Ten Book Characters You’d Want to Go on a Road Trip with

Volkswagon bus and Schwinn bicycle.When Barnes and Noble shared a post about road trips with favorite book characters, I immediately wondered with whom I’d want to adventure. I then thought about strategy. Some characters, after all, are funny or morbid but relatively useless in the day-in, day-out activities of life. If they were put under the pressure of a road trip — and almost anyone would agree that lengthy trips bring out the best and worst in people — they’d succumb to anger or petulance.

No one wants to be around that person. Then again, the character might make up for the personality flaw with a magical ability or sense of humor. My situation perhaps lies with the latter rather than the former, as evidenced by the list of book characters that follow. Most of them tend to be grim and depressingly pessimistic.

1. Allanon

Allanon hails from Terry Brooks’ Shannara series. He is a druid and a morose one at that. For some reason, though, I enjoy his attitude. He’s also lived many years — something like 400 and counting — and spent most of them fighting the encroaching darkness. He perhaps possesses the right to a slightly cynical outlook.

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2. Aragorn

Aragorn shares Allanon’s perspective, hinting at a definite trend in the company I prefer. To be completely forthright: If I were asked about The Lord of the Rings a few years ago, I likely would have wanted to travel with Legolas and Gimli. Aragorn grew on me over the years. Plus, he knows his way around Middle-earth, hunts, and can light a fire. Those abilities make him a person to keep around.

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3. Asha

Asha belongs to James Islington’s trilogy, a series that is as large in scope as Terry Brooks, Robert Jordan, and Brandon Sanderson. I like Asha because she perseveres against all the odds. She’s also smart and compassionate.

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4. Cadvan

Cadvan is another glass-half-empty individual. I found him in Alison Croggon’s Pellinor series. She writes with the same breadth of Brooks but emphasizes the female characters, in this case, Maerad. Maerad is fine, but I’m not sure I’d want to road trip with her. Give me Cadvan, Bard of Lirigon, any day.

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5. Death

By Death, I refer to Terry Pratchett’s vision of the character. Death carries his scythe, of course, but he sometimes gets tired of reaping souls. In his spare time, he plays with kittens and occasionally acts a sort of father to a couple of human characters. Death also claims a bitter feud with Rincewind, one of the clumsiest sorcerers, ever.

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6. Beldin

Beldin’s another grumpy sorcerer. Maybe, though, he has a right to be; he spends over a thousand years guarding against Torak’s awakening. Beldin also possesses some physical deformities that make daily life a struggle. Despite that, he remains viciously humorous — emphasis on “vicious” — especially in his interactions with Polgara.

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7. Lady Trent

Lady Trent arrives from the pen of Marie Brennan. She is a woman who defies social conventions, particularly when it comes to suitable studies for ladies. Trent pursues a career as a dragon naturalist in a setting akin to Britain’s Victorian era.

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8. Lift

Lift is another female character who originates from Brandon Sanderson’s The Stormlight Archive. She possesses stormlight-derived abilities, as well as a spunky attitude. Lift, somewhat like Trent, refuses to be defined by the people around her. She can usually get away with it—she has a huge personality.

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9. Luka

Luka refers to Salman Rushdie’s Luka and the Fire of Life. I like the boy because of his love for his father and family. He will do anything to restore his father’s vitality, including diving into a magical world where flying carpets and magical maidens exist.

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10. Numair

Numair features a personality akin to Cadvan and Allanon. That is, he’s another depressingly serious figure. He begins to change, at least a little, in the presence of Daine, a mage who can speak with animals. Through her, he becomes more connected to humanity and learns to laugh.

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If you were to road trip with a book character, whom would you choose? Share your character in the comments.

Image: Shelby L. Bell (Creative Commons)

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