My Favorite Animals from Books

April 27, 2021 Top Ten Tuesday 25

Top Ten Tuesday: My Favorite Animals from Books

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature/meme now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. The meme was originally the brainchild of The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is Animals from Books.

My favorite fictional animals: the ones that talk

So this category is tricky, because many of these, especially the ones found in Mercedes Lackey’s and Anne McCaffrey’s books, are intelligent, sapient, nonhuman species. In other words, they are NOT animals… but they look like animals. Or like mythical animals, in the case of the gryphons and dragons. And then there are the talking animals from Narnia and elsewhere.

And no, I’m not going to keep this down to ten choices. Not even close to ten. Because intelligent nonhumans are one of my favorite fantasy tropes.

  • Ruth (and most of the other dragons), from The White Dragon (and Anne McCaffrey’s Pern series in general)
  • Temeraire, Volly, Maximus, Lily, Levitas, Percitia, Iskierka, and some of the other dragons from Naomi Novik’s Temeraire series
  • Rolan, Cymry, Kantor, Dallen, Yfandes, and many of the other the Companions from Mercedes Lackey’s Valdemar series
  • Treyvan and Hydona (Mage Winds and Mage Storms trilogies) and Skandranon and Zheel (Mage Wars trilogy), and Mercedes Lackey’s gryphons in general
  • Vree (Mage Winds and Mage Storms trilogies) and Kuari (Owl Mage trilogy), and the whole idea of bondbirds, from Mercedes Lackey’s Valdemar series
  • Warrl, the kyree; Ayshen, the hertasi; and Tyrsell, the dyheli; and others of their kind, from (you guessed it), various books Mercedes Lackey’s Valdemar and Oathbound series
  • Altra, the Firecat, from the Mage Storms trilogy by (yup!) Mercedes Lackey
  • T’fyrr, the avian musician from The Eagle and the Nightingales, by Mercedes Lackey
  • Oh, heck, let’s just say “all the intelligent nonhumans in pretty much all of Lackey’s books,” and be done with it. She writes nonhuman species very well.
  • the Badger God, Brokefang the wolf, Cloud the pony, and a number of other animals (a cat, a squirrel, and a marmoset in particular) from Tamora Pierce’s Immortals War quartet (OK, they only talk to Daine, but they do talk.)
  • Aslan, from The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe and the rest of the Chronicles of Narnia
  • Mr. & Mrs. Beaver, from The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
  • Bree, the horse from The Horse and His Boy
  • Mrs. Tiggywinkle, Peter Rabbit, the mice, Squirrel Nutkin, and all the denizens of Beatrix Potter’s charming books
  • Padfoot (Sirius Black), from the Harry Potter books (and several fanfics)
  • The Cowardly Lion, from The Wizard of Oz

My favorite fictional animals: the ones that don’t talk

  • Hedwig, from the Harry Potter Series
  • Peachblossom, Keladry’s cantakerous warhorse, from the Protector of the Small quartet
  • Wrolf the dog (or lion), Periwinkle the pony, Zachariah the cat, and the eponymous Little White Horse from Elizabeth Goudge’s book of that name
  • Frightful, from My Side of the Mountain
  • Tao (Siamese cat), Bodger (English Bull Terrier), and Luath (Labrador) from The Incredible Journey
  • the fire-lizards, from Dragonsong and Dragonsinger (and Anne McCaffrey’s Pern series in general)
  • the old piebald horse from Airs Above the Ground, by Mary Stewart
  • Brighty of the Grand Canyon and Misty of Chincoteague, by Marguerite Henry
  • Newton the corgi, from The Viscount Who Loved Me
  • Tricki-Woo, the pampered Pekinese from James Herriot’s All Creatures Great and Small (and sequels)
Hedwig and young Harry Potter (<i>Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone</i>

Do stuffed animals count?

If so, I have to add:

Winnie The Pooh and friends. Illustration by E. H. Shepard
  • Winnie the Pooh, Piglet, and the gang from the Hundred Acre Wood
  • Reginald from the Aunt Dimity mystery series
  • the Velveteen Rabbit
Photo: hardcover copy of Aunt Dimity's Death, with pink knitted rabbit

25 Responses to “My Favorite Animals from Books”

  1. Greg

    Aslan for sure (and I love that cover of A Horse and his Boy). And the Pernese dragons! Great list- and it reminds me how little of these I know, I need to up my fantasy animals game I think! 🙂

    Huge Pooh fan. 🙂
    Greg recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday #251My Profile

    • Lark_Bookwyrm

      How can one not be a Pooh fan!? I have been since I was a very little girl. I had the LP of Maurice Evans reading the first chapter (“Here is Edward Bear, coming downstairs now, bump, bump, bump, on the back of his head, behind Christopher Robin. It is, as far as he knows, the only way of coming downstairs …”). I had the Disney LP for “Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day”, with all the music and an abridged narration. And I had my mother’s copies of the books. I still love Pooh, from the original stories and their charming illustrations to the (original) animated Disney adaptations. In fact, those Disney adaptations, later pulled together as one movie, are/is still one of my go-to comfort movies.

      • Greg

        Exactly. they are such comfort viewing (and reading). One of the worlds I would love to immerse myself in if they were real. 🙂

    • Lark_Bookwyrm

      If you enjoy fantasy, especially optimistic fantasy, the series by Tamora Pierce, Mercedes Lackey, and Anne McCaffrey are well worth checking out. (McCaffrey insisted to her deathbed that the Dragonriders of Pern series is science fiction, and she’s right, but it also has a lot of elements more often associated with fantasy, including a medieval/Renaissance-level society, complete with feudal lords and guilds, and, of course, dragons.)

    • Lark_Bookwyrm

      There were several people who went (as one blogger who must be a skier put it) off piste today, so I wouldn’t worry!

  2. Katherine

    How did I forget Aslan?? Wonderful list. For some reason the Velveteen Rabbit really upset me as a little girl and I’ve never gotten past it. I know so many people who really love it and honestly I don’t even remember what it was that upset me about it!

    • Lark_Bookwyrm

      It upset me a bit when I was little, too, and yet I loved it at the same time. I was upset that the boy no longer had his velveteen rabbit (at the age of about three, I had lost a stuffed puppy which I was deeply attached to), but at the same time, I was fascinated by the idea that toys could become Real if loved enough, and firmly believed that my own Bear was Real in that way — not alive, not a living breathing bear, but still Real. He was a Smokey the Bear, which had replaced the puppy in my affections and without whom I couldn’t sleep. He even accompanied me to college. I’ve still got him, carefully put away in a box because his fabric is rotting away.