Portrait of a Character – Karin Bernstein
Karin Bernstein originally was a plot device.
Karin was brought in, for The Light, in order to be a part of a more substantial plot than just celebrating Chanukah.
Because the name Karin means pure, Karin starts off as something of an unattainable character for someone like Ethan Shapiro. In fact, he defers to Andy Miller when Andrew comments that he’s going to ask her out. However, this is not Ethan’s true desire, as is noted in Waiting.
In the E2 stories I am currently writing, Karin’s behavior is even less pure, and she is much more of an aggressor, not only in her relationship but also in her career. She sits in the captain’s chair several times. This suggests that this pure maiden could potentially even lead people into battle.
For Karin, I had to have a Jewish actress. so I decided on Natalie Portman. Portman is lovely without being wholly unapproachable, for Karin has to be somewhat down to earth. But she also has to be pretty enough that Ethan is nervous around her and maybe even blows some of his chances with her.
She is, in many ways, the quintessential ‘nice Jewish girl’.
Kind and friendly, Karin is probably less career-driven than others. Although, in the E2 stories, she steps up a lot more. As a Tactical crewman, she works under Lieutenant Reed, and is responsible for working with, maintaining and learning targeting and strategy. Presumably, she is not at the Tactical Bridge station too often or without supervision. It’s not until the E2 stories that she has a chance to take the Bridge station and, eventually at times, the captain’s chair.
It depends on which story you’re reading, actually. In The Light, Andy Miller successfully romances her. That relationship continues in Waiting. Lili even asks about it during Temper when she’s asking Malcolm about the gossip from the ship. Malcolm informs Lili that things have changed, and Karin is going out with Ethan Shapiro. The culmination of their relationship is shown in Fortune and The Rite.
In the E2 stories, by way of contrast, both times she ends up with Josh Rosen, the third of the three male Jewish crew members in The Light.
By the time of Temper, MU Karin Bernstein is in a very bad situation. She, Blair Claymore, and Pamela Hudson are no more than playthings for José Torres. By the end of Temper, she ends up with the mirror Josh Rosen. However, since that’s an alternate timeline, they are not together in He Stays a Stranger, and her whereabouts are not known.
“Best girl? You mean there are others?”
As originally not much more than a plot device, Karin has evolved to become a much more three-dimensional character. I’m sure she’ll take me somewhere else at some later date.