At some point, you’ve likely read about a fictional character that captivated your heart. Perhaps they were so kind and gentle that you couldn’t help but fall in love, or maybe it was the way you saw yourself in them and their struggles. Whatever your reason, that character meant something to you. They hit a chord that their predecessors hadn’t, and you’ll never forget them. That is the very essence of this post. These are my characters, my game changers.
Lou Clark (Me Before You by Jojo Moyes)
She stole my heart approximately four years ago, and she still won’t give it back! There is something so moving, so incredibly lovable about a woman who is unafraid to be her own bright, kind, feminine self. From her flamboyant clothing to her constant gentle demeanor, even in the toughest of circumstances, Lou is nothing if not inspirational—and I don’t use that term lightly.
In a world of conformity, Lou is entirely her own woman, bending to no one’s will. She is anything but ordinary—yet she never feels the need to point out her uniqueness to anyone, she just is—and she remains a constant reminder that I don’t need to be anyone or anything but myself. And me is enough.
Coriolanus Snow (The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins)
Now, we shall head to the opposite side of the Gentle and Kind Spectrum. So, what draws me to Coryo? The moral ambiguity, for sure. Right off the bat, he’s got this fantastic bit of shadiness going on. Throughout the entire story, I could never place him as solely “good” or “bad,” which is a practice that should be employed a little more in real life, if you ask me.
Honestly, every few pages, I would think “oh, what a sweetheart” and then a couple later, “I trusted you—how could you?” That alone made for one of the most interesting reading experiences I’ve ever encountered. Despite finishing this book about a month ago, I still question whether I actually love him, or if my feelings are so confused that I merely think I love him to avoid further confusion.
Hercule Poirot (Hercule Poirot Series by Agatha Christie)
Step aside, Sherlock Holmes, there’s a new detective in town. (I’m kidding! I love them both.) Maybe I just have a certain bias toward peculiar men who solve mysteries, but Poirot has the same sort of effect on me as Holmes—with his intelligence, semi-cockiness, and all-around likability. He’s basically a more personable Holmes.
Despite the similarities though, I must note he does not at all feel like a carbon copy when I read the books. There is no one—I repeat, no one—I would trust more with my case than this man.
Violet Baudelaire (A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket)
Violet Baudelaire is a revolution in the female character construct. Essentially acting as the caregiver for her younger brother and sister, she endures hardship after hardship, but keeps her head up, knowing she must continue fighting to protect herself and her family. This may be one of those cases where I see some of her in me as I, too, would create a sketchy DIY grappling hook to retrieve my sister from a tower.
Speaking of which, one of Violet’s main talents is her ability to invent almost anything she sets her mind to. That’s right. She’s caring, and intelligent, and kind, and inventive. I know the series is written in an ironic, satirical light, but Violet is truly a character to remember. She gets my seal of approval!
Gurney Halleck (Dune by Frank Herbert)
When beginning a book, I usually have preconceived notions of what a character will be like. And, excluding the few outliers, I’m usually spot-on. Then, every once in a while, a character jumps so far out of my expectations that I don’t quite know how to react.
For example, when I started Dune, I found out Halleck was the main character’s weapons teacher. So, of course, I formed a general “tough guy” picture in my mind, no doubt enhanced by the choice of Josh Brolin to portray him in the upcoming film. (Quite frankly, I already liked the version I’d created in my head.) In one scene, he demonstrates how to use a knife in a fight—blah, blah, blah—and then suddenly, a scene or two later, he whips out a baliset and starts singing. If that sounds strange to you, I hear you. If that sounds strange and fantastic to you, we’re in the same boat.
Who would you add to your list of characters everyone needs in their life? Leave a comment and let me know.