No movie/TV show characters are on this list, because I’ve done previous lists of ‘ten favorite screen characters’ before and books are GOLD and I have so many literary favorites.
Also, I’ll be writing a list of my favorite fictional girls/women. So stay tuned!
1. Dan Kean (Little Men & Jo’s Boys by Louisa May Alcott) – There are some characters that legitimately feel like real life, flesh and blood people, and Dan is one of them. His character growth and development – from a surly, ungrateful boy to a brave man who’s not afraid to admit to and learn from his mistakes – makes me so happy. He seems somewhat apart from the other, quieter characters in Little Men and Jo’s Boys and I believe he’s my favorite fictional character of all time.
2. Ender Wiggin (Ender’s Game & all the Enderverse by Orson Scott Card) – Ender makes my heart hurt. His struggles, doubts, fears, courage, weariness…and the fact that he simply is touch me in a special way. He’s not a hero in the traditional sense, but his compassion makes him heroic even when he himself would deny it. ‘Ender’s Game’, the movie, is a pallid adaption of the book, but at least Asa Butterfield did an excellent job portraying Ender.
3. Colonel Brandon (Sense & Sensibility by Jane Austen) – I admit that my love for Colonel Brandon probably has more to do with Colonel Brandon’s Diary (by Amanda Grange) and Alan Rickman’s performance in the 1995 movie, but still. He and Mr. Knightley are basically tied for favorite Jane Austen hero. He fights a duel, he watches over Marianne (NOT in a creepy way, mind you), he’s a good friend to all the Dashwoods (I especially love his friendship with Elinor), and he gets the girl in the end (most deservedly so). *happy sigh*
4. Ponyboy Curtis (The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton) – It’s rare that I like a main characters as much as I like Ponyboy, but his narration is so honest and real and vivid that I can’t help but fall a little in love with him. (I’m still not sure he’s my absolute favorite character in the novel, but very close anyway.) Ponyboy struggles to understand the world and refuses to let his bad experiences decide who he’ll become. There are so many times that I just want to reach through the book and give him and Johnny alllll the hugs. One of my favorite Ponyboy moments is when he picks up the broken glass in the parking lot because that’s just…yes. That’s who he is.
5. Peeta Mellark (The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins) – Who doesn’t love Peeta? Or, at the very least, appreciate him and his goodness and devotion. It can’t have been easy to love Katniss all the time, as prickly as she is, but Peeta remained faithful through so many horrific circumstances and it was all worth it in the end. But even without his relationship to Katniss, Peeta is still very much his own character. I wonder what his family was like (aside from the glimpses we get of Mr. and Mrs. Mellark). Peeta’s wish to become more than a piece in the Gamemakers’ hands originally has some disastrous results, but he never gives up on that ideal and it’s inspiring.
6. Konrad Reichmann (Songs in the Night trilogy by Jack Cavanaugh) – Perhaps the least familiar name on this list, Konrad is nevertheless a hero worth knowing. Brainwashed into Hitler’s youth movement – and, after that, the German army – Konrad resists the truth at first, but after talks with his pastor and the death of his best friend, he quickly comes to realize the futility of the Nazi movement and becomes a protector instead of a fighter (though he still does fight occasionally). Konrad stays true to his moral code through the dark days of WWII and the East German regime, which is amazing. He’s one of my favorite Jack Cavanaugh characters ever.
7. Atticus Finch (To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee) – Speaking of staying true to one’s moral code… Okay, so, I don’t really view Go Set a Watchman as canon because it was a first draft and characters can change so much between first draft and finished book. And Atticus in TKAM is basically a no-words-can-fully-explain-how-truly-great-this-character-is character. One of the only fictional characters who has been truly influential in my own life, making me strive to maintain my integrity and treat others with more understanding and kindness.
8. Sydney Carton (A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens) – Sydney is a little hard to categorize and he’s really not a role model, but he’s still one of my favorite fictional characters of all time. And not just because of his final sacrifice, though that is a big part of it. The way he apologizes to Charles and is best friends with little Lucie and watches over both mother and child so carefully and determinedly…makes me cry and smile.
9. Jest (Heartless by Marissa Meyer) – I WILL NEVER GET OVER JEST. He’s one of those characters (and Meyer certainly has a way with creating them) who gets under your skin and then into your heart and never really leaves. At first glance, he seems like a silly (though intriguing) court joker. But, really, he’s Quite Important in Chess, as well as being smart and charming and kind and loyal. I’ve heard people criticize Cath’s insta-love for him but, really, can you blame the girl? AND THEN HE DIED AND IT WAS STUPIDLY HORRIBLE. But I still can’t think of him as dead (especially not in such a dreadful way). He was too alive when he was alive. If that makes any sense.
10. Howard (Underland Chronicles by Suzanne Collins) – Every time I re-read the Underland Chronicles, I’m more and more impressed with Howard. When you first meet him, you think he’s a bit of a jerk (but only because Gregor thinks that), but he proves himself time and time again throughout the series. Howard isn’t without his faults – being willing to watch Twitchtip drown is a big example – but he freely owns up to his mistakes and apologizes for them. Plus, he’s incredibly compassionate. Plus, he’s a doctor. Plus, he’s just plain awesome. Quite possibly my favorite character in the series, though it is a pretty tough call.
There you have it! Ten of my favorite fictional heroes. Do you spot any favorites on this list? Who are some of your favorite fictional guys?