Hi everyone, it’s Sabrina again! Today I’ve got a bit of a ridiculous blog post for you – something I like to do every once in a while. Australian Survivor has begun airing this year, and one of my favourite authors, Wai Chim, is a contestant! It got me thinking about the show and books at the same time, and I started to wonder: how well would my favourite characters fare in the Australian version of the game? So instead keeping my weird thoughts to myself, I decided to discuss this on the blog! Hopefully this will be an interesting lens for me to talk about some of my favourite book characters through and you may find some books to read based on that – even if you are not a fan of the tv show 🙂
WHAT IS SURVIVOR?
I’m going to quickly try and explain the show in case some of you are unaware of how it works. Survivor is a TV reality show that’s popular in a lot of different countries. In Australia, usually we have 24 contestants that are sent to an island, though this year they are competing in the Australian outback. The aim for the contestants is to become the Sole Survivor, by outwitting, outplaying and outlasting all the other contestants.
The show typically starts with two or three “tribes” and the people on those teams have to work together to complete challenges (either a reward challenge or an immunity challenge). Each night of the show, there is an immunity challenge which determines which team will be avoiding elimination that night. For the team who does face elimination, each contestant on that team must vote individually for one person and the person with the most votes is sent home.
These challenges often involve physical strength, particularly in the Australian version, but they sometimes throw in some strategic challenges too. Eventually, the two teams merge and the challenges become individual. The winner is determined in a final “Tribal Council” where the last two players pitch themselves to a jury of eliminated contestants and must receive the most votes to win.
There are also other aspects to the game, like hidden “immunity idols” which can be used by individuals to escape elimination and various other advantages and twists. Hopefully there’s nothing that I’ve missed!
There’s no one trait in Survivor that gives you an edge over other players in my opinion – particularly in Australia Survivor, we have seen a fairly wide range of winners over the seasons! So I’m keeping that in mind when I make my case for (or against) each character.
Finally, it’s worth noting that I haven’t taken into account any magical abilities for the below characters because that would certainly change the whole game!
Of course I had to discuss Wai Chim’s characters in this post! To be honest, I don’t remember the Freedom Swimmer characters as strongly as I remember The Surprising Power of a Good Dumpling, so I could definitely be a bit off base here, but I think Ming and Li would be successful to at least some extent in Survivor. Li, in particular, has strong social skills and both characters enjoy swimming – something that frequently comes up in challenges on the show.
Now Anna may not go as well in the physical challenges (I admit I have no evidence for this – I don’t think her fitness level was brought up in the book and if it was, I don’t remember), but I think she would go really well both socially and strategically. She is a fantastic character that is great at juggling multiple problems and different kinds of relationships at once and she would be able to use this ability to her advantage on the show. She is also a caretaker and I think her original team would notice and appreciate this.
Emoni from With the Fire On High by Elizabeth Acevedo
I love this character and I talk about her all the time, so it may not surprise you that I think she’d go well in the show considering her determination and independence. Though she would possibly struggle only eating rice and lentils when she is so used to her own incredible cooking!
Gideon and Harrow from The Locked Tomb by Tamsyn Muir
I’ll just come straight out and say it: I don’t think Harrow would make it very far in the game! She has a very grating personality and sometimes this gets a person voted out early despite their other qualities. She is quite crafty though, so perhaps she would find an immunity idol every week and keep herself on the show that way.
Gideon, on the other hand, I think would make it a decent way through the competition, if only because she’s so physically strong. She’s not as mean as Harrow, though I guess some people may not get her sense of humour. I’d say she’d get to merge, but wouldn’t make it much further because I don’t think she is all that great at reading people, and you usually need that to get to the end.
However, if these two were in the same season and formed an unlikely alliance, I think they would be pretty unbeatable – though I wouldn’t necessarily trust them not to turn on each other!
Portia from A Duke by Default by Alyssa Cole
I adore Portia and she has many talents, so my gut reaction is to say that she would go far in the game. She makes friends easily and she’s good at adapting to new situations – both valuable assets in Survivor. When it comes to challenges, she is physically strong and good at working with other people when she has to, so she would probably go fine there. Overall, I think she would be a very strong contender for the title!
Piranesi from Piranesi by Susanna Clarke
As much as I love him, I think this guy might struggle a bit. He is such a warm, kind person that would be much too trusting for his own good in the context of Survivor! He might get lucky and find a great alliance to begin with, plus he is quite resourceful so that would be helpful initially, especially if there is no one else on the team that’s good at finding food and doing other things around camp. And I’d guess he’d be really good when it comes to puzzles in the challenges. Keeping all those things in mind, he could make it pretty far into the game, but probably not all the way to the finale.
Nora, Wes and Iris from The Girls I’ve Been by Tess Sharpe
These three are an unstoppable force when they’re working together, so the other players would have to watch out if they all ended up on the same team! Nora, Wes and Iris are all tough as nails and extremely clever – especially when it comes to making plans and thinking outside the box. Nora in particular is skilled at manipulating people though she remains very likeable, so that would go a long way in helping her progress through the game too! I would bet on Nora winning, even if she was without the other two.
Howl and Sophie from Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
You know I love these two but, to put it bluntly, I don’t see either of them making it very far, lol. Howl is much too lazy and self-obsessed for the other contestants to want him around – though perhaps they would see him as an easy elimination further along the line, and I guess he does have his charming moments. The other thing worth considering is that he is very attached to his beauty routine, so he may not be able to handle living in the wilderness for long!
It’s a bit more complicated when it gets to Sophie considering how drastically she changes over the course of the book, but I think I can safely say that she is too bossy and not as good at being sneaky as she thinks she is! To be fair, she may form some social bonds early and she would certainly pull her weight around camp. Still, Survivor contestants do seem to have a special hatred for bossy, leader-type people and that, I fear, would outweigh Sophie’s good points in their eyes.
Eve from Act Your Age, Eve Brown by Talia Hibbert
Eve is such a ray of sunshine that I find it hard to believe anyone would want to vote her out at any stage of the game, to be honest. She would definitely be a social threat and she would be a significant asset around camp and in collaborative challenges. She’s quite chaotic too, which would make for some amazing television.
Lin, Phalue, Ranami and Jovis from The Bone Shard Daughter by Andrea Stewart
Of the four characters I’ve mentioned, I think Lin would be the most successful on the show. She’s clever, strategic, agile and cares about other people enough to have a strong social game. She’s very ambitious and I can see her making it a long way.
Jovis, I don’t know about. It’s a little hard for me to judge, because I’ve only ever seen him with one goal in mind – and though he chases that goal with unwavering determination, I don’t know if that would translate to the aim of winning Survivor. I think Jovis is someone who would really benefit from a good alliance to help direct him.
Finally, Phalue and Ranami would make a great (and heartwarming) alliance – with Phalue as the brawn and Ranami as the brains, they’d be difficult to stop.
Crier and Ayla from Crier’s War by Nina Varela
Ayla, I have no doubt, would be great at Survivor. She can be ruthless, but she is also good at building relationships and she has some physical strength. She’s patient and can bide her time until it’s the moment to make a move.
Crier, on the other hand, may not go so well because she is very trusting and used to things going her way. Don’t get me wrong, I think she is precious, but I’m sure people would take advantage of her and because of that, she wouldn’t have a great case at the end, even if she somehow managed to get there.
Flora/Florian and Evelyn from The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea by Maggie Tokuda-Hall
Flora is used the the cut-throat world of pirates and is skilled in deception so, basically, Survivor would be a breeze for her. Evelyn is not necessarily good at deception, but she is good at making social connections and making people feel important. I believe she would make a lot of friends quickly and would make it through the game that way. She’s a bit more discerning than the average person and can be pretty tough when she has to be – also benefits on the show.
Lazlo and Sarai from Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
I could have mentioned many more characters for this book as there are a lot of them that I adore, but I’ve decided to stick with the main two as this post is long enough already! I think Sarai would struggle if only because she hasn’t much social (or really any other kind of) experience. She is good at problem-solving though and she’s nice, so that might work in her favour. Lazlo, too, would probably find it difficult to get very far in the game because he always believes the best of people and is extraordinarily selfless. It’s usually pretty hard to get through the game that way, lol.
Rhiannon from Sweetpea by C.J. Skuse
My goodness, would I love to see this character on the show. Okay, maybe not exactly due to the fact she is actually quite scary and mean and her competition may not stay alive long enough to be eliminated… but it would be undeniably entertaining. She would for sure be good at the game – after all, her life is like one big deception. She manipulates people everyday and has no qualms about it. She is a master at blending in, being patient and waiting for the right moment. She’d probably win 🤷♀️
Lucy from Laurinda by Alice Pung
I love Lucy and she does have some qualities that are helpful in Survivor – for example, she is extremely resilient, she adapts well to new situations and she’s very smart. I expect she’d go well with puzzles and strategy, but I don’t know if she would build many social bonds to begin with because, as per my recollection, she would rather spend time by herself than be surrounded by people she doesn’t connect with. Still, this doesn’t discount her from winning completely, so she would have a fair chance!
The Kaul family from The Green Bone Saga by Fonda Lee
I can’t lie, I think these guys would simply obliterate the competition, especially if they were playing all together. They’re all strategic, strong, ambitious and agile. Though it pains me to say this, Hilo would probably be the only weak link as his temper and impulsivity often get the best of him – he could potentially blow up his game in order to get revenge quickly rather than at the most effective moment. I also think Anden could struggle if he had to turn on a friend because he’s so nice – I wonder whether he would be able to separate life from the game. Still, I think each of the Kauls would have a good shot at taking out the title of Sole Survivor!
What do you think?
Did you understand any of this post? 😅 Do you agree with anything I’ve said? Do you like Survivor? Who is one of your favourite book characters, and do you think they’d go well in the game? Let me know!