TOP TEN ON TUESDAY:- Literary Heroes

22:46 Jazz Blackwell 0 Comments

So last time I let you guys know all about my favourite villains from literature. But what is a villain without a good hero? I'll specify now that, while some of the characters on this list definitely fit the whole bad-ass-save-the-day-beat-some-bitches-down action hero kind of stereotype, some very much do not. By 'hero', I mean who I deem to be the most 'worthy' character in the story - be that the one who takes least bullshit, the one who is most upfront and honest or simply the one that does no wrong.

Anyway, without further adieu, here's my list of favourite literary heroes. Enjoy!

10. Katniss Everdeen - The Hunger Games series (Suzanne Collins). 
Oh, J-Law, you magnificent woman, you...
Perhaps a little cliché for me to say, I being a young woman in the 16-25 age bracket as I am. But you've got to admit. Katniss is one bad-ass mother effer. Courageous, passionate, loyal and intelligent, she's got just about every good quality a hero should have. And yet, that's not quite why she made this list. It's not her good points that make me love her so much - quite the opposite, in fact. The reason I love Katniss is because she's flawed. She's hot-headed, often blinded by rage (and quite rightly so) and she doesn't always think before she acts which - as fans of the books and/or movies will know - can lead to pretty dire consequences for both herself and people around her. It's easy when writing a hero to try and make them absolutely perfect, and in the process they just become two-dimensional. Not the case with Katniss. She's refreshingly human.

9. Stephen Dene - Shades of London series (Maureen Johnson)

I cry and my tears are Stephen

Is anyone else seeing a theme appear with my favourites? I just really bloody love Shades of London. Sue me. 

Now, I questioned at first whether or not Stephen should make this list. He's not really the protagonist of the series and is actually more of a secondary hero. But he's a hero nonetheless and, while I love Rory (the central protagonist) to death, Stephen's beaten her to this spot by only a small margin. While Rory is wonderful and awesome and kick-ass and all the rest of that stuff, it's how heart-achingly good Stephen is that has him make this spot. And I don't mean that he's a do-gooder or a pushover - he's more than quick with a sharp tongue and even physical violence if it comes to it. He's just so bravely selfless, often throwing himself into harms way in order to protect those he cares about, and he does it for reasons that will make you weep buckets for him.

8. Captain Underpants - Captain Underpants series (Dav Pilkley)
I can feel you judging me and I do not care.
Yes. You did just read that correctly. Captain Underpants is absolutely, one hundred percent, without any shadow of a doubt, one of my favourite literary heroes. And yes, I completely agree that this is probably one of these most stupid and immature choices a person could ever make - especially a person who's hoping to go on and study literature and university level. But hear me out. The first book that I ever, ever read by myself was the original Captain Underpants book. I performed a daring and heroic rescue to retrieve it from certain death at the depths of my brother's school bag. I was proud as punch that I managed to get through the whole thing by myself - even declining my dad's offers to help me sound out words on numerous occasions. For that reason, the Y-Fronts crusader has held a special place in my heart, and he always will.

7. Johnny Cade - The Outsiders (S.E. Hinton) 
Remember when Ralph Macchio was adorable?
Oh Johnny. Sweet, innocent, angelic little Johnnycakes. How my heart aches for you. It's no secret that Dally Winston is the absolute love of my life, but he was beaten to this spot by Johnny for much the same reason Stephen beat Rory to his spot - Johnny is so wonderfully selfless and just generally good that I have to question the morals of anybody who says they don't love him. A hero in every sense of the word, there is absolutely no way on God's green earth that Johnny was not going to make this list. Stay gold. 

6. Judas Coyne - Heart-Shaped Box (Joe Hill)
Credit for this corker of an interpretation goes to Vincent Chong
So Heart Shaped Box is a relatively new book to me, but it's quickly become an instant favourite. A lot of the reason for that is it's central character, retired rock star Jude Coyne (birth name Justin Cowzynski). Now, Jude is in no way morally good. Indeed, some of his interests and habits might leave people believing he's positively depraved. But when it comes to the few people he cares about, Jude's heart really is in the right place. And good lord, if he is not the king of the bad-asses, then I don't know who is. 

This novel is worth a read if you like horror however, it is definitely not for the faint of heart. Much like his wonderful father's works, many of Hill's books contain disturbing and unsettling content, as well as a lot of strong language and scenes of a sexual nature. This is no exception. If you are under the age of 18 and/or easily upset, offended or disgusted, please approach this novel with caution.

5. Harry Potter - Harry Potter series (J.K Rowling)
I thought this right here was the definition of sexy
when I was 11. No shame. 
Come on. He had to make the list. 

While I do adore Daniel Radcliffe for being the hilarious and awkward little imp that he is, I have to say I love book Harry infinitely more than film Harry. Courageous, loyal and kind are three of his best features. But the level of sass that book Harry possesses is rivalled by no other person in literal or fictional existence, and that's a lot of the reason he made this list. Hilariously witty, book Harry is never short of quick one-liners, even in the most dire of situations, and for that reason, I raise my wand to you sir.

That sounded dirtier than intended. I'll see myself out.

4. Boo Radley - To Kill A Mockingbird (Harper Lee) 
Hey, Boo.
I will literally fight anybody who tries to tell me that Boo is not the hero of To Kill A Mockingbird. Literally fight them. 

While a reclusive bloke who hasn't left his house for decades taking a shine to a pair of kids who go out of their way to harass him most of the time may sound a little dodgy as a concept, there's no denying that Boo is a sweetheart at his core. I mean, come on. The only times the guy leaves his house is to make the kids happy and - spoiler alert - to literally save their lives.

3. Joseph K - The Trial (Franz Kafka) 
Couldn't find a picture of K, so have Kafka in
all his weird, babyfaced glory.
So the book version of The Trial is actually still in my TBR pile. I have, however, had some first hand experience with Berkoff's stage adaptation. That's right folks. During my time as a drama kid, I played the man himself on one occasion. 

Joseph K is undoubtedly one of the coolest literary protagonists ever. He has a detachment from the events that lead to the conclusion of the story that is so chill it's almost unsettling. I can't tell you a lot about the character without giving away the whole storyline, but just know that he is cool as a cucumber. I'd recommend giving the play/novel a watch/read however be warned that it's not easy going - like most of Kafka's works it's relatively surrealist and difficult to follow.

2. Hoke - '48 (James Herbert) 
Hoke is a fighter pilot in the US military.
I have an entire review  on the novel '48, in which I explain my love of Hoke, so I won't go on too much about him here. But, similar to Coyne and K, one of the big reasons that Hoke is one of my favourite characters is because he's just so goddamn cool.

1. Dora and Nora Chance - Wise Children (Angela Carter)
What a joy it is to dance and sing!
If I have nothing else to thank my literature teacher for, it's introducing me to one of all time favourite novels. Wise Children follows the lives of twin showgirls Dora and Nora Chance. Another relatively surreal novel, the story is brought together beautifully by Dora's narration. The way it switches from heart-wrenchingly sad to side-splittingly hilarious and back again, sometimes in the space of just one page, is nothing short of a work of art. The epitome of British hardiness, Dora and Nora are sure to find their way into your heart and stay there forever. 

So those are my favourite literary heroes. What are yours? Let me know in the comments, or make a post of your own and link me to it. I'd love to know :) 

Happy reading, 
Jazz xo

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