This week’s Top Ten Tuesday is about characters who would make great leaders, but I’m going to tweak it slightly and talk about characters who are already great leaders but have either been forgotten or overshadowed by others. There are a lot of characters that can easily be pointed out as great leaders, but what about some other, lesser-known ones? What about characters that don’t normally make the list but definitely exhibit leadership qualities? This post is for them.
(The Top Ten Tuesday prompt for this week is: Ten Characters Who Would Make Great Leaders [Leaders of what? That’s your decision. Who could lead a country, an army, a book club, a classroom, etc. Or maybe characters that would be trendsetters?])
Annabeth Chase, from the Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan: Annabeth might be the most well-known leader on this list, but I still think sometimes people forget how great she is. Everybody focuses on how great of a leader Percy is, but Percy would be nothing without Annabeth at his side, saving his sorry butt and watching him drool. Annabeth is the brains of the operation, and she shows time and time again her quality.
Merry and Pippin, from Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien: Just like Annabeth, these two hobbits are often forgotten in the grand scheme of things. We can easily point at Aragorn and see how great of a leader he became. The same can be said of Gandalf and Frodo. But Merry and Pippin took what they learned from the horrors of war and fighting and brought it back to the Shire. They made their home community better by being leaders, and I think that is the most admirable thing they could have done.
Caspian X, from The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis: It’s easy to think of the Narnia books and remember how the Pevensies became heroes and leaders, but I think Caspian X is often forgotten for his accomplishments. He is considered one of the greatest leaders of Narnia. He saved Narnia before he was even their king, and then when he became king, he restored a lot of things that were dismantled under his ancestors’ reign. He made alliances with neighboring countries, he fought giants, and he went on sea voyages. He did so many great things that his reign is often remembered as the glory days and he is long remembered as a great king of Narnia. (Can you tell I have a lot of feelings about Caspian? Because he’s amazing.)
Gilbert Blythe, from the Anne of Green Gables series by L.M. Montgomery: In the books, Gilbert isn’t directly considered a leader, but I think time and time again, he leads by example. From his dedication to school work and his family to his ambitions to help people as a doctor, Gilbert Blythe shows leadership skills. In college, he leads his class in several areas, and later, he leads his family with love, gentleness, and patience.
Violet Baudelaire, from A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket: Although each of the Baudelaires show leadership qualities in various situations through the series, Violet definitely takes on the role of leader over and over as the eldest Bauldelaire sibling. At age fourteen, she might not be considered a leader, as many of the adults in the series don’t listen to her because they think she’s merely a child. Her inventions and her care for her siblings reveal the leader inside of her, though.
Mr. Knightley, from Emma by Jane Austen: Like Gilbert Blythe, Mr. Knightley leads by example. He doesn’t let social classes affects his view of people, and he is considerate and compassionate to those who work for him. He shows good judgment and character throughout the book. Again, like Gilbert Blythe, he may not be directly called a leader, but I think he is one, especially as he gently leads Emma into becoming a better person.
Peeta Mellark, from The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins: Although he’s not my favorite character, I’ve come to appreciate Peeta due to his leadership qualities. When Katniss is off being anti-social and moody, he’s there to smooth things over and make sure nobody gets hurt. He’s always at the forefront of attention in order to make sure everything happens as it should. I think if later events hadn’t transpired, Peeta would have become a great leader in the new government set up after the Capitol was dismantled.
Meg Murry, from A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle: Meg might not consider herself a leader, but she definitely shows leadership and courage when she goes to find her father and save her brother. She doesn’t back down and she fights to protect the ones she loves, convincing other people along the way that they have to keep going or IT might just win.
Farway McCarthy, from Invictus by Ryan Graudin: Far isn’t your typical leader, even if he’s the captain of a time-traveling ship. He illustrates at rebellious, vagabond quality, matching famous captains like Jim Kirk or Peter Quill. But just like those characters, over the course of the book, he becomes a great leader by the decisions he makes for his crew. It takes the whole team to get the job done, but Far is the heart of the crew and his leadership skills, his sacrifice and willingness to do whatever it takes to save time itself, is what propels the whole crew to keep going, even when things seem hopeless.