Rachel Neumeier

Fantasy and Young Adult Fantasy Author

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Top ten characters who would make great leaders

So, I happened across this post at Rambling Writer: Characters Who Can Lead and Characters Who Just Can’t

This was a post inspired by The Broke and the Bookish recent theme: Ten Characters Who Would Make Great Leaders.

I liked the twist — five who can lead and five who can’t — and I think there are some good choices for both categories, but I do think it’s hard to think of characters who Could Be But Are Not Yet Great Leaders, which is what the theme actually seems to call for.

Characters who are great leaders right now — there are plenty of those. I mean, off the top of my head:

Kaoren Ruuel, though he might lighten up a little.

Janus bet Vhalnich, though he might be just a tiny bit less secretive.

Maia, though he could stand to be a little more experienced.

Torin Kerr, though all of her experience is as a sergeant, not a general or whatever.

Vidranric Rensalaeus, Marquis of Sheviaeth, though … no, no quibbles. He’d just be a great commander. So would Inda, obviously.

But who would be a great commander, but hasn’t already had a chance to play that role?

I can think of a handful of candidates, and I’m sure there are plenty of others I’m missing:

1) Jade. She’s still subordinate to Pearl, but Jade will clearly be a superior leader when she becomes the senior queen. I mean, Pearl’s improved a lot, but Jade strikes me as intrinsically more emotionally stable. Malachite — I love Malachite — is totally scary and tends to be a tiny bit obsessive about some things. I’m betting Jade will mature into a better queen than either.

2. Tremaine. She is ruthlessly practical. I could see her becoming a leader as viciously competent (and nearly as secretive) as Janus bet Vhalnich.

3. Alan from The Demon’s Lexicon. Alan also has that practical ruthlessness combined with the total commitment to his people that I appreciate for in a really good commander.

4. Lilith . I’m not sure how she would do as a military commander, but as the leader of a community, she would do very well indeed. I think she’d be able to handle a much larger community than she’s ever had a chance to lead so far.

5. I’m not sure. Who’s another character who would step up and do a great job as leader, who hasn’t already held a high-level leadership role?

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8 Comments Top ten characters who would make great leaders

  1. Pete Mack

    Tremaine would hate it too much to last for long: able, but not willing. She’s happy–and highly competent–with a small band with a specific purpose. But she has no patience for the politics of higher command.

    How about Nancy in Swallows and Amazons?

  2. Craig N.

    We’ve never actually seen Quinn command the Dendarii, but I’m sure she does fine.

    If Lt. Tisarwat ever gets her own command she will probably be very good at it, what with one thing and another. Or else very, *very* bad, which possibility may block her from ever finding out.

  3. Kootch

    No greater leader than Aral Vorkosigan – District Count, admiral, Lord Regent, Prime Minister, Viceroy of Sergyar. For me, the Vorkosigan saga reached its denouement with “Cryoburn”, anything after that didn’t have the same resonance.

  4. Rachel

    Any minute now I will read Swallows and Amazons.

    Probably a good point about Tremaine. But put her in that situation and she’d do great.

    Quinn and Aral Vorkosigan — and Miles, of course — all definitely great choices.

  5. Pete Mack

    Aral Vorkosigan is too easy. I thought the game was to find potential leaders in fiction, not actual ones. There are lots of the latter–just pick up any Raymond Feist (ugh) book.

  6. Rachel

    I know, that’s why I briefly mentioned actual leaders before going on to people who haven’t had the chance to really get out in front of an army yet.

  7. Elaine T

    On a related topic the Teen and I have been discussing different sorts of leaders for a while. We think there are three:
    1)We’re doing this. Let’s Go! Ridcully, Cefwyn, Aragorn (as commander);

    2)I’m doing this, hey, why are you all following me? Teen came up with that to describe Tristen’s effect. Early Sam Vimes is another. Kenshin of Ruroni Kenshin. Probably Frodo.

    3) You know you want to do this, and it’ll be fun, (probably). Captain Carrot epitomizes this.

    I can’t think of any possibilities who might be great leaders but haven’t had a chance. I’ve probably read about them, but they aren’t coming to mind. Oh, maybe the kid from parts 3 & 4 of SHARING KNIFE. Now what was his name… [rummages] …Barr. He had promise.

  8. Rachel

    Barr’s a good choice. Such an ass to start with, but *eventually* he probably will make a good leader. Remo might be too quiet … or maybe he would grow into a category 2 leader.

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