This question was posed to me the other day and got me thinking. Even in my own writing my favourite character isn’t always the protagonist.
In ‘Riduna‘ for example, my first novel ~ historical fiction set on the island of Alderney in the Victorian era, Harriet, the protagonist, is key to every part of the story. A quarryman’s daughter, Harriet is the person who binds the others together and, as the author, I know her intimately. I can describe her life from the moment she was born through to adult hood and middle age. I have not killed her off as yet but feel sure that I will know her as an old woman too ~ but is she my favourite character? No, actually she isn’t!
It is Jane who intrigues me most. There is a bit of mystery about her. I only know of Jane’s life as she arrives on Riduna from mainland Britain as a teenager. Having lost her mother she is brought up by her father, who is the island’s doctor. Jane is well educated and intelligent in a mature and thoughtful way. She finds herself in a society where class isn’t as distinctive as back in the UK. As Harriet’s best friend she is a leveler and yet she is also a dreamer. It is she who travels the world in her career as a nurse. She chooses ambition over love, marriage and babies. Is this totally fulfilling for her? At the end of Riduna she begins to take her chosen course, but it is in my second novel Ancasta that we see her fulfilling her ambitions. We also see her threading back into Harriet’s life. She is always the steady influence, even though their outlook on life is so contrasting.
I am fond of Jane for her loyalty to Harriet and yet she is her own person. A good friend is not one who smothers or submits but is one of mutual respect. A friendship should be supportive but also allow each to be themselves.
Diana Jackson is the author of The Riduna Series which can be found on her Amazon page .Riduna is currently only £1.99 on Kindle.
2 responses to “Is your favourite character in a novel always the protagonist?”
I’d say no. The mc is the lynchpin, but others may appeal more. in my case, I killed off a favourite fictional character in my first book – cried as I wrote that part – and in my second book I didn’t have a lot of choice as the person I grieved for there was a real person.
I can empathise with the tears. I have shed tears occasionally when proof reading. Moments can catch you unawares, even though you have written it yourself. The characters become so real that they are almost friends or relations.