Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature/meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is Ten Childhood Characters You’d Love To Revisit As Adults
Children’s books and even some adult books are brimming with wonderful child characters. Here are some characters I would love to revisit as adults, to find out what happened to them in their early-adult, middle, or even later years. Some are old childhood friends; others I didn’t meet until I myself was an adult… but that doesn’t matter, because books, and the characters within them, are timeless.
NOTE: I left out characters who have books written about their adult years as well as their childhood. Thus, Anne of Green Gables, Laura Ingalls, Meg Murray, and the March sisters are not on this list. However, I decided that epilogues or brief mentions in other books don’t count, as they only offer a tiny glimpse, rather than a chance to really spend time with that character as an adult. And I also stretched the definition to cover teens as well as children.
- Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, Ron Weasley, and Ginny Weasley. And for that matter, the rest of the Hogwarts students of their time. While we do know a little about what happens to many of them both personally and in their careers, thanks to the epilogue and to various things J. K. Rowling has said or written (briefly) about them, I would really like to spend time with them when all hell isn’t breaking out around them. I’d like to see a family Christmas at the Weasley household, or a DA reunion dinner, or Harry taking his godson Teddy Lupin to a Quidditch match, doing his best to be a father figure for little Teddy. (I know, I know: I should go read fanfic… or write it.)
- Percy Jackson and Annabeth Chase. Avoiding spoilers from the Heroes of Olympus quintet, I’ll just say that Percy and Annabeth dream about someday being able to live (together) in peace, without having to save the world and kill monsters all the time. I’d like to see them get their wish… but I suspect that one way or another, eventually they will find themselves training a new generation of demigods.
- Mary Lenox, Colin Craven, and Dickon. Unlike the previous two series, The Secret Garden ends when Mary and Colin are still young, and Dickon is probably only 13 or 14. What happens to them? I know one movie suggests that Dickon was killed in the Great War, and certainly all three children would have been old enough to be involved in it by the time the war started. But I can’t bear to think of Dickon being dead. I do know that after the war, Britain’s social (and class) structure began to change. So I can hope that the three of them were able to maintain their friendship despite the differences in wealth and class. Perhaps Mr. Craven sends Dickon to veterinary school, in thanks for all that he did for Colin. Perhaps Mary founds a school for orphaned girls. And I very much suspect that Colin becomes a scientist or a doctor.
- The children from The Dark is Rising series: Simon, Jane, Barney, Bran, and Will. Perhaps especially Bran and Will. I don’t want to spoil the books, but Bran gives up part of his nature, and all memory of his father, in the very last book. I’d like some sense that it was the right choice, and that his adulthood is a reasonably happy one. The other children also forget some of their adventures, except for Will—and he is both a child and the last of the Old Ones. What must it be like for him, once the other Old Ones leave, and Will is left to go back into his “regular” life, to grow up still possessing the knowledge of who and what he is?
- Tolly from the Green Knowe books. I like to picture Tolly inheriting Green Knowe once Mrs. Oldknowe passes away. Will he still sometimes hear and even see the children of other times, as he does when he is young? And can he keep the house sound and protected through the years? I like to think Tolly becomes an author, writing stories in which the future and the past, the mundane and the magical meet and merge as they did in his own childhood.
- Pauline, Petrova, and Posy Fossil. There are brief mentions of the Fossil sisters (Ballet Shoes) in some of Noel Streatfield’s other books, but I’ve always wanted to know whether the lives they chose satisfy them as much as they each believed they would… and whether they stay close despite the vast geographic distances between them. I’d particularly like to follow up with Petrova, who was clearly headed for the most unconventional and probably the most exciting life of the three.
- Susan Pevensie. Apologies to fellow C. S. Lewis lovers, but despite my love of Narnia, I’ve always been a bit angry with him for his treatment of Susan. In The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Susan is practical, she’s brave, she’s capable (note that in LWW Father Christmas gives her a bow and arrows and expects her to use it) and she’s also kind and gentle. She clearly feels the weight of responsibility for her brothers and sisters, and she doesn’t shirk it. She’s beautiful, but not puffed up about it (vide her cameo appearances in The Horse and His Boy.) And she and Lucy are there for Aslan’s death and resurrection, faithful though everyone else is sleeping. Yet by The Voyage of the Dawn Treader she is merely (and in absentia) someone for Lucy to be jealous of. And then comes the final blow: although all the others who ever visited Narnia get to go to Aslan’s home in The Last Battle, Susan is left in our world without them, truly and utterly alone… and Lewis spares no sympathy for her at all. In fact, he blames her for forgetting Narnia as well as for becoming a young woman interested in makeup and young men. And that makes me angry, because Lewis didn’t have to do that. If it makes you angry too, go read this tumblr post by ink-splotch.
- Keladry of Mindelan. So I’ve talked here about why I love Kel, and why she’s my favorite of Tamora Pierce’s characters. (I’m very fond of most of the others, too, especially Daine and Numair.) But the Protector of the Small series ends with Kel’s first year as a knight. I want to know what happens next. She’s too good a knight to leave in charge of a refugee camp forever. I want to see her at 25, and 35, and 50. I have more than a sneaking suspicion that she’ll end up commanding a company of the King’s Own someday. I’d love to see her put in charge of page training eventually, but that might be too much change for the conservatives to accept. But I want to see her mentoring some of the girls who will follow in her footsteps, and cheering when those girls take the field in tournaments, and being as tough on them—and as fair, and as encouraging—as Raoul was on her. And I want to know if Kel ever really falls in love, and whether she finds someone who is strong enough to love her for who she is.
- Charles Wallace Murray. So we know about Meg and Calvin’s future (A Swiftly Tilting Planet, The Arm of the Starfish), but what about the other major character in the L’Engle’s Time Trilogy?* Charles Wallace is brilliant, a child prodigy; he learns to blend in a little as the books go on, but he never stops being brilliant. So what happens to him? What does he study in college, and grad school? In what field does he end up, and what amazing discoveries will he make? And do unusual things keep happening to him all his life?
*Yes, I know it’s technically a quartet, but Many Waters doesn’t feature Meg and Charles Wallace like the first three do, so it feels more like a trilogy plus a related book than a true quartet.)