Tuesday, 7 December 2004

Animal Crackers

November was a pretty animal-y month for me. At work, I was either surfing the net doing 'research' on some carnivore project, or spending most of my time reading Sherman's Lagoon comics.

To top it off, I even went to the zoo, which got me all depressed because I really don't like the idea of zoos in the first place, what with all the animals stuck behind bars and all. Plus, the headline in The Star recently about the National Zoo facing permanent closure got me even more depressed, so I decided to go home and watch some Animal Planet instead.

Anyway, I figured that since animals ruled the month, I'd list down some of my favorite animal characters in books and movies. I'm gonna leave comic strip animals out of this, because I like too many to count, including almost the entire cast of Sherman's Lagoon, Snoopy, Hobbes, and other assorted comic strip animals.

So, here are some of my favorite animal characters from BOOKS, in no particular order:

1) Reepicheep (from The Chronicles of Narnia, by C.S. Lewis)

A talking mouse known for his overbearing sense of honor, and immense bravery. The most fun animal character in the series. I almost cried when I read what happened to him in the end.

2) Charlotte (from Charlotte's Web, by E.B. White)

A talking spider who helps a little pig escape his slaughterhouse fate by spinning a web that reads "Some Pig," convincing the farmer and surrounding community that Wilbur is no ordinary animal and should be saved.

3) Guenhwyvar (from the Drizzt Do'Urden Forgotten Realm books, by R.A. Salvatore)

A black panther from a astral plane (who doesn't talk, BTW), and Drizzt's best friend. Probably one of the coolest animal sidekicks in fantasy-dom.

4) Shadowfax (from The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien)

I always thought that Shadowfax was a cool name for a horse. Shadowfax is the only horse I remember from ANY book, and the fact that it was Gandalf's horse only made him even MORE cool.

5) Gwaihir (from The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien)

The Eagles are coming! The Eagles are coming! That's my favorite part of The Hobbit's Battle of the Five Armies. Plus, eagles are always cool, especially when you can hitch a ride on them.

6) Brer Terrapin (from the Brer Rabbit stories, by Joel Chandler Harris)

Of all the animal characters in the Brer Rabbit books, I liked Brer Terrapin the most, because of his laid-back and cool character. I used to love it when he would team up with Brer Rabbit to outsmart Brer Fox and Brer Wolf. Also, all those made-up stories my dad used to tell us about about Dirty Tortoise (who lived in a drain beneath the market) only made me love turtles and tortoise characters even more.

7) Nighteyes (from The Farseer Trilogy, by Robin Hobb)

EASILY my favorite animal sidekick of recent years. His bond with FitzChivalry Farseer and their adventures together are some of the most memorable parts of Hobb's Farseer series.

8) Maurice (from The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents, by Terry Pratchett)

The book is a retelling of the Pied Piper fable given a Pratchett twist. Maurice is a talking cat who leads a band of rather special rats from town to town to fake invasions of vermin. Keith, in cahoots with Maurice, turns up with his flute and leads the rats out of town--a hefty reward in tow. It's Pratchett after all, and his lead characters are ALWAYS memorable.

9) Pantailamon (from the His Dark Materials trilogy, by Philip Pullman)

Technically not an 'animal' per se, Pantailamon is a daemon - some kind of spirit thingy that can morph into any animal form that a child which, and settles on a single form when the child grows up. The books are one of the best children fantasy books around, and Pantailamon is one of those sidekicks that you wish you had by your side as well.

Any more I missed?

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