2022 wasn’t a great year for me to read, review and study very many stories. It was very difficult for me to experience a lot of different types of stories during the year but I did manage to read and watch some that had fairly compelling characters. Unfortunately the times that I did manage to read some books, most of them were basically from the later half of the Harley Merlin series and the Kane Chronicles, neither of which had very compelling or memorable characters to me. That being said there were still some characters I found endearing and their stories rather touching. That being said, here are my top characters of 2022.
Number 5 and 4 go hand in hand because the strengths of one could not be separated from the other. Now while the show itself had many issues, the story and development surrounding Elrond and Durin from The Lord of the Rings: Rings of Power, was surprisingly the highlight of the series. Their story arc illustrated how a strained friendship was repaired and how the two made amends to each other that felt genuine and true to Tolkien’s own writing. I was genuinely surprised how much I enjoyed seeing their friendship and what felt like a display of healthy masculinity which is something that The Lord of the Rings has always done well (Aragorn is the absolute best and I refuse to believe otherwise).
Video games, especially single player action-adventure games, have lately become amazing medium to tell very compelling and interesting stories. Now while Horizon the Forbidden West does tell a very compelling and interesting story, it’s not because of Aloy. The cast of characters that aid Aloy in her journey are far more interesting and well developed in this sequel and, for me, number 3 on this list is Kotallo. I have a bias towards honorable characters that display both strength of courage and of character and he does so amazingly well. There are themes of acceptance and loss but also healing and growing as a person. It’s hard not to go into detail without spoiling how great his story is as I really do believe he is a fantastically written character.
The number 2 character on this list was rather surprising. While the Arcane series was fantastic, I didn’t expect the book Ruination to be as compelling as it was. Kallista was a surprisingly well written, fleshed out, logical and empathetic character. Where in other stories with a character in a similar position usually fall back on tried and true tropes, Kallista maintains both her character and her by both following her convictions and logically assessing those around her. Her internal conflict isn’t the stereotypical angst one would expect from someone in her position but rather a thoughtful and conflicted moral conundrum that fits within her established character.
And number 1 is a rather special one. I had heard the story was phenomenal but I didn’t expect it to be as good as it was. It was a far more tender, deeper and emotional story than I had expected for a series famous for it’s brutality. Kratos from God of War (2018) & God of War Ragnarök tells a very endearing father & son story dealing with the loss of their mother and then challenging fate itself. I played both games for the first time this year back to back and felt the reason why Kratos works so well is because of the full story. While Ragnarök tells a far more epic story fitting for a character like Kratos, it’s the 2018 release of God of War that tells a more emotional story that humanizes Kratos in a way I never would have expected. We see a man struggling to reconcile his past, learn to be a good father, and deal with the loss of his wife. He’s clearly not doing it well, struggling with each story beat that doesn’t involve incredible violence. God of War Ragnarök continues this story of the struggles, the emotional conflicts, and the growth of the father and son duo that’s touching and is a surprisingly healthier view of fathership and masculinity than I had expected.
My top 5 characters of 2022 were not as book focused as I would have liked. I blame it partially on having a rough year but hopefully 2023 will be a lot better!