As Ichabod Crane, Johnny Depp gives new meaning to the term "swoony matinee idol".

There's something compelling about a movie where the hero faints more than twice as many times as the heroine. Ichabod faints no fewer than five times during the movie, and every time I've seen it, the audience has laughed about this. Katrina faints twice, and no one ever laughs about that. Every time Ichabod keels over, everyone just laughs harder.

Why do we find Ichabod's narcolepsy so charming? Is it just because it isn't something males normally do?

 

 

A lady named Samantha had this to say:
"Why do I love it when Ichabod faints?
Because in my stories (which are all in my head), I'm there to bring him back to senses. I'm the first one he sees, the first one he hugs, the first one he smiles that sweet smile to, and the first one he thanks with a kiss."

Another answer I received was more to the point:
"Because he's so cute when he faints."

I received an interesting letter from a man named Charles:
"I like it when Ichabod faints because his doing so is true to reality.
"I'm a guy who also faints easily too. My g/f has never fainted once that I know of, but I faint frequently. Triggers include the sight of blood, bad news, being hungry, being in a hot room, being at an accident scene, feeling panic about something, or even pure passion—I've fainted more than once while deep kissing! Cherie, my g/f, believes that it's beneficial when I faint. As soon as I become light-headed, I let her know immediately. She quickly has me lie down and removes my shoes to make me comfortable. She encourages me to faint in those situations, since it's natural and relaxes me; so she usually leaves me "out" and doesn't revive me except in public places. Last week I fainted at our friend's house while we were all watching a surgical procedure on TV. She had Jim carry me to a bedroom where she revived me with smelling salts (which she always carries in her purse "just in case"). Once I was awake and was reminded why I fainted, I promptly broke into a sweat, saw white, and passed out a second time. Cherie then made the decision to let me faint away freely. She told me afterward that she explained to Jim and Barb that when I faint a second time, it's a sign that there are multiple spells to follow. I was out like a light and couldn't hear that, of course, but she made the right decision. Once I was up and around later, everyone acted like I had just been napping and nobody razzed me about it, made a big deal of it, or asked questions which I appreciated. My g/f and my mom, though, compare notes on my fainting all the time and they like to discuss it a lot.
"Recently, I was looking at a first aid book, and noticed that in the article on fainting it was a guy laid out on the couch and being attended by a woman. That looked so familiar! When I looked in a couple of other books, they also depicted guys fainting. Doing some research on the net I discovered that in fainting episodes between ages 16 and 35, the vast majority involve males, not females. That means that the stereotype of women fainting more often than men is totally incorrect. Ask any nurse who works at a blood bank, and she'll tell you that she figured that out a long time ago.
"So, I totally identify with Ichabod and consider him to be a superhero!"

 

 

Perhaps it is because his fainting is such a clear symbol of his shortcomings, and what compels me about this character is the constant battle between his crippling weaknesses of cowardice and squeamishness and his great strengths of intelligence and determination.

Judging from what other fans have said, I'm not the only one who liked seeing a hero with genuine weaknesses. Most heroes have macho shortcomings, like quick tempers. Johnny Depp has said he was worried he would get fired for playing such a cowardly, "nelly" hero. I'm sure it did take a lot of courage (!) for everyone involved to create such an atypical hero, but it obviously paid off. Fans of this movie find it immensely refreshing to see a leading man who has to overcome genuine fears and weaknesses; I think it's easier to identify with a character who so obviously is terrified — and yet does everything he sets out to do. It's somewhat reassuring. The example of Arnold Schwarzenegger isn't going to get me through any rough spots; 6 feet of rippling muscles can do things that a petite female such as myself can't. But if the pusillanimous Ichabod Crane can face the forces of evil — and he does — then so can I.

Whatever the real answer is, I'm charmed along with everyone else. That's why I started posting a "swoon count" next to the stories on my site, and made a rule that in every story submitted, Ichabod must faint at least once. I meant it about the rule, but I made it tongue in cheek, because I haven't read any where he isn't fainting all over the place.

 

 

Visit the Tree of the Dead for some similar thoughts on Ichabod Crane.

The largest two of the images on this site are courtesy of Nina. Thank you, Nina!

 

Sleepy Hollow