Smashing and Dashing Character Awards 2022–in which someone is even more sleep-deprived than I am

Hello friends!

The first month of 2023 is nearly gone, but we still have some important 2022 business to attend to:

We must discuss characters from books that I read last year! We must give them awards!

Fortunately, there is a handy-dandy blog tradition that allows us to do just that.

[This awards ceremony was first created by Cait@Paperfury and is kept alive by Katie Hanna@I’m Charles Baker Harris (And I Can Read)]

And now….Let’s bring out the awards!


*whispering offstage you brought the awards, right?*

*frantically cobbling together trophies out of cardboard and dead leaves and crayons*

Most Relatable Character

….Why is this question always so hard. (Except for the year I read Murderbot, because Murderbot is the obvious answer.)

I’m going to go with Charley Sutherland from The Unlikely Escape of Uriah Heep by H.G. Parry. He enjoys a book. I enjoy a book. (Was that a Tarzan reference? Quite possibly….) No, I am not a college professor, and no, I cannot read characters out of books, but I relate to his passion for literature. I relate to having books everywhere in your house. I relate to reading books all the time and writing about books and discussing books–to the point where people around you are like, “Can we talk about something else, please?”

Also Dickens. If his area of expertise was Robinson Crusoe or Walden, that would give me pause. But Dickens. I am always onboard for Dickens.

Most Pure Animal Companion

Squeezjoos from The Wizards of Once by Cressida Cowell. Little fuzzy sprite creature. There’s nothing very exceptional about him, but he is small and amusing and loyal.

Squeezjoos zipped ahead like a little streak of white lightning, screeching, “I’s the lookout! I’s the lookout! AAAAAAGHHHH! There’s a jagular! There’s a jagular! … Ohhhh … No, sorrys, my mistake, is a tree trunk. SORRYS, everybody…”

Fiercest Fighter

There is no other answer to this. It’s Chuuya Nakahara from Bungo Stray Dogs: Stormbringer by Kafka Asagiri. It just is.

Fiercely fighting to defeat his enemies? Check. Fiercely fighting to protect his friends? Check. Fiercely fighting to hide how much he does to protect his friends and how much he cares about whether or not he is human, because he doesn’t care, he’s INDIFFERENT, okay? Check and check.

Am Surprised That I Loved You??

Childermass from Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke. For a long time, I didn’t care at all. He was just your average vaguely mysterious, vaguely creepy servant guy.

I don’t remember when that changed, but I know by the end I most certainly did care. I cared a lot. Still do.

I can’t entirely explain it (partly due to an inability to articulate, partly due to the fact that that would be spoilery, don’t you know), but it has something to do with his sensitivity to magic and something to do with how much he does and how little credit he gets.

Best Sassmaster

Swede from Peace Like a River by Leif Enger. Very articulate and well-read eight year old. Writer of Western narrative poetry. Master of smart remarks.

Best Antihero

Mr. Norrell from Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. Mr. Norell just wants to sit at home with his books. He does not want to go out into society and interact with other people.

…Well, maybe he wants to interact a little bit. So he can tell everyone what they’re doing wrong and they can appreciate his genius. But he does NOT want to go to parties, and he does NOT want other people to touch his books. (He really doesn’t want people to touch his books. I mean, they could TEAR A PAGE OR SOMETHING)

He can be unreasonable and childish in his behavior, but you still care about him. You care enough that you sometimes want to tear your hair out, because he is making TERRIBLE decisions, and sir, just STOP.

The Best Friends Of All


Why can I think of no one? Was there no friendship this year?

This isn’t what I usually picture when I think of this question, but let’s go with Rob and Charley from The Unlikely Escape of Uriah Heep. They’re not like…bestie buddies forever. They’re brothers who have issues and sometimes do NOT get along, but at the end of the day they care about each other SO MUCH and I support that. Because siblings. *chef’s kiss*

Best Villain To Hate

The Piper from King Rat by China Mieville. The original pied piper is a little sketch, let’s be honest. I mean, sure, the villagers should have paid him for dealing with the whole rat problem, but the next step should not be kidnapping all the children and sealing them inside a mountain.

So what if you took the pied piper and put him in an adult novel? And made him 100% scarier, because why not? Made him gruesomely murder people left and right?

….It’s kind of terrifying actually.

Award for Best vs. Worst YA Parents


*scuffling sounds from outside*

Security Guard: “We can’t do that, ma’am. You didn’t meet him this year, he’s not from a YA book, and he’s not a parent.”
Me: “I know I met him last year, but I read Doomsday Book by Connie Willis THIS year. And I DON’T CARE if he’s not technically a parent, he essentially adopts Colin and it IS BEAUTIFUL.”


Perry’s adoptive parents from The Lost Kingdom of Bamarre by Gail Carson Levine.

Oh boy.

So her dad goes from reasonable human to one-dimensional raging racist in three seconds flat. (As in “I love my daughter–oh wait, I just found out she belongs to a race of people I hate.” *proceeds to wholly despise her, no conflicted feelings whatsoever*)

And then there’s her MOM who straight-up kidnapped her from her loving parents when she was a baby….but she cares about her, so therefore….it’s all fine?

How many times do I have to say this? Kidnapping children is BAD, okay???

Ship Of All Ships In 2022

Ove and Sonja from A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman. Ove is grump and fixing things and quiet. Sonja is sunshine and conversation and books. Together they are downright wholesome.

(I also have to mention Jonathan and Arabella from Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, solely for the sake of all the times I screamed “DON’T TOUCH MY NEWLY WEDS” at the book. [Do not threaten the safety and/or happiness of my newly weds. Do not.])

Most Precious Must Be Protected

Will from Liesl and Po by Lauren Oliver. The dearest alchemist apprentice I ever did see. Somebody give this child some cookies and a sweater and a hat.

(I lied earlier about who is most relatable. Mo is the actual most relatable because he too wants to make sure Will has a hat)

Honestly Surprised You’re Still Alive

Mr. Reteep from The Wingfeather Saga by Andrew Peterson. Honestly. The number of times I was surprised that this man was still alive. I mean…he’s not very physically adept (which is a drawback when you’re getting attacked by bad guys, don’t you know). And he’s not THAT important of a character, so would anyone care if he just…dropped out of the story? …And into the grave? And yet, he keeps surviving. How.

(Okay, that was kind of harsh. It’s not that I want him dead, I just…don’t really care if he survives)

Award For Making the Worst Decisions



Practically every single character in Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. Especially the two title characters. But I already talked about Mr. Norrell, so let’s go with Jonathan.

I love the guy, but the decisions. The decisions are often very bad.

Most In Need Of A Nap

Hearne from Assignment in Brittany by Helen MacInnes. You know when you’ve had a long day full of potato planting and long walks and spy work and you’re completely exhausted? Especially because you’ve been having a LOT of long days full of such things–and you were SUPPOSED to go on leave, but you went straight into another special assignment instead?

At the end of this long day, when bed time rolls around, you go to bed and get a good night’s sleep, right?


Or do you go on a fifty mile midnight hike instead?

*screaming out the window take a NAP, son*

[My Sponge sister is on the couch next to me, reading Assignment in Brittany as I type this. She just opened it up and read the first sentence of the next chapter aloud–>> “There was no time for sleep.”]

[Hearne, just take a nap, I am begging you]

Want To Read More About You

Mr. Segundus from Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. Because he’s a more secondary character, appearing for a chapter or so and then disappearing for some 300 pages, but we NEED more Mr. Segundus.

In some ways I honestly like how side-lined he is for much of the book, because it’s so fitting with his character. But…I also just want to read about him more.

The next day Mrs Honeyfoot told her husband that John Segundus was exactly what a gentleman should be, but she feared he would never profit by it for it was not the fashion to be modest and quiet and kind-hearted.

Also Peet the Sockman from the Wingfeather Saga. Because he is the BEST, and he tragically fell of the face of the earth for most of the last book.


That’s it for today! Hopefully I will be back in the near-ish future with a long intended (but, as yet, unstarted) mini-reviews post? Who can say?

Did you meet any of these characters this year (or any year)? Who needs a nap most? Did you find any characters truly relatable this year? Have you ever hiked all night instead of sleeping? Do tell!


6 responses to “Smashing and Dashing Character Awards 2022–in which someone is even more sleep-deprived than I am”

  1. Okay, now that I’ve heard from several sources about The Unlikely Escape of Uriah Heep, I am REALLY looking forward to reading it. Passion for books + college professors + Dickens is an automatic yes from me.

    That snippet from Squeezjoos is almost enough to make me want to read The Wizards of Once…come to think of it, I’m not sure why I haven’t and/or what I have against it, except that Cressida Cowell also wrote HTTYD, which are not books I’m especially fond of.

    (I kinda really want to read Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, and I’m kind of scared to, for some reason? But it *sounds* amazing…)

    The Lost Kingdom of Bamarre was just generally a flop for me, as far as I can tell, especially in terms of the pacing (in addition to flat characters, and all the things you just said). I didn’t think it lived up to many of her other books at all, which was disappointing.


    Hearne REALLY needs a nap. Like. Sir. How are you not collapsing from sleep deprivation right now?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I hope you enjoy the Unlikely Escape of Uriah Heep! The combination of books and college professors and Dickens is so satisfying 🙂
      I picked Wizards of Once up at a library booksale. It’s nothing remarkable, but I do have a fondness for Squeezjoos.
      I have very mixed feelings about Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. I *really* like a lot of it, but some aspects of it make me hesitate to recommend it to my family and friends. I’ve seen The Night Circus compared to it, and I would place it in a similar boat.
      I really like several of Gail Carson Levine’s earlier books, but I feel like everything she has written in the past ten years or so is sadly “meh”
      *joins forces with you to bully Hearne into taking a nap*


  2. I love the sound of The Piper. I remember you talking about King Rat but I can’t for the life of me remember if I wanted to read it or not.

    I FORGOT THAT IF ANYONE COULD BEAT NED OUT FOR “MOST IN NEED OF A NAP” IT’S HEARNE. Please take a nap, Hearne, please. I mean…he gets naps later in the book, at least? (I picture Helen MacInnes being like, “well, what would get you to take the nap you so desperately need? Oh, you wouldn’t unless you literally could barely walk and HAD to sleep, like your body wouldn’t do anything else, to recover from physical trauma? Okay, hang on a sec, let me just–” Hearne: “WAIT I’LL TAKE A N–” MacInnes: “Too late, this bit with the Nazis and the priests and the caves and stuff is a really good idea actually…”)

    Mo IS the most relatable. And the most bestest. Taking care of lonely animals and hatless boys since 1978.

    I still find it hilarious how hard it is for MG authors to grasp that Kidnapping children is bad..

    *great applause for the winners* I met several of these characters this year, actually. I met Mr. Dunworthy because of you…or the Sponge? I can’t remember which, actually, but I am grateful. Mr. Dunworthy is wonderful. It’s quite fun to read some of the same books as people because like…I never used to. Blogging is wonderful, I guess is what I’m saying. This was a lovely award ceremony.

    Liked by 1 person

    • (I’m pretty sure you landed on not wanting to read King Rat, which is a worthy decision. I don’t think I would actually recommend it to anyone because…it’s really weird. And also an adult book with too much language and gory violence and nihilism)
      This is the real reason we authors put our characters through all these horrible things. It’s just to make them TAKE a NAP ALREADY. (Ok, but Hearne being like, “WAIT I’LL TAKE A NAP” and Helen MacInnes being like, “too late, here come the Nazis” XD)
      We love Mo.
      We do not love MG authors inability to grasp that kidnapping children is bad. Indeed we do not. (Though it is hilarious in a very frustrating sort of way)
      *straightens up proudly* I’m pretty sure I’m the one who introduced you to Mr. Dunworthy. I mean, it very well could have been my Sponge sister, but I squawk about him a lot more than she does.
      Blogging is quite wonderful in that way, isn’t it? Like…we read a lot of the same books and then all get to talk about them? I always think it’s fun when a book just sort of circulates through the blogosphere. Like Ned was my Sponge sister’s pick for Most in Need of a Nap two years ago, and he was mine last year, and this year he’s yours. And now we all know who Ned is and how much he needs a nap 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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