Here is an updated list of my favorite characters in all fiction. For those who already read this article, skip to #2, for he is the new addition.
No characters on this list are from my own stories.
A character who I think we should all look up to. Ozy is one of my favorite fictional characters for this very reason. A great mind, a great physique, and great ambition to save the world from itself.
Ozymandias is in his 40s during the Watchmen story. Despite being middle-aged, he is at peak physical human condition, capable of out-competing Olympic champions and other body-builders. When he faces Rorschach and Nite Owl at the same time, he not only defeats them, but defeats them with ease.
He is also deemed the smartest man in the world, a title he received even before retiring from being a superhero. He deserves such a title, though, because he donated 100% of the wealth he inherited from his parents to charity, and then later in life, still proceeded to become the wealthiest man on Earth. In addition to that, he fooled and concealed himself from Dr. Manhattan, who can teleport, be in multiple places at once, and can see the past, present, and future simultaneously. He basically found a way to outsmart God.
I like this character so much because he worked hard to become the literal best person he could become. He wanted to be the best fighter, so he became the best fighter. He wanted to be wealthy, and he became the wealthiest man in the world. He wanted to save the world, and he did. His plan ultimately worked, though it is left to the reader to determine whether the plan worked in the long-term.
Is ambition great or detrimental? Ozy makes you wonder. Is intelligence great or detrimental? Ozy makes you wonder. Is there any way to truly save the world from itself? Ozy makes you wonder. This is why I find Ozymandias so fascinating. If he had been a real person, I might have actually worshiped him as a god.
To be honest, I’d never even heard of Death Note until maybe last year, and didn’t actually watch the anime until this year. And yes, in such a short amount of time, I came to love one of its characters so much, they catapulted to the #2 spot of my favorite characters in all fiction. That is: L.
He sits with both feet on the chair, he virtually only eats sweets, he grips objects only by their corners, he has the personality you’d expect of a basement-dweller, he’s skilled in hand-to-hand fighting and athletics, and he’s smart AS FUCK.
In the Death Note anime, whenever L is on screen, he always either makes me laugh or impresses me with his wit. His intelligence is well-written; I very rarely feel like its contrived. He’s very weird, and very smart. Always a joy to watch.
He also has one of the most tragic deaths (in my opinion) ever. In the moments leading up to his death, it’s almost as if he knew he was going to die. He stands out in the rain hearing church bells (that no one else can hear), and he also tells his arch-frenemy Light Yagami that they ‘will be parting ways soon.’ And then he dies abruptly, like everyone who gets killed from the Death Note does. That was not only devastating to me, it also made me angry. Angry that there were still 15-something episodes left in the series and they’d go on without him. L was my favorite character in the anime by far. I almost didn’t even finish the series, simply because he died.
#3: Davy Jones
Pirates of the Caribbean
Davy Jones is the epitome of a unique character. He’s a man, with sea creatures growing on his body, who lacks a nose, who speaks with strange facial quirks, and is a Scot who captains a ship with the name Dutchman.
I’ve loved this character since I first saw him on screen in Dead Man’s Chest, which is an underrated movie, by the way. His history is that of a man who was the greatest sailor alive who fell in love with, when you think about it, the embodiment of the sea itself, and she abandoned him. She betrayed his love. Oh, and he controls a sea monster capable of splitting ships in half. What’s not to love about this guy?
The fact that he’s unique, and ruthless, and intelligent, and the perfect counterweight to Jack Sparrow, makes Davy Jones easily one of my favorite characters in all fiction. Unfortunate that he’s only been in two movies and that’s it.
#2: Louise Belcher
In all honesty, I just like Louise so much because she’s so entertaining. Of course, I always admire characters that are intelligent, ambitious, and don’t care what people think of them. What I like about Louise more, though, is how her greatest pleasure in life is creating mischief, but deep down, she has a good heart. Whenever given the opportunity to actually inflict harm, she holds back. It’s like being evil, without doing anything evil. She’s just a ton of fun to watch on screen.
#1: The Joker
I’ve talked about my love for the Joker on this blog ad nauseum. I stopped talking about the character because I’ve pretty much said everything there is to say about him, but trust me, it’s not because anything changed. I will say this, though:
When you examine Joker’s philosophy on life and the universe, it’s nearly impossible to argue against it. He has a point. At the same time, though, we all know he’s wrong. It’s contradictory. How do we know he’s wrong? We can’t explain it. There is no higher meaning to existence, and yet, that doesn’t mean we ought to make our lives meaningless. It seems Joker is a classic example of what happens when you fully submit to the hollowness of existence, without just outright committing suicide. The only thing that occupies your time is messing with people, especially people who take life too seriously.
Joker is an outsider even among other villains. He is out to destroy the meaning you give your life because there is no greater meaning to life in the first place. He is surrounded by people, including villains, who don’t see existence for what it really is.
Joker is a collection of all the things I love in characters of any story, except being conflicted. He’s intelligent, he’s capable, he has a mysterious past, he’s ambitious, and he’s entertaining to watch.
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