Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: All-Time Favorite Book Characters

Top Ten Tuesday
Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted at The Broke and the Bookish.

Those characters that tug at your heartstrings, linger in your memory, and eventually call you back to re-read their adventures. That's right, this week the list is of our top ten favorite book characters! But, to be fair, I think I have to divide this into top five guys and five gals. Otherwise, I probably wouldn't get much testosterone here.

The Guys

5. Briar Moss ~ Emelan Series
Briar Moss
Art by ~Minuiko
Tamora Pierce will always have my vote for kick-ass heroines, but her guys are pretty awesome, too. Briar was first introduced in book one of the Circle of Magic quartet, but didn't get his own story until book four. And yet, the short snippets we got in his POV throughout the series, as well as observations of him from the other characters, made him a character I craved to know more about. And when he finally got his own story, he did not disappoint.

Briar Moss is that tough, street-smart kid who knows just how dark the world can be, but doesn't let it overcome him. His attitude is snarky, but he's (usually) smart enough to know when to keep his mouth shut. And though he has a lot of power, he doesn't use it to speak for him. In short, he's a great character and a great role model, and is one of my favorite guys.

4. Jameson Rook ~ Nikki Heat Series
Jameson Rook
Yeah, this one's probably mostly to do with the TV show, Castle. I mean, come on, the series is supposedly written by the title character, who is played by Nathan Fillion (sooo hawt!), and the writer tag-along in the series is named Rook aka the Castle in chess. In other words, Rook = Castle = amazing.

But really, the book character is pretty sweet too. He's a journalist who decides that the fine folks of the NYPD deserve to have a share of the limelight. And while he's at it, that smokin' hott detective Nikki Heat would be the perfect star... Okay, so a little shallow at first, but his humor, knowledge, and (at times) bravery and chivalry totally make up for it. It's tough to see him without seeing Castle—but is that really so bad?

3. Luc Cain ~ Personal Demons
Luc Cain
Okay, I'll admit, Luc does fit my usual formula of guys I fall for (see #1 below), but this goes a little deeper than that.

See, over the years I've had a few different writing projects. In the last couple years, I've been running through a story about a demon who eventually turns over a new leaf. Granted, mine's a girl and Luc is definitely not, but it's still hard not to connect with him there.

Then, back in 2005/06, years before I'd heard of Lisa or her books, I had a fan-fiction going through my head which happened to star an OC villain-turned-hero character I'd named Lucian Cain. Seem familiar? Granted, my story was in no way, shape, or form a romance, but I was already so far in Luc's head, it was near impossible not to absolutely love him. It's been interesting seeing 'my character' through another author's eyes, which makes his inclusion on this list a no-brainer.

2. Fred & George Weasley ~ Harry Potter
George & Fred WeasleyBy far, my favorite characters from the entire series were the joke-slinging, beater-bashing, mischief-making twin inventors. Sure, they weren't main characters, but with a cast of hundreds, I'd say they were pretty high up on the list of important seconds. And for such a dark plot line, they always knew when a good joke needed to be thrown in.

But not only were they the jokers of the series, they also gave us some of our most memorable moments. Sure, there were the humorous toilet seat and age-line crossing, but their departure in book five practically launched the whole rebellion against Umbridge, and I shouldn't even have to go into the last book. Heroes in their own right, and with humor to boot, the Weasley twins earned their spot near the top of my list.

1. Rodney Skinner ~ Movie Novelization of LXG
Rodney SkinnerI swear, I'm not cheating with this one!
...Okay, maybe a little, but with good reason.

I don't know why, but Rodney Skinner, 'Gentleman Thief' (played by Tony Curran) was probably the first character I completely fell in love with. He's sarcastic, mysterious, not bad looking (when he has face paint on), and has a cockney accent. All wins in my book. But even more than that, he's suspected as the villain but comes through for the group even when he could have easily left them to rot. And I tend to have major crushes on the under-achieving sidekicks who come through to save the day.

But why count a movie character? Well, in the novelization of the movie (which isn't half bad), they actually expand on his character a bit. Yes, he's attributed some of the abhorrent acts that Hawley Griffin committed in the original graphic novel—which I was about ready to kill over. BUT, at the very end [spoiler alert] it's revealed that he was actually a government agent the whole time. So not only is he a sarcastic, mysterious, heroic, and such, but that horrible stuff from before was likely just a part of his cover story. Ah, Rodney, I knew it wasn't so.

Honorable Mentions:
Will Parry ~ His Dark Materials
Simon Lewis & Magnus Bane ~ The Mortal Instruments
Tobias ~ Animorphs
Ben ~ Mercy Thompson Series
Arthur Dent ~ Hitchhiker's Guide

The Girls

5. Alanna, Daine, Kel, Aly & Beka ~ Tortall Series
Ladies of Tortall
Artwork by *GillyPerkyGoth
Each of these girls could easily top my list. I adore Tamora Pierce's heroines, and praise them regularly. But, to be fair, I haven't read these books in a while and...I can't really decide who my favorite would be. I will be re-reading their adventures soon, and am excited to do so, but at the moment I'm forced to group them here.

If you're in want of some strong females, look no further. Each has her own trials to face, all in an Arthurian style world where magic and mythological creatures exist. And whether it be chasing knighthood, struggling with magic, policing the streets, fighting a war or trying to stop one, these ladies are sure to keep you coming back for more.

4. Ramona Quimby ~ Ramona Books
Ramona Quimby
Ramona was one of the very first series I remember reading. But she didn't just teach me how to read, she taught me some important life lessons, too. Like how it was okay to be strange, imaginative, creative, and a little messy sometimes. How grown-ups didn't always understand, but they still loved you no matter what. And how living with an annoying older (or younger) sibling meant a little give and take.

She may not be as magical as some of the other girls I've read, but she'll always have a special place in my heart.

3. Rachel ~ Animorphs
RachelThe Animorphs series was another one that shaped my childhood. And I remember eagerly awaiting every 6th book for the next Rachel POV to come out. Rachel was the warrior of the group—she wasn't prissy and got downright cutthroat at times. She was probably the first girl I'd ever read with that kind of attitude about things.

It's been a while since I've read this series, but from what I can remember, Rachel was by far the toughest of the group. But even as a warrior she wasn't completely heartless. In fact, hers was probably the first romance I'd ever read, too. Add in her loyalty and her smarts, and there's no way she wouldn't make my list.

2. Nita Callahan ~ Young Wizards
Grave Mercy
Next to Rachel (above) Nita is the character I've followed the longest: through nine whole books now. And though a ton of time hasn't passed in the books, it sure seems like it has. From saving the world/universe from Death Itself about once every book, she's got a lot of pressure on her shoulders. She even battled and lost her mom to It.

But what I find magical about Nita isn't just her wizard powers, but her strength and conviction, even after suffering through grief. She's probably the most realistic character I've ever encountered in a fantasy novel, especially because she's dealing with real issues as well as magical ones. It was a lot of fun in the latest book to finally get a little romantic tension after eight books of partnership. Seeing her grow and live, even with Death/Entropy on the horizon, I find it absolutely inspiring.

1. B) Hermione Granger ~ Harry Potter
Hermione Granger
How could I not include Hermione? The young witch who finally made it okay to be strong and smart.

Hermione is a little harder to explain, mostly because she doesn't star in her own series, but rather stars in spite of being a secondary character. We don't get a ton of insight into her character, except what she chooses to show her best friends Harry & Ron. But her actions often speak louder than words, and we're shown an incredibly strong-willed, intelligent, loyal, ambitious, and moral character who still is able to rely on her friends to help with her flaws. She's not perfect by any means, but that's another reason I relate to and love her.

1. A) Tris Chandler ~ Emelan Series
Tris Chandler
I know, I know— Another Tamora Pierce character?!
But how many slightly chubby, bookish female protagonists can you name?

She's not gorgeous (despite this particular rendition of her), slightly snobbish, so powerful she can be scary, and is by far my most favorite character ever.

Even though she's super powerful now, she didn't know it was magic at first. She spent most of her life being passed from one family member to another, never feeling like anything more than a burden. So her snobbish attitude is more of a self-defense mechanism—If I don't let you get close, you can't hurt me, type of deal.

All in all, I see a lot of myself in her. Self-conscious to a fault, extremely bookish, a bit prissy when it comes to the outdoors or filth, and on the heavy side. But she's also confident, kind, strong-willed, loyal, and intelligent. So, naturally, I had to put her at the top of my list.

FireHonorable Mentions:
Lyra Belacqua ~ His Dark Materials
Fire (pictured left) ~ Graceling Realm
Sandry fa Toren & Daja Kisubo ~ Emelan Series
Sophie Mercer ~ Hex Hall
Mercy Thompson ~ Mercy Thompson Series
Evie ~ Paranormalcy
Ella Varner ~ Ella Enchanted
Sioned ~ Dragon Prince

Okay, so I couldn't quite narrow it down to only ten, but I honestly couldn't swap out any of these guys.

And just to be clear, the honorable mentions are all amazing characters. Really I love them all. But in terms of personal connections, or memorable experiences, I just couldn't rank them as highly as those who did make the list. Still, do be sure to check them out sometime.

Who's on your list? Let me hear you howl!