Friday, July 13, 2012

What makes the most memorable characters

On Tuesday I shared my list of top ten most memorable characters and asked what you thought made characters most memorable.  

Memorable characters aren't afraid to break the rules, either

"make you want to laugh with them at times, yell at them at times, but all the while cheer them on and hope things turn out for the best for them" (Janna)

"they have one flaw that makes them more real than any of the other characters in a book" (Priya)

"what makes a character memorable is how they break the mold"  (Melissa Marsh)

"seem like real people... like you could finish reading the book and look up, and there they'd be, normal and full of life and easy to talk to." (Julio Dao)

 Thanks to everyone who provided input - I always learn something from comments!

I also said I thought there was something all 10 characters had in common, though they were wildly diverse, from civil-war era Scarlett O'Hara, to early 1900's Anne Shirley of Anne of Green Gables, to 1960's  southern black maid Minny, to current-day punk-style Swedish Lisbeth Salander of Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, not to mention a bunch of fantasy characters....

Your suggestions: 

eclectic (Old Kitty)

headstrong, misunderstood (Laurel Garver)

have gumption (Leslie Rose)

intelligent (Sophia Richardson)

"why is a raven like a writing desk?" (smile) (FairBetty)

All excellent answers, got me thinking of additional characteristics of memorable characters.  These are  characters that just get stuck in your mind; that are so vivid you can't forget them, even if they aren't the main character or even necessarily your favorite (Scarlett annoyed me for years. Still does, though in an endearing sort of way). 

What I found in common with all ten of them was a character that didn't fit the mold. Also they are all outspoken, not afraid to speak their mind even if it's going to make them unpopular.  And, stubborn

Anne Shirley - if you've read the first book or seen the movie, who can forget the scene where she tells off nosey Mrs Lynde and shocked everyone with her boldness? (Anne of Green Gables, by L.M. Montgomery) 
Minny's outspokenness gets her in trouble with her employers. She doesn't fit the mold of what white women wanted for their maids: meek and quiet.  (The Help, by Kathryn Stockett) 
Gandalf - of the nine wizards mentioned, he's the one with a sort of "rebel" reputation, going his own way, outspoken, one of his favorite words, "Fool!"  (The Hobbit / Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien) 
Elizabeth Bennett - "There is a stubbornness about me that never can bear to be frightened at the will of others. My courage always rises at every attempt to intimidate me." Some of the sarcastic remarks she made to the rich snobs in Pride and Prejudice make me wonder how she got away with it! (by Jane Austen)
Hermione - I can't help but picture with her hand raised in class, begging to get a chance to answer, while her teachers look around in despair for anyone else to answer their question.  (Harry Potter series, by J.K. Rowling)
Lisbeth Salander - love that scene in the beginning where she shows up to a meeting at a security firm with a hotshot lawyer decked out in the most outrageous punk outfit possible.  (Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, by Stieg Larsson).  
Corlath the Hill-King is so stubborn that he's not afraid to piss off an entire Empire. (The Blue Sword, by Robin McKinley). 

Kudos to FairBetty who matched up all 10 quotes correctly: 1.Alexia, 2.Minny, 3.Anne Shirley, 4.Puck, 5.Lisbeth, 6.Hermione, 7.Gandalf, 8.Elizabeth Bennett, 9.Corlath, 10. Scarlet. 

So tell who YOUR most memorable characters are!

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