of Rynn, on the other hand, is a lot more sympathetic; only one of her actions (the very last, in fact) could be described as being somewhat malicious. But in either case, I find Rynn to be a fascinating character. I greatly admire the strong will she has to live her life as she chooses, even when taking into consideration the extreme lengths she goes to in order to protect her independence.

There is one last thing I would like to add to this post and that is about Rynn’s name (which, as far as I can tell, is of Gaelic origin). I think it’s absolutely magnificent! It is nice and short and very pleasant-sounding. Had I known of it prior to seeing The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane, I most certainly would have used it as the name for one of my characters, but having seen the film, Rynn will always be the little girl who lives down the lane to me.😊

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