Wednesday Word of the Week

Ruthless – having or showing no pity or compassion for others

Ruthless came to mind for two reasons this week. Firstly, I was thinking that it had been ever such a long time since I saw my old friend Ruth (‘old’ as in long-time, not as in age – she is, in fact, an entire day younger than I am!). Thus, I have been, in an entirely different sense, ‘Ruth-less’ 🙂

The other reason was because there was a meme going around on Facebook in which you were asked to name your five favourite characters. Now, I found this an extremely confusing meme – by ‘favourite’ did the meme mean ‘characters I like most’ or ‘characters I find most interesting’ or (given part of my writing background) ‘characters I like writing fanfic about’? It was all terribly difficult.

However, one character who leapt to mind was Nancy Blackett, from Swallows and Amazons. I adored her (and probably wanted to be her) in my childhood, and I am still very fond of her. Her actual first name – lest you wonder why I have wandered so far off the point – was Ruth, but she was always called Nancy (except by her Great-Aunt of terrifyingness). In the film of the novel, her sister (and ship mate) Peggy explains that she is known as Nancy because “Amazon pirates were ruthless”. I have never been able to find this line in the books (and I’ve read all of Arthur Ransome’s Swallows and Amazons series) so I have a feeling it was added in the film (all corrections on this point very welcomed! Preferably with chapter information so that I can go and look it up for myself).

Ruthless. A funny word (much like disgruntled) because you never hear of someone being ‘ruthful’ (or gruntled – apart from in PG Wodehouse novels). But a strangely pleasing one.

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