Thursday, September 22, 2011

Zero to Hero

There are a few characters in books that have stuck with me over the years. I admit that I am not an aficionado in the areas of paranormal, sci-fi, steampunk, and traditional YA stories involving stressed high school students. But I do know what I like, and my favorite characters are not limited to one genre.

Alanna of Trebond: I picked up Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce when I was in elementary school. It had sat on my shelf for a while without my feeling the compulsion to read it. A quick grab for a novel to read on a plane ride began my decade long love of this author's books. And my favorite character is Alanna. I wanted to be her so badly. She had spunk, she had a temper and wasn't afraid to use it. She didn't let others make her decisions. And she could fight as well as any man. What little girl hasn't wanted to be a knight? I loved her.

 For a while a grown out haircut gave me a striking resemblance to Alanna. Seriously, that is almost exactly what I looked like for a few months. Minus the poofy shirt and sword.
Image: Goodreads
Keeley Grant: Again a spunky character. I am a shameless reader of romance novels. Probably because in books the love actually works out. This tough girl was an Olympic silver medalist in horse jumping. Now, I am a dedicated fan and ex-participant of barrel racing so I don't understand jumping as well. But I loved this character because she was mule-headed enough to go after what she wanted.

Eleanor Dashwood: This quiet protagonist of Sense and Sensibility tried to never burden her family with her problems, unlike her volatile sister Marianne. I wish I could be as restrained as her.

Peeta Mellark: Kind and compassionate, this male character in Suzanne Collins's The Hunger Games never let go of his true character. He was hardened, of course, by the tragic events in the books, but he was straight-forward and charismatic.

Leafpool: Yes, I'll admit that I read the Warriors series. It began a long time ago, and now I read them to see how the books connect and how the authors change the story and keep it interesting. Considering there are over 20 books, it's quite a feat. And I love the gentle medicine cat, Leafpool, for her love of her family and her belief system that's so strong it led her to give up the option of a mate to pursue her destiny in the Clans.

Briar Moss: Tough as nails on the outside, but a love of all things green and his adoptive sisters on the inside. In another Tamora Pierce series, this ex-street rat wormed his way into my list of favorite characters because of his sense of humor and tenacity. I wanted him as a big brother. He would be the kind of guy to make you laugh while secretly putting a whoopee cushion on your chair.

Harriet Morton: And finally there's this protagonist of A Company of Swans by Eva Ibbotson. She was helpful and like a small ball of sunshine. Intelligent and desperately wishing she could love the family that oppressed her love of the theater. I wish I could have her bravery. Instead of Alanna's flashy bravery in ditching it all to go after her dream of being a knight, Harriet slunk away with a ballet company up the Amazon, and eventually came to terms with her decision.

All these books that I've read have been spread out over the years. My bookcase is double stacked with books filled with likable characters. But I find that the ones I love the most are the ones where I either have something in common with them, or wish I were like them. The genres include historical fiction, dystopian, MG, fantasy, and romance. There are many more. But these characters, all different, have taught me how to be. How I can be brave, romantic, practical, strong, and compassionate.

They have taught me who I am.

What characters have influenced your life or made you seen things a different way?

1 comment:

  1. I don't think I've met any of these characters! I'll have to check some of the books out! I think a character that has influenced me was Boo Radley in To Kill a Mockingbird. I love who he is and what he does.