The good news, however, is that I have ever so many more than ten favorite characters.
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Here, then, are ten more whom I dearly love. Wait—maybe more than ten, as I'm only allowing myself to pick one per story. If I don't limit myself that way, certain populous sagas have unfair advantages.
1. Wanderer and Ian from Meyer's The Host. Both of them are exceptionally pure of heart, able to grow beyond their own failings (Ian's concessions to physical violence, Wanderer's consent to her people's murder of human souls).
2. Egwene al'Vere and Nynaeve al'Meara from Jordan's The Wheel of Time series. It's difficult to say which of these Two Rivers women I admire more; they're opposites in temperature (Egwene cool, Nynaeve warm) but near equals in strength and love.
3. Amy March from Alcott's Little Women. And Beth. And Jo. And Marmee. And Meg. I don't know why I love Amy so much, as I myself am sort of a Meg with splashes of Jo and a great wish to be more like Beth. It might just be that Amy's story is more interesting on certain levels. I love the way she grows from cold and bratty child to graceful and loving woman.
4. Jean Valjean from Hugo's Les Miserables. Once shown grace, again and again he chose to do what was right rather than what was easy.
5. Elizabeth and Jane Bennet from Austen's Pride and Prejudice. Two respectably, lovably human characters in a brilliantly-told story. I have a strong sympathy for both of them.
6. Samwise Gamgee and Frodo Baggins from Tolkien's Lord of the Rings. The movies influence me here; Sam is wonderful in the book, but Sean Astin's portrayal of him might be the best and most beautiful thing about the adaptations. In the book, Frodo appealed to me more strongly. I can never resist a pure-hearted sufferer.
7. Cor and Aravis from Lewis' The Horse and His Boy. I love both of them equally: the ragged, bickering little peasant boy with the heart of a prince, and the domineering little Tarkheena with the soul of a lady.
8. Dobby from Rowling's Harry Potter books, especially the last. He's mostly comical and pathetic in Chamber of Secrets, but I adored him in Goblet of Fire, and cried over him in Deathly Hallows.
9. Sofya Semyonovna in Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment. The harlot with the heart of gold is an old trope, but Sonya is the very image of faith, hope and charity trapped in sin. She's one of the most redemptive figures I've ever come across in fiction.
10. Beatrice from Shakespeare's Much Ado about Nothing. And Benedick. Born "to speak all mirth and no matter" under "a star [that] danced", she's hilarious and lovable and the perfect foil for loudmouthed, also-hilarious bachelor Benedick.
I could, of course, keep going. Perhaps the question will come around again someday.
You're welcome to cheer for your favorite fictional characters in the comments!