Wednesday, February 25, 2015

T5W: Best Character Arcs

My choices for this week's topic were really difficult to narrow down. As a reader, I definitely tend to focus more on characters more than plot, so there are so many character arcs that have captivated me across all sorts of genres. I really tried to get a good mix of differing moralities when I complied this list because, honestly, sometimes morally grey characters do have the most room to grow and develop into something more. These characters might not be my favorite characters, but they're ones that have really stayed with me.
  1. Aaron Warner from the Shatter Me trilogy by Tahereh Mafi. Oh man, my feelings toward Warner did an absolute 180 over the course of this trilogy. I really enjoyed seeing his transformation from a bad guy to a very tragic and flawed character on the side of the protagonist (I don’t want to spoil the series too much). It was a development that I started out thinking I wouldn’t like at all, but boy was I wrong.
  2. Amy Dunne from Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. My love for unreliable narrators is so strong, and Amy’s character arc was a wild ride from beginning to end. I knew how the plot unfolded in the book before reading it, but I was still absolutely enthralled by the story because of Amy's allure. Her actions are completely out there, but her character arc is so captivating it’s hard not to get drawn in.
  3. Lirael from the Old Kingdom series by Garth Nix. It’s been a while since I read this series (and I really need to go back and read it since Clariel came out last year), but there’s just something about her growth throughout the series that has really stuck with me even though I can’t pull specifics out of my mind right now.
  4. Frankenstein’s creature from Frankenstein by Mary Shelly. I focused a lot on characterization and narration when I was in college, and I think a big part of that was because Frankenstein was such a formative part of my career as an English major. The creature is rooted in so much hope for humanity and it’s so painful to witness the tragic turn of his narrative caused by the cold and cruel skewed perception of humanity of his creator.
  5. Peggy Carter from Marvel's Agent Carter. I apparently can’t not have a comics-related character on my Wednesday lists, but in the case of Peggy, I’m not even sorry. I love everything about the way Peggy’s story unfolded in the MCU — she’s not a love interest, she’s not a two-dimensional “strong female character,” she’s given so much agency in her own narrative, and it’s such a wonderful thing to see on television and especially in a genre that bulldozes over realistic female characters so much of the time.
I'm a big believer that you don't have to like a character in order to like his or her development, but, while I really tried to settle on a mix of characters for this list, they all have qualities that I do admire to a certain extent. What are some of your favorite character arcs? I studied a lot of heroic type arcs in college, so I would love to hear some recommendations for really stellar tragic or villainous arcs!

The Goodreads group for T5W (as well as the topics and the book bloggers and booktubers who participate) can be found here.

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