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Victor Fitzwilliam Van Dort

Original Canon: Corpse Bride

Born: June 9th

Age in Story: 19

Hometown: Burtonsville, England

Parents: William Gregory Van Dort and Eleanor “Nell” Susan Butler Van Dort

Siblings: Anna Marie Van Dort (died at birth), none living

Appearance: Victor’s very tall at six feet three inches. He’s also incredibly thin, looking a bit like a living stick figure. His home village is in one of the gloomier parts of England, so he’s very pale from lack of sunlight. He has thick black hair that parts in the middle and has prominent bangs, especially on one side. He has very large brown eyes, though the iris is so dark it tends to blend with the pupil. His facial features are very angular, with a sharp, thin nose and an extremely pointed chin. He also has very small feet for his height. Victor tends to wear dark clothing, though after coming to Secundus he’s started adding a bit of color with his ties and vests. His “hero outfit” is a black suit with a green tie and yellow vest, a black overcoat, black fingerless gloves, and black goggles with green-tinted lenses.

Personality: Victor tends to be shy and repressed, thanks to his upbringing. His parents (in particular his mother) were constantly on him to be the good, quiet, obedient son. As a result, Victor hates disappointing people and generally tries to be as helpful as possible. He also tends to apologize for things a bit more than necessary. He’s very used to repressing his emotions, particularly any considered “unpleasant” – it takes a lot to get him visibly angry, for example. When he gets upset, worried, or stressed, he tends to stutter and pull at his tie. He’s also on the clumsy side – running into things, knocking things over, and tripping over his own feet. He’s very quiet, and tends to avoid large crowds, preferring to keep to himself. He also has a tendency to run away if he thinks he’s in any danger or to get away from particularly uncomfortable situations.
For all that, though, he’s a good friend – polite, gentle, intelligent, and a rather good listener. Talking about art, music, or insects is a good way to make him open up. His favorite activities include drawing in his sketchbook, playing the piano, and studying butterflies. If he had his choice about a career, he’d probably look for something in the field of entomology. Once he gets to know someone, he’s willing to overlook anything about him or her that may have scared him before. He also adapts fairly quickly to new situations once he’s managed to conquer his own nerves. Although he likes pleasing people most of all, he’s willing to stand up for himself if he thinks someone’s trying to push him into doing something he considers just plain wrong. And he can be downright brave if someone he truly cares about appears to be in danger. He also has a well-hidden “racier” side, enjoying things like penny dreadfuls in secret.

History: Victor was born to Eleanor “Nell” Susan Butler Van Dort and William Gregory Van Dort June 9th, 18–, their only living child. The family lived in the small village of Burtonsville, a town not too far from the sea that relied primarily on fishing for its commerce. William revolutionized the town’s industry by opening the first cannery in the area. As a result, the Van Dorts quickly became very rich. Victor grew up exceedingly well off, with all his physical needs met.
Emotionally, however, Victor was a little neglected. Neither William or Nell (especially Nell) proved to be the child-rearing type. Their focus was on gaining respectability and favor with the upper classes, with hopes of one day joining the noble families of England. Such ambitions didn’t leave much time for their son. Victor found himself either left alone or (as the money started coming in earnest) fobbed off on nannies as his parents worked on getting to the top of the societal heap. Most of the attention he received from his mother and father came in the form of repeated instructions to not embarrass them in front of important people or annoyed scolding for not being the model of perfection they expected. As a result, Victor grew up shy and quiet, trying his best to be the good son and not cause trouble. The other village boys, jealous of his wealth and privilege, teased and tormented him frequently, causing Victor to retreat further inside his shell (and develop quite excellent climbing skills). Most of the time, when not attending the local parish school, Victor stayed at home, spending his time either drawing, playing with his beloved dog Scraps, or chasing butterflies out in the yard.
At the age of six, Victor showed some talent in playing the piano. His parents, thinking it would help the family socially, encouraged his interest, hiring the best tutors they could to teach him the instrument. Victor turned out to be a natural, and soon started spending most of his time at the keyboard, using the music to escape his rather dreary life.
When Victor was seven, the family moved from their rather modest house on the outskirts of town into a large mansion right on the town square. Although this did nothing to improve his standings with the local children, Victor did make friends with a number of the new servants. The carriage driver, Mayhew, soon became one of Victor’s closest confidants, and the two spent hours together just talking.
Eventually Victor grew up, going from a very small and skinny child to a very tall and skinny young man. His childhood love of butterflies developed into an interest in entomology, and he started studying the field in earnest, catching insects and sketching them for his own amusement. As shy and nervous as he was when he was young, he was content to keep to himself, waiting reluctantly for the day he would take over his father’s factory.
His parents, however, had other plans. At the tender age of 19, Victor was stunned to find himself betrothed to Victoria Everglot, the only daughter of Lord Finis and Lady Maudeline Everglot. The parents had negotiated the marriage based on mutual desires – the Van Dorts wanted the respectability being related to nobility would give them, while the Everglots wanted the use of the vast Van Dort fortune, theirs having run out long ago. The fact that their children had never even spoken to one another before didn’t enter into it. Victor weakly protested the marriage, but was ignored. Knowing there was no way out, he quietly resigned himself to a marriage he was almost certain he’d hate.
But then, two weeks before the nuptials, Victor was running away from some bullies in the woods when he happened across what looked like a steam train. . . .

November 2012

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