Have you ever felt a real, strong emotional connection to a fictional character?
Obviously, that’s the goal with fiction, but some authors make entertaining fiction, and some make entertaining characters. And an ever smaller minority make not just characters that you can identify with, but characters that you can genuinely connect with.
I recently got a stick up my butt for the Enderverse novels, and read all of them over the last month and a half or so. I started with Ender’s series and ended with the Shadow series.
[spoiler]From the beginning, I genuinely liked Petra, and I identified with Peter, as soon as he stop being the “super-evil dick” of Ender’s memory. Of course, Valentine was adorable, and Ender was ruthless, I liked both of them, but Peter – at least as Hegemon and a man – was a real, moving character. And his explanation at the end of the Shadow Series was absolutely amazing.
I like Petra, because she’s feisty I suppose, from the very beginning. As the novels progressed, I felt that she was a real character. Even with her exaggerated devotion to Bean, she was a good character. And then, when Bean left Earth with the two children with Anton’s Key for a relativistic voyage… Peter’s actions towards the children, and his marriage to Petra ended a sour series on a high note for me.
I guess it says something about me, that in a series full of gray characters, I most identify the one who’s unrepentant about his actions, and what is arguably the 2nd greatest villain of the entire series (behind Achilles).[/spoiler]
ETA: I’ve got a few more, but none quite as fresh in my memory as that one.