I always say that characters are my favourite thing about any series. Time to say why!
This week’s TTT topic was submitted by Hannah @ Books Life and Other Oddities! What makes you love a character in one of your books? What is it about their character or their personality that makes you pull for them or fall in love with them or want to make them your very own significant other/parent/best friend/etc.? That’s what this week’s topic is all about!
1. Inability to Connect to Others
I always feel connected to characters who cannot connect to others. From characters Murderbot who are not actually human, to the ultra-powerful like The Rowan, who is so powerful that from an early age she started working and overseeing others, always knowing that she will not have an equal yet desperately craving one. Clayton from Kelley Armstrong’s Women of the Otherworld also has this problem, but because he doesn’t give a shit about others he doesn’t like (and I love him).
2. An Unerring, Unwavering Sense of Duty
Ia from Theirs Not to Reason Why is one of my favourite characters, and it is because she knows what she has to do and she will stop at nothing to do it. She will break every rule, she will sacrifice anything and anyone, all to save the future. There are other characters that fit this, too. Bren from C.J. Cherryh’s Foreigner, for example. I just love them to pieces!
3. Fight Against the Impossible – And Worry About it!
A lot of fantasy has characters face the impossible, but the characters I care about the most are the ones who agonize over this. They worry they aren’t going to do what they have to. They worry that someone will get hurt. They worry about the impact things have on others. They aren’t arrogant, and I love them for it!
4. Beat to Their Own Drum
How can you hate a character who does their thing despite others thinking them weird? Mirasol from McKinley’s Chalice raises BEES! All while others look at her oddly for this habit. Charley Davidson is perhaps one of the oddest characters I’ve come across, as she just doesn’t care what others think about her and her crazy antics, and it is endearing!
5. Overpowered, Yet Responsible
This one is the best! I love characters that are super responsible with their powers. This is most evidenced in Jaenelle from The Black Jewels. When we first meet her, she is something like 8 years old, yet already she is more powerful than pretty much everyone and knows how to be responsible with them. God yes, please, more of this!
6. Have a Terrible Childhood
Yeah, I’m a sucker for broken characters. Give them the worst childhood ever, and then make them work past it. Colbana from J.C. Daniel’s Colbana Files is someone I adore, yet she was tortured and abused for most of her childhood. Nathan from Half Bad, we see a lot of his abuse. Even characters like Fitz who don’t actually have it truly terrible, but bad enough for them to feel it.
7. Break Them Down
Take that sense of duty, take their childhood, take their responsibility AND CRUSH THEM WITH IT. I will be on that character’s side in a heartbeat. They can be the worst soul, and I will still love them if you can make me want them to win against all the shit they got put through. I hated Atticus in The Iron Druid Chronicles, but that ending made me feel for him and I almost liked him by that point. I liked Alexandra in Grigori Legacy, but her plight made me love her. Basically everyone I love from Robin Hobb. God, so many other characters. Just destroy the character’s life, you’ve got me hooked and loving them.
8. Good Relationships
Give me the characters who have good relationships. Not just with a Significant Other. With their friends, with their family. I can’t stand characters who sabotage every relationship they have because of petty jealousies and misunderstandings. Kate and Curran from Ilona Andrews’ Kate Daniels series work through the issues they have, even if it takes a physical fight to do it. Mercy Thompson and Adam Hauptman have an amazing understanding of who each other are. Diago, Miquel, and Rafael from T. Frohock’s Los Nefilim have an AMAZING family unit. I need more of that, in particular.
9. The Ability to Have Fun
Something a bit rare for me personally, I do enjoy a character who can have fun. Having a single scene where things aren’t serious and they character has fun with others can do a hell of a lot to endear me to them. From Meg’s childlike-innocence in Anne Bishop’s The Others, to Teagan’s Frost desire to not be serious in The Girl Who Could Move Sh*t With Her Mind. Sometimes everyone just needs a small break!
10. Not Perfect
Lastly, make the characters not perfect. Every single one I’ve named so far has messed up. They’ve failed in certain tasks. They’ve gotten people killed that they didn’t mean to. The important thing is that they tried and they failed.
Hope this gave a better understanding into why I like characters!