top 5 wednesday: favourite mentors and teachers

Happy Wednesday, everyone! I’m currently on holiday on the Isle of Wight, woo! This is one of my favourite places in the world so I’m really excited to be spending the next few days here. I’ve brought an ambitiously large stack of books with me that I’m sure I won’t read through, but it’s better to be overprepared with reading material I think!

This week’s Top 5 Wednesday topic is Favourite Mentors and Teachers. I tried to include a good selection of characters from a few different genres, but it seems as though my favourite mentors come mostly from the fantasy genre. This is probably because ‘The Chosen One’ trope often found in fantasy novels tend to include a mentor character guiding the protagonist through their journey. I’ve added a more ‘evil’ mentor on the list to mix things up and one mentor who doesn’t want to be a mentor at all. So I hope you enjoy this week’s list! Let me know who your favourite teachers and mentors in literature are in the comments!

This post is a part of the Top 5 Wednesday series from the Goodreads group of the same name. Check it out for weekly #T5W post prompts and to see how other book bloggers have answered this week’s theme!

Sirius Black, Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling
I know we aren’t meant to include Harry Potter characters for this month’s challenges, but I can’t help myself. Sirius Black was, in my opinion, one of the most important figures in Harry’s life who helped his continued growth by acting as a father-figure and role model. While Harry’s professors at Hogwarts (save for a select few…) were equally important to his character development, Sirius filled the familial void in Harry’s life in a way that even Hermione and Ron couldn’t.

Gandalf, Lord of the Rings trilogy by J. R. R. Tolkien
Gandalf is basically Dumbledore without a school of pupils to oversee. His dialogue is filled with wisdom that extends not only to the Fellowship but to the reader as well. Gandalf was a subtle mentor who’s tactic was more in-line with the idea of vague suggestions, planting the seed of success and the conquering of fear in the minds of those he guided and allowing them to believe in their own ability to succeed.

Abraham van Helsing, Dracula by Bram Stoker
The only actual teacher on the list, Professor Van Helsing goes to extreme lengths to help his former pupil Dr John Seward save the woman he loves from an illness inflicted by a vampire bite. Van Helsing is basically a certified bad-ass, though not the vampire hunting expert adaptions of the novel make him out to be. He’s intelligent, a natural leader, and incredibly resourceful. How many of your former professors would stick around when a crazed vampire is on the loose?

Rincewind, The Colour and Magic and The Light Fantastic by Terry Pratchett
You’d think that wizards were natural born leaders…. but that simply is not the case for Rincewind. I included him on the list since he’s my favourite anti-mentor. In stories where you’d think a wizard would be leading the charge and making the big decisions, Rincewind just seems more confused and annoyed than anything. He does show initiative on a number of occasions, but I think he would rather be home doing nothing out of the ordinary than running around the Discworld with a spunky tourist.

Kurt Dussander, Apt Pupil by Stephen King 
But not all mentors are good guys. Dussander in King’s disturbing novella acts as a mentor to Todd Bowden, a young sadistic boy deeply fascinated with Nazi Germany and specifically concentration camps. When Todd realises his next-door-neighbour is an SS war criminal in hiding, he looks to the old man to learn the horrifying details of the Holocaust. As per King’s incredible storytelling, Dussander’s character is far less terrifying than the young boy obsessed with his bloody past. One of the author’s more disturbing narratives.

What about you? Who are your favourite literary mentors? Let me know in the comments!

9 thoughts on “top 5 wednesday: favourite mentors and teachers

  1. Kathy @PBTVS says:

    I really need to start reading the Disworld books; I’ve heard so many great things about its characters, Rincewind included! And Apt Pupil is a King book I’ve never even heard of but it sounds fascinating.

    • Ashley says:

      I’ve read the first two Discworld books so far and they’re so much fun! Apt Pupil is absolutely incredible, it’s one of the most disturbing things I’ve ever read by Stephen King. It’s in the collection called Different Seasons :).

  2. Vera says:

    “Gandalf is basically Dumbledore without a school of pupils to oversee.”
    So nicely put, could not agree more! 👌I enjoyed your list, Terry Pratchett and Stephen King are amongst my favourite writers. 😊
    Enjoy your holiday. 😊

    • Ashley says:

      They’re both so wonderful! I’m working my way through the Discworld books for the first time and I just love Terry Pratchett’s characters, they’re so much fun.

      And thank you! 🙂

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