I probably should have done my favorite fairy tales to go with the theme of the month but, honestly, I’m already getting sick of fairy tales retold. So my favorite heroes won and shall be listed below. What makes a great hero for me is not necessarily an epic storyline and a shining, pure character. Some “heroes” I just love because they’re first class dicks. And others may not have done any great deeds, never slain a dragon nor held a gun, but they’re all heroes in my eyes because the authors made me care about them. There’ll be an extra Top Ten Tuesday for my favorite heroines, never you worry.
TOP TEN FAVORITE HEROES:
I can’t even say why, but I immediately developed a crush on the president of the universe when I first read the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Arthur Dent is all nice and grounded but Zaphod has just the right amount of insanity and humor to take me to my happy place. I also quite liked him in the original radio plays and will always hear the description of a pan-galactic gargle blaster in his voice.
Ayn Rand’s philosophy may be extreme and not exactly up my alley, but she does write compelling characters. Roarke is this utterly unbreakable person who exudes strength and talent. That is something to look up to. Oh, and the sexier scenes in The Fountainhead were also quite nice.
The Austrian detective Brenner is a cynical, sometimes confused and yet awesome hero. Wolf Haas’ books are funny and suspenseful at the same time, all while capturing that Austrian spirit and making his novels sound like somebody is telling them to you over the table at your local bar. I’ve read all seven Brenner-novels with huge enjoyment. And I don’t even like crime fiction…
I know, I know. Wuthering Heights is not fantasy or science fiction, but come on! Heathcliff is getting a lot of shit for turning into a major asshole. But I’ve always preferred the first half of the novel to the second and cared more about Heathcliff than any other chracter. My love for tragic storylines and heroes who get bashed left, right, and center may have something to do with it, but I am definitely pro Heathcliff. Oh, and I also love the version of him in Jasper Ffordes Thursday Next books.
Rarely have I been touched by a character as much as I have by Owen Meany. John Irving’s protagonist, Johnny Wheelwright, left me strangely uncaring but Owen… oh, Owen has stolen my heart and played basketball with it. I still feel a sad tug at my heart whenever I think of the novel. And since the moment I finished reading it, I wanted to pick it back up and start all over, just to get a little more time with Owen.
I first read Pride and Prejudice when i was 18 and it opened a whole new world to me. I have since turned into a Jane Austen addict and while it’s a close call between him and Mr. Knightley, Mr. Darcy will always be on a sort of pedestal. Anyone who hasn’t made it to that letter in the middle of the book should start over and read it. I can imagine that the 19th century would have been a lot more bearable for women with men like Darcy around.
Not only did Ender’s Game blow my mind but it’s sequel, Speaker for the Dead, was equally as good. Ender as a character felt very strong to me and at the same time I kept feeling the urge to hug him, especially when he was still a kid. Apart from being a child genius, it is his strength and character growth that appeal to me. I just want Ender to be happy. How’s that for caring about fictional characters?
I grew up with him, what more can I say. He was a great protagonist at first and is now an iconic figure for my whole generation. True, without Ron and Hermione, Harry wouldn’t have made it for very long but it is the dynamic of their friendship as much as Harry’s personality itself, that drew me into these stories. I am re-reading the whole series right now and it’s fascinating that I find wonderful things in them, no matter what age I am.
I keep mentioning these books everywhere. In my favorite tearjerkers, my favorite cover art, my favorite fantasy series. Well, I do that for a reason. Because Robin Hobb managed to hit top marks on all the things that are important to me in a great book. Fitz starts out as a little boy without even a name and turns royal assassin, user of magic, and almost by accident, savior of the Six Duchies. His character development is stunning and while he is a tragic hero, I rejoice for every moment of happiness he gets.
Do I really have to say anything to qualify this choice? Didn’t think so.