A few weeks ago, I was talking with my parents about how much I love fictional characters. I’m not sure they quite understand the extent of this love, or the way it works, but they’re very understanding about it. Fictional characters are more than just words on a page. They live and breathe in our imaginations as surely as anyone in the real world. They become friends and enemies and heroes. They are the stuff of dreams, the companions that reside in your mind when the night grows dark.
And so, without further ado, let me introduce you to my friends in no particular order of favoritism. (And I did not include any of my own characters or characters from books my friends are writing. I would seriously have run out of room).
1. Sherlock Holmes from BBC’s ‘Sherlock’. A sociopathic, Aspergers-y man who could just as easily end up on the wrong side of a murder as he could figure out the culprit. He’s cynical but endearing, absolutely brilliant and completely clueless. (And he’s got gorgeous eyes. I love eyes, especially blue ones.)
2. The Doctor. Yes, that Doctor. The man of thirteen faces, though he’s only used eleven of them so far. He’s quirky and adorable and complicated. He rocks Converse, pinstripes, spiked hair, bowties, and fezzes. He wants to do good for the universe, but needs someone to tell him when to curb his power. He’s the lonelist man in the whole of time and space and wants to be loved, but not have his hearts broken.
3. Lancelot from the movie ‘King Arthur.’ He’s got a tough outer shell, but inside he’s a loyal, steadfast friend who loves Arthur and in the end, is willing to sacrifice everything for him. Plus he uses two swords, which is about as awesome as you can get and still be human.
4. Steven from ‘Braveheart.’ Insane, hilarious, with that ‘accent’ that gets me every time. He’s adorable and crazy and I’m SO glad he didn’t die… I thought he was, but he didn’t. *whew*
5. Dustfinger from “Inkheart”. He is able to use fire, okay? And he has a horned marten. His journey from fear and cowardice into a hero willing to sacrifice everything for those he loves is definitely one worth reading. (And watching; Paul Bettany portrayed him perfectly in the movie).
6. Robin duNoir from “The Secret of Moonacre.’ On the outside, he’s a scruffy, irritable, conceited jerk with an outlandish (though very cool) taste in clothing. But really, all he wants is to be noticed and loved by his father – and he’s willing to sacrifice his dream in order to help Maria and save Moonacre. Plus his sense of humor is hilarious, and he’s not bad to look at.
7. Dastan from “Prince of Persia.” A street urchin adopted by the king, he knows that his bloodline is not royal and believes he is not worthy of the throne. He loves his brothers and is willing to put up with an annoying girl (though naturally she grows 0n him) and risk his life to save his kingdom and prove his innocence. Not to mention he’s awesome at parkour and he has a great sense of humor.
9. The three ghosts from “A Christmas Carol.” They’re all very different, but they’re all so endearing in their own way!
10. Snake Eyes. A quiet, kind, gluteus maximus-kicking Ninja who happens to be the best one in the world… it’s hard to get cooler than this guy.
11. Alan a’Dale from the BBC Robin Hood series. Fun-loving, hilarious, smooth-tongued and blessed with a very pretty pair of blue eyes, this outlaw is completely loveable. Even when he’s working for Guy of Gisbourne, he does his best to protect Marian and his friends while looking out for himself. And the way BBC kills him kills ME!!! I can’t believe they DID that!!!
12. Peet the Sock Man, also known as Artham P. Wingfeather, protector of the king of Anniera. Completely kooky, loveable, and an amazing fighter to boot, this crazy character undergoes a transformation from a frightened fighter into a beautiful, powerful winged warrior.
13. Edmund. He goes from being a snot-nosed brat to a heroic, funny character – hey, this works for Eustace, too! I love how he learns his lesson, and his change of heart is very inspiring.
14. Bernard from the Santa Clause. The ancient, wisecracking elf is hilarious while totally serious. He’s just awesome.
15. Beleg Cuthalion. A strong, wise elf famed whose last name – Strongbow – is a testament to his skill, he was the ever-loyal, faithful friend to Turin Turambar. He even went so far as to search the land to find him so he could tell him the King had pardoned him. He refused to give his friend away even under torture and torment; only to die unwittingly by the hand of the very man he came to save.
16. Trystam from ‘King Arthur.’ He uses two swords (always gets me) he has a hawk (way too cool) he’s one of Arthur’s men (speaks for itself). The strong quiet type, this warrior-tracker with the tattoos is almost too cool for words. I”ll never forgive the director for killing him; I sob every time.
17. Cassandra Mortmain. The heroine of ‘I Capture the Castle,’ one of the best books ever written and one that I reread several times a year, is a spunky, precocious, hilarious seventeen-year-old who lives in a run-down castle and has a fascination for American accents. (Rather the opposite of me, wot wot? Ahem).
18. Bilbo Baggins. An unlikely hero who goes from a timid, stay-at-home creature to an adventuring burgler/dragon slayer. And he looks suspiciously like John Watson, MD.
19. Uncas. If you haven’t seen the 1994 adaption of “Last of the Mohicans,” go watch it. Now. The first time I saw it, I sobbed for twenty minutes AFTER the movie was over. I’ve seen it numerous times, and it still makes me cry every single time. Uncas is quiet, brave, and still manages to look completely masculine even though he wears a necklace, bracelets, earring, and has long hair. He is the epitome of ‘wonderful.’
20. Murtagh. So I’m not a huge fan of the books, but I still love Murtagh. A tormented soul (who, I hear, rights everything in the end) with enormous power, his own dragon, a hand-and-a-half-sword, and an impersonator named Garrett Hedlund who isn’t exactly repulsive, this character is just begging for a fangirl. (Or two. Or three).
21. Emily of New Moon. Precocious and elfin, Emily is my favorite of miss Montgomery’s heroines. I empathize with her almost exactly; she has an inner flair for drama and sees the beauty in little things, though she gets wrapped up in the problems of ordinary life. She’s determined and spunky, but is still completely likeable and feminine.
22. Amy Pond. Scottish, red-haired, ‘plucky’ (to quote Matt Smith), impetuous and sarcastic, I relate most to Amy Pond (minus the red hair).
23. Fenworth. The befuddled, endearing wizard is as close to my heart as Gandalf, perhaps closer. Brilliant (when he’s not falling asleep and turning into a tree) cantankerous (when discussing things with his librarian Lebrettowit, anyway)
24. Sir Percy Blakeney. Sink me, if I ever come across another hero quite as original as this one, I shall not be held responsible! The mere thought ’tis enough to wrinkle my cravat! Oddsfish, m’dear!
25. Josh Randall. The soft-spoken bounty hunter with the big gun, portrayed by one of my favorite actors ever Steve McQueen, is the best old-fashioned cowboy hero in history.
26. Herluin. This odd, clever jester had FAR too small a part in Rosemary Sutcliff’s “Knight’s Fee.”
27. Jake Lonergan. You don’t mess with this cowboy, be you man, woman, or alien. It just ain’t a good idea.
28. The Master. He’s the Doctor’s oldest nemesis; and while I don’t particularly care for his pre-2000 forms, John Simms’ portrayal of him is absolutely perfect. Devious, cunning, hysterical, and more than a little bit mad, it’s almost hard to dislike him. Plus he ends up being a hero – and how could I not fall for someone like that? He redeemed himself in the end after almost 1,000 years of battle, and I can only hope he comes back soon.
29. Iron Man. He goes from being a narcissistic, arrogant playboy jerk to being a narcissistic, arrogant playboy superhero. He’s witty, sarcastic, hilarious, and tries to do the right thing in his own muddled, very high-tech kind of way. And he’s got some of the best lines ever.
30. Loki. So he’s not exactly ‘endearing,’ but you’ve got to give him some credit. He’s a master magician, and his brain is always ten steps ahead of everyone else. He’s clever and scheming and has a mischievous streak a mile wide. He’s smooth, conniving, and spends half of his time running around as a fox. And he always let Balder off easy.
Now, naturally this is NOT a complete list. These are the first thirty characters I thought of that hold a special place somewhere in my heart among the ranks of “Awesome Characters.” I’d love to know what some of yours are, too!