Today on the Alley we couldn't help but talk about the characters we love and why we love them. These protagonists and heroes have inspired us to write the great characters in our books.
Curious who we're talking about?
Pull up a chair and join us. AND then in the comment section tell us your favorite character and why you chose that character.
I chose Liam Neeson's character, Jean Valjean, from Les Meserables. After release from jail, Valjean reforms his life by learning how to read, becoming elected as a city official, owning a business. Despite Javert's intense desire to put the ex-convict back in jail, Valjean holds no ill feelings. He fights throughout the story to live the life God would have him do, forgiving others for what they do to him, and helping those in need. I prefer the ending of this version, the look on Valjean's face in the closing scene, when he knows he is free. A powerful character demonstrating forgiveness and choosing to do right even when it's difficult.
Pepper Basham says:
Okay, I'm going to be totally weird here and put Aragorn from The Lord of the Rings - because he's a compassionate, gentle, and courageous man who is insecure and has to find confidence to express the 'king' inside
Sherrinda Ketchersid says:
Okay . . . let's see. How about Sandra Bullock in Miss Congeniality! She loves her job, doesn't care about appearances, doesn't mind just being one of the guys and yet, she comes to truly care for those around her while undercover. While she might disdain their vanity at first, she comes to respect and love them in the end. And she is an ugly duckling who turns into a beautiful swan who gets the guy in teh end. (Always a great thing!)
Oh this one is EASY!!!!!
Kathleen Kelly played by Meg Ryan in You've Got Mail. Oh my goodness, what is not to like! She has spunk and a bit of whit and loves books and is just a wee bit sneaky. I rooted for her even though she was "technically" online cheating on her current boyfriend, which is not something I'd normally root for.
Casey Herringshaw says,
Kate, from My Stubborn Heart by Becky Wade!! She's spunky, sweet and a wee bit sassy. She's got that great mix of won't back down, but sweet heart/innocence. Ahh, love her!
Julia Reffner says,
OK, I have lots of favorites but here's one: Peter Joshua (AKA Cary Grant) in Charade. The viewer LOVES him, wants to see him with Regina Lampert (AKA Audrey Hepburn), but we remain unsure of his motives until the bitter end. Great mystery, great chemistry between him and Audrey, and lots of funny lines.
Angie Dicken says:
I love Helena Bonham Carter as Lady Jane Grey. It's an old movie (Lady Jane). She is a true heroine in the movie because she finds a pure love with Guilford, and together they fight for their faith (eventually dying because of it). It's a beautiful picture of sacrifice and eternal focus. She quotes Plato in the movie, and it keeps her strong until the end:
"The soul takes flight into the world that is eternal, and there arriving she is sure of bliss and forever dwells in Paradise."
Chills! And I haven't seen that movie in years! Love!!!
Ashley Clark says,
I KNEW Krista was going to take Kathleen Kelly! Girl, we are so on the same wavelength.:)
Mary interrupting here, I wanted Kathleen Kelly too. Krista was quick on the draw
I'm going to go with Susan, Katharine Hepburn's character in Bringing up Baby. I like her because she's clever, witty, and hilarious. She follows her heart, and she's sassy. Also, another thing I think makes her a great character is that she defies our expectations. We know she's quirky, and yet she still continues to surprise us when she takes David's golf ball in the middle of his business game, steals a car from downtown, and cares for a leopard without the least bit of fear. She keeps us guessing--and more importantly, laughing--and never fails to sparkle.
Karen Schravemade says,
I'd have to go with Hadassah, from A Voice in the Wind by Francine Rivers. I love how her insecurities and fears make her so relatable - how she struggles with real life temptations - but her faith in God gives her a rock-solid strength she doesn't even realize she possess. All throughout the book, she sees herself as this timid mouse of a thing, and worries if she would have the courage to profess her faith in God if the outcome is death. In the end, God gives her the strength to stand strong, even when she's thrown to the lions. The character of Hadassah has stayed with me for years.
Amy Leigh Simpson says,
Okay, so not fair! Karen took mine!! soul sister.
I'm gonna go with Meg Ryan's character, Kate, from French Kiss. She has a great balance of spunk and vulnerability. She fights for her heart, hangs on to her bravado even when torn and defeated. And even though she is stubborn, she knows when to surrender and dare to dream of something more.
So What stands out in the characters we love?
*and courageous man who is insecure and has to find confidence to express the 'king' inside
*an ugly duckling who turns into a beautiful swan who gets the guy
*spunk and a bit of wit and loves books
*just a wee bit sneaky
*great mix of won't back down, but sweet heart/innocence
*spunky, sweet, and a wee bit sassy
*great mystery, great chemistry, funny lines
*a beautiful picture of sacrifice and eternal focus
*she fights for her faith even to the point of death
*clever, witty, hilarious, sassy
*defies our expectations
*her faith in God gives a rock solid strength
*insecurities that make her relatable
*balance of spunk and vulnerability
*fights for her heart
*hangs on to her bravado even when torn and defeated
*knows when to surrender
*dares to dream of something more
Notice the themes in the answers?
*courageous, won't back down, sacrifice, fights, hangs on to her bravado, knows when to surrender, dares to dream Readers want to identify with characters who are willing to fight, take on challenges that are bigger than life, and yes, sometimes the fight means sometimes possessing the strength to surrender.
*insecure, vulnerability Readers want characters to show a human side. What is their weakness, how do they need help. One of the songs from Princess Diaries has this line: "I'm super girl and I've come to save the world, but I want to know, who's gonna save me?" This moment of vulnerability draws the readers compassions into the story.
*beautiful swan, sweat heart, great chemistry Readers, of course are drawn to stories with the sweet character, the couple with a great chemistry. Sometimes these characters melt our ugly, real circumstance into a cozy story and help us view our own circumstance differently.
*spunk, sneaky Readers root for the spunky/sneaky character. The one who shows spirit and is willing to fight back not just with strength, but with attitude.
*hilarious, funny lines What reader doesn't like a spice of humor?
*clever, witty Readers want the character to be be more than average. Think things through, quick on their feet, even if mistakes are made he/she gets back on their feet.
*faith, eternal focus Why do stories like Hadassah-A Voice in the Wind, Redeeming Love, Ben Hur, and other stories of faith hold such power? Even if the character dies in the end? Because the tremendous power of faith, the choice to hold fast to a conviction against any end. Readers become empowered with these works.
All right. You've heard our answers. Now, tell us yours.
What character do you love?
Name the book or movie the character is from and tell why you love the character.
photos courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net
Mary has moved to Michigan with her husband, closer to her three college kids. She misses the mountains of Montana, but loves seeing family more often. She writes contemporary Christian fiction with a focus on the homeless population and loves to pen missionary and Bible adventure stories on her ministry blog, God Loves Kids.