Wow thanks Charles Dickens, yeah that’s my heart you just ripped out and threw on the floor- it’s okay i’ll go pick it up and pretend like you didn’t just do this to me do you really have to kill everyone sob sob sob all my feels under the cut:
Okay so I’ve never actually read Bleak House but I really adore the miniseries [it grew on me, I didn’t like it much at first], so I know I’ll have to read it eventually.
But ohmygod [spoilers spoilers spoilers] i was absolutely smitten with Richard, and most people seem to range from being mildly annoyed with him to actually hating him, and i dunno- perhaps it’s because I can sympathize with him [not a good thing, i can assure you]
He was just such a good person, always pleasant and happy and cheerful and he wasn’t the smartest bloke in the world, and he was incredibly naive but he was just a really really good, really sweet guy.
And he may come off better in the tv show than the book, because the actor did such a great job of making him this good, happy, enthusiastic and optimistic guy, he sees Esther after her face is horribly poxmarked and he just jumps up, all “Esther it’s so good to see you!” and before he gets ill he is just always grinning and excited about something.
And I’ve seen some people complain that he was selfish in taking Ada down with him, but that’s no so at all, they were terribly in love and she told him many times that he didn’t have to build up a fortune before they could marry. She’s far from innocent in this, if anything she was an enabler maybe, letting him just fixate on the Jarndyce case and not do anything else. Of course- I refuse to blame either of them for secretly marrying and living together because god, they were so cute and in love.
Really, I’d say he’s just a victim of the Victorian social construct. For a man in his position, he is supposed to become a doctor, lawyer or military man, and since none of those were quite right for him, he is perceived as a fickle loser who can’t get a job. But in reality he didn’t have any other options. And, in this time women couldn’t make proper money so it would be out of the question for Ada to support them [which she would have been able to do, and they wouldn’t have been stuck in such a horrid place]
His flaws make him endearing, not someone to dislike. I suppose him being overenthusiastic about his plans, but never following through can be aggravating to some, but I like his enthusiasm and excited optimism, it’s better than the alternative. And yes his single-minded obsession with the Jarndyce case can be considered naive and childish and lazy…
but this all makes him a tragic figure, one to be pitied. I do say he always has this air of happiness to him, but he isn’t a very happy man. He honestly thinks he can get his fortune from this case, and never have to do work he detests and he can marry the women he loves. And who doesn’t want that? So a lot of the blame can be put on the lawyers for building up this belief into him, and in the end he was right- he was the heir of the Jarndyce fortune, only the entire fortune was spent on the lawyers and case itself.
And ughhh then he dies and it’s so miserable and I just feel so sorry for him. He was a genuinely good bloke. A misguided, tragic bloke, but he had a damn good heart. And really, isn’t that the most important trait a person can have? Just be genuinely good.
In the miniseries it’s done so well because he collapses in the courtroom, on top of all the Jarndyce case papers and it’s obvious symbolism that this case killed him. It drove him mad, made him ill and stressed and he just dies and god, it was such an awful scene.
I guess I like him a lot because he’s childish and I’m awfully childish, and I can’t stomach the idea of having to spend the rest of your life in a career you just don’t like. My mum calls him a loser, but he’s really not. He’s just a really sweet and happy and lovable.
All of this is based only on the Richard-bashing I get from my parents or read on the imdb board for this miniseries. I’m interested as to what literary critics think of his character and how he is portrayed in the book.
TL;DR: Richard is just a really really really good bloke, and if you don’t see that and think he’s just annoying and immature than you are being a right tosser.