Top Five Characters That Would Be On My Syllabus If I Taught Character Development 101

23:02 Cilla P 6 Comments

Top Ten Tuesday is an original meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. Click here for information.
To me, characters are the most important part of a story. I want to read about growth and change, and characters with layers to them. These are the books that I would refer to if anyone asks me about great characters:

1. Queen Levana - Fairest by Marissa Meyer. From the beginning of the series, Queen Levana has been painted as a menacing villain. Her ruthlessness is subtle, there's a touch of mystery to her that speaks of great power, and she's intelligent. In short, she's scary. Then Fairest came along, and we learn about her - the family she's been raised in, the way her logic works, and her desperation for love - and then she's not just a villain. I sympathized with her and understood why she turned out the way she did, and yet I didn't quite forget the fact that she's made choices that caused pain to a lot of people. In my opinion, that's quite a feat to pull off and something a lot of authors should aim to do when creating a villain.


2. Josef Weber - The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult. Josef is everyone's favourite retired teacher and coach, a pillar of society. Then he confesses that he was a Nazi SS guard. Trying to reconcile this image of a frail, beloved old man with someone who has done some heinous crime was a struggle, but that was the point. Josef's character was difficult to understand, and I flip-flopped between being appalled at his past and sympathetic of his atonement. Then just when I thought I understood him, Picoult dropped a twist at the end that made me question everything about Josef all over again.

3. Severus Snape - Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling. I don't love Snape as a person. To me, his devotion to Lily is not necessarily what I'd call true love, and he's an awful teacher. Still, I can appreciate how complex he is as a character. He's not a hero, but the things he does require a lot of bravery. He had a terrible childhood and was bullied throughout Hogwarts, so I could understand why he'd be drawn to Death Eaters and the promise of power. Does that excuse the reflex with which he threw what's basically a racial slur at his best friend? I'm not sure.

4. Cassie - Animorphs by K.A. Applegate. So the Animorphs series goes up and down in terms of quality, but at its better points, the characters are put through difficult questions that test and reveal their true colours. Cassie's development, in particular, has always been interesting to follow. Here is this pacifist who's always saving injured animals, stuck in a war, making decisions about how to best eliminate her enemies. Reading her struggle with her idealism and how she adapts to making morally gray calls is often really compelling.

5. Emma Morley - One Day by David Nicholls. So this one may be on this list purely because of my emotional connection to her, but that's a mark of a solid character, isn't it? She flourished in university and graduated brimming with potentials, only to face struggle after struggle as an adult. She doesn't deal with those disappointments well, but she picks herself up in the end. In short, Emma feels so real, it's almost painful to read sometimes.

6 comments:

  1. I loved that you mentioned Snape and Queen Levana.

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    1. They're such great characters, I couldn't leave them out. :D Thanks for stopping by!

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  2. I love your focus on characters on your syllabus! I just finished Cinder and loved it! I need to read the rest of the series now. And I totally agree about Severus Snape--one of most intriguing characters in the series for his complexity.

    Check out my TTT: https://greenishbookshelf.wordpress.com/2015/08/25/top-10-tuesday-books-on-my-syllabus-if-i-taught-classic-british-lit-101/

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    1. Thank you! I definitely recommend finishing Lunar Chronicles - it's an amazing series. I shall go check out your TTT now :D

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  3. Oh my gosh, Snape! Wow, perfect choice. I also loved One Day and I agree with you, I think what makes Emma so great is that she is such a real person. Love your list! I never would've thought of such a great topic. You can check out my TTT as well, if you'd like!

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    1. Ohh another One Day fan! *highfives* Thank you for stopping by - I'm going to check out your TTT now! :D

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