Dani from Perspective of a Writer gave us a prompt to discuss my Favorite Stephen King Character for the week. As most of you all might guessed that it is for the love of the King of horror that I jumped on to post for this meme. Let us get on to this shall we?
While it may not be the most popular of Stephen King’s novels, Rose Madder will always hold a special place in my mind. My relationship with Stephen King has not always been smooth and it was Rose Madder that made all the difference. So it might not come as a surprise that I would choose someone from it as a character I love…. to hate.
Yes you heard it right.
I choose a character that I completely hate yet I can’t ever push to some dark corner of my mind and forget about or move on from. Intrigued? Let us talk about Norman Daniels.
Who is Norman Daniels?
Norman Daniels is the antagonist of Rose Madder. Norman Daniels was a police officer in Aubreyville and married to Rose McClendon. The story majorly deals with how Rose escapes the clutches of the masochist and malevolent Norman, making Norman play a predominant role.
What makes Norman Daniels such a remarkable fictitious character?
Norman is sexually, physically and emotionally abusive towards his wife Rosie. He beats Rosie for reading a trashy book (brace yourself, Misery’s journey) so much that causes her miscarriage. Being a cop and having cop friends makes it easier for him to get away with it.
Rose doesn’t even dare to get away from him because she knows he will find her, for about nine more years. And even when she finally runs away, he finds her as she suspected.
He is racist, homophobic and also sexist
Norman Daniels is a crude redneck that hates more than half the population, quite literally. He hates everyone almost equally, be it women, gays, African Americans and the Jews. He bites homosexual men to death. He doesn’t think twice about killing a witness.
He is the sickest of fictional human monsters – ever
Norman Daniels makes the other Norman, from the Psycho and the Bates Motel look nice.
His favorite method of punishing men is to pop their testicles and/or bite them. He has already raped and murdered a witness and continues to punch, kick, bite and murder women and men alike as he stalks his runaway wife without remorse.
I can bet that one cannot read the opening scene of Rose Madder, that entails the scene of his beating, her miscarriage and him getting away with it, without wincing. I had to put my book down more than once to get over it.
He has no redeeming qualities whatsoever. He is one of the truest monsters not just of Stephen King’s creation but also in any book I have ever read /heard of.
He literally turns into an animal
As if this is not evil enough, he turns into a minotaur by the end of the book.
His rage and his obsession literally and figuratively changed him into a raging bull whn he finds out Rose ‘s location and that she is dating another man. He also realizes that she is supported by her lesbian friends at the women’s shelter. He murders them and rushes to Rose’s apartment where he almost kills Bill, Rose’s date.
If Norman Daniels was the worst ever, why and how did he become my favorite character?
Norman Daniels controlled the entire story
As one would expect of a Stephen King’s book, Rose Madder has its supernatural elements. While things are not picture perfect (pun intended) and the supernatural part was okayish at the best, at least for me, it was Norman that made the entire book strong.
Even when the macho Norman turns to a panic stricken human afraid for his life, I could not ignore him. The book would have worked so much better as a thriller/suspense about an abused woman and her crazy husband.
How many characters, in the entire Stephen King world of books, have had the power to make the book work even without the supernatural elements? None other than Norman Daniels, IMO.
And that to me, that is the mark of a character etched to perfection.
Who is your favorite character from Stephen King’s world? Do you have any antagonists that you cannot move on from? Have you read Rose Madder? Let us chat.
Every superhero needs his/her own sidekick. More often than not, these sidekicks have their role cut out for them, being funny, helpful and just be a sidekick when the leads have everything going on for them. But once in a while, we have all come across quite a few of these subplots that steal our hearts away. Sometimes, more than the lead even.
My top favorite Sidekicks who deserve a shoutout
Here are few of my best literary sidekicks, in no particular order, that made us fall for them time and again.
1) Bess Marvin, Nancy Drew series
As someone who spent most of her lunch breaks in the school library, I can vouch for Nancy Drew’s sleuth skills. Be it chasing a phantom in an opera or finding out who drugged her friend’s racehorse, sure Nancy will be able to crack the case. But I am sure none of us can forget that her best friends Bess Marvin and her cousin George Fayne are always there for her, even when Nancy wants them to be safer elsewhere.
What makes Bess a great friend is that she is not as athletic as the other two, she is not tomboyish or looking for adventures like George or Nancy. She is often described as a girlie-girl, pretty and maybe on the heavier side. But she is always there for them, even when she doesn’t want or have to be there. She has always put her friends’ interests first and is definitely an underrated, loyal sidekick.
2) Ford Prefect, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series
Ford Prefect is far from perfect and him choosing a car’s name to blend in on Earth shows how much of a screw up he really is. He planned to stay on the Earth for a week but ends up stranded for 15 years. He is not heroic, he does not jump in front of a bullet to protect his human, Arthur.
In fact, he gets ready to die calmly when they are shot out of the airlock. But he is not good at his role of being a guide as well. While Arthur might be the least heroic person, Prefect actively shies away from danger and even hums getting ready to float dead in the space.
But what makes him the coolest sidekick is that he is always ready to party, constantly searching for alcoholic drinks and can be extremely intelligent and resourceful, once in a while. He is the one goof up we all want to hang out with and will be the life of the party wherever he is.
3) Dr. Watson, The Complete Sherlock Holmes
One cannot imagine Sherlock Holmes without Dr. Watson. He is probably the most patient sidekick ever, as he has to put up with Sherlock’s eccentricities and arrogance. He is the quintessential British gentleman, who is intelligent of his own accord, he is a doctor and a war veteran after all. Yet he is constantly overshadowed by Sherlock and gets to be the butt of his jokes and ridicules.
What makes Dr. Watson a great sidekick is that he complements Sherlock’s intellectual prowess with his normalcy and adds a humane touch to his life. He is dependable and more than once has assisted physically. Dr. Watson was the best of Sherlock’s fan and is one of the best uncomplaining sidekicks.
4) Samwise Gamgee, Lord of the Rings series
LOTR is as much Sam’s story as much as it is Frodo’s. Frodo’s sidekick Samwise literally follows him everywhere, what more can you expect out of him. He is loyal, humble and brave as any sidekick should be, and more than even Frodo himself. I have lost count of times he has saved Frodo when he gets hold of the Ring.
I rest my case.
5) Ron Weasley, Harry Potter Series
Any list of sidekicks would be incomplete without our dear Ron Weasley. The ginger-haired goofy friend who supports Harry at every step. He explains things that Harry failed to understand. He is the normal friend to the heroic one and the know-it-all, Hermione.
Of course, he may not be the sharpest, not even the strongest but he is courageous and loyal. His awesome family makes him all the more special.
6) Rudy Steiner, The Book Thief
If the book thief is my favorite of books, I owe it to Rudy Steiner, the sweetest of lemon haired boys. He is a loyal companion to the book thief, he goes to dive into the river to retrieve a book for her. He is the one who named her the book thief. They call each other names and they are generally always together as friends right from childhood. He is cheeky and is always asking for a kiss from Liesel.
The best part of Rudy as a sidekick is that he has own role in the story, just not as a sidekick to Liesel. Even when he was seven years old he had a clear sense of right and wrong. He admired Jesse Owens, and his athleticism (much to the Fuhrer’s irk) so much that he painted himself black, despite the growing Nazi propaganda.
His stance against the Nazi movement is strong and gets himself kicked out of the Nazi training programme. He offers bread to Jewish prisoners during one of those long marches. He saves Liesel and her Jewish fugitive, Max, by diverting the Nazi guards’ attention. Okay, call this personal bias, Rudy Steiner is the best.
7) Hobbes, Calvin and Hobbes
Hobbes might be just a stuffed tiger in everyone else’s eyes, but he is Calvin’s best friend and is a mighty tiger for him. Hobbes takes part in all Calvin’s adventure and crazy schemes, without judgment. He used to hate girls as much Calvin did but then started to like Susie’s tea parties. He can explain serious philosophies, fight zombies and even do homework for Calvin.
There are times when Hobbes has crazier schemes than Calvin and we forget who is the sidekick. Hobbes has made me wish that we could be stuck at the age of 6 forever.
Do you think these sidekicks are cooler than the leads? Do you ever wonder how are they even called sidekicks? Give them a shout out. Did I include your favorite fictional sidekick? Let me know if I had missed anyone.
Not all of us loves to spend all their time reading Harlequin’s Mills and Boons and dreaming about Mr. Right saving our damsels in distress (though that is my guilty pleasure). There is nothing pleases me more than the kickass female protagonists who would not wait for an alpha male to do everything for them.
When one is done with their fair share of books about princesses, schoolgirlsswooning over boys, women gossiping about others, and oh, the vampires and werewolves, take a look at my top eight kickass female protagonists from the literary world. They may be sensible or petty, avenging or forgiving, but they are all strong and independent. They knew what they wanted, and they went after that – be it a guy or their land. So here they are.
8) Elizabeth Bennett, Pride and Prejudice
As much as I fell in love with Mr. Darcy, the short-tempered haughty male protagonist, the first time I read Pride and Prejudice, I could not help but look up at Lizzy as one of my role models. She is well read, sensible and speaks her mind even to the mighty Lady Catherine de Bourgh. She cares about her family than her looks and doesn’t live by the norms of the society. She says no to a wedding proposal that could have made her life a lot easier and chooses someone who is worth her. In short, Austen taught me the importance of self-worth and free thought, mind that the book was published in the 18th century.
7) Holly Golightly, Breakfast at Tiffany
Apart from making smoking look cool, made being a free spirit and living an independent life sound chic. Though her life goal was to latch on to someone rich, like most of the females of the era, Holly makes a statement that she doesn’t need a man to have a purpose in life. She is a dreamer, a wannabe perfectionist, someone who believes in others’ dreams and helps them come true. She leaves her ex-husband as it did not help her to move forward. Someone that ambitious, that elegant and that larger than life, is a badass.
6) Jane Eyre, Jane Eyre
Set in 1847, Jane Eyre could be one of those early feminists. She chooses to be independent and self-sufficient. She falls for Mr. Rochester, but once she learns it might go against her principles, she walks away from it all. She finds jobs to keep herself afloat and never backs once down from her ideals, despite her turmoils. She does find her happy ending but on her own accord. Jane’s own words cannot be any truer for any feminist of today.
I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will.
5) Liesel Meminger, The Book Thief
Very young at age, compared to other protagonists here, Liesel could easily be my most favorite. Born in the Nazi Germany, 9-year-old Liesel helps her foster family hide a Jew in their basement, reads to him and nurses him back to life. She has a strong moral code and just does not follow the rules and status quo of the Hitler led country. She even beats up a classmate when he taunts her and always sticks up for her best friend, Rudy. She steals books and food to keep her going and had cheated death twice, all before she turned ten. Her perseverance in learning to read and love towards books made me feel closer to her. Liesel stands true to the fact that age is no bar to be strong and morally just human.
4) Amy Dunne, Gone Girl
Trust GillianFlynn to create dark and evil characters and make us fall in love with them. Amy Dunne is the coolest of cool girls. She falls for the ideal man and marries him by becoming the ideal woman for him. She is a perfect daughter, wife and is more than what the eye meets. When she realizes her husband has fallen off their game and had an affair with a student, she becomes the femme fatale. She fakes her own death, rape and covers a murder and does it all with flair. She gets, read as manipulates, her man back into her life. I would not call Amy’s character perfect, but that is what I loved about this cold blooded woman.
3) Hermoine Granger, Harry Potter
Ask any Potterhead, they would accept that Harry and Ron would be nowhere if it were not for Hermoine. She is fierce, strong and well-read. Oh, she is opinionated and is not afraid to question the authority. She is loyal and steadfast, even when Ron quits Harry’s quest for a while. Even though she is a muggle-born, she turns to be better than even the pure-bloods like Malfoy. Nobody likes a know-it-all, but she has proved her worth more than once that she is not just a sidekick to the beloved Harry Potter, making her a much beloved female protagonist of all times.
2) Lisbeth Salander, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Millennium series)
She has her own moral code and sticks to them. She is the best at what she does and more. She has an eidetic memory, a skillful hacker and a master at concealing identities making her one of the best PIs around. She is at times self-destructive and has had a traumatic childhood making her what she is today. She has a strong opinion about everything, especially about men who abuse women. Lisbeth is absolutely the strongest of the contemporary female protagonists.
1) Scarlett O’Hara, Gone with the wind
Call it a bias, but I love Scarlett. She might be selfish, vain and manipulative, but by far the badass the female lead that we have ever read about. Though essentially a love story (pardon me Scarlett), her life throws light on what a woman can do, if she wills. She loves, or thinks she does, a man and marries three other men, only to realize that the perfect guy out there has lost his hopes on her. She pulls through her family and her beloved land from the remnants of the civil war and promises that she is never going to let her family starve ever again. She understands the real meaning of winning by hook or crook and that winning is all that matters. She believed in rising from the ashes and proves time and again that she can. Did I write about your favorite female protagonist? No? Tell me whom I missed and why they deserve to be on the list. I added someone who doesn’t deserve to be on it? Let me know, let us talk it out, please do not send any hitman to my residence yet.