The backstory is not necessary to read, just wanted to share here as my SW/GT outlet. You can skip to the pictures if you’d like, marked by , , , , ,
TL;DR relationship between a Borrower and human (Bean) as adults.
Been revisiting the theme of Borrowers lately, and the idea of a relationship between an adult Borrower and adult human (Bean). I got curious one day and tried to find any reference in the books about how big Borrowers were - I recall this question coming up years ago on one of the forums. I think there may be some throwaway mention, but I don’t remember and the illustrations aren’t always the most consistent points of reference. Anyway, I came across this beauty of a line in the early pages of Chapter 1 of the first book:
“But my brother said that, underneath, he thought they were frightened. It was because they were frightened, he thought, that they had grown so small. Each generation had become smaller and small, and more and more hidden.”
Does this potentially open this question up to multiple answers and theories? Oh yes, I think it does so I took up that opportunity to imagine a ~3.5-inch tall Borrower (Adelly) who has learned that to stop the effects of intergenerational shrinking, she must make regular contact with Beans. Most of these encounters have been with children, or people who are wary of offending “the fey folk”, so she’s been able to navigate through the usual dangers pretty well and avoid getting squished.
However, it also effectively means banishment from other Borrowers due to the dangers she’s believed to bring as a result of being seen. So she’s lived afield for most of her life, rarely staying in a house for more than she needs, to borrow and then move on. She doesn’t mind though given the freedom and she loves nature, especially plants.
One day she comes across a particular house with a large greenhouse and a collection of potted plants - some of which she had never seen before. Tending to them is a Bean (Phillip) who she spots sitting at a workbench, hunched over a plant with small, paper-like flowers. Curiosity draws her closer to see what he’s doing and at one point, it seems that he’s about to rip the plant out of the pot. This causes her to yelp which alerts him to her presence. As he sits up and looks over, she sees just how big he is - much bigger than any Bean she’s ever seen, let alone encountered.
Their encounter has other firsts for her: he is unshaken by her being there (having encountered Borrowers before), he initiates the conversation (though he doesn’t speak much), he saves her from falling off the workbench (making contact), and she finds him to be VERY attractive, albeit extremely large (a point of fascination which may develop into something more).
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Once Adelly starts talking about the plants, it’s hard to get her to stop. Since Phillip made the flora guides available for her to peruse, she’s been keen to share what new thing she’s learned about the different varieties and species. It was endearing really, even if he did have to carry her around so she could finish her speech.
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Adelly seeks Phillip out to ask if she needs to bring anything for their outing to the village. She stops mid-sentence as she realises that she’s caught him at an (in)opportune time, changing out of his soiled shirt. He doesn’t seem bothered by her seeing him half-naked, nor does he seem to mind as he teases her about easing off her “new rouge” (honestly, I just wanted an excuse to draw a guy’s back).