Chapter 42 – Great Characters

Characters are a major part of any story. For me it’s easier to keep reading if the characters are great, even if there are other problems. But what kind of characters are great?

Picture by Juha Riissanen

To be great, I think characters have to be memorable, somehow unique, preferably relatable and all in all the kind of person I want to know more about. But instead of going into deep theories or writing rules, I’m going to list some of my favorite characters (from books/TV/etc.) and tell you why I picked them.

If you have same favorites, let me know! If not, still let me know! It’s always interesting to hear what characters people like and why.

Because there’s about a billion characters I could include, I limited this particular list only to 7 female characters. I’ll probably make separate lists for other types of characters in the future.

Xena (Xena: Warrior Princess)
Xena was one of my favorite shows when I was younger (I still watch it though) and to this day I think Xena is a great character. She has a dark past as the “Destroyer of Nations” but the series follows her attempts to make up for her past. On her journey she meets Gabrielle who soon becomes her best friend, their friendship moving Xena along the path of good. They go through hard times together and Xena’s past is never far behind, but they keep each other going, and their friendship is one of the most touching I’ve seen. And, well, chakrams.

Lyra (The Golden Compass/Northern Lights)
It’s been a while since I read this book and I never got to the other parts of the series, but I liked Lyra’s character in the Golden Compass. She’s a young girl living in a parallel world similar to our own. She’s not that interested in studying but she’s intelligent and resourceful. I particularly like Lyra’s “special ability:” lying. She can convince others with her words like no other, and lying is a skill not many heroes or heroines have.

Merida (Brave)
I love Disney so I have to mention at least one Disney character. I could’ve picked a whole number here, most notably Mulan or Belle, but I went with Merida for a couple of reasons. She’s very independent and wants to do her own things, her own way. She doesn’t settle with the norms of being a princess. There’s also something relatable in the relationship between her and her mother. I’m sure most of you have hoped to change your mother’s mind sometime. Merida takes it a bit too far by accident but she sets out to fix her mistakes without hesitation.

Piper (Charmed)
Charmed tells about sisters who are witches. They live in San Francisco and have to fight demons and other nasty things with their powers. The episodes get repetitive fairly fast but I liked the main characters, and Piper was my favorite. She was responsible and took care of the business and her sisters, usually keeping her logical mind in tough situations. But all the bad things took a toll on her and there were times she wanted to give up and just threw her hands in the air – but she always came around.

Matilda (Matilda)
This is a wonderful book and not just for children. Matilda is a little girl who learns to read at a very young age, escaping to the world of books because her family doesn’t pay her much attention. When she starts school, she meets both the amazingly friendly teacher Miss Honey and the extremely child-hating headmistress Mrs. Trunchbull. Soon she discovers she can move objects with her eyes, and that’s just the start of her adventures. Matilda is a sweet and brave girl (and has the mind to carry out great revenge pranks), and her love for books hits close to home.

Hermione (Harry Potter series)
She has to be on the list, right? She’s smart and helpful, saving Harry and Ron from a lot of trouble during their school years. She studies hard and is passionate about helping those less fortunate, like house elves. From all the great scenes she has in the books, one of my favorites is the ball in the Goblet of Fire. It wakes her friends to the fact that yes, she’s a girl. An extremely wise, skillful and beautiful girl.

Triss Merigold (The Witcher series)
Triss is a sorceress and a member of the Lodge of Sorceresses, a secret society for only female mages. While Triss is a powerful sorceress and knows more than enough about magic, she’s terribly allergic to it, which gives her certain weaknesses. She’s well respected and deeply involved in politics, knowing just what to say and when. But she has her soft side too and she’s loyal to her friends. She’s the kind of person who’d be an amazing friend but an awful foe.

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