The BrokeandBookish ask: Top Ten Book Characters That Would Be Sitting At My Lunch Table but since I (Nafiza) do not really want to sit with fictional characters at lunch tables any more than I already do (which I do a lot, I have books with me), I figured we’d take this week and talk about our favourite mentor/teacher kind of characters so richly present in books.
- Dumbledore from Harry Potter. Okay fine, he’s not the most forthcoming about very important things that Harry should know about but still, he’s kinda awesome in other ways. Also, McGonagall, Hagrid and Snape from the same series. (I can hear the others screaming at me for taking their names, mwahaha.)
- Gandalf. (Sorry Steph.) He is awesome. Awesomer than awesome. Very awesome.
- Haymitch from The Hunger Games. Okay fine, he’s not much of a teacher but he’s better than many others. Right? Right!
- Nevery Flinglas from The Magic Thief series by Sarah Prineas. He’s really awesome and I love how crusty he is.
- The entire Italian family from The Demon Catchers of Milan by Kat Beyer. So I couldn’t choose one because they are all such good teachers to the protagonist who doesn’t even know the language when she first gets to Milan.
I know I’ve read books and thought, I want to be taught by that person. Unfortunately, I cannot now remember all of these occasions. You will have to content yourself with these:
- McGonagall, Snape, Lupin, and the others from Harry Potter. Just because Nafiza has already mentioned them, doesn’t mean that I won’t steal them all for my table. Ha! Also, Neville. He is a professor in the prologue, so I call him too.
- The Disreputable Dog and Mogget from the Abhorsen books. Neither is technically a teacher, but they do guide and mentor Lirael and Sam, respectively, as well as Sabriel and Touchstone, in Mogget’s case. As with the above professors, any discussion with these characters in it would be lively, to say the least.
- Flury from Year of the Griffin. He would be an amazing teacher. And I might nab Deucalion, Blade, and all the others while I’m at it. I mean, yes, our protagonists are students during the course of the novel, but each of them has a unique understanding of different branches or aspects of magic, and they learn from each other. At any rate, any of them is infinitely more qualified than Wermacht.
- Danny (or his dad) from Jim Kjelgaard’s Big Red and sequels, and/or the family from The Yearling by Marjorie Kinning Rawlings, and/or Laura Ingalls Wilder and her family. It would be the fulfillment of my childhood dreams to learn (really learn, not just words in my head but practice in my bones) how to live in the wild, both long-term self-sufficiency in the remote woods and short-term survival for emergencies. Also to communicate well with animals.
- Possibly Irene Adler, from Carole Nelson Douglas’s mystery series. She would be a fascinating companion. Okay, again, technically not a teacher, but she does provide quite the education for her friend and biographer, Nell Huxley.
Oh God, I don’t read a lot of school stories! I’m just gonna list my Hogwarts faves!
- Minerva McGonagall: She may be stern but she is not unkind. I think she could afford to be a bit more patient, but all in all, I think she’s an invaluable resource to Hogwarts (not least because she kick some serious Death Eater ass). In a way, I think she is very powerful (just as Dumbledore is) the only difference is that she doesn’t manipulate people with it.
- Remus Lupin: I have never loved reading about classes in Hogwarts as much as I did when Lupin was on the scene. He’s calm, methodical, and patient. Plus, I feel like he doesn’t give the students a lot of homework, preferring a hands-on approach- I appreciate that.
- Alastor Moody/Barty Crouch Junior: I know that everything he did, every kindness he showed, was a sham, all part of his evil Death Eater plan but there is no doubt that he was inspiring to most of the class. The fact that he is kind to Neville instead of using the Imperius on him or something, makes me like him more than I can ever like Snape who bullied and shamed students.
- Rubeus Hagrid: Oh okay, he could afford to plan his classes more and maybe include some less dangerous animals. But here, I must indulge my twelve-year-old self, and say, where’s the fun in that? :)
- Hermione Granger: Guys, she tutored Harry through the Triwizard, and is the reason Ron and Harry know any usable spells at all during their long camping trip. She’s not a trained professional but she gets the job done. Students come away having learned something.
I have to say, I think I’m in the same boat as Yash here…
- The professors from the Harry Potter universe, particularly Dumbledore. I think they really succeed because they are mysterious in the way that adults are mysterious to kids. They have backstories and hidden talents, we just don’t know what they are… I enjoy Dumbledore because he teaches more than just a classroom subject and his backstory is much much darker than expected. He is great, but that is also his undoing – and wouldn’t that be the ultimate lesson?
- Gandalf of course. Nafiza called it. This guy is fantastic, and his guidance to the characters is, in many ways, lessons to the readers. He is very wise, and one would be wise to listen to him. He, in a way is the opposite of Dumbledore. Gandalf is great as well, but he will never let his greatness overcome him. Power leads to the dark side!
- Which brings me to Obi Wan Kenobi from Star Wars. I thoroughly enjoy Obi Wan’s character, he too has a backstory, and is often the pupil as much as he is the teacher. He has sass, sure, but overall he lives to teach.
- I like Chiron from the Percy Jackson series. He is quirky, he is wise and often funny. More often than not it’s something he said that rings true in the stories. He is a rock in the books, and I enjoy that.
- Mrs. Frizzle! Red-haired, theme dressed, conductor of The Magic Schoolbus series – she is hilarious, and she truly teaches everyone. Each kid gets a chance to shine, each subject is taught in many methods and – well, it’s magical!