I'm still deeply embroiled in reading. For the last five weeks, I've been immersed in Dorothy Dunnett's House of Niccolo series. It's an 8 book series - 8 rather thick books, too, and slow reads all of them, in which you can't let your attention slip for a second. I'm half way through book 5 at the moment, but when I finish, I'll probably reread the 6 books of her Lymond series, since there are lots of links between the two (though I've not uncovered most of these links yet.) Her characters are not ones I would ever dare write fanfic about, but they've taken root in my imagination, and will be there for a good few months yet.
Now, I've seen this meme everywhere, in which you list 20 things you've been fannish about, and ask people to guess your favourite characters. I won't do the guessing part, since I post so seldom on this journal that I haven't given anyone any clues to base guesswork on, but I found it a fun exercise in nostalgia to think about the question, and ramble on a bit about fandoms past.
The first 8 are roughly chronological order. The rest are in the order they occur to me:
1. Swallows and Amazons series (aged 8-9): I dressed up as characters, drew pictures, made models, wrote songs etc. This was totally my first fandom, although it was done in an entirely solitary way. My favourite character aged 8 was Nancy, the confident, fierce leader type - i.e. everything that I wasn't. Titty was the character most like me, though.
2. The Scarlet Pimpernel (the book version, first read aged 10) The Scarlet Pimpernel himself, of course. This book started a lifelong weakness for super-intelligent heroes who are ten steps ahead of everyone else, but who hide their true nature behind a mask and are misunderstood by everyone around them.
3. The Three Musketeers and sequels (the books, first read aged 10 or 11.) I was very much in love with d'Artagnan then, and I never change from my first loves. Had I come to the book as an adult, I might have liked Athos best, but I do have a weakness for swashbuckling main characters, so maybe not.
4. Star Trek (original series, watched between the ages of 12 and 14, or so.) I was madly in love with Captain Kirk as a teenager, and used to make up stories in my head in which he got wounded, but staggered on despite his wounds to save the day. I should probably be quite embarrassed about the fact that I still cannot resist this scenario.
5. The Lord of the Rings (book) I first read this aged 9, when Frodo was my favourite character, but my huge obsession with it came when I was 14, when I reread it endlessly, and gave my heart to Aragorn. I do so love incognito heroes who are secretly important.
6. Sharpe (books, but also TV series.) Sharpe had a good habit of getting wounded while doing heroic things, so loving him was inevitable, I'm afraid.
7. The X-Files. My single biggest fannish obsession ever, I think, which dominated my life between late 1995 and mid 1998 - in which it was very much helped by my discovery of fanfic in 1996. Mulder was my favourite, and I took my love out on him quite violently in many a tale.
8. Star Wars. (1999) I never watched the original films when I was young, and didn't see them until I was 28 or so. However, my fannishness was entirely focused around the wait for episode one, and owed an awful lot to the fact that I had a crush on Ewan McGregor. Young Obi-Wan was consequently my favourite character. Even though the film was a disappointment, I had fun making up stories about Obi-Wan and his master pre-episode one.
9. The Thief series, by Megan Whalen Turner. While I liked the first two books, it was the third book that made me fall headlong in love with the hero, Eugenides. The book had everything that I love: super-clever hero, ten steps ahead of everyone else, but totally misunderstood by the outsider viewpoint who's telling us the story. It has some nice satisfying wounding in it, too. Book 4's coming out in a few months, too. :-)
10. A Song of Ice and Fire by George RR Martin. My reigning Favourite Series for a while, but somewhat slipping down the list at the moment, due to his extreme slowness in writing the latest book. Out of the huge cast, I fell in love with Jon Snow, though I feel slightly embarrassed about this, since he's perhaps the closest the book has to the conventional fantasy orphan-farmboy-turned-hero. I ought to like Tyrion best - clever, witty, misunderstood - and I do indeed like him, but...
11. The Lymond Chronicles, by Dorothy Dunnett. Lymond is another hero cast from my favourite mould, in that he's a super-intelligent schemer, and perpetually misunderstood. We hardly ever see into his head, but see him through the eyes of various outsider viewpoints, none of which understand him, and many of which are biased against him and present him as a villain. He's certainly not beyond reproach, but I saw enough glimmers of the tormented and ultimately well-intentioned man inside to fall in love.
12. The Dark is Rising series, by Susan Cooper. I didn't read this until I was 18, but I really enjoyed it. Years later, I discovered that there was fanfic. "How strange!" I thought... but within weeks found myself writing it. It was never a major, all-consuming fandom, but I did enjoy writing in it. I'm normally wary of book-based fanfic, since most books don't leave me with gaps to fill, but the nature of the book's ending lent itself to "what happened next" stories, in my opinion. My favourite character was Will Stanton.
13. All the works of Diana Wynne Jones. I love pretty much all of her books. I think Fire and Hemlock (a Tam Lin retelling) is probably my favourite, but Chrestomanci (who appears in several books) is probably my favourite character. The structure of the Chrestomamci books (and also the Howl ones) really lend themselves to fanfic, since they're essentially episodic, each book featuring a self-contained story and a new cast, into which Chrestomanci (or Howl) wanders. As a result, I've written a few fanfics about them. They were some of the most enjoyable writing experiences I've ever had.
14. Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I was never hugely fannish about it, but I did watch it throughout, and have most of it on DVD. My lack of huge fannishness comes from the fact that I never fell in love with a single character, but Giles was probably my favourite, and I always enjoyed watching the Geek Trio. Buffy herself annoyed me.
15. Firefly. I read quite a bit of Firefly fanfic for a good while, but never wrote it, since I felt that I'd be unable to master the voices. I do always have a weakness for main characters and leader types, so Mal was my favourite, but I liked pretty much everyone, especially Jayne and Kaylee.
16. The Inda series, by Sherwood Smith. This has been a recent enthusiasm, reviving every year as each new book has come out. When I finished the series in early August, it totally took over my mind and emotions for almost a week. As I said, I like main characters, so Inda was my favourite.
17. Primeval. I was briefly into Primeval during its first series, and was just getting into writing fanfic about it when I stumbled upon SGA, after which Primeval was forgotten. I did enjoy that first series, though. Shallow person that I am, I liked Stephen best, because he got himself wounded in an early episode.
18. The Dark Tower series, by Stephen King. I loved this series for a few years, but by the time the final books came out, the love had faded, I'm afraid. But when book 4 came out, only a year or so after I'd read the first 3 books, I was totally obsessed. Book 1 left me cold, but I started to really like Roland, the main character, when we saw him through other people's eyes in book 2.
19. The Lord of the Rings (movies.) I think of the movies as a completely different thing from the book. They tell a similar story, but live in completely different compartments in my mind. The fact that I liked Aragorn best in the movie owes a lot of the fact that he was my teenage favourite in the book, but there were other, entirely shallow reasons, too.
20. Stargate Atlantis. Do I even need to tell people that Sheppard is my favourite? I'm afraid that shallowness came into this initial choice, though; my first episode was The Defiant One, when he was looking pretty and fighting heroically and getting hurt. I always found Rodney the most enjoyable to write, though, especially in my AUs.