It’s time once more to dip your quills into your ink wells, put on your thinking caps, and vote for your favorite fantasy characters. Dozens of characters were nominated for each award, but only the top five made it onto the ballot for each category.
For the Strangest Character, intrepid readers searched in wheat fields, perilous forests, gloomy bogs, and even Australia—talk about strange!
They may not be the strongest characters. They may not be the bravest or the noblest or the smartest either, but they stand out in a crowd. They make us see things in a different way. They break the mold. They chart new courses. And they’re one of the hallmarks of fantasy fiction.
Tolkien once wrote that one of the chief qualities of fantasy was “arresting strangeness.” And since some people can’t abide being arrested in that fashion, they shun these otherwise amazing stories for the familiar and the comfortable.
The Crazy Ones
Not so with readers of fantasy. We welcome the strangeness as a means of taking us to new ways of understanding the ordinary things all around us. Of seeing this world for more than just what the materialists tell us it is. There is more to life than molecules, paychecks, by-laws, and pleasure domes. You can’t put truth in a test tube.
Fantasy teaches us that. And the strangest characters in fantasy can often times do that better than others.
It takes a lot to stand out in a world full of trolls, dragons, orcs, and fae. But the strange characters manage that feat. And for that, and for other reasons as varied and odd as these strange characters themselves, we love them so.
Strangest Character nominees for 2021
So put your online virtual hands together and let’s give a big round of applause to this year’s strangest character nominees. And the nominees for this year’s award are…
Old Mad Bloke (City Between Series)
Old Mad Bloke is an eccentric, mischievous figure who haunts the streets of Hobart and the steps of Pet and her friends. Known for his gap-toothed grin, messy beard, and a penchant for tattered T-shirts, trouble often happens when he appears—assuming it hasn’t started already. Despite his habit of pinching drinks and pies, he’s largely benevolent and has both a surprising knowledge of the more dangerous fae and a knack for slipping away from said creatures unharmed.
Scarecrow (Howl’s Moving Castle)
The Scarecrow might qualify for the Most Pitiful character award if there was one. Unlike his fellow scarecrow from The Wizard of Oz, this one can’t talk and has a shriveled turnip for a head. And he can’t dance either. But he can sure hop with the best of them! He certainly is not wanting in the persistence department either. He’s after something, we’re just sure of it. If only he could tell us what it was!
Calcifer (Howl’s Moving Castle)
Having a head consisting entirely of blue and green flames certainly qualifies Calcifer as one of the strangest characters in fantasy fiction. Oh, and he apparently has no lower body whatsoever, upping his strange quotient considerably. And yet, his strange physical form suits him rather well as the heat source for Howl’s moving castle, as well as its power source. Considering he’s bound to the hearth due to a mysterious deal he made with the wizard Howl, Calcifer is making the best of things. Which includes allowing a certain girl into the castle in hopes of getting out of his deal with Howl…
Fenworth (Dragonkeeper Chronicles)
An ancient wizard with an affinity for the mice, birds, bugs, and other small creatures which frequently tumble from his robes, Fenworth is strange even for a wizard. Even stranger, whenever he falls asleep or stands still for too long he starts to turn into a tree. So perhaps the woodland creature problem is a little more understandable. His magic is fairly unpredictable. He’s far more likely to correct you for using dangling participles and other grammar mistakes than to cast a spell that’s useful. But when it’s strangeness that you need to liven up your day, Fenworth is the wizard to call.
Gurgi (Prydain Chronicles)
Life is hard when you’re one of a kind. Gurgi knows that better than anyone. A mongrel cross between a dog and man, Gurgi can be quite demanding when meal times come around, or any other time his stomach starts rumbling for “crunchings and munchings”. And yet, when his loyalty is won, there are fewer companions who are more faithful than this woolly, smelly fellow. Taran the Wanderer learns that first hand during his adventures. And whenever his master is threatened by “slashings and gashings,” he knows his boon companion Gurgi will be there at his side.
The choice is yours
All we need now is your vote. Let your voice be heard! Who will be the winners of the 2021 Silmaril Awards?
Click the button below to go to the voting form and let your voice be heard.
If you’d like to learn more about the nominees for the other awards before you vote, here are the links.