So someone challenged me to make a top 20 List of my favorite 20 characters. I have two words for him. You. Asshole.
In all seriousness I figured I might as well do it anyways and try to have some fun with it. For bonus points I limited myself to one character per franchise.
It should be noted that these are all MY favorite characters. These are my opinions and choices. Also this will not have a consistent number of entries per post, just whichever ones I have done when I decide to post them up. When will I post up the rest of them? A week? Maybe more? Who knows, I'm busy.
So here are numbers 20 through 14.
20 Master Chief Petty Officer John-117
Getting this one out of the way really quick here the Master Chief as a character is something of an odd choice and may seem like me fanboying here but I have my reasons.
The Chief has always been a man of few words, indeed a lot of his characterization is done in th novels and comics for Halo but the Chief has suprising depths when we go beneath the armor. What we get is a man who has been to hell and back and lived.
The Chief was kidnapped at the age of six, replaced with a clone, and conscripted into a military program designed to turn him into a super soldier. By the time he's fourteen he's barely even human anymore and his best friend dies in his first battle with the Covenant. Through this however the Chief does develop a lot of traits that can be looked up to for.
The Chief is loyal and honorable with a dry wit and a level head. He's a man who can take the wieght of the galaxy on his shoulders and soldier on. He's preformed endurance feats that are rarely seen in any other fictional medium, such as fighting almost non-stop for weeks with minimal food, rest, or even sleep and kept going.
Mind you the Chief went from the start of Halo 2 to the end of Halo 4 almost constantly going from one battle to the next frequently behind enemy lines with the only times he took a break being while traveling. Bear in mind this means that despite Halo 4 taking place several years after Halo 3 the deaths of Miranda and Johnson are still very fresh in the Chief's mind when he's suddenly staring down losing Cortana as well.
The question being raised now by the current line of stories in Halo is if the Chief has hit his breaking point. Who is the man beneath the armor? The steadfast defender of mankind with a will of iron? Or a broken man, conscripted at age 6? Perhaps its something of both.
"Thought I'd try shooting my way out. Mix things up a little."
— Master Chief
19 Jim Raynor
Jim Raynor is very much the archatype western hero... in space. Jim is probably one of the most moral and heroic characters in Starcraft but we know he isn't perfect. Going into his backstory Jim was born and raised on a small colony as a farm boy. He joined up with Confederate Marine Corps during the Guild Wars only to discover the Confederacy was massively corrupt, hardly any better than the guys he was fighting.
So Jim start dabbling in off the books stuff to make quick buck with the rest of his unit inclding his long time friend Tychus Findaly. Eventually both of them deserted the Confederate military and went into crime. Jim's down home upbringing however clashed with his new way of life and eventually he left the life of crime. Like a lot of famous old west gunslingers Jim then found himself as the law hired on as Marshal of the Colony of Mar Sara.
Like most old western heroes Raynor cannot find peace however losing his son to Confederate government programs gone awry and his wife to grief soon after. THEN aliens invade Mar Sara.
What I like about Jim is that even with all the battering he gets from life, every time he has to resort to less than savory methods to survive Jim's core character as a hero remains intact. When push comes to shove Jim will put aside his personal wants, pride, or needs in favor of doing the right thing. He won't get the girl and he probably won't get much of the credit but at then of the day he does the right thing. All while rocking an awesome accent and sipping whiskey at the bar.
"That thing may be the key to stopping the Queen of Blades, but it's our sweat and blood that'll make it happen. After everything we've been through, past all the fire and fury, the one thing I know, is that we can count on each other, to get the job done. Or die trying. If that's what it takes. Because some things are just worth fighting for."
- Jim Raynor
18 Geralt of Rivia
Geralt of Rivia, the Witcher, the White Wolf, the Butcher of Blaviken. Geralt is not guy. Geralt is not a hero. Geralt is a professional.
The Witcher Saga is a series of Polish fantasy novels made popular in the west by the recent line of video games based on the universe. The world of has often been compared lately to Game of Thrones which is an apt comparison at least for getting the tone of the series. The Witcher has more fantasy elements to it however such as elves, fuctional magic, monsters, curses and so on. The world of the Witcher is full of poverty, racism, violence, and corruption.
Through this world Geralt roams from job to job living hand to mouth as a Witcher, a professional monster hunter and the last of a dying breed. Geralt is one of the best examples of Good is not Nice around. Usually Geralt tries to stays neutral in events but when confronted with out right acts of evil he will usually interpose himself for better or for worse. This does not mean he has to be polite or friendly to get the job done.
In one case when facing a mob in the first game to protect a witch whom they blame for their own misfortunes (brought upon by their own idiocy and ass holery) Geralt gives them to options. Number one is that when he leaves they kill the witch put if they do so Geralt promises to kill every single peasent who can't get out of reach of his sword fast enough or they can go home, start over, and live honorable lives.
Geralt's softer side is usually shown in his interactions with his love interest the sorceress Yennefer and his adopted daught Cirri. The three form an akward yet adorable family when they are together (and when Geralt and Yen aren't having one of their infamous spats).
"Evil is evil. Lesser, greater, middling... makes no difference. The degree is arbitrary. The definitions blurred. If I'm to choose between one evil and another, I’d rather not choose at all."
— Geralt of Rivia
17 Ciaphas Cain
Ciaphas Cain HERO OF THE IMPERIUM, is by his own words anything but. Indeed as far as Cain is concerned he's simply a coward who plays on his charisma to try and avoid trouble and when in actual trouble gets lucky enough to survive and accidently save the day. As Commissar of the Imperium of Man it is Cain's job to motivate the soldier's of the Imperium to fight often against suicidal odds and as one 40k game put it "die standing."
The thing is that while Cain is incredibly self deprecating he shows a lot of humanity, even if he won't admit it he genuinely cares about the men and women under his charge.
As much as he claims that he merely acts nice to them so they will be more willing to take a bullet for him and less likely to shoot him in the back Cain inspires real loyalty in his soldiers. Cain also often underestimates his own abilities usually giving credit for his success to the soldiers at his command such as his hygine lacking compatriot Jurgen. This tibit just adds to his own fame as people simply assuming he's being modest.
Cain is also a skilled warrior, tactican, and when needed spy. Just a few of Cain's feats include but are not limited to:
Defeating a Ork Warboss and two Chaos Space Marines in close combat by himself.
Holding off two Tyranid Hive Tyrants by himself and wounding them before his men could help him and kill them.
Holding off a Daemon Princess and defeating it with the aid of his Jurgen and a few guardsmen.
Killing several Tyranid Genestealers in close combat who can tear through guys in power armor with their claws.
Killing a Chaos Lord who was basically Hilter-in-Space by punting him off a dam in the process avenging one of his own proteges in the process.
Most of these feats would usually be attributed to someone in power armor with a sword that can carve through tanks. Cain just has the second worst armor in the game, a very basic melee weapon in the game, and a cheap but reliable pistol.
What stands out however more than his feats is his ability get people to work and fight together even if moments before they were in the process of or about to beat the living shit out of eachother. What's more is he usually does this not through threats or violence like most Commissars but through charisma, diplomacy, charm, and sheer force of will. If any one character needed to know that they are a better person than they think they are it would be Cain.
Of course Cain would then right that off as people heaping more undo praise upon him.
"Frak this! My soul's my own and I'm keeping it!"
- Ciaphas Cain
16 Thorin Oakenshield
Thorin Oakenshield, life has not been kind to this dwarf. His home of Erebor sacked by the Dragon Smaug and his people forced to become refugees, his grand father Thror killed by Orcs from Moria, his father vanishing into the depths of Mirkwood only to be captured and tortured to death by Sauron for the last free Dwarven Ring, and the fact that allies who should have helped both he and his people basically turned their noses up at him its understandable why he can be grumpy, broody, and quick to anger. Its hardly suprising that when he finally regains his birth right he becomes violently protective of it, covetus of it to the point where he'd even threaten his friends and kinsmen.
Inside Thorin however is something more however, buried beneath all of that rage and bitterness is kindness, honor, charisma, courage, humility, and intelligence. Much of this can be seen through Thorin's growing trust, respect, and friendship with Bilbo starting late in the first film and continuing on through the rest of the films. Thorin's darker traits however can rear their ugly head however and in an instant he can go from kind a friendly to menacing and furious.
In the third film these two parts of Thorin clash with his darker traits dominating much of his actions throughout the third film. This leads to one of the best scenes in the whole film where Thorin, who is just now coming to realize just how the treasure is affecting him wanders onto the golden floor made when te dwarves tried to kill Smaug in the previos film. Thorin hallucinates seeng Smaug slithering through the gold and the surface warping trying to suck him into it. All the while voices of his friends and foes argue in his head some denouncing him others trying to turn him away from the path of madness.
Finally Thorin removes his crown and tosses it away. He then goes to the other dwarves having shucked his heavier plates for more pratical light weight armor and once more he becomes a hero, leading his people and his friends to victory making his peace with Bilbo before his death and dying as a honorable and noble dwarf.
"I know I have no right to ask this of any of you. But will you follow me, one last time?"
— Thorin Oakenshield
15 Lor'themar Theron
*Is shot in the head by an elf with only one fuctioning eye.*
Ladies and gentlemen let me make this clear. This is not me trying to say this like some kind of hipster. This is me telling the damn straight truth.
Lor'Themar Theron was one of my favorite characters long before he became plot relevant in World of Warcraft.
Lor'Themar Theron was first introduced in a Manga tie in to World of Warcraft, the Sunwell Trilogy. Lor'Themar would have brief cameo's in a few other Warcraft novels and by cameo's I mean he was usually just present for the events. In game Lor'Themar was treated as something of a joke among Horde leaders. Player's saw him as simply a place holder and boss who had little to do with the main storylines of the games. Every elf joke you can imagine was thrown Lor'Themar's way. Some people infered that Lor'Themar was corrupt, weak, out of touch with the goings on around him. Most of these people had never read the Sunwell Trilogy. The standing Joke was that when someone mentioned his name the standard reply was to go "Who?".
(Sadly we are pretty sure Lor'Themar is not a Time Lord. He's to badass for that.)
Then a fanfiction writer named Sarah Pines entered a story she had written about Lor'Themar into Blizzard annual short story competition. Blizzard not only awarded Sarah Pines the victory in the competition but also recruited her as a writer for several other shorts for World of Warcraft. Sarah Pines short story In the Shadow of the Sun gave us another side to Lor'Themar which would be combined with his appearance in the Sunwell Trilogy to form the character of this elf. Lor'Themars back story was fleshed out in the previously unreleased short story Blood of the Highborne.
Lor'Themar Theron was a high ranking officer in the military of the Kingdom of Quel'Thalas, indeed he was second in command to Ranger General Sylvanas Windrunner, and commanded the majority of the High Elven forces attached to the main Alliance Army during the Second War. Lor'Themar showed of his tactical and strategic abilities well during this conflict able to balance caution with audacity. After the war he was promoted by Sylvanas to Ranger Lord in a ceramony attended by King Anasterian Sunstrider himself.
Lor'Themar was placed in command of the defense of the sacred Sunwell. He was soon approached by and old friend Dar'Khan Drathir, a powerful mage and a member of the ruling Convocation of Silvermoon. Dar'Khan offered to help Lor'Themar improve the defenses of the Sunwell. Lor'Themar accepted Dar'Khan's aid... and in doing so doomed his people.
Dar'Khan was power hungry and sold his knowledge of the defenses of Quel'Thalas and the Sunwell to the Death Knight Arthas Menethil. With this knowledge Arthas' forces were able to pick the elven defenses apart piece by piece before advancing with the massive Undead Scourge.
Lor'Themar fought valiantly to defend Quel'Thalas, losing the sight in his left eye when one of the undead raked his face. Lor'Themar fought to reach the Sunwell with his Rangers, harassing the Scourge when ever he could, aided by his old friend Halduron Brightwing. However all Lor'Themar could do was harass the undead.
Sylvanas Windrunner was killed and raised as a Banshee by Arthas. King Anasterian Sunstrider was killed by Arthas defending the Sunwell itself. Silvermoon city was sacked and razed by the Undead. The Convocation of Silvermoon was butchered. Almost 90% of the High Elven race was slaughtered by the Undead. The Sunwell was tainted and corrupted to revive the Lich Kel'Thuzad.
All because Lor'Themar had trusted Dar'Khan Drathir. The only consolation for Lor'Themar was that Dar'Khan had also been killed by Arthas though he was promptly raised as one of the Undead by the Death Knight.
In such a situation most men would probably crack under the pressure. More than a few would probably hang themselves out of guilt.
Lor'Themar Theron don't got time for that shit.
Lor'Themar rallied what forces he could a secured the Silvermoon Bazaar using it as a rally point and a place for refugees to flee to. When Prince Kael'Thas Sunstrider arrived he took Lor'Themar with him to destroy the corrupted Sunwell to prevent it from corrupting the land and the people any further. This however had the nasty side affect of cutting them off from their supply of magic and revealing the painful addiction to magic the elves had. Kael renamed the survivors the Sin'dorei or Blood Elves in memory of their fallen kin.
Then Kael'Thas promptly ran off to fight the main forces of the Scourge with the best of Quel'thalas' forces. Then he got charged with treason and fled to Outland and the Blood Elves were kicked out of the Alliance. This left Lor'Themar in charge of what was left of the Blood Elves in Azeroth, trying to kick the Scourge out of Quel'Thalas. So he promptly strated personally leading patrols through the now haunted forests of Quel'Thalas hacking the heads off any Undead he came upon, like a boss.
Then Lor'Themar had his chance to avenge his people on Dar'Khan Drathir. Drathir was hunting a woman known as Anveena Teague who just so happened to be the living avatar of the Sunwell. Shit went down, Dar'Khan's ass was kicked though he would return and Lor'Themar became one of Anveena's protectors hoping she could help heal the damage to the Sunwell and Quel'Thalas.
Not long after Kael'Thalas finally resumed contact with Lor'Themar via the new Grand Magister Rommath. Rommath brought Kael's orders to prepare the people to travel to Outland and also brought with him a way to stave off the Blood Elves magical addiction. Draining magic from Demons.
Naturally not everyone was happy about this and a civil war threaten to break out. Lor'Themar was forced to exile everyone who refused to follow Kael'thas' teachings, a decision that would weigh heavily on him and haunt him for years. These exiles resume calling themselves high elves and hate Lor'Themar's guts.
With Rommath's Magisters however Lor'Themar was able to push the Undead from Silvermoon City and much of Northern Quel'Thalas. Almost overnight Silvermoon city was partially rebuilt and the Order of Blood Knights was created to aid in defending the Kingdom. Lor'Themar would also have another go round with Dar'Khan, survive getting set on fire by the traitor and then kick Dar'Khan's ass back to his fortress with his bow. Did I mention Lor'Themar has only one working eye and he had just been set on fire?
However Lor'Themar needed more help if his people were to survive and after the Alliance proved to be douche bags again Lor'Themar was approached by the Banshee Queen of the Forsaken Sylvanas Windrunner. Her offer? The Blood Elves join the Horde. With some mutual distrust and politics from both sides the Blood Elves joined the Horde...
Just in time for Kael'Thas to prove he was crazy and try to bring the demon lord Kil'jaden to Azeroth by using the Sunwell as a portal. Anveena sacrifices herself to defeat Kil'jaden and Kael'thas is killed. The Sunwell is restored however so at least something good came out of this.
Position strengthened Lor'Themar tries to reach out to the High Elves to mend fences and try and bring the people back together, offering them supplies and assitance. The High Elves tell him to fuck off and if he comes back to their door they will shoot at him. Understandable why they are upset and Lor'Themar just takes it.
Then he finds out that the Horde is mounting an offensive against the Scourge in Northrend and Sylvanas wants the Blood Elves in on the attack. Lor'Themar is reluctant to do so, considering his people have just had a minature civil war and killed the only surviving member of their royal family, until Sylvanas starts suggesting that if the Blood Elves don't help in the offensive the Forsaken might have to pull their support from Quel'Thalas. Despite the objections of his friends and his advisors Lor'Themar orders the Blood Elves to join the war against the Lich King.
Then the Quel'delar quest line goes down and Lor'Themar may or may not end up getting zapped by a magic sword depending on wether of not the player is a Blood Elf.
Lor'Themar keeps his head down throughout much of the Cataclysm though it is clear that he's lost some of the respect of his peers for caving to what amounts to black mail from Sylvanas. Indeed it isn't until the novel Tides of War that Lor'Themar makes another appearance.
At a war council in Orgrimmar held by now Warchief Garrosh Hellscream about attack the Alliance city of Theramore Sylvanas attempts to convince those present to instead focus their attentions on Alliance forces in her neck of the woods, subtly trying to lean on Lor'Themar for support. Lor'Themar doesn't say a word.
Garrosh, who doesn't really like or trust Sylvanas meets briefly with Lor'Themar after the council, assuming that Lor'Themar is supportive of the new (or rather old) direction Garrosh is taking the Horde. Lor'Themar however appears to have been watching Game of Thrones and remains noncomital. He neither supports Garrosh nor is he currently against Garrosh. This actually worries Garrosh particularly when Lor'Themar only provides token forces for the attack on Theramore. See he can plainly read the other Horde Leaders. Sylvanas, Vol'jin, and Baine all hate him, Gallywix is trying to suck up to him, but Lor'Themar? Lor'Themar is unreadable and that makes Lor'Themar scary.
It is during the Pandaria campaign that Lor'Themar really shines though. Garrosh orders the Blood Elves onto the front to search for ancient artifacts and study the Sha. Lor'Themar clashes with Garrosh repeaedly over the Warchief's reckless usage of the lives of his people. When Garrosh's actions trigger the purge of Dalaran in which the Blood Elves in the city are either forced to flee, are imprisoned, or are killed, Lor'Themar has enough of Garrosh. The gloves are coming off and benches are being flipped into fountains.
Lor'Themar personally leads the Blood Elves in battle against the Mogu, Zandalari Trolls, and the forces of Dalaran on the Isle of thunder, kicking ass and taking names the whole time. All of the while he gathers advanced magical weapons and secrets to aid in the eventual overthrow of Garrosh.
During the Siege Orgrimmar Lor'Themar personally leads the assault on Bladefist bay proving to be a more sound tacticain than Sylvanas and also kicking huge amounts of ass. When the time comes for the Horde to chose a new Warchief, Lor'Themar is the first to support and acknowledge Vol'jin as the new Warchief of the Horde. This after many had suggested he assume the mantle of Warchief.
Lor'Themar Theron's popularity shot through the roof during Mists of Pandaria with many players suggesting he should be Warchief and Blizzard actually printing a bunch of Lor'Themar for Warchief campaign buttons. What makes Lor'Themar so great is not the shit hes gone through which is worthy of any angsting anime hero, or the amount of ass he kicks, or the fact that he's an elf with an eye patch and facial hair, or the fact that he is voiced by Gideon Emry.
Lor'Themar is great because of his loyalty to his people, unshaking and utterly devoted. Lor'Themar can kick a dog if needed but he knows that he's going to pay for it some day. Lor'Themar can be a diplomat, a warrior, a politician, a strategist but at his core he remains oya and devoted to the people of Quel'Thalas. Lor'Themar is how you write an elf correctly, WITH MASSIVE BALLS OF ARCANITE!
"As Regent lord of Quel'Thalas, I will defend my people against any who would do us harm."
- Lor'Themar Theron