You ROCK! Characters we like and admire
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This is the positive flip side of the "just die already" thread; positivity should be encouraged, after all, and I do like talking about characters I love. Sometimes it's easy to explain why we respond to some characters more warmly than others; other times it's more difficult to put our finger on. So, what are some of our favorite characters in fantasy?
I'm reading Sanderson's Elantris now, and have already come to like and admire both Sarene and Raoden immensely. Sarene is much more "my kind of heroine" than Mistborn's Vin; while Vin is tough but seems curious about very little beyond the immediate moment (in the first book, at least, it seems to me), Sarene is curious about everything around her, and I like that in a heroine. (I have to admit I found Vin's aversion to reading a little off-putting.) Raoden is a convincing example of a natural-born leader, a more serious version of Captain Carrot in Discworld's Night Watch. I have not reached the point where the impressive heroine and hero come together, but I can't wait.
Speaking of Discworld, one of my unquestioned favorite characters in all fantasy literature is Sir Samuel Vimes of the Night Watch, from Guards! Guards! et. seq.
I love that he's hard-bitten and cynical and absolutely nobody's pushover, yet his heart for others and strong sense of fair play always comes through. His romance with Sybil Ramkin is both funny and sweet.
Sybil also deserves a mention here. I love her too, along with Corporal Angua and smart cookie Cheery Littlebottom. (Among the various Discworld series, I have a strong preference for the Night Watch novels.) I have friends who think Pratchett isn't all that good with female characters, but I must respectfully disagree.
This will do for a starter.
Shimrod the wizard in the Lyonesse trilogy
Alec/Alexander in the Riverside books
Raven in the first Black Company books
Ajrarn in the Tales of the Flat Earth
The Royina Ista in Paladin of Souls
Arithon & Lysaer in the Wars of Light and Shadows Naaaah, it's not purple prose, bet those complaining it is don't even bat a lid when the same amount of detailing or more is lavished on female characters' clothes and... attributes *cough*
Geralt of Rivia in the various Witcher stories
The Fool in the Farseer trilogies
Paksennarion, in the Elizabeth Moon series named for her.
Jame, in the Kencyrath books by P.C. Hodgell
Wart (Arthur) in The Sword in the Stone
Galadriel, Gandalf, Frodo & a bunch of others in you-know-what.
Not a matter of "liking" but I've always been haunted by Ayesha in She; rare character who manages to be totally human and inhumanly archetypal, all at once.
In urban fantasy:
Mason in the Dog Days series
Harry Dresden (yes, smart-ass & stereotyped, but Butcher gives him a heart as well as lots of zip)
Almost any of the main protagonists in books by Charles deLint -- no particular one stands out over the others, but he excels at true, living characters who the reader cares about.
The Dragonlance saga is pretty much pulp fiction, but two characters remain absolute standouts in my memory: Tasselhoff Burrfoot can't be beat for comedic relief, and Raistlin is the very epitomy of a mage walking the thin line between good and evil.
Fiddler - Malazan. I'm only up to Reaper's Gale, but he's really *the* touchstone character of the series for me. He's got an everyman sort of charm to him.
Actually, a lot of the characters who really stick with me are sort of the "everyman" of their series. They're not often the main-charater stars of the show, though. They're often "loyal supporter" types - the secondary characters who are in the background being competent and stalwart and maybe getting a spotlight now and then. Sean Lord Derry in the Deryni books. F'nor in the early Pern books. The dy Gura brothers from the Chalion books. Those sorts.
I'm also a huge fan of Marc Remillard of the Julian May books, Pliocene Exile Saga. Best villain EVAH.
Since Discworld was mentioned I have to vote for Death, he is hard working, devoted to his job, supports family and Hogfathers Day and is studiously attempting to acquire a sense of humor. What a guy, what more could you ask for?
I loved Death in the movie, Loki51. I'll be reading Hogfather once I've finished River of Gods. I expect he'll quickly become a favorite of mine.
Oh yes, Death is definitely at the top of my list. ^_^ I quite enjoyed him in Reaper Man.
Death is awesome! He and Renata Flitworth in Reaper Man make a wonderful couple -- more romantic in their edgy way than the couple in "Death Takes a Holiday."
In every book where Death plays a major role, he's actually the kindest character in the story. In The Art of Discworld, Pratchett puts it this way:
"Sometimes I get nice letters from people who know they're due to meet him soon, and hope I've got him right."
I like a lot of characters, but I admire far fewer of those. The first one that comes to mind is Michael Carpenter from Butcher's Dresden Files.
The character that I admire in LOTR is Sam. He goes to hell and back through sheer bloody minded loyalty and never gives up. I love the films but one of the things that annoyed me was the bit where Sam leaves Frodo as they enter Mordor (through Gollum's manipulation) - no, no - Sam would NEVER do that.
Another character I admire is Mark Vorkosigan in Mirror Dance etc and for similar reasons. He too goes through hell and comes out a better person at the end.
>15 I love the films but one of the things that annoyed me was the bit where Sam leaves Frodo as they enter Mordor (through Gollum's manipulation) - no, no - Sam would NEVER do that.
I agree! The films are beautifully made, and for the most part convey the series, but several of their "improvements" are awful, and that's one of them. Frodo wouldn't have rejected Sam for Gollum, and Sam wouldn't have left; the whole thing rings untrue and serves no purpose. Likewise a couple of places where they inject extra appearances of Arwen, just because Hollywood thinks the romance interest has to have a higher profile.
And while I'm at it, WHY did they do that weird voice-distortion in the scene where Galadriel is tempted by the ring??? Viewers who don't know the books well would have no idea what she's saying.
Id have to say John Taylor from the nightside series and harry from the dresden files!
Aerin of Damar, from The Hero and the Crown, Morgan of Hed, from The Riddle-Master of Hed, Kyra, from Sorcerer's Ward, Aral Vorkosigan, Rand al'Thor (in the early books), heaps of characters from McMaster Bujold's 'Chalion' books, several of Patricia Briggs's heroes / heroines ... my list goes on and on.
Oh; and Terry Pratchett's Death is fun.
Cugel the Clever from Jack Vance's *Eyes of the Overworld*. He's definitely what we might describe as a sociopath; however, he is a hilarious one. His picaresque adventures filled me with wonder while making me laugh until tears came to my eyes.
Vanyel from the Last Herald Mage Trilogy by Mercedes Lackey. I don't absolutely love him, but I admire him because of everything he goes through and survives.
R. Daneel Olivaw from Isaac Asimov's robot novels is one of my favorites. I love him!
I also adore Koko and Yum Yum from The Cat Who... series.
And I have to echo what everyone else said about Death from Discworld. Love him!
I absolutely love: -
Hirad from "The Raven" series
Jhered & Roberto from the "Ascendants of Estorea"
Matt from the "Wheel of Time"
Dresden and Michael from Dresden Files
Richard from Goodkind
Dizzt- best bad guy good guy IMHO.
Kip-Prism by Weeks.
All the heroes in Warded Man
Two of my favorite- anti-heroes: Hurley from the Joe Pitt Case Files and Johnny Marcone from the Dresden Files (a lot of people mentioned Harry and Carpenter). Neither is very nice, but they sure are interesting!
There are many characters I like, but far fewer that would say I admire.
That said, the (predominantly female) nameless protagonist from Tanith Lee's Biting the Sun comes to mind, unsatisfied with life and driven to do something about it, and Theodora from Doris Egan's Gate of Ivory (there are sequels which I haven't read, partially because the first book stands well enough alone without them and partially because I don't want to risk them spoiling the first book), stranded on an alien world and scraping out a living, then entangled in adventures and surviving those as well.
Perhaps also Aerin of Damar from Robin McKinley's The Hero and the Crown mentioned upthread, resourceful enough to defeat the dragon and strong enough to heal from the consequences and carry on living.
Harry Dresden of course!
John Taylor from the Nightside series by Simon R. Green
James (Sandman Slim) Stark from the Sandman Slim series by Richard Kadrey
Atticus O'Sullivan from The Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne
Suzie Shooter (Shotgun Suzie) from The Nightside Series
Éowyn from LOTR. She's the fighting princess. Also, Gandalf, Faramir, Boromir, Aragorn, Pippin, Frodo, and (of course) Sam. He does go thru hell and back.
Arya from the Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini. Another warrior princess.
Raven from Snow by Tracy Lynn
Jace from the Mortal Instruments
I must admit, I'm not a fan of Frodo. Each to their own, I suppose.
But I did like Éowyn.
30: I wish Frodo had a little bit more of Bilbo's sense of humor and irony.
Of all the characters in the LOTR saga, Sam and Eowyn stand out as the most wonderful, for me anyway.
Here are a few more from recent reads that I admire:
Rhiow from The Book of Night With Moon
Starhawk from The Ladies of Mandrigyn and The Witches of Wenshar
Samarkar and the Tiger Woman from Range of Ghosts
Senneth and Kirra from The Twelve Houses series
Nyx and Meguet from The Sorceress and the Cygnet (haven't read the sequel yet)
Mag from Ombria in Shadow
Glad to see this thread is back!
Reepicheep and Puddleglum from Narnia.
Tenar and Ged from Earthsea.
Mickle from Westmark.
Hazel from Watership Down
Mhoram and the Giants from the Thomas Covenant series
Then there's Guy Kay.. so many excellent characters, especially Diarmuid, Matt Soren, Ammar, Jehane, Ariana, Baerd, Strumosus, and more.
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