Shruthi has gifted me the tag of my dreams! I am to list and describe my ten favorite characters from literature. Can anything be more heartwarming for a book-lover? Without more ado then, but with a ‘If my choices match yours, it just goes to show we both share great taste!’ disclaimer, let me begin.
Mr. Darcy (Pride and Prejudice)
Rhett Butler (Gone with the Wind)
I am pretty sure these two gentleman would feature on most girls’ lists. In both cases the lure is the thrill of taming a wild headstrong man, the goose-pimply moment when he goes all mushy in love… Picture the rakish Rhett Butler murmuring sweet nothings as he comforts Scarlett after a nightmare. Need I say more?
Scarlett O’Hara (Gone with the Wind)
Dare I add Scarlett to this list too? Yes, she is selfish and shallow, but isn’t her strength and childlike enthusiasm and can-do spirit infectious? I cry for her each time I read the last page, when Rhett dismisses her with his famous ‘Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn’ line. And I smile the very next moment when I hear Scarlett say, ‘Tomorrow is another day’!
Sir Percy Blakeney (The Scarlet Pimpernal)
Father Ralph (The Thorn Birds)
These characters are pretty alike too. Love is painful in these stories, it is deep and strong but unrequited. And so very sweet when finally expressed. Who can forget the last scene in ‘The Scarlet Pimpernal’ where Sir Percy tenderly carries his lady aboard his ship, all misunderstandings and distances between them forgotten?
Jennifer Cavilleri (Love Story)
Love is fun here, it is a young, mischievous and bantering love, yet also a deep and abiding love. ‘Love Story’ is one of those magical once-in-a-lifetime stories for me and I especially love Jennifer with her strength and tenderness, her humour and her zest for life.
Mathew and Marilla Cuthbert (Anne of Green Gables)
I am an unabashed romantic, as you can see. But love can be powerful in other forms too, as is seen best in the ‘Anne of Green Gables’ series. The magic of Anne’s innocent childlike love melting Mathew and Marilla’s crusty hearts is a joy to read (and re-read). Why isn’t Anne on this list instead? I do love her, but I think I am partial to Marilla and Mathew for some reason I cannot explain.
Susan Calvin (Isaac Asimov’s robot stories)
A lonely woman very similar to Marilla in many ways, Susan is unable to relate to people and finds solace in work instead. There is no Anne to melt her cold demeanour, but her beloved robots are probably of some consolation. Her sharp tongue, razor-sharp wit and caustic humour make Susan Calvin Asimov’s favorite character and mine too. (I assume she must have been his favorite, considering she appears so often in his robot stories.)
Sir Humphrey Appleby (Yes Minister)
One of the most delicious characters ever. Sharp biting sarcasm, Machiavellian political skills and a hilarious ability to confuse and complicate the simplest of situations – Sir Humphrey Appleby rocks!
Malgudi (R.K. Narayan’s work) / Mussoorie (Ruskin Bond’s work)
And I challenge any of you to prove to me these settings are not the most fascinating characters in Narayan’s or Bond’s stories. So there!
I compared this list with the list of my favorite books I had compiled a while ago and was surprised to find many favorites from the old list missing in this one. The one explanation I came up with is that the story is probably the hero in most of the other books.
Take for example ‘A Suitable Boy’, one of my all-time favorite books. All the characters in this book are interesting, nay fascinating, yet no one character makes me fall in love with him/her… food for a separate post perhaps?