For Americans, next week is Thanksgiving, a day devoted to reflection and gratefulness. (And also eating. Lots and lots of eating.) However, in light of… er, let's just call it a difficult year, it may be challenging for many people to come up with a list of things to be thankful for.*
In order to make life easier for those people, below is a list of literary characters who are more or less in the same boat. If nothing else, you can be thankful that your day is not as bad as theirs.
*Unless you're a Cubs fan. Cubs fans will probably be riding that high straight through to the next presidential election. Good job, Cubs fans.
Katniss Everdeen, Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
Katniss Everdeen just found out that this year's Tributes for the Hunger Games will be picked from the existing pool of victors. Katniss Everdeen was lucky to survive the Hunger Games the first time, and knows a second time will be pretty near impossible. Katniss Everdeen is literally the only girl in her district eligible to compete. Katniss Everdeen is definitely going back to the Hunger Games.
You do not have to compete in the Hunger Games even once. Katniss Everdeen is having a worse day than you.
Samantha Kingston, Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
Samantha Kingston died today. Then she woke up. Then she lived the same day over again. Then she died again. Then she woke up. This kept happening, over and over. Samantha Kingston thought maybe she could do something to prevent her death. She couldn't. She kept dying. Also this day was not that good to begin with.
You do not have to relive the day you die over and over. Samantha Kingston is having a worse day than you.
Arya Stark, A Storm of Swords by George R. R. Martin
Arya Stark arrived late to a wedding and by the time she got there, half her family was dead. Arya Stark hasn't had any family for three very long books now. Arya Stark also doesn't have any friends. She sort of has one, but she wants him dead too. He knocks her unconscious. She leaves him for dead.
You did not try to crash the Red Wedding. The Lannisters did not send you their regards. Arya Stark is having a worse day than you.
Frodo Baggins, The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien
Frodo Baggins' inheritance from his favorite uncle was a ring made of pure evil. Frodo Baggins wanted nothing more than to live in his hobbit hole and smoke his pipe, but instead had to endure weeks of grueling travel. Ugh. You may say, “I like travel!” Well, Frodo Baggins does not. Frodo Baggins would like for someone else to deal with the ring so he can go home, but instead he has to walk barefoot to Mordor. Even if you like travel, you would not enjoy walking barefoot to Mordor.
You never received a ring made of pure evil from your uncle. You do not have to walk barefoot to Mordor. Frodo Baggins is having a worse day than you.
Atreyu, The Neverending Story by Michael Ende
Atreyu had exactly one friend, Artax. Artax just died in the Swamp of Sadness while Atreyu was forced to watch, pleading with him not to be so sad that he died. Artax died anyway. Of sadness. And also of drowning in a swamp.
Your best friend did not just sink into the Swamp of Sadness. Atreyu is having a worse day than you.
Westley, The Princess Bride by William Goldman
Westley wanted to run away with his true love, but instead wound up strapped to a torture table in the Pit of Despair. Westley's true love is marrying someone horrible while he experiences ultimate suffering. Westley is mostly dead.
You are not strapped to a torture table in the Pit of Despair. You are not mostly dead. Westley is having a worse day than you.