Headcanons and synesthesia
I’m sure at least some of you have come across the term synesthesia before, as it is often mentioned in literature class. It defines a trope when the author connects two senses, for example writes about the smell of colours, or the colours of letters, as Arthur Rimbaud did in ‘Vowels’:
A Black, E white, I red, U green, O blue: vowels,
I shall tell, one day, of your mysterious origins:
A, black velvety jacket of brilliant flies
Which buzz around cruel smells,
Gulfs of shadow; E, whiteness of vapours and of tents,
Lances of proud glaciers, white kings, shivers of cow-parsley;
I, purples, spat blood, smile of beautiful lips
In anger or in the raptures of penitence;
U, waves, divine shudderings of viridian seas,
The peace of pastures dotted with animals, the peace of the furrows
Which alchemy prints on broad studious foreheads;
O, sublime Trumpet full of strange piercing sounds,
Silences crossed by Worlds and by Angels:
O the Omega, the violet ray of Her Eyes!
What most people don’t know, is that it’s also an existing neurological phenomenon: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synesthesia
I belong to the most common group, who connect graphemes (letters and numbers) to colours. Simply put, each character has a colour and I couldn’t do anything to alter it, even if I wanted to. It’s very useful when trying to remember dates, but it sometimes creates very strong headcanons for me I can’t change, even if it contradicts the actual text.
Take Frodo Baggins: Tolkien describes him as ‘fairer than the rest’ which could mean prettier or lighter haired. I decided to stick with ‘pretty’ because it’s hard to imagine someone with such a black name having blond hair.
Or the duo on the example pictures. The musical version of Les Misérables colour-coded Enjolras as red, Grantaire as green. But E is a light, cold green, G is medium-brown and R, with which Grantaire signs his name is bright red. Hence my headcanon for their outfits.