The Hulk is a superhero in his own class. First, he does not have a flashy outfit; all he wears is a pair of shorts. He has no secret gadgets or a sweet ride. He fights only with muscle and hustle.
Another thing I love about him is that he doesn't talk much. I'm so tired of superheroes who give speeches on saving the world and fighting for justice every time they defeat a villain.
Linghu Chong, in Jin Yong's wuxia masterpiece The Smiling, Proud Wanderer, is an ideal character: he was brought up in the most orthodox way in a martial arts sect. Growing up to be a top swordplayer, he lives a carefree life and stays true to himself despite major conflicts.
My favourite is the Big Friendly Giant. I used to be terrified of nightmares, and it's comforting to know someone out there is catching good dreams for us. He's not afraid to be kind and different. I also adore his creative way with language: don't gobblefunk around with words.
The Chronicles of Narnia is a great fantasy and adventure series for children, and you can also appreciate the clear biblical parallels. The lion Aslan is the Jesus figure whom all the other characters look to for guidance, but his ultimate message is one of kindness and tolerance. In the final book, The Last Battle, the forces of Aslan defeat the forces of Tash, a cruel god.
Yet Emeth, one of the characters who followed Tash and fought against Aslan, pursues justice; he just happened to be on the wrong side. When finally he realised whom he had been fighting for, he faces Aslan and expects to be killed for worshipping the wrong god. Instead, Aslan forgives him, saying that even though he and Tash are complete opposites, Emeth can still be saved, because what matters isn't whom you put on your banner, but whether you pursued whichever side you claim to be fighting for with a true heart.
Not only does that make Aslan a complex character, but it also makes his message timeless, especially now, when people still use religion as an excuse to commit crimes and refuse to tolerate other points of view.
My favourite fictional character is Kal-El, better known as Superman. I am always intrigued by how much self-control he has - from the big things, such as not using his power to simply rule the world from a pleasure palace, to the small things, such as how a guy with nearly unlimited strength can still pick up a teacup or an egg without crushing it. I also wonder how he has the patience to deal with all of us. I mean, he's faster than a speeding bullet. If he can react so fast to things, that must mean his brain works just as fast. How could he sit through boring conversations about the weather? It would feel like years to him.
I have to say it's Lord Havelock Vetinari. I just love a good dictator, and he is a good one. His decisions would make Machiavelli jealous. As Terry Pratchett writes: "He didn't administer a reign of terror, just the occasional light shower." He knows all; "the man had eyes everywhere, none of them so terrifying as the icy blue ones just above his nose." And he wasn't completely against democracy, as most dictators are: "And when the patrician was unhappy, he became very democratic. He found intricate and painful ways of spreading his unhappiness as far as possible." He's definitely the top tyrant in my book.
In high school, my best friend, Merran, introduced me to young adult fantasy novels by Tamora Pierce. While Pierce has since developed better characters, who are more well-rounded and real, my favourite will always be Veralidaine Sarrasri, or Daine for short. The protagonist for The Immortals quartet, Daine is introduced as an orphan looking for work. She's strong, opinionated, kind and sassy. She also made archery cool way before Katniss Everdeen, and she has the ability to communicate with animals and morph into animals. So. Cool.
My favourite fictional character is Harry Potter. Although he's a major celebrity in the wizarding world, he is modest and grateful and stays humble and true to himself throughout the entire series. He grows as a person, but he never loses his values or forgets who he is. I also like that he isn't perfect, and sometimes gets into trouble at school or speaks up when he thinks something isn't fair. He makes mistakes, sometimes big ones, but he learns from them, and his flaws make him more lovable.