The Top Five Characters From My Bookshelf

There are few characters in literature that I’ve encountered that have really made me love them.  There were characters that I liked, but high above those were the characters with beautiful personalities.  The following is a list of five amazing characters I’ve encountered in my own reading.

Dustfinger, from Inkheart.  Few modern authors write stories as beautifully as Cornelia Funke does, and few of her characters come close to Dustfinger.  Dustfinger has a unique personality that swings back and forth from helping himself to helping others.  He usually makes a choice based on his own needs, then goes back and fixes it based on the needs of other people.    He’s always saving himself first, but his conscience makes him go back and save everyone else, too.  He’s the most conflicted character I’ve ever encountered.

Natasha Rostov, from War and Peace.  Probably the only girl on this list.  She’s a beautiful character because she’s so happy.  Her father might be going on broke and her brother might be close to death in the war, but she’s always… bouncy.  She isn’t careless, she’s just optimistic and infallibly happy.  There’s one scene in War and Peace in which Leo Tolstoy describes her as so happy that she was in love with everyone.  Natasha Rostov doesn’t know how to hate.

Death, from The Book Thief.  This sounds morbid, but it isn’t, really.  Death is the narrator of The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak.  He’s an everlasting creature who goes around the world, picking up human souls.  The job would be extremely depressing, but Death distracts himself by noting the color of the sky on every day he takes a soul.  It’s such an innocent thing coupled with such a sad occurrence.  The sadness can be felt through the writing.  Death is decidedly not chipper, but he also isn’t mean or depressed.  He’s resigned.

Boromir, from The Fellowship of the Ring.  This is another conflicted character rather like Dustfinger, only not so much.  He’s a man who doesn’t see the wisdom in throwing away what looks like the greatest weapon in all of history: the Ring of Power forged by the Enemy himself.  He doesn’t know that it’s just the Ring and his own pride corrupting him, and he doesn’t see it until it’s too late, but he more than redeems himself in the end.

Ben, from Castaways of the Flying Dutchman.  Ben was the only innocent person on the evil ship The Flying Dutchman, and was thus spared from the fate of the rest of the crew: to sail the seas forever, immortal and tempest-driven.  Instead, Ben has another type of doom.  He too immortally roams the earth, but he’s good-natured and friendly.  He makes many friends, but has to leave all of them behind or watch them grow old and die without him.  Brian Jacques does an excellent job portraying this character.

And those are my top five favorite characters in a nutshell.  I encourage you to read the books: The Inkheart trilogy by Cornelia Funke, War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy, The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, The Lord of the Rings trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien, and The Castaways of the Flying Dutchman trilogy by Brian Jacques.

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121 Comments

  1. Loved the description of Natasha.

    Reply
  2. Charley R

     /  November 30, 2012

    Wonderful choices! Dustfinger is a beautiful character – I got incredibly attached to him throughout the Inkworld saga, though Roxane failed to impres me as a good match for him. Boromir I didn’t really appreciate until I re-read LotR later on (my first reading was about twelve-ish I think). I didn’t appreciate how conflicted he was, because I saw his fall to the Ring as more of a personal weakness and greed thing rather than arising from his confliction over his duty to the quest and his duty to protect Gondor, as Aragorn apparently had no interest in doing so, despite being its rightful king. Fantastic character though. For all it was neccessary to the plot, I do regret that Tolkein killed him off.

    Cannot wait to get my paws on “War and Peace” now. I love bouncy characters 🙂

    Reply
    • I’m just going to keep making you want War and Peace until you actually read it. I’m loving it right now.

      Reply
      • Charley R

         /  December 1, 2012

        You’re going to drive me mad with want.

      • It’s free on a Kindle– you have one, don’t you? It’s left alone at the library because it’s so thick– you have a library, don’t you? You don’t have to go mad.

      • Charley R

         /  December 1, 2012

        So I do.
        My gosh.
        I AM dimwitted today.

      • I knew there was something a little off.

      • Charley R

         /  December 2, 2012

        *rubs forehead* Function, brain. I did not give you leave for a day off today.

      • Did you give it tomorrow? It needs some rest.

      • Charley R

         /  December 3, 2012

        No. I’ll give it time off when the holidays arrive. Only two more weeks . . .

      • Oh, I’m sure it’ll wait two more weeks.

      • Charley R

         /  December 6, 2012

        I’m sure it will, too. Else it wil regret not waiting xP

      • If I was your brain, I’d have already escaped.

      • Charley R

         /  December 7, 2012

        It’s tried a few times.

      • And you’ve beaten it and beaten it and told it to get back in there… It’s a wonder it’s still alive.

      • Charley R

         /  December 7, 2012

        I know. Resilient thing, I’ll give it that.

      • Is it rubber?

      • Charley R

         /  December 8, 2012

        Nah. Mithril.

      • You have a mithril… brain. Now I’m envious.

      • Charley R

         /  December 9, 2012

        You should be. It needs a good polish once every few hundred years, but it works marvellously.

      • How much do they cost?

      • Charley R

         /  December 10, 2012

        Hmmm . . . *flips through catalogue* . . . they’re on sale this holiday season for half a kingdom.

      • Ooh, I could do that… Do you know, do they take Lilliputian-size kingdoms?

      • Charley R

         /  December 11, 2012

        Well, I don’t know. It just says “half a kingdom”. Doesn’t say whose it is or what size it has to be.

      • Great! Mithril brain, here I come!

      • Charley R

         /  December 11, 2012

        Enjoy!

      • Any side effects I should know about?

      • Charley R

         /  December 12, 2012

        . . . Death?

      • Oh. But I’m immortal!

      • Charley R

         /  December 12, 2012

        Oh, that’s fine then. It’s just to keep the daft mortals from catching on, you see.

      • Yes, I see. *taps nose*

      • Charley R

         /  December 12, 2012

        *winks, and vanishes in a cloud of smoke*

      • Did I do that? *taps nose again to see if she comes back*

      • Charley R

         /  December 14, 2012

        *doesn’t*

      • Now I get to monologue!

      • Charley R

         /  December 14, 2012

        *approves of the idea*

      • To be or not to be, that is the question.
        Whether ’tis nobler to– Oh, forget this.
        I shall not quote from Hamlet in this speech;
        To do so would invite death’s e’er sweet kiss.
        Tho’ Charley did go Jupiter knows where,
        I shall not be dismayed about it now.
        For tho’ I worry what she try to plot,
        A single wrinkle shall not crease my brow.
        Come back, Charley– come back to speak with me!
        I did not bite my thumb, no not at thee!

      • Charley R

         /  December 14, 2012

        *shoots out of the ether and lands on two feet, cape swishing epically. Turns to Liam and smirks*

        How could I resist that?

      • Well, I can now take credit for having called you here– in iambic pentameter, no less! I am thy master.

      • Charley R

         /  December 18, 2012

        *snort* HA!

      • You laugh, but you know the truth.

      • Charley R

         /  December 19, 2012

        And I know it is as far from your claim as is possible.

      • *growls* Your knowledge is a delusion.

      • Robyn Hoode

         /  December 12, 2012

        I am loving these comment conversations between you two!
        And I hate to be the voice of logic (or the voice of my inner poet that sometimes posesses me), but you might be right, Liam. Isn’t it every author’s dream to one day be immortal (metephorically speaking)? People are going to know who Tolkien and J.K. Rowling are a thousand years from now, even though both are and will be gone.
        We’ll put it on your tombstone, Liam– “Isn’t it every author’s dream to be immortal? Here lies Liam, Head Phil… He died of complications from a mithril brain. Rest in Peace.” No, I don’t believe your claim that you are literally immortal.
        I feel sudden urge to write a haiku…

      • No, I am immortal. A few aspects of me, that is. One aspect (the one typing this) is sadly going to die in a century or less. But the rest of me will live on. As will– but I don’t want to spoil something for Charley, so I won’t say more.

      • Robyn Hoode

         /  December 12, 2012

        My haiku:
        Liam’s mithril brain,
        It killed him most tragically,
        Twysdyrns take his blog,

        We’ll put that on your tombstone, too.

      • That would be great, except “tragically” makes it eight syllables. If you took out “it”, it would be fine. And “Twysdrns” doesn’t have a second Y.

        Liam’s mithril brain
        Killed him most tragically–
        Twysdrns take his blog.

      • Robyn Hoode

         /  December 12, 2012

        I pronounce ‘tragically’ like ‘tragic-ly’. It has enough syllables when I say it.
        The Twysdrns won’t attack me for spelling it wrong, will they? I’m sorry, Twysdrns! I tried! It’s lucky that I was only off by 1 letter! I’ll… bake cookies for you as a penance! Just don’t attack me! I have characters that need me! One is passed out in a school hallway! Please, I beg you!
        (am I being too dramatic?)

      • Your pronunciation is incorrect. Deal.

        I beseech you, mighty Twysdrns, to allow her to live this once! You can kill her next time.

        (Yes. But that doesn’t mean stop. They like flattery.)

      • Robyn Hoode

         /  December 14, 2012

        They like flattery or their creator likes flattery?

      • No, they like it. I think they have swelled heads already.

  3. I Loved the Book Thief, absolutely one of my favorite books

    Reply
  4. Dustfinger was one of my favorites in the Inkheart trilogy.

    Speaking of LotR, I decided to take a swing at reading The Hobbit. I must say, so far it’s more entertaining than the first LotR book was, and I’m hoping they don’t sing quite as much.

    Reply
  5. hithere298

     /  November 30, 2012

    For a while now I have been wondering why you haven’t been posting at all in the last month. Then I go back on this blog and realize that somewhere along the line, I had unsubscribed, which is weird because I have no memory of doing so nor any reason for it.

    I love Death and Dustfinger! If I made a top 5 character list, they would make it (Maybe not Dustfinger, but he’d at least be a runner-up). I haven’t read War and Peace yet, mainly because it intimidates me. It looks like a dictionary and I’m afraid that if I drop it and it lands on my foot I will have to go to the hospital to repair all my broken toes. I’d also have to call a carpenter or someone to fix the giant hole in my floor and that would cost a lot of money. But I’ve also heard so many good things about it so I’ll probably read it some time soon.

    Reply
    • War and Peace is less scary when you get to know it. The characters are wonderful, the storytelling is fluid, and the chapters are so short it always feels like you’re flying through the book. Read it– it’s worth it.

      Reply
      • hithere298

         /  December 11, 2012

        I’ll give it a try, once I learn to navigate the poorly sorted labyrinth that is my school’s library.
        Also, do you mind if I steal this idea (I’ll give you credit, or course) for a blog post? It seems like a really fun topic to write about.

      • The top five characters idea? Sure. Just credit me (with a link) and I’ll be happy.

  6. Robyn Hoode

     /  December 1, 2012

    I liked Dustfinger, but I was kind of disappopinted with the Inkheart series after the first book. (I think I am going to call this Paolini-Syndrome, where the first book is great and then the rest of the series slowly declines after that… like The Inheritance Cycle. Congradulations, Christopher, you now are a famous author and have a book-disorder named after you.)
    I loved Boromir. It was so sad when he died. I don’t think he was a villian (and some people do think this). He was… well, you already said everything I could say about him, Liam, and you didn’t use so many words.

    Reply
  7. Erin

     /  December 2, 2012

    Agreed about Ben. Boromir? Not so much. He irritated me. Faramir was way cooler than his brother.

    Reply
  8. What on earth do you mean by Natasha is probably the only girl on this list? I mean, are you not sure about Boromir being a guy because he’s got long hair?

    Reply
  9. For some reason I spent the last five minutes reading all the comments on this old post and laughing out loud. I better get back to my Maths review now. *sigh*. Could you send me a copy of the catalogue with the mithril brain? I’m thinking one of those might help. Now all I need to do is convince a king to give me half his kingdom…

    Reply
    • I must have lost the catalog under the couch somewhere… Give me a little while to find it.

      Reply
      • You mean you lost such a cool catalogue? Clearly your mithril brain hasn’t helped your organisational skills much!

      • There seems to have been a lot on my mind since I got it.

      • Very true. But I’m still beginning to think the mithril brain is a little overpriced. And such an intrusive procedure to have it installed. Maybe I’ll get the mithril fingernails instead.

      • If you do go for those, tell me how they work out. I hear they’re perfect on wrappers and such.

      • Mithril fingernails ordered, I’ll let you know how they suit once they arrive.

        I was a bit hesitant at first, because the price listed in the catalogue was “An arm and a leg”, and I’m rather a fan of my four appendages. Plus, it would have been bad value to get ten fingernails when I only had five fingers. But I contacted customer support, and they said they’d give me the nails for the silver spoons I stole from you while you were away some of my household treasures.

      • You were brave to go through with the purchase, in that case. Perhaps the mithril salesmen have rather strange ideas of what constitutes human appendages.

      • Perhaps they do… At any rate, they have strange sales tactics. But then again, I bought it, so perhaps you don’t have to be a good salesman to sell mithril. Been two weeks plus, and I’m still waiting on delivery, though.

      • They have the selling down (sort of) but their delivery leaves something to be desired.

  10. The delivery was certainly awful, but now that I’ve got them I almost wish I hadn’t. I mean, the nails are awesome ( I think) but everybody else either just laughs or says “Ewwww, what’s wrong with your finger -nails, which is not quite the desired response. I try to impress on them the fact that these fingernails , thank you very much, probably exceed the net-worth of their millionaire great-aunt Josephine and her fancy-schmancy 3-bathroom holiday home, but no luck…

    Reply
    • Indeed. Perhaps the best plan is to melt them down and make something more obviously useful. But that would be bowing to the will of the masses, and you wouldn’t want that.

      Reply
  11. I know…two of those characters. No wait, three, if the movie version of Boromir counts. One day, I’ll have the patience to read LotR. Hopefully, that day’ll be some day soon…?

    I honestly don’t remember Dustfinger very well, but I did like Death from Book Thief. I kind of felt sorry for him…

    Reply
  1. The Top Five Characters From My Bookshelf | Musings From Neville's Navel

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