Top Ten Characters Who …

… I would want to be my friend. (Or, to put it in a more grammatically correct form: Top Ten Characters with whom I would want to be friends.)

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1. Betsy Ray, the Betsy-Tacy books by Maud Hart Lovelace. When I think of book friends, Betsy is the very first who springs to mind. How I would have loved to have her as a friend when I was young, and even now, I think how much fun she’d be to have around. The great thing about Betsy is that I kept “discovering” more of her books the older I got (sneakily and well done, parents), and so we really did grow up together. I read Betsy’s Wedding shortly after getting married myself … so in some ways it feels like we are old friends who grew up and experienced much of life together.

Betsy and Joe, also one of my very favorite literary couples!

Betsy and Joe, also one of my very favorite literary couples!

2. Lucy Pevensie, Tarkheena Aravis, Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis. No offense to Susan or Jill or Polly – I like all of them, but it’s Lucy and Aravis I’ve always wanted to have as friends. Could you imagine the trouble we’d get into? It’d be awesome.

3. Randy and Rush Melendy, The Melendy Quartet by Elizabeth Enright. Re-reading all of Enright’s books recently reminded me again of how much I love this brother-sister team, and how badly I wanted them to be real people and my next-door neighbors when I was a kid.

4. Miss Marple, Agatha Christie. Dudes, can you imagine a better friend? No matter what’s going on in your life, Aunt Jane would have some gentle wisdom and humor to impart, and she would keep you from every being too conceited.

5. Sophie Hatter, Howl’s Moving Castle etc, by Diana Wynne Jones. SOPHIE. I want to hang out at the playground with Sophie, while my kids play with Morgan, and just talk. And then I want to foist our respective children off onto the husbands so Sophie and I can keep talking, without having to parent or wife at the same time.

6. Princess Cimorene, the Enchanted Forest books by Patricia C Wrede. Cimorene is another that I want to have as my friend now, not just as a kid. The younger Cimorene is awesome enough, but grown-up, mother-of-Daystar Cimorene is awesome as well, and I hope someday Wrede writes about some of Cimorene’s adventures between when Daystar was born and when he set off to rescue his father. Because we didn’t get to see nearly enough of her Being Awesome in Book 4.

I love Cimorene’s expression on this cover. It sums her up so well.

7. Tiffany Aching, Wee Free Men etc by Terry Pratchett. I actually think I’d like to hang out with Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg as well, but Tiffany is the one I’d most want to be friends with.

8. Brother Cadfael, the Brother Cadfael series by Ellis Peters. Like Miss Marple, Brother Cadfael would be a most comforting and wise friend to have. Also like her, extremely useful if one is ever accused of murder. (Wrongly accused, that is. Though if you’re a mostly-okay person, and the murder was provoked, even Brother Cadfael might find excuses for you. Not Miss Marple. She doesn’t approve of murder, no matter how justified.)

9. Molly Gibson and Roger Hamley, Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell. I swoon more for Margaret and Mr Thornton from North & South, but I’d want to be friends with Molly and Roger. Both because I think they could use some like-minded friends, and because I think they would make wonderful friends in return.

10. Joy-in-the-Dance, Lucian, et al from The Arkadians by Lloyd Alexander. I love all of Alexander’s characters, from all his books, but it’s the main cast of the Arkadians who most make me want to dive into the book and go adventuring with them. I wish he’d written more than one book about them all – I’ve always wanted to know what they did next.

Picture taken from my favorite cover of The Arkadians

Picture taken from my favorite cover of The Arkadians

And that, my friends, is my top ten. It surprised me, when I started writing it, how many of my favorite books and characters do not appeal to me as friends, however much I may love them for themselves (Lord Peter and Harriet, for example, I think would make me feel utterly stupid and inadequate, and that’s not exactly good for a friendship). Some of my opinions have changed since childhood, also – once upon a time, Anne Shirley would have been my ideal friend, but now I have a sneaking suspicion she would exhaust me after every visit. I haven’t outgrown her, but I have outgrown her friendship.

To see others’ top ten characters who … lists, check out The Broke and the Bookish. Happy reading!

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8 thoughts on “Top Ten Characters Who …

  1. I love all of your choices, especially Sophie from HOWL’S MOVING CASTLE and Lucy Pevensie. I was always drawn to spunky, strong female characters in my reading, and hope to write them now that I’m noveling!

    • I especially love how Sophie only figured out who she really was when she was freed from society’s expectations, and that her strength had always been there, just buried. As for Lucy, she’s just sheer delight.

  2. Bahahah, I love this line: “I haven’t outgrown her, but I have outgrown her friendship.” You know you’re a real bookworm when you can outgrow your imaginary friendship with an imaginary character…
    Great choices there. Cimorene, yes! However, Aravis and Tiffany Aching I’m not sure I could be close with. They’re a bit too no-nonsense for me, probably wouldn’t have any sympathy if I felt lousy and just tell me to pull up my bootstraps. Harriet and Lord Peter, on the other hand – if I got the right training in etiquette, so I could feel I was on their level socially…
    Actually, the first person that sprang to mind for me is Elinor Dashwood. And Henry and Catherine Tilney would be great to hang out with, too (especially Henry). Oh, and Hermione! So many choices…

    • I have a not-so-secret crush on Henry Tilney, so I’m afraid I’d embarrass myself horribly in front of him if he were real. I do like Cathy, though, even with all her flightiness!

      With Lord Peter and Harriet, it’s the depth of their learning that intimidates me. How could I ever hope to match them at quotations, or to attain their levels of deduction?

      I agree that Tiffany has no nonsense in her (though sometimes you need a friend without any sympathy whatsoever, to snap you out of your mopes), but I think Aravis has some nonsense buried deep inside her that her Narnian friends will eventually be able to bring out. She shows some sparks of a sense of humor, at least, and nonsense is only one step further from that.

  3. You do know that that is nearly exactly MY Sophie Hatter fantasy there, don’t you? I feel like you must, because it’s so very exactly. Except for the sending the kids off with the dads parts, just because I am having a really hard time imagining Howl and Jason getting along, or having anything to talk about. Complex weaponry? Jason’s enthusiasm on the subject would likely make Howl uncomfortable and snippy, and I can’t think of one other thing they’d have in common to discuss. Maybe everyone else would just stay in their own respective homes while Sophie and I go out.

    • I thought I remembered chatting with somebody once about how we’d like to hang out with Sophie, and one of us mentioned the playground … clearly, that conversation was with you.

      And I don’t think Howl and Carl would get along at all well – but mostly I’d like to sit back and snicker while they try to wrangle the children and Sophie and I DON’T. Because after crashing Sophie’s break in House of Many Ways, Howl needs a lesson in how to take care of Morgan himself, and after the last few weeks of this semester, I am in dire need of a few days off!

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