11 Roald Dahl characters to admire on the author’s birthday, from the BFG to Matilda

11 Roald Dahl characters to admire on the author’s birthday, from the BFG to Matilda

From cruel teachers to kindly giants, the British author knew how to create characters that readers love – and love to hate. In honour of what would have been his 103rd birthday, here are the YP team’s favourite heroes and villains from Dahl’s novels


Dahl would be 103 today.
Photo: Shutterstock

Charlie is the best

My favourite Roald Dahl character is Charlie Bucket from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I mean, who wouldn’t want to experience the wonderful world of Willy Wonka, let alone owning his factory and becoming his “heir”?

Unlike the other four kids who win the chance to visit Wonka’s famous chocolate factory, Charlie is down to earth, and always puts his family before himself. He’s also wise beyond his years, and almost never gives in to temptation.

Veronica Lin, Reporter

A heavenly revenge

Before I even knew Dahl wrote children’s books, I was reading his more macabre stories. My favourite character is Mrs Foster, from The Way Up to Heaven. She’s a timid elderly woman married to a bullying husband. Mrs Foster has planned for the pair to visit their daughter in Paris, but it seems Mr Foster wants to make things as difficult as possible for his wife.

To say what happens next would be giving away spoilers. But let’s just say that Mrs Foster may not be as meek as she first appears. The Way up to Heaven can be found on the web and read for free.

Susan Ramsay, Editor

Sweeter than Honey

This is tricky – there are so many wonderful characters. I’ve always had a soft spot for Mr Hoppy and Mrs Silver from Esio Trot (they are #relationshipgoals) but my all-time favourite is Miss Honey from Matilda. I absolutely adored her when I was younger and I wanted to be just like her when I grew up.

But even more than the character’s personality, I think I just loved the way Quentin Blake drew her. I loved her big glasses and little purple neckerchief. Looking at the rough pen-and-ink illustrations now, it’s kind of hard to see what I found so captivating, but I truly thought she was the most beautiful woman in the world.

Charlotte Ames-Ettridge, Sub-editor

A dream job

Dahl created so many wonderful, colourful characters it’s hard to choose, but I think my favourite has to be the Big Friendly Giant. The BFG has a gigantic heart to match his size, and I found it super endearing how he’d frequently mix up his words.

He also has the coolest job ever. I remember wishing the BFG would come by my window at night and invite me to help him catch dreams.

Nicole Moraleda, Sub-editor

The winning hand

My favourite Dahl character is Henry Sugar, the man who taught himself how to see through playing cards. He uses his ability to win at blackjack at many casinos, becomes a philanthropist, and builds a network of orphanages to help children around the world.

I love the fact that he uses his supernatural ability for selfless reasons, but still manages to have a bit of fun in his life.

Jamie Lam, Special Projects Editor

7 darker stories by Roald Dahl you've never heard of, and should read RN

Girl genius

My favourite character is Matilda Wormwood from Matilda. Although she is brought up in a very discouraging and controlling household, she never stops reading and empowering herself by doing so.

She also earned my respect because, rather than just reading extensively, she actually takes action and uses her wits and powers, like when her telekinetic gift helps her take revenge on behalf of Miss Honey. This shows that on top of being extremely smart, Matilda is very loyal and has a kind heart as well.

Joanne Ma, Reporter

Hero dad

I think it’s got to be William, the dad from Danny, the Champion of the World.

William is a poacher – a person who hunts or catches game or fish illegally – but he makes it sound like the most magical and amazing adventure to his son, who worships his dad. He comes up with an ingenious idea to steal pheasants from a very rich man. I’ve always loved the bond between Danny and William – it’s so clear that the two love each other very much.

Ginny Wong, Sub-editor

The man behind the magic

My favourite character from Dahl’s books is the man himself from his autobiographies Boy and Going Solo. The stories of his early life offer a fascinating look at how the writer grew up and the role he played in the second world war. Although some of the events are probably overdramatised, I still enjoyed reading the books.

Wong Tsui-kai, Web reporter

The 10 books by Roald Dahl everyone needs to read to celebrate his brilliance

Terrifying teacher

I am going to pick a rather unconventional character. Miss Trunchbull is a frightening woman, with many faults. Yet, the way Dahl wrote about her makes her hilarious. Her over-the-top actions (swinging a student by her pigtails and launching her into the distance, and force-feeding Bruce Bogtrotter a large chocolate cake) make her one of the author’s most indelible villains. Her reaction to the children spelling the word “difficulty” always makes me laugh.

All gifs via GIPHY

This is not to say I support her tyrannical ways, but rereading Matilda as an adult has allowed me to appreciate her character more.

Rhea Mogul, Junior reporters’ manager

Monkey on a mission

For his kindness, wit, quick thinking, and big-brotherly attitude (not the 1984 type, but the attitude of a legit caring older sibling), I have to say Muggle-Wump, from The Twits. Dahl wrote some amazing human characters, but pitting this genius monkey against the terrible people in this story was proof of just how great a storyteller he was.

Also, of course, this brilliant monkey has the best name of all the characters in all the stories.

Karly Cox, Deputy editor

Gran’s got guts

My favourite character is the grandmother from The Witches. Even though her vivid descriptions of the witches often freaked me out, I have always dreamed of having a grandmother who is a gifted storyteller; it would be even better if she is as cool but also loving as Grandmamma.

I also love her for being so brave and stubborn, just like me.

Nicola Chan, Reporter

Edited by M. J. Premaratne

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
A true judge of character


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