Raise your hand if you’ve ever read a book and immediately fallen in love with a character.
It doesn’t have to be the protagonist. It could be a weird, random side character that only appears occasionally. It could be a character that dies. A character that comes back to life. It could be a large bear. Whichever way it is, that character makes you smile like a fool every time they’re mentioned. You know they’re the best character in the book, and will argue it to the death.
They’re the characters you fall in love with. The ones you will fight to protect.
I have so many.
For this week’s Top Ten Tuesday, I wanted to highlight some of these characters. They’re amazing, they’re sweet, they’re wonderfully written… and they’re fictional. I love them anyway.
Tess of the Road by Rachel Hartman
image by thenSir @ DeviantArt
Tess is my most ultimate literary doppelgänger, and as such, she is closest to my heart. I was happy when she was happy. I wept when she wept. I rooted for her every step of her journey. I relished in her discoveries and delighted in her adventures. I hated the people who hurt Tessie vigorously, and was somewhat deflated when there was no revenge. I love her for her spirit, her strength, and her drive.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling
image by Gidrologium @ Deviant Art
Luna is such an odd muffin. She’s good and sweet and kind and innocent. You want to give her hugs and lock her away in a crystal cave where nothing will ever happen to her, ever. When she is kidnapped in Deathly Hallows, my soul screamed out for her! She is soft, and gentle, and easy to break. Fun fact: Luna Lovegood is made of tougher things than she looks. She is brave and protective. And, at the end of it all, she is not broken.
Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
image by AngieBlues @ DeviantArt
Finnick may come off as a bit of a snob and egotist at the beginning of Catching Fire, but we learn really quickly that he’s a good person who has hardened himself to be able to survive the Capitol and its many abuses. I adored Finnick all through Catching Fire, but the bits of him I loved the most were in Mockingjay. His love for Annie was just the cutest, sweetest thing in that entire trilogy and their wedding is my favorite scene.
Finnick is the only one on this list without a happy ending, and it still breaks my heart. I even held out hope that Lionsgate would change his fate in the movies… but they didn’t. Poor, clever, fun Finnick.
Reign of the Fallen by Sarah Glenn Marsh
image by MadameThenadier @ DeviantArt
Meredy came as a surprise for me. Reign of the Fallen is filled with amazing characters, but Meredy herself is ferocity and passion embodied. This girl is pure recklessness, but she also clearly has a soft side and loves and cares for people as well, which balances her beautifully. Most notable (and delightful) about Meredy is she comes hand-in-hand with Lysander. Lysander is a giant brown bear and her animal familiar. He is also wonderful and their kinship is my favorite relationship in the book.
They must be protected at all costs.
The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak
image from BookYurt
Liesl. How could any bookworm not love Liesl? The tale of a little girl who has lost everything in the midst of the German Reicht and yet still has the courage and passion to steal books so she may get lost in another world. Even if that book is The Gravedigger’s Handbook, and she doesn’t know how to read.
It’s not just her bookish charm that makes me love Liesl. It’s her devotion to her Papa, her childish flirtations with Rudy, and that heartbreaking scene at the end. If Death itself could fall in love with such a sweet young girl, surely we all can.
The Subtle Knife by Philip Pullman
image from Republic of Heaven on Tumblr
Will is doing everything he can to protect his mother. That in and of itself makes him a likable character, because no matter what he did, we know he loves his momma.
But he is also looking for his father, and that leads him to Lyra Silvertongue. The two of them go on adventures together… and they grow up together. They have been together through everything, even the land of the dead, but they do not have a happy ending. I’ve always loved Lyra, but I love Will a bit more. I think it’s his devotion to the people around him that makes him a sweet butterfly and I want him to be happy.
Wild Magic by Tamora Pierce
image by Minuiko @ DeviantArt
I adore all Pierce’s heroines, but I have a special place in my heart for Daine. When I was a little girl, I wanted her wild magic. I loved the way she talked to her pony, Cloud, and how she kept saving the world because she had a moral ground to do good and obey the law… she was a great heroine.
Daine hasn’t often appeared in other Tortall novels, and that saddens me because she is innocent and stubborn and I love her. She’s a perfect mixture of spitfire and sunshine.
First Test by Tamora Pierce
image by Lady of the KaiPen @ DeviantArt
I first discovered Kel last year and I am kicking myself for waiting so long because she is so utterly fantastic. Kel is a feminist in a boy’s world and she will fight to prove she is their equal. As a tentative page in training, Kel is trying to take advantage of the palace’s offer to train girls as pages, and finds that she may be allowed, but she in not welcome. She takes up the challenge and becomes (as is her series title), Protector of the Small.
And she wears dresses. This goes back to my post a couple weeks ago complaining that kickass heroines in YA do not need to drop their feminity to prove their worth. Kel is queen. She embraces her feminity to prove that it is irrelevant to her duties. YES.
The Hearts We Sold by Emily Lloyd-Jones
image from LifeTeen
In so many ways, Dee has gone through Hell and back again. She has barely escaped her abusive family and struggles to find her way in the world. A lot of what I love about Dee is very spoilery to the book, so I’ll suffice it to see she is strong and she is broken but she is strong anyway and I don’t want her to hurt anymore.
But nothing in life is easy. Especially not in Dee’s.
Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones
image from S. Jae-Jone’s website.
Liesl needed a Happily Ever After.
This girl has given up so much of herself for her brother, and then gives up herself entire for her sister. I wanted her to find happiness, not fade away into the fog. I didn’t quite want the ending, either (maybe in Shadowsong?) but I do know that she was bigger than the place she filled in life.
She was just big in general. She feels everything in enormity; her heart breaks and there is a flood, she dances and there is a windstorm. Everything about this book was so sad and beautiful… I just wanted Liesl to find some joy.
Remember, Valentine’s Day is a holiday celebrating love, not just romantic love.
So tomorrow… tell someone you love them. Even if it’s just your favorite fictional character.