We've had such great responses on our posts about favorite stories and the best books we never read (I'm finally reading one now, by the way!), that I got to thinking about my favorite characters of all time. Some of them are from my top five books, but others stand out for me in a way that even transcends the works in which they were first introduced. Here are the BookEnds top picks:
Sydney Carton -- A TALE OF TWO CITIES is the first and only class assignment I can remember staying up to read with a flashlight under my bedcovers in the wee hours of morning. Sydney was such a dynamic character and I still get a little choked up thinking of his last words and the "far, far better place" he went to.
Mr. Darcy -- PRIDE AND PREJUDICE is definitely one of my favorite books of all time, but it's 90% due to the fact that Ms. Austen created my favorite hero of all time. Sure he's a jerk and a snob...but that's so HOT!
The Second Mrs. de Winter -- Well, this character certainly deserves some props somewhere, since she never even got a first name in her book. The demure, reserved narrator of REBECCA proves she's a lot stronger than she looks and turn out to be a formidable force by book's end. She represents just one of my favorite types of characters: the gothic heroine.
Perry Mason -- If only all attorneys were as honest, clever and insightful as this one. I devoured the Erle Stanley Gardner books when I was a teenager and was glued to the old TV series reruns.
Odd Thomas -- I'll try not to go on too much again about my love for Dean Koontz. But nobody's better at putting an average everyman into a certain situation or circumstance that makes him extraordinary. Odd Thomas is certainly the most fascinating short-order cook I've ever read about.
Jo March of LITTLE WOMEN -- As a young girl I related to any tomboy heroine who loved to read and write. And I love this spunky heroine with a mind of her own.
Hannibal Lecter -- I can't imagine a more fascinating, scary and brilliant character.
Lily Bart of THE HOUSE OF MIRTH-- A tragically wonderful heroine who I think we can all relate to.
Spenser -- Robert B. Parker's hero...and mine too. I just love the tough guy with the soft interior.
Scarlett O'Hara -- Selfish, spoiled and strong. I'm sure I would have hated her in real life, but I truly loved to read about her.
Heathcliff from WUTHERING HEIGHTS -- so tragic and romantic.
Stephanie Plum from Janet Evanovich's novels -- for laughing at herself and living large.
Jack Reacher from Lee Child's novels -- so clever, so strong, so good looking...and so lonely.
Hannibal Lecter from Thomas Harris -- for being so charming even while cannibalizing the wealthy.
The Creature from Mary Shelley's FRANKENSTEIN -- for capturing rejection and alienation so completely.
What do you think of our picks and who are your best fictional friends?!
Lazarus Long, Aragorn/Strider, Master Robinton, Lestat, Ayla, Hari Seldon. (My scifi roots are showing.)
Harry Dresden, Acheron from Sherrilyn Kenyon's Dark Hunters, Joanne Baldwin, Weather Warden, John Taylor, Simon Green's Nightside, Rob Thurman's Caliban and Niko. I have a trend going on - like the men. :D
A the top of my list is Harper Lee's Atticus Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird. He taught me everything I needed to know about life and parenting. Then there's
Dolly, the sweet sister who loves pink, in Truman Capote's novella, The Grass Harp. Her friend Catherine who puts wads in her cheeks to make up for missing teeth is a close second. I loved
Granpa Tweedy and Miss Love in Olive Ann Burn's Cold Sassy Tree.
And Madame Wu, the wife who awakes on her 40th birthday and takes charge of her life, in Pearl S. Buck's Pavillion of Women.
Jane Eyre. She was SO funny, had such integrity, and was a true feminist, I think.
And Vonnegut's Eliot Rosewater. Sniff! Good old Eliot in the bathtub with his "ineffective ablutions."
Okay, one more: Hulga, in O'Connor's Good Country People...although I think (truthfully) I love everyone in that story equally. Geez, Flannery -- incredible writer much?
Have to agree with Cassie:
Harry Dresden is THE coolest wizard named Harry (yes, even THAT Harry), and John Taylor is an all-around Badass. Also on my list is Nelson DeMille's John Corey and JA Konrath's Jacqueline Daniels. I can't count how many times those two have made me laugh like a lunatic.
Jane Eyre, definitely. You wouldn't believe how many female writers will say the same if you ask them! She's smart and shy and plain-spoken and, yes, also plain, and she manages to capture the attention of the brooding master, who sees deep into her mind and heart. Ah!
Well, the bookends ladies named three of my favorite characters: Odd Thomas, what's not to love about Odd?
Jo March, I always wanted to be her. I always dreamed about sitting in a cold garret with a small fire, writing my fingers down to bare stubs. She being the tomboy in the family was a huge bonus to my dress-hating, rock throwing self.
Heathcliff, I have always been more enamored of Heathcliff than Darcy. I love tortured heroes, and Heathcliff is the perfect tortured hero.
Tasslehoff Burrfoot, the kender from the Drangonlance series by Weiss and Hickman. I just love Tas and his fearlessness. I actually read this entire series just for mention of Tas.
Another of my all time favorites is Anne (with an e) Shirley from Anne of Green Gables. I have the misspelled first name issue, and have always had the big imagination problem. She was one of the first characters that just totally absorbed me into their world.
Heathcliffe was tortured all right -- sheesh, who wasn't in that story? And yes, how could you not fall in love with one so passionate?
Stephanie Plum of the Janet Evanovich series.
Kinsey Millhone of the Sue Grafton series
Pete Marino of Patricia Cornwell's Scarpetta series
And I'm a bit biased, but Aston West and Rione Sc'lari from my own series... :-)
Number one has to be Daisy from The Great Gatsby. I also loved Patty Jane from Lorna Landvik's Patty Jane's House of Curl.
Dagny Taggart from Atlas Shrugged, Allanon from the Shannara Series and Ander Ellesidil from Elfstones, V.I. Warshawski, Sybil from The Forgotten Beasts of Eld by Patricia McKillip, Doug Selby from Erle Stanley Gardner's D.A. Series, Rhamses from Anne Rice's The Mummy, Scout from To Kill a Mockingbird, and The Stainless Steel Rat - Slippery Jim.
Myron Bolitar from Harlan Coben's early mystery series.
Anne of Green Gables - radical redhead overcomes the limitations of being an orphan
Captain Benjamin Sisco - sexy voice, very human Star Trek captain, and a great dad
Branden (GAMES OF COMMAND by Linnea Sinclair) - a cyborg in love with a human overcomes his insecurities to win her love
That's all I can think of right now.
Oh wow... So many to choose from.
I have to say Ayla and Master Robinton. Harry Dresden gets a nod.
And actually one of the first characters that had any notable influence came from a comic book. So here's hats off to Wendy Pini's Cutter, and all the rest of the ElfQuest cast.
Always Heathcliff but also Thursday Next (from Jasper Fforde's novels - I mention here that I also love her Dodo) and Rae Newborn from Laurie King's Folly.
My favourite fictional friends are David Copperfield and Oliver Twist, both from the geniality of Charles Dickens. They are so endearing, yet so cold and so human, that made my eyes burn in tears...
But my best fictional friends are the ones who I am still going to write about, and who will in turn give me the best time of my life...
My all time favorite hero is Simon Zebriskie from an Anne Stuart Harlequin American romance published in 1988. It's still the book I go back to read when my own writing is blocked, precisely because Simon is, in my opinion, the perfect hero. Flawed, wounded, intense but with a wicked sense of humor and a selfless love for his woman. It just doesn't get any better, IMHO!
Interesting topic to be sure.
I'd have to begin with Sirroco Jones (sp?) from Varley's "Titan" trilogy.
From there it's on to Father Callahan from King's "Salems Lot" and the Dark Tower book he appears in.
Stuart Redmon from "The Stand" also springs to mind.
Lastly, I'm afraid I must choose Severus Snape.
Funny you should mention Father Callahan...I always loved him but even more I loved Jimmy Cody, the doctor who gets bit by the vampire and all he can think about are the germs! I just love him for that!
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