|The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants character|
Lena Kaligaris played by Alexis Bledel in films
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (2005)
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 (2008)
|Created by||Ann Brashares|
Alanna Dawn Ekkert (Young Lena)
Book Series: |
Book Series: |
Ariadne "Ari" Kaligaris (mother)
Georgos "George" Kaligaris (father)
Effie Kaligaris (sister)
Valia Kaligaris (paternal grandmother)
Bapi Kaligaris (paternal grandfather)
Effie Kaligaris (sister)
Yia Yia (grandmother)
Kostos Dounas (boyfriend)
Lena "Lenny" Kaligaris is a fictional character in The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, a best-selling series of young adult novels by Ann Brashares. In the 2005 film version of the first book, and the 2008 sequel, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2, she is portrayed by Alexis Bledel.
Lena is a shy, introspective aspiring artist of Greek heritage. Lena is very beautiful, but feels uncomfortable when her looks draw attention. Lena considers her biggest weaknesses are her inability to love and trust freely and her tendency to avoid the real situation because it is emotionally difficult to deal with. She feels especially guilty that people like her on-again-off-again boyfriend, Kostos, and one of her best friends, Bridget, who have lost so much in their lives, can live and love freely when she is reluctant to trust others. Another one of her best friends, Tibby, adds that "If you asked Lena to pick A or B, she'd always choose C," meaning that Lena has difficulty following her emotions. Rather, she justifies and overthinks everything. She has long dark hair and light green eyes.
Sister: Lena has an outgoing and somewhat promiscuous younger sister named Effie. She and Effie generally get along, even though they are very different. She does, however, have some disagreements with her sister, as Effie sometimes feels like Lena chooses her friends (the Sisterhood) over her own family. Effie is loud and lighthearted. She is not as beautiful as Lena (having a "large Greek nose") but is the more charismatic of the two sisters. Effie is still quite attractive though. Effie likes vintage clothes and adores boys.
Mother: Lena's mother, Ari, is a psychologist of Greek descent. She is very similar to her daughter in that she tends to be closed off and serious. Ari had a very passionate love affair when she was a young woman, but her lover left for Greece, telling her he'd return and never did, leaving her heartbroken. Lena and her mother sometimes have difficulty connecting, but they find emotional support in one another during Lena's break-up, as her mother can relate. Ari is described as very ambitious.
Father: Lena's father, George, is equally ambitious. His father wanted him to continue the family restaurant business in Greece, but he left for America to pursue a career as a lawyer. He is very old-fashioned and is not at all keen about Lena joining art school because he knows she will be painting nude models. Lena observes that though he puts on a tough "man of the house" exterior, he is actually quite vulnerable and is just worried about losing his daughters.
Grandfather: Lena's grandfather "Bapi" is very close to her, despite the fact that he doesn't speak English, and she speaks only limited Greek. Lena sometimes feels like an outsider amongst her wild and extroverted Greek relatives, but she and Bapi are both more quiet and pensive; he calls her "his girl" because of this. He is her paternal grandfather. In The Second Summer of the Sisterhood, he dies of a stroke.
Grandmother: Lena's paternal grandmother Valia is closer in personality to Effie than Lena. Valia is a vivacious and outgoing Greek woman who loves cooking and has an appetite for gossip. She is the one who initially tried to set Lena up with Kostos. After the death of her husband and subsequent move to America, Valia became bitter and disagreeable, quite in contrast to her previous vibrant personality. Though she is still heartbroken, she becomes more of her old self upon her return to Greece. She hides herself from the world so much that sometimes she pities herself.
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants
In the first book in the series, she meets Kostos when she goes to Santorini, Greece, to visit her grandparents. When they first meet, it's obvious that he's immediately infatuated with her, which leads her to dislike him, believing he only likes her because of her beauty. Later, he is apparently spying on her when she goes skinny-dipping in an olive grove, leading their grandfathers to engage in a fight. Later, she realizes that it was all a misunderstanding. She also realizes her true feelings for Kostos. Brashares based Lena on the myth of Artemis, the Greek goddess of the hunt who, when spotted bathing by a suitor, turned the young man into a stag. 
The Second Summer of the Sisterhood
We learn that several months after she got together with Kostos, Lena broke up with him because she didn't like her happiness being so dependent on another person. The book centers on her admitting her feelings for Kostos. He eventually visits her and the two spend a happy week together; Kostos then leaves with nothing but cryptic warnings about his obligations in Greece. Later, Bapi dies. At his funeral in Greece, Lena confronts Kostos and he tells her that one of the girls he dated is pregnant; he has married her so that she will not have to raise the child alone and so he can be the "gentleman". At the end of the book, Lena goes out to dinner with Carmen where she meets Carmen's stepbrother, Paul. The sparks between them are spectacular, and the book ends with Carmen hoping that Lena won't let her relationship difficulties with Kostos get in the way of her going after a great guy like Paul.
Girls in Pants: The Third Summer of the Sisterhood
Lena tries to get over Kostos. She goes to an art class and befriends her teacher Annik, but when her father learns that they are painting nude models, he withdraws his funding for both the class and her tuition to the Rhode Island School of Design. Annik urges her to take a stand for her rights and raise the money herself. Annik is in a wheelchair and asks Lena to paint a portrait of her. Lena, feeling awkward, neglects to paint Annik's wheelchair. Annik tells her that in order to be a real artist she must "draw the chair," a metaphor which Lena later uses in her life to encourage her to confront pain instead of shying from it. Using her "draw the chair" philosophy, Lena finds some closure with her father, sister and bitter grandmother, who is staying with the family in the States due to the death of Bapi the previous summer. It also encourages her to acknowledge the effect her break-up with Kostos had on her and encourages her to finally consider a relationship with Paul.
Forever in Blue: The Fourth Summer of the Sisterhood
Lena stays at her college, RISD, for a summer art class where she meets a handsome and talented African American young man named Leo. A mutual attraction develops, and eventually she loses her virginity to him. After they have sex, however, Lena is flooded with emotion, realizing that she didn't care for Leo as much as she still cares for Kostos, and feeling disgusted with herself. Meanwhile, Kostos visits her and reveals that he is getting a divorce; his wife claims to have had a miscarriage, but he is suspicious that she made up her pregnancy in the first place to get him to propose to her. Annoyed that things were finally going her way romantically before Kostos came and mixed up her feelings, Lena visits him in his motel and yells at him for expecting her to not have gotten over him. When she visits Greece with the rest of the sisterhood, she meets up with Kostos again. Kostos explains he had bought a ring and was planning to propose to her but failed to ask after Lena yelled at him at the motel. They talk over their relationship and he finally kisses her, before cryptically telling her "someday" in Greek and leaving for London for school.
Ten years into the future and Lena is an art teacher at the Rhode Island School of Design, casually dating a sandwich maker named Drew, and still obsessing over Kostos. When Tibby dies, Lena goes back to Greece and runs into Kostos. They start writing to each other again. At the end Lena and Kostos get back together.
Lena is seen by Jo in the novel 3 Willows in which Lena's sister Effie works at a restaurant with Jo. It is mentioned that Lena has recently returned from Europe.