Hello everyone, and welcome back to the blog! I hope you all had a great week. Friday was rather busy for me so I couldn’t get the LTB out in time, but as always better late than never.
Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme hosted by me and Dani @ Literary Lion where we discuss certain topics, share our opinions, and spread the love by visiting each other’s posts.
Friday’s topic was: Qualities of a book boyfriend/girlfriend
This is Dani’s topic for the month, and I’m pretty excited to gush about all the characters that I love with my whole heart and explain why they captured my heart. So, let’s get started!
So first off, I don’t really think of these characters as bookish boyfriends or girlfriends. I’ve just never thought of them that way, hence why I’m calling them my loves instead.
They’re more like younger siblings and I’m the oldest one loving them and agonizing over everything that happens to them. I’m not sure how to explain it exactly, but it’s something like that.
Now, for the qualities: they’re not set in stone. Some characters have more qualities than others, and some characters may only have one, but these are the general ones that make me love them:
- sad/tortured backstory: give me a sad backstory and my heart overflows with the desire to just hug them and tell them “i’m sorry, don’t worry, it’ll be okay”
- dark and aloof/hiding the pain behind a cheery facade: this one works either way, though if they try to hide it by being funny or “happy”, then my heart breaks even more
- pretends not to care but cares so. very. much.
- is morally grey or an antihero: I’ve already explained why morally grey characters are the best, so I will simply link my post on it here
- is too young to have gone through all that pain: nothing brings out my over-protectiveness more than the fact that I know that these characters are so young, much too young to have seen the entire darkness of humanity
- is always there for their significant other(SO)/friends: and I love them even more for it if they end up making a sacrifice for their SO or friends
I went through my GoodReads shelves to jog my memory of all the characters that I love who have one of these traits and it’s kind of interesting that all of them, except three, are guys. And it’s not like girls don’t have these traits as well, but I don’t think of all of them in the same way. Huh, maybe they are kind of like book boyfriends then.
In no particular order, I present the tortured souls who have my heart:
Avitas Harper (An Ember in the Ashes series)
Kaz Brekker (Six of Crows duology)
Inej Ghafa (Six of Crows duology)
Altair Al-Badawi (We Hunt the Flame duology)
Ramsa (The Poppy War series)
Faris Candelan (An Ember in the Ashes series)
Helene Aquilla (An Ember in the Ashes series)
Tam Song (Keeper of the Lost Cities series)
Keefe Sencen (Keeper of the Lost Cities series)
Sage (The False Prince series)
Chen Kitay (The Poppy War series)
Fang Runin “Rin” (The Poppy War series)
One thing that all these characters have in common is a sad/tortured backstory. Every single one of them.
- Avitas, Faris, and Helene all went to Blackcliff, which is enough to destroy anyone’s childhood, but they also suffered so much individually.
- Kaz and Inej, and honestly the entire Dregs crew have survived the worst of Ketterdam and have the scars and PTSD to prove it (not that they need to).
- Altair’s backstory is not directly out in the open as far as I remember, but once you get to the end of the first book, you realize that his childhood was not all roses and sunshine either.
- Ramsa, Rin, and Kitay lived in the world of The Poppy War. Nothing more needs to be said. actually, now that I think about it, Kitay didn’t really have a sad backstory, but his current life story is tragic enough to count.
- Tam and Keefe both had terrible childhoods: Tam from his unsupportive-sorry-excuse for parents, and Keefe from his emotionally abusive dad. It’s left a lasting mark on both of them.
Another thing they all have in common is that fact that they’re from fantasy series, which isn’t so surprising, because you can’t really get a very bad backstory except in fantasy. That’s not to say that what any of these characters face is not possible in real life, but you don’t read about that kind of thing much in contemporary, at least from what I’ve read.
Nearly all of these characters have the dark and aloof keeping-everyone-at-arm’s-length traits mastered, but Keefe and Altair actually hide behind funny trouble-making facades. They make jokes, constantly are upbeat, and avoid letting their real emotions show, which makes me want to hold them even more. They’re trying so hard to push their feelings away and pretend that everything is alright and to me, that feels like it’s hurting them more than the rest.
Yes, they’re all hurting, but most of them are dark and angry without hiding it which shows that they accept it while Keefe and Altair try to brush it off. At least, that’s how I see it.
Honestly, all of them are much too young to have seen the entire darkness of the world, but Ramsa and Tam were the ones I had in mind specifically when I mentioned that. I don’t remember how old Ramsa is supposed to be, but he struck me as the little brother of the Cike and it hurts to think of all the things that he’s been through that brought him to the Cike family.
Because of Tam’s sorry excuse for parents, he’s grown to be distrustful of everyone and very protective of his sister. Coupled with the fact that he’s a Shade (he controls shadows) and his whole emo-ish personality, he comes across as very dark and kind of “mean”. I feel like it’s…not wrong exactly, but also not right for him to have to be like that because his parents failed him and his sister.
Most of them pretend not to care, but they really really care deep down. And they’re always there (for the most part) for their friends and SOs which is so wholesome, especially when they pretend not to care.
It’s terrible though when they have to make a sacrifice to save everyone else because then I’m mad at them for doing that, but at the same time I love them so much for it. It really hurts.
And those are the qualities that really make me love all these characters. Now I’m going to go cry because I’m remembering everything all over again 😭
This Week’s Participants:
Louise @ Life in the Book Lane
What are the qualities of your bookish loves/boyfriends/girlfriends? Do you love any of my favorites? Is there anything that your favorites have in common? Do you think of them as book boy/girlfriends or more like your children/younger siblings? Chat with me in the comments below!