Top Five Favourite Characters

Posted on October 15, 2013


So this is a different form of review (mostly because I’m still reading the next book I want to review) where I actually look over my favourite characters and the books they’re from. I’m not sure there will be any characters you haven’t seen before but feel free to chime in, in the comments section, should you have a character you think is deserving of space. So in no particular order I give you:

Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maude Montogomery

 It’s delightful when your imaginations come true, isn’t it?

For me that line sums up the things I find delightful about Anne. I love the whimsy of the books and of the character. The writing is charming, sometimes poignant and peppered with imagination.

My  grandmother introduced me to Anne Shirley. I was somewhere between the ages of eight and ten when I first read Green Gables and it took me a while to fall in love with the series, I actually had to take the book away and force myself through the first few chapters but ever since then the series has been one of my old reliables.

Anne is the main protagonist (if you didn’t guess from the way her name is in the title :P) and the series follows her life from her beginnings as an unwanted orphan right through to her time as a grandmother. My favourite book in the series has changed over time, as Anne and I grew older I appreciated different aspects of the books and the writing style but I think the standouts for me will always be Anne of Green Gables, Anne of Windy Willows and Rilla of Ingleside.

I love her because I way over identify with Anne; she’s kind hearted, idealistic, prone to chaos, romantic and has a slightly wicked temper with a vengeful streak. However don’t just take my word for it, read the series yourself (or perhaps just read the quotes I think give the best insight into her personality).

Gilbert took from his desk a little pink candy heart with a gold motto on it, “You are sweet,” and slipped it under the curve of Anne’s arm. Whereupon Anne arose, took the pink heart gingerly between the tips of her fingers, dropped it on the floor, ground it to powder beneath her heel, and resumed her position without deigning to bestow a glance on Gilbert.

I am well in body although considerably rumpled up in spirit, thank you, ma’am,’ said Anne gravely. Then aside to Marilla in an audible whisper, ‘There wasn’t anything startling in that, was there, Marilla?

Do you know what I think Mayflowers are, Marilla? I think they must be the souls of the flowers that died last summer, and this is their heaven.

I do like a girl that does disdain with style and who does sweetness with a passion. So sue me.

Which brings me to Ivy Tamwood from The Hollows Series by Kim Harrison.

Ivy is a far more complicated character than Anne and I love her for it. She’s what Harrison refers to as a living vampire, which means that she was born with the vampire virus inside her but since she’s not undead yet she doesn’t get the full benefit of the side effects.

At the start of the series Ivy is abstaining from blood, which to me seems a little like an addict trying to stay away from heroin when it’s being offered to you all the time. She’s deeply conflicted about her role as a vampire and how that plays out in her relationships; mixing together love, sex and blood into one big emotional wound.

I won’t lie I love the angst.

She’s definitely bad ass though and saves the main character more than once. She wears leather, is a little OCD and is terribly sexy and disdainful (or at least I think so).

You might think that The Hollows would be a little stale, what with the trend for urban fantasy detective vampire/human team ups, but I think Harrison writes a decent world and that’s because she creates characters as interesting as Ivy Tamwood.

Ivy turned. ‘He bit you on the neck?’ she said, deadpan serious but for her eyes. ‘Oh, then it’s got to be love. She won’t let me bite her neck

“Rachel?” came Ivy’s voice from her room. “Where’s my sword?”
“In the foyer where you left it last week when the evangelists were canvassing the neighborhood”

I’m not talking about the blood ecstasy. I’m talking about my being able to fill that emotion void she has. You know her as well as I do, maybe better. She aches with it. She needs to be accepted for who she is so badly. And I was able to do that. Do you know good that felt? To be able to show someone that, yes, you are someone worth sacrificing for? That you like them for their faults and that you respect them for their ability to rise above them?

And, least you think I’m all about tortured sexual urges and sweet innocents I’d like to talk to you about:

Phedre no Delaunay de Montreve  from Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey

Jacqueline Carey writes so many wonderful characters it’s hard to just pick one (actually there’s no real reason I need to pick just one but hey it’s my blog I do what I want) but in any genre Phedre is a standout character.

The first bit of awesome about her comes from the fact that I don’t think there’s another character like her in literature. She’s a courtesan, a spy and a masochist with a deeply religious and spiritual centre who happens to be the heroine in a saga that rivals the Game of Thrones.

See how much awesome is rolled into one person?

I like that she shows a fairly sex-positive attitude towards sex, in her world sex is healthy and fun and she feels no shame at her sexual urges. It’s damn near refreshing after reading so many books where women’s sexuality is used as a weapon against them.

I also love how deeply compassionate she is and how she has such a strong moral centre. Personally I don’t like religious characters in books as they usually come off as being either overly sanctimonious, evil or just too chipper but with Phedre her spirituality seems to ground her character and provides a depth to her masochism (without which it could be seen as a hokey gimmick).

Phèdre yields with a willow’s grace and endures with the strength of mountains. Without her, life would be calm; and yet would lack all meaning.

I know what you are. I’ve always known from the beginning, Kushiel’s Chosen. It is folly, to make claim on one whom the gods have marked for their own. And unlike the others, I am no fool, to grasp at that which burns to the touch.

“You know, betimes I think you are a little mad, Imriel no Montreve,” he said to me in the courtyard outside the stable, holding the Bastard’s reins.

“You never said that to Phedre,” I reminded him.

“Ah, well.” He grinned despite himself. “In her case, there is no question.”

And to match the masochist I’ll have to pitch in with Miss Agatha Trunchbull from Matilda by Roald Dahl.

How could I not love a character who finds such inventive ways to torture children?

Seriously though I love that she is the quintessential baddy and that she’s a mechanism by which Roald Dahl let the darkness of his adult works bleed through to Matilda.

As a child she used to give me horrible, wonderful thrills.

Besides, even if you didn’t do it, I’m going to punish you ; because I’m big and you’re small and I’m right and you’re wrong and there’s nothing you can do about it.

And finally I’d like to introduce you all to Severus Snape from Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling.

Firstly the man is sex on a stick.

Secondly he does menacing so well.

There’s also the whole tortured spy/redeemed man thing going on.

(Ok I might be a little too fond of the fan fiction versions of him, but hey a girl can dream.)

Actually I do have a bit of a thing for the underdog. I think part of Snape’s appeal for me is that he’s so clearly supposed to be the bad guy in Hogwarts itself (excepting Draco Malfoy). We’re set up to dislike him almost from the start and yet he has possibly the most fascinating back story out of all the characters in the series. If we were in the business of TV I’d be clamouring for a Snape spin off, something that would delve into his days before Hogwarts. I’d like a glimpse into that man’s mind.

Honourable Mentions go to:

  • Morragan from the Bitterbynde Trilogy
  • Daisy from Agent of Hel
  • Rebecca from Duncton Wood
  • Mrs Bennet from Pride and Prejudice
  • Kevin from We Need to Talk about Kevin