Diana Wynne Jones Fans discussion

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Favourite Character

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message 1: by Fiona (new)

Fiona (bookcoop) This group is getting a bit quiet.

Who is your favourite character that DWJ has created?

I'm going to be very boring and say Howl, I think I would like to marry him.

I also love Sirius/Leo from Dogsbody and Tom from Fire and Hemlock. I think I wanted to marry Tom too.


message 2: by K. (new)

K. Wolf (kazul9) | 5 comments Yeah, Howl is just such a great character, you can't help but love him.


message 3: by Jules (new)

Jules | 4 comments I really like Jonathan and Vivian from Tale of Time City - I thought they made a great pair of detectives, you know - the know-it-all smug one and the sensible counterpart, though Sophie is pretty easy to adore as a character.
DWJ just has a knack for creating really engaging, fully realised characters - a rare talent in terms of young adult fiction.


message 4: by Jonathan (last edited Mar 13, 2009 01:21AM) (new)

Jonathan | 30 comments Howard's dad, Quentin Sykes (from Archer's Goon), who rages about taxpayer's money despite not *spoiler cough* paying anything himself. Archer himself with his vast genius ego, his brother who didn't wink but 'got paint in my eye', the rest of the criminal family, and the stupendous Awful. Really I love them all, even the smelly old goon :)


message 5: by Robin (new)

Robin (RobinSullivan) | 6 comments I find all the Howl comments kind of funny - to be honest he did nothing for me. Just seemed like a vain kid. I much prefered Sophie and even Calicifier as characters.


JG (The Introverted Reader) Robin wrote: "I find all the Howl comments kind of funny - to be honest he did nothing for me. Just seemed like a vain kid. I much prefered Sophie and even Calicifier as characters."

I'm with you, Robin. I liked watching him grow some throughout Moving Castle, and I was happy with the ending, but he wasn't a book crush for me. Does he grow on you more throughout the other books?



message 7: by Fiona (new)

Fiona (bookcoop) Diana Wynne Jones rarely writes completely direct sequels and Sophie and Howl are never the main characters in the second two which is partly a shame but partly because of how DWJ's brain works.


message 8: by Joyce (last edited May 22, 2009 10:01PM) (new)

Joyce | 10 comments Cat from Charmed Life is my all-time favorite DWJ character. He's just so poignantly sad, but so poignantly likable. Can you tell Charmed Life is my favorite DWJ? The Lives of Christopher Chant is my second favorite, and I really liked Seven Days of Luke. But I've re-read Charmed Life more than any other DJW book.


message 9: by Lauren (new)

Lauren (laurenbridge18) I like Nick Mallory from THE MERLIN CONSPIRACY.


message 10: by Mir (new)

Mir | 42 comments Gosh, I loved so many of her characters! Sophie, Eric Chant, Christopher Chant (when he was a kid), David from Eight Days of Luke, Howard from Archer's Goon, Nan from Witch Week, Tonino from Caprona...

I don't remember Nick very well, I need to reread Merlin Conspiracy. And that one with the sisters whose parents run a boarding school, I don't remember that one very clearly at all. There was a ghost or a witch? The ghost of a witch?


message 11: by Sarah (new)

Sarah (sfreeves) Sophie all the way :)


message 12: by weaver (new)

weaver (weavers) | 1 comments Ohh I love them all but I guess my favorite is Chrestomanci because he is no mean and sarcastic in a silly way...and all of the sisters from Time of the Ghost were just so great together. But I liked Fenella because she was DISGUSTING


message 13: by Molihua (last edited Feb 25, 2010 02:17PM) (new)

Molihua | 13 comments (dear dear, this thread needs a comeback)

i'm with miriam, there're just so many of them to love! Over the years there's been:
Luke
Howl (but only as a sort of 'older-man' crush i used to have. nowadays i think if i ever actually met him i'd end up hitting him with something hard instead, like calcifer's frying pan. which doesn't mean i don't like him. i do, i think of him as a sort of hopeless uncle. but i'd still hit him.)
Venturus/Howard (actually it was more like i was envious of him. like, darn, i want to have a large crazy family than runs a town and does magic too!)
Sirius/Leo
Sophie (not as a role-model, since at the age i was reading HMC i wasn't looking for role-models in women as old as Sophie was for most of the book. but i admired--and still do--her determined, well-doing-something-is-better-than-just-sitting-around drive she gets once put under the spell.)
Chrestomanci (he says all kinds of things with a sort of very polite expression which makes it even funnier...not exactly sarcastic but he makes you blink and go 'did he just say...' before you start laughing. definitely one of dwj's most engaging characters)
Romanov (in a kind of eight-year-old's so cool! kind of way)

But as of late i've declared Maree Mallory from Deep Secret to be my favourite character. Its like her personality's so strong its an awkward point with her :). i'm sad she didn't appear in the Merlin Conspiracy and am kinda ticked off at Nick for not mentioning her.


message 14: by Paula (last edited Feb 28, 2010 02:25PM) (new)

Paula (pauldajo) | 67 comments I agree Maree Mallory has a strong, interesting character. Loved the car dance! I would have also liked th read more about Maree. There is definately more to tell.

I need to reread most of Jones' books. I sadly don't remember a lot of the characters. One that stands out is Dogsbody. The puppy Leo and child Kathleen are perfect together. Life as a dog was a learning experience for Sirius, the dog star.


message 15: by Tina (new)

Tina Thus far, my favorites are Howl, Sophie, and Chrestomanci (Christopher Chant).

Sophie and Howl are just amazing, both as separate entities and as a duo. I loved that the heroes of Howl's Moving Castle were a cranky "old" lady and a vain coward. Chrestomanci is so politely sarcastic, which I found endlessly amusing and endearing. I also think they're my favorite because they weren't limited to just one book. I really hope DWJ chooses to continue their stories in newer works, even if they have very limited roles.


message 16: by Mir (new)

Mir | 42 comments Yeah, I like that Jones doesn't make her characters too perfect.


message 17: by Molihua (new)

Molihua | 13 comments Miriam wrote: "Yeah, I like that Jones doesn't make her characters too perfect."

Yes, that's what makes them so winning.
...I don't think there are any characters anywhere nowadays who are written 'perfect'. Readers wouldn't take to them.


message 18: by Paula (new)

Paula (pauldajo) | 67 comments I agree. And since the books are written for children and young adult, what child would want to read about a perfect, goody two shoes? Besides the characters must have faults in order to overcome them on the road to perfection! DWJ's character are often clueless at the beginning of the book, but they sure do learn along the way.


message 19: by Kaion (new)

Kaion (kaionvin) | 28 comments No, I don't think perfect characters are very common anymore, but I think of a couple very very not-perfect main characters as well: Charles from Witch Week (oh, but I love him anyway for his hilarious logical-ness) and Mitt from Drowned Ammet (would-be suicide bomber!) come to mind.


message 20: by Molihua (new)

Molihua | 13 comments Kaion wrote:"...and Mitt from Drowned Ammet (would-be suicide bomber!) come to mind.

Oh, i know! How Mitt turned out knocked me off my seat! I rather liked him...T_T

*makes me wanna go re-read the Dalemark Quartet again^^*
(say, which reminds me...are there many series out there that come as quartets like Dalemark? I know trilogies are quite common, but quartets? Because i was just thinking that it seemed very like DWJ to write a quartet instead of doing trilogies like other authors...^^)


message 21: by Mir (new)

Mir | 42 comments .I don't think there are any characters anywhere nowadays who are written 'perfect'. Readers wouldn't take to them.

True, but a lot of characters seem to me like the author just made up some flaws in order to have flaws, not like they are really integrated into a real personality likes Jones' characters.


message 22: by Molihua (new)

Molihua | 13 comments True, but a lot of characters seem to me like the author just made up some flaws in order to have flaws...

lol like, flawed to be perfect? :)


message 23: by Mir (new)

Mir | 42 comments Right! Some minor imperfection to make them seem less idealized. And lots of times the flaws don't effect the plot at all. I love the way DWJ structures the plot in ways that make sense for the characters personalities. Like, it completely works in Charmed Life that Cat wouldn't think of asking for help.


message 24: by Kaion (last edited Mar 06, 2015 04:24PM) (new)

Kaion (kaionvin) | 28 comments Yasmin wrote: "Kaion wrote:"...and Mitt from Drowned Ammet (would-be suicide bomber!) come to mind.

Oh, i know! How Mitt turned out knocked me off my seat! I rather liked him...T_T

*makes me wanna go re-rea..."


Yasmin, I think in YA, quartets are twice as common as trilogies. 'Cause everyone knows four is a better number than three anyway. (As for quartets in which a would-suicide-bomber becomes king, I'm not sure those are quite as common.)

Am I the only one not utterly charmed by Howl? Sure he's entertaining, but I do not have Sophie's perseverance. There is absolutely no way I could get along with anyone that high-maintenance.

Do you guys think she goes to the well of Cat-like reluctant hero too often? Besides Cat, there's Blade (The Dark Lord of Derkholm) and Conrad (Conrad's Fate (Chrestomanci, #5)) right off the top of my head.


message 25: by Fiona (new)

Fiona (bookcoop) Haha I think realistically I don't think I could either... I certainly wouldn't want HIM as my boyfriend let alone husband or anything.

But I suppose I start seeing him through Sophie's eyes and then I feel myself falling...

I have met other people who aren't so taken with Howl though. Hehe. I guess he fulfils that type of "man-you-want-to-fix" syndrome.


message 26: by Paula (new)

Paula (pauldajo) | 67 comments Howl isn't my favorite DWJ male character either. Seems to me that Spohie's life evolved around needy people. She's probably used to the role of care giver.


message 27: by Kaion (last edited Jul 18, 2010 11:59AM) (new)

Kaion (kaionvin) | 28 comments Oh definitely no coincidence she basically takes over for Michael and Michael goes and marries her sister.* Them all switching whom they're taking care of and all.

Though Sophie does discover her inner spunk (with help from the old-lady-ish-ness and Howl's outrageous levels of self-centered-ness). It is a fairy-tale, we all get what we deserve.

*Also no coincidence Howl's sister is a nag. Not necessarily in the bad way, either, 'cause maybe I'm speaking as an older sister, but Howl would be SO aggravating.


message 28: by Mir (new)

Mir | 42 comments Haha, Howl didn't do it for me, either, but he and Sophie seemed to make sense somehow. I liked in Castle where she is describing him and cowardly and vain and impossible to pin down and Mustafa(?) asks why she married someone with so many faults, and she's all "What FAULTS? I'm just describing him!"


message 29: by Molihua (new)

Molihua | 13 comments Miriam : "Mustafa?"...Abdullah ^__^ but they're both quite common names, aren't they?

Paula wrote: "Howl isn't my favorite DWJ male character either. Seems to me that Spohie's life evolved around needy people. She's probably used to the role of care giver."

Paula, now that you've mentioned it, that makes perfect sense and i completely agree.

But i have to say, one of the best things i like about DWJ's characters is how their histories affects their magic. Like, why Chrestomanci is weak against silver, or in Year of the Griffin, how this one girl (apologies, i've forgotten her name)has her gift for translocation affected by a travel jinx...and others...as of last night i did have more examples, but i cant seem to recall them right now ^^


message 30: by Mir (new)

Mir | 42 comments Sorry -- I think I got mixed up with Mustapha and His Wise Dog, which I read around the same age.


message 31: by Paula (new)

Paula (pauldajo) | 67 comments Miriam, I get names mixed up too. Especially when I haven't read the book in a while.

Yasmin, I'm going to have to read the Year of the Griffin again and I've forgotten why Chestomanci is weak againt silve. DWJ's reads are so wonderful and it's saddens me that I've let so much slip by me. And I do agree that a person's past does affect magical personality and strength.


message 32: by Kaion (new)

Kaion (kaionvin) | 28 comments I thought it was just a quirk of his constitution? Every hero's got to have an Achilles' heel and all.


message 33: by Molihua (new)

Molihua | 13 comments Kaion, well yes, but i meant that there was a reason why silver is Chrestomanci's weakness, as opposed to it being something he was just born with, for example.

If i remember correctly it had something do to with a spell his father cast on him against silver..he had divinated Christopher's future and found out that silver was to be his downfall, or something, so he cast a spell on Christopher so that silver wouldn't harm him, but the spell went awry and instead it came out that silver drained Christopher of his magic.

Or something like that..I'm speaking from memory and it's been a while since i picked up a Chrestomanci book ^^.

Paula wrote: ..And I do agree that a person's past does affect magical personality and strength.
Yup..the rule of thumb seems to be that a powerful personality makes for an equally powerful magician.


message 34: by Paula (new)

Paula (pauldajo) | 67 comments So Christopher's father made the possibility of Christopher's downfall more likely! Everyone should know better than to muck with predicitions/omens, etc and such. There are just somethings we should know to leave be. If a genie offered me 3 wishes, I would run the other way! Those wishes never turn out in the way we intend.


message 35: by Kaion (new)

Kaion (kaionvin) | 28 comments Need to reread Christopher Chant! (Oh, such a hardship.)

Yasmin wrote: "Yup..the rule of thumb seems to be that a powerful personality makes for an equally powerful magician. "

I'd hardly agree that Gwendolen has a less powerful personality than Cat in Charmed Life! Expression of magic is greatly influenced by the person's personality and past, but I wouldn't extend that necessarily to level of power.

I do remember someone on goodreads saying that in DWJ's books, magic happens less by rules and more by each character's psychology. And I totally agree. A prime example would be Witch Week (keeping the discussion in the Chrestomanci series)... to the point where the identity of each spellcaster becomes fairly recognizable!


message 36: by Molihua (new)

Molihua | 13 comments Kaion wrote: "I'd hardly agree that Gwendolen has a less powerful personality than Cat in Charmed Life! Expression of magic is greatly influenced by the person's personality and past, but I wouldn't extend that necessarily to level of power."

oh yes, i'd forgotten about her. touche. i was thinking more of characters like Maree Mallory, or Romanov, or Howl, and of course, Chrestomanci.
you're right, you couldn't judge a magician's ability solely on how forceful his personality is, but they do need some gusto to be able to handle all that power and magic, don't you think?

"...I do remember someone on goodreads saying that in DWJ's books, magic happens less by rules and more by each character's psychology."
Agreed. it's a signature feature in her writing, and that's what i love about her books.


message 37: by Kaion (new)

Kaion (kaionvin) | 28 comments I think the distinctive personalities are a characteristic of many of her characters, as is the power of magic... that they happen to coincide in the same character is hardly uncommon!

There's simply so many different types of strength, that I wouldn't call all the powerful magicians having "gusto" so to speak (it's only one kind).


message 38: by Aida (new)

Aida (taffymyametalumi) I liked Tonino from 'The Magicians of Caprona'. I also like Cat ('Charmed Life') and Nick ('Merlin Conspiracy'), and I like Flower of the Night ('Castle in the Air'), and Sophie ('Howl's Moving Castle').


message 39: by Bubble (new)

Bubble (bubbledress) | 8 comments I love Millie from the Chrestomanci series. She doesn't get enough 'screen time' but there. She was one resourceful kid as well. But of course Chrestomanci (Chris Chant) has to be my favourite. He's probably at his most ridiculous in Conrad's fate. His character just makes me laugh. Also Helen from homeward bounders. I can totally relate to her love of critters.


message 40: by Ellie (new)

Ellie (eiiie) | 6 comments There are so many characters I love!
DWJ is so good at creating interesting and incredibly human personalities :)

Let me think... Calcifer, Sophie, Cat, Christopher, Millie and Tom are all fantastic(!) but I won't go into detail because others have talked about them.

A few I haven't seen mentioned:

Mr & Mrs Stock (not married, thank you very much :D ) from Enchanted Glass - love the bits about oversize vegetables and cauliflower cheese.

Hathaway from Archer's Goon - he has an intriguing storyline and I like his personality

David from Eight Days of Luke - I love the way he thinks about things (like scoring points for the illness competition between his relatives)

Conrad from Conrad's Fate - not quite sure why but I do

There are so many others!! and that's even without counting the characters who are so horrible you like them (think Awful)


message 41: by Ellie (new)

Ellie (eiiie) | 6 comments Kaion wrote: "Yasmin wrote: "Kaion wrote:"...and Mitt from Drowned Ammet (would-be suicide bomber!) come to mind.

Oh, i know! How Mitt turned out knocked me off my seat! I rather liked him...T_T

*makes me wann..."


I completely agree with you about Howl! He was amusing but not what I'd call charming :P


message 42: by Alison (last edited Mar 26, 2015 01:32PM) (new)

Alison (alisonleighjones3) | 7 comments I love Mitt and Maewen from the Dalemark quartet. And named my daughter Maewynn after her.

Polly is one of my favorites though, from Fire and Hemlock, probably because her overactive imagination and hero training were how I acted out my childhood out.


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