My top five favorite book heroes or heroines and why I love them.
Aragorn from Lord of the Rings
Of course Aragorn has to top the list. A mysterious ranger with a wry sense of humor, devotion to duty, awareness of his own mistakes, and an ancient sword. He must take actions to fight evil and reclaim his rightful throne…. What’s not to love?
My favorite quote from Aragorn is, of course, the one they left out of the movie (mostly, they “nodded” to it, but in doing so they detracted from Aragorn’s sense of humor, which I didn’t appreciate). The line from the book is:
Frodo – “Well, if he was one of the enemy, he would look fairer and…well, feel fouler, if you see what I mean.”
Aragorn – (laughing) “While I look foul and feel fair, is that it?”
In the movie, it’s not a humorous line at all, just a sort of matter-of-fact statement from Frodo to Sam that Aragorn either doesn’t hear or doesn’t choose to reply to.
Bean from the Ender’s Game series
A small-for-his age child genius who grew up on the streets and ends up in a space station orbiting Earth learning tactics to fight an alien race who may be planning to invade and destroy humanity at any moment.
Most people love Ender. I prefer Bean. I find his story far more compelling, probably because he has so much less going for him. Despite the loneliness that Ender feels, Bean is truly alone. Despite Ender’s brilliance, Bean is the explorer, the kid who figures out how to get into the air ducts and spy on the teachers, learn their computer passwords, and getting into trouble. He is the one without whom, in the end, Ender would never have succeeded. Despite his hero worship of Ender and his jealousy at the love and respect Ender commands from his troops… Bean ends up commanding that same devotion and loyalty when they return to Earth (in later books in the “Ender’s Shadow” series. In the end of it all, Bean is the character who strikes me as more human, with higher hurdles to overcome, and therefore the more admirable of the two characters. (Doesn’t mean I don’t love Ender, I just love Bean more).
And can I just add… how excited am I to go see this movie on November 1st?!?!?!?!!?
Haplo from the Death Gate Cycle
Fiercely independent, magically powerful, loyal to the wrong side at the start of the series, there’s something about the fact that Haplo starts out as the “bad guy” that just makes me love him all the more. Maybe it’s because I enjoy a redemption story. Maybe it’s because I love that Haplo is too smart not to figure out that he’s fighting for the “wrong” side. Whatever it is, Haplo is one of my all-time favorite literary characters, and the main reason I own and love to re-read this series. (There are no good pictures of Haplo…)
Cimorene from the Enchanted Forest Chronicles
If I was going to be best friends with a literary character, it would be Cimorene. A princess who runs away from an arranged marriage straight to a den of dragons where she asks that one of them “kidnap” her, this is not your typical fairy tale, nor your typical fairy tale princess. Sarcastic, pragmatic, and perfectly capable of handling anything that comes her way (yet not too proud to ask for help when she needs it). She knows a little bit of everything from cooking, to sword-fighting, to magic, to diplomacy. She is fiercely loyal, creative, and more than able to “think outside the box.” Cimorene is another character that I return to read over and over again, because I enjoy spending time with her, and because she makes me laugh.
I know, I know, Lucy is everybody’s favorite. Well, Lucy is the person I would love to BE… but Edmund is the one I relate to. Again, I fall for an excellently told redemption story every time. What I love about Edmund is not his treachery, nor his unkindness at the beginning of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe… it is how completely he transforms when Aslan saves him. When they return to Narnia in Prince Caspian, though Lucy is the first to actually SEE Aslan, Edmund is the first who is willing to believe her, and the only one who sides with her at the beginning. His faith may not be as strong as Lucy’s, but he more than makes up for it with his wanting to believe, and the fact that he knows he can’t trust his own lack of faith…
How about you? Who are some of your favorite literary heroes?