My weekly link up with The Broke and The Bookish is here again and this week’s theme is…
Top Ten Characters Who X (you fill in the blank — examples: piss me off, are the popular kids, are bookish, would be my bff, that stole my heart, etc. etc.)
In my list this week I’m going to select my top 10 characters who I will always love
1. Petrova Fossil (Ballet Shoes)
Ballet Shoes is probably one of my favourite books of all time. It’s a treasured childhood favourite and of all the Fossil sisters, Petrova has always been my favourite. Petrova is the middle sister and most definitely not a gifted performer like her sisters. She finds the whole process tiresome and infuriates her teachers with her mediocre attitude towards her training. Petrova is far more inclined towards engineering, with a love of maths and gift for cars and planes. She never gives up on her dream of working with engines though and keeps finding ways to learn and grow her skills throughout the novel. Petrova is the sort of person I would want as a sister – fiercely loyal, smart and practical, with a healthy dose of family peacemaker thrown in for good measure.
2. Lucinda Leplastrier (Oscar & Lucinda)
Oscar & Lucinda is an epic novel, spanning continents and ideologies, bringing two most unsuited characters together and make them fit perfectly. Lucinda rises up from an unpromising start, pulling herself through life, always trying to live her own way and relying on her stubbornness and determination to see her through. Her refusal to compromise or give up don’t always lead to great things, but are core foundations of her character and she is true to her own mind, always.
3. Ron Weasley (Harry Potter)
My natural instinct is to go for Hermione – what book-loving girl doesn’t relate to Hermione – but actually, the older I get, the more appreciation I have for Ron. (Plus the constant undermining and maligning of Ron that occurs in the film series is unforgivable, frankly).
Ron I think is who most of us would be in that scenario. He’s fairly ordinary, unremarkable and very insecure about his place within the trio and in life generally – things we can all probably relate to. But he’s also very loyal (even when in a fight with one of the others), good at thinking on his feet, tough and funny. He’s the only one of the three who knows anything about magic and the wizarding world (without which knowledge they would be lost) and overcomes many of his insecurities and vanities to come through for his friends when required. I would argue that Ron grows the most significantly as a character over the course of the series and I love him for this.
4. Cathy (Never Let Me Go)
Never Let Me Go is a book that continues to haunt me, years after reading it. It is an utterly compelling and moving book and Cathy, as our narrator still stands out to me. Her stoicism in the face of a terrible fate, her kindness and generosity to others despite the cruelty of her situation and their sometimes unjust attitude towards her are rare and lovely qualities. She is the epitome of grace under fire to me.
5. Tris Prior (Divergent)
I am as drawn to characters that are wildly different from me as I am to those that remind me of myself. In many ways, Tris is nothing like me, aside from occasional shyness and stubbornness. While this is hardly surprising (Tris is living in a future dystopia after all) I find her courage and strength in dangerous and potentially life-altering situations awesome. Her focus and investment in herself – training relentlessly to become one of the Dauntless – is such a positive thing to read and her confidence in her own intelligence and willingness to question authority and populist ideas are inspiring.
6. Anne Elliott (Persuasion)
Always my favourite Austen heroine (closely followed by Emma – who couldn’t really be more different!) Anne Elliott is full of disappointment and regret at the start of Persuasion. But she doesn’t let this dictate her life. She looks for things to enjoy, gives a great deal of support and kindness to her friends and family. She also – importantly – never really gives up hope in Captain Wentworth, or finding a life for herself. Her slow re-growth across the novel is like a butterfly emerging from a chrysalis. She finds her inner strength again and emerges as a more interesting, more rounded person.
7. Winnie the Pooh
Who doesn’t love Winnie the Pooh? I’m always astonished when I meet people who aren’t keen as what is there not to enjoy and cherish in a bear (of very little brain, or so we are told) who possesses such kindness, wisdom (no, really) and love for all his friends and who seeks to fill the world only with good. Winnie the Pooh stories bring as much comfort now as they did when I was a child.
8. Jessica Darling (Sloppy Firsts series)
Like Tris (#5), Jessica is not much like me. She is bookish and well-behaved (mostly) as I was, but her bracing wit and willingness to chase adventure are qualities I wish I possessed. I loved Jessica’s smarts, her cynicism (which disguises her actually poetic and romantic heart) and her toughness. Her development over the course of the series feels natural and real. She softens but in the best way and I always look to her for some inner snark and bravery.
9. Bertie Wooster (Jeeves & Wooster series)
Ahhh, Bertie Wooster. I am a big fan of the Jeeves and Wooster books and I love sweet, silly Bertie. He’s almost always wrong about everything, his friends are idiots and he’s hopelessly unaware of how shamelessly Jeeves manipulates him. But he’s so upbeat and willing to look for the positive in things that it’s impossible not to love him.
10. Anne Shirley (Anne of Green Gables)
Anne Shirley is a gift to us all. She is so enthusiastic, so full of passion for life and art that it’s easy to get swept up with her. When you think of her sad lonely beginnings compared to the life she builds for herself…it’s the most uplifting story. Yes, the love and support of the Cuthberts helped, but a lot of Anne’s success is down to herself. She gets things wrong, makes mistakes, makes herself look silly and blithely ignores reality most of the time. But her earnestness, sincerity and desire to be better for herself and others are just so endearing, you know she’ll figure it all out in the end. An imperfect girl we can all relate to.