favourite character

A is for Alec Lightwood

I read the first two books in the Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare, City of Bones and City of Ashes, probably close to ten years ago now but I couldn’t really get into them because of the writing and the main character. I did like Alec though and when the Shadowhunters TV show came along I liked him even more.

He starts out pretty grumpy and serious but that’s because he’s got the weight of his parents’ expectations on him and he has to be the sensible one when his siblings are more reckless. I love how Alec grows over the course of the series. He becomes more open to his emotions as he becomes accepting of who he is. He’s a badass Shadowhunter, the Head of the New York Institute and he’s in love with a male warlock. I love the badass, warrior side of Alec but I love the dorky more awkward side of him too when he’s all flustered – usually by his boyfriend Magnus.

The bond between Alec and his siblings Jace and Izzy is one of my favourite things in the show. How they love and support one another while still being able to call each other out when they think one of them is being unfair or not doing the right thing is how true siblings should be.

Alec is brave, loyal, sarcastic and caring. He’s highly skilled in both a physical battle with his bow but he becomes a great diplomat, being pretty much the only Shadowhunter who has brought together leaders of the warlocks, vampires, werewolves and Seelies. Other more experienced and older Shadowhunters often underestimate him but Alec is an extremely capable leader and while he’ll do just about anything for his friends, including bending the law, he won’t sacrifice other people for them. Alec always tries to work through a problem and get the most successful outcome for everyone involved. That sometimes leads to him getting hurt by the people he cares about but he has a big heart and a pretty much endless capacity for forgiveness – though he can be ruthless and hold a grudge when needed.

The Blogging from A-Z Challenge – 2021 Edition

We’re two weeks away from April (what is time etc) and that means the A-Z in April Blogging Challenge is just around the corner. The challenge is to post on your blog every day in April except Sundays. Not including Sundays, there are twenty-six days in April which matches with the twenty-six letters of the alphabet. That means on 1st April you write something beginning with the letter A, on the 2nd something beginning with the letter B and so on and so forth.

This will be the eighth year in a row I’ve taken part in this challenge and I hope to complete it once again. It’s become almost a tradition for me to do this challenge and I hope I continue to have ideas for it as the years go by – or maybe rehash old ones as I’m doing this year. I suppose I’d like to do it a nice round ten times, but we will see what happens.

This year my theme for the challenge is favourite characters. So, each day will be a gushing post about a character I love whose first or last name begins with that letter. In previous A-Z Challenges I’ve written about my favourite characters – in 2020 I wrote about my favourite characters from the MCU, in 2017 the theme was a general “My Favourite Things” which included a few characters, and way back in 2016 it was all about my favourite characters. As it’s been five years since then, I’ve watched more films and TV shows and read more books so there’s more characters I like a lot and can easily write about. Plus, I’m taking part in a challenge on Twitter where I’m sharing a character I love each day, so that’s inspired me a bit for this challenge too – that could give you some spoilers for who might appear in this blog in April. It will be twenty-six new characters who I haven’t mentioned in previous A-Z Challenges.

This is where I’d normally say “There will still be film reviews on Mondays and book reviews on Thursdays” but as I haven’t been watching a lot of films recently (just the X-Men movies) or reading a lot or writing many reviews, there might still be film and book reviews in April but I’m not going to promise anything. There will be my X-Men reviews every Saturday though as they’re all written and scheduled.

I haven’t actually got any of my A-Z posts written or scheduled yet so that’s going to be my plan for the weekend. I don’t think they’ll take me long as it’s always easy to write about something I love so it’ll be good to gets some scheduled before April arrives. It will make things less stressful and give me more time to visit other blogs.

There’s still time to sign up for the A to Z in April Challenge. I do recommend it; it definitely makes you stretch yourself to think of something for every letter and it encourages you to be organised – something I’m always trying to be better at when it comes to my blog.

BOOK BLOGGER HOP: If you could go trick-or-treating with your favourite book character, who would it be?

Book Blogger Hop

The Book Blogger Hop is a weekly feature hosted by Coffee Addicted Writer, to find bookish blogs and to learn more about the bloggers themselves. You can find more info on the feature here.

This week’s question is: If you could go trick-or-treating with your favourite book character, who would it be?

It’s been a long time since I’ve had a proper favourite character from a book, but I think I’ve got two picks for this. The first would be Izzy from The Exact Opposite of Okay. I think she’d be great fun to go trick-or-treating with, she’d be full of jokes and would probably make an inventive costume. My second pick would be Locke Lamora from the Gentleman Bastards series. He’d be very good at the trick part of trick-or-treating.

Who would you want to go trick-or-treating with if you could?

Y is for Ho Yinsen

When you look back on the MCU, one minor character that really has had a lasting effect on a hero is Ho Yinsen. He is such an important character!

Yinsen was held captive with Tony Stark in Afghanistan and it was Yinsen who saved Tony’s life. He’s the one who put an electromagnet in Tony’s chest, stopping the pieces of shrapnel getting to his heart. Yes, Yinsen’s version was with a car battery and once Tony was on his feet, he figured out how to make the system better with a miniaturised arc reactor, but Yinsen came up with the way to save Tony’s life first.

Yinsen was intelligent, he was a scientist and surgeon and he could speak multiple languages, so he was more than capable to help Tony build the first Iron Man armour. He helped motivate Tony to resist their captors and do something about the terrorists having so many of Tony’s weapons. “Is this the last act of defiance of the great Tony Stark? Or are you going to do something about it?” was just the sort of no-nonsense pep talk Tony needed. Yinsen was also incredibly brave as he willingly sacrificed his life so Tony could escape.

Tony went and saved the villagers of Gulmira, Yinsen’s village, once he’d made the Iron Man suit. I’m not saying Tony wouldn’t have saved any village he heard about on the news, but there were definitely more of a personal stake there for him. Yinsen’s last words to Tony was not to waste his life and I like to think Tony took that to heart.

X is for Xtras

X is always a difficult one for the A-Z in April Challenge. In previous years I’ve written about the X-Men or Charles Xavier but as they are not a part of the MCU (yet anyway) I’ve had to cheat a bit this year. These are all the extra characters who I love that got pipped to the post by a different favourite.

Clint Barton
Now some of you who have been following my blog for a while might’ve been surprised not to see Clint featured in my A-Z of favourites this year, because Clint Barton is my ultimate favourite whether that’s in the MCU, comics or animated TV shows. But I had featured him in my Favourite Characters A-Z in April in 2016 so I thought I’d give some other favourites the time to shine. I do still love him a lot though. He’s funny and highly skilled but he’s still a very breakable human on a team of superhumans and I love that about him.

Michelle “MJ” Jones
There’s a lot of cool characters in Spider-Man: Homecoming but I did have a soft spot for Michelle even before it was revealed that she’s going to be the MCU’s version of MJ. She’s weird, smart and funny. I like how she’s a bit of a social outcast who likes her own company, but she still finds friends. I’m looking forward to seeing more of her personality come through in future films.

Nick Fury
Fury is the ultimate spy and I love that about him. Having Samuel L. Jackson in the role was one of the best decisions ever made in regard to the MCU. He brings all these layers to Fury. Fury can be funny (loved seeing more of that side of him in Captain Marvel), cutting, secretive and very smart. His secrets have secrets! One of my favourite sequences in the entire MCU is when Fury’s car is attacked in Winter Soldier, I just love seeing Fury being the action hero/spy that he is even though he’s climbed the ranks of SHIELD.

Hela
You got to love a female villain that causes death and destruction with style. I like how Hela’s back story doesn’t excuse what she is. Yes, her father used her to take over different worlds and defeat their enemies, but that death and destruction was still in her nature. She wants to rule Asgard and get what she thinks she deserves and uses her intelligence and magic to do it.

Rocket
Rocket is probably my favourite out of the original Guardians of the Galaxy crew. He’s sarcastic and mean and pushes people away because he’s not used to being cared about. But when he does get close to his friends, his family, he loves them deeply. I think the animation that brings Rocket alive is incredible as I’ve often found myself getting teary eyed over that damn raccoon.

W is for Wanda Maximoff

I really do love Wanda a lot and I especially like how she’s grown into someone who’s more comfortable in their powers and who they are as the series has progressed.

I do think Wanda should be held accountable for her actions. In Civil War it’s clear she’s not ready to be out in the field and so while she did save a lot of people, she inadvertently hurt and killed others. However, she’s still learning and trying to do the right thing and atone for her mistakes.

Wanda is seriously one of the most powerful characters in the MCU. I think she’s up there with Thor and Carol with regards how powerful and potentially dangerous they are. I mean, she held back Thanos who had five Infinity Stones at the time while simultaneously destroying a sixth Infinity Stone! She’s so strong and badass and amazing! But as well as being a badass, she’s sweet and caring and loving too.

I’ve got to take a moment to mention one of my favourite character dynamics in the MCU – Wanda and Clint’s relationship. He’s like a surrogate dad to her and I love how they talk to one another and protect each other in battle. Wanda’s way stronger than him with her powers, but because of her past she isn’t so confident or aware of the world compared to Clint so they can help each other out when they need it. Also, I totally believe Wanda’s has gone and babysat Clint’s kids while he and his wife go out for dinner more than once.

V is for Valkyrie

Valkyrie is everything a Valkyrie should be; selfless, brave and loyal though after her fellow Valkyrie’s were massacred by Hela, she tried to forget her past by drinking and running away to a new life.

I think Valkyrie’s great because she’s so unapologetically herself. She drinks too much, gets into fights, and captures people for the Grandmaster. She didn’t appear to be a nice person to begin with but that’s because she’d learnt to be tough as she’d been on her own so long.

I had a huge grin on my face when I first saw Valkyrie in her traditional armour with her sword and blue cape walk across the Rainbow Bridge with such swagger before attacking her enemies. She just looked so cool and badass and you could totally see why the Valkyries were such elite warriors.

I loved Valkyrie’s relationship with the Hulk. They would rough house and almost play together which was unexpected especially as so many people are normally scared of the Hulk. I also liked how when the Hulk had become Bruce Banner again, Valkyrie felt like she knew him and vice versa. I’d like to see her interact more with Bruce or Hulk more as I think they have such an interesting dynamic built of respect and affection.

U is for Ulysses Klaue

God bless villains with unusual names, so I get to have a character for this day. Once again, I got to say Klaue isn’t a favourite though I do think Andy Serkis appears to have a whale of time in the role and that makes Klaue an entertaining presence whenever he’s on screen.

I kinda love how unapologetically greedy Klaue is. He’s a black-market arms dealer, has no problem with murder, and generally has little regard for life. His henchmen are indeed just that and he doesn’t appear to have anyone he cares about. He knows how to talk the talk when faced with someone deadlier than himself, case in point Ultron, and he also willingly admires Killmonger even when he is being killed by him.

Klaue definitely has a weird sense of priorities and a weird sense of humour too. He’s eccentric, having his replacement hand being a weapon, and readily talks about his fear of cuttlefish when confronted by someone with powers.

Klaue is a cunning businessman and he is smart, noticing the little things while also having a lot of fun causing chaos. He does think highly of himself which you could say was his downfall as he never really saw Killmonger as a threat.

Klaue was always a funny and entertaining villain, especially in Black Panther. His obnoxious attitude always bounced off of other more serious characters and just made him a lot of fun to watch.

T is for Tony Stark

Have I told you lately how much I love Tony Stark? Because I love him a lot. Every now and then I think about the ways he’s such a great and interesting character and then I go on a little Twitter rant. As a part of Jumpcut Online’s Infinity Saga retrospective of the MCU I wrote pieces on Iron Man and Iron Man 3 which are two of my favourite films in the MCU and I’d recommend checking them out because they end up being mainly focused on why Tony Stark (and Robert Downey Jr.) is so brilliant.

But why do I love Tony Stark so much? That’s a good question. I love how much he’s grown over the course of the MCU. Like, I get why someone wouldn’t necessarily like him in the first Iron Man film (though he still has a good character arc in it) but if they still don’t like him by the time Infinity War has rolled around then they’re still judging him on who he was and not what he’s become.

The thing about Tony Stark is that he wears bravado and the “genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist” title like a suit of armour. He can court the media like a pro, but it doesn’t mean he enjoys it. He is confident and at times full of himself, but he also has anxieties and a deep need to protect those he cares about and fix his mistakes.

Tony Stark has a heart and it’s full of love. He loves his robots and his AI (don’t tell me losing JARVIS first to Ultron and then as a part of Vision wouldn’t have hurt him), he loves Pepper, he loves Rhodey, and Happy, and Peter, and he definitely loved, or at least cared about, the rest of the Avengers. Tony Stark is the guy who designed a floor for each of the Avengers in his tower after knowing them for less than 48 hours. The guy didn’t have a conventional upbringing, or a solid family, so he tries to make a family from his friends.

Tony is incredibly smart and incredibly brave. He’s had anxiety, nightmares and PTSD from going through a wormhole into space, but that didn’t stop him trying to save Spider-Man and Doctor Strange when they were kidnapped by a spaceship. Space, and the threat that’s out there, is one of his biggest fears but he still went to try and save the world.

Tony is often a mess, but he’s a mess that is trying his best. He is someone who when presented with a couple of options he doesn’t like, will find a different way to do something, to fix a problem. Accountability and learning from one’s mistakes are major parts of Tony’s character arc, and his need to be held accountable, for people to be safe and secure, is one of his major driving forces. That can, and does, mean he clashes with some people, but he will get through it.

Tony Stark is funny, smart and heroic. He’s the guy who made a miniaturised arc reactor in a cave with a box of scraps. And he’s the guy that won’t ever give up.

S is for Shuri

I love Black Panther for giving us so many interesting and cool female characters. I think besides the Thor films; Black Panther has the most well-developed female characters than any other MCU film.

Shuri is so great because while she is ridiculously smart and is the head scientist of the Wakandan Design Group, she still acts like a teenager who enjoys music, jokes and messing with her big brother. I love the scenes with her and T’Challa. They feel like proper siblings but T’Challa still listens to her judgement when it comes to the technology she’s created.

I like how Shuri is a character that has many sides and responsibilities. She’s Princess of Wakanda, meaning she has certain responsibilities and must act a certain way when she’s doing her royal duties. She’s a scientist and engineer, making much of Wakanda’s modern technology. She’s a warrior, prepared to fight alongside her brother for the good of Wakanda. But then she is still a young woman with a sense of humour and her own ideas about what’s right and good.

I also love that in the MCU all characters just accept how ridiculously smart this young black woman is and no one underestimates her. Or if they do, they end up regretting it.