Thursday, August 19, 2010

Top Five Friday: Underutilized Characters

Top Five Friday

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Some authors write an amazing character and then completely neglect them. It's very upsetting. This week we are focusing on the top five characters underutilized by their authors. Want to play? Post your top five underutilized character list in your blog! You can also link back here and comment to get your link posted here.

Top Five Friday: Top Five Underutilized Characters:
Emily's List
1. Remus Lupin, from J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series. I seriously love Remus. I love the dichotomy presented in his character, between his kind, gentle nature and his werewolf nature (I refuse to consider that a spoiler. If you haven't read HP3 yet, you're never going to). After book 3, I thought he'd show up more, since he clearly cared for Harry's well being, but apart from really brief appearances in books 5 and 6, and some very lame appearances in book 7, he sort of vanished from the Harry Potter-verse. Very disappointing.

2. Christabel, from Tad Williams' Otherland quartet. The majority of this series takes place within a virtual world, which the characters have accessed by connecting their brains directly to the internet of the future. Christabel is one of the few important characters that we see only in the real world. We don't really learn much about her, as she's more of a plot device, but I would have liked to learn a bit more about her.

3. Any of the Saecular characters ("Extras") from Neal Stephenson's Anathem. I really, really enjoyed all of the characters who were from the maths in this book, but I would have liked to have known the extramuros characters just as much. It's clear that the mathic world is something of a mystery to the Extras, and most of the story is told from the mathic perspective. Also, I'd have liked to have learned more about Jules Verne Durand, though I can't explain why without giving away hugely important details about the ending.

4. Celeborn, from J.R.R. Tolkien's various writings on Middle Earth, most notably in The Silmarillion, The Fellowship of the Ring and The Return of the King. Poor Celeborn, always relegated to the backseat. His history is unclear... he just sort of popped up in time to marry Artanis, who he soon gave the name Galadriel. His most obvious importance is his role as Celebrian's father, and therefore Arwen's grandfather. Even in the movies, all he does is sort of hover behind his wife, making grim faces and talking realllllly slowly. However, I think it's important to note that he is, in many ways, an important foil to the character of Galadriel (and no one will dispute Galadriel's overall importance!). Especially in the context of his role as Lord of Lothlorien, he represents a very different sect of elvendom than most of the other prominent (Noldor) elves do. Not dependent on the rings, not someone who ever traveled to the Undying Lands and saw the light of the trees, he's very much an elf of Middle Earth, and I feel that deserves some attention, particularly in the events of The Lord of the Rings, when the time of the elves is coming to a close.

5. Death of Rats, from Terry Pratchett's Discworld novels. SQUEAK.

Emma's List
1. TenSoon from Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn series. I don't know what it was about this character, but his chapters were my favorite and I could not get enough of his sections. His entire race was probably the most interesting in the series and wasn't focused on as much as I would have liked. TenSoon particularly had interesting perspective and backstory. His relationship with Vin was my favorite part of the second book. Hey Sanderson, can you please write a Mistborn prequel about TenSoon?

2. Asha Greyjoy from George R.R. Martin's Song of Ice and Fire series. Honestly I could have chosen any number of characters from this series. All the characters are super interesting and complicated. Asha comes to mind because she is a badass and is probably doing all kinds of interesting things in the background while her brothers are being tools.

3. Jahar Narishma from Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series. He seems like a more complicated character than his screen time would suggest. I am holding out hope that he will have a major and awesome part to play in the final books!

4. Ciani from C.S. Friedman's Coldfire series. Ciani was really, really interesting at first. Then she needed to get all rescued and stuff and just got progressively weaker in character as the story went on. It could have been so different!

5. Talaan from Matthew Woodring Stover's Heroes Die. I have a big old soft spot in my heart for female warriors so Talaan naturally appealed to me. She was a fairly simple character, but it was really easy to enjoy her character and perspective. I wish she had gotten more screen time!

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