Category Archives: Notable Character

Noteable Characters: Richard Cyper and Kahlan Amnell

I realized that I had to write a blog post about  Richard or Kahlan after finishing the book series for the third time (all 10,000 pages of it) since I discovered it a couple of years ago. I wanted to talk about just one of these two characters but after a few drafts quickly realized that you can’t really talk about one without the other. So, I decided that this post needed to cover both of them.

Richard Cypher is a normal, likeable young man who has never really experienced anything exciting in his life until a young woman in a gleaming white dress crosses his path. In that moment, everything in his life is changed and he begins a journey that will take him into lands of dragons and magic, never guessing that magic was always his destiny.

Kahlan Amnell is a Confessor, a woman feared by all and loved by no one. she is running for her life as the barriers that protected them all break down when she runs into a naive but courageous young man who is not afraid of her. She enlists his help to find the great wizard that no one can remember. A wizard who hid his name and identity from everyone and everything.

This is how you meet these two characters at the beginning of Wizard’s First Rule, the first book in a very lengthy series by Terry Goodkind. Spanning, currently, over a dozen books, this story brings new meaning to the idea of epic fantasy.

At the center of all this is our two main characters who, rather than getting lost in the chaos and grand scale rise to meet the colorful and in-depth story while maintaining a connection with the audience. As a reader, you hurt for these two as they try to navigate and overcome everything that is put in their way so that can be together, all while stopping the end of the world, ruthless dictators and discovering the past.

Kahlan’s compassion, logic, and sense of duty create a heart-felt character who strives for the greater good, even when it keeps her from happiness. She is one of the most powerful female characters I have read in the past few years. She is the kind of woman who rises to whatever is put in front of her. She is not perfect, but even when she makes a mistake, it is done from the best of intentions. Her powers complicate her life and shape her into someone who is more compassionate and caring instead of someone who could so easily become bitter with all the limitations placed upon her.

Richard’s passion, zeal, joy for life and goodness make him the consummate hero. He fights for the truth, long before he is made the Seeker of Truth. Of all the characters in the series, he has the most growth and change while still remaining true to himself. As he grows in power, prestige and learns how to navigate a world much more complicated than the one he had always known, the core of who is he still remains passionately committed to truth and doing what is right. Starting out a simple guide and ending up the most powerful man in their world, it is difficult to make that transition without losing your core values and yet Goodkind has managed to write a character that grows without losing a sense of who he really is.

This series was made into a short-lived TV series, The Seeker of Truth that only lasted two seasons. In my opinion, the reason the show didn’t take off as well as it could have was due to the fact that they strayed way too far from the original plot in the books. If they had done a book a season and remained faithful to the original story, I think we would still be enjoying seasons today. There is still a campaign called Save our Seeker, still valiantly attempting to bring the show back on the air.

Recently a friend of mine discovered this series of books, thanks to her husband who enjoys many of the same things I do (Doctor Who, Stargate, Harry Potterand Superman to name a few) told her about the show. When he suggested the name Kahlan for their little one and insisted that the name be spelled the same way, she decided to read through the books. After reading the first book in the series, she decided that having a daughter named after this character was a great idea. Just over a month ago, little Kahlan joined the world. For those of you that haven’t discovered this series yet, might I suggest that if people are willing to name their kids after these characters that they are definitely worth the time to discover.

Little Miss Kahlan

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Notable Character: “Bean” Julian Delphinki

The boy who will play Bean in the upcoming movie!

Ender Wiggin. The boy who sparked a series of books making Orson Scott Card famous. The hero. The boy who saved the world. Not nearly my favorite character from the Ender universe.

Bean is Ender’s second in command. The little boy with the brilliant mind who is virtually ignored past a few brilliant decisions and teasing him for his small size. Bean makes some strange decisions through the course of the first book, decisions that don’t make sense to the reader but seem simple to brush aside.

Cover of the comic/graphic novel series 🙂 Bean is the little one 😉

Bean first makes his appearance in Ender’s Game but Card found this character so intriguing that he spawned his own series, which I find arguably even better than the original. Bean is child who was engineered to be one of the smartest people on the planet. He was a failed experiment. While brilliant, he and the others like him, were cursed with a tragically short lifespan. All the other children were destroyed but something made Bean leave before they could kill him. Bean ends up on the streets of a large city, starving and far too small to be useful to anyone except for his brain.  The section of the book where Bean is trying to make it as a homeless toddler, never fail to effect me. I usually end up in tears, simple because it is so intense. He is found by a nun who helps him get into battle school, where he becomes the man behind Enter Wiggin, ready to take his place should he fail. While Ender thought it was a game, Bean knew the truth. It never had been a game.

Orson Scott Card with the book that made him famous

Bean is a very interesting character because he has to deal with very difficult situations that are unique to the experiments they did on him. He also has a bit of inhumanness that he struggles with, due to the genetic manipulation forced on him before birth. Bean also is interesting because he must deal with his mortality at a young age.

I think one of the reasons I find Bean’s story so compelling is that , unlike Ender, Bean returns to Earth and gets thrown into the world’s politics. Ender never goes back home and by the time the reader reaches the second book, everyone thinks that the real Ender Wiggin died thousands of years before. Bean has to deal with a world that considers him a hero, military asset and danger all at the same time. Through Bean’s story we see what happens to the rest of the former students at the Battle School.

Latest book in the series

For me, Bean is the most complex character of the series. Dealing with his emotions, falling in love, trying to have children, and realizing that he will never see 30 makes him compelling to read. Bean always feels apart in a way that is easy to connect with, as the reader. We have all had those moments where we feel like we are different from everyone else and Bean is the literary embodiment of that. Bean also has to deal with knowing more than anyone ever should and how to handle the fact that no one in the world can see what he does. Throw in multiple world governments trying to sue him for their own agenda, and Bean literally leaps of the page.

In the latest book of the Bean series, I cried when it ended. The end of a hero. The end of little Bean who grows until he becomes the giant. The giant with a heart that won’t support his size.

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Notable Character: Hermione Granger

Okay, I know she’s a children’s book character. I am aware that some people have issues with the Harry Potter series. I know that she is not the main character in any way, shape or form. Despite all of that, Hermione is hands down one of the best characters I have ever read.

Yep – the know-it-all in action 😉

For those few people who read this post that have not picked up a Harry Potter book, Hermione Granger is one of the most annoying girls at Hogwarts. She is one of Harry’s two best friends. Hermione’s biggest fault is that she is an insufferable know-it-all. She feels the need to get every answer right and correct anyone that needs correcting. As a somewhat reformed insufferable know-it-all, I find Hermione’s struggles with her desire to be right verses her desire to have friends hilarious and very familiar.

Hermione is one of the biggest collectors of random facts from books that I have ever read. I swear, in a life where fiction and reality coexist, we are long-lost sisters. Hermione always has the answer for everything and is devastated when she gets something wrong (although that rarely happens).

I think what makes me love her though is that underneath the obsessive reader and annoying over-sharing, she is very sensitive and cares deeply for those around her. Who else would start an organization for house elves? Who else would save her new friends from detention? Who would stay with her friend when the boy she loves leaves because it is the right thing to do? Hermione may be awkward and strange but underneath, her heart is beautiful.

I think for me the fact that the girl who should have ended up an outcast becomes one of the most important people in their world really is affirming for kids who are on the fringe because they don’t quite fit the mold. I was one. I know many others. Hermione is one of our champions. A girl who doesn’t quite fit in and yet has a powerful impact while gaining friends who appreciate her unique abilities.

I even love that she ends up with Ron. Although part of me was really hoping for Victor Krum 😉

I would love to see Rowling write a book from her perspective. My dream eighth Harry Potter book would be about the early days of Hermione being married to Ron. Can you imagine?

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Notable Character: Anne Shirley

One year for Christmas, my grandmother, who spent her life as an elementary school librarian sent me a set of books that she insisted I just had to read. I was excited because reading was the one thing I loved doing more than anything else and she always sent me great things to check out. It took me a little bit of time but I finally dived into the Anne books a couple of months later when my mom asked if I had ever gotten to reading those books that grandma had given me.

Anne is a precocious, imaginative red-head who comes to live with an austere brother and sister on a small island off the east coast of Canada. She was orphaned at a very young age and lived to read and use her imagination which was always getting her into trouble. Her passion for life and the mistakes that she made were fascinating to me. She felt so very real. I often wished that she really existed because she was definitely the kind of girl I wanted for a best friend, even though I knew she would have gotten me into all kinds of trouble. As I read through the books again and again while I grew up, I would connect with a different version of Anne. As a teenager, I understood Anne of Avonlea and Anne of Island. During my first two years of teaching, Anne of Windy Poplars was my near constant companion (when I wasn’t reading another vampire book series by a certain Mormon author). As a young wife it was Anne’s House of Dreams. I hope some day to be able to be kindred spirits with the mother version of Anne when I am lucky enough to become one.

Right before she let’s him have it!

Anne’s flaws are exactly what makes the reader love her I think. She is not the perfect heroine and is accessible in her imperfections. My favorite scene in the whole series is the time that Anne takes a slate and smashes it over Gilbert’s head after he teases her about her red hair. I love that scene not because Anne gets her vengeance of the boy who is teasing her, but because she loses her temper quite often, something I was quite good at when I was younger. It was nice to see a heroine who lost hers all the time as well. Anne’s overactive imagination that makes her afraid of the dark forest was also comforting to me. I was a kid who was afraid of many things growing up due to my overactive imagination. Many times I felt like I was the only one. Anne made it okay to be afraid and to know that it was irrational but that it was okay. Anne never felt like she was pretty because of her freckles and red hair. I was a plump kid who never felt like I fit in next to the stick figures that I grew up with. Anne helped me be okay with who I was in a way that adults around me could never convince me of.

If you have yet to discover the amazing character that is L.M. Montgomery’s Anne, I would suggest going out and getting copies of the seven book series for yourself and any other little girl you know who doesn’t quite fit in. I’m on my third set of books now (I’ve worn out two sets over the last twenty years) and I know that if I have a daughter, Anne will feature prominently in her childhood and beyond as well because every girl should meet and grow up with Anne.

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Notable Character: Jane Eyre

Plain Jane

I am starting a new series of posts in addition to my book reviews and bookworm rants called notable characters. Instead of focusing on the book itself, I decided to take a slightly different approach and discuss some of the characters that stand out the most to me in some of my favorite books.

The first character I knew I had to tackle was Jane Eyre. She is not the most popular of the romantic heroines but the one I find the most compelling. An average girl who finds the right man for her who loves him even though he has a secret that could ruin them both. She makes the right choice even when it is painful and is rewarded for her brave decisions in the end.

I love Jane because she is so ordinary and reserved. She doesn’t seek the spotlight but stands up for what is right when she feels it is necessary. Jane is not your typical, look at me, type of heroine. She stays in the shadows, content to observe rather than be in the thick of things. I find her skepticism refreshing and real. She cannot believe that someone as wealthy as Mr. Rochester could ever love a simple governess, which at the time would be very unusual.

Jane and Adele

Her compassion for little Adele, even after she finds out the truth of her parentage, is amazing considering the attitude that would have been prevalent at the time. As a teacher myself, I connect well with her attitude towards her pupil are great even though she comes from a rough background. It reminds me how much those kids who come from a rough background need me even more than those who are lucky enough to have stable home lives.

I recently introduced my mom to this book. She was immediately sucked in and it kept her attention for quite a while but she recently confessed that she got bogged down in the book. I smiled and told her exactly where she got bogged down and I was right. If you find yourself reading through this one and get tied up in one spot, I would encourage you to push through. The reward is worth the 50 pages or so where the story seems to derail a bit.

Jane and Edward

I love the way that Jane loves people even though she is reserved and a classic introvert. She is one of my favorite characters and if you haven’t read Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, you are missing out on one of the best heroines of the time.

I’m also toying with the idea of doing a list of notable authors but not sure. Would that be interesting to anyone?

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