Four Protagonists from Literature You’d Want to Grab a Drink With (And One You Wouldn’t)

Andrew Katz

1. Guy Montag, Fahrenheit 451

Guy Montag is the perfect conversationalist, in large part because he’s still kind of a blank slate. This is a guy who hasn’t read too many books, and the ones he read were in secret on fear of death. Have you read the top 5 on the current New York Times Bestseller list? Good, because he most likely hasn’t, and you could impress him with your knowledge/your life in a non-dystopian society. Also, if you somehow find yourself in a situation that requires a fire to be started while having this drink (for some reason), Guy really knows how to get the spark going. Ask him about his thoughts on robot dogs.

*Fahrenheit 451 is a brilliant book about a dystopian society where books are illegal and are burned. It’s great, check it out. Also, I promise that’s not just a random picture of Michael B. Jordan, he’s playing Montag in the new HBO adaptation. Check that out too.

 2. Jay Gatsby, The Great Gatsby

Jay Gatsby, whom I now imagine perpetually as Leonardo DiCaprio, really knows how to party. He was throwing raves at his house before we even had a name for it. And his shirts?! Don’t get me started on those shirts. Gatsby is a guy that knows how to have fun but also has a dark and tragic past. That means when you need a happy drink, he’s there for you; when you need a sad drink, he’s also there for you but in a melancholier way. Possible conversation topics: lights of bright colors, long lost loves, rags to riches ascensions. Topics to avoid: pools, long-lost loves that turn out to be terrible, Tobey Maguire’s bizarre casting.

*If you’ve taken a 9th grade English class, you’ve read this book. If you haven’t, I didn’t spoil that much, so, you’re good.

3. Antonia Shimerda, My Antonia

Ever wanted to know more about life on the prairie? But the really depressing side of life on the prairie? Have a drink with Antonia, whose life is just as difficult as her name is to pronounce! Hear classic tales about the old country and how everything was better there, at least for her father. Actually, don’t mention her father. But you can talk about the west, and how life has a funny way of working itself out. She’ll probably have to bring some of her kids along to get a drink, but don’t worry, they have a quiet sturdiness from farm life and are delightful. While Antonia is sort of a side character to Jim’s protagonist, she’s important enough to make the title of the book, so she’s important enough to make this list.

*My Antonia is a significant novel detailing life for pioneers in Nebraska and how a childhood friendship between characters affects them for the rest of their lives.

 4. Oedipus, Oedipus Rex

First, he was a king, and now he’s a blind exile. Will he ever redeem himself in the eyes of the gods and his family? Definitely not. But would he have a lot to talk about over a drink? For sure! Oedipus is the perfect drinking buddy because his life is always going to be more tragic than yours. It’s important to know people like this, so that you can appreciate your own life that much more. And, so you can help and support them, I guess. If think you have issues surrounding your family from childhood trauma, wait until Oedipus gets a little tipsy. Just be grateful you don’t have to go with him to his family Thanksgiving. So, grab a drink with your Greek buddy and give your mom a call later to remind her how much you appreciate her. But don’t make it weird.

*Oedipus Rex is one of the most important plays written by Sophocles. It’s famous for its story of twisted fate and familial strife, and for being the namesake for its very own Freudian complex.

5. Harry Potter, HP and the Deathly Hallows

Okay, so here’s a point of contention. Yeah, Harry Potter is a terrific book series and just an awesome character, but would you really want to get a drink with him? First, he seems to have no concept of Muggle money or societal expectations. Also, danger seems to follow him everywhere. You wouldn’t be able to drink your first beer before some dark wizard finds him and everything is either exploding or already on fire. And yes, I picked the last novel because he’s 18 in that one and would be able to legally drink in England, but it still wouldn’t be worth it! Also, I have a feeling Harry would be just too busy with everything going on in his life/recovery from Voldemort’s weird obsession with him to even grab a drink, you know? Hanging out with him would just not be worth the time, honestly. Anyway, just something I’ve been thinking about a lot. Don’t meet your heroes, kids.

*You know who Harry Potter is

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