Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.–That Artsy Reader Girl
Today’s topic is about top ten qualities/traits we love in a character. I will be focusing on things I love about Maia Drazhar, the main character in Katherine Addison’s The Goblin Emperor.The Goblin Emperor (The Goblin Emperor, #1) by Katherine Addison
Published by Tor Books on April 1, 2014
The youngest, half-goblin son of the Emperor has lived his entire life in exile, distant from the Imperial Court and the deadly intrigue that suffuses it. But when his father and three sons in line for the throne are killed in an "accident," he has no choice but to take his place as the only surviving rightful heir.Entirely unschooled in the art of court politics, he has no friends, no advisors, and the sure knowledge that whoever assassinated his father and brothers could make an attempt on his life at any moment.Surrounded by sycophants eager to curry favor with the naïve new emperor, and overwhelmed by the burdens of his new life, he can trust nobody. Amid the swirl of plots to depose him, offers of arranged marriages, and the specter of the unknown conspirators who lurk in the shadows, he must quickly adjust to life as the Goblin Emperor. All the while, he is alone, and trying to find even a single friend . . . and hoping for the possibility of romance, yet also vigilant against the unseen enemies that threaten him, lest he lose his throne–or his life.
Katherine Addison’s The Goblin Emperor is an exciting fantasy novel, set against the pageantry and color of a fascinating, unique world, is a memorable debut for a great new talent.
Kind, Strong and Brave
These traits to me really define Maia as a person.
He has a great capacity for kindness in the face of adversity. And, gosh, does he face a lot of that when he enters the Imperial Court.
Maia has a lot of things stacked against him when he begins his reign. There are people who want to puppet him, destroy him or just plain ignore him. He shows incredible strength to fight on in the name of what he thinks is right and not to let other people’s ambition derail his task of being a good Emperor.
He’s never been brought up to rule and he himself has been shown little kindness by anyone until he comes to court. It would have been so easy for him to take the path of least resistance and let others win. Or, on the other hand, to be vengeful and misuse his power. But he doesn’t and that shows both strength and bravery.
Imperfect and Self-Aware
Maia is not strictly speaking ‘human’ as, after all, this is a book about goblins and elves, but he shows a lot of humanity.
He has moments of selfishness, for example there is a particular episode in the book where he leaves the room with a singer who he likes a lot. The situation escalates into one that goes against all kinds of political protocol. In that moment he’s a young man who is innocent and somewhat out of his depth in the face of someone he likes. He steps out of the shadow of his title briefly to be ‘normal’, although that is soon shattered when he realises that he had the singer’s attention because of his title and nothing more, really.
I like that he shows his vulnerabilities and his truth. He gets frustrated, angry, disappointed. He makes misjudgements at times. All of this makes him more real.
Maia often acknowledges of his weaknesses. The narrative gives a lot of space to Maia’s introspective thoughts. Sometimes he can be quite tough on himself. He often spends time acknowledging and imagining how others see him. He can’t afford to be oblivious to how he presents himself because his whole existence is under a microscope. Nothing is private for an Emperor and this in itself is a big issue Maia has to deal with.
One of Maia’s struggles is reconciling his private and public image. He has to learn how much of his true self he can show and to who and kill people’s preconceptions. His father had painted and promoted a poor image of him that Maia has to tear down.
Listener, Empathetic and Wise
One of Maia’s greatest skills is listening which allow him to be both empathetic and wise. When his father and brothers dies in an airship crash his thoughts go to the family of the airship crew who also lost their lives. When he hears of proposals for a bridge that could help encourage trade and boost the economy, he wants to hear how it can benefit his people.
He’s a hands-on ruler once he’s given the chance to learn more about the system he’s working with and the scope of his powers within that system.
He shows the skills you want from a ruler. He wants to know about problems and is open to hearing ideas about solutions. Maia has a big heart and an eye for the bigger picture. He shows a lot maturity for someone so young.
Loyal and Loving
Maia finds a group of allies in the cold halls of Court. They become like family. I particularly enjoyed the chapters relating to Maia’s birthday and his simple joy at receiving presents.
For an orphan who lost his mother at a young age and was pushed away by his father, it’s so touching to see him find a group of people who love him. It’s key to Maia surviving the dark forces that surround him.
But he does suffer one truly deep betrayal. Yet, he stays loyal to that person. He listens to him explain why and even feels guilt. He watches the consequences of their actions and sees it through to the end. He shows the exact kind of unnerving loyalty that was denied him by this person.
Maia is an amazing character and The Goblin Emperor is a magical character study. If you haven’t read it already I definitely recommend it.