vicarly: (Je suis laid sans toi;)
( CHARACTER INFORMATION )

Name/Work Name: Sidney Chambers
Canon: Grantchester
Canon Point: Series I, Episode 6 (After Hildegard's rejection)
AU/CRAU: N/A
Age: 33

History:
As of yet, we know very little of Sidney's life before the events of the Grantchester novels and TV series take place, but we are able to infer events about his past from flashbacks, what we are told by the cast of characters, and the social/political climate of the time:

The story of Grantchester takes place in the real life village of Grantchester (near Cambridge) in England, after the events of the Second World War. We know from history during this time that Britain went through a period of reconstruction from the damage it sustained from the numerous German air raids on British soil. Furthermore, we are able to take from the political and cultural leanings of the time: a renewed national pride by the succession of Her Majesty Elizabeth II, the reelection of Winston Churchill as prime minister, the western fear of the spread of communism, and notably, the influence of the jazz movement in European countries.

From what we do know about Sidney, we can reasonably assume he had a 'normal' upbringing. Both his parents and siblings are noted to still be alive. He fondly recollects of his grandfather working as a vicar himself. By this, we can tell he was raised under the umbrella of the Church of England (or Anglican denomination).

❝Soldiers, my friends, so many of my friends were howling for their mothers and their sweethearts. Howling. Then, even when we had pulled some of them to relative safety, their pain had become unbearable. My commanding officer gave me a loaded revolver and said simply 'Do what you have to do.' ...I stopped the pain. And I've never forgotten it. I remember it every day, and I pray for him. I ask for God's mercy.❞

We also know by Sidney's accounts that he served during WWII, specifically as an soldier in the Scots Guard. It is clear these events were traumatic for him, both in his actions on the battlefield, and in putting an end to the misery of his fellow combatants. While some other veterans of the war were able to dismiss their actions as necessary evils of war, Sidney clearly is unable to disregard them so easily. To an extent, he is horrified by what humans (chiefly himself) are capable of.

Hence, we are able to conclude that upon returning from the war, Sidney pursues a career as a clergyman in order to repent for the actions required of him in his time abroad. He believes that his service in the name of the Lord is the key to his salvation, evenhandedly preaching awareness of self and tolerance of others to the parishioners of Grantchester. Throughout the series, his sermons in church will go on to mirror the struggles of his inner self.

Sidney is very much added on to by those who surround him. His friends and family serve as both an anchor to reality and an igniter for his overall growth throughout the series.

His relationship with Geordie is easily the most important and simplest of friendships: they depend upon their perception of one another. Sidney and Geordie both are quick to exchange snarky remarks, call attention to the other's mistakes, and fix their perceptions of themselves as a result. Although Geordie initially sees Sidney as an impertinence at crime scenes, he soon comes to encourage his presence.

Whereas his dealings with Amanda are somewhat convoluted. He cares for her-- tremendously. So much that he asks her to run away with him in the first episode. Of course, they both fall victim to obligation. Amanda, being the daughter of wealthy socialites, could never expect to marry a man from such a 'humble' upbringing. Even in the 50s, the motion was still scoffed at. Furthermore, Sidney convinces himself that his duties to the vicarage take precedence. In spite of this, they choose to remain as friends. She's always showering him with gifts (despite Sidney's qualms with the practice), and he's ready to indulge her with gentle compliments. Their affair is emotional, as opposed to physical, and they're always on the cusp of where the boundaries between love and duty lie.

...Which goes into his relationship with Hildegard. In unveiling her husband's death as murder (opposed to what they had originally believed as a suicide), they spark a connection with one another. Sidney was very charmed by her ability to play the piano, enjoys talking to her about music and politics, and finds her company calming to him. He even goes on to woo her in her native German tongue (albeit, poorly). He does not find her nationality off-putting (in spite of the stifled tensions as a result of the war), so much as standing up for her in the face of anti-German sentiment. Unlike Amanda, he is free to express his love for her.

Between Amanda and Hildegard, Sidney is forced to realize you do not own a monopoly on the feelings of others. He cannot expect them, or anyone else to share his feelings in return. While he may not be able to choose who he has emotions for, the most loving thing one can do is wish for their happiness. He comes to terms with this by the end of the first series, once he admits to Hildegard the nature of his mistake, and in accepting Amanda's marriage to another man.

Much like Geordie, his sister Jennifer serves as a pillar in Sidney's life. As an older brother, he frets over her well-being. As his sister, she frets over his happiness. She's not unwilling to drag him along with her to parties, or to push him to 'live in the moment'. It forces Sidney not to take himself so seriously.


Personality:
❝He had not undertaken Holy Orders so that he could consort with policemen and threaten doctors. He had been called to be a messenger, watchman, and steward of the Lord. He had a bounden duty to exercise care and diligence in bringing those in his charge to the faith and knowledge of God. And he had made a solemn promise at his ordination that there be no place left in him for error in religion or for viciousness in life. Yet, at this particular moment in time, everything was conspiring against him.❞

To understand Sidney Chambers is recognize the nature of his character is in itself, a contradiction. By virtue of being in the position of a vicar, he holds himself to a standard described as being 'beyond reproach'. This is not to say he believes himself there by any means, but rather, it is his aspiration. His own self awareness is to his detriment. He may aspire to reach a point of religious enlightenment beyond the norm of his earthly soul, but he grooms himself into believing it an impossible feat. He has a keenly acute awareness of his flaws, so much that he mentally disgraces himself for them.

When it comes to the flaws (or lack thereof, in some cases) of others, you could say Sidney is tolerant in every sense of the word. When a parishioner is believed to commit suicide, he reinforces the motion that God absolves all sins. That some do not have the mental capacity to carry on their desire in living, and should not be faulted for their desire to die. In assisting the police for a murder investigation, he argues arresting a man accused of 'gross indecency' does nothing, and proceeds to bail him from jail offering him sanctuary at the vicarage. Even in a post WWII Britain, he is prepared to defend a German woman, being  judged solely for her nationality. Sidney has no patience for prejudice, setting him years ahead of many in his time.

His lack of tolerance, is as stated, with himself. He drinks (often citing his preference of beer to sherry is one of his clerical failings), he indulges in the 'sin' of listening to jazz music, he is occasionally unable to stop himself from the compulsion of lying. One instance of particular note (during a trip to London), he is depressed and decides to 'drink away' his sorrows. A jazz singer from the club he had visited flirts with him, and convinces him to sleep with her. He later faults himself for allowing himself to do so, then attempts to admit to (his then girlfriend) Hildegard the events that transpired, only failing to bring himself to do so. This said, he later conjures the courage to tell her the truth about his misgivings, only to be rejected by her.

Contrary to his service to the church, his interest in sleuthing forces him to develop a new mindset altogether. In order to solve cases, he must look at everyone with suspicion. No one person may be free of scrutiny, unless proven beyond a reasonable doubt. Sidney's plight is in the distress this mindset causes him. He wants to see the best in people, to give them the benefit of the doubt, and to give them the opportunity to evolve as people. When he is incapable of doing so, he faults himself as a person. It is a slippery slope for him. He can never be too kind or too judgmental.

Still, when it comes down to it, Sidney is capable of bring a level-headed, altruistic man. He is genuinely kind-hearted and polite to most everyone he meets. He will go out of his way to help others, regardless if it meant putting himself in harm's way. He, like all humans, have their own flaws. With time and the support of others, he may eventually be able to overcome his intolerance of himself.


Inventory:
(1) Set of clerical robes, (1) bible, (1) rosary, his Labrador retriever (Dickens).


Abilities, Strengths, and Weaknesses:
Having served in during WWII, it is safe to assume he is adept in combat (particularly in fisticuffs and in firearms). He has a knack for observing the even smallest of details, which certainly aids in his hobby of amateur sleuthing. He is well-read and extremely intelligent, making logical deduction come easy to him. By virtue of being a member of the clergy, people in general feel like they are allowed to be open with him. He is good at listening to them and giving them advice. Because of this, it is easier for Sidney to coax information from them (this comes into play in more than one investigation).

However, Sidney is overcast by a cloud of guilt. He often shoulders the burdens of his own or others because he feels he is obligated to do so. Consequentially, he occasionally falls into depressive spells. He isn't very adept socially, or at least when it comes to conveying his own emotions to others. Although he is not violent or by any means cruel, he's developed a dependency to alcohol over the years as a means to cope with the trauma of war. When he begins taking an interest in the murders happening around him, he finds himself increasingly making lies (be them to extort the truth, or simply to those he cares about). This is particularly of note when he returns from London. He often berates himself for his flaws, stating he should be 'beyond reproach'.

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