Study Guide

Darius in Inkheart

By Cornelia Funke

Darius

Awkward Nerd

Darius is the other reader that Capricorn acquires for himself, brought in as a replacement for Mo. Either Darius always been awkward, or living under Capricorn hasn't really been good for him because:

He was small and thin and couldn't be any older than Mo, but his back was bent like an old man's, and his arms and legs moved awkwardly, as if he didn't quite know what to do with them. He kept nervously adjusting his glasses. The frame was held together over the bridge of his nose with sticky tape, as if it had often been broken. (17.85)

It's pretty clear that Darius struggles. Notice how he moves awkwardly and that he nervously fidgets with his glasses? These are signs of an insecure character, though we don't know whether that results from years of Capricorn's abuse or was part of what drew Capcricorn to poor Darius in the first place.

One thing is certain, though: Darius loves books. This is immediately apparent when Mo reads aloud from Treasure Island. Check out Darius's reaction:

"That was wonderful!" Darius whispered to Mo […]. His eyes were gleaming behind his glasses like the eyes of a child who had just been given a much-wanted present. "I've read that book many times," he said in a voice that shook, "but I never saw it all as vividly as I did today. And I didn't just see it… I smelled it, the salt and the tar and the musty odor of the whole accursed island…" (18.21)

Sounds like we have a fanboy on our hands.

Living in Fear

Darius had a life before becoming Capricorn's reader, too, as he tells Meggie and Fenoglio:

I worked as a teacher, but in my free time I read aloud now and then in libraries and schools, or for children's parties, and sometimes on warm summer evenings I even read in a square of cafe. I love reading aloud. (42.20)

But then, of course, Capricorn came along and ruined all that. Darius doesn't read well while he's being frightened or intimidated, so the quality of his reading plummeted, and Capricorn's brutes started punishing him. Darius recalls:

Whenever they shut me up in this room […] they gave me nothing but dry bread. And they took my books away, too, but I managed to hide some of them, and when the hunger got too bad I looked at the pictures of them. The best was a picture of apricots. I sometimes sat for hours staring at the painted fruit with my mouth watering. (42.13)

That seems like pretty harsh punishment, doesn't it? Then again, though, Darius really botches some of his readings—that's why Resa can't speak, for instance. The punishment hardly fits the crime (if you can call nerves screwing up Darius's readings a crime, that is).

Since things were so hard for old Darius in Capricorn's village, it's nice that he catches a break and gets to go live with Mo, Meggie, Resa, and Elinor at the end of the book. He helps Elinor build her library back up, and watches "wide-eyed" (59.26) while Mo fixes books. So in the end, Darius seems calm and content at last.

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