Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Characters with Whom I Would Never Want to Trade Places

Happy Top Ten Tuesday! Today's topic is "Characters With Whom I Would Never Want to Trade Places."There's definitely some characters with bad luck on this list. Enjoy!
Top Ten Tuesday is a meme started on the Broke and the Bookish blog.
They set the topic, we make the lists. Visit their site to see more on this topic!

1. Winston Smith, 1984, George Orwell: Living in an all-encompassing totalitarian society is pretty wretched. Then they strap a mask full of rats on your face. Then you have to drink gin while waiting for them to kill you. Yeah, that’s no good.

2. Vernon Little, Vernon God Little, D. B. C. Pierre: Being 15 is bad enough (or so I recall anyway) without being implicated in a killing spree carried out by your best friend. Going to Acapulco wouldn’t be so bad, but getting put on a reality show where people vote on whether you should be executed would not be very pleasant.

3. Frodo Baggins, The Lord of the Rings, J. R. R. Tolkien: So
you’ve got this ring and a lot of people want to kill you for it. But instead of just throwing it in the trash you’ve got to take it to the armpit of Middle Earth and chuck it into a volcano. Oh yeah, and you’re best friend is the world’s most boring guy, unless you want to sit around talking about tubers and daffodils.

4. Ivan Denisovich Shukov, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, Alexander Solzhenitsyn: The fact that the main character is an inmate in Stalin’s gulag system tells you just about all you need to know about why I (or you) wouldn’t want to be this guy. Maybe you can form some bonds with the other prisoners, but it’s a little like the difference between being in North Hell or South Hell.

5. Piggy, Lord of the Flies, William Golding: As if being a nerd stuck with the company of a bunch of English public school boys wasn’t bad enough, you’re also stranded on an island with no adults to keep the other little rotters in line. Whacky hijinks ensue when the others want your glasses to start a fire with. Hey! Watch out for that boulder…

6. Holden Caulfield, The Catcher in the Rye, J. D. Salinger: Adolescence is sufficiently complicated without descending to the depths of narcissistic self-indulgence that Holden Caulfield inhabits. I guess I wouldn’t mind trading places with him if I didn’t have to actually BE him, but I suppose that kind of misses the point.

7. Sydney Carton, A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens: Life as a hard-boozing English barrister is probably not without its blandishments, but the hangovers must be grim. Even the most out of touch dissolute must have had some inkling that getting involved in any way with the French Revolution was going to be a losing proposition. I don’t know about you, but all that “far, far better” stuff just doesn’t seem that comforting in the face of a date with the guillotine.

8. Adso of Melk, The Name of the Rose, Umberto Eco: Life in the middle ages was nasty, brutish, and short, and while Adso seems to live quite a long time, he does get some real experience of nasty and brutish. Getting sent to a monastery that’s being terrorized by a serial killer is less than optimal, even before the inquisition rolls into town. The prospect of rather better than average food and a roll in the hay with one of the local peasant girls are positives, but watching people get burned at the stake and seeing a library go up in flames would be bitter pills indeed. Plus you could get killed by a toothache.

9. Ishmael, Moby Dick, Herman Melville: Samuel Johnson once said that being at sea is like being in jail with the prospect of being drowned. The fact that the captain is nuts and eventually converts all your shipmates in Purina Shark Chow is just the icing on the cake.

10. Eddard Stark, Game of Thrones, George R. R. Martin: Your family is scattered. Most of them are killed. You’re an official in a government that’s equal parts dysfunction and corruption. Then you get stabbed and thrown in the clink. It gets worse from there. And winter is coming.

And who would you never want to be?

~John F.

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