Nathan Bransford, Author


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Who is Your Favorite Character of All Time?

It's a simple question that I'm finding nearly impossible to answer:

Who is your all-time favorite character in a novel?

Sherlock Holmes? Quentin Compson? Jay Gatsby? Zaphod Beeblebrox? Willy Wonka? Leopold Bloom? Ahab? The whale?






549 comments:

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thelittlefluffycat said...

Probably the great Sid Halley, from the Dick Francis novels.

reader said...

I like "Phlox" in The Mysteries of Pittsburgh.

And "The Colonel" in Looking for Alaska.

Also, "Ramona" in Ramona the Brave.

Sorry, that's three.

Sarah said...

Jo March, from Little Women. What can I say...I'm an old-fashioned girl.

Georganna Hancock M.S. said...

Your Twitter link is broke!

I don't know about a favorite, but I would like to get to know Hannibal Lector better, although not as his victim.

imagyst said...

lets see... top 3 are:

Anita blake. From laurell k hamilton.

sherlock holmes. from arthur conan doyle.

Yorick's skull from Bruce Coville.

Joy D. Wilson said...

Elizabeth Bennett. Dugh! Who else?

Rob said...

Scobie from the Alexandria Quartet. Only a minor character, but he sticks in the memory...

Jennifer said...

Francis Crawford of Lymond from the six-book series entitled the Lymond Chronicles by Dorothy Dunnett. The coolest dude ever.

-Kelly Meding said...

"Hazel"

Watership Down, by Richard Adams

Laurel said...

Quentin Compson was alright but Caddy Compson was much cooler.

Favorite of all time is really, really hard. Maybe Mary Russell from Laurie King's books. I also like Porter Osborne, Jr. AKA "Sambo" from Run With The Horsemen by Ferroll Sams.

karen wester newton said...

Hmm. Believe it or not, I'd have to go with Mary Lennox from THE SECRET GARDEN, by Frances Hodgson Burnett, mostly because she pretty much changes herself, in a very plausible way, from a spoiled brat into a decent person. A close second would be Dick Mayhew in NEVERWHERE, by Neil Gaiman. The story happens because he is a kind person who cannot step over an injured/ill stranger and walk away.

Cheri Williams said...

Samwise Gamgee would top my list.

abc said...

I can't shake Buddy from Raise High the Roof Beam Carpenters and Seymour, An Introduction. I hate that Salinger wrote such beautiful, heartbreaking characters when in real life he is a misogynist, people hating prick. I don't want a Salinger character to be a favorite, but there it is. Ah, writers.

Anonymous said...

Holden Caulfield. And Harriet the Spy.

Simon said...

Woland from The Master Margarita.

off the top of my head (and trying to sound intellectual)

Tony Noland said...

Bertie Wooster. Never was there a more resolutely optimistic person.

Annalee said...

Nick Carroway from The Great Gatsby is definitely on my list.

When I was younger, I was a big fan of Amy from MM Kaye's THE ORDINARY PRINCESS.

Charles Edgemont from SAILS ON THE HORIZON is an absolute riot.

Anne of Green Gables has a pretty dear place in my heart, too.

Do graphic novels count? If so, Death from Neil Gaiman's SANDMAN is definitely one of my favorite characters. "You get what everyone gets. You get a lifetime."

Holly West said...

Can't pick between these three:

Amber St. Clare - Forever Amber by Kathleen Windsor

Marjorie Morgenstern - Marjorie Morningstar by Herman Wouk

Henry Winter - The Secret History by Donna Tartt

Ilyria Moon said...

Jane Hudson from Henry Farrell's 'Whatever Happened To Baby Jane'.

Tracy said...

Hmm, that's a tough one. I'll have to go with Anne Shirley - at least for today.

Heidi the Hick said...

Scout.

Heidi the Hick said...

oh- and Zaphod Beeblebrox

Heidi the Hick said...

h shoot, I can't pick just one, or two.

Jenny from A Horse Called Doodlebug.

(I looked exactly like that kid.)

JenniferWriter said...

This is almost impossible to answer!! I will go with the two who first came to mind:

Princess Eilonwy from Lloyd Alexander's Prydain Series

Beatrice from Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing

Oh, and honorable mention to the Weaver from China Mieville's Perdido Street Station.

Amethyst Greye Alexander said...

Oh, tough! I'm trying not to look at the others' answers so as to not make it tougher.

Mike Taggert from J Dev's Sweet Liar, Ender for O.S.Card's Ender's GameOh, wait, right. I remember now.

S.E. Hinton's Ponyboy Curtis, from The Outsiders. Part of me has been in love with him since I was four years old.

Dean B said...

Binx Bolling.
And Miss Lonelyhearts.

allegory19 said...

Joy@9:15 - Elizabeth Bennett is a favorite of mine too. But Jane Austen was awesome, so what do you expect? =)

Taylor Greer from Barbara Kingsolver's Bean Trees is another great one.

I've finding it hard to think of my favorite characters and not my favorite books - anyone else have that problem?

I have a list of all-time favorite reads, but they're not on that list because of a particular character.

Julie said...

The Black Stallion of course. From Walter Farly's "The Black Stallion."

I also like... umm, well... I have more than one. (When my series gets published I'll have one from that series too.)

Catheroo said...

Oskar Schell in "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close."

Laurel said...

JenniferWriter:

Good call! I forgot about Eilonwy!

And Heidi...Oh yeah. Scout. Of course!

Ilyria Moon said...

Henry Farrell's Baby Jane Hudson.

www.christinadudley.com said...

Scout from TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD.

Carrie said...

Wow, it's amazing how many of these choices make me want to stand up and cheer... and how many make me think, UGH, are you KIDDING ME?

Top three:

Caliban
Francis Macomber
Zorba

Serenissima said...

So many to choose from, but the first two that came to mind were Owen Meany and Smilla.

Shell said...

I have to agree with Cheri and say Sam from LotR. Though a close second, and a character still in production, is Harry Dresden. I LOVE Harry. Even named my dog after him (sort of).

Randall Drum said...

I have two: Elmer Gantry and Trashcan Man (from the Stand). Both are brilliantly flawed men with occasional moments of clarity that allow the reader to both relate to and despise them.

Taylor K. said...

I love Edmund Dantes from THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO, and Bilbo Baggins from THE HOBBIT. Also love numerous other characters from Middle Earth, but Bilbo stands out.

Anonymous said...

George from Enid Blyton's The Famous Five series.

Sebastian from Brideshead Revisited

Adrian Mole.

Mike Engleby.

Jael said...

Lew Archer.

Ben Dutton said...

Tough question.

I fell for Natasha in War and Peace the first time I read it and she sticks in mind more than any other character I've read. Tolstoy's ideal woman and so incredibly rich. The book, for me, came alive when she was on the page.

Honoroble mention: Sam Weller from The Pickwick Papers.

Corey Schwartz said...

Sydney Carton (A Tale of Two Cities)

Dawn said...

Jane Eyre.whilim

Laurel said...

Anon 9:42:

Loved Enid Blyton...all of them.

Also, I forgot about Parker from "Parker's Back" by Flannery O'Connor.

Martin Willoughby said...

Arthur Dent...so very me.

Eric said...

Garp

J. said...

Willie Stark from All The Kings Men. He reminds me of all the politicians where I live in Illinois.

Walter said...

Bilbo Baggins.

About Me said...

Fitzwilliam Darcy, without a doubt. Sure, he's over two hundred years old (which some might say is slightly old for me) but I still swoon every time he frowns across a ballroom.

Anna Swenson said...

What are yours, Nathan?

~Jamie said...

Why Sacrlet O'Hara, of course.

Scott said...

Anne Shirley of Anne of Green Gables tops my list, followed closely by Galadriel from Lord of the Rings, and, of course, Bilbo Baggins from The Hobbit. Stephanie Plum (courtesy of Janet Evanovich) gets an honorable mention because she and Grandma Mazur make me laugh.

S

Justus M. Bowman said...

Hmm, I'm not sure, but I think Sturm from Dragonlance might be my favorite character. But, I haven't read Dragonlance in so long that I'm not sure. Let me think of at least one more option...

Wow. Either I haven't read enough fiction or I am not easily impressed by characters. Darn it, Nathan. Now there's one more thing bouncing around in my brain.

Justus M. Bowman said...

I said "I'm not sure" twice. A loser be me.

Jane said...

From books I love (oddly these are all children)
Scout
Esperanza (aka Zeze the X)
Benjy

Not children
Patsy (Moving On and other McMurtry novels)
Mikael Blomkvist (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo)
The grandmother (O'Connor's A Good Man is Hard to Find)
Frank Holiwell (A Flag for Sunrise)

Nathan Bransford said...

anna-

They're in the post!

Wendy said...

Reuben from Peace Like a River. His sister, Swede comes in second. Holden and Scout are up there too. What a great question!

Ryan said...

Filidor and Anti-Filidor from Gombrowicz's Ferdydurke.

Kelly Fiore said...

Gogol Gangoli - The Namesake By Jhumpa Lahira

Loosa Maloof Lendowski - Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver

scatterbeams said...

Anne Shirley for her language and spunk

Paige from Harvesting the Heart, one of Jodi Picoult's earliest novels, for her honesty, grit, and humility

Scout, of course

and Enzo, the dog, from The Art of Racing in the Rain: that voice, deargod, that voice

writtenwyrdd said...

Let's see... Considering I'm a big speculative fiction fan, particulary fantasy, it would have to be

1) Lestat, Anne Rice's vampire;
2) Kate Daniels, from Ilona Andrews' Kate Daniels series; and
3) Cohen the Barbarian from Terry Pratchett's Discworld. I'd love to hear Cohen's take on life, lol.

Matt Heppe said...

Sam Gamgee.

I love his bravery and his devotion to Frodo. I know I couldn't have faced down Shelob.

Martha Flynn said...

Your eight favorites and not a female amongst them? Say it ain't so.

Bill Womack said...

That's a toughie. Two that spring to mind immediately are Lena from Diana Abu-Jaber's "Origin", and Deanna Wolf from "Prodigal Summer". I guess I have a penchant for oddly twisted women. ;-)

Nat said...

Scout, Sydney Carton, Elizabeth Bennett, Emma Woodhouse, and Liesel from The Book Thief

Tiffany Chalmers w/a Tiffany Clare said...

Connie (Lady Chatterley)

ej said...

Jay Gatsby is the ultimate douche.

Susan said...

Sasha Misurov (CJ Cherryh's Rusalka trilogy): he's sweet and he's made to suffer, an irresistible combination to me for some reason.

JD Salinger's Holden Caulfield was my favourite as a teenager, and Samwise Gamgee certainly makes the shortlist--who wouldn't want such a friend? He's humbly heroic, or heroicly humble.

Min said...

helloooooo....Atticus Finch of course!
(of course, Margaret from Judy Bloom holds a close 2nd place since she is what drew me into reading as a kid).

Me2 said...

Nate -

Funny you ask, as I was just thinking that someone should create a list EntertainmentWeekly/VH1 style of best literary characters after this bizarre, obese man in green corduroy sport coat almost bumped into me in Washington Square Park yesterday.
I nominate Ignatius Reilly. I wish that guy yesterday (who happned to be talking to himself) had offered me a hot dog.

-Josef

Amanda said...

I love reading everyone's responses.

Taran, from Lloyd Alexander's Prydain Chronicles.

Death, from Terry Prachett's Discworld series.

And Samwise Gamgee from LotR.

It's very difficult to narrow it down, but I think these three have had a huge impact on me.

Michael Pickett said...

Atticus Finch. Not only does he have a really cool name, but he also represents something that I admire: standing up for what you believe in even though it's obvious that you will lose. Plus, To Kill a Mockingbird is one of the best novels ever.

Anonymous said...

Gulley Jimson

Jenna said...

Ooh...talk about a difficult question.

I'd have to say either Eve Dallas or Delia Peabody, both from the In Death series by (Nora Roberts writing as) J.D. Robb.

Scott said...

Phew, hard question. All things considered, Henry V.

Anonymous said...

Ender Wiggin.

moonrat said...

I love that Quentin Compson is #2 on your list. He's probably #1 on mine. Him or Anne Shirley.

Christa said...

Man...only one?? Not possible. I can narrow it down to two:

Aragon - LotR
Uncas - Last of the Mohicans (fell in love with him the first time I read that book -- have re-read it multiple times since then)

moonrat said...

oh yeah. or the entire Glass family.

Annalee said...

Slightly off-topic, but I think it's interesting how many people are listing characters from Shakespeare. He didn't write novels!

I get it, though. So many of us get exposed to Shakespeare in the novel-esque context of reading plays in English class. As a theater techie, I'm just more familiar with them as productions.

B. Nagel said...

Right now? The great-great-grandmother in The Princess and the Goblin (George MacDonald).

Over all?? Hrm. Harry Ginsburg, Feast of Love (Baxter).

HL said...

Eliza Bennett

:)

Anthony said...

Dirk Gently - Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency and The Long Dark Teatime of the Soul

Carrie said...

Oh, and to all those To Kill a Mockingbird fans, I have pet finches, and three of them are named Atticus, Jem, and Jean Louise. (coughNERDcough)

Lupina said...

Nostalgic fave: Tarzan, Edgar Rice Burroughs

Fave that most haunts me: The father in Cormac McCarthy's The Road

Most admired fave: Jane Eyre

Laurel said...

Speaking of the Compsons, did anybody besides me really like Benjy? The Benjy section was my favorite part of the whole book and the section I go back and re-read with the most frequency.

Can you imagine trying to get THAT published? Query letter and first 5 pages...heehee

Kahlessa said...

Can't get down to just one. Here are a few:

Jane Eyre in the novel of the same name

Dumbledore in the Harry Potter series

Rhett Butler in Gone With The Wind

John Blackthorne in Shogun

Samuel in East of Eden

Miss Julia Springer Murdoch in the Miss Julia series by Ann B. Ross

Edward Pierce in The Great Train Robbery by Michael Crichton

Ian Malcolm in Jurassic Park and The Lost World also by Crichton

Captain Mackenzie Calhoun in the Star Trek: New Frontier series by Peter David

Mary said...

A very tough question! But the two characters that come to mind immediately are Colette’s Claudine and Patricia Highsmith’s Tom Ripley.

thinkc said...

Atticus Finch
Ender
And, slightly ashamed but, Hermione Granger (reminds me so much of myself at that age)

CNU said...

I have a bizarre answer: Puck.

A Midsummer's Night Dream.

cwsherwoodedits said...

Three-way tie between Anne Shirley, Elizabeth Bennett and Kit Tyler.

Iapetus999 said...

John Carter, Warlord of Mars

by Edgar Rice Burroughs

Ash D. said...

Diamond in At the Back of the North Wind by George MacDonald.

Scott said...

Andy DuFresne from Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption.

JenniferWriter said...

I think there could be an entirely different list for "characters you are or have been in love with." I've got a long list of those as well.

And while I love Anne Shirley, I wanted to give a shout out to Emily Starr, another L.M. Montgomery character whom I've always loved but who is always overshadowed by Anne.

Bane of Anubis said...

Edmond Dantes - from TCOMC
Ender Wiggin - from Ender's Game
Bracken - from Duncton Wood
Napoleon - from Animal Farm

Ian said...

You

(from the grubby underwear guy)

There's no doubt about it Nathan, people are going to start to talk.

Iapetus999 said...

Just noticed someone else posted Tarzan. I don't think ERB ever wrote a crossover, but despite Tarzan's bestial strength, John Carter's mad fighting skills would clearly win in a fight. Besides, Dejah Thoris is way hotter than Jane Porter.

RW said...

Colonel Aureliano Buendia

Luisa Perkins said...

Elizabeth Shulman from Allegra Goodman's Kaaterskill Falls

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

I'm picking two characters who are mysterious, complex and revealed with style by their authors. That would be Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli and Ged in Ursula LeGuin's "A Wizard of Earthsea."

Frankie Anon said...

Gus McCray from Lonesome Dove.

Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables. (I like Marilla, too.)

Sherlock Holmes. Miss Marple.

So many more, but you only asked for one!

Thornhill said...

Henry Chinaski

Mira said...

These are characters we love, right? Not characterizations we admire?

The ones I love are mostly from kid's books, and many have already been mentioned....


Sam Vimes and Lord Vetenari - Terry Pratchett

Frodo, Gollum - Lord of the Rings

Harry, Dumbledore - Harry Potter

Emily Starr - L.M. Montgomery (resonate with her more than Anne Shirley)

Emma, Anne Elliot - Jane Austen

Charlotte - Charlotte's Web

Eeyore - Winnie the Pooh

Alex Green said...

Prince Lyov Nikolaevich Myshkin.

Lyle said...

Gus McCray, from Lonesome Dove, hands down. I named my cat after him.

Second would be Scarlet O'Hara (Gone with the Wind), third Harry Dresden of Jim Butcher's Dresden Files.

Ian said...

Seriously though (as seriously as the grubby underwear guy can be) I like the FRENCH REVENGE characters: Philippe of Gascony and Jean Valjean. There is nothing quite as poignant as French revenge. They win everything yet they know, in reality, they have lost everything that matters.

Alex Green said...

Sorry, that was Dostoevsky's character in The Idiot - Prince Lyov Nikolaevich Myshkin

Mira said...

Oh. Not the little Prince, but the Pilot in the Little Prince.

And Milo from the Phantom Tollbooth.

Oh. Sarah Crewe - the Little Princess.

Kathleen Elizabeth said...

Mercutio from Romeo and Juliet!!!!!

Ian said...

That's all right, Alex. I understand.

Alex Green said...

Mira,
I have a feeling you could fill up a few pages and not be able to pick a top ten. Am I right?

MzMannerz said...

Probably a tie between the March girls in Little Women.

Well, that's not true. Probably Amy in Little Women, but I want to pretend it was someone very noble like Beth, or industrious like Jo, or sweet like Meg. Instead it's worldly Amy. :)

Alex Green said...

Thanks, Ian. for your understanding and forgiveness. It means a lot in this cruel, hard world.

Embee said...

Roland Deschain - Dark Tower
Junie B. Jones
Odd Thomas
Dogberry - Much Ado About Nothing

I could probably come up with a bunch more, too!

Kade said...

That's a toughie! But if I had to narrow it down, I'd go with Arisilde Damal from Martha Wells The Death of the Necromancer. Of all the books she's written, it's not my favorite, but there's something about the character of Arisilde... perhaps it's the combination of godlike power and benign insanity. How can you go wrong?

Countrymouse said...

Jean Valjean for the power of redemption :)

Cool question, Nathan!

Mira said...

But wait.

Where's the exposition, Nathan?

You just asked the question. What about all of your wisdom about characters and why we love them, and what makes a good character?

I want the exposition.

Okay, I'll let you off the hook today, since you've evidentally worked 30 days in a row, but I want some exposition soon, Mr. Brandsford.

Or......um......well, something bad will happen. Something terrible that you would do anything to avoid. Like, for example, write some exposition.

Ulysses said...

Death, from Pratchett's Discworld.

Myra said...

It's a tie between Stephanie Plum and Lula.

Anonymous said...

I'll have to shrug and say, Dagny Taggart.

JenniferWriter said...

Mira, so glad someone else loves Emily Starr!

Nicole Lorenz said...

Mouse from Lyda Morehouse's AngeLINK series. Gotta have respect for a guy who'll challenge an archangel to a fistfight over a difference in opinion about tapioca pudding (and he's right: it's crap).

Gaynor said...

Sherlock Holmes and Winnie the Pooh..the real Winnie...not the Disney version. I love how the incorrect use of the English language is used to portray a charming tale of a child's teddy!

Hilary said...

Randle Patrick McMurphy from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

Jax from Pigs in Heaven

Aerin from The Hero and the Crown

Jeff Kirvin said...

Special Agent Pendergast from the series of thrillers by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child, starting with "Relic"

Gina said...

Here's another vote for Sydney Carton.

150 said...

Alan Breck in Kidnapped!

Jill Christine said...

Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights. He's a beastly character, but that "I cannot live without my soul" line will stick with me forever. Maybe my undying Heathcliff love is part of why I can't get into the Twilight books. Obsessive, creepy boyfriend? Give it up, Edward Cullen. No one can top my Heathy in that department.

Then again, my lifelong favorite might have to be Fudge from the Judy Blume books. I still know so much of his dialog by heart, and he made me thankful that my own younger brother never tried to swallow my pets.

Andrea said...

Aslan or Mr. Tumnus from The Chronicles of Narnia.

They have been my favorites for over 25 years.

Monica said...

All your suggestions are men.

I pick the unnamed female protagonist in Norman Rush's novel Mating.

Nathan Bransford said...

I don't think the whale's gender was ever established.

Mira said...

Alex, I could fill 10 pages! Probably most of us could. :-)

Okay, Nathan. I'll tell you the terrible thing, because I know you'll worry about it all day.

Here's the terrible thing: I'll cry. I'll sob and beat my breast, and rip my clothes and tear my hair. I'll be such a basket case, screaming and wailing on Market Street, that it will stop traffic for miles. That will make mainstream news, and they'll interview me, and I'll talk about how it's all your fault because you deprived me of your exposition. Then the public will rally behind me, and we'll get a petition and march up to your door and demand exposition.

Really. Why not skip all that?

Just write some exposition.

Okey dokey.

HWPetty said...

It's a tie between Granny Weatherwax and Moist Von Lipwig

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

I have to add one. There is a character who has haunted me, Fleur Pillager. She is compelling, eerie, mysterious. Louise Erdrich threads her though several novels that take place on an Ojibwe reservation.

Lunatic said...

John Galt

Audrianna said...

My favorite characters of all time have to be Little Ann and Old Dan from "Where the Red Fern Grows". The first time I read it - I was in the fourth or fifth grade, I think - I desperately wanted two Redbone Coonhounds, which really didn't work since you can't find very many of those in Arizona. Not to mention the fact that we already had three dogs at the time.

Just as I side note: I still don't have any Redbone Coonhounds, though I do have three German Shepherds, two Anatolian Shepherds, and a Golden Retriever. I'm still on the look out for some Redbones if anybody would like to sell me some for twenty-five bucks a piece. =)

pilot said...

WOW. That’s not an easy one. OK, if I have to point the most unforgettable character I’ll say Pavel Korchagin from How the Steel was Tempered, by Nicolai Ostrovsky. I know, most of you never heard of him. Well, it’s worth reading. Much more powerful than Dr Zhivago (Boris Pasternak), or Alex Solzhenitsyn’s Ivan Shokov (One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich). If I have to go to American writers, I’ll say Wolf Larsen from Jack London’s The Sea-Wolf.

Scott said...

"Slightly off-topic, but I think it's interesting how many people are listing characters from Shakespeare. He didn't write novels!

I get it, though. So many of us get exposed to Shakespeare in the novel-esque context of reading plays in English class. As a theater techie, I'm just more familiar with them as productions."

I see what you're saying, Annalee, but I took the question to include "literary characters" rather than just those of novels. Nathan probably originally intended the latter, and written to be read aloud is certainly a different craft, but I think the concept of presenting a character with significant internal exploration and depth pairs those of the literary world against their more cinematic cousins––in some cases, only just.

Mira said...

Jennifer - I saw your post after I had posted mine.

Yes, as a writer, I think she resonates more with me. But I love all of L.M. Montgomery's characters. She really under-rated.

Ellen Painter Dollar said...

Owen Meany
Larry (from The Stand)
Asher Lev
Francie Nolan
Gandalf and Sam Gamgee

Matthew Hissong said...

Can L'Morte D'Arthur be considered a novel? If so, King Arthur(more for what he represents than his life in particular).

Christopher M. Park said...

Ender Wiggin

Jan said...

Harry Dresden, who beats out Elvis Cole by just a squinch.

Jennifer Roland said...

Katie Scarlett O'Hara.

I love some of the other suggestions, though. Jo March was awesome. Anne Shirley was great. But, for me, none of them hold a candle to myopic, self-centered but extremely driven Scarlett.

katey said...

Shout out to everyone who said:
Syndey Carton
Jo March
Bertie Wooster
Ponyboy Curtis
Fitzwilliam Darcy
Asher Lev

And you who said Francis Crawford-- heck yes.

Gotta add Duncan Idaho to that list.

Valerie said...

Reepicheep from the "Narnian Chronicles".

Mira said...

Oh. I think I got carried away. Was that inappropriate for me to order you to write exposition?

I'm sorry. I didn't mean it disrespectfully.

I just like what you have to say. I find it helpful, and interesting, and funny (favorite character is the Whale!), and accessible and thoughtful.

Sorry. Let me put this another way. Nathan, next time, write some exposition.

Please.

The Writers Canvas said...

Cannie Shapiro from GOOD IN BED or the detective duo (Kenzie/Gennaro) by Dennis Lehane.

Ink said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kasie West said...

David Copperfield

I love a character who succeeds against all odds.

Ink said...

Judge Holden - from Blood Meridian

Chigurh - from No Country for Old Men

Mandrake - from Duncton Wood

Father Hugh Kennedy - from The Edge of Sadness

Hal Incandenza - from Infinite Jest

Faramir - from The Lord of the Rings

Dylan Ebdus and Mingus Rude - from The Fortress of Solitude

Henry Perowne - from Saturday

Victor - from Tomorrow in the Battle Think On Me

Shakier Anthem said...

The first ones that spring to mind are from childhood favorites:
Ramona Quimby
Anastasia Krupnik
Laura Ingalls (not exactly a fictional character, but still awesome)

I also love Nell from The Diamond Age, Lyra from the Dark Materials trilogy, and topping the list, Elizabeth Bennett. What can I say, I'm a sucker for the kick-ass female protagonists.

Amber Argyle-Smith said...

The Phantom in Phantom of the Opera. I love him, hate him, feel sorry for him, root for him root against him. He's the type of character you want to kiss while similanteously slapping. :)

Ian said...

And now, as I have to finish writing the greatest novel not quite finished yet, I must leave you with a quote: Is there anything so fair, so wonderful and so loyal as a reader? (The Grubby Underwear Guy, 2009).

David said...

Larry Underwood - The Stand

Amy said...

Oskar Schindler (biography).

Ink said...

And Eeyore! Love me some Eeyore.

And Pratchett's Death, I must admit, makes me laugh.

Karen said...

Impossible to pick just one!

Mr. Darcy
Samwise Gamgee
Albus Dumbledore

Ian said...

Basically then Amber, you agree with me: the French revenge characters are the best, n'est pas?

Jason Crawford said...

I think a few people have already said it, but Anne Shirley is probably the most interesting character I've read...in terms of have a big personality that shows through the writing.

I'm a superhero freak so I must admit that I've read the Dark Knight novelization and really like Bruce Wayne...not very cultured I know. But hey...

Matthew Hissong said...

And if L'Morte D'Arthur isn't a novel, then I nominate Jack Burden(the narrator) from All the King's Men. The main characters from The Last Picture Show and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas also get noms.

s.w. vaughn said...

Raistlin from Dragonlance :-)

Jason Crawford said...

Oh yeah Karen, I didn't think about ole Samwise...he's a good one too!

s.w. vaughn said...

Crap, shouldn't have read through the comments. They reminded me I have a tie for faves.

Raistlin (Dragonlance) and Havelock Vetinari (Discworld)

Bad guys rule.

Marilyn Peake said...

Hmmm, as others have said, I also have many favorite characters. Some of my favorites are Gandalf, Galadriel, Arwen, Frodo Baggins and Samwise Gamgee - all from Lord of the Rings.

mhambster said...

Harry Dresden is one of the most noble, flawed, good characters I have ever read. He makes me want to be him.

Anakin-and-Obi-Wan are practically a single character in the superb novel Revenge of the Sith by Matthew Stover. Don't let the movie throw you, read the novel and weep.

And how can you not love Spock?

Or Paul Atreides?

But in the end, and I don't want you all to laugh at me, I love Batman. If you make me pick just one, I think it would have to be him, but it would be hard to leave all of the others behind.

Hmmm . . . It's almost as if all of my favorites have common characteristics.

But Jack Bagthorpe and Grandma Bagthorpe make me laugh more than anything in literature. Thank you Helen Cresswell.

lystrawrote said...

Sissy-Even Cowgirls Get the Blues
Mike Jenkins-Ghost
Ender Wiggins-Ender's Game

Margaret Yang said...

Bean, from Ender's Game and Ender's Shadow by Orson Scott Card.

Especially Ender's Shadow, which is Bean's story.

I like smart people. Bean is smart.

Anonymous said...

Hands down, Mr. Bennet.

Erika Robuck said...

Jamie, Outlander series.

Catherine, Receive Me Falling

Scout, To Kill a Mockingbird

And of course, Holden, Catcher in the Rye.

E. J. Tonks said...

What--100+ comments and no Edward Cullen? Fine, I'll say it:

EDWARD CULLEN!!

jimnduncan said...

Dean Koontz's Odd Thomas.
Richard Adams' Maia.

Mira said...

Oh.

Anne Frank.

And Meg from A Wrinkle in Time.

Now that I think about it, maybe Anne Elliot is the one who annoyed me.

I'll just stick with Emma.

DeadlyAccurate said...

Bartimeus, the 5,000-year-old djinni from Johnathan Stroud's incredibly awesome trilogy of MG/YA novels.

I didn't even have to think on this one.

Sandi said...

Bridget Jones
Georgia Nicholson
Anita Blake

and my favorite, Hercule Poirot.

Narnian Girl said...

First time de-lurking.
Nathan, I saw you speak at the Seattle conference. It was great.

My favorite character is Adaon from The Black Cauldron. He is only in about half the book but he is heartbreaking and unforgettable. He is honorable, selfless, gentle, brave and I'm sure every girl who reads it falls in love with him.

Dara said...

Hands down, Jane Eyre. A strong heroine with flaws just enough to make her identifiable.

Elizabeth Bennet is a close second.

slcard said...

This is the most fun ever. I wish I could read all the comments fully.

Count Fosco has to be my favorite: he is so amusingly wicked. If I had to pick from Moby Dick, however, it would be Queequeg, hands down. Ah, how he made me laugh.

I must also add a quick nod to those who have chosen Puck, Anne Shirley and Sydney Carton (no one ever made me cry like Sydney).

Madison said...

Black Beauty. What can I say? I'm an equine lover. <3

Nicole said...

Frank in "Angela's Ashes" by Frank McCourt.

Elaine 'still writing' Smith said...

Mycroft Holmes
Olivier d'Athos de la Fère
Portia - Merchent
Rowan Mayfair
Artemis Fowl, Holly and Butler @ Book 3
Blart

Thomas Burchfield said...

Dracula; Richard Stark's Parker; Sam Spade; the Continental Op; Dr. Charles Kinbote (the mad--or not mad--scholar at the heart of "Pale Fire"); Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin; Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson.

Anonymous said...

L'Engle's Charles Wallace Murray

But I have to agree with those who posted:

Dumbledore
Father from The Road
Lestat
Liesel in The Book Thief
and Eeyore!

Ian said...

"I don't think the whale's gender was ever established." He was called Moby Dick, FFS.

Kind Regards Ian Giant Penis (gender not quite established yet).

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

I can't believe I am posting for a third time! Nathan, you really got people thinking. And it would be worth thinking about why we pick the characters we do.
Anyway, I am a huge fan of Diana Wynne Jones's books, especially Howl's Moving Castle because I adore her funny heroine,Sophie Hatter. The book is nothing like the movie, which destroyed how resourceful and amusing Sophie is.

Jabez said...

Philip Marlowe

Kirst. said...

Gotta be Captain Frederick Wentworth!

Jarucia said...

I agree with RW,

Aurelio Buendia.

Chuck H. said...

As a fan of Douglas Adams, I'm very fond of all the Hitchhiker characters as well as Dirk Gently. However, I've been a Robert Heinlein fan much, much longer and the one and only Senior of the Howard families, Woodrow Wilson Smith--AKA Lazurus Long, Capt. Aaron Scheffield, etc., etc.--is my all time favorite character(s).

Tracey said...

The Tree from "The Giving Tree" and Dorian Gray. I know, very different.

PatriciaW said...

Jo March, Little Women.

RBG said...

Phaedrus from "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance"

He never really stood a chance...

Sarah said...

Dr Wilbur Larch from The Cider House Rules, hands down.

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

Trevor Wolff.

Mary Ann Scheuer said...

What a fun question, and so many replies. I love how people are drawn back to books that hooked them as children.

The first character that came to my mind was Laura Ingalls Wilder. A novel? Well, yes, I do think so. She has so much spirit and courage - and I was hooked as a child.

Also, Miss Jane Pittman - what a character, what strength and wisdom.

Anonymous said...

I also think Jo March from Little Women was exceptional. A character to admire, she stuck with me and inspires me still...

Mark D. said...

Nathan -

The Whale's gender never established??

They called him MOBY DICK, right?

Liana Brooks said...

Gimli from LOTR.

He was my imaginary friend when I was 3. He was someone I could relate to because I'm *short* and I've always been short. But he was short and saving the world and had a really cool ax.

Ink said...

Interesting question: Do real people become "characters" when they write about themselves?

Because people like Anne Frank and Frank McCourt (selected above) are not literary characters in the traditional sense, and their stories are found in diaries and memoirs rather than novels. Yet, when I first read the question, I did think of a few memoir "characters" as well.

Any thoughts?

mhambster said...

Liana Brooks: Gimli was your favorite character when you were 3?! Wow. Your parents read you cool bedtime stories. That's so cool.

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