“He was meaner, more irritable, more impatient for the ultimate power which could only be his through the elimination of all rivals; and if he had ever had any scruples, any love at all for even a monkey, a book, or a sword-hilt, all this, and even this, had been cauterized and drowned away.”
- The Doctor – Doctor Who. YES HE COUNTS HE’S IN BOOKS TOO. His story is such a brilliant, tragic legend – how could I not put him on this list?
- Roland Deschain – The Dark Tower, Stephen King. Oh, Roland. Much like the Doctor in many ways: so old, so lost, a lonely wanderer who finds friends in unlikely places, a man whose humanity is almost but not quite gone, someone who makes you laugh and cry for him because, goddamit, the man has charisma.
- Granny Weatherwax – Discworld, Terry Pratchett. Grumpy, domineering, bitter, dismissive, proud – and she still manages to be the Good Witch of Lancre.
- Gollum – The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien. Another character with a deeply sad story, and certainly the most developed of those who inhabit Middle-earth. He actually has conflict! In his actual mind! And, yes, he still makes me cry sometimes because SO CLOSE TO REDEMPTION and yet so, so far.
- Steerpike – Gormenghast, Mervyn Peake. The Machiavellian villain to end all Machiavellian villains, he’ll stop at nothing to Rule the Castle. He’s deeply, deeply evil, but he’s clever, oh so clever, with it. And he has a cane sword.
- Herbert Pocket – Great Expectations, Charles Dickens. Herbert is just nice, and you don’t get many of those in life or literature. He’s a good friend, even when Pip doesn’t deserve him.
- Thomas Covenant – The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, Stephen Donaldson. Though he’s thorny, indecisive and really quite misanthropic, he’s also unusually relatable for a fantasy character, and his struggles against the dark within and without are, for me at least, simply inspirational.
- Blue van Meer – Special Topics in Calamity Physics, Marisha Pessl. Admittedly, I don’t remember much about Blue, but I do remember identifying with her quiet studiousness, her picking away at things until they came apart, and her reading.
- Dirk Gently – Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, Douglas Adams. A conman addicted to pizza and solving ridiculous and far-fetched mysteries by ridiculous and far-fetched methods – seriously, what is not to like?
- Juliette Nichols – Wool, Hugh Howey. She mends things and works out things patiently and practically and tries to save people and she’s going to be an awesome mayor, whatever happens in Dust.
(The theme for this post was suggested by The Broke and the Bookish’s weekly meme Top Ten Tuesday.)