30 Days of Book Talk discussion

Day 9: A Character You Admire

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Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship (emmadeploresgoodreadscensorship) | 103 comments Mod
What fictional character have you met that you particularly admire?

The ones that come to mind for me are characters who aren’t carrying out adventurous quests – that may be very admirable, but it’s not something I can usually relate to in comparison to my own life. I love Sarah Barton in South Riding: a progressive 1930s headmistress who is determined to make a difference, does her job well, and is energetic, optimistic and engaged with others. Unlike a lot of fictional women, she’s not broken or defined by romance – she is one cool spinster!

Along the same lines, I love Rhoda Nunn in The Odd Women, set in Victorian England (and actually written by a man in the 1890s, which is pretty wild given that the whole message of the book as I read it is "Victorian marriage sucks for women, who are probably better off unmarried if they can hack it"). Rhoda is an early feminist who’s opted out of marriage and, along with her best friend, runs a typing school for young women so that they can support themselves. She’s also a tough and fiery character who wants to make a difference.

Two Envelopes and a Phone | 26 comments Alright, I'm going to stay away from Sherlock Holmes, Batman, Malin Fors, or The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and pick Mr. Polly, from The History of Mr. Polly by H. G. Wells...though not right away. Mr. Polly needed to have his transformation first. But in the end, I kind of admire him.

message 3: by Melindam (last edited May 28, 2020 06:23AM) (new)

Melindam | 158 comments Thomas Cromwell from Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall Trilogy.
I can't even remember the last time I got so fascinated by a historical-fictional character as I am by him.

And because I seem to be fascinated by Machiavellian characters, I can right away add Lord Havelock Vetinari, Patrician (Primus inter pares) of the city-state of Ankh-Morpork in/on Discworld. Another amazing character. He is the archetype of a "benevolent despot", he is utterly cool and competent and was educated in the Assassin's Guild (and by himself, :). As I mentioned in an earlier post about favourite pairings, he and Samuel Vimes (my chosen literary husband, taking precedence even over Mr Darcy) work so well! :)

message 4: by Mark (new)

Mark (kilimaro) | 20 comments I'm not sure if "admire" is the right word for this one, because it's not really for myself that I admire Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter world, but here is my story:

A few years ago when my sister was pregnant and we knew the baby would be a girl, she had her baby shower with a theme of "bring a book with a message inscribed for the kid when they're older" or something - I was told this is not uncommon these days.

I didn't go to the shower but I did still want to send along a book, and as I racked my brain I settled, eventually, on something of a more long-term wish rather than a book for the tiniest of children: the first Harry Potter book. So I wrote my little note to my future niece and I said that I hope she knows how cool it is for Hermione to be the clever girl who knows many things.

message 5: by Gogol (new)

Gogol | 110 comments Melindam wrote: "Thomas Cromwell from Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall Trilogy.
I can't even remember the last time I got so fascinated by a historical-fictional character as I am by him.

And because I se..."

He sounds fascinating.

message 6: by Gogol (new)

Gogol | 110 comments It is very difficult to choose, which is why I’ve been thinking about this since yesterday.

I think lists like this change according to what seems most important at the time one is writing them. For now mine are Gandalf the Grey from Lord of the Rings, and Nevada from The Hidden Legacy.

Nevada’s most admirable trait is how true to herself she is. She doesn’t, even once, try to make someone else shoulder her burden, she owns all her baggage, weaknesses and responsibilities and she is resilient and independent and forges her way ahead, by herself.

Gandalf is from the Maia people who are a sub branch of the Valar races. They came to the middle earth expressly to help. Three of his peers built themselves courts and strongholds: Elrond, Galadriel and Saruman. But he roams the lands and goes where he is most needed. He has immense wisdom, and great power even when he is grey. He has a great heart and he is true to himself. He is as courageous as the best warriors like Aragorn and Boromir. But he is immensely humble. No one passing him by casually would ever even dream of the truth of all that he is. Even when he becomes Gandalf the White he doesn’t show the truth of what he became to anyone but to his closest friends. I love that he constantly grows, that he actively goes against his ego, I greatly admire his discretion, generosity, selflessness and nobility of heart.

message 7: by Henk (new)

Henk | 34 comments I remember from reading Shōgun how stunned and awed I was from how the Tokugawa inspired character seized power at the end, a bit in the vein of how Cromwell is superhuman in the Wolfhall books. Also Ender Wiggin from Ender’s Game falls in this category of superhuman coolness/awesomeness.
Quite opposed to this I loved the very human and humble character of Somni-451 from Cloud Atlas of David Mitchell

Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (susannag) | 43 comments I was always impressed by the Wife of Bath - she didn't take any crap from anyone.

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