Saw the question in an interview and it made me think.
First, apologies for the recent blog silence. This weekend we celebrated my grandmother’s life with tears, laughter, music and song. Consequently it has been a hectic and family-filled weekend. Now it is over though, and I can now try to catch back up to my Nanowrimo word-count. My characters are feeling a bit neglected. Before I do that however, I thought I’d talk a bit about my favorite fictional characters from other writers. It felt appropriate to Grandma’s memory, since she was such an amazing character herself.
Who are my favorite fiction characters? I’ve been pondering this lately, and four names sprang instantly to mind, from three different authors. These four characters are the four most distinct and enduring characters I have ever read, but even more than that they resonated for me in ways other unique and well-written characters have not. I have ranked them in order with my favorite first.
Amelia Peabody Emerson is the main character of Elizabeth Peters’ wonderful mystery series. She is also, without doubt, my heroine. Amelia is unintentionally funny, witty, resourceful, and opinionated. She is also uncommonly sensible, clever, and an Egyptologist. Her creator is one of my role-models, and an amazing lady (who wrote back personally when I wrote to her. Needless to say, I’m still thrilled about that). Amelia is the sort of character who is always having outrageous adventures in such a way that one never gets tired of hearing about them.
Cordelia Naismith Vorkosigan is the mother of Miles Vorkosigan, hero of Lois McMaster Bujold’s fun space-opera-style Science Fiction series. Yet Cordelia somehow even outshines her outrageous son in her own quiet way. She is one of the most incredibly sensible fictional characters I’ve ever read. This would make her seem like an unlikely protagonist, but the extreme lack of sensibility exhibited by those surrounding her helps to create the necessary conflict. The impression Cordelia leaves, both on other characters and on the reader, is that of a dignified and compassionate lady with the guts to go the distance no matter how difficult the times. She reminds me a bit of my grandmother as I think she must have been when younger.
Death is Terry Pratchett’s most amazing and awesome character ever. I think he must have originated in the Discworld universe because that is where he seems to fit the most comfortably, and yet he is acceptable everywhere, like the best credit cards. Perhaps having Death as a favorite character may seem macabre. Unless you’ve ever read Terry Pratchett’s characterization of him, and then I think you would understand why I enjoy this character so much. In any case, he is not macabre, simply a craftsman doing his job in a businesslike manner.
Esmerelda “Granny” Weatherwax is another of Pratchett’s brilliant creations, and another lady who I would like to emulate in some ways. She is also sensible and yet extremely outrageous (Hmmm…there is a theme here) but more notably she is an expert the way people think. She puts that knowledge to good use with Pratchett’s interesting version of witchcraft. She is also an interesting character in that she is undoubtedly a “good” character and yet, she is only “good” because she is too proud to stoop to “evil.” Evil is too easy, and Esmerelda Weatherwax must always be the best.
Who are your favorite fiction characters?