Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday!

Tuesday has become one of my favorite days of the week and it's all because of Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by the girls over at The Broke and the Bookish. I'm a list fiend so this is right up my alley. Each week a prompt is given and book bloggers are asked to create a top ten list using that prompt.

This week's prompt is: Top Ten Minor Characters in Literature

1) The DEATH of Rats (Discworld series by Terry Pratchett): After DEATH temporarily retires in Reaper Man, DEATHs of all sorts start popping up all over the Disc. The only one that DEATH allows to remain is the DEATH of Rats, a skeletal rat who only says the word SQUEAK but can mean a million different things by it. I'm not really sure what it is that I like about this little guy but I think part of it is that he becomes a sort of companion for DEATH. I like the idea of him having a pet. Besides, without the DEATH of Rats, we wouldn't get awesome pictures like this:

Created by rubendevla.
2) Smee (Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie): I'd never had much time for Smee when it came to the Disney film, but I really liked his character in the book. He was funny and kind to the boys while they are on Captain Hook's ship. He's an altogether different sort of pirate, one who wants a mother bad enough to offer Wendy a chance to escape. Like the other pirates, he has a bad side as well as a good side, but he stuck with me after I read the book for some reason.

Smee, played by Bob Hoskins in Hook.

3) Magwitch (Great Expectations by Charles Dickens): I can't even really talk about this character much because even though he's only got a bit role, he's a pretty integral character and I don't want to give any spoilers. I can say that when you first meet him in the graveyard at the beginning of the novel you're like, "Oh, crap, what's this psycho going to do to little Pip?" Towards the end of the book, however, you realize exactly what sort of man he is and you come to admire him.

4) Wellington Yueh (Dune by Frank Herbert): I love Yueh and its because he's a traitor and I always find those kinds of characters fascinating. Forced by Baron Harkonnen to betray Leto Atreides, Yueh aids in the capture of the duke only so that his kidnapped wife will be returned to him. Suspecting that Harkonnen may have double-crossed him, Yueh gives Leto a fake tooth that contains a poisonous gas in the hopes that he may kill the Baron. While the plan is all for naught (his wife, Wanna, has already been killed and the poison tooth doesn't kill the Baron), Yueh's devotion for his wife coming before his duty to his duke is touching and, dare I say it, admirable.

5) Major Major Major Major (Catch-22 by Joseph Heller): While I found this entire book to be hysterically funny, I don't think I laughed harder or more often then during the chapter devoted to Maj. Major Major Major. His father decided at birth that his son was going to have the same first, middle, and last name. His wife was under the impression that the boy's name was Caleb but discovered his true name when she saw his birth certificate...and then promptly died. When he grew up and joined the military, he was advanced to the rank of Major without any officer training whatsoever because of a computer malfunction. Unfortunately for him, he can neither be promoted nor demoted because he's the army's only Maj. Major Major Major. When he signs paperwork, however, he uses the names Washington Irving and Irving Washington, which leads to an investigation by the military into who is forging signatures. Hilarity ensues.

6) Marvin, the paranoid android (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams): When the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation developed robots with GPP (or, Genuine People Personalities), Marvin got the short end of the stick. Neurotic, depressed, and just plain down-in the-dumps all the time, Marvin mopes around the Heart of Gold and then, later, through time itself. He has some of the funniest lines in the entire series and is quite lovable despite his depressing personality.

I like this model of Marvin
better than the one used
in the BBC version.

7) Lucius Malfoy (Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling): Lucius is such a great character because he's such a nasty git but, in the end, you find out that all he really cares about is his son. Obviously that doesn't excuse his behavior or the fact that he was a Death Eater, but that and the fact that he's so delightfully sarcastic and mean just makes him a lot of fun to read about. I love villains and I think he's one of the most underrated ones in all of Harry Potter-dom.

8) The Librarian (Discworld series by Terry Pratchett): Turned into an orangutan by a freak magical accident, the Librarian swings from shelf to shelf in the Unseen University's library. He doesn't like to be called a monkey and he's not really a fan of people touching his books, but give him a banana and he'll be your best friend. He doesn't really say much except for "ook," but like the DEATH of Rats, that "ook" can mean a lot of different things, sometimes good and sometimes very, very bad. In addition to being a librarian, the Librarian has worked in the Night Watch and at one time played keyboard for the Discworld's very own Band with Rocks In.

9) Silent Sam (Redwall by Brian Jacques): The son of Jessica and Mr. Squirrel, Silent Sam is just about the cutest freaking thing I've ever read about. He doesn't talk at all and spends most of his time either eating or sucking on his paw, but Jacques manages to give him a huge personality anyway. This little squirrel fought bravely in the battle for Redwall and helped Matthias on more than one occasion. Greatest. Squirrel. Ever.

10) The Bursar (Discworld series by Terry Pratchett): Terry Pratchett just keeps making it onto these lists more than once. The Bursar, who works for Unseen University, is a wizard who has gone off the deep end. The only way he can stay sane is by taking Frog Pills, and even then his sanity is tenuous. He's frightened by the littlest things and is often incredibly confused. This leads to him saying odd but very funny things and often leaves Archchancellor Ridcully very annoyed.



  1. Smee! His character is one of the many reason I love to watch Hhook.("Smee! Smee! What about Smee! ...Smee's me! What about me?!")

  2. Great list, a lot of books I haven't read though! I couldn't pick a single minor character from Catch 22 so I put in the whole book, but Major Major Major Major was definitely a stand-out

  3. So many fantastic characters in there. I love Smee. He's actually my sister's favourite character, she quotes him all the time. I also love Death of Rats (you can follow him on twitter), Magwitch, Marvin and of course Lucius.

  4. What an excellent list! Thank you so much for sharing it with us. I especially liked your inclusion of the Librarian. Yes. Great choice.

    Please stop by my blog and take a look at my list of Top Ten Minor Characters. I'd love to see what you think. And I'd love to have you enter my May Giveaway for the new book Divergent.

  5. I also had Marvin! Great call on Magwitch and Major Major Major Major - hilarious book!

  6. wow, your list is made of win! I didn't even *think* about Major Major Major Major or Marvin the Paranoid Android or Smee. Fantastic job!

  7. smellincoffee: Thanks for the follow! Agreed, Smee is one of the best things about that movie.

    Kayleigh: I think the only reason that Major Major stands out in my mind so much is that I was practically choking with laughter through that entire chapter. The rest of the characters in Catch-22 are great, but they pale in comparison to Washington Irving. I mean, Irving Washington. I mean, Major Major Major Major.

    Karen: Smee really is a great character. I had no idea the DEATH of Rats had a Twitter feed, but I guess it shouldn't surprise me. Looking forward to reading your list!

    Deb Nance: Thank you and you're welcome. I thought that the inclusion of the characters from The Westing Game on your list was amazing. Such a great book. I think their should be one of those "READ" posters with the Librarian on it. Although maybe there is and I just don't know it.

    Two Bibliomaniacs: Thanks, I wracked my brains a few times this week. I wanted to make a list of characters that I haven't talked about on this blog very often so no Francis Begbie, no one from Skulduggery Pleasant. I came away pretty happy with this list.

    Birdie: If I ever run for political office I'm planning to use that as my slogan: "Gabriel James: He's made of win." And I mean that sincerely. Maybe. :) Your list was also great; Jacob Marley has always been my favorite ghost.

  8. I completely forgot about Marvin! He's fantastic, great choice.

  9. Loni: He is great, although now I'm thinking "hmm, maybe I should have put Slartibartfast down." He's a more minor character than Marvin and I really liked him. He'll get an honorable mention. :)

  10. I can't believe I didn't think of Maj. Major Major Major or Marvin! Great list :)

  11. Gah now I've thought of 2 characters I've missed off my Discworld top ten, The Bursar (and Q). Death of Rats is top of my list too :)

  12. Priya: I heard that a LOT today. :)

    Ellie: It was so hard for me to pick only three Discworld characters. There are soooo many more that I love, like Mr. Soak, the Auditors, the Ogg boys...I could go on.

  13. I am fond of all of the characters on your list except nos. 3 and 4, but that's because I haven't read those books. Great list!

  14. They're both really great books that come highly recommended by me. :)