Because I participate at varying levels of involvement in online fandoms for several franchises/media works, I often see fans posing questions like “who would win in a fight, [insert character] or [insert other character]?” Basically, discussions that are overwhelmingly concerned with powerscaling and/or combat skills as if they’re playing League of Legends or something.
Like this recent Tweet:
First of all, none of these people would even want to kill me in the first place. I’m too charming and lovable, they would just want to be my friend and watch Pride & Prejudice (2005) with me.
Second, if this is the type of discussion you like to have about media, that is 100% ok. You can enjoy things any way you want to and that’s perfectly valid.
But third, I cannot emphasize enough how little I care about this type of question. It honestly feels pointless to me.
But you wanna know what I do care about? Obviously, which characters would watch Pride & Prejudice (2005) with me (the real question there is who WOULDN’T). But also, somewhat related, how would the characters in question be as members of my book club?
So I’ve come up with some fictional characters I think would be the best–and worst–to have in a book club. (I originally posted about this on TikTok, so these thoughts are largely from those videos.)
Best: Samwell Tarly (Game of Thrones)
Since it was a collection of Game of Thrones/House of the Dragon characters that inspired these thoughts in the first place, let’s start there. Sam Tarly would by far be the best character in this universe (that I know of) to join your book club. He would take it very seriously and be very happy to be there and have such an appreciation for the books.
(Someone in my comments suggested Sansa, and she would be great, too, if she could clear her schedule, what with being Queen in the North and all.)
Worst: Alicent Hightower (House of the Dragon)
I think we can all agree that Alicent would be THE WORST in a book club, just like in the rest of life. She’s that person who would make people leave if they didn’t finish reading the book.
(Btw, have you been watching House of the Dragon? I’m really enjoying it. If you love Olivia Cooke’s performance as Alicent as much as I do, please watch the 2018 miniseries adaptation of Vanity Fair that she starred in, it’s amazing.)
Best: Leslie Knope (Parks and Recreation)
Leslie is probably the founder and lead facilitator of the book club, to be honest. She probably tries to pick the book every month, so the other members have to reel her in a little bit. But when she’s able to allow other people to lead from time to time, she’s a really great book club member. She also makes the best treats to share with everyone!
Worst: Cheyenne and Mateo (Superstore)
Listen, I love these two with all of my heart. I would love to hang out with Chateo even though I’m probably not cool enough for them–and therein lies the problem. They would never show up for book club. Even when they did they wouldn’t have read the book, which is totally fine, but they would also always take over the conversation. And they would probably bounce halfway through because they thought it was boring. Still love them, though!
Best: Rey (Star Wars sequel trilogy)
I’m less concerned with what Rey could offer the book club than with what the book club could offer Rey. She spent a year studying ancient Jedi texts AND her husband died after their first kiss. Like, can we get her some fiction, preferably romance, maybe like The Love Hypothesis, which is quasi-based on her life and is about to be made into a movie! We’re also letting Rey take home all the leftover snacks, ok Leslie?
Worst: Grogu (The Mandalorian)
I don’t think Grogu knows what books are, and he would most likely eat all of your plants and any of your pets that are, like, fish or small lizards if you have them, make a huge mess, and then get kidnapped. He also doesn’t really talk so I don’t know what he’s doing at a book discussion group anyway.
Best: Janine Teagues (Abbott Elementary)
I’ve been saying for awhile that Janine is sort of like Leslie Knope in a different font, so it makes sense to me that they would be friends. They might initially have a little friction, but they’d quickly come to appreciate each other, join forces, and be unstoppable. Janine would also be better than Leslie (if we’re being honest) at making sure everyone feels included in the discussion.
Worst: Bane (The Dark Knight Rises)
You merely adopted the book club… He was BORN in it.
Look, Bane would be insufferable in a book club and you know it. He’d steamroll everyone and force us to listen to his opinions, without letting anyone else talk, which, even if you might somewhat agree with him in theory, would be very annoying. His lack of tact and self-awareness would get old real fast. Plus, he’s probably the one kidnapping Grogu.
Best: Arondir (The Rings of Power)
When Arondir actually has the time to sit down and read a book he’s a very insightful reader (at least in my mind). He would be great to have in book club because he’s been around so long and has a depth of knowledge to bring that would really enrich the discussion. I also think he’d give anyone a ride who needs it.
Worst: Tina Belcher (Bob’s Burgers)
Tina is a wonderful person and I love her to pieces. But if she were in your book club she would just talk about the erotic fanfiction she wrote about the book, not the book itself. Erotic fanfiction can have its place, but I don’t think that place is a book club consisting of mostly adults with one 13-year-old girl who is the one discussing said erotic fanfiction, you know? Save that for AO3 and Discord, Tina.
Best: Belle (Beauty and the Beast)
Belle is obviously hosting book club in the Beast’s library. She would also get so excited to talk about what she thought of the book, and I think she’d be an attentive listener when other people share their opinions. Having book club in an enchanted library would definitely have its perks, too. We’d never run out of books!
Worst: Ted Mosby (How I Met Your Mother)
I feel like this needs no explanation. Ted would be THE WORST, maybe even worse than Alicent. He’d interrupt people to correct them on pronunciation and minute facts all the time, make bad puns and expect everyone to laugh (and don’t get me wrong, I love bad puns, but I also have realistic expectations about people’s reaction to them), and probably have some pretentious opinions on the books. It would be funny to watch Cheyenne and Mateo roast him, though.
Jury’s Out: The Finer Things Club, a.k.a. Pam, Oscar, and Toby (The Office)
I was going to include the Finer Things Club in the “Best” category, but I honestly don’t know if I’d want them in a book club. They are, by their own admission, very exclusive, but I also understand why they don’t want Jim and Andy to join their discussion (I wouldn’t either). I think it would be fine overall. No book club is perfect, and we’re all willing to put up with some differences of opinion and temperament as long as everyone is respectful, which these three would be.
What do you think? Do you agree or disagree with my choices? Which fictional characters would you want–and NOT want–in your book club? Let me know in the comments!