Aug 6, 2013

30 Day Challenge: Day 15

Day 15: Favorite Male Character

"One of the bravest men I knew."

Are you kidding me? How in the world are you possibly supposed to pick one favorite character out of the myriad of phenomenal choices? If there are too many books to choose from, how on EARTH are we supposed to narrow that even further to a singular male character? 

Ugh. Life is hard. 

But, I am going to go with my gut, with my very first instinct when I read the prompt. It might just be best to not over-think it. 

My favorite male character is Severus Snape.
In many ways, Snape is the ideal anti-hero. Loathed from the very first time he's introduced in The Sorcerer's Stone, Snape spends a majority of the Harry Potter series leaving a bad taste in the mouths of readers around the world. As a seemingly star-player for the armies of the dark lord, Snape is cunning, ruthless, and acerbic; as one of Voldemort's most valued servants, Snape does a masterful job of warding away our affection, which makes his ascension to well-loved and revered all the more meaningful. In the effort to minimize spoilers, I wont disclose much of his story. It bears mentioning, however, that the tragedy of his character is founded on unrequited love and years of adolescent torture--two threads I find so intriguing, thematically.

And for as much as I could write on how well crafted and powerful Snape's character is, my love for him could easily be boiled down to one detail:

We're both Slytherins. 


I've never actually thought about who my favorite male character is in a book, nor any character for that matter. I love character development but I've never simply read a book or a series of books based on a character. The first ones that come to mind are Atticus Finch, Huck Finn, Mr. Darcy, and Jonas (The Giver). As much stock as I put in the character and intelligence of Atticus Finch, I decided he isn't my favorite male character. I may have named my dog after Huckleberry Finn, but again, he isn't my favorite male character. So, I'm stuck between Mr. Darcy and Jonas!

Now most people would say Mr. Darcy is a stuck-up "gentleman" for the majority of Pride and Prejudice. But I disagree. Mr. Darcy is very much a gentleman, and a perfectly reserved one at that, who just happens to be trapped by society into behaving like a real ass in the beginning of the book, but in the end he chooses love and his true character over what society thinks and expects. I approve of his reserved character -- the man who nobody really gets to know because he doesn't want the gossipmongers digging into his private life. But of course, if you keep too much to yourself, gossipmongers spread rumors anyway. He's the twist in the book that Pride and Prejudice so very much needed in the end in order to show what a good gentleman is and how one should behave. 

Lois Lowry's The Giver is a whole new perspective on the norms of society, and how we accept so much of what authorities would have us believe. This is why I love Jonas - as a young boy he has the courage to see the right and the wrong, the faith to trust that there is good in the world, and the wonder to try to find it. At such a young age he takes on a huge burden and his understanding leads him to a very definite action that will change his life and the course of his community forever. He is a hero who has all the right makings - compassion, courage, integrity, selflessness - and he is so young. It's inspiring. Lowry created the perfect protagonist.

Now you see why I can't choose - I love a good gentleman, and I love the true, unexpected hero.


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