Top 10 Heroes

“Top Ten Tuesday” is a weekly blogging event created and hosted by the Broke and Bookish blog, and the theme for this week is “Top Ten Book Boyfriends/Girlfriends (Which characters do you have crushes on?)”.

Frankly, I don’t consider having “crushes” on fictional characters a good thing (and goo-goo eyes make me nauseous), but I can talk about ten characters I admire, for various reasons.

–”You know me—when I make a promise…” –”You keep it.”

1 The Master Chief
Halo 1, 2, and 3, Bungie

Heroism. Bravery. Self-sacrifice. Dedication. If you’re looking for nobility of character, look no further than the Master Chief, a super-soldier of few words who will stop at nothing to defend humanity, whatever the cost to himself.

He betrays no doubt, experiences no angst, and is super patient with the AI companion who does express anxiety, irritation, panic, and trepidation.

And while his ability to single-handedly blow through vast alien armies is impressive, he also has a gentle humility of character that makes my heart-strings play strange, mushy songs.

After barely escaping the exploding Halo and destroying three different alien threats at a blow, his first comment to his AI companion is to ask about other human survivors.

(Did I mention what a dedicated, caring friend he is?)

2 Aragorn
Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien

We’re talking about heroic heroes, right?

Aragorn is The King – strong, skilled, powerful, wise, noble, need I go on? He’s also very determined, and self-sacrificially pursues the destruction of the Dark Lord not only because it’s his ticket to marrying his one true love (his first cousin six million times removed, Arwen) but also because it’s his duty as king to bash evil.

3 Damon Konstantin
Downbelow Station, C.J. Cherryh

Faced with political unrest on his space station and successive invasions by outside forces, Damon operates with intelligence, humility, and tact to protect the local people under his charge – human and alien.

He also has a sweet romance with his wife, who has her own wells of resourcefulness, intelligence, and determination to resist the forces of destruction.

That’s rather badly explained, but if you read it you’ll know what I mean.

4 Sten Duncan
The Faded Sun trilogy, C.J. Cherryh

In this sci-fi trilogy that encompasses the interaction of three sentient races, centuries of alien history, cultural clashes, and life-or-death species struggles, the anchoring focal point is the human protagonist and his relationships with his alien captors-become-companions.

Duncan faces shattering circumstances with relatable weaknesses and struggles, but when he finally commits to a side, his loyalty is unwavering and his unique understanding of both species’ psychology makes him a key player in the world-changing struggle.

5 Sam Gamgee
Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien

I have a soft spot in my heart for humble sidekick characters. While Samwise is more bumbling than Mr. Bunter (see below), he has a sweet devotion to his master, simple dedication to their mission, and totally unassuming view of his own position.

The lure of ultimate power offered by the Ring fails to overcome him because of his firm grounding in the reality of who he is and what his capabilities are.

Also, he gets married 😍

6 Father Brown
The Innocence of Father Brown, The Wisdom of Father Brown, G.K. Chesterton

This priest with a knack for showing up just when something strange or untoward is going on has a tremendous humility coupled with keen intelligence and detective ability. He also has immense compassion for the sinners he comes across – be they thieves, murderers, or otherwise – and readily offers himself as confessor, with a view to absolution, upon unveiling their crime.

As his philosophical method of unraveling evil-doing often reminds us, the spiritual/metaphysical side of our lives is far more important than this passing flesh.

7 Shasta
The Horse and His Boy, C.S. Lewis

Shasta runs away from home with a talking horse to avoid being sold by his adoptive father, and while he suffers a number of other set-backs, hardships, and embarrassments along the way (including being bossed around by the horse, snubbed by a noblewoman, and mistaken for a visiting foreign prince) he carries himself with an unassuming grace that is more engaging to the mature who understand the strength he’s showing than the youngsters who were hoping for a hero who stood up for himself more.

And that’s the point: he doesn’t need to stand up for himself. He’s bigger than that. Does he worry about all the things he doesn’t understand? Sure – but his un-pretentious view of himself (and his trust in Aslan) make everything all right.

8 Azriel Odin
Gemini Rue, Wadjet Eye Games

This ex-assassin turned police informer has a lot of secrets in his past (like, seriously, a lot of secrets) but one core personality trait remains unchanged:

He will do what’s right, no matter what’s going on, no matter what he doesn’t understand. He’s defined by helping the defenseless ones in need – even if he doesn’t remember who he is.

One of my favorites in the series

9 Mervyn Bunter (and Lord Peter Wimsey)
Dorothy Sayers

Gentleman’s gentleman to Lord Peter Wimsey is no easy task, when you might be nursing bottles of expensive port, brushing out Savile Row suits, and analyzing corpses all in the same day. Yet Bunter conducts himself with perfect poise, efficiency, humility, tact, intelligence, calm, resourcefulness, and sacrifice. He is the type who, who out on a picnic, would have remembered the napkins.

Good thing, too, because we mustn’t handle evidence with our bare hands, now, must we?

As for Lord Peter himself, this independently wealthy amateur sleuth tracks murderers, cracks cases, and delivers plenty of deliciously witty lines. What sets him apart from other super-intelligent detectives like Sherlock Holmes or Hercule Poirot is his amiable, sometimes self-deprecating approachability. Ms. Sayers writes him in such a way as to include the reader in the feeling of cleverness – as opposed to Conan Doyle, whose Holmes is not playful about his superiority.

10 Edmund Pevensy
The Chronicles of Narnia, C.S. Lewis

I also have a soft spot in my heart for second sons…and names that start with E. But quite apart from that, while Peter is the consummate hero in bravery and strength, Edmund has the greatest character arc in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. He starts as a self-absorbed, greedy traitor, but after meeting Jesus (in the form of Aslan) he becomes a wise, thoughtful young man who helps his cousin change for the better, too.

If I’d ever seen a Captain America movie, he probably would’ve been here, too! Image credit:

BONUS: Ben McConnell
White Mesa Chronicles

As egotistic as it seems to include one of my own characters, Ben really is like my dream come true.

Apart from being “six-foot-four and full-a muscle”, he’s calm in a crisis, a loyal friend, totally devoted to Jesus, laid-back as a couch, absolutely unflappable (trust me – I did my best to make him give me some introspecting anxiety, and he would – not – cooperate!), a good-natured jokester, friendly, eager to help, and (almost) perpetually cheerful.

He’s also one of the protagonists in Book 3: Gladiator, so keep your eyes open 😉 😊

Did we have any of the same favorite characters? Which characters/people that you know are “those” friends you can trust with anything?

Kimia Wood grew up under an aspiring writer, so weaving words and spinning plots is in her blood. Join the mailing list for updates on her writing projects, including the White Mesa Chronicles: a cheerful post-apocalyptic adventure series.

3 thoughts on “Top 10 Heroes

  1. Hi, what a lovely post!! <3 This is such a unique list! My writing partner LOVES mysteries and so I know all about Father Brown and Bunter and I ADORE the fact you chose them… they certainly need a little LOVE!

    This week I twisted the topic and talked about why fall in love with characters…

    • Thanks so much for stopping by! I like the way you’ve tweaked the theme to talk about character traits — it’s always fun to see people’s creativity : )

  2. Pingback: "Ender's Game" by Orson Scott Card - Kimia Wood

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