Over the past sixteen years, we’ve seen contestants on the popular reality series Survivor head to remote islands, the Australian outback, the African savannah, Borneo, Fiji, and more to battle it out in “tribes.” With a million dollars on the line and absolutely zero creature comforts (unless you win challenges), tempers being to fly and the claws come out. The contestants have to figure out not only how to survive the wilderness, but how to survive each other!
There have been several “special editions” of the show over the years; Survivor All-Stars, Survivor Heroes and Villains, Survivor Redemption, etc etc. So why not a Survivor: Literary Edition? We’ve brought together some of the most capable outdoorsmen and survivalists from the pages of literature. From different worlds, with different skills, who do you think would be the one to “outwit, outplay and outlast” everyone else?
Fred & George Weasley (Harry Potter)
These two would audition and get accepted onto the show together, but knowing reality TV producers, they would be separated and pitched against each other. While these two may not have the most practical survival skills, they have proven to be extremely good at getting out of tough spots and thinking outside of the box. These two troublemakers would appear like they weren’t taking the competition seriously, choosing to provide comic relief instead. However, the twins are sneaky and would be strong contenders for the win. (Note: Obviously, we are plucking them mid-series, so as not to have to deal with the loss of Fred in the Battle of Hogwarts. *sob)
Lynn (Not A Drop To Drink)
Lynn knows something about surviving in a harsh land and her willingness to do whatever it takes to protect what is hers would make her a fierce contender. Her ability to find water would come in handy for a season set in an arid landscape and she’s fearless when dealing with wild animals. Lynn would no doubt ruthlessly focus on winning, at no matter the cost.
With her divergent tendencies, Tris has a solid balance of the characteristics needed to survive – and her Dauntless training has kept her in top physical condition. She would be fit enough to survive any of the physical challenges, and her fear training would make dealing with bugs and unpleasantness a breeze. Her time in Abnegation would also make her more than capable of coping with food rations and some of the more austere elements of the show. However, she might not be quite as skilled at subterfuge as others, and could end up getting played by the other contestants.
Claire Randall/Fraser/Beauchamp (Outlander)
After surviving an unexpected journey two hundred years back in time, Claire would probably find even the furthest flung modern island a breeze! Her medical training and knowledge of plants gives her the edge when it comes to foraging for food and taking care of injuries. Plus, her indomitable spirit would make her a strong leader and competitor. Due to having to survive and build a home in multiple climates, Claire would be able to cope with any terrain the show threw at her.
Finnick O’Dair (Hunger Games)
As a career tribute, Finnick has all the skills necessary to survive in any conditions. He’s in great shape, handy with tools and knives (although they would be used for building, chopping and skinning food, rather than killing the other contestants!), and has proven that he has the instincts of a true survivor. From the Fishing District, he’s particularly good at tying knots and (obviously) fishing, which would give him an extra advantage. He could also use physical attractiveness and charisma to charm himself through the game.
Lyra Silvertongue (His Dark Materials)
She may be young, but Lyra isn’t called Silvertongue for nothing. A cunning liar, she can talk her way into or out of anything, and would be able to play the other contestants off against each other with skill and aplomb. Her alethiometer serves as an advantage because she can quickly see where the balance of power lies and what is going on in any situation. Her time with Mrs. Coulter, while unpleasant, did teach her an impressive amount about survival skills – how to navigate, what to eat, how to stay warm – much of her knowledge is only useful in cold climates, but her time journeying through worlds has made her incredibly resourceful.
Pi (The Life Of Pi)
Adrift on his life-raft on the open sea, Pi has proven that he can survive conditions far worse than those on Survivor. His ingenuity and practical skills would be incredibly useful. Pi also poses as a dangerous social threat. A born storyteller, he would easily be able to convince the other players to trust him in alliances. He’s also got that killer instinct going for him– he murdered a full-grown man on his boat. As a survivor contestant, he would have no qualms about throwing another player under the bus.
Lucy Pevensie (The Chronicles of Narnia)
Lucy’s adventures in Narnia have prepared her for a surprising amount. Not only is she skilled at hunting, horseback riding, and shooting, but she is incredibly adaptable to unexpected change. It’s an underappreciated skill, but her optimism and winning personality would quickly make her a tribe favorite, and she would be the perfect candidate for parlaying with the other tribe or solving inter-tribe disputes. Due to the differences in how time runs in Narnia and our world, she also has far more experience than her physical age would suggest – giving her the perfect mix of knowledge and youthful vigor.
Brian Robeson (Hatchet)
Although he would be one of the younger contestants, Brian certainly knows how to survive. Having learned his skills entirely on his own in the forests of Canada, Brian would have no problem finding food and shelter. However, he may struggle emotionally throughout the game due to the fact that he is still dealing with his parents’ divorce. He is also not used to the manipulations that make Survivor such a compelling viewing.
Gayle Hawthorne (Hunger Games)
Although he never made it into the competition arena, Gayle is still a born survivor. An experienced hunter and tracker, Gayle’s tribe would never go hungry with him on board. Physically impressive, he would make an excellent candidate for some of the more active challenges, and his experiences in District Twelve would help him withstand rough living conditions. Though his rebellious nature may cause some conflicts with the other contestants, Gale would remain fiercely loyal to his tribe and use his intelligence to help them win the game.
Cersei Lannister (A Song of Ice and Fire)
The queen of manipulation, Cersei wouldn’t be one to get her hands dirty with anything as menial as chopping, gathering or hunting, but she would cling on till the end by playing a strong social game. An expert at subterfuge and deception, Cersei would seduce everyone in sight and pitch them against one another to win her affections. There is no doubt that she would convince her tribe to elevate her to Queen status and wait on her hand and foot.
Robinson Crusoe (Robinson Crusoe)
Another long-term castaway, Robinson was a sailor before he was marooned, giving him an advantage in fishing, knot-tying, and rationing food. Arguably, Robinson is the most qualified contestant of any of our literary contestants given that he already lives on an island. He’s also quite the charmer and could easily win over his tribe’s trust.
Kelsea Raleigh (Queen of the Tearling)
Kelsea quickly learned how to navigate the kind of intrigue that decides the fates of kingdoms, and she could apply those talents to the world of Survivor. Used to living without modern technology, she would have a leg up on some of the other contestants when it comes to doing things by hands. Her capableness and compassion, topped with a little hint of magic, would make Kelsea a surprise contender for the win.
Celia Foote (The Help)
Celia might look like she would be the first out of the game, with those high heels and fancy clothes, but let’s not forget where she came from. Used to poverty, she’s more than capable of getting her hands dirty when she needs to. She’s not afraid to chop the heads off of chickens, fight off attackers, and stand her ground in arguments. Plus, thanks to Minnie, now she can cook! With her bleached blonde hair and infectious giggle, Celia would bring some much-needed fun to the island. But don’t let that cotton-candy exterior fool you, she’s hard as nails and a born survivor.
Arya Stark (A Song of Ice And Fire)
Having managed to survive this far as a wanted woman, Arya would be more than capable of making it through a season of Survivor. Her talents lie in deception, as she’s clever at creating disguises. Since she has been isolated from other humans for so long, Arya’s social game may not be so strong. However, she could certainly use her hunting skills to help out the tribe. Her recent training in the House of Black and White might come in handy for challenges though – balance, co-ordination, and the ability to get by without one of her senses might help her win this game.