Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish!

I tried to remind myself that ‘memorable’ does not always mean ‘awesome’, but this came out mostly good guys anyway, with the exception of Kossil and the technical boy.  Do the bad guys not get fleshed-out secondary characters?  Or am I just low on imagination right now?  (Also, hi everybody!  First Real Marina Post is apparently a Top Ten post!  Welcome to my literary tastes!)  Anyway, in no particular order…

1.  Archer, from Kristin Cashore’s Fire: Archer’s relationship with Fire is jealous and controlling, even while he’s sleeping with every pretty girl who will say yes.  But his good side is portrayed as well as the bad, so that we know exactly what Fire sees in him and understand her conflicts; I love that he comes out more as a flawed, damaged human being than a shallow womanizer, even if I totally don’t like him.


2.  Elodin, from Patrick Rothfuss’ Kingkiller Chronicles: Elodin is LITERALLY THE BEST.  He’s both the most ridiculous and the most intelligent person around, and also probably the most dangerous although nobody’s really willing to acknowledge it, and his artistic madness serves as such a beautiful foil for the scientifically-minded main character, who thinks that brains will suffice where subtlety and understanding are needed.

3.  Vic and Ranulf, from Claudia Gray’s Evernight series: this is sort of cheating, but they deserve to be a duo, as they’re probably the reason I finished the series at all.  Vic is a laid-back surfer dude who acts so shallow and goofy that people don’t realize he’s actually way smarter than they are; Ranulf is a vampire from I think the 6th century who is immensely out of touch with the modern world.  Put them together and everything suddenly becomes amazing, because they accept each other’s weirdnesses without question and, despite significant language and cultural barriers, genuinely love each other’s company.

4.  Kossil, from Ursula K. Le Guin’s The Tombs of Atuan: for some reason, Kossil TERRIFIED me when I was little.  As an adult I can feel some righteous indignation at what a bully she is, but she remains incredibly strong in my mind, even if she was only really a secondary villain.

Code Name Verity

6.  Anna Engel, from Elizabeth Wein’s Code Name Verity: I can’t tell you why because spoilers but if I wasn’t already crying over everything else Anna would probably have made me cry.

5.  Lord Randolph, from Pamela Dean’s Secret Country series: poisoned his king to prevent everybody being massacred horribly by horrible battle plans in an oncoming, horrible war.  Feels extreme guilt about it, but instead of wallowing sets out to protect the new king with his life if necessary, including but not limited to conversations with dragons and A LITERAL BARGAIN WITH DEATH.  Also, speaks like Shakespeare.

7.  The Technical Boy, from Neil Gaiman’s American Gods: I’m not sure why I find the technical boy so captivating, except that he’s a pathetic teenage embodiment of our adoration for technology, and he’s a wretched creature who sucks up to more powerful personalities and only thinks of his own gain, and then later you wind up feeling sort of sorry for him against your own better judgment, and then eventually he tries to do something decent and it works out REALLY badly.

8.  Hai, from Amelia Atwater-Rhodes’ Falcondance and Wolfcry: I don’t know if this counts, because she turns into a main character later in the series.  But she spends a lot of time manipulating the main characters with her predictions of the future, and influences entire empires this way.  All while being lost in a psychological prison created by her own magic.   She’s also very poetic, and angry, and takes nonsense from no one.

9.  Mel, from Robin McKinley’s Sunshine: Mel is memorable because I WANT TO KNOW WHAT’S UP WITH HIM and I never will.  But also because he’s a biker and former gang-banger with more magical tattoos than you can shake a stick at in a world where too many magical tattoos are VERY DANGEROUS and can literally make your brain unstable.  But he’s one of the most stable characters in the book.  And he works at a bakery making food for people and is quite happy that way, thanks.

10.  Maura Sargent, from Maggie Stiefvater’s The Raven Boys: seeing parents playing major positive roles in YA is actually really rare, and I The Raven Boyslove the human dynamic between Maura and her daughter.

That’s all I’ve got for now.  Tell me who I’m missing!  Especially the less-than-good-guys, since I can’t seem to come up with any!



  1. I LOVED Archer!!!! He completely made that book for me. And Maura… LOVED HER! Even though she doesn’t get a lot of page time in the series, she’s such a strongly written character. There’s so much depth to her and I love her relationship with Blue. Great list!

  2. ChrissiReads says:

    Oh wow. I’m reading some of the books on your list soon and it’s good to know that there’s some memorable characters in them! 🙂

  3. I’m loving all your villains here! Or at least not necessarily buddy buddy characters. Archer is BOLD choice, but you’re absolutely right about him. God I love all the books you chose from! I mean first off, I don’t think anyone would have chosen Archer, and the other lists I’ve seen only chose from Bitterblue. And then you add The Tombs of Attuan and Secret Country and American Gods and Falconcry and and

    SUNSHINE?!?!?! I LOVE MEL!!! Also I feel like everyone hates Robin McKinley’s more adult books (aka this one and Deerskin, which made my list).

    So I’m officially having to lay down and recover from your list (just kidding it’s actually the lack of ac in my apartment, but you’re list worked me up into an excitement and now I’m hot. So that’s like the same thing in the end, no?)

    • Archer is nothing if not memorable, although as previously stated, I think he behaves like a jerk. 😛 Probably my favorite thing there is that he’s written so that I can sympathize with Fire, who cares about him, even if I have Serious Objections to everything he does.

      Wow, I thought I was the only one around who had read Secret Country–and not a lot of people seem to know Falcondance or Robin McKinley either. Awesome. 😀

  4. Maureen Eichner says:

    ANNA ENGEL. YES. I love her so much, and even more so after re-reading. She’s such a fantastically written character (I mean, they all are). And Mel and Maura! Yes, yes–great list.

    • Thank you! I do love Mel and Maura. 😀 And yeah, basically everybody in Code Name Verity was a powerful character in one way or another…I almost put Von Linden on here, except then I decided he wasn’t secondary because he was a primary antagonist.

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