Day 18 – Favorite protagonist
You don’t read much, do you? 🙂
Look, I have lots of favorite characters. Most of them aren’t the protagonist, though. I seem to have a fondness for quirky secondary characters. Still, there are quite a few protagonists I love:
Vlad Taltos (by Steven Brust) is a perennial favorite along with his jhereg familiar Loiosh. Vlad is assassin and a former mafia boss so he shouldn’t be a likable character. Yet, he is. He’s very much the underdog; he lives in a world ruled by the Dragaerans who use a lot of magic. Vlad is human and magic doesn’t come as easily to him. Vlad’s father owned a restaurant and was able to buy noble title for them, a baronet, so he didn’t live in desperate poverty. Yet, he was beaten up by Dragerans for sport. So, it’s understandable that he feels bitter towards them and is trying (or tried before he had to run) take advantage of their system. As far as we know, everyone in his mafia was there because they wanted to be (more or less). He doesn’t kill the powerless or poor. He was also able to rise above his feelings about the Dragerans and befriend a few of them.
Shadow (by Anne Logston) is another criminal type. She’s a thief and later becomes a Mistress of the local Thieves Guild. She’s “happy go lucky” type and not as wounded as Vlad. She’s loyal to her friends and even has sympathy for one assassin. I just feel that almost all elves I’ve read before Shadow were the broody types who didn’t want to ever do anything fun and Shadow is just the opposite of that.
Then there’s Amelia Peabody (by Elizabeth Peters). She’s independent woman who disdains the general attitudes toward women in her own Victorian times. However, she can be appallingly sexist, condescending, and judgmental towards other women which makes her a more three dimensional character. She’s an amateur Egyptologist and investigator who can almost smell criminal activity. She’s one of the rich and powerful so she isn’t an underdog but, lets face it, a poor woman couldn’t be in the same position as Amelia.
Phryne Fisher (by Kerry Greenwood) makes Amelia look almost stodgy. She’s single and enjoys men, loves fast cars and flying. I’ve only listened to the first book in the series but she sounds a very promising character indeed. She also tends to help other women which Amelia doesn’t really do.
Cordelia Naismith (by Lois McMaster Bujold) is the first woman starship captain I ever read about. That was a real eye-opener. She’s a scientist with a dry sense of humor and she has to use both after she abandons her career to settle on the misogynistic planet Barrayar. She’s also fiercely loyal to her friends and family, and once she gets used to her power, she’s rather ruthless with it, working to give other women more choices in life. She’s also a sensible person who tends speak up when other people are being silly or unreasonable.
John Carter (by Edgar Rice Burroughs) of Barsoom. These were perhaps the first SF books I ever read. I love sword-fighting and it was absolutely awesome to have a sword-fight on the red dying planet Mars. John is an archetype of hero: violent to enemies, loyal to friends, and loving to his wife Princess Dejah Thoris. He isn’t really good at lying or skulking around and instead prefers to meet his enemies face to face.
I still haven’t written anything about Robin Hood or Lancelot or Pyanfar Chanur or… but perhaps that’s enough for now. 🙂