Wednesday, May 30, 2012

"Until you've lost your reputation, you never realize what a burden it was or what freedom really is." - Rhett Butler

500 pages into Gone with the Wind, and Rhett Butler is well on his way to becoming my all-time favorite literary character.  Not because he's handsome and charming and smart, while also being the epitome of Southern bad-boy (though all these things help), but because he's entertaining.  Every scene in which he partakes in dialogue, I end up laughing out loud.  His blunt, sarcastic comments keep me turning pages way faster than any of Scarlett O'Hara's wild whims.

But, I'm not so sure if he's earned the title of favorite character.  I can hardly choose a favorite book; selecting a favorite character is ten times harder.  Still, I have a list (though they're not ranked in any particular order), and Rhett has now joined the ranks of:

  • Dr. Livesey, the cool-headed, doctor who's kind yet still badass enough to fight pirates in one of my favorites,  Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson.
  • Javert, the inspector who devotes his life to arresting Jean Valjean, but eventually has a change of heart, in Les Miserables, by Victor Hugo.
  • Uncas, literally the last of the Mohicans, in James Fenimore Cooper's The Last of the Mohicans.  He doesn't talk much, but his daring deeds to rescue the damsel-in-distress speak for themselves.
  • Severus Snape and Sirius Black, both bad-but-actually-good wizards of J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series.  Pretty self-explanatory.
  • Elizabeth Bennett.  Again, self-explanatory.  Strong despite hardships, smart and tactful, with a good heart.  The famous heroine of Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen.
  • Jay Gatsby, the wealthy former bootlegger of F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby.  To be played by Leonardo di Caprio in the upcoming movie (SO EXCITED).
  • Colonel Aureliano Buendía, the amateur alchemist-slash-war hero of Gabriel García Márquez's A Hundred Years of Solitude, who somehow manages to appear in practically every one of Márqeuz's works.
And plenty more who have earned my favor -- which I don't bestow lightly upon literary characters.  Several months after finishing the books, I'm still debating whether to give the honor to The Hunger Games's Haymitch Abernathy.  I like him--I like him a lot (especially when played by Woody Harrelson)--but I'm not sure if he has earned his way onto THE LIST.

What about you?  Who are your favorite characters of all time?

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