Here is my list of 31 Best Fictional Characters.
Parameters include: a character must be the protagonist in the book (no minor characters), a character must be human (no robots from Hitchhiker’s Guide or rabbits from Watership Down), and no characters from children’s books. Also, I’m choosing from novels and short stories, not plays. The toughest parameter, I’m finding, is defining the criteria that qualify each character for “best.” Does “best” mean most likable, most interesting, or most memorable? The safest criterion is “most memorable,” I think, since I’m not going to allow myself to go and look any characters up. If I can’t remember their names, they don’t make the list. I’m already fretting about Dodie Smith’s I Capture the Castle. What was the narrator’s name? What? What? How can I possibly leave her out? Maybe it’ll come to me. The characters are listed in no particular order, except you’ll find my two favorites at the top.
Without further ado, here’s the list:
1) Elizabeth Bennet (Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen)
2) Dorothea Brooke (Middlemarch, George Eliot)
3) Lucy Honeychurch (A Room with a View, E.M. Forster)
4) Flora Poste (Cold Comfort Farm, Stella Gibbon)
5) Francie Nolan (A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Betty Smith)
6) Bridget Fitzmaurice (Rise and Shine, Anna Quindlen)
7) Jane Eyre (Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte)
Not much danger of forgetting this character’s name, is there?
8) Margaret Schlegel (Howards End, E.M. Forster)
9) Ebenezer Scrooge (A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens)
10) Elinor Dashwood (Sense and Sensibility, Jane Austen)
11) Elaine (Cat’s Eye, Margaret Atwood)
No, I can’t for the life of me remember Elaine’s last name. I’m putting her in. I’m allowed to break my own rules, at least once.
12) Hester Prynne (The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne)
13) Huckleberry Finn (The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain)
14) Scarlett O’Hara (Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell)
15) Jean Louise (Scout) Finch (To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee)
16) Iris Chase (The Blind Assassin, Margaret Atwood)
17) Phillip (Pip) Pirrip (Great Expectations, Charles Dickens)
18) Lesley Frewen (The Flowering Thorn, Margery Sharp)
19) Emma Woodhouse (Emma, Jane Austen)
Look how I’m being so subtle, scattering my Jane Austen characters throughout the list instead of lumping them all together. Subtle!
20) Lord Peter Wimsey (Strong Poison, Dorothy Sayers)
21) Sherlock Holmes (A Study in Scarlet, Arthur Conan Doyle)
22) Clovis Sangrail (Short Stories, Saki)
23) Sandra Foster (Bellwether, Connie Willis)
24) Ned Henry (To Say Nothing of the Dog, Connie Willis)
25) Bertie Wooster (Joy in the Morning, P.G. Wodehouse)
26) Cluny Brown (Cluny Brown, Margery Sharp)
27) Antonia Fremont (The Robber Bride, Margaret Atwood)
28) Anne Elliot (Persuasion, Jane Austen)
29) Becky Sharp (Vanity Fair, William Thackeray)
30) Fanny Price (Mansfield Park, Jane Austen)
Or not so subtle.
31) Undine Spragg (The Custom of the Country, Edith Wharton)
Well, you know, I think that’s it. Of course, I can’t remember the name of the gentleman who was in love with his cousin in Edith Wharton’s The Age of Innocence or the name of the red-haired reporter in Penelope Lively’s Moon Tiger. And I *still* can’t remember the name of the narrator in I Capture the Castle. I can remember her dog’s name, for heaven’s sake. It’s Heloise. Why can’t I remember her name???
For some reason, I thought this list would be longer. But it’s another prime number! I love those.
Love you & leave you,