Tuesday, May 24, 2011

My Top 10 Protagonists

And so begins a series of My Top 10's. Because if we're going to write great books, we need to look at the best and pick out ideas of how to emulate the greatness, right?
Now, I am horrible at ranking things I love (especially books and everything in them) and so this is list is not at all made up as a rank. I can't choose between all of these protagonists, I just can't. 

1. Katniss Everdeen, The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins
Ok, does this picture make anyone else want to absolutely freak out?! Anyway. Katniss. This girl is amazing. And I mean besides the obvious toughness of her, and her fierce love for those who manage to wiggle their way into her heart. She has a strength that is rare in other heroines. To me, it seems whenever a heroine is strong it's to prove to men that women are strong. Katniss does it because she just is that way, she has no one to prove it to. And her story arc is phenomenal. She had my heart and my cheers the entire time.

2. Harry Potter, Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
I think what makes Harry so great is that you essentially grow up with him. And I love seeing the growth of his character, and what is a huge part of making him one of my top protagonists. But beside this, he is very real to me, with his flaws (Order of the Phoenix anyone?) and his overwhelming courage. The struggles and doubts he has in the last book, but still persevering is something to admire.

3. Ella of Frell, Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
This is my first heroine. She was strong-willed, which made her struggles even more aggravating and made me want her happy ending so badly. She was smart and quick, and most important, willing to sacrifice for those she loved.

4. Elizabeth Bennet, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
How can you not love the genteel snark on this girl? Many a chick flick try to find a heroine who captures Lizzy's wit and match it with their own sad version of Mr. Darcy, and all have failed. Being in society while also going against it in her own special, subtle way makes Elizabeth one heck of a heroine. She learns more about herself through her mistakes, flaws that are also toned down and more realistic than some tragic flaw.

6. Evie, Paranormalcy by Kiersten White
This girl felt so real to me. Her desires and dreams, her attitude, everything felt true and realistic. The fact that she kicks butt doesn't hurt her, either. She was just this teenage girl that I could sympathize with and cheer for the entire time.

7.Anne Elliot, Persuasion by Jane Austen
Love this girl, maybe because I see so much of myself in her (egotistical much?...maybe a bit). One of Jane Austen's least regarded heroines, but an amazing protagonist. She is of a quieter kind, but her loyalty is stronger than anything. Wise, and good-hearted, she's just the type of person you want so badly to have a happy ending.

8. Anne Shirley, Anne of Green Gables (and other sequels) by L.M. Montgomery
I love this girl's imagination and dreams. She's so driven, with a flare inside of her. I mean, who doesn't cheer inside when she breaks that slate over Gilbert's head? She wants to be loved, like everyone, and her ultimate dreams (while often carried away) are things that deep down, we all want, too.

9. Tally Youngblood, Uglies series by Scott Westerfield
Tally's sense of adventure, her desire to be included, but also doubting that which would make her included had me from the beginning. I loved her strength as well as her struggles, and the story arc of everything society did to her was absolutely heart-breaking.

10. Julianna Baker, Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen
I absolutely love this character arc. I love the growth this girl goes through, I love seeing her free spirit and liveliness, of coming aware of her own feelings and the world around her. The fact that she is the only character from a contemporary book on this list says it for itself--her character is simply awesome.

A few things I've noticed: Harry is the only male on this list, probably partly because I don't read a whole lot of books with male protagonists, and females resonate with me more anyway. But more along the sides of writing, I find that a lot of these characters are strong-willed, but still struggle with internal dilemmas and the world around them. They also have obvious flaws, but they make up for it through their other traits.

What about you? Who are some of your favorite protagonists and why?


  1. I love Anne Elliot. I also like the un-named protag from Rebecca. There are just so many.

  2. Opal Bulani in Because of Winn-Dixie
    Julia Gillian in Julia Gillian
    Moon in Alabama Moon
    Katsa in Graceling - LOVE, LOVE, LOVE

    A few off the top of my head.

  3. Great list! I definitely agree with all that I've read about :) I'm glad you included Harry. I was actually having a huge debate with someone today who thought he was too angst-ridden. I mean, come on, though! The poor kid leads a miserable life and still manages to rise above it. Thanks for the excellent post! :) It must have been hard to narrow down (I suck at these kinds of lists).

  4. What awesome MCs you have there. I get super excited when I see that pic of Katniss. Yeah, I love her as an MC. Elizabeth Bennett would be my all time fave, because she's so smart. And Becky Sharp from Vanity Fair as well.
    Scarlet Ohara for her sheer determination and drive.

  5. I love that you made this list, because characters are usually my favorite things about books. Some of my favorites are Katniss and Peeta from the Hunger Games, Zane from Pretties, Phineas from A Separate Peace, Dustfinger from the Inkheart trilogy, and Keiro from Incarceron. Generally, I like strong, flawed characters.

  6. Great list!! I agree with so many of these. I haven't read any of the Anne of Green Gables books yet **hides head in shame** but I recently downloaded the first few to my kindle, so I'll remedy that soon :)

  7. I really enjoyed this post. Well done!