I’m not entirely sure why, but last night I was thinking about my favourite characters in books- and how much I dislike it when people ask me my favourite anything. It depends so completely on what I am head over heels in love with at any given time! But when I was really thinking about it, I figured that there were some characters that I would exclude from any current list by sheer virtue that they have stuck in my mind for so long since I first read their stories that they are a part of me now. Some stories I remember, but sometimes, the characters name springs to my mind before I can remember the title of their story.
The first time I fell in love, it was with a bushy-haired bookworm who struggled to make friends, who loved her books and fought fiercely for those who believed in her. Her name was Hermione Granger. I was seven. The second time I really feel in love with a character, she was a wild child who disobeyed the rules and journey to the North, lied to ice-bears, and crossed realms. Her name was Lyra Belacqua. I discovered Narnia with Lucy and was so amazed with the world I found there and the sheer determination for doing right.
I loved steady dependable Elinor, keeping all her emotions so tightly under wraps so that she could concentrate on others, her own desires overlooked even by her family. I adored Lizzy Bennett for being opinionated and not letting some man tell her what to do. Beatrice, cynical and overly suspicious of men, completely content in annoying the hell out of everyone around her and not trying to conform to someone else’s ideal. My heart broke for Anne Elliot, and I tripped with Tonks (losing my heart completely to her in the process).
I fought with Lila Bard, learning magic and trust at her side, seeing the magic of the other London’s through her eyes and dancing through the red tinged streets she found there. I chided Emma and understood her as an adult in a way I never could as a child. I saw Alabama through Scout Finch’s eyes. And most recently of all, I feel in love with Juliet Ashton and the peace she found on a channel island, led there by a letter and a book.
To me, at least up until Lila Bard, these were the friends of my childhood. They were dependable and reliable and I could slip into their worlds easier than I could fall asleep (problems of a chronic insomniac) and stay a while. I think it’s amazing what you remember about reading. Most of the time I could tell you the story – of battles lost and won, of worlds beyond what we know, of times gone past – but there aren’t many where I can pull the name, the character, the friend, faster than I can the story.
I feel that characters can become familiar, and they get wrapped up safely in the archives of my mind, ready to be greeted whenever I need them. It sound sentimental when I put it like that, but I have DVDs that get slid into the player when I’m sad, I have books that find their way into my hands before I even know I need them. Stories, and characters, stay with us long after we’ve turned the last page, closed the book and returned it to the library. That’s what I love about reading. It’s more than just letters into words on a page. It’s feeling, connection, linking you across time and space.
What characters made you? Who did you read and love and remember? I can spot a pattern in mine (opinionated women have apparently always been my weakness, good to know it’s not a recent development) but who did you make a bit of room for in the archive?