Hello and happy Wednesday!
Also, happy World Wildlife day!
ALSO, happy birthday to my dear sister!
And now that we’ve established that today is indeed a good day to be happy, haha, I’m here with two new posts.
The first can be found on S. J. Wunderlin’s site here, where I shared what I’m learning about abiding in Christ and the Fruit of the Spirit. Getting to guest-post on her site has been such a privilege, and I’d love for you to give both the post and the rest of her blog a look. She’s a very talented author, and continually inspires me with her insightful posts. Thanks, Sierra!
And second, in honor of both World Wildlife Day, and my animal-loving sister’s birthday, I thought I’d share some of my favorite fiction animal companions. I always enjoy getting to know adorable animal characters in books, movies, and shows, and because I have too many to list, I’ve decided to focus on non-speaking ones today.
Many of my favorite fictional animals are speaking characters (such as plenty from animated Disney movies, or pretty much all the Narnian characters – especially Aslan), but that’s a topic for another time. For now, I hope you enjoy meeting some of my favorite non-speaking animal characters, and I’d love to hear yours as well!
Toothless (How to Train Your Dragon)
If this was simply a list of adorable fictional animals, Toothless would win – hands down. In my opinion, Toothless is one of the cutest, most endearing animal companions to ever grace the presence of an animated movie and I don’t see myself changing that opinion any time soon. Not just with his appearance, but with each of his antics and facial expressions as well. His animators were partly inspired by cats, and I do believe they managed to capture all the good parts and leave out the annoying ones, haha!
But appearances aren’t everything – even with animated dragons – and one of the main reasons Toothless is a favorite character of mine is because of his personality. He’s sweet, spunky, loyal, brave, intelligent, determined, and grows to care for Hiccup (his ‘owner’) so much that he’d be willing to sacrifice himself to save him. In fact, he tries. The bond between him and Hiccup is very heartwarming, growing stronger the more they’re together.
Something I love to see in relationships between animal companions and their ‘owners’/’master’s/etc. is how much they help one another. Not just physically but emotionally as well. In the first HTTYD movie, we see Toothless and Hiccup both with a lot of fears, insecurities, and hurts. As they’re together longer, we get to watch them both heal and bring out the best in the other character, eventually becoming inseparable. I’ll admit, there are plenty of scenes in those movies where their meaningful interactions bring tears to my eyes.
Morph (Treasure Planet)
Yes, this cute and mischievous pink blob is technically stretching the definition of an animal companion. He also does talk, but more like a parrot would ‘talk’; copying the words of others. In both cases, I’m choosing to overlook those differences because I adore Morph too much not to include him in this list. He’s an excellent companion to Jim (the protagonist).
Morph is probably the most mischievous character on this list, as he uses his ability to shapeshift into any person or creature to create plenty of trouble. He’s not unlikable in this however, because he just wants to have fun, haha, and he’s too cute to get too mad at. Though he definitely makes some things difficult for the protagonists, he comes through when it really counts, and is a good companion to Jim in the meantime.
Despite his playful and troublemaking ways, Morph is a sweet pal to Jim, and makes the everyday toils of Jim’s work and later struggle for survival easier – if not physically, than emotionally. Every hurting character (or real person) needs a companion that makes them smile and laugh, and Morph is that for Jim. I also enjoy seeing Morph and his ‘master’ Silver’s mutual affection for each other. They’re an odd pairing, but the relationship is very touching.
Perry the Platypus (Phineas and Ferb)
This probably sounds childish, but Perry definitely deserves a spot on this list, haha. My siblings and I thoroughly enjoyed the Phineas and Ferb series, mostly because the absolute goofiness of the show was a perfect fit for our senses of humor. And amidst an energetic sister that can never stop her inventive brothers and a hopelessly hilarious villain, Perry the Platypus is one of the highlights of the show.
As far as I’m aware, Perry never speaks, which is one of the things that makes his character so intriguing and lovable. His job is to foil the plans of Dr. Doofenshmirtz (which he does without fail every time), and he’s a highly capable, intelligent, and determined little critter. No matter how clever Doofenshmirtz thinks he is, Perry is always right behind him with a trick up his nonexistent sleeve (he’s a platypus after all), and a polite nod of his fedora (he’s Perry the platypus after all) before he jetpacks away.
But again, what makes Perry an even better character than simply being ‘cool’ is his personality. Doofenshmirtz is far from evil himself, despite his claims to be, and often gets himself into huge binds. In many instances, Perry sets aside their differences to help him, whether it’s helping him find something lost or helping him decorate for Doofenshmirtz’s daughter’s birthday. Although it’s meant to be a comical children’s show – and is – there are plenty of heartwarming and deep moments between the characters, such as the ‘enemies but secretly fond of each other’ relationship’ between Perry and Doofenshmirtz.
Yes, two last Disney characters, haha. Tangled has several excellently-done animal companions, with Pascal (Rapunzel’s chameleon) and Maximus (Flynn’s equine frenemy) both easily making my favorites list. I love how much personality they have, clearly communicating how they feel about the events of the story – despite not speaking a word, like most Disney animals.
Being a chameleon, Pascal’s color changing, minute size, and handy use of his long and sticky tongue makes him a humorous, endearing, and unique companion for Rapunzel. I enjoy the way he cares for and tries his best to help and protect her, which often means taunting and annoying Flynn. Though, what else can we expect him to do when Flynn insists on calling him a frog?
Maximus is another wonderful example of a humorous and endearing companion – and one of the best examples of character change that I’ve ever seen in an animal. The way his tenderness toward Rapunzel forces him into an uneasy alliance with Flynn – his sworn enemy – never fails to make me laugh, especially as he and Flynn find ways to torment the other. His personality is incredibly nuanced, which I appreciate in any character, and I love that he and Flynn eventually grow to be loyal friends.
Murphy (Cabin Girl)
Yes, I know, this one feels like cheating because it’s my character, haha – so of course I love Murphy! But bear with me. It didn’t feel right not to include him when he’s such a sweetie, and I figured it’d give you a chance to be introduced to the lovable mutt in my upcoming novel.
Murphy is the doggy companion to my main character Éirinn in Cabin Girl, and his name literally means “hound of the sea”. Though I never specify what breed he is (Éirinn wouldn’t know what kind of dog Murphy is), I’ve imagined him to look very much like Newfoundlands1. Huge, shaggy-haired, courageous, loyal, and intelligent…it sums Murphy up excellently. I found out later that Newfoundlands have been used as water rescue dogs and taken on ships often throughout history, as they’re very strong swimmers. I’m not sure if Newfoundlands would have been around Éirinn at that point in history, but if not, then he’s very similar to them.
Originally, Murphy was not planned to be part of Cabin Girl. I added him after my mom pointed out how she felt Éirinn needed some sort of companion amidst the perils of the pirate ship – similar to Morph and Jim from Treasure Planet (I noticed the similarities after naming Murphy). If not a person, why not a dog? Hence Murphy showed up and I’m very glad he did. He’s become an integral aspect of the story, a much needed and loyal friend to Éirinn, and the namesake for any future dog that I adopt in real life. For now, I’m settling for a large plush dog that reminds me of him.
Well, those are a few of my favorite fiction animal companions, and apparently most of them are from movies… No matter the media however, I can’t help but get attached to loyal, clever – and occasionally sassy – creatures, and if a story contains an animal character like that, chances are I’m going to want to adopt them, haha. This list has been a lot of fun to compile, and I hope you’ve enjoyed reading it!
What are YOUR favorite fictional animals – and why? I’d love to find out! Go ahead and comment your favorites below, and I look forward to meeting them!