Apologies for neglecting this blog so soon after starting it! Real life became excessively hectic, but I’m going to try to get back in the groove now!
Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly series hosted by Broke and the Bookish. This is my first time participating, and I’m really excited about the topic! While it was difficult to narrow down my choices, I’m fairly satisfied with the results.
10.) Dolores Umbridge (Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling)
Umbridge might be a foul excuse for a human being, but all the reasons we hate her are are the same reasons that make her an absolutely amazing character. In my opinion, Umbridge was the strongest villain in the HP series. Voldemort never truly frightened me, probably because he’s such an stereotypical fantasy antagonist. But Umbridge was 100% real. She reminds us that evil doesn’t always wear black clocks and masks. Sometimes – a LOT of times – they wear pink and drink sweet tea and cover their offices with pictures of adorable kittens. Prejudice, racism, closed-mindedness…this is how evil subtly invades our lives. Umbridge is one of the most frighteningly real villains of all time, and that makes her a fabulous character.
9.) Andrina Adamo (The Drina Ballerina series by Jean Estoril)
I doubt any of you have ever heard of this series (and if you have, PLEASE tell me so I can finally have someone to fangirl with!) It’s a children’s series of 11 books about a young girl named Drina who fights her way toward becoming a professional ballet dancer. This may sound like a million other “dancing” series, but it’s SO much more than that. Drina was the first book character to ever truly impact my life. She had an inner strength and amazing character that just resonated with me, even at such a young age. Drina battles tooth and nail for her career, against the express wishes of her grandmother, who wants nothing to do with the dancing world for reasons that soon become apparent to Drina. The main reason I adore Drina is because she is very, very much like me in terms of being over-emotional and allowing herself to be carried away by her feelings. She often finds things so intensely beautiful that ithurts, which is so like me. Instead of allowing this to make her weak, she channels her feelings into her dancing, allowing her to become intensely connected with her roles. She just sees the world so vividly and allows herself to love every moment of being alive. It’s amazing to read.
8.) Dorothy Gale (The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum)
Dorothy captured me from the first moment I met her, which was admittedly when I first saw the film adaptation. Her innocence, her imagination, and her kindness all made me just want to hug her and be her friend. When I read the book, I connected with her even more. I felt she came across as a bit younger than in the movie, and that only increased her charm. Dorothy rises to every challenge given her, and she does so seemingly without worry that she’ll fail. Of course, what truly makes me fond of her is her eternal desire to return home, despite her fantastic new surroundings, because she knows it’s where she ultimately belongs.
7.) Erik (The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux)
“Phans” of the PotO musical will no doubt find the original novel a bit of a shock, as I did when I first read it in high school, but it only intensified my love for this character. In the book, the Phantom – Erik – is fleshed out and given a past. He definitely comes across as crueler and more ruthless, no doubt due to the horrible torture he endured. At the same time, this makes him seem more human and less of a true phantom. And as Christine appears even more empty-headed than she does in the musical, Erik’s intense devotion to her is even more pitiable.
6.) Katie Scarlett O’Hara (Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell)
I know many people who believe Scarlett is a selfish woman who cares only for her own happiness, but I always come away from this book with nothing but admiration and sympathy for her. Born to privilege and made to believe she could – and should – have anything and everything wanted, Scarlett grows to be a strong, self-sufficient woman who does whatever it takes to survive and protect her home. She covets Ashley, and yet she risks her own safety to protect Melanie and her deliver her baby safely. She steals her sister’s lover and marries him, but only to ensure she has money to keep her home safe. She’s arrogant and defiant, yet not too proud to wear a dress made out of velvet drapes. Scarlett is a survivor, and for that she has my utmost respect.
5.) Luna Lovegood (Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling)
Yes, yes, I know I already used an HP character, but it’s not MY fault JKR is so awesome!
Luna is amazing on so many levels, but most of them come down to two factors. The first is that she has an absolutely open mind. Nothing is impossible for Luna. Just because something can’t be proven doesn’t mean it’s false. She’ll believe anything you tell her, and while this definitely smacks of naivete, it’s also an incredible gift. Luna never feels closed in or tied down. If she can’t go forward or back, she’ll simply move diagonally. The second factor is that Luna is always completely, 100% herself. She never tries to conform, she never lies, she never feels the need to hide her opinions or beliefs. She is who she is, and that’s the end of it. That kind of personality is simply beautiful to me, and I envy it terribly.
4.) Alice (Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll)
Ah, Alice. I’ve met very few people in my life who *don’t* love this little girl, and I very glad of it. I think what originally struck me about Alice was her overall reaction to Wonderland. She tries so hard to remain logical in the face of pure nonsense, which is terribly ironic because in the real world, SHE would be the one considered illogical. She’s nothing like what a proper lady of her rank should be, and she has no desire to conform to society’s expectations. But when faced with a world where NO ONE conforms, she finds that a little sense here and there goes a long way. In the end, she returns to the real world wiser and more intelligent, but also with a glint of madness that never truly fades away.
3.) Anne Shirley (Anne of Green Gabbles by L.M. Montgomery)
Whenever I’m asked which literary character I think I most resemble, at least in terms of personality, I always pick Anne. We’re both writers, dreamers and idealists. We both love to escape into fantasy worlds with dark, brooding men and strong, independent women. We both value our imaginations dearly. We both married men we met in school with the name Gilbert ❤ I also love Anne for her inner strength, for surviving a childhood bouncing back and forth between orphanages and horrible homes, all the while keeping her fiery spirit and dreams of a better future intact. She’s a red-haired warrior with pen, ink and imagination as weapons, and I adore her for that.
2.) Beauty (Beauty and the Beast)
I’m not specifying a specific version of this tale, because I’ve honestly never read one where I didn’t fall in love with the portrayal of the “Beauty” character. Her personality is always a combination of bookishness and bravery. She’s generally an intelligent young woman who loves her father dearly and is both rather dreamy but also startlingly down to Earth. Despite her fears, she always agrees to take the place of her father, often believing she is trading her own life for his. She turns a dark castle into a home, tames a wild beast, and unravels a curse all while remaining true to herself and her beliefs. Her story is the best way to prove that beauty itself is not skin deep, that personality counts for much, much more than physical looks, and that her name has absolutely nothing to do with her face and everything to do with her bright and shining soul.
1.) Elizabeth Bennet (Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen)
I almost feel like I don’t need to say anything here, because Lizzie’s amazing personality basically speaks for herself. She is brave, witty, vivacious and charming. She refuses to conform to society, turning down not one but TWO perfectly eligible marriage proposals for lack of love, and – with the help of Darcy – she brings Regency snark to a whole new level. She is everything I could possibly want to be, and my admiration for her knows no bounds.
So there you have my favorites. Who are yours?