This week’s Top Ten Tuesday prompt is a Thankful Freebie. In previous years, I’ve listed authors and books I’m thankful for, so this year I thought I’d talk about several characters I’m thankful exist.

Nina Zenik from Six of Crows duology  by Leigh Bardugo: Nina Zenik is a force to be reckoned with. I love her self-confidence and her strength. Nina goes through a lot during the duology, but she holds the group together and is always willing to share an encouraging word, a light-hearted joke, or a plate of waffles. We need more characters–and people–like Nina Zenik.

Samwise Gamgee from The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien: Samwise’s loyalty and bravery know no bounds. I’m grateful that Tolkien gave us such a humble and strong character to help Frodo finish his quest. He’s the standard for a best friend and a hero.

Gabi and Lia Bettarini from the River of Time series by Lisa T. Bergren: These sisters were some of the first characters I truly felt kinship with. I love their bravery and dedication for one another. I love their loyalty and determination. They prove that while siblings can disagree, they don’t have to let their differences ruin their relationship. It can help their bond be stronger.

Rose from East and West by Edith Pattou: Rose is strong, determined, and loyal. She gives up her future and life for her father. She goes to great lengths to save a boy that she barely understands because she wronged him. She refuses to give up or let anybody sway her from her task. She is incredible.

Annie from Fireborne by Rosaria Munda: While I only just “met” Annie recently, she already moved to my favorite character list. Annie doesn’t come across as someone who is brave or would be a good leader. She fears talking in front of others, and her past has left scars that seem too big to be healed. But her loyalty and actions prove that she can be a great leader. She grows and changes over the course of Fireborne into someone who is better. She doesn’t let her fears or her faults keep her from doing what is right.

Caspian from The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis: While there are many characters I love from the Narnia books, Caspian is one of my favorites because he’s humble yet brave and he brings Narnia back together under his kingship. He doesn’t believe he’d make a good king, but he proves he’s a good king through his actions.

Puck Connolly from The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater: Puck Connolly is a firecracker, and I love her sass. But I also love her stubbornness. She doesn’t back down when everybody tells her she has no chance of winning. She doesn’t give up on her brothers. She does what she sets out to do, no matter the consequences.

Meg Murry from A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle: Meg Murry is fantastic. I love her relationship with her brother and her fierce love for her father. I love that she uses her flaws to defeat the enemy, and that while she gets hurt, she takes time to heal and that makes her stronger. Meg Murry is a force to be reckoned with, and I am so glad her character exists for all the girls out there that need to believe they, too, can overcome their faults.

Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables series by L.M. Montgomery: Anne is a unique, fun character. Her way of looking at the world and being honest is admirable. Everybody needs an Anne in their life.

Jean Valjean from Les Misérables by Victor Hugo: Jean Valjean’s character arc makes me weep. He goes from being a lowly convict to someone who changes and saves lives. Everything that happens in this story hinges on his choices. He could have ran off with the priest’s silver and drunk himself into nothingness. He could have become a worse criminal. But instead, he took that silver and the grace that came with it and made himself better. He used it to give himself a future where he could help others around him. Jean Valjean, I love you.

What characters are you thankful for? Don’t forget to join the link-up!