Asking me to pick a favorite fictional character is like asking me to pick a favorite book. How do I choose, especially among my favorite teams? Whom do I choose: Frodo Baggins, Aragorn Elessar, Faramir, Gandalf, Sam Gamgee, Merry Brandybuck, Pippin Took? Hercule Poirot? Jane Marple? Tommy and Tuppence Beresford? King Arthur? John Sheppard, Rodney McKay, Teyla Emmagen, Carson Beckett? Hannibal Smith? Micky Dolenz? Leroy Jethro Gibbs? Dean Winchester?

When it comes to the character with whom I most identify, however, the choice is much simpler and has been the same almost all my life: Lucy Pevensie, aka Queen Lucy the Valiant, from The Chronicles of Narnia. Her deep and abiding love of Aslan has long been an inspiration to me, and I love the fact that the animal she first wants to see on arriving at Professor Kirke’s house is a badger, since badgers turn out to be the most steadfast and loyal of the Old Narnians in Prince Caspian. There are personality traits I share with Lucy, too–what come to mind first are curiosity, a desire to believe the best of friends, love of what Lewis calls "the right kinds of books," exasperation with those who just don’t get it, and willingness to go it alone if need be. And okay, I’m not half bad at archery, and at the age Lucy was in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, I might well have asked why I couldn’t fight alongside the boys, too.