Five fictional characters that made it all too real

This article was published in Cult Noise Magazine in August, 2015. Read it here!

Isn’t it magic how a writer can convey an image created within the deepest crevices of their imagination and through nothing other than flakes of the English language make a population fall in love?

Here are five fictional characters responsible for making it all too real.

Damon SalvatoreThe Vampire Diaries by L. J. Smith

Initially portrayed as the scheming, darker one of the two Salvatore brothers, Damon has spent the majority of his afterlife living in the shadow of his younger sibling, Stefan, who is an unconventional vegetarian portrayal of the traditional blood-sucking vampire.

Stefan’s girlfriend may be Elena, a human, but his need for self-righteousness finds him in situations where he does not always put her first, and in such instances, Damon is always beside her to pick up the pieces. He gives into his craving for human blood frequently, often killing local criminals and innocents, occasionally, for food, depending on the degree of hunger. His dismissal of core values, like honesty and loyalty, and misusing his ability to compel humans to forget things, makes Damon look like a monster in the eyes of Elena.

Though, her detestation is one-sided. Damon remains silent about his feelings to protect Elena’s happiness but also continues to visit her as he has done throughout her life, protecting her happiness from afar. Not only had he saved her and life before she even knew of Stefan, he had also spoken to her regularly. Though Elena is unaware of this because he, too, utilised his ability to compel on her. This makes Elena’s reasons for picking Stefan Salvatore even more poignant:

“Maybe if I’d met you first, Damon – maybe then, things would be different between us.”

Neville LongbottomThe Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling

Everybody who is a fan of the Harry Potter books or films has a soft-spot for Neville Longbottom. Often portrayed as being the weaker friend of the group, Neville’s low self-esteem is a constant reminder of his dark past encounters with Lord Voldemort who’s assistant, Bellatrix Lestrange, killed both of his parents. And, often described as wearing unsightly, hand-knitted jumpers, in addition to the unmistakable largeness of his two front teeth, we often felt quite sorry for poor Neville.

However, as the tale unfolds across the seven novels, there are clear instances where Neville is triumphant – much to his own surprise as everybody else’s. Like in first year, winning 10 points for Griffindor for standing up to his friends and in fourth year when he scores a date for the Yule Ball and takes up dancing. However, none are more poignant than that of the seventh book, when Neville is solely responsible for killing the final Horcrux, enabling Harry to kill a then weak Lord Voldemort with a simple defence spell.

Neville, you were the real hero of these books.

“I’m quite proud to be their son, but I’m not sure if I’m ready for everyone to know just yet.”

Peeta MellarkThe Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins

Peeta Mellark is the perfect description of what unconditional love should be. Watching from afar, Peeta silently kept an eye out for a girl with long, dark pigtails in his school class, and on more than one occasion he threw scraps of bread out to her from his family bakery to feed her family.

Peeta thought his life was over when his name was drawn from the cup and he was to be entered into the annual Hunger Games. Then, he struck gold when Katniss Everdeen, the girl from his class, volunteered to stand in for her sister as tribute alongside him.

In the arena, Peeta and Katniss stick together for survival much to the disappointment of the viewers at home, who are hungry for a blood battle. Though everyone Peeta has ever known, Katniss included, have always been dismissive of his potential, Peeta is intent he will shine behind the shadow of The Girl on Fire, Ms. Everdeen.

His obvious attraction for Katniss finds him joining sides and risking his life for her when the rebels pose a threat on the Capital, with Katniss at the forefront of the mission. And, even when his happy memories are tampered with by the destruction of a war she caused, Peeta still vows to love and look after Katniss.

“If I win and you die, I don’t have a home to go back to. You are my life.”

EponineLes Miserables by Victor Hugo

Men often take the title of ‘unsung hero’ in fiction with this list, among many, supporting the claim that women are always just the ones being chased after. Not for Eponine, of Les Miserables.

Set in the peak of the French Revolution, Eponine has been in love with her friend Marius, a handsome, young fighter for as long as she can remember, the one clear difference being that he comes from a rich family heritage, and she, a poor, thieving family-run hotel. They had often talked of running away together before Cosette, the daughter of Jean Val Jean the mayor, comes to town and steals Marius’s heart from right under his nose.

Desperate for his affections, Eponine agrees to deliver love letters between them, living for the night-time when the streets are quiet and she can fill the void of loneliness with pretence of their love in the moonlight.

When enemies attack and the barricade behind which the Reds are hiding begins to crumble beneath gunshots, Marius begs Eponine to deliver one last letter to his love. Still hopeful that he will see her worth, she agrees one last time but is killed by a bullet on her return.

As she lies dying in her lover’s arms, she remarks on how this is the happiest time of her life. It is the only occasion that Marius has ever looked at her like he is afraid he might lose her, and for this reason she is happy to die.

“A little fall of rain can hardly hurt me now. You’re here, that’s all I need to know.”

Augustus WatersThe Fault in our Stars by John Green

If there is one subject guaranteed to touch the lives of everyone in its wake, it is illness – more specifically, cancer.

Augustus Waters was a promising, young basketball player when bone cancer cost him his leg. Meeting Hazel Grace Lancaster at a cancer support group helps him to find his reason for recovering – in her beauty, hidden behind the wires of a portable oxygen tank attached to her nose. Through struggles and hospital visits, Gus remains a motivation for Hazel to recover.

Now in remission, his charm, wit and deep, philosophical conversations inspire her to view dying differently, but most importantly place her reason for survival in him.

Whilst using his neglected Make a Wish to take Hazel and her mum to Amsterdam to meet their favourite author, he reveals that his cancer has returned and is fast spreading throughout his whole body. At once his playful persona disintegrates as we realise he is likely to die before Hazel, when we have grown accustomed to thinking the other way around. He knows that in watching him die, Hazel’s hope for herself evaporates too, and so, when his death is nigh they agree to write eulogies for one another in a make believe funeral.

His idea of remembrance is doing something greater than himself, something that will live beyond his death and people will associate with him. The impression he has made upon Hazel does just this, and we fell in love with him for it.

“You don’t get to choose if you get hurt in this world but you do have some say in who hurts you. I like my choices. I hope she likes hers.”

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