Wednesday, July 28, 2010

My Favorite Literary Characters of All Time

There’s a tag floating around that I would love to do. Unfortunately, no one’s tagged me for it yet so I decided to pick it up anyway, and can imagine all book lovers grabbing at it with both hands. Here's a post on 10 of my favorite literary (male) characters of all time, in no particular order.

1) Mr Darcy - He is one half of one of the most memorable and romantic love stories ever, the other half being Elizabeth Bennett, of course. A man who continuously struggles against his innate feeling of superiority (come to think of it, I quite identify with him in that sense :) He dislikes Elizabeth at the outset but then begins to love and respect her, to the extent he becomes one of the most devoted lovers ever (move over Edward Cullen).

In his love for Elizabeth, he also does one of the most difficult things for a man to do - he tames his pride.

On top of it all, we have Mr Colin Firth playing Mr Darcy twice over. Do we really need any other reason to like - sorry love - Mr Darcy?

2) Heathcliff - Surprised? But you shouldn’t be! He’s the archetypical tortured, romantic Byronic hero who is so filled with love and hatred at the same time that it threatens to destroy him as well as those around him. He grows up mistreated and abused which leaves him abusive and bitter in return. Yet, he shares a passionate love affair with Catherine. He yearns for her when she's gone. Heathcliff's character is complicated and bizarre but captivating. He's the hero as well as the anti-hero.

3) Howard Roarke - He’s possibly the most principled character in English literature that I have come across. He stands by his ideals and his vision even if that means ending up in penury. That is the most defining quality of Howard Roarke.

4) Atticus Finch - ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’ was one of the first books I read but Atticus Finch stays with me to this day. He was devoid of any racial prejudice afflicting a large number of Whites in 1930s America. He teaches his children the importance of being open-minded and judicious. The novel revolves around his struggle to defend a black man accused of raping a white woman, even if that means his family will have to face insults and physical violence at the hands of the townspeople who are against him.

5) E.R.Braithwaite - 'To Sir With Love' was the first novel I read completely. Before that my attempts at reading included multiple aborted attempts at reading Enid Blyton. Braithwaite is a black teacher at a predominantly white school filled with unruly, misbehaved children from rough homes. They resist his authority, are malicious towards him and revel in hooliganism. The story is about how he manages to make responsible, well-behaved "adults" out of savages, at the same time winning their respect for himself as an individual.

6) Harry Potter - How can my list of favorite fictional character be complete without a mention of ‘the boy that lived’? I’m one of the millions of Pottermaniacs in this world and do you know why I like Harry so much?

Because he’s a real character in an imaginary world. Like any boy his age, he too is afraid in the face of adversity, but he faces it with courage. He stands by his friends. His orphan status and his mistreatment at the hands of his uncle & aunt whose home he grew up in endear him as much to people of all ages as his personality.

7) Hercule Poirot - The short, fat, funny Belgian who despises dust, is obsessed with perfection, order & tidiness, and can’t stop singing praises of his intelligence and capabilities (he repeatedly declares that he is supremely gifted as far as his “grey cells” are concerned). There is only one thing he can’t handle - the sea! It makes him sick.

Poirot is a man of method - according to him, even the most complex of crimes can be solved by placing the pieces of the puzzle in the right order. He looks down on methods such as examining footprints, taking fingerprints and searching for clues with a magnifying glass, all of which according to him are methods adopted by less gifted detectives. He can solve all mysteries by sitting still for hours and thinking. And then of course there’s his funny English. He refers to inanimate objects as ‘he’ and keeps apologizing to people for ‘deranging’ them when he actually means 'disturbing' them.

8) Sherlock Holmes - He’s the anti-thesis of Poirot. He’s eccentric, untidy, messy and thrives amidst chaos. But he is also similar to Poirot in that he too relies on deductive reasoning to solve his cases.

The next two entries are going to surprise you, as they did me. Consider yourselves warned!

9) Edward Cullen - Yes, yes we are shallow like that. Stephanie Meyer knew exactly what she was creating when she wrote the character of 'Edward Cullen'. She knew she would have women the world over eating out of his palms, for the simple reason that such perfect, gorgeous, devoted men don't exist in real life!

Edward Cullen is every woman's fantasy and no one's reality. He will love you till the edge of the world; you just need to have a good - correction gargantuan - appetite for risk (for you might become his next meal!) But that's a small price to pay to gaze into honey-gold eyes every single day, don't you think?

10) Bond - James Bond. Okay, I admit I don’t know how many people would’ve actually
read any of Ian Fleming’s books but Bond IS a literary character, so he qualifies for this list. Call me sexist if you will but I love James Bond for the pure unadulterated adrenalin he brings to the table. The women that he brings along...ah, I leave that for the guys.

Whoever wants to pick this tag up, consider yourself tagged! Alternatively, tell me who are your's!


The knife said...

Hey nice one...reminds me of hours spent pouring over books including all the ones you mentioned except potter and Stephanie Meyers. In terms of characters Bond and Adrain Mole came to my mind when I begun reading your post. Then as I read on I realised how distant my days of reading have become... food and travel's my favourite genre now

Moonshine said...

Bertie Wooster for sure. How can I not include him!!

Scarlett o hara (Gone with the wind), your namesake- I was so impressed with her - Scarlett with her brazen ways and care a damn attitude!!!

Birbal & Jughead - would you classify them as literary?

Aragon & Gandalf from LOTR

Emma from Emma

Enid Blyton - there are many characters I love - moonface (faraway tree), George (Famous Five),Fatty (Three investigators)...

How come your list does not include any women?

I wouldnt include Edward in my list.. or maybe I would.. I cant decide :)

I think everybody's list would include Darcy!!!!!!!!!!!!

eye-in-sty-in said...

lol @ "Edward Cullen - Yes, yes we are shallow like that."

Anyone who says such gorgeous devouted men donot exist in real life doesn't know where to look :-)

List was very diverse - Interesting to see Poirot and Sherlock rubbing shoulders with Roark, Finch and Darcy.

You have spiked my intrigue, Scarlett ;-)

eye-in-sty-in said...

This is just to get the follow up comments.... Dunno why I keep forgetting to check that box during my 1st comment.... Must change my method of commenting!!

Scarlett said...

@The Knife - Maybe I'll revise this list to include Adrian Mole once I read his diaries too :)

@Moonshine - This post was about favorite literary MALE characters, therefore it didn't include women. Think I mentioned that somewhere in the post.

PG Wodehouse's humor still eludes me. Birbal & Jughead would be included amongst literary characters - they're part of comics, aren't they? Some people I know will argue that comics are literature too! ;)

@Eye-In-Sty-In - If you read the Twilight series, you'd know what I mean! Men such as Edward really do not exist, which is why the entire female population of the world that has read the books has a massive crush on him, and I'm including 40 years olds when I say this. LOL. And what have I sparked your intrigue in, exactly?

Moonshine said...

I missed the male bit!!! lol

Scarlett - read one PGW to completion!!! :)

Comics are of course literature.. you should include saboo and chacha chaudhary too!!! rofl

And dumbledore - i actually felt really really sad when he died.

eye-in-sty-in said...

Lol @ 40 year olds... They can be fun.... I know a few 40 yr olds who eat tons of icecream @ night and then take a vitamin pill and wonder why they cannot fall asleep :D

And to answer your question, its the diverse list of people you selected and the explaination for each one of them made for a good read... It said a lot about the writer who selected it :-)

Did you watch the race on Sunday? It was a staged ferrari win!!

Scarlett said...

@Moonshine - Oh yes, I love Chacha Chaudhry (jiska dimaag computer se bhi tez chalta hai :) & Saboo too! I still feel Rowling shouldn't have killed Dumbledore...or Fred for that matter :(

@Eye-In-Sty-In - Didn't watch the race (I can watch F1 fully only if I have company) but I did see the news. It was strange Ferrari let Alonso win at the expense of Massa...I don't like Alonso.

the-mommie said...

If you don't want to read Wodehouse, you can watch the jeeves & wooster series to get a taste - Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry. Quite well done, even if its not as great as the books! :)

eye-in-sty-in said...

That makes it the two of us... I think he brought tons of money for Ferrari thru Santander bank for them to bear him inspite of his whinings...

Seriously, you do not have any friends who like watching F1?

Scarlett said...

@The Mommie - It's got nothing to do with the books per se. I just don't find Wodehouse as funny. First of all, the language is archaic...I can't relate to it. Maybe I'll give the book another try. I had picked up 'Code of Woosters' on Moonshine's recommendation.

Scarlett said...

@Eye-In-Sty-In - Oh, there are tons. Just not in the same city :(

the-mommie said...

I think I understand what ur saying - I had only a passing interest in Wodehouse when I was younger. Found it quite inane - I still do actually, and that is precisely why I enjoy them so much now! How time changes you! :)

The Code of the Woosters is a definite classic. Infact I picked it up from the library this time once again! :)

I suggested the TV series, 'coz having Hugh Laurie do Bertie can be quite engaging and it skips a lot of the more descriptive prose from the books - whets the appetite for the real thing... atleast for me!! :D

Moonshine said...

I have seen only one of the PGW series.. it was ok.. the books are brilliant though. :)

Mommie - prob will pick the TV series on your recco. Maybe b/w us, we will convert scarlett!!!!!!!!!! :)

Scarlett - read one book in full. Read it slowly.. take time.. you will enjoy it, I promise :)

I discovered PGW much later.. never picked it up when young.. it was after i started working that i picked up my first PGW and since then I havent stopped..:)

Scarlett said...

@the mommie/Moonshine - OK fine, I'll give 'The Code of Woosters' another shot. But I wouldn't put my money on the 'converting me into a PGW fan' bit :)

Moonshine said...

Lets see Scarlett!!!!!! :))

mêlée said...

wow Scarlett this is such a brilliant post idea :) and I had a real good time reading the characters you loved (though a bit too late) and now i am off to write my list...though i think 10 is a very limiting number ;)

Scarlett said...

@Melee - It's never late or too many. Let me know when you're done with the post. I'd love to read it :)

mêlée said...

thanks Scarlet for the idea and the encouragement. I am done with my list :)