I was recently tagged on a blog hop (see said “call out” here), and it immediately got me thinking. So, I quickly jotted down characters that I loved from books, movies, and televisions; and I made notes and I brainstormed, and then I started to notice certain…uh, patterns. Which, me being me, I desperately want to talk about and analyze and pore over…. And, since this is my blog and I get to indulge my whims here, I will analyze the $#*%*#( out of this. But first, the characters (in no particulate order):
1. James Alexander Malcolm MacKenzie Fraser
This one is a no-brainer. I have already waxed poetic about my character crush on Himself. He is loyal and honorable. He is also incredibly funny. (Funny is the new sexy.) And, as he is quick to point out, he is an “educated man.” (Smart is the new funny.) He accepts those he loves and does not try to change them. (See, that’s more of his smarts right there!) He can be heartbreakingly romantic and also fiercely pragmatic. While Laoghaire may need to be needed, I am a sucker for someone who can think for himself, who can DO for himself, who can cope just fine without me…but who simply prefers to cope with things with me by his side.
2. Claire Elizabeth Beauchamp Randall Fraser
If ever I had a girl crush, it was certainly on Claire. Claire is just as able-bodied, just as stubborn, and just as “take life as it comes” as Jamie. They are a good match. Maybe that is why I tend to like her more when she is with Jamie. I like what he brings out in her. When Claire is with Frank, she is not as…as…well, as guess not as Claire as she is when she is with Jamie. Frank’s Claire tolerates his infidelity. Jamie’s Claire nearly tears him to pieces when she finds out about his by-then-defunct-relationship with Laoghaire. Perhaps Frank’s Claire cared enough to be hurt, to be angry, but not enough to unleash fury. (And certainly not enough to fight to try to get Frank back.) Also, while some decry Claire’s decision to leave Brianna as some lack of maternal warmth, I see plenty of evidence of Claire being prime Mom Material. Like many a mom before her, Claire set aside her own needs, desires, and happiness until it would be less problematic for those before her. While she does not belabor how much she misses Bree once she returns to Jamie, we do see it nag at her like a festering wound. We also see her maternal side in how she treats the family that Jamie constructs for them over the years: Fergus, Young Ian, even Marsali, and William become part of their brood. Heck, Claire becomes a mother figure to the better part of Fraser’s Ridge’s occupants. And the woman STILL has time to doctor the fine folk around her and bed Jamie (both full time jobs, right there!).
3. Murtagh Fitzgibbons Fraser
And finishing out the Outlander Trifecta is Murtagh. I have a soft spot for this wee canty man. His loyalty to both Ellen and her offspring makes me weak in the knees. His devotion knows no bounds. He is perfectly aware that his loyalty may well be the death of him, yet he does not flinch in the face of his own mortality. He has the voice of an angel, the soul of a poet, and the kind of unflagging fidelity that makes me kind of love him, for all of his snarly and snarky ways.
4. Ragnar Lothbrok
While my love of highlanders is well known, I also love me some Vikings. It’s true. I have a thing for norsemen. So, besides Outlander, Vikings is another one of my guilty pleasures. Ragnar has a certain cocky confidence that might be off putting if not balanced by his own strange brand of innocence and honor. Ok, ok, before you start pointing out that Ragnar got that annoying Princess I See Strange Stuff knocked up when he was married to Lagertha, let me remind you that there are different kinds of honor. Whatever his spousal shortcomings, Ragnar is a leader and, as such, he has certain responsibilities to his people. Among his people, there is Floki, who is kinda crazy but–when he isn’t creeping me out and making me wonder if he is going to kill Ragnar’s son or betray Ragnar—he grows on you. And there is Athestan, the priest/pagan whom Ragnar elevates from slave to second-brother. Despite their failed marriage, Lagertha doesn’t hold a grudge…and maybe that is part of the reason why I don’t, begrudge him his Poor Choice in Other Women either. While I long ago gave up on chasing the bad-boy-with-a-heart-of-gold, I can still appreciate him from afar. Far, far, afar please.
5. Lagertha Lothbrok
I have nothing but respect for a woman who knows when to fight and when to cut her loses. This shield maiden stands shoulder to shoulder with Ragnar Lothbrok. She has mad fighting skills, is cunning and loyal, but when faced with a freckled adversary with a baby bump offering to share her husband, the lady has enough self-respect and class to move on. No bitch fight, no drama. Even better—after she leaves, she doesn’t stoop to trying to indoctrinate their son with hate. She doesn’t resort to snide comments or the airing of dirty laundry. No. Lagertha tells their son that he should be proud. After all, he is the son of Ragnar Lothbrok. Even betterer (yes, I know that’s not a word, again, my blog my rules) when Ragnar has need of assistance, Lagertha comes to his aid. Not in a “Oh, maybe I can get him back” kind of way, and not in a “Dude, you friggin’ owe me, now!” kind of way, but in the way of a friend who has your back. That’s some Real Woman is what that is.
6. Molly Weasley
My favorite literary mom may well be Molly Weasley. (Yes, I said literary mom. While I like the Movie Molly just fine, you have to admit that she lacks the layers and complexity of Book Molly. Book Molly sings sentimental songs. Book Molly gets in catty arguments with Sirius. Book Molly is Arthur’s “Molly Wobbles.” Va-va-voom.) She may be a mom, but she still has what it takes to rock Mr. Weasley’s world. She deals with the stress of raising a family, and having money troubles, and wanting her husband to be fulfilled even if his chosen profession means they buy second hand books. She understands people. And herself. Molly Weasley yells. Oh, Lord how she yells. And she has been known to utter a profanity, when the situation calls for it. (Not my daughter, you bitch!) Yep, this is a character I can identify with!
7. Ron Weasley
Speaking of Weasleys, let’s not forget Ron. You know: Harry’s Best Friend…Hermione’s Foil and Future Husband…One of the Many Weasleys. It seems that poor Ron is frequently identified only by his relation to others. Geez. No wonder the poor guy got a bit irked back in Book Five. Who wouldn’t get a bit annoyed always been the cool kid’s red-headed sidekick? In fact, we learn the depth of his insecurities in Deathly Hallows. Did Hermione actually prefer Harry? Merlin’s Trousers! Did his own mother prefer Harry? And yet, he stayed. Erm, or at least he always came back. And in the face of fear, insecurity, inadequacy, and jealousy, it says a lot about someone that they can fight those demons and still love the person who (however innocently…however unintentionally) spawned them. Yep, I am a sucker for the tortured soul.
8. Rick Grimes
[Disclaimer: I have not yet read the graphic novels, so the Rick Grimes referenced herein refers only to the television Rick.] I think that Rick made this list in large part because he grows into his roll. Sure he was Sheriff Grimes long before he was That Bad Ass Guy Who Keeps the Walkers at Bay, but he was also soft in the way that First World Characters get to be. When he finally wakes up (both literally and metaphorically) the world has gone to hell and he has to either become an avenging angel or succumb to the flames. Sure, there are some dark times in the series, and more than once he might have gotten a wing singed but, when push comes to shove, the dude BRINGS the avenging angel. He is a filthy, bearded, bad-ass avenger. And he does it all with little Judith perched on his hip.
9. Arya Stark
There are not enough words for Arya Stark. She is the heroine that all literature that came before A Song of Fire and Ice was lacking. She is young, but with an old soul. She is a Lady, but with a warrior’s mind. She learns. She adapts. She calculates. She. Does. Not. Succumb. There is no time for fretting or fawning or flailing or any of those other Perfectly Ladylike responses to high drama. The girl KNOWS winter is coming. She feels it. She (perhaps unknowingly) starts to prepare for it. Screw embroidery, give me a sword. While I love dragons, and I have a soft spot for dwarves, my money is on the girl.
Yes. I know there is no such person as Cathcliff. But I decided that I wanted to give some props to Wuthering Heights (partly because I love it, and partly because this list was a little pop-culture heavy and needed a little Lit Love). Now, before you complain that Cathy and Heathcliff can’t both be on this list because there is not enough room, hear me out. I contend that, if you stop and think about it, Cathy and Heathcliff are really two parts of a whole. Even, Cathy said so. *dramatic pause* I am Heathcliff. *even more dramatic music* Their love is the love of my seventeen year old self. It’s the kind of love where everything is Just. So. Dramatic. Their relationship is Oh. So. Complicated. There is no wonder that I loved this book back in high school. Heathcliff felt angry, unworthy, misunderstood, and inadequate. And whatever Cathy really felt, she was too caught up in what people thought. So much jealousy. So much revenge. So much windswept moors. You get the picture. My seventeen year old self was a bit like Cathy, and by God I was looking for my Heathcliff. Thankfully not every wish is granted. Eventually I learned that Heathcliffs are not my thing.
Ok, so if Heathcliff doesn’t quite do it for me anymore, then what does? Well, when I was driving to work this morning and thinking about which characters I wanted to write about, it hit me. Oh, my God, I have a “character type.” I am clearly drawn to certain types of characters. Fortunately, “my type” has changed over the years. I have veered away from Bad Boys and now seek out the Laird, the Protector, and the Leader. I also have a soft spot for the Loyal Friend, the Devoted Mother, and the Oath Keeper.
While the seventeen year old me would definitely have chosen Draco Malfoy, the forty-two year old me chooses Ron Weasley. And while my-seventeen-year-old-soul yearned for my own personal Heathcliff, I now realize that there is more to life, or the afterlife for that matter, than haunting the moors. So, in this story of my life, please God, make me a shield maiden, or a protective mother, or a healer. But, for the love of all that is holy, make me strong.
Check out the other bloggers who were called out to name their favorite characters:
Vintage Chick/Melissa, http://melissasobservations.wordpress.com
Richard B, @OutmanderArtist
Heughliots of AB, http://heughliots.wordpress.com
Jenny Jeffries, http://outrageousoutlander.wordpress.com
And, since I need to throw down the gauntlet and challenge others to explore which characters make the cut, I challenge:
Yes, I know I only tagged three people, but (1) I rarely play by the rules, and (2) I prefer words to numbers (except in my bank statement, then I want ALL the numbers)!
So, my Tagged Ones, for this quick, fun blog hop, you just name your 10 favorite characters from movies or TV, and then tag 10 friends to do the same!