“You can never be overdressed or overeducated.”


Today at the Broke and Bookish the Top Ten Tuesday topic is:

‘Top Ten Books That Would Be On Your Syllabus If You Taught X’

Now, I confess I had a little wobble with this one.  Of course I could just choose Fantasy to be my ‘x’ but that will just then quickly turn into a list of my top 10 Fantasy books – which, nothing wrong with a list of excellent fantasy books – but, I wanted to do something different.

I thought I’d have my ‘x’ be ‘great characterisation’.  Characterisation is my big ‘thing’.  I love beautiful writing, I love a great plot, I adore far reaching epic adventure and excellent world building.  But, nothing pushes my buttons like great characters.  It’s the one thing that sells me on a book – I want to feel for those characters.  Sometimes I want to feel their pain or loss, I want to feel their passion and happy moments.  I want to feel for them.   More than that, I want them to live and succeed.  If I don’t feel like that about the characters then, I might still have a good read, but it won’t be of the same calibre.  So, with that in mind:

  1. Mark Lawrence – yes, I probably bang on about his books a little bit but let’s just take a minute to discuss Jorg.  Now, I love this character and this series, it’s such a unique book, it’s fantastic writing but the central character is just excellent.  It’s not that you’re going to love him or hate him so much as he’s a total so and so who you’ll end up being on his side come what may.  Although, that being said, yes, I guess some people really don’t like him – which kind of makes him a great discussion piece.  And, on top of that he has a rich background.  Yes, he would make a great topic.  This would be an adult class though as Jorg definitely comes from the grimdark of fantasy – no nicey, nicey here.
  2. Gillian Philips – I love her Rebel Angel series, Truly it’s a great reading experience and the characters – are excellent to read about, tormented and passionate – well, who am I kidding, Seth is my favourite but even so this is a richly written series where the loss of any of the characters actually feels like a punch to the gut.
  3. Scott Lynch – Gentlemen Bastards – Jean Tannen (yes, don’t bother to judge) and Locke Lamorra.  These two are absolutely two of my favourite characters – they have a lot of history together, they’ve known each other since being boys and they have pure banter together.  They’re intelligent, funny, exciting to read about and they’re two characters that I genuinely care about – in so much as I would be very unhappy if anything unfortunate was to happen to them (Scott Lynch I’m looking at you)!
  4. Speaking of characters being bumped off – Tyrion by GRRMartin (not that he’s going to be bumped off – just, you know, George Martin!) – he is a fantastic character – against the odds.  I love this guy.  There is a world of information for discussion right here.
  5. Reva – from Anthony Ryan’s Tower Lord – she is an awesome character – and I love her!  That really is all.  Except of course I think she would be a great topic for discussion.  She has a tough upbringing.  She starts off as a very angry character and then she changes and it’s excellent to read about her progress.
  6. Rose from The Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead – Rose was a great character.  We sort of grew up with her along the series and suffered her experiences, her losses and her mistakes.  This is part of her beauty – she makes mistakes, she’s human and therefore not perfect.  I like that in a character.
  7. Mercy – Mercedes Thompson from Patricia Briggs urban fantasy series.  This is a great series.  Mercy is tough, but she’s not afraid to ask for help.  And, if you read this series, she’s had some pretty harrowing experiences, but she’s stronger for it.  She’s very accepting and has a great nature.
  8. I guess whilst I’m going down this route I might as well throw in Jim Butcher’s Harry Dresden.  This is a series that you grow with which I love and Harry is (so far) a great character.  I think there’s a lot to learn
  9. Kvothe – Patrick Rothfuss – I don’t even know what to say.  I don’t know whether it’s simply the character or the book or the writing – but there’s a lot available to discuss and Kvothe is certainly an interesting and complex character.
  10. Wydrin or the Copper Cat – a mercenary from Jen William’s Copper Promise – this character is a great female character to read.  She’s no push over.  As a female, reading a female character, she’s great to read and gives you an amazing feel good feeling.  I like to read about a woman with her own agency, she’s not waiting to be rescued, she’s not scared to be sexy, she’s doesn’t mind making the first move and yet she still has vulnerability.  A great character.  Yes, she should be on every syllabus.

I just thought of some more characters but I’m going to leave it there.  I told you mine now tell me yours.


25 Responses to ““You can never be overdressed or overeducated.””

  1. Stephen P. Bianchini

    Great list Lynn…still thinking about mine. Being an academic it creates to me a lot of technical issues 😀

    • lynnsbooks

      Not being an academic is very useful (for me) – it means I don’t have to really think about all the technical issues and can just go rushing in (where angels fear – and academics).
      Lynn 😀

  2. digitaltempest

    Awesome list! I’ve been loving all the different things that people have been coming up with for this one. 😀

    • lynnsbooks

      I’m just going a visiting now so looking forward to what everybody’s come up with – I think it’s part of the fun with some of these where the topic is a bit more open.
      Lynn 😀

  3. RachelWrites007

    Lynn, this is a great list. I haven’t read ANY of these books so I am off to definitely add Richelle Mead’s VA books to my to read list – I want to read them but get nervous by lots of books in a series BUT there have been a few courses that have “taught” her today. Thanks for sharing all of these new authors and characters w/ you 🙂

    • lynnsbooks

      I think the main character Rose is great. She’s tough but also sometimes a bit vulnerable. She makes blunders and some of them quite big but she’s human and I liked the way her character grew through the series. You’ve got a lot to look forward to then – I think 7 books in all?
      I hope you enjoy.
      Lynn 😀

  4. jessicabookworm

    Characters I like and I am invested in are important to me too, and I also love Tyrion! J R R Tolkien, Jane Austen, J K Rowling and Charles Dickens have created some of my favourite characters. I think they are all great at characterisation.

    • lynnsbooks

      Funnily enough I was considering Pip (and Rowling as well to be honest – something about growing up with a character through a series of books) – I think he’s a great character and it’s such an intriguing story. Tyrion is also an excellent character.
      Lynn 😀

  5. Carrie

    Great characterization IS so important, especially in fantasy I think. My TTT

    • lynnsbooks

      It’s my main ‘thing’ to be honest. If I love the characters I can forget about certain other things that might otherwise have annoyed me.
      Thanks for stopping by.
      Lynn 😀

  6. Obikitty

    Great list! Characterization is key to a good book. I haven’t read most of these, but they seem worth looking in to… I have to respectively disagree about Rose though, she really got on my nerves, lol.

    • lynnsbooks

      I really liked Rose – it was the other girl (can’t remember her name) that I didn’t like.
      Lynn 😀

  7. Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

    Oh, great topic, and awesome examples for writers who want to create rich and in depth characters. I love how Lawrence is number 1 – his Jorg is absolutely one of hte best characterizations I’ve ever encountered. To put together someone so vile and despicable, and still have readers root for him? That takes skill.

    • lynnsbooks

      Jorg would cause a lot of discussion for sure. And it is skillfully done really – more to the point it’s taking a chance because everybody could have hated Jorg (I mean everybody!)
      Lynn 😀

  8. Lisa (@TenaciousReader)

    I love Tyrion! And I think Prince of Thorns could present many interesting topics that could be discussed in the classroom. Controversial books are always better for getting dialogue going, and gives a great opportunity to see multiple sides. (not that I think theres any reason for that book to be controversial, but you know … some people take issue with it)

    • lynnsbooks

      Tyrion is a great character – I really like him. Jorg – would definitely be great for discussion.
      Lynn 😀

  9. proxyfish

    Love this topic!! Six out of ten I completely and utterly agree with, the other four I’ve never even heard of! Definitely need to write them and get some of these strong women on my to-read list.

    • lynnsbooks

      Thanks. MMmmm, I wonder who the four are that you’ve not read. Strong women – you have to love em!
      Lynn 😀

      • proxyfish

        Copper Promise, Mercy Thompson, Rebel Angel and The Vampire Academy. I think I’ve heard of The Vampire Academy but know next to nothing about it…I assume there are vampires and an academy involved! 😀

        I feel like the majority of the books I read are male dominated and now I’ve noticed it, it’s bothering me!

  10. Joey @ thoughts and afterthoughts

    So many fantasy greats listed here but where’s the characterization for the clunk of machine that will take us (or stop) time!?

    Joey via. thoughts and afterthoughts.

    • lynnsbooks

      Haha, I’m still working on the time machine – but, I’ve just put on my jaunty cap and I’m off to the cellar now to add some finishing touches.

  11. Katrina

    I am so with you for Tyrion and Kvothe, such great characters! Most of George R.R. Martin’s characters are excellently written! Great class choice 🙂

    Check out my Top Ten Tuesday list!

    Also, please take the time to enter my giveaway!

    Katrina @ Chased By My Imagination

    • lynnsbooks

      Yeah, they are excellent characters for sure. Great characters really do make a book don’t they!
      Lynn 😀

  12. Rindis

    THE number one character would be Miles Naismith Vorkosigan, aka “The Little Admiral”. SF instead of fantasy, but there’s just no better character out there.

    (I’ll note that Tyrion probably has some inspiration from Miles, I’ve always considered him to be ‘what if Miles had a crappy family instead of a great one’.)

    This excerpt from GURPS Vorkosigan gives a decent rundown on him, from the point of view of using him in an RPG:

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