Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Characters

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. Each week we will post a new Top Ten list that one of our bloggers here at The Broke and the Bookish will answer. Everyone is welcome to join.

This week’s theme is our all-time favorite book characters, which was, uh, hard.  There are a lot of really great characters out there!  And there are even more characters that are great, but I wouldn’t really say that I like them, like Mrs. Coulter from “His Dark Materials,” Elphaba from “Wicked,” everyone from “The Great Gatsby,” lots of characters from Alan Furst’s books…you get the idea.  Here are some of my favorites, which may or may not also be great.

1. Dodola from “Habibi” by Craig Thompson.  I read this 600+ page graphic novel in about two days last week and adored it.  The beautiful Dodola grows up in constant hardship, relying on her cleverness and, sometimes, her body to help herself and her adopted orphan brother survive.  Her experiences never break her, though – she reflects on them and the pain they caused her and she moves on, drawing on religious stories and a Scheherazade-like survival instinct to carry herself through.

2. Mary Boleyn from “The Other Boleyn Girl” by Philippa Gregory.  Mary is surrounded by a scheming family that really just wants her to have the king’s babies.  How dare she want to do things like fall in love and not be a kept woman!  It’s not the greatest book, but you can’t help but root for Mary.

3. Elizabeth from “The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society” by Annie Barrows.  Elizabeth never actually appears in the book, but the anecdotes other characters tell about her reveal her to be loving and fearless, a devoted mother, and a leader in her community.

4. Hermione Granger from “Harry Potter” by JK Rowling.  Movie Hermione became blonde and beautiful, but Book Hermione remained bushy-haired and very nerdy to the bitter end.  Her smarts and her fierce bravery make her a great role model for young female readers (take note, Bella).

5. Remus Lupin from “Harry Potter.”  And who didn’t love Remus?  In “Prisoner of Azkaban,” Harry finally gets a great Defense Against The Dark Arts teacher who’s understanding and nurturing and who has an awesome backstory to boot.  His character went some different directions in the final book, which I didn’t necessarily like, but which certainly made him a more interesting and realistic character.

6. Dream/The Sandman from Neil Gaiman’s “Sandman.”  He’s not always likable, and sometimes he hardly shows up in his own books, but he is awesome.  He’s like the Ninth Doctor on his worst angry days, on acid, in a…well, in a Neil Gaiman book.

7. Boromir from “The Lord Of The Rings” by JRR Tolkien.  Poor Boromir.  He knows what needs to be done to save his country and he rides all over Middle Earth to get it done, only to find out his way isn’t really the right way at all.  But he repents and his death serves as motivation and a positive example for the other characters who continue on the mission.

8. Talia from “Arrows of the Queen” by Mercedes Lackey.  Petite, shy teenage Talia evolves into a talented, loyal, hard-working, courageous warrior over the course of the trilogy.  She has more than her fair share of self-esteem issues, which made her very relatable as a teenager.  While I never really liked her super power of ~*feelings*~, her dedication to the Queen and her friends makes her an admirable, enjoyable character.

9. Jane Eyre from “Jane Eyre” by Charlotte Bronte.  I’ve sung Jane Eyre’s praises before: she’s basically an early feminist who makes her own way in the world and doesn’t come back to her true love until he’s repented of all his crazy.  Again, Bella, take note.

10. Daniel Dreiberg from “The Watchmen” by Alan Moore.  “Watchmen” is full of complex (which is a nice way of saying “messed up”) characters, but shlubby, nice-guy Dan is one of my favorites.  He just wants to be a hero and do the right thing in a world that makes that as hard as possible for him.

I could keep going – lots of “Harry Potter” characters could make the list, along several LOTR characters (like Eowyn and Faramir), Cinna from “The Hunger Games,” Iorek from “His Dark Materials,” Elizabeth Bennett (and the awesomely snarky Mr. Bennett, for that matter)…anyway, just check out the other entries here.

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11 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Characters

  1. A while ago, my daughter and I had a similar conversation about MH (Movie Hermione) vs. BH (Book Hermione). MH started out really well–bushy hair, bookish and nerdy–could have done with the dental issues too–but true to character. Then from PoA, she started to turn more into Emma Watson, and was less like BH. And we agreed that part of the point of BH was to show that you can be intelligent (bookish, even), nerdy, and not the most beautiful person in the room, and yet have great friends, and accomplish a great deal. Looks aren’t everything, and don’t judge a book by the cover. I think MH lost this, and it’s a shame.

    Jane Eyre nearly made my list. I really enjoyed that book, and Jane’s character was not at all what I expected from an early 19th century novel. I was pleasantly surprised.

    • I do wish Movie Hermione had been less gorgeous, but I guess that’s the curse of movies – everyone’s gotta be pretty. (Same story with most Jane Eyre adaptations, actually, since neither of them are supposed to be particularly good-looking, either.) I appreciated MH’s excitable nerdiness in the final movies, though – I felt like it was a nice return to her brainy roots, even if she was still beautiful.

  2. You’re the second blog in a row that’s listed Lupin…can’t believe I left him off of mine! Mary Boleyn was a good one though. I agree, not the best book, but she was a great character.

    • Sirius is also pretty awesome, but Lupin felt like a more well-rounded character to me. Sirius and Harry both had similar moments of emo pity-party time and I just wanted to grab their shoulders and shake. 🙂

  3. Ooh, ooh, I have to think about this for a while. Some all-time-favorites include Blackberry from Watership Down (any smart rabbit is a buddy of mine!), Tristan from the James Herriot books (my favorite debauched choirboy), Sumire from the Kimi wa Pet manga series (she’s such a great, nuanced character, and I identify with her a lot), and Daine from Tamora Pierce’s Wild Magic series (I wanted to be her so badly when I was like ten). One particular recent favorite is Cassel Sharpe from Holly Black’s Curse Workers series–I just finished Black Heart last Saturday, and the whole…everything…is so good! And Cassel’s characterization is fantastic, as a clever, tricky young man from a family of criminals who is sure that badness is in his blood.

    • I was never able to get through “Watership Down.” :-/ Man, isn’t that the second failure-of-a-reader confession I’ve had to make to you?

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