TOP 10 BOOKISH PETS

At times, our bookish Top 10 themes coincide with a particular event, or a particular season. We time it so we give as much prominence/deference/choose-your-ence to a prominent bookish holiday, theme or whatever is currently making the ripples in the literary community.

Other times, our bookish Top 10 themes are chosen like this: AREN'T BABY OWL GIFS THE CUTEST?

This, naturally, is the latter. This week for our top 10, we have chosen the 10 bookish pets, familiars and/or animal companions who have marked our beloved series, or whose unforgettable nature actually exceeded the rather forgettable plot of the book at large. 

Our love of these magnificent beasts has at times eclipsed our love for their owners/handlers/masters/less-intelligent-halves. Let's just leave it at that.





1. Hedwig (Harry Potter)


Chosen by: Natalie

Why wouldn't Hedwig be in this list? I mean, she is the ultimate awesome pet who is beautiful, elegant and even heroic. She took a hit for Harry and will forever remain in our hearts as a truly loyal and beloved pet.
Hedwig is also so iconic that you can't help but say 'Hedwig!' whenever you see a white owl, because she is that popular and well-known. We'd all perfectly happy to have a pet owl, but it's just not the same if you're not a wizard.

LONG LIVE THE BADASS OWL THAT IS HEDWIG!



2. Chainsaw (The Raven Cycle)

Art credit: Cassandra Jean

Chosen by: Lexie

Kerrah! Admit it. Not for one second did you think that this would go without a(n un)healthy dose of Maggie Stiefvater. Or, in this particular case, the raven from The Raven Cycle, first prominently featured in The Raven Boys, and who belongs to a raven boy. (Insofar as animals can belong to people, as Holly Golightly puts it.) If you're sensing a theme - you're sensing correctly. Everything is a theme in The Raven Cycle. And when together with a group of somewhat magical friends you magically alight upon a magical baby bird which then proceeds to do a great number of magical (and sometimes creepy) things - there really is no doubt. And while every bookish pet is adorable, Chainsaw:
1. Was named after a power tool. (Yes, this is relevant.)
2. Turns angry!Ronan into mommy!Ronan
3. Over time evolves into Everyone's Pet - one of my favorite pet-specific tropes.
(And also 4. She is in my favorite series.)
So Chainsaw just has to be my first pick for this. She's just a dream.



3. Fleetfoot (Throne of Glass)


Chosen by: Natalie

Although Fleetfoot isn't in the series a whole lot, we still love her as she is the sunshine and happiness in the books. A lot of bad stuff happens in the Throne of Glass series, and seeing Celaena brighten up at the sight of her happy and tail-wagging companion is enough to put a huge smile on our faces. She turns even the deadliest of people into sappy people, and everyone is honoured to take care of her whenever Celaena has business to do.
Not just that but she is adorable!


4. Abraxos (Throne of Glass)

Art credit: Marga H. Garcia

Chosen by: Lexie

Precious few things are as beautifully contradictory as a winged, downtrodden wyvern owned by the ruthless, feared leader of a vicious, literal man-eating clan of witches... with a propensity for rolling around in wildflowers, disobeying orders and sass. In animals of the non-talking sort, a healthy dose of sass is no meager thing to pull off. But Abraxos is sassy as he is determined, and humorous as he is contradictory. From his very first appearance, he is the embodiment of the downtrodden-hero-who-beats-the-odds trope... with a notable addition of occasional absent-mindedness, stubborn defiance and, well... a great love of flowers. 


5. Blackjack (Percy Jackson)


Art credit: Amy Kersey


Chosen by: Natalie

You can't have a pet list and not include a Pegasus! Percy is a lucky boy as he is able to fly around on a Pegasus. This is the most majestic way to get around and not just that, but he has a personality. He is an informal creature who often insults people he doesn't like and is extremely loyal to Percy, and only likes him riding him. (Well, that doesn't sound rude at all)
He was once a prisoner and was released by Percy, which indicates his true devotion to his saviour. Sassy and a real character, you can't not grow fond of him. 



6. Buckbeak (Harry Potter)


Chosen by: Lexie

No, really - most every pet who has appeared over the course of the Harry Potter series merits a place on this list. But no one's predicament caused me more anxiety as a child than Buckbeak - the hypogriff who shared Harry's sentiments when it came to Draco Malfoy, and whose actions got him into more trouble than they were worth. (Wait, is Buckbeak just Harry in animal form? SOMEONE LOOK INTO THIS!) When not on trial for his life, Buckbeak is fiercely loyal, protective and mostly very hungry. (No, really, pay attention - he will eat anything if it stays still for long enough, and if it's even vaguely food-shaped.) It's difficult not to relate to a Harry-esque figure in a Harry Potter world - and even more so to one so permanently hungry.



7. Dol (Vicious)

Art credit: NanoMortis

Chosen by: Lexie

Nothing gets you quite like entering a whirlwind series of Bad Guys and Badder Guys, of Semi-Permanent Death and Really Permanent Death, and then being introduced to a dog. A lovable, shaggy, only semi-permanently dead dog. Books have an unfortunate habit of killing off cute dogs. Dol is a cute dog. Vicious features a lot of death. You shouldn't get attached.
And then, of course, you get attached.
If the squad that are a (1) supervillain, (2) a clever, sarcastic little girl, (3) a menacing-looking hacker with a penchant for chocolate milk - weren't quirky enough in and of themselves, their (accidental) mutual ownership and regard for a shaggy stray really highlights the sort of book Vicious is. A little bit villainy, a little bit sarcastic, a little bit incongruous, and definitely a bit disheveled - just like the best of each of its principal characters.
Admit it: no villainy crew is complete without a lovable dog in their midst.




Art credit: Cassandra Jean

Chosen by: Lexie

The Scorpio Races is its horses, and the horses are The Scorpio Races. They're inextricably linked, and they define each other. As the story goes, each November a race known as The Scorpio Races is held on Thisby - a small island off the coast of Somewhere, UK-adjacent. (Maggie Stiefvater is the queen of specificity. I know.)  The reigning champion, Sean Kendrick, is somewhat of a horse whisperer - with none more so than Corr, his companion and closest friend. And this might have been it, had the 'horses' not been Capaill Uisce - the demonic, water-brand variety - and were the sea not whispering to Corr to go back to it - even with Sean astride him as they race. This duality of nature vs. nurture, of the home we've been born into and the home we've made is the hallmark of both The Scorpio Races and most of Maggie's other books. But nowhere did it show as clearly than in Corr and Sean - whose bond rivals the strongest of the human bonds, where both characters can speak and express it. It is quite literally beyond words.




Art credit: ArtofARoman

Chosen by: Lexie

To some extent, Church is an extraordinary cat: with upwards of nine lives, seemingly invincible, and capable of avoiding trouble in the most troublesome environment imaginable. In others, he is a typical one: grouchy, self-involved, and he loves Jem. (Don't even question it, all cats and also humans would really love Jem. This is universal.) Church won't win anyone over with the warm and fuzzies, but he might well score massive points with all introverts, all grumpy individuals, and/or anyone whose twin goals are comfort and good company - so, basically, all of the internet. And for that alone, plus his epic sassiness, Church earned himself a spot on our list.



10. Bambi (The Dark Elements)

Art credit: Maria Trepalina

Chosen by: Lexie

Here's a true mark of a loveable pet: liking and remembering one despite being ambivalent about the series it's in, and promptly forgetting most of its plot. Despite my halfhearted perusal of The Dark Elements, and despite giving it up halfway through, Bambi has stuck with me. This is in part due to Bambi being an enormous snake rather than an actual bambi. In part it's due to Bambi's doubling as a tattoo when she isn't out and about, eating her master's enemies. But mostly, I think, it's due to Bambi's epic sass despite her lack of speech, and her unfaltering loyalty to Roth, and then Layla. Nothing says 'I love you' like my pet claiming you as a second owner.





If there's one thing these picks have taught us, it's that whittling our choices of our most beloved pets down to just 10 is a Herculean task - made all the more so by JUST HOW VERY MANY LOVEABLE, AMAZING PETS THERE ARE IN THE HARRY POTTER SERIES ALONE. We're heartsick that we couldn't mention them all... but we're leaving the rest up to you.

Let us know who your favorite bookish pets are - and which ones we've missed due to the sad nature of a top 10 list. (SCOLD US. WE DESERVE IT.) Leave us a comment below, or find us on social media and shout at us there:

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8 comments

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15 June 2016 at 05:17

Great list! So glad to see Corr make your list!

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15 June 2016 at 11:15

This is a really cute idea for a top ten list! I'd have to say that Mogget and Dog from the Abhorsen series by Garth Nix are my favourite bookish pets.

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16 June 2016 at 11:26

I know Hedwig, Buckbeak and Dol & I love them dearly. <3

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17 June 2016 at 10:51

Corr would have been MUCH HIGHER, if the list were in any particular order. I can't even verbalize my love for The Scorpio Races properly - ESPECIALLY Corr and Sean's dynamic. It's honestly just so precious to me.

Thank you for stopping by and commenting, Lauren. <3

- Lexie

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17 June 2016 at 10:53

Do iiiiiit! We had a brainfreeze 8 picks in, and it was a few days before we could come up with the last two. In the meantime, we scoured the web for ideas as to which pets we might have been missing and... NO ONE is discussing the awesomeness that are pets and animal-human (and animal-animal) dynamics in YA. JUSTICE FOR PETSSSS!

Also, Caitlin, I can't even TELL YOU how much you've just sold me on the Abhorsen series! I've been DYING to get into Garth Nix for years, but I never got a specific recommendation. Now not only did you give me one, but there are awesometacular pets therein? *RUNS OFF TO FETCH THE BOOKS*

THAAAANK YOU!

- Lexie

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17 June 2016 at 10:54

*hugs the stuffing out of all three*

DOL IS SO UNDERRATED, HONESTLY! Glad we have friends here who acknowledge and appreciate Dol's utter awesomeness.

- Lexie

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18 June 2016 at 13:11

I love how there are pet-specific tropes :') But omg Hedwig, yes please. Also Crookshanks. Also Saphira from Eragon. Also possibly the chameleon thing from Tangled (actually just all of the Disney pets ever...)

Okay your post has me obsessing about pets I want.

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18 June 2016 at 14:10

Y E S! Pets-in-books is already a faaaavorite trope (both ours and yours, as we recently discussed), and then there are pet-specific subtropes, and - basically - pets are a wonderful, wonderful thing, and can only bring about wonderful, wonderful things.

Unless they die. But, uhm, let's not get into my authorly blacklist just yet.

I mean, OBVIOUSLY WE ALL NEED A DRAGON! It was honestly SO HARD not including Disney and adjacent-animated-franchises' pets on this list, because TOOTHLESS. And SAPHIRA. And also, let's be honest, we ALL need a Sebastian to set us straight when we go off the rails.

- Lexie

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