The gals at The Great Noveling Adventure have been a delightful distraction from my writing lately (and they've got some swell stuff for writing, too, for when you're feeling responsible and crafty). In a recent post, one of the writers talked up her five favorite book characters of the year, and it made me want to do the same thing. I only wish I'd read enough this year to have more than a handful of characters to choose from. So instead I'm going to take the easy way out and share my five favorite book characters of all time. Because what isn't fun about all time? These aren't in any particular order, and while some of these books are certainly among my favorites, these characters transcend the page, making me wish for short stories and artist renderings and, gasp, fanfiction.
"I dig American movies. I dig Negroes, particularly Michael Jackson. I dig to disseminate very much currency at famous nightclubs in Odessa... many girls want to be carnal with me in many good arrangements, notwithstanding the Inebriated Kangaroo, the Gorky Tickle, and the Unyielding Zookeeper."
Alex Perchov from Jonathan Safran Foer's Everything is Illuminated is irresistible from the very start. As far as I'm concerned, he's the "hero" of this novel. Never has a character misused so many words so spectacularly.
"Remember that while the Clayr can See the future, others make it. I feel that you will be a maker, not a seer. You must promise me that it will be so. Promise me that you will not give in. Promise me that you will never give up hope. Make your future, Lirael!"
Lirael from Garth Nix's Lirael and Abhorsen manages a balance of strength and vulnerability on the page that makes me wonder if perhaps Nix was a teenage girl in another life. She's the rare heroine who can make enormous, childish mistakes, cry about them, and challenge herself to overcome them without ever distancing her reader (at least not this reader).
"There is a stubbornness about me that never can bear to be frightened at the will of others. My courage always rises at every attempt to intimidate me."
Elizabeth Bennet from Jane Austen's Pride & Prejudice demands a place in my esteem forever, and the esteem of most women, I think, of my generation and temperament. She is confident, intelligent, and refuses to compromise who she is despite every expectation that she must.
"Curiosity killed the cat,” Fesgao remarked, his dark eyes unreadable. Aly rolled her eyes. Why did everyone say that to her?
“People always forget the rest of the saying,” she complained. “‘And satisfaction brought it back.”
Aly Cooper from Tamora Pierce's Trickster's Choice and Trickster's Queen is indomitable. And so funny. I feel like I don't read enough traditional fantasy with a good sense of humor, but Aly really carried me into this series after many failed attempts to read Pierce's other works.
"You show the man you are when you insult me thus," I said very quietly.
"And what sort of man is that?"
"A man with no sense of right or wrong. A man who cannot laugh and who rules by fear. A -- a man with no respect for women."
There was a moment's silence.
"And on what do you base this judgment?" he asked eventually. "You have spent but the briefest time in my company. Already you believe me some kind of monster. You are indeed quick to assess a man's character."
"As are you to judge a woman," I said straightaway.
So, I lied and saved the best for last, and I'm cheating because it's actually two characters. Bran and Liadan from Juliet Marillier's Son of the Shadows are whole and real within minutes of meeting them on the page, but together they make me weep. Marillier has gone on to write a number of Sevenwaters novels, and most of them have been highly enjoyable, but still. All I want is more of these two, forever.
... I can't promise I won't do this again with my biggest fictional crushes. Or favorite fictional worlds, because, nobody from Harry Potter even made this list because I'm really just in love with Rowling's world building. But for now, who's on your list?