I have read my fair share of books. It would seem like a lot to some people, yet few to others. I love reading, and many books I have read have had me floored by their incredible plots, narrative voices and use of metaphor. One thing which I admire more than anything, however is brilliant character development.
I enjoy raw, gritty characters who think and feel as people really do. They are not 100% heroes, nor are they all bad. They are real characters who are petty, jealous and vengeful, but still good people at heart.
Some of my favourite characters include:
Ron Weasley from the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
Ron is a multi-faceted character. Although he begins the series as a seemingly dim-witted, almost entitled child, he overcomes his base instincts to help his friends. He grows up and becomes a man throughout the novels, realising his own intelligence and admitting his feelings for Hermione. He is a witty character who often does not see what is right in front of him.
Victor Frankenstein from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein
In one of my favourite novels of all time, Victor is an insanely intelligent scientist/doctor, who manages to bring the dead back to life. That’s pretty damn impressive. Now, he may appear cowardly when faced with his creation, but his pursuance of the monster after it kills his wife is rather heroic. You see Victor continuously battle inwardly with himself before deciding that he must never let another mistake like this happen.
Dale ‘Barbie’ Barbara from Under the Dome by Stephen King
Barbie is an excellent character. He is brave and takes care of a town he is stuck in, even though it’s not his own. He allows himself to fall for Julia, and does not question his place in the dome, but gets on with it despite some other characters plotting against him.
Hanny from The Loney by Andrew Michael Hurley
Danny, for me, was a really complex character. Mute from birth, he lives with an almost crazily religious family who involve him in rituals to try to restore his voice. His character’s ending in the novel makes me very happy, as I believe that he did not deserve the hardships from his childhood. He shows a level of intelligence that many children his age do not possess, and the way his brother clearly cares for him makes him still more likeable.
Anne Bainbridge from The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell
Personally, I preferred Anne’s character in Purcell’s novel to her main character Elsie, although it was a toss-up as to which character I would include in this list. I chose Anne because of the pure sense of self I gathered from her, and the way she took charge and tried to defend her mute daughter. She offers an alternative parental character to Hanny’s mother in The Loney, as she cares for her ‘perfect’ mute child.
Clary Fray from the City of Bones series by Cassandra Clare
Clary starts off in this series with a very teenage outlook on the world, which makes her an easy character to relate to for Clare’s target market. Yet, she is also strong and slowly becomes more fearless, taking on both physical and psychological demons. She has an intense history, yet deals with it in style, and does not let her relationships take too much focus.
These are just characters I am listing from the top of my head, and I am sure there are many more that I will wish I had included. Maybe I will start a weekly character review which could be interesting… watch this space!