top 5 wednesday: Favorite Minor Characters

Top Five Wednesday was created by Lainey from gingerreadslainey and is currently hosted by Sam from Thoughts on Tomes. Check out the goodreads group to learn more.

May 24th: Favorite Minor Characters.

It’s Wednesday again?!  Usually I prepare these posts in advance, but this week it snuck up on me!

Anyway, minor characters.  Let’s go.

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Andromache (The Iliad by Homer).  As if I could go a week without mentioning the Iliad.  Very few characters in this thousand-page epic can be described as ‘minor,’ but as she’s only in a couple of scenes, I think Andromache fits the bill.  Wife of the Trojan hero Hector and mother of their son Astyanax, Andromache’s character adds some much-needed humanity to this larger than life story, and her scenes are always my favorite to read.

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Volkheimer (All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr).  Half of what’s so compelling and heartbreaking about this book are the characters that Doerr creates – each one feels so three-dimensional, not just the two main characters.  Frederick, Etienne, and Jutta are all likewise incredible characters (Frederick in particular), but the one that stands out to me the most from this story is actually Volkheimer, one of the students that Werner meets at his Hitler Youth school.  Volkheimer, massive and imposing in stature and a star pupil, seems to be the model German soldier.  But he’s also quiet and thoughtful and loves classical music, and he’s gentle with Werner and their friendship is so compelling.  One of the best things about this book is how Doerr really brings to life how tragic the Hitler Youth was, and how these children really were just victims – Werner and Frederick and Volkheimer in particular.

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Finnick Odair (The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins).  ‘Mockingjay’?  Never heard of it.  I’m only familiar with the third installment of this franchise called ‘Finnick Odair Lives Happily Ever After’ – it stars Finnick, and, you guessed it, he lives happily ever after.  Not sure what happens with Katniss and the revolution and all that, but Finnick!!! lives happily ever after!!!

 

30319086Filippa Kosta (If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio).  I loved all of the characters in this book, James in particular, but probably the most intriguing character is one who lurks somewhat in the background through the whole thing, Filippa.  In this tight-knit group of friends who have known each other for years, Filippa is the only one who remains an enigma, as she’s deliberately vague in sharing any information about her family or home life with her friends.  We find out the reason why that is by the end of the book, and it’s awfully sad, but Filippa remains a favorite because of the sheer strength of her character, because of the things she’s able to accept and deal with where the rest of her friend group is too afraid.  She’s fantastic and I wish she had a larger role – on stage and off!

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Viserys Targaryen (A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin).  It was hard to narrow it down to just one from the massive host of characters in the ASOIAF universe, and this probably seems like a bit of a random choice, but I actually adore Viserys’ character.  Not because I think he’s secretly a good person or anything like that – I love him as a tragic villain.  He’s multifaceted and interested and his relationship with Dany is horrible and compelling.  I wish he hadn’t died as early as he does, especially in the show, because Harry Lloyd’s performance remains one of my favorites in the entire series.

Who are some of your favorite minor characters?  Comment and let me know!

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25 thoughts on “top 5 wednesday: Favorite Minor Characters

  1. Yyyeessss! Joining in on the Finnick love fest- he’s just the best! Viserys is a super interesting choice that I would not have thought of. He wasn’t in the series very long, but you’re so right in picking him- what would Dany be like without him and his influence growing up? Are you excited for the show to start back up soon? I know I am!

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    • Yes, exactly!!! I find Viserys and his dynamic with Dany to be so fascinating, and I like to wonder about how it would have changed had he lived longer. I mean, what would have happened if he lived to see Dany walk out of the fire – that would have changed everything! I just love a good villain and Viserys was a GREAT one, if only we could have done more with him 😦

      And yes, Finnick!!! I’ve seen him on so many people’s lists and I love it so much.

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    • Oh and I am really excited to see my girl Sansa hopefully kick ass this season!!!! 💕💕 honestly I’m more invested in the books than the show, but there are certain characters I love so much on screen and can’t wait to see how their narratives end!

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      • Oh, really?? 5 was actually far and away my least favorite! I think it’s largely a matter of preference though – all of my favorite characters had POV chapters in A Feast for Crows (Sansa, Arya, Cersei, Jaime etc) which left all of my least favorites for A Dance with Dragons (Bran, Jon, Dany, Davos, Tyrion – that isn’t to say I dislike their characters necessarily, I’m just less invested in their narratives). So yeah, 3 was definitely my favorite book but I didn’t mind 4 at all, it was 5 that was a slog for me! But I do know some people who hated 4 and loved 5, so maybe it’ll work better for you!

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  2. I totally agree on your choice of Viserys. He is such a tragic villain, and his madness and crave for the crown is a storyline that I found fascinating to read, if a doomed one. Harry Lloyd’s performance was brilliant!

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    • Yes, that’s exactly it! I am such a sucker for a good tragic villain, and Viserys was such a great one, with his family history of madness and obsession with achieving glory at all costs – it was so doomed from the start but all the more compelling for that fact. His relationship with Dany too was always really morbidly fascinating to me. Ugh Harry Lloyd was so good, I keep wishing the show would bring him back in some sort of dream sequence or something – his performance always stood out to me as one of the best in that ensemble.

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  3. Ahhhh okay I love the characters you chose for the Iliad, All the Light We Cannot See, and The Hunger Games (I haven’t read the other two books). I found Andromache to be super compelling and like you said, a great touch of humanity to the Iliad. Volkeimer!! I read this book like 2 years ago and all my emotions are rushing back about him, and poor Werner. And Finnick…is an injustice I’ll never be able to accept.

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    • Omg you need to read If We We’re Villains, it is just reminiscent enough of The Secret History and gives off the same sort of vibe, I think you’d like it!

      But YES omg I’m so glad you agree on the others! I love Andromache so much, I was initially considering a different character from the Iliad (Diomedes) but then realized my list was overwhelmingly male characters, so I switched to my girl Andromache. Ahhhh I’m glad you also loved Volkheimer, I know that Frederick tends to be the fan favorite from that book (with good reason!!!) but I was so invested in Volkheimer. Oh god, Werner 😭😭😭 he is still one of my favorite characters from anything ever. Reading the summary before I started the book I actually thought I’d be way more invested in Marie-Laure than Werner, but nope! I loved Werner so much. That book DESTROYED ME.

      Thankfully in denial land there is no Finnick related injustice to accept!!! He is living happily ever after!!! All is well!!!

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      • I REALLY have to get that book, it’s been on my radar since I read your review of it. I have a feeling I’ll really like it!!

        I love the Iliad so much, I actually only read it last year because I was on a mythology kick. And WERNER, I loved him the most too. He broke my heart, he was too good. Whenever I see someone say they didn’t like that book, I’m like, HOW??? And I was so into The Hunger Games during the hight of their popularity, but that series ended a bit too hard for me. I needed a little more mercy, lol.

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      • Ahhhhh I love when other people also love the Iliad, it is the best! I am a huge Greek mythology nerd so I’ve read it twice (once for school though) and I love it so much. I am actually planning another reread at some point soon hopefully!

        I never understand why people dislike All the Light either! Maybe it’s a ‘too much hype killed it’ thing?? I read it before the hype got too crazy, so that could be it… but even so, it is an AMAZING book?! It gets the distinction of being one of three books to ever actually make me cry. Damn you, Werner.

        Ugh I was really into the Hunger Games too but I hated Mockingjay so much, even for reasons having nothing to do with Finnick. It was just a poorly paced book and Katniss just sat on the sidelines the whole time and too much was crammed into the end, and Finnick’s and Prim’s death scenes were written so poorly. And the cringe worthy epilogue, ugh. Usually I like darkness and angst in my books but I agree, Mockingjay just went off the deep end.

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      • Somehow I got through high school and college, studying English, History and some Greek Mythology on the side without ever having to read the Iliad. I wish I had because that thing is tricky to read on your own! But I’d just read Song of Achilles and I was invested lol, I needed to read the original for myself. Definitely worth reading multiple times. I really want to go to Greece one day and see the monuments and such for myself.

        I also read All the Light before all the hype, but I feel like I would have loved it anyway…the story and the writing are so beautiful! I remember I was talking to someone in person about it and they said “the writing is weird” and I was kind of like “oh I think it’s pretty…” but inside I was like WHAT DO YOU MEAN WEIRD?? IT’S BEAUTIFUL. Most books I can accept a wayward opinion of, but this one I’ll take insult to heart, lol.

        I totally agree about Mockinjay. I loved the first two books and was enraptured by them, but then Mockinjay slowed waaay down and I got bored by it. That whole series had a bit of a strange balance. But yeah, Prim’s death was just too much and too quick. I also like some death and darkness at the end of a series like this one, but Mockingjay just crossed a line. And that epilogue….ehhhh.

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      • Oh my god that’s so funny, I was JUST talking to my friend Chelsea about how usually I love reading negative reviews, even of books I enjoyed just because I like hearing different perspectives, but there are some books where I just take negative reviews weirdly personally. I’m like that with A Little Life which is a shame because I know a ton of people who HATED that book, which I do understand on the one hand because it’s a really emotionally draining book, but it’s just so close to my heart that I can’t deal with reading negative reviews!!! Also one of my friends just gave Pachinko 3 stars (which is one of the best books I’ve read so far this year) and I’m scared to ask what she didn’t like about it, like on the one hand I’m honestly curious but on the other hand I just don’t want to hear it! So yeah, all that to say I understand completely. I hate hearing people criticize All the Light, it hurts my heart a little bit!!

        My mom just got back from fulfilling her lifelong dream of going to Greece and I am SO JEALOUS! My parents did a week in Rome, a week in Athens, and a week in the Greek islands and it sounds so amazing I could die. Number one location on the proverbial bucket list for sure.

        The Song of Achilles is what inspired me to re-read the Iliad as well! I’d read the Iliad freshman year of college and enjoyed it well enough but at the same time I hadn’t been properly invested in the characters, but now that I was I had to read it again with this new perspective, and I just became obsessed. I still love TSOA but nothing compares to the original. I’m also a little bitter at Madeline Miller painting Hector as a bit of a one-dimensional villain when he is THE BEST character in the Iliad, but obviously TSOA had to be a bit biased as it didn’t dip into the Trojans’ POVs.

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      • Yeah, normally I can read a negative review of a book and be like “that’s fair,” or I find it interesting how certain things stand out to people that I might not have noticed. But there are some where I’m just like NOPE. I checked out Pachinko though and it sounds really interesting, I love historical fiction that spans generations and time periods. Def added to my TBR.

        Oh man, that sounds like an AMAZING trip, that’s like, a perfect trip for a classics and mythology geek. I’m jealous!! It’s very cool that she got to fulfill a lifelong dream though!

        There are so many things I read in school that I feel I didn’t properly appreciate at the time, or just didn’t have time to properly appreciate with all the other work going on. I read the Odyssey in high school and I liked it well enough, but it wasn’t a favorite, and I think I’d like it so much better now. After reading the Iliad last year I needed to give my brain some rest from epic poetry though, lol. I may have to try it again, but this conversation is also making me want to read reread the Iliad! And it would be SO interesting if TSOA had any of the Trojans POVs…I’d love if that author gave that a try.

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      • Ahhh I hope you love Pachinko!!! It is such a gorgeous story and the nearly 500 pages fly by. I also love multigenerational historical fiction! And I love learning about different cultures through historical fiction. I do enjoy nonfiction every now and then, but stuff like Pachinko integrates the history so well into the story that it makes it super engaging.

        I didn’t read the Odyssey for school which I’m glad about because I doubt I would have liked it very much. Reading it on my own I did enjoy it, but I still prefer the Iliad. Did you see that Madeline Miller’s got a new book coming out about Circe? I am intrigued! I’d love her to revisit the Trojan War though and do something Hector and Andromache centered!

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      • Historical Fiction is such a love of mine, and it’s SUCH a great way to learn about cultures. I love when a book can really teach me about culture and history and tie it all down with characters.

        Ahh I didn’t see that she’s writing a new book, but I am down for a Circe book! And literally anything on mythology she chooses to write lol.

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  4. Yeeep I too live in Finnick denial land. He totally lives happily ever after with Annie! One of these days I will get to The Iliad, and if We Were Villains is sitting on my shelf, hopefully in June!

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  5. My favorite minor characters:

    1. Death from Neil Gaiman’s “Sandman” series is brilliantly conceived as a compassionate, wise, welcoming girl who represents ending as a component of change. I hope she’s there to greet me when I’m all done here! 🙂

    2. Fflewddur Fflam from Lloyd Alexander’s “Chronicles of Prydain”. A lesser author would have used him for comic relief. Alexander has him as a poignant, likeable character who wants to do the right thing and love what he does–he can’t always get it right but he always tries with all his heart.

    3. Death from Markus Zusak’s “The Book Thief” (sensing a theme here??? LOL!). His caring and intelligent narration tells the tragic story perfectly.

    4. Boromir and Eowyn from “The Lord of the Rings”. Boromir because his tragic flaw (in the classical sense)–the belief that he is strong enough to control power–is the crux of the series; Eowyn because she steals every scene she is in with her wish to be something more than she is allowed to be by her culture.

    5. Dante Pignetti from “The Lords of Discipline”. He is the embodiment of his beliefs in honor, simple and straightforward in his motivations yet a very complex character.

    And +1 for your choice of Finnick Odair! Love the way the second and final book of the trilogy leaves things for him!

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    • Oooh these are great choices, thanks for commenting! I’m not familiar with 1, 2, and 5, but they all sound super interesting. Death was such a great narrator in The Book Thief, hands down one of the most unique things I’ve ever read. And Boromir and Eowyn are my two favorite LOTR characters! (Well, and Aragorn, but he’s not very minor.) I actually haven’t read the LOTR books (I tried reading Fellowship my senior year of college, but I was really busy with school and ended up abandoning it by accident) but in the films I love their characters. I should really try the books again one of these days.

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