Welcome, one and all, to 2023. We made it, somehow, to another year.
And as a new year dawns, before we put the old year on the shelf to gather dust and nostalgia, we come here to remember the absolutely smashing and dashing characters we met in 2022. Because we must take every opportunity to babble about fictional characters, yes?
I met a lot of characters last year, and I fell in love with a good many of them. For this post, I will be limiting myself to characters from books that I read for the first time in 2022.
(Also this scrumptious tag was originally created by Cait @ Paper Fury. I don’t remember where I stole it from, though.)
(Wait, yes I do! I stole it from Sarah Seele back in 2020. This is my third year doing it…but anyway, let’s just get on with it.)
Most Relatable Character
You know, there were aspects of many characters that I related to this past year (such as Kamet’s snobbery and cluelessness, Po’s glorious grump, and Charley’s wholehearted adoration of Dickens, to name a few), but clearly the character I related to the most was none other than Van from the Dam Keeper trilogy.
I am not a lizard (…salamander? Gecko??), nor are my eyes detachable, but somehow Van is my spirit animal. He just is.
He’s pretty much insane and flails about calling everyone “nephew”. What’s not relatable about that?
Most Pure Animal Companion
This one is harder than usual. I read about some lovely animal companions in 2022, apparently.
I have to go with Pigeondove from The Silver Eye, though. I just have to. (Probably I should have gone with Melly, but I just like Pigeondove better…)
(…Did I say I was just using characters from books? Webcomics are gonna have to count, because I’m not not going to say Pigeondove now that I’ve thought of her.)
Oh, but there are too many. Lots of fighting happened last year, I guess?
Hm…It’s kind of a toss-up between Wolfheart from My grandmother asked me to tell you she’s sorry, and Chuuya Nakahara from Bungo Stray Dogs: Stormbringer (both truly lovable characters from books that I don’t actually like that much, as it happens).
They are extremely fierce fighters. To the point of being scary, actually. Like…it’s kind of a problem.
But I love them anyway.
Am I Surprised That I Loved You??
Hayt from Dune Messiah. I was very angry about his existence. I was absolutely certain that I would despise him.
But…nope. Nope. That did not happen.
Actually, I’m still not sure what to do with that.
Fife from The Water and the Wild and The Doorway and the Deep. This kid is full of sass. It is an excellent cover for the trauma, don’t you know.
Davy from Peace Like a River. (I still don’t know if an antihero needs to be the protagonist?? Davy is not. But he’s a major character and he’s not the villain, so…)
This kid. He’s so frustrating. SO FRUSTRATING.
The Best Friends of All
Well, let’s go with Ken and Flicka from My Friend Flicka…because, you know, it has friend in the title.
In all seriousness, though, the bond between these two is worthy of the best friends award. And I’m not even…like…a horse person.
Though I almost gave it to Arthur, Quincey and John from Dracula. Or Sophie and Cody from The Wanderer. There were some stellar friend groups to choose from, is all I’m saying.
Best Villain TO HATE
How do I choose?? Dracula is pretty high up on the list of just plain awful villains. So is Miss Hardcastle (That Hideous Strength). Disturbing in the extreme, guys.
But I think Baron Vladimir Harkonnen and Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam from Dune/Dune Messiah really take the cake on this one. They are…the worst. I hate them so much.
Award for Best vs. Worst YA Parents
The parents to choose from are slim here. I do not read enough YA, let alone YA peopled by parents, to properly answer this question.
However, I did read The Silver Eye and The Comic Space Opera this year, so there is hope.
For Best, I gotta go with Joe Alvarado from The Silver Eye. He’s everybody’s dad. Or, I mean, he should be everybody’s dad? Anyway, he’s a great dad. (Though Brett and Veronica Summers from The Comic Space Opera are also kind of the best?)
As for Worst, I wanted to say Velvare (TSE), but there is in fact a worse parent out there. Her name is Lydia. She’s from The Comic Space Opera. And yes, she is…just really, really bad.
Ship of all Ships in 2022
Ove and Sonja from A Man Called Ove. But also Jude and Christina from The Comic Space Opera. And Noah and  from The Silver Eye. …It’s just a three-way tie.
Guys, last year I had two answers for this category… This year I have THREE. What is happening to me??
Most Precious Must Be Protected
This question is always difficult for me, because there are always way too many to choose from. I like to read about traumatized humans (…clearly), and then it is naturally my instinct to want to protect them…a thing that I would honestly be useless at doing.
But this time I think the obvious choice is Pheris from Return of the Thief. This child. We must protect him. Protect him at all costs. There is already too much trauma.
(I decided this makes a bit more sense than Charley Sutherland, seeing as he’s a 28-year-old college professor who is capable of taking care of himself, or Chuuya Nakahara, considering he would probably kill me the second I tried to help him. Though, they are both most precious and must be protected. Just don’t tell them I said that.)
Honestly Surprised You’re Still Alive
Father Michael from The Ball and the Cross.
…I don’t know, I just remember being really surprised when he showed up again.
Award for Making the Worst Decisions
Um…practically everyone in Dracula. Okay, but seriously, Jonathan and his fellow vampire hunters could sometimes be a little bit aggravating. They did a lot of stupid things.
But also Sybel from The Forgotten Beasts of Eld. And, actually, Mark from That Hideous Strength. Not to mention Dar Beauregard…
Apparently it was a good year for bad decision-making.
Most in Need of a Nap
It’s a tie between Will from Liesl and Po and Charley from The Unlikely Escape of Uriah Heep. Just let these kids sleep, for crying out loud. They are on the verge of collapsing here…oh…I mean, perhaps beyond the verge at this point. Please find him a bed. Maybe some medical attention…?
Want to Read More About You
I don’t know…all of them?
But no, I’m going with Kim from Kim. Because I love him, and also because this book felt like it needed a sequel to me, and I want to know where Kim’s character arc goes from here. Just…more, please.
I met a good many characters in 2022 that I am very happy to know. I wouldn’t mind knowing a lot of them better.
I am looking forward to meeting equally lovable characters in 2023. And revisiting old friends. There are just so many characters out there. Such smashing and dashing ones, you know.
(EDIT: Did I mean to post this a day early? …No? But here it is. Surprise!)
Who are your new favorite characters from 2022? Least favorite? Do you have an ever growing stash of precious children you want to protect? Did you meet any stellar YA parents? I would love to talk about all the characters with you in the comments!
11 thoughts on “The Smashing And Dashing Character Awards 2022~ In Which I Resonate With A Deranged Lizard For No Apparent Reason And I Actually Like Some Romance”
I haven’t heard of, um, most of these characters, but there are several whose acquaintance I need to and/or have been meaning to make!
My Friend Flicka is one that I totally remember reading as a kid, and I love that a) it’s not an entirely *tragic* horse story, and b) that it’s a horse story about a *boy* (for once, lol). For whatever reason, I always liked boy-and-his-horse stories better as a kid than girl-and-her-horse.
I have the same problem with YA parents–I don’t read enough YA to have any opinions, and when I do, I really don’t notice or evaluate the parents at all? Which is a tad embarrassing, I think.
OVE AND SONJA ARE THE BEST EVER. They are SO cute and beautiful!
Aww, Pheris. ❤
Okay, what is Charley Sutherland from? Because I like stories about college professors, and I keep hearing about him…
It's making me chuckle that you chose Mark as one of the worst decision makers, but only because you are SO RIGHT. Dude does not have a good head on his shoulders. (For most of the book, at least.)
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Yes, there are some top-notch characters that you absolutely must meet one of these days!
I never went through a horse book phase as a kid (though…I guess I kind of went through a unicorn phase?? But we don’t talk about that), so I hadn’t read anything like My Friend Flicka before. My cousins had a bunch of horse books and it just got lumped in with the rest of them. I guess I vaguely assumed it would be dumb? The title always made it sound cheesy to me, but it’s one of my cousin’s favorite books and she has good taste so it finally occurred to me to try it. I’m glad I finally did.
Haha, I know, right? What is YA? Why is YA? (Just kidding…I do like some YA. I just generally find it has a propensity to be irritating in a multiplicity of ways.)
I love Ove and Sonja! I don’t usually get super excited about romance in books, but they were just so endearing.
Charley! My boy. Charles Sutherland is from The Unlikely Escape of Uriah Heep, which is quite a fun book. I do recommend it. Mostly because of Charley.
Hehe, indeed. Poor Mark. I liked how he finally came around in the end, but for the majority of the book…the man didn’t have a clue.
“He’s pretty much insane and flails about calling everyone “nephew”. What’s not relatable about that?” At first I wasn’t convinced– but when you say it like that, Van does sound kind of relatable. Kind of.
Love how frequently The Silver Eye was mentioned! Melly is also pure.
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Haha, yeah, I couldn’t really decide on a totally serious answer to that question…and there really is something about Van that resonates with me, despite the fact that he’s…well…whatever he is.
The Silver Eye deserves frequent mention, I find. So many wonderful characters. Dear Melly.
You know Fr. Michael really DOES have no human right to be alive. That was probably Chesterton’s point. (How did you like The Ball and the Cross? Have we discussed this? My memory is not what it used to be, haha.)
Eeeee I need to get back into The Silver Eye! I’ve neglected it SORELY for months and months but your delightful squealing is making me excited to catch up with all I’ve missed at some point.
I think the only other characters on here whose books I have read–other than Dracula, and YES, the Crew of Light makes THE WORST decisions (and the boys are such good wholesome friends)–are the CSO characters, whom I am beyond flattered to see here. Is it bad that I’m proud of Lydia for making worst YA parent? *sigh* That woman. She needs help that is beyond my power to give her.
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What a strange person Father Michael is, eh? I like him. I enjoyed The Ball and the Cross quite a bit! I don’t have, like…deep thoughts on it or anything. Maybe I had a few back when I read it, but what is memory anyway??
Ah, I know. My sister and I actually stopped reading TSE on purpose for a few months because we wanted to get a bigger chunk of the story when we started up again. Though, weekly updates are also fun.
Your characters are so lovely! I couldn’t resist including a few. Haha, being proud of Lydia for making worst YA parent is quite sometihng. XD But I relate to having characters that need help beyond my power. Oi.
I was also shocked when Father Michael showed up again. I am very glad he was alive, though.
And PHERIS must be protected. My child.
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Haha, so I’m not the only one.
Dear Pheris. He needs much help and hugs and protection. Which, of course, we shall provide if we ever get the chance.
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SOPHIE AND CODY YES. There should be an award that’s just “cousins” for us to list all the good cousin friendships under, honestly.
Weirdly, I’ve never read My Friend Flicka. I read a lot of horse books as a child so I’m not sure how I missed that one. I got really nostalgic for Good MG Horse Books after rereading The Year of the Black Pony last year, though, so maybe I will correct this oversight someday soon.
JOE FOR BEST PARENT. LYDIA FOR WORST. I really can’t applaud your choices here enthusiastically enough. Yes.
Ooh I JUST read A Man Called Ove. It was weird because normally I care about everything EXCEPT the romance, and in that one the romance was the ONLY thing I cared about? All that to say, Ove and Sonja are nearly as dear as Jude and Christina (but Jude and Christina though. oh man.).
Good old Mark. So many bad decisions. Such spinelessness. But also such spine in the end and such good decisions once he actually Gets It? You’ve reminded me how much I love Mark.
I agree that Kim needs a sequel. Like, desperately. It’s kind of heartbreaking to me that there isn’t one.
You have collected quite the motley crew, Sponge. *standing ovation for the winners of the awards* *extra ovation for the Bad Decisions winners, since they distinguished themselves so this year* (I love this post. Every year it is such fun.)
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Indeed! “Cousins” should be its own category.
Actually, My Friend Flicka is the first real “horse” book I’ve read, I think? I guess I’ve always had a bit of an attitude about them for some reason, but I’m glad I realized how silly that was and decided to finally read this one. It was so wholesome. I should read The Year of the Black Pony. I remember you recommending it before, but I still haven’t gotten around to it.
They really were the most obvious choices.
Yeah, it was weird for me, too. I wasn’t expecting to like the Ove+Sonja romance as much as I did, but…I really did. And do I remember anything else about that book? Well, actually I remember the cat. But not much else. (JUDE AND CHRISTINA ARE SUCH GEMS.)
Yeah, Mark is a king of bad decisions. But I was really glad that he finally made some good decisions towards the end? It was quite satisfying. I appreciated that he was likable even while he was being stupid so you were rooting for him to finally Wake UP to what was actually going on.
I’m glad that you agree that Kim needs a sequel! I wasn’t sure if that was just me. But yeah. Kipling, you let us down.
Thank you muchly, Sarah! I always love reading your comments. 🙂
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YES you should read The Year of the Black Pony. If you don’t love Chris and Frank it will break my heart. (I mean. Not really. But Chris and Frank though.)
Anyway, I think a lot of people have an attitude about horse books? It kind of makes sense. I equate it to the attitude people often have about MG fantasy. The bad specimens can be altogether twee, and saccharine, and simplistic, and sickeningly wish-fulfilment-y, and full of a bunch of mindless drivel about Belief and Family and The Inherent Goodness of People (or The Bond Between A Girl And Her Horse Which Is the Most Beautiful Force on Earth, for the horse books), but the good specimens can be AMAZING. Their simplicity is their strength. It just…all depends on which specimens one reads. So yes. Them’s my thoughts.
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