I spend a decent amount of time on Magical Words which means I get to see the link round-up they do daily. One of the links from today (Dec 1, 2016) was for a blog post on Barnes and Noble entitled Mind Meld: Some of Our Favorite Characters. This got me thinking, what characters in my life stick around?
Like many writers, I am an avid reader, so I have a small stable of characters who have affected the way I think and even approach narrative. They pop up from time to time, poking their heads out of the things I’ve written as if to remind me of their continued existence in my consciousness. I’ll give you three.
If the name doesn’t look familiar to you, then perhaps you didn’t spend your childhood devouring the works of David Eddings. While truthfully, I could also pick Polgara from among Eddings’s work, I chose Sparhawk because he was my first literary crush. He was a grizzled veteran with a strong sense of right and wrong and an attitude that said he was going to do the right thing regardless of what happened. When you get to the end of The Hidden City and he makes his final decision, you are stunned, but then realize there was no other way it could have played out. He even explains it to you. (Maybe he shouldn’t have, but he did.) He is not your typical leading man, though I imagine if they were going to cast him today they would probably call Gerard Butler, he’s old, he’s wounded, he’s got trust issues, and he patently does not want to be the hero. I adored him. When I read Roland from The Dark Tower series, I imagine the two of them could be brothers. [The Elenium: The Diamond Throne, The Ruby Knight, The Sapphire Rose. The Tamuli: Domes of Fire, The Shining Ones, The Hidden City.]
To those who know me well, zombies are a major thing. I devour zombie books. So imagine my surprise when I go to visit a friend and she has the work of Mira Grant. (She was totally unknown to me; I must have been vacationing under a rock.) I devoured Feed in less than two days while interacting with other people and attending a big damn party. If I were going to be a hero, I would want to be a Georgia Mason-esque heroine. No superpowers, still amazing. Her absolute commitment to doing what is right because there will be consequences anyway is gorgeous. A number of things happen in later books which make me love her even more, but I don’t want to spoil anything for anyone. [The Newsflesh Trilogy: Feed, Deadline, Blackout]
Ororo Munroe (Storm)
I essentially grew up on late 80’s-90’s X-men. I latched onto Storm like many young black women as someone who looked like me. She has always shown herself to be strong in spite of everything, a quality I cannot help but admire. Even though I have pretty much given up on comic books because they are an uber expensive hobby to keep up with, I still occasionally find myself acquiring stories about Storm. You never really forget your first, I suppose. [Marvel Comics]
A list of three is by no means exhaustive; after all, I’ve been reading for more than thirty years. To narrow a list of influential characters down to three takes a bit of work. As you will also realize, all three of these are heroes. I am, very much, a villains girl. That however is a post for another day. If you could only pick three of your favorite characters, who would you pick?