A to Z in April 2021

Reflections on the A-Z Challenge 2021 Edition

Another April gone and another A-Z in April Challenge completed!

This was my eighth year taking part in the A-Z Challenge and I really enjoyed writing my posts. I was pretty organised this year though I did spend some weekends writing like seven posts, but it all worked out OK. I do really enjoy writing about characters I love, I find it relatively easy to gush about them and it’s fun to share my love of various characters that might be from lesser-known films or shows. It’s hard to choose which posts were my favourite to write but I’ve got to give shoutouts to my posts on Leïto, Johnny Lawrence, and Elizabeth Sloane – those three characters pretty much cover the main characteristics of characters I tend to love.

My stats were great in April and I received more views and visitors last month than the last two April A-Z Challenges I’ve taken part in so thank you so much to everyone who stopped by to view by A-Z posts, liked them and/or commented. I haven’t quite got round to responding to every comment yet, but I do read every single one and I really do appreciate them.

I definitely had phases where I’d be really good at seeking out blogs or visiting ones who’d visited mine. There’d be the odd day or evening where blog hopping was all I did after work! There’s still more blog I’d like to visit and I’m going to do my best to make time for that in the coming weeks.

My most popular posts from this year’s challenge were Kaz Brekker by a mile (I definitely think the Shadow and Bone show being released a week or so after my post probably helped with that), Sally Owens, Rose Tyler, and Poe Dameron. Also for some reason, posts from previous year’s challenges where I talked about my favourite characters made an appearance and Carol Danvers and Pepper Potts were quite popular last month.

I always muse on whether or not I’ll take part in the A-Z Challenge next year but this year I’ve pretty much decided I will. I’ve decided that I want to do the A-Z Challenge for ten years in a row and I have two more years to go. I’m not sure what the themes will be for those next two years, but I’ve got plenty of time to figure that out.

I hope all of you who took part in the challenge had fun and a successful A-Z in April. Thanks to those who stopped by my blog and liked or commented – it always means a lot. For more information on the A-Z in April Challenge visit the website.

Z is for Zorro

I’m kind of cheating and having almost a generalisation on the last day of the A-Z in April Challenge – or a title for many characters rather than an individual character in particular. Like how I said I like the Robin Hood stories, I like the story of Zorro for a lot of the same reasons.

As I said in my post about Elena de la Vega, I love The Mask of Zorro. I think it shows how the title of Zorro can be passed down, and highlights what the main qualities of Zorro should be. Alejandro Murrieta is vastly different to Diego de la Vega, the original Zorro, when they first met due to his drinking and grief and anger. Though he is still a bit reckless and impulsive, through Diego’s training, Alejandro becomes a good imitation of a nobleman and a skilled fighter.

A few years ago, I read Zorro by Isabel Allende which is like a retelling/origin story of the legendary Zorro and I enjoyed it a lot. It follows his through child and teen years to his early twenties and the events and relationships that make him into a young man who would become a masked vigilante.

Y is for Yzma

This is definitely a cheat post.

For the life of me, I could not think of a character whose first or last name began with a Y and that it was a character I loved, and I hadn’t used before in previous A-Z in April Challenge’s. So, I took to Google and that’s what led me to Yzma.

I’m not totally lying as I do like Yzma. The Emperor’s New Groove is such a odd and funny film and she has some of the best moments in it. Yzma is power-hungry, malicious and funny. She’s a political advisor and chemist so she’s smart but she’s also very dramatic so her plans are often far more complicated than they need to be.

I besides the interesting look and animation of Yzma, the reason she is such a memorable and fun character is because of Eartha Kitt’s performance. Her raspy voice and wit just shine through and she really nails that slightly manic edge Yzma has.

X is for Xtras

I’m sure like many people who do the A-Z in April Challenge, I often really struggle with the letter X. I’ve previously had Charles Xavier when I wrote about favourite characters before but as I don’t want any repeats, I’m cheating and just sharing a few favourite characters that didn’t quite make the cut for their own post.

Steve Harrington
My all-out favourite from Stranger Things. I love his growth as a character and even when he was a bit of a bully towards Jonathan in the first season, he realised his mistakes and went to apologise and became a great monster hunter. I love how protective Steve is of the kids, how he’ll always put himself in harms way to stop others getting hurt (he really needs to be checked for any brain injuries) and that while he’s not academically smart, he picks on things up others don’t.

Jaylah
Star Trek Beyond is my favourite Star Trek film and is generally one of my favourite films. Jaylah is a brilliant character and I love how she fits in with the crew of the Enterprise. She’s a fierce fighter, she’s a smart engineer, and though she’s scared of what they have to face thanks to her traumatic childhood, she is brave enough to stare down her demons and finds a new family with the crew.

Jesper Fahey
Jesper was already one of my favourite characters from Six of Crows/Crooked Kingdom but having finished (and loved) the Shadow and Bone TV show, I love him even more. He is funny and charming and brave, and he is such a good friend. There’s a moment when a friend asks him to kill someone for her and his response is “Ugh why me? But OK.” because that’s just how he is. He has a gambling problem which often leads him to get into scrapes so it’s a good job his such a fantastic shot – honestly how they showed his guns skills in the show was so cool.

Elizabeth Swann
I still believe the original Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy are brilliant and The Curse of the Black Pearl is a fantastic film. I love how Elizabeth evolves as a person over the course of the films though still stays the same adventurous and quick-witted person she always was. She’s brave but sometimes reckless, caring but sometimes harsh – she’s one of the most interesting characters in that franchise. I also love how she becomes such a great sword fighter, pirate, and the Pirate King.

W is for Will Scarlett

I really like the story of Robin Hood and pretty much any iteration of it. The whole stealing from the rich to give to the poor and people to coming together thing are tropes or themes that I love. Like the story, I tend to really like Will Scarlett in any version.

My favourite Robin Hood adaptation is Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves and that has my favourite Will Scarlett. What I love about this Will Scarlett here is his attitude and his backstory.

Personality-wise, Will is impulsive and cocky and jealous. Not really the nicest qualities but he’s also pretty charming and a skilled fighter. Plus, when you learn his backstory his attitude towards Robin makes so much sense as it’s easy to understand where all his resentment came from. I especially like how once Robin knows Will is his younger half-brother, he wants to protect him and not put him in danger, and Will’s like “You shot me in the hand, I think you don’t get to tell me what’s dangerous.”

The dynamics between Will and the other Merry Men are great but it’s that push and pull relationship he has with Robin, both before and after everyone knows they’re brothers that’s really fun.

V is for Elena de la Vega

The Mask of Zorro is one of my favourite films, in the sense that it’s a film I love but I kind of forget about it until I watch it and fall in love with it all over again. I think I’ve watched the sequel, The Legend of Zorro, a couple of times but it’s the first one that I truly love.

Elena is just fab – and no she’s not my namesake though I wouldn’t be mad if she was. I love how she’s kind, sensitive and a strong sense of justice but she sometimes struggles with that as it’s not seemly for an upstanding young lady in society to talk of and be passionate about such things. There are almost two sides to her, the one of the respectable lady in high society and then the young woman who knows how to sword fight and is not afraid to knock out a guard to rescue someone.

How she is conflicted when she learns the truth about her parentage is so believable. She’s grown up knowing one man as her father, and while he is not a nice person generally, he’s always loved her. So then learning that he’s been lying to her all her life and meeting her biological father gives her a whole mess of emotions. She doesn’t want the man she just learnt is her biological father to be hurt but equally she still cares about the man who raise her.

I just really like how feisty and strong and passionate Elena is for political issues and having a more just society. She is more than a match for both of her fathers, and for Alejando Murrieta aka Zorro.

U is for Uma

I watched the Descendants trilogy for the first-time last year and absolutely loved them and became somewhat obsessed with all the songs and I even bought the books though I’ve yet to read them. I think all the characters are pretty great but there’s something especially fun about Uma.

Uma is the daughter of Ursula and the Captain of her crew of pirates which include the sons of Captain Hook and Gaston. Uma is calculating and resourceful and will go to extreme lengths to get what she wants – including kidnap and manipulation. But Uma isn’t self-serving, what she wants is a better life for her, her crew and the rest of the kids on the Isle of the Lost.

Uma is incredibly loyal to her friends and crew, she’s smart, capable and good at problem-solving. I like how devious she can be and even when she has to reluctantly work we her former nemesis, you never really know how long that truce will last.

I also really like Uma’s personality. She can be stubborn, mean and arrogant, but she’s also funny, sarcastic and caring. She has layers and her dynamics with various characters are a lot of fun, especially Harry Hook.

Uma also has some of the best songs in the trilogy.

T is for Terri Coverley

The Thick of It is a show that demonstrates how farcical British politics is and, to be honest, British politics have gotten even worse since the show finished.

Terri Coverley is a Civil Servant and is the Director of Communications at the fictional Department of Social Affairs and Citizenship. She is very proud and one could say she has delusions of grandeur. She often thinks she is better at her job and more liked than she actually is. While she’s certainly not the meanest person in the office, she does belittle her secretary and treats her poorly.

I love Terri’s attitude to everything that goes on in the office. It might be because she’s often oblivious to what’s actually happening, or she really is that useless, but she sticks to her guns when she says she wont do something and she really is quite blasé about the whole thing.

While I wouldn’t say Terri is an inspiration when it comes to work, I do like how she does her best to only do what is in her job description and gets very annoyed if she has to work late. I think knowing what’s inside your remit and not getting a load of things piled on top of you is admirable. Especially as Terri does it when anyone asks her, she knows what she’s supposed to do and will do it though whether it’s to the best of her ability is debatable.

S is for Sara Howard

For living and working in late 1800s New York City, Sara Howard is quite the modern woman. She starts out as the secretary for the Chief of Police but after getting involved in some mysterious murders she strikes out on her own and opens her own private detective agency, staffed entirely by women.

I love how genuine a character Sara feels. She is resourceful and stands up for herself, but she is always aware of how society may view someone like her. A young woman who investigates murders and other gruesome crimes, who is seen galivanting around town with an Alienist and a reporter – both unattached men – is not really someone that is seen to be suitable for high society. Sara does a good job of hiding how she feels when men belittle her intelligence or her standing but it’s clear she takes great delight in showing them up when she can work through a problem quicker than they can.

Sara is smart and resourceful and caring. The fact that she can talk to people makes her a good investigator as she can sympathise with them and get them to open up to her. She’s a good and kind boss who is fair and teaches the other women in her agency the tricks of the trade.

I love how resilient Sara is. She has to deal with a lot of sexist attitudes, both when she worked in the police department and just generally in life, as she takes it and uses it to her advantage when others underestimate her. The fact she’s pretty handy and comfortable with a gun helps too.

R is for Rose Tyler

My introduction to Doctor Who was way back in 2005, when the first episode, titled “Rose”, of the new, rebooted series aired. Instantly I loved the whole concept, the Doctor and, of course Rose Tyler. My love of Doctor Who has faded a bit over time but series one-four aka the Eccleston and Tennant eras, still hold a place in my heart.

Rose Tyler is still my favourite companion. I love how normal she was. She was just a teenager, working in a shop with very few qualifications, and living with her mum but when given the opportunity she was incredibly brave and resourceful.

Rose is good for the Doctor because she questions things – including him – and she is also very observant, sometimes even noticing the little things the Doctor might’ve missed. Those things were often to do with the people (humans or aliens) that they were helping, Rose was often a lot more caring and more personable than the Doctor, getting people to open up and would really listen to them.

I loved Rose’s wit and how she could stand up for herself and the people she cares for. Her relationship with her mum is one of my favourite things because they feel like a proper mother and daughter. They bicker but they also protect one another and it’s clear they love one another so much.

The end of “Doomsday” never fails to make me cry. I was a wreck when I first saw that episode and while now I’m older I can see that Donna Noble’s fate is so much worse/sadder, as a Doctor/Rose shipper (before I even really knew what shipping was) I was devastated they were parted like that. That being said, I do like how Rose took on a role as protector of the Earth in her parallel universe, and used all the things she learnt from her adventures with the Doctor to make the world a safer place.