For many children, Roald Dahl‘s Matilda is a staple of their childhoods. Whether you read the book or watched the movie, Matilda has unforgettable characters whose personalities are larger than life. Who could forget Matilda’s little friend, Lavender, or even the FBI agents who take down the Wormwoods in the film?
To celebrate the thirty-third publishing anniversary of Matilda, join us as we rank some of the book’s most iconic characters.
6. Miss Trunchbull
The horrible Miss Trunchbull places in the final spot on our list. There is no way this character could rank any higher. She torments children by locking them in spiked closets, and she throws children across lawns because of their hairstyle. Even worse, she forced a child to eat a whole cake against his will This woman is a menace to society. I don’t know about you, but this character absolutely terrified me.
5. The Wormwoods
A slight step up from Miss Trunchbull is the Wormwood family (not including Matilda, of course). The Wormwoods were one of the worst literary families that I ever remember reading. The way they treated Matilda was unacceptable and dangerous. It certainly wasn’t her fault she was brought into the world! For them to try to take credit for Matilda’s successes was ridiculous and pathetic. And they were so eager to sign the adoption papers to pass Matilda on to Miss Honey. Everything worked out for Matilda, but the Wormwoods should not have gotten away with how they treated their child.
4. Bruce Bogtrotter
Besides Miss Trunchbull and the Wormwoods, there aren’t very many bad characters in Matilda. So a big step-up from the Wormdwoods is the iconic Bruce Bogtrotter who finishes a whole cake by himself despite being intimidated by Miss Trunchbull. At such a young age, Bruce has the tenacity to get past his fears to succeed. He’s not afraid to take on a challenge in front of the whole school, and for that, he is our chocolate-cake-eating icon.
Now, everyone absolutely loves Matilda as a character. She is bright, bold, and brave. She learns how to take care of herself at a young age, and she realizes the importance of learning early on in life. Most importantly, Matilda isn’t afraid to get what she wants. She reminds all of us that despite our circumstances, we can take our lives in any direction we want them to. Although she can’t have predicted that she would ever leave the Wormwood’s clutches, she always held out hope that there was a better family for her out there. All it took to find it was a little hard work and a lot of hope.
2. Miss Honey
Our next iconic character is Miss Honey, who has become an idol for not only teachers around the world but also lesbian and bisexual women who dub her their “queer awakening character.” She is kind, thoughtful, and encouraging. She is everything a teacher should be. Her choice to adopt Matilda at the end of the novel is so caring, even though Miss Honey is only supposed to be in her early twenties herself. At such a young age, Miss Honey has a house, a career, and a kid to take care of, and we can’t help but admire her hard work.
Our top character is a small but mighty one who makes a big splash with an attempt to take down Miss Trunchbull. While she is understandably frightened by Miss Trunchbull at first, Lavender soon gets the courage to scare the teacher who constantly taunts children. When she finds a newt in her family’s pond, she brings it to school to put in Trunchbull’s water jug. Matilda helps moves the prank along by using her telekinesis to spill the water in Trunchbull, humiliating the mean woman in front of Miss Honey’s entire class. Although Lavender is described as small and quiet, she definitely sets herself apart from other characters by the end of the book. We also just really love her name.
Let us know how the Matilda characters rank for you! Do you agree with our list? Are there any characters from the movie that you wish were in the book?
FEATURED IMAGE BY QUENTIN BLAKE FOR THE GUARDIAN