Top Ten All Time Favorite Characters:
1. Severus Snape (From J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter series). He absolutely must be #1. :) I honestly can't get enough discussion about Snape. I read articles (there aren't that many) and listen to Snapecast. I attended the conference in Oxford, England about Harry Potter's World Wide Influence, making sure to meet the one Snapecast representative who made it there and to participate in Snape discussions. What is the appeal? His conflicted essence. His code of ethics. His ability to stick with what he believed to be right--even to the end and even though it killed him. Still...no portrait, no death...right? HaHa!
2. John Thornton (From Elizabeth Gaskell's North and South). I like Thornton for many of the same reasons that I love Snape. Thornton embodies everything that is wonderful about Victorian literature and dedication to authenticity. I love him. :)
3. Katniss Everdeen (From Suzanne Collins's The Hunger Games series). I love Katniss. I was stunned recently when I read a review that bashed Kat in the second book, Catching Fire. The reviewer disliked her because she was too thoughtful in that book and showed too much weakness. Well...that is sort of the point, you know? Catching Fire is the book that made me love Kat. When she breaks down for the first time in there, I could totally relate to her. Also, as I have discussed previously, emotion plays a very important role in that series when you consider how it can be used against the characters--both by those participating in the games and by the government. It is fascinating.
4. Elizabeth Bennet (From Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice). Do I really need to explain this one?
5. Mary Lenox (From Frances Hodgson Burnett's The Secret Garden). I know...she is a bit of a pain in the beginning. But what kid wouldn't be? It is a very modern story, when you think about it. A child suffering emotional neglect from her parents and society, forced to leave everything she knows and go live with a strange man in a strange house. This book is one of my favorites, because I always pick up something new each time I read it. I love Mary's transformation.
6. Atreyu (From Michael Ende's The Neverending Story). Atreyu as portrayed in the movie was my first crush (along with the guy from The Pirate Movie, but don't hold that against me.) But...I didn't read this book until a few years ago. I was doing research on mirror scenes in movie adaptations of books. Of course, as those of you who have seen the movie know, there is a famous mirror scene in The Neverending Story. As I read the novel, realizing its commentary for the first time, I fell in love with Atreyu even more. He is just an amazing character. I encourage all parents to give this book to your child. There are ways to tie it to all kinds of issues, and its symbolic commentary on loss, hate, and Nazi-era Germany is beautifully done. PS: If you have never read the book, you don't know the real story!!
7. Little Jo (From Charles Dickens's Bleak House). I love this child. He is still one of the only characters who has ever made me cry while reading a book. Dickens clearly loved him too, because some of his most powerful writing is featured in scenes with this child. Little Jo is a homeless street sweeper, and probably the most important character in Bleak House. He knows everything--he just doesn't realize it. Watching his struggles and how society neglects him will break your heart. He is the reason I write about orphans.
8. Jane Eyre (From Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre). I remember the first time I ever read Jane Eyre. When I got to the confrontation scene between Jane and Rochester...wow. I kept thinking, "I can't believe she is actually saying this!!" And I was so proud that she did. I do have some issues with Jane, but I loved reading about her.
9. Scout Finch (From Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird). Again, no explanation is really necessary! She is fierce, and I love her. I also like her literary sister/cousin, Idabel Thompkins from Truman Capote's Other Voices, Other Rooms. Genius.
10. Kate Malone (From Laurie Halse Anderson's Catalyst). If you have never read Speak or Catalyst, please do so ASAP. Both are wonderful books, but I like Catalyst more. Some considered Kate "self-centered," and maybe she is, but her struggles with perfection and academic success/failure are portrayed marvelously.