Top Ten Tuesday: Fantasy Heroes

top-tenTop Ten Tuesday is a hugely popular weekly meme hosted by the lovely people of The Broke and the Bookish. The number of participants is simply baffling and you should go check them out.

As I saw that a February TTT topic is “favourite heroines”, I decided to use this week’s freebie to take a look at my favourite male characters from fantasy novels. Guys deserve their share of spotlight, too. While I chose the word “heroes” for the title of this post, I’m not sure I would classify all of these boys/men as heroes in the strictest sense of the word. But you can be the judge of that.

  1. Locke Lamora from Scott Lynch’s Gentleman Bastard sequence. Oh, Locke. He of the unremarkable phisique, rapier-sharp wit, and silver tongue. He is, without a doubt, one of my top five fictional characters EVER (I think he even beats Mr. Darcy on that list. *le gasp*)
  2. faramirKvothe from Patrick Rothfuss’s The Kingkiller ChronicleWhat is it with me and orphans? Well, I’d give my left kidney to hear Kvothe play just once and I’m really fond of my kidneys (all three of them).
  3. FitzChivalry from Robin Hobb’s Farseer Trilogy. Again with the orphans. I loved Fitz and his story, his loyalty and abilities. He’s also bonded with the coolest wolf, Nighteyes.
  4. Faramir from J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the RingsOoh, I really liked him. He’s my favourite LOTR character. I disliked how they changed his story in the film, but I quite enjoyed the physical manifestation.
  5. Jon Snow from George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and FireAh, bastards. Bastards are nearly as fun as orphans. Samwell Tarly and Jamie Lannister almost made the list, but Jon is better.
  6. Victor Vale from V. E. Schwab’s ViciousSuch a lovely, sociopathic person. Not so much of a hero, though. I think he’d call himself a villain. He’s great. Go read this book.
  7. Perrin Aybara from Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time seriesAnother wolf-loving individual. I have no idea what happens to him later on in the series, but I liked him because he was shy, serious and strong. 
  8. Ziri of the Kirin from Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy. The sweetest flying devil ever. Also, if I was a chimaera, I’d totally want his wings.
  9. Prince Yarvi from Joe Abercrombie’s Half a KingA crippled, ridiculed kid who nearly gets murdered by his uncle. But also a conniving, scheming little genius. Yes.
  10. Tristran Thorn from Neil Gaiman’s StardustHe’s a new addition to my list. I like how clueless he is and how much he grows. I still have to review this one.

* * *

Who are your favourite heroes (or villains, for that matter)?

Who would you add to my list and who would never make yours?

What did you choose for this week’s Top Ten Tuesday? I’d love to hear your thoughts! :)

  • christine

    great list! I wish I had thought of that. :O

    • Kaja

      Thanks, Christine! :)

  • I love that you put Faramir on this list. I love him too Great list.

    For my post, I put the top 10 series I never finished, but i really liked your idea too.Thanks for sharing.

    here’s mine

    • Kaja

      Yep, Faramir is the greatest :) Much underrated as a character and not enough people swoon over him, but he’s even better than Legolas, I think :)
      Thanks for stopping by, Danica!

  • I haven’t read Lord of the Rings yet, but I also enjoyed the physical manifestation of Faramir in the movies.

    • Kaja

      Well, he’s even better in the books, but to be honest, you’re going to be disappointed if you read the whole book just for him (he’s a relatively minor character) :)
      Thanks for stopping by!

  • What a good topic for top 10!
    I would add Aragorn to your list – basically because he’s ‘it’!
    And, I would definitely add Jean Tannen!! Because he’s my book boyfriend.!!
    Lynn :D

    • Kaja

      Ok, let’s make a deal: you get Aragorn and Jean while I keep Faramir and Locke – everybody’s happy then ;) But I see where you’re coming from, they’re amazing characters.
      Thanks for stopping by on a non-Thursday post ;)

  • Great list! I have only read the first book in The Farseer trilogy, but I loved Fitz too! And I really like Faramir in The Lord of the Rings. I didn’t really like Boromir much, but I liked his brother!

    • Kaja

      You’re right, Faramir is so much better than Boromir! He was never tempted by the ring, no matter how they made it look in the movies.

  • I love this list! I’m going to have to fight Lynn for Jean Tannen because while I love Locke I like Jean just a tiny bit more – I love when he got some attention of his own in Red Seas Under Red Skies. I also seem to have a weird fondness for the almost villains of books. Tyrion in a ASOIAF is a favorite and San dan Glokta in Joe Abercrombie’s First Law series. I think you may have put your finger on another fantasy trope – orphan heroes:0)!

    • Kaja

      You two can figure out the Jean problem – as I’ve said, Locke > Jean ;) But I know what you mean about The Red Seas – Iloved Jean’s parts and his sweet nature :)

    • Kaja

      As for Glokta – he’s cool, I loved how sarcastic he was but I didn’t like that trilogy too much. Half a King is better, I think!

  • This is a very nice list and I love how many of the characters you named aren’t “classic” heroes. Like you said there are some grey areas with a few of them there, and actually that’s what I like out of my protagonists :)

    • Kaja

      Got both comments, thanks! :)
      Yes, I like my heroes a bit grey, it’s what makes them human and compelling!

  • Oops, something hiccupped and I hope my last comment went through. Just saying how I like a lot of the heroes on your list are “grey” characters, and that’s actually the type of protagonist I love.

    If the comment did go through, ignore this!

  • FARAMIR! I love it when I find people who agree with me about him. I agree with you that I disliked the way his character arc was changed for the film — although when they explained why in the extras, I did kinda accept it a bit more.

    • Kaja

      Huh, I must have missed that explanation – why did they do it? You’re right, he’s much under-appreciated! :)

  • Great list idea, I’m also a big fan of Faramir, but in the book, not the movie. And Kvothe. Not so much Jon Snow, I would’ve gone with Samwell.

    • Kaja

      Yeah, I know, Sam is awesome, but I think his role gets more important in A Dance With Dragons, but I haven’t read that yet! I really have to soon, though, there are sure to be spoilers in this season of the tv series!
      Thanks for stopping by :)

  • This was such a good topic! I completely agree about Faramir, he’s so underrated and really didn’t get a great depiction in the film (though visually, of course, he was lovely!). And I love reading reactions to the characters from A Song of Ice and Fire – I’m embarrassed to say that I still haven’t read the series. I’ve had the first book for longer than I can remember, but every time I pick it up I’m so intimidated by it. Really curious to see what it’s like, though!

    • Kaja

      Well, Martin’s books ARE a huge undertaking. I’ve had A Dance With Dragons on my shelf since it was published (my husband read it immediately) and I haven’t read it yet. I’m afraid of spoilers in the next season of the series, so I’ll have to read it before April, but I’m never in the mood for guts and blood and incest :/
      Faramir should totally get a bigger role in the book. He’s one of those true knights – oh, Eomer would be a close second :)
      Thanks for stopping by, Casee Marie!

  • Great idea for a TTT list! I’m not familiar with any of these except for Ziri, who would probably make my list, too. Him and Hazael; I wish we’d gotten to know more about them in the books. I’d probably also throw in Gen from The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner and Howl from Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones. All great male fantasy characters!

    • Kaja

      HOWL! Right, he’d make a great No. 11 :) I’ve had The Thief on my TBR forever, and I’m hoping to get my hands on a copy soon!
      Thanks for stopping by :)

  • Maraia

    I 100% agree about Faramir. Aside from his appearance, the movies totally ruined him! I love book Faramir.

    I love Locke, I love Kvothe (though his story breaks my heart), I love Fitz, Ziri is my favorite in that series, and Jon was my favorite of the three Game of Thrones books I read (and hated).

    I can’t remember if I already knew that you’re a Robin Hobb fan, but I’d love to talk about her books with you! Which ones have you read? I started with the Tawny Man trilogy, then the Farseers trilogy, and I’m currently 2/3 of the way through Liveship Traders.

    To your list, I think I would add movie Aragorn, Glenda Larke’s Gilfeather, Martha Wells’ Moon, Jim Butcher’s Tavi, and Juliet Marillier’s Faolan, Bran, Red, and Cathal (man does she write some great guys).

    • I ALMOST LOST THIS COMMENT (and by lost I mean I get e-mail updates for each comment and it’s crazy and I have to find a new way to keep track of them, sorry for the delay in answering).

      Book Faramir is totally underrated. If Tolkien wrote in the 21st century, we’d be clamoring for a spin-off series about Faramir for sure ;)

      Ooh, you hated GOT? :D I read all the books but Dance with Dragons – I got three chapters into that one but couldn’t deal with all the cursing and whores and whatnot (I am not a prude but Martin can really exaggerate…). Are you watching the TV series? I hate what they’ve been doing to it recently. Gah.

      Robin Hobb – I read The Farseers first and then got stuck in the middle of Book 2 of the Liveship Traders. It was just so slow for a while! I fully intend to get back to it, though. My husband is a HUGE fan (he has ALL of the books and keeps pestering me to read them). I’m thinking of starting the next series featuring Fitz (or perhaps Soldier Son trilogy? Dunno) :) Anyway, I love her writing, her characters are probably the best I’ve encountered psychology-wise – and I appreciate her subtle worldbuilding and magic (as opposed to Martin’s epic epicness, for example). She made me CARE for her characters and right now I’m coming up empty on the reasons why I’m putting off reading more of her books. Thanks for reminding me of her! :)

      Do you know, apart from Aragorn (obviously), I don’t know any of your additions! I’ll have to research that! :)

      • Maraia

        Ooh, I could go for a Faramir spin-off. I’ve never gotten into fanfic, but I wonder if there’s any out there about Faramir. There must be…

        Haha, yep. I don’t know why I forced myself to keep reading. I’m not a prude, either, but I didn’t appreciate that every sex scene was violent (except for the incest, hah), everyone kept dying off so it was impossible to like any of the characters, literally nothing good happened, oh, and then you had to read about that for 1000+ pages times however many books. I think Martin is a conceited, misogynistic jackass. I watched season 1 of the show and had the same problem. I’ve heard about the recent spoilers, though. I just do not see the appeal. (Sorry, I have strong feelings about GOT.)

        That is a problem with Hobb. All of her books seem to drag in the middle. Tawny Man is my favorite trilogy, maybe because it was the first I read, but depending on how Liveship Traders wraps up, I think it *could* surpass that. It makes me happy that your husband is also a reader. I know plenty of bookworms date people who don’t like to read, but I’m not entirely sure I could ever marry a guy who doesn’t. If by next series you mean Tawny Man, I fully support that decision. :) My dad has read all of her books (overachiever, ugh), and I think he liked Soldier Son but not as much as the books in the other universe. I always put off reading her books because they’re so long, but once I’ve started I ask myself why I waited.

        I only included adult fantasy in that list, because it doesn’t sound as if you read as much YA fantasy, so I think you’ll like them!

        • Naw, I read YA fantasy! I actually get most of my adult fantasy suggestions from my husband; he’s the one who finds stuff for himself and then makes me read it if it’s good :) But for YA, I currently rely on other blogs.

          Yep, one of the things that bothered me the most about Martin (and about Joe Abercrombie’s First Law trilogy; I don’t know whether you’ve read it but it belongs to the “grimdark” genre…) is that it’s all SO depressing! Ok so I like a little heartbreak and some fighting and possibly a death or two but I like to believe, all in all, that good will prevail! I don’t know whether that makes me naive or an incurable optimist but I mostly read books to feel good. (And don’t get me wrong, I like a good sob fest from time to time but here all the violence and murder and general pessimism just seemed POINTLESS.)

          Yep, Tawny Man is next on my list of Hobb’s reads. I’ll see if I can get into it during the summer.

          • Maraia

            Haha, that’s my dad’s role, too. He mainly reads adult fantasy/SF, although he will still read a YA fantasy here and there if I convince him. Does your husband read in English or Slovenian?

            Yes, it’s the *pointlessness* that gets to me. I hate violence for violence’s sake, whether it’s sexual violence or just bloody killings. A Darker Shade of Magic is dark, but reading it doesn’t make me hate life. There’s a way to write about rape (All The Rage), and obviously most fantasies have violence of some sort, so clearly authors can write about dark things without turning into Martin. I’ve read Joe Abercrombie’s YA series, which I like, but the First Law trilogy sounds too depressing for me.