Thursday, January 15, 2015

Favourite Characters of 2014, Part I

I used to do yearly round-ups where I'd talk about the best (read: my favourite) literary characters I encountered in a given year, be they old favourites or new flames. It was fun, but it took forever and I got bogged down on, like, justifying my opinion and stuff, so I let it slide.

I did encounter a great many wonderful characters in 2014, though, so I figure it's about time for a revival.

These aren't necessarily my favourite literary characters of all time, and they don't necessarily appear in my favourite books of 2014. They are, however, the characters who captured my imagination last year; the characters who made me want things on their behalf; the characters who refused to be ignored.

Y'all should make an effort to meet them your own selves.

In more or less the order I encountered them, they are:

Jewel Markess ATerafin from Michelle West's Averalaan universe - West has created many a fascinating character (not all of whom I've met yet; I'm reading this series so damned slow), but Jewel is the one I really clicked with. She's got her chosen family, and she's going to protect the hell out of them no matter what. I love her for it.

Medrault from THE WINTER PRINCE by Elizabeth Wein - the first in a long, long line of characters dealing with trauma. (2014 was my Year of Fictional Trauma.) I spent an entire book with him, but it wasn't until the very last page that I began to figure him out.

FitzChivalry Farseer from Robin Hobb's Realm of the Elderlings series - as I approached my massive Robin Hobb Reread/Catch-Up in preparation for FOOL'S ASSASSIN, I found myself most excited about considering Fitz again. Really delving into him, you know? Psychologically and stuff? It was every bit as good as I expected it to be, so I had no choice but to add him to my (Highly Exclusive) List of Favourite Literary Characters.

The Fool from Robin Hobb's Realm of the Elderlings series - I don't even know if I can tell you why I love the Fool so much. I just do, okay? The Fool, too, is a member of the (Highly Exclusive) List.

Kettricken from Robin Hobb's Realm of the Elderlings series - Kettricken tries really fucking hard, no matter what circumstances she finds herself in, and I can't help but love the hell out of her. Even when I wish she wouldn't put duty ahead of everything else.

Nighteyes from Robin Hobb's Realm of the Elderlings series - best animal in all of fantasy. No contest.

Lestat de Lioncourt from THE QUEEN OF THE DAMNED by Anne Rice - Lestat used to be my Favouritest of Favourite Literary Characters. Even though he and I are sort of on a break right now, he still delights me in a big way. When I don't want to punch him, I mean.

Jesse Reeves from THE QUEEN OF THE DAMNED by Anne Rice - Jesse has durned good paranormal detective skills, a unique perspective, and a large, peculiar family. I love her more every time I revisit her.

Khayman from THE QUEEN OF THE DAMNED by Anne Rice - I've spent more than half my life wishing Khayman would just tell everyone about Troy already. Seriously, dude.

Maia from THE GOBLIN EMPEROR by Katherine Addison - Maia is sad and overwhelmed, and he tries so hard, and he wins so many peoples' affection without even realizing he's doing it, and I love him.

Sokka from THE PROMISE, THE SEARCH, and THE RIFT by Gene Luen Yang and Gurihiru - hey, Sokka's now a literary character! He's AVATAR: THE LAST AIRBENDER's Obligatory Grumpy One, and y'all know how much I love my Obligatory Grumpy Ones. Add in a fierce devotion to his loved ones, a penchant for sarcasm, and a deep love of meat and I'm sold.

Zuko from THE PROMISE, THE SEARCH, and THE RIFT by Gene Luen Yang and Gurihiru - Zuko, you stupid fuck.

Toph Beifong from THE PROMISE and THE RIFT by Gene Luen Yang and Gurihiru - do you ever just sit and think about how much you love Toph Beifong? If not, you can't have met this tiny, fierce, metalbending badass. Remedy that.

Sophie Hatter from HOWL'S MOVING CASTLE by Diana Wynne Jones - Sophie is practical and capable and grumpy and loving and super-duper good at her own brand of magic. I need her in my life.

Howl Jenkins/Pendragon from HOWL'S MOVING CASTLE by Diana Wynne Jones - Howl is a heartless jackass. He's pretty great.

Calcifer from HOWL'S MOVING CASTLE by Diana Wynne Jones - I am biased towards people who are made entirely of fire.

Malta Vestrit from Robin Hobb's Liveship Traders series - Malta is selfish, entitled, and disinclined to listen to anyone who tells her what to do, and she learns to harness all that into a great big pile of awesome. I hated her at first. She's now on the (Highly Exclusive) List.

Xas from THE VINTNER'S LUCK and THE ANGEL'S CUT by Elizabeth Knox - I don't even have the energy to tell y'all why I love Xas so much. Please excuse me while I go cry in a corner.

Dodge from LOCKE & KEY by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez - Dodge is a terrible, horrible person, and the thing we learn in the series' penultimate volume will haunt me forever.

Cress from CRESS by Marissa Meyer - she's super capable, and also super cute. I want to give her a hug, if she'd be okay with that.

Everyone from SAGA by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples - don't make me separate 'em all out. There's a ton of characters, and they're all fabulous, and we'll be here forever if I talk about 'em indivdually. They're fallible; they're brave; they do dorky things; they tell great stories; they fight for what they want; they love deeply. I'm so glad I have them in my life. Even the bad guys.

Mat Cauthon from The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan - Mat was a charter member of the (Highly Exclusive) List. He was also my first jackass, and the first character I initially hated but later came to love. To be honest, I wasn't expecting much from him during my WoT reread, but he won me back pretty well the moment he became a POV character. I kind of wish the whole series was just The Adventures of Mat.

Bee Farseer from FOOL'S ASSASSIN by Robin Hobb - I love a well-written small child. Bee is very, very smart, but she's also demonstrably a kid. Hobb nails that blend of intelligence and limited practical experience.

Flora McLeod from THE ANGEL'S CUT by Elizabeth Knox - same justification as Xas.

Clint Barton from HAWKEYE by Matt Fraction and David Aja et al - Clint is so very bad at anything that doesn't involve shooting arrows at stuff (and/or people), but I think a big part of it is that he expects himself to be so very bad at anything that doesn't involve shooting arrows at stuff (and/or people). You know?

Kate Bishop from HAWKEYE by Matt Fraction and David Aja et al, plus YOUNG AVENGERS by Allan Heinberg and Jim Cheung et al - *ugly crying over the the limitless perfection that earned Kate Bishop a near-instant spot on the (Highly Exclusive) List*

Lucky/Pizza Dog from HAWKEYE by Matt Fraction and David Aja et al - Pizza Dog is the second best animal companion in comics, after SAGA's Lying Cat. He is a wonder and a delight and all right-thinking people love him.

Nora Sutherlin/Eleanor Schreiber from THE SAINT by Tiffany Reisz - Nora is fierce and awesome and determined to go after what she wants, and she'll help you get what you want while she's at it because walking all over people does nobody any good and Nora super-duper understands that.

Richard Rider/Nova from NOVA and related works, mostly by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning et al - Nova's in an impossible situation, but he still does his damnedest to help anyone who might possibly need him because hey, that's his job, and who the hell else is gonna do it? (No one, that's who, because everyone else is dead.) And he does it while bantering with the disapproving AI that lives inside his head.

Oy, did this list ever get long. How 'bout we call it a day and pick up again tomorrow with 28 more awesome literary characters?


  1. Fitz! The Fool! My plan was to visit with them again last year because I planned to get her new book for Christmas... But, all that happened was I started visiting with them and bought her new book for Christmas. I would love to accomplish it this year, though. One year in the bookcloseout days I got her books written under her other pen name. I have to read them, too!

    1. I've got most of them in my Secret TBR. I'm saving them for that magical day when la TBR is no more and I can read whatever the hell I want to read without feeling guilty.

  2. Ahhh everyone in Howl's Moving Castle is the best. And that is pretty much true of all of Diana Wynne Jones's books. CALCIFER. I like it the best when Calcifer makes the castle go fast to escape from the scarecrow because it's frightening Sophie. Oh, except, actually, I like it the best after that happens and Howl gets really worried for Calcifer.