At one point, Holden Caulfield was the paradigmatic teenager, but now his star has fallen as kids munch on antidepressants and try to be absorbed by, rather than rebel against, the growing ranks of other-directed kids in the lonely crowd. Which is why he would probably get along with another unloved character, Draco Malfoy. If Holden and Draco were friends, however, Draco probably would have already failed out of Hogwarts and ended up somewhere in the bowels of London, smoking cigarette after cigarette and drinking out of of a pocket flask as they discussed their stupid classmates and even more ignorant parents. Phonies! The lot of ‘em.
Literary characters who’d be best friends
Voyages with Vampires by Gilderoy Lockhart, in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling
If its ability to capture the heart of every female witch in England speaks to its potential for popularity, then the adventurous account written by defense-against-the-dark-arts teacher Gilderoy Lockhart would have been a promising next big vampire flick. After Lockhart was exposed as a charlatan in an embarrassing scandal at Hogwarts, the book would have to move over to the fiction section, but let’s be honest — people have done worse for fame.
Fictitious books from fiction we’d love to read
Sirius Black, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, J.K. Rowling
When we actually looked back, we were surprised that Sirius lasted as long as he did — the fifth book, out of seven — because in our minds he was swept from the story impossibly early. In later books, Rowling kills off other characters about whom we care deeply, but Sirius Black is the first of these, and probably the one who has incited the most fan outcry (and fan fiction). It was all there at Harry’s fingertips — love, family, belonging, a cool godfather who was best friends with his dad and treated him like a grownup — but all that was slashed in one fateful step backwards.
Literary characters who died too soon
Hermione Granger, the Harry Potter series
In the Harry Potter books, Hermione starts as an insufferable know-it-all, blossoms into a whip-smart beauty who doesn’t suffer fools (except Ron), and ends up as the glue that holds the whole operation together. Hermione’s steadfastness and sheer intelligence (plus the fact that she’s the only one who has ever read Hogwarts: A History) save her two best friends time and time again, and she’s the only one of the three never to wholly break down in a crisis. Intelligence often translates into strength, but only when wielded by a steady hand — and Hermione just happens to have both, and compassion to boot. That’s our kind of girl.
The most powerful female characters in literature
Things we wish really existed: Harriet Potter. [via io9]
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