This week, the Broke and the Bookish are covering…Top Ten Miner Characters!
1. Des, Darth Bane: Path of Destruction (Drew Karpyshyn)
It’s a hard life being an abused miner’s son, forever trying to work off your father’s debt and getting nowhere. But when he kills a man in self-defense and joins the armies of the Sith to escape, Des’ path changes completely, and —
1. Athena (Percy Jackson series, Rick Riordian)
Although the mother of one of the series’ lead characters, Athena doesn’t make many appearances beyond glowering at Percy because he’s getting her daughter into trouble. She intimates that foul things will befall him if Annabeth is hurt. But I like the goddess Athena in general, so I looked forward to her every (marginal) scene. She stands for wisdom, justice, and civilization in general, so she’s hard not to appreciate that. Add the influence of her patron city Athens upon history, and the fact that she’s a lady-of-war, and you’ve got a deity worth reading about.
2. Young Mister Leach, The Sea Wolf. Jack London.
I haven’t actually finished The Sea Wolf, but barring supernatural intervention I’m sure Mr. Leach’s time has passed. Mr. Leach is a boy, perhaps one on the cusp of adolescence. He signs on the sealing schooner Ghost as a cabin boy, not realizing what a tyrannous and brutal monster its captain is. While all the grown men he ships with cower in fear of the ship’s master, Leach stands trembling in anger and defiance, refusing to submit — displaying the manly courage that the narrator, despite his age and size, yet lacks.
3. Fred, A Christmas Carol. Charles Dickens.
“What right have you to miserable? You’re rich!”
Fred is Ebeneezer Scrooge’s nephew, the only child of his beloved sister Fran. Fred — Scrooge grudgingly admits — reminds him much of Fran, in kindly temperament and cheerful disposition. Fred cajoles his uncle to find the meaning in the season, and refuses to regard his grumpy uncle with anything less than affection…even though Scrooge is often insulting toward him.
4. Professor Binns, Harry Potter series.
As a student of history, the all-too-brief mentions of Harry’s history classes always intrigued me, as did the idea of a professor who was a ghost. Pity he made the subject dull for his listeners, though.
5. Mr. Bush, Horatio Hornblower. C.S. Forester
In the first three Captain Hornblower stories, Bush serves as Hornblower’s faithful first lieutenant, though later stories indicated that the two gentlemen had a storied earlier career when they were both lieutenants. The books’ version of Mr. Bush and the movies’ vary a bit in personality (the movies are all set during their earlier days), but I like them both the same. Every time Lieutenant, then Captain Bush appeared by Hornblower’s side I smiled with inexplicable pleasure.
6.Two-Bit, The Outsiders. S.E. Hinton
Two-Bit is one of the most memorable characters in Hinton’s novels for me, though I don’t know if my mental impression of him fits with that which she put forth in fiction. I see a man with luxurious, frizzy red sideburns and a purple-flannel shirt. Two-Bit is notable for his charm and theatric talents: at the novel’s midpoint, he breaks the tension by going into an act that reminds me of “Gee, Officer Krupke” from West Side Story.
7. The Turtle, The Grapes of Wrath. John Steinbeck.
Remember reading The Grapes of Wrath and witnessing Steinbeck cut away from the action every chapter or so to follow a turtle walking up the highway? There aren’t many scenes I remember from the book, but that’s one of them.
8.Polly Espey, “Love is a Fallacy”. Max Shulman
This short story is one of my favorites from The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis. Essentially, Dobie teaches her to think logically, in hopes of turning her into an intellectual giant worthy of his romantic affection, and she turns it against him.
9. Lucien Wilbanks, multiple John Grisham novels. (A Time to Kill, The Last Juror)
Wilbanks is an interesting character. If I recall correctly, he served as an iconoclastic mentor in Grisham’s original work, but in The Last Juror — set in the seventies — cast him in a more despicable, almost villainous light.
10. Nova Stihl, Death Star. Michael Reaves.
Death Star is the story of A New Hope from the viewpoint of soldiers and civilians aboard the Death Star, and Stihl is one of the more interesting characters in the varied cast. He’s a student of philosophy — the kind who would be studying Stoicism or Zen Buddhism were this novel set in our universe. He’s such an interesting character that I’d like to see more of him.