When many writers rely on the timeless adage "Write what you know," it's no wonder that our favorite books often have protagonists who are obsessed with reading. Authors love literature, so their literary characters love literature.
If writers should write what they know, maybe readers should read what we know. Here's a list of our favorite literary characters who love books just as much as you do!
"She was dashing back, an enormous old book in her arms.
'I never thought to look in here!' she whispered excitedly. 'I got this out of the library weeks ago for a bit of light reading.'
'Light?' said Ron."
The brightest witch of her age, Hermione Granger is a force to be reckoned with, especially thanks to her inclination to read and her resulting gifted mind. Maybe she can be a bit of a know-it-all at times, but when you do know it all, what's a girl to do?
"So Matilda's strong young mind continued to grow, nurtured by the voices of all those authors who had sent their books out into the world like ships on the sea. These books gave Matilda a hopeful and comforting message: You are not alone."
At only five years of age, Matilda forges a passion for library trips and psychokinetic abilities. Don't tell us that those aren't intimately related because we won't believe you.
Bastian Balthazar Bux
"If you have never spent whole afternoons with burning ears and rumpled hair, forgetting the world around you over a book, forgetting cold and hunger—
If you have never read secretly under the bedclothes with a flashlight, because your father or mother or some other well-meaning person has switched off the lamp on the plausible ground that it was time to sleep because you had to get up so early—
If you have never wept bitter tears because a wonderful story has come to an end and you must take your leave of the characters with whom you have shared so many adventures, whom you have loved and admired, for whom you have hoped and feared, and without whose company life seems empty and meaningless—
If such things have not been part of your own experience, you probably won't understand what Bastian did next."
We've all felt as if we've been absorbed into a particularly good book. Bastian, though, is literally sucked into the book he steals from an antique bookstore and becomes a character. We're not advocating theft, but we can't help but feel a little jealous.
"Choosing a new book was like looking for treasure."
Theo, like most impoverished literary children, uses books as an escape. Driven by the perfect families she reads so many books about, she hopes to one day find her own real family.
"'Miss Eliza Bennet,' said Miss Bingley, 'despises cards. She is a great reader, and has no pleasure in anything else.'"
While Elizabeth is a little defensive about this comment, she still acknowledges that it is equal parts "praise" and "censure." Just embrace the lifestyle, Lizzy.
"Well, I've made up my mind, anyway. I want to see mountains again, Gandalf – mountains; and then find somewhere where I can rest. In peace and quiet, without a lot of relatives prying around, and a string of confounded visitors hanging on the bell. I might find somewhere where I can finish my book. I have thought of a nice ending for it: and he lived happily ever after to the end of his days."
Like most great writers, Bilbo was first a reader. Well, a reader turned barrel rider turned thrush whisperer. You know how it is.
"I like good strong words that mean something."
Jo spends hours and hours reading, eating apples, and crying. We've all been there.
"It's all very well to read about sorrows and imagine yourself living through them heroically, but it's not so nice when you really come to have them, is it?"
Fantastical through and through, it's no surprise that Anne is a literary character who loves books and loves to imagine circumstances always greater than her own.
"Most people don't realize how important librarians are. I ran across a book recently which suggested that the peace and prosperity of a culture was solely related to how many librarians it contained. Possibly a slight overstatement. But a culture that doesn't value its librarians doesn't value ideas and without ideas, well, where are we?"
As the chief librarian of all the books that have ever been dreamed (including the unwritten tales of procrastinating writers), Lucien is dedicated to protecting them from unpleasant creatures.
"My brother has his sword, King Robert has his warhammer and I have my mind...and a mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone if it is to keep its edge. That's why I read so much, Jon Snow."
Tyrion is a dwarf who uses his intelligence to overcome the prejudice he faces and give credit to the family name. It's no surprise that this intelligence comes from an appreciation of books.
"Being only twelve, Klaus of course had not read all the books in the Baudelaire library, but he had read a great many of them and had retained a lot of the information from his readings. He knew how to tell an alligator from a crocodile. He knew who killed Julius Caesar. And he knew much about the tiny, slimy animals found at Briny Beach, which he was examining now."
Klaus, the bookworm of the family, is unstoppable. His love for books paired with his eidetic memory provides him with the ability to speak multiple languages and define any word at the drop of a hat.
"From that time on, the world was hers for the reading. She would never be lonely again, never miss the lack of intimate friends. Books became her friends and there was one for every mood. There was poetry for quiet companionship. There was adventure when she tired of quiet hours. There would be love stories when she came into adolescence and when she wanted to feel a closeness to someone she could read a biography. On that day when she first knew she could read, she made a vow to read one book a day as long as she lived."
Francie knows that accomplishing her dreams will require a lot of hard work, but she escapes through reading and her rich imagination.
Relatable in perhaps more ways than one, these literary characters aren't just readers—they're dreamers, know-it-alls, and psychokinetics. (Okay, you can't win 'em all.) But whether you're an escapist like Francie, Anne, or Theo, or a learner like Klaus, Tyrion, or Hermione, all readers know that books have immense power.
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