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The Characters That Stick With Us

September 24, 2012 by Kiersi

The Memorable Characters

Some characters are impossible to leave behind once the back cover closes, the screen clicks off, or the curtains fall. We spend so much time getting to know them and, sometimes, falling in love with them, that they almost seem to live and breathe right in front of us.

Our honest, troubled Frodo; the reborn, middle-aged Robin Hood; or a badass waitress with a crush on vampires (and werewolves, and shape-shifters…)

I know you all have a fictional guy or gal out there you love. They could be your brother, or your ideal woman, or your frenemy. You could love them because they’re flawed or because they’re perfect. I just want to know who they are.

Who are the characters who have changed you? Who made you experience first love or last love all over again? Who inspired you, or disappointed you, or simply couldn’t be forgotten when the story was over? And, best of all…



  1. The second I read the first Percy Jackson book, I loved him. (No, not like that!) He’s such a great character. He has disabilities in the human world, but those are his strengths in the world of gods and half-bloods. It doesn’t get much cooler than that.

  2. Quanie Mitchell says:

    I would have to say Eva Peace from Sula (strong female character who is completely unpredictable!) and Lisbeth Salander from The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo because she is also unpredictable and kicks some major behind!

  3. Fi Phillilps says:

    There are so many. Mrs Dalloway. Ben Holiday from Magic Kingdom for Sale Sold. Maya from The Traveller. Rincewind from the Pratchett books. Beautiful, colourful, flawed characters.

  4. Okay, this is REAL obscure…The Psammead in Five Children and It by E. Nesbit. This is a childrens’ book written about 100 years ago. His English name is Sand-fairy, and he’s ugly and he grants wishes by blowing himself up like a balloon. He hates getting wet.

    His first words to the 5 who discover him: “Does she always talk nonsense, or is it only the rubbish on her head (i.e. a big hat) that makes her silly?”

    The Psammead started me on my life long quest for magic. Haven’t given up yet.

  5. So many! The first two that come to mind are Rand Al’Thor from the Wheel of Time series, and believe it or not, Usopp from One Piece. I’m not sure if a manga/anime character should count, but I have rarely connected to a character so well before. The show itself has pulled so many tears of joy and sadness and rage out of me than any other story I can remember. And Usopp specifcally. He’s this completely average guy among this crew of insane superhumans. About midway through the series, he just breaks. He can’t handle some of the decisions they’ve come to and feels so inadequate, he leaves the crew for a brief time. It was heart-wrenching because I totally understood how he feels.

    Also Rand Al’Thor. Very similar reasons. He’s just this remarkably regular guy at the beginning of the series, and as the series progresses, you can really see how the weight of the responsibilities he has had thrust upon him weigh down on him. His evolution as a character and as a sheer force of nature is incredible.

    • Kiersi says:

      It’s easy to relate to an everyman placed in the path of greatness. And watching the everyman succeed in the face of all odds is so… cathartic!

  6. Looking back, I guess most of the characters I like and relate to the most are the ones that are faced with seemingly insurmountable odds and, despite their own reservations and feelings of inadequacy, they overcome them. It seems almost cliche, but when those character arcs are pulled off well, they are just incredbile.

  7. All the main typical characters have stuck with me over time – but the two that first popped to mind when reading this was Haplo and Hugh from The Deathgate Cycle by Weis & Hickman. It might be that I was coming off of Dragonlance and into the big sophistication step up into Deathgate but the richness, uniqueness, and memorability of those characters over the arc of the books were awesome. The characters that grow over time, encounter obstacles and challenges that they were an agent involved in the event & outcome, usually stick out to me. Characters that genreally remain constant end up being fairly boring (ie – Gimli, Legolas).

    • Kiersi says:

      It’s cool how many people answered with characters from fantasy or science fiction. I wonder if it’s because of exactly what you’re saying here–that characters who are allowed to grow and change are even more appealing and memorable, and it seems often only sci-fi and fantasy is allowed to go on long enough to develop characters that far.

  8. Hi! I came across your blog from She Writes. This is a great question. I would say Jane Eyre. I first read that book during a critical time in my life, and I loved her capacity to be fierce and composed all at once.

    Also, I’m not sure if you’ve read any Wally Lamb novels, but Dolores Price from “She’s Come Undone” and Dominick Birdsey from “I Know This Much is True” are indelible characters for me. They both struggled so deeply, but regenerated like pros.

    Great blog, now following 🙂

    • Kiersi says:

      So glad to have you! As far as the Brönte sisters go, I was always more of a Wuthering Heights girl. I haven’t read any of the Wally Lamb novels, but I’ll have to check them out! I’ve gotten a lot of great to-read titles out of this post 😉

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