So, recently, I saw a post from Ngọc @ Read With Ngọc and I was in love with the concept. Basically, they also shared five characters who are a mess but that we love anyway, and I couldn’t stop thinking about all the several characters I could fit under this topic too. So, thanks a lot Ngọc for the amazing idea (& go check out their blog already!)
There were quite a lot of characters I wanted to include, so I’ll be considering making a part 2 for this list, because apparently I just love all the messy people.
FIVE. CLARA, FROM THE WAY YOU MAKE ME FEEL
Clara was probably one of the biggest surprises I’ve had this year, because I never imagined I’d relate so much to her.
The book pitches our protagonist as this class-clown, troublemaker, which is very much true, but also very much non-relatable for me, since I’m the biggest introvert ever. The entire plot revolves around this prank that went too far and as a punishment, Clara is forced to work in her dad’s food truck for the whole summer, alongside with her nemesis, Rose.
And, truly, that’s not even the worst part about Clara’s personality, if I’m honest.
She’s really short-tempered and constantly pushing Rose’s buttons to get her angry. She’s also really bad at flirting.
But I think the one trait that puts her on this list – and also the one I relate so much – is the fact she keeps every relationship surface-level and everyone at arms’ length. There’s definitely a reason for that, and the exploration of it is what made me love this book so much, but Clara is definitely scared of real commitments because she’s scared of being vulnerable and getting hurt.
Using humor to escape your true, dark thoughts is a real, real big mood, but also a really short way for complications.
FOUR. JAMES POTTER, FROM HARRY POTTER
Recently, I saw this Twitter post about how James Potter kinda sucked and, while that’s absolute true, I also really, really love him?
And I’m truly not here to write an essay about how, despise everything, he’s still much better and much more of a hero than Severus Snape ever will, but I think it’s really awesome to analyze James’ character deeply.
When I first read the passages of Harry finding out about James’ past, I remember feeling really torn, because I’ve always had the same idea of James that his son had: that he was a hero and he was perfect. And, in a lot of ways, I felt betrayed that he could also be a bully and a true asshole.
But that’s the point, isn’t it? Showing that every hero has its flaws and imperfections. Harry was far from perfect, and yet he’ll always be known in history for defeating Voldemort. This doesn’t mean that he didn’t make mistakes; it just means that he was human. (
Okay, and a wizard, but still human as in a general term).
Characters like this are there to show that you don’t have to be perfect to be a hero. It is expected, and I know Captain America makes it feel like it’s possible, but truly, most people who are known in history were just regular-ass folks, trying their bests. And James grows a hell lot, so I think he deserves a break.
Still, he’s kinda messsy AF, so he deserves a spot here too.
THREE. HELENE AQUILLA, FROM AN EMBER IN THE ASHES
Find any top 5 in which I’m not talking about either Helene or The Maze Runner. I challenge you.
But I just love her character a lot, okay? And she’s so far from perfect; in fact, she’s incredibly flawed and quite problematic, and I still adore her.
The thing about the world in which these characters live in is that it is not merciful at all. Most of the time, it’s about killing in order to survive, and there’s also a ton of hatred and prejudice being thrown around. Therefore, I think it’s extremely understandable how Helene sees the world and the people around her.
And I also don’t believe it’s fair to compare her to Elias, because Elias is literally a Hufflepuff. It’s in his nature to be good and kind to ever single leaving creature. Not all of us are gifted like that.
She’s still trying her best to both be a decent being and also protect the people that she loves, in a world where it’s pretty damn hard to do both. And I appreciate her efforts a whole lot.
TWO. MONTY, FROM THE GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO VICE AND VIRTUE
Oh, Lord, the walking-mess that is Monty Montague, though!
I love this guy a lot, okay? Re-reading The Gentleman’s Guide just made me realize how much Monty is a work in progress and I love that so much about him.
Monty is loud and hilarious, which are already remarkable traits that would make me love him even if he was an even bigger asshole. Because he can also be incredibly selfish, and it’s hard to get his head out of his own ass sometimes. I do really appreciate the side characters for calling him out on his privilege and teaching him about stuff, though, because his growth becomes obvious.
Despite that, Monty clearly struggles with a lot of self-esteem issues and uses humor to cover his insecurities, which is relatable AF, but also incredibly sad, and I feel like I’ve spent most of this book trying to either hug him, laugh with him or punch him on the face, which represents the messiness of his character pretty well in my opinion.
ONE. JOSEPH KAVINSKY, FROM THE RAVEN CYCLE
When it comes to Kavinsky, there’s no nice way to put it. He’s an asshole, simply.
Kavinsky is an incredibly manipulative and abusive character. He’s the villain in our second book, The Dream Thieves, and has a really intense hate-but-also-not-really relationship with Ronan. And, also, he’s a jackass.
And, yet, I love him so damn much.
I don’t love him in spite of his bad traits, but very much because of them. He’s just a fascinating character to me. He’s mean and snarky and incredibly mysterious too. There’s so little that we know of his backstory, and even when he shares something, it’s impossible to know whether or not he’s telling the truth, because coming from Kavinsky, it’s more likely to be a lie.
He is still a human being, though, which shows in his feelings towards Ronan, and seeing beneath it all is also such a marvelous ride.
Overall, Kavinsky is the messiest in this list, but also my most favorite especially because of everything.
Alright! I’ve rambled for about 1k words about how much I adore messy and morally-grey characters, so it’s your turn now. Let me know in the comments if you agree with my choices and which ones you’d add for your list. (And, once again, thanks Ngọc for inspiring me for this post!)