Friday, February 14, 2014

A Short List of Endlessly Fascinating Characters

Everyone is always pushing for complexity in characters. ("Everyone" being writer/publishing people I see online). Complex characters are good characters. They are good characters because characters should be complex, just like humans.

Sometimes the complexity of certain characters takes a hold of my brain and just won't let go. I cannot stop thinking about the character and their intricacies. I have to analyze everything about them. They are so very real and human to me. They are endlessly fascinating.

These are some characters that I've found (and still find) endlessly fascinating:

1. Draco Malfoy from the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

I find it absolutely fascinating about how Malfoy is not just this great big bully enemy with a capital E. I mean, Harry and co obviously see him that way (especially Harry) but it's easy to see past that. It's easy to see how he's in a very similar position to Harry, but how he's failing. The scene in Half Blood Prince where Draco is crying over the sink gets me every time. He's just a boy with goals and fears and everything just like Harry. See this gifset as well.

2. Massie from the Clique series by Lisi Harrison

Yes I read all the Clique books obsessively; they were/are my guilty pleasure books but CHARACTERS. One of the things I appreciated about the Clique books (and probably the reason I was into them for so long) was how Lisi Harrison really digs into the characters. Massie is the most popular girl and leader of her group of best friends. She's responsible for holding it all together and basically being perfect, or her face goes down the drain. The chapters from her POV were always fascinating - seeing how hard she works to keep up appearances and keep everything together, even when things are falling apart. She does anything to get her way, and sometimes she does give up hope and just wants a friend. Those are her best moments, but even still she insists on returning to keeping up appearances. From anyone on the outside, it's really, really hard to empathize with Massie. For anyone on the inside (the reader), it's almost impossible not to.

3. Dustfinger from Inkheart by Cornelia Funke

Dustfinger sort of just gets caught up in all this stuff with Mo being able to read things into existence completely by accident. I love love how he is not really a bad guy, but not really a good guy either. He has his own interests at heart, and will do anything to do what's best for himself. But he still ends up feeling for other's causes anyway until... well, spoilers. Dustfinger is one of my favourite characters ever and he definitely deserves his own book.

4. Quintana from Froi of the Exiles and Quintana of Charyn by Melina Marchetta

By Simini Blocker!

Quintana is one of the most fascinating characters of all, because she's absolutely horrible. She does not deserve love or acceptance from anyone, and deservedly doesn't get it. She's kind of crazy and you never really understand her. The fact that you never really understand her is part of the fascination of her character. She comes from places that are really hard to understand. By the end of Quintana of Charyn I only began to understand her character. There is so much to her, so much complexity and hurt and... gahh. She's absolutely brilliant.

Which characters fascinate YOU to no end? I'd love to know.


  1. I don't "know" most of these characters except for Draco. :) He always struck me as a very realistic character, similar to those people who I've known in real life who only ever parrot the racist/sexist/whatever views of their parents and are totally smug in their superiority...meanwhile never having had an independent thought of their own. And they don't WANT to. Like Draco, they can be very intelligent in other respects, able to get good grades and whatnot, but they've never thought for themselves or questioned their views at all.

    It's easy to condemn such a character, but JK Rowling went a different way with the whole Malfoy family. Once Draco started thinking for himself, he started panicking because he realized that what he was doing was wrong and that people, including those he loved, would suffer for it. Before, he'd never questioned that. Draco is a fascinating character because he really shows that everyone has the potential to be good or bad, despite their upbringing, and that even bad people have the ability to love. The Malfoys are a pretty despicable family, but they all genuinely love each other. The Malfoys' love for Draco is at least as strong as Harry's parents' was for him.

    I think Draco is intended to be a parallel character to Harry. Like Harry, he's an only child of wealthy parents who adored him. He also ended up in Slytherin, the house that Harry was "supposed" to end up in, and they both play sports. The differences were that Draco was raised by his adoring parents while Harry wasn't, and Harry ended up in Gryffindor (his parents' house, too, though, so there's a parallel there). Draco is a huge pig in the earlier books especially, but the one thing that Harry consistently envies Draco is that he has parents who love him and miss him while he's at school and send him chocolate and letters and stuff from home.

    Narcissa Malfoy is more fascinating to me than Draco, personally. Her name suggests that she only cares about herself, and she's in many ways a selfish person and on the "bad" side, but she has an amazing capacity to love. Like Lily, she also risks her life to defy Voldemort in order to save her kid.

    1. Yes, to all this. I think the entire Malfoy family is fascinating actually, although I don't think Rowling ever shows what Lucius is really like underneath everything. I can't put it into words as eloquently as you, haha, but the thinking never stops with these characters! I love these author's abilities to make complex human characters. :) (Also you should definitely read all of the other books I mentioned, except maybe the Clique series because... well, I liked them in middle school so...)

    2. Haha. :) Another character I really like is Ron. I think he goes through the most development of the trio and is really quite likeable. He's like the heart of the group, not as book-smart as Hermione but more street-smart.


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