11.06.2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Fictional Characters Who Defied Bad Politicians

So yeah, can you tell I'm disenchanted with election day? There's not much that's less inspiring to me than politics, which realm seems to favor any man who can prove his principles to be a dangerously unstable amalgam of a used car salesman's and a jackass'. Ergo, grumpy blogger who refuses to go anywhere near Facebook today.

Being an optimist, however, I can usually come up with some happy thoughts. Here are ten.

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish! Do come join the fun...

Literature is full of heroes and heroines who stand up to corrupt power. If only it were as simple as Harry makes it look, right?

1. Harry Potter. For refusing to champion the Ministry of Magic while Scrimgeour was making false arrests. Down with dirty political shenanigans, like trying to pacify the public while undermining their safety and well-being! Honorable mention to Hermione and Ron for backing Harry entirely; especially Hermione, as she knew or at least upheld the law better than Scrimgeour did. The Harry Potter books, J.K. Rowling

2. Albus Dumbledore. For refusing to join Cornelius Fudge in lying to the public. Even though it eventually meant his own arrest. (Well, attempted arrest. These things would be so much easier if one were vastly smarter and more magically powerful than the leaders of one's world. And if one had Fawkes for a pet.) The Harry Potter books, J.K. Rowling

3. Andrew 'Ender' Wiggin. For standing up to mayor and bishop and Starways Congress alike to save Lusitania. Ender merits perhaps the highest honors of anyone on this list, as he respects rightful authority—both secular and religious—and challenges it, when necessary, with wisdom and humility. Speaker for the Dead, Orson Scott Card

4. Maria Merryweather. For telling off her own wealthy relation and making him give Paradise Hill back to God. The Little White Horse, Elizabeth Goudge

5. Mortimer Folchart. For sabotaging his own work to keep the Adderhead from becoming immortal, at the risk of his own life. The Inkworld books, Cornelia Funke

6. Rand al'Thor. For being apparently the first man in centuries to stand up to the Aes Sedai, even their Amyrlin Seat, and for having no patience whatsoever with subtle political games (which is generally an impractical tactic, but refreshing). Of course, Rand developed his own set of problems in coming to power, which happens, especially when you're using a tainted form of magic that's slowly driving you mad. But he still managed to turn things around and become a good guy again. The Wheel of Time, Robert Jordan

7. Anidori-Kiladra Talianna Isilee. For arguing with the king of Bayern and his council to prevent a very unjust war with Kildenree. You go, sixteen-year-old girl. The Goose Girl, Shannon Hale

8. Frodo Baggins and Samwise Gamgee. For marching into the Dark Lord's territory to destroy his source of power in his own forging fire. That takes guts. The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien

9. Treebeard. For calling out the Ents and marching against Saruman. Three cheers for the tree-shepherds! The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien

10. Mark Studdock. For the line "It's all bloody nonsense, and I'm damned if I do any such thing." No, he's not the most deserving character. Mark is a chump at best through most of the story, and even this act of bravery doesn't shake him entirely free of his idiocy, but it becomes his own redemption. Sometimes, all any of us chumps can do is keep ourselves from becoming evil. That Hideous Strength, C.S. Lewis

Hmmm. There's nothing like getting to the bottom of a top-ten list and realizing you left out The Hunger Games and Twilight. Frankly, I'm not sure which would be more terrifying: facing down a cabal of powerful and ruthless vampires, or defying a sadistic human government with innumerable sci-fi horrors at its disposal. So—

11 and 12. Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark. For breaking the Games rules, refusing to submit under torture, and standing up to both Presidents Snow and Coin. Bravery of the first order, there.

13, 14, 15, 16, and beyond. Bella, Alice, Carlisle, and Edward Cullen and friends, all for taking direct and unbelievably courageous action against the Volturi. Way to defend the freedom to live in peace.

All right. I spouted this list off the top of my head—obviously. Who am I forgetting, and who do I not know?

15 comments:

  1. But I've been posting brilliant stuff on Facebook all day!! ;)

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    1. HAHA. Dang it, George, don't tempt me! I'm doing this for my own sanity. I can read your brilliance tomorrow. :P

      All right, I already see that I forgot Percy Jackson, who stood up to the gods several times. The fussy, unpredictable Greek gods, no less. That definitely requires some spine.

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    2. But I've already seen one election related Harry Potter comment! :)

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    3. Gah, curiosity! Well, I can read Travis' brilliance tomorrow, too. So there! ;)

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  2. Fred and George Weasley, who stood up to Dolores Umbridge, retrieved their brooms, and with an insult, flew out from Hogwarts in a blaze of glory.

    Severus Snape who bravely lived a double life that brought him torment and suspicion, who helped defeat Voldemort and his plans for tyranny.

    --Arabella

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    1. Fred and George! I can't believe I didn't even think of them... that's seriously one of the most satisfying scenes in the whole series. :D And yes, Snape is absolutely deserving of mention, too. "One of them was a Slytherin, and he was probably the bravest man I ever knew."

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  3. I'm so glad you mentioned Mark, it's really his best moment, and the poor guy doesn't have a lot of good moments!

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    1. He really doesn't... that's almost the only one, till the last chapter or two. But I can't help but love him. :)

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  4. I was relieved and pleased to see that you hadn't stooped to including Katniss and Peeta--and then there they were, like the 11th Commandment. Oh well! :P

    I honestly don't think they deserve a place on a top 10. Top 500, maybe, but not top 10. Not when we need to add Snape to the list, or Sidney Carton, or Rev. Kumalo, or Rorshach, or the Doctor, or Sam Vimes, or Jefferson Smith, or the Continental op, or Jean Valjean--

    Hm, standing up to bad politicians seems to be kinda fashionable in literature, come to think about it.

    Oh, what about Christopher Columbus? His round-world defiance of the flat-world church authorities was pure fiction, entirely made up by Washington Irving. Does that count? ;)

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    1. :P OK, I mentioned K&P because I figured if I didn't, someone else would make sure they got called forward. But really, have you read Mockingjay? What Peeta did was pretty impressive.

      Anyway, I shot this list off in a flaming hurry while staring at my bookshelves. But I CAN'T BELIEVE I forgot Jean Valjean. Apparently I was staring at the wrong bookshelf.

      I've yet to make acquaintance with the rest of the other gentlemen you mention. Except for Snape, of course. But then, this list could've been drawn entirely from Harry Potter.

      Christopher Columbus... ahahahahahahahah. If fictionalized accounts of history are allowed, especially ones that everyone vaguely believes, we could go on for a very, very long time.

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  5. It's way too obvious, but V for Vendetta was a graphic novel before a book, and V is a great character!

    Sorry I missed this post on election day. Would have kept me a little saner than I was.

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    1. Haha, it was not a particularly sane day. I've never heard so many perfectly normal people discuss being tempted to write fictional characters into the write-in blanks on the ballots. Myself included. ;)

      I've never read V--never read a graphic novel, as a matter of fact, but perhaps those things need to change.

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  6. It's way too obvious, but V for Vendetta was a graphic novel before a book, and V is a great character!

    Sorry I missed this post on election day. Would have kept me a little saner than I was.

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  7. I meant, graphic novel before a movie.

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    1. LOL. I knew just what you meant--didn't even notice you'd said it wrong!

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