Fictional Characters

31 Best Fictional Characters

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,

Hobbie DeHoy

 

Another List!

Today on That Certain Social Media Site I found another list that inspires me to make my own. Because I’m a blogger, and I can.

The Jane Austen Society of North America posted a link to a list of 100 (Oh, look! A nice round number!) Best Fictional Characters. The full title of the list includes “From Sherlock Holmes to Jane Eyre,” which is kind of funny because neither of those characters actually made the list. Dr. Watson got a nod, but Jane Eyre and Mr. Rochester are both conspicuous by their absence. Grace Poole, well, you probably wouldn’t expect her anyway.

I was very pleased to find Flora Poste and Margaret Schlegel on the list. And I was disproportionately pleased that someone chose Bigwig from Watership Down (even though I like Blackberry better). I mean, Bigwig is a rabbit in a book where most of the characters are rabbits, for heaven’s sake, but nobody who has read Watership Down will ever forget him. Also, I’ve been worrying a little of late that Watership Down is fading into obscurity. It’s nice to get a shoutout for one of my favorite books when I worry that nobody’s reading it anymore.

You know, I think a better title for their list would have been “Favorite Fictional Characters of 100 Literary People” because that’s really what it is. They don’t define the term “best” at all. Are the best characters the most likable, the ones with which we identify the most, or the most memorable?

Why is it that people who publish lists so rarely define their parameters? Probably because they can get away with being lazy because nobody cares. At least it certainly appears that nobody cares, given the way these lists propagate themselves over the social media. Still, I feel it’s important to maintain standards, even on a silly little Internet blog. So I will thoughtfully consider my parameters before I publish my list of best characters.

As with my previous list, there will be as many characters as I say there are. Lists with round numbers are so last year. Or the year before. In any case, I am so cutting-edge I don’t need round numbers.

Well, you know what’s coming now. I wanted to give you all notice so you can look forward to it.

Love you & leave you,

Hobbie DeHoy