Reading Stef and Fiona’s posts about their three favourite Blyton characters got me thinking – whom would I choose? And would I choose different favourite characters now than when I was younger? Possibly.
After giving it a lot of thought, I was able to come up with three. One was an immediate decision:
Yes, like Stef and Fiona, I have to say that Julian is one of my favourite Blyton characters. I do like the other characters, but I find George’s sulkiness and Anne’s domesticated nature irritating. I like Dick and Timmy, but… they’re not Julian.
Being the leader of this group can’t be an easy job, but Julian does it well. He’s polite, even when he is insulting people like Mr Stick in Five Run Away Together (I loved these scenes when I was younger and still find them enjoyable now), brave and manages to somehow keep George and Dick from squabbling all the time.
He’s also kind to others, whether it’s Aily run away from her mother, Anne scared of the adventure they’re caught up in or George in a bad mood. Yes, he can be a bit pompous, but that was the male attitude at the time (and don’t tell me that Fatty in the Find-Outers and Peter in the Secret Seven aren’t capable of being pompous too).
Julian has actually been one of my favourites since I started reading Enid Blyton’s books as a kid; my next two choices weren’t so easy.
I enjoy the school series, but I think a lot of the characters work better as a group than as individuals. Also, I tend to like the ‘bad’ characters who become good, like Margery in the O’Sullivan Twins and June in Last Term at Malory Towers – I just find them a bit more interesting.
So I’d have to say Elizabeth Allen, the Naughtiest Girl in the School, is one of my favourites. She’s nicknamed the ‘Bold, Bad Girl’ in the first book in this series for a reason – she doesn’t want to be at Whyteleafe School and plays some dreadful tricks so they’ll send her away. Even when she decided to stay, her hot temper and impetuous nature still land her in trouble on a regular basis.
So why do I like her? Because once she decides to stop being naughty just for the sake of it, she always means well. Her badly thought out plans are intended to give a friend a pleasant surprise for her birthday or to catch a thief, while her displays of temper are because someone else is being bullied or accusing her unfairly.
Elizabeth is brave – she has rescued a young boy from drowning and can admit when she’s wrong and apologise. She also does some very kind things for people, like giving up her own place in a lacrosse match so they can play, even if she doesn’t like them. She doesn’t see these things as being terribly important, but her schoolmates do. I can’t help liking her.
I also enjoyed reading some of Enid Blyton’s more ‘magical’ books as a child and thought that one of my favourites might be in there. Fond as I am of Moon-Face and Saucepan Man in the Faraway Tree series and Chinky in the Wishing Chair books, none of them really stood out. And then I remembered Mr Pink-Whistle.
He starts out as a lonely little man (well, half-human half brownie), living with his cat Sooty for company – other brownies aren’t happy about the fact he’s half-human and humans don’t really like his pointed ears or green eyes. But children are happy to make friends with him, once he starts heading out into the world to fix things.
His first words in the series are “It isn’t fair! It isn’t fair!” when he hears of bad things happening and he decides that he’s going to right some of these wrongs… or at least make the people affected feel better.
What I really like are some of the more unusual methods Mr Pink-Whistle employs to fix these problems. He can turn invisible, which can come in very handy if you’re following a boy who writes nasty things about people on walls and doing the same thing to him, or following a thief and clucking like a chicken every time he speaks. He also puts on magic shows or parties for children if they can’t attend the one they were originally going to, helps out a couple of dogs since he can understand their language and enchants bikes so they’ll take the boy who’s stealing them to some nasty places.
So are these characters different to the ones I would have picked when I was younger? Possibly… I didn’t come across the Mr Pink-Whistle books until I was older, and I might have said George instead of Julian or Darrell from Malory Towers instead of Elizabeth. There are so many good characters and they work well together, so it is really hard to choose a favourite.