A Small Experiment Regarding Those Most Fascinating Characters

Forums Fiction Characters A Small Experiment Regarding Those Most Fascinating Characters

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    Sarah Inkdragon

    So, hello everyone. Welcome to the grand ol’ show.

    We’re here today to discuss something that I find rather interesting – types of characters. I’ve been meaning to do this for a while, because it’s been something on my mind of late, and now I’m getting to it.

    What I want to do is sort of survey everyone’s favorite types of characters – those you love, those you love to hate, and those you just plain up hate. So, it would be very helpful if everyone here who clicks on the little intriguing name I’ve titled this with could take five minutes, and type up who their favorite characters are and why.

    The reason? I want to know why, exactly it’s hard to find characters that I personally relate too in the YA, Adult, Christian, and Secular markets, if everyone feels the same – and what types of characters people really like. I want to know why it’s hard to find these characters if they’re commonly liked, and what specific traits people tend to like in characters. Now, I do understand everyone’s different, but this is just really meant to be a fun little activity for my INTJ-brain to ponder while I’m bored. (Plus, we all love ranting about out favorite characters, our own included.)

    "A hard heart is no infallible protection against a soft head."

    - C. S. Lewis

    Zachary Holbrook

    Stories that completely engross me right from the start tend to feature sympathetic characters striving to do good in horrible situations. For example, Kaladin from The Way of Kings, everyone from A Quiet Place, and Shoko Nishimiya from A Silent Voice. I think the attractiveness of virtue is underrated in modern storytelling. Of course, you can’t make goodness easy. The more morally upright a character is, the meaner you should be them, at least at the beginning of the story.

    おはいよう. 日本語は好きです .

    Chelsea R.H.


    This is an incredibly interesting topic and I can’t wait to read some more answers.

    For me, my favourite characters (and the ones I relate to a lot) are “strong female characters” but ones that have personality and uniqueness. Or girls that struggle with femininity, but not in a “not like other girls” way and more in a examination of traditional feminine gender roles and expectations sort of way. Eowyn, for example, rather than the generic YA heroine.

    Despite my initial skepticism regarding The Hunger Games (it took me ten years to actually read them) I related to Katniss a lot. Occasionally this made me hate her, because she had all the worst parts of me as well, but that didn’t stop her from being relatable.

    The male characters I relate to most tend to be softspoken, kind and adventurous. The Hobbits (all of them, but particularly Frodo and Merry–book Merry not so much movie Merry), Marcus from The Eagle of the Ninth, Prince Caspian, and Hiccup from How to Train Your Dragon. I know these two character types are very different but I relate to them both in a number of different ways.

    When it comes to characters I love but don’t relate to, we have sacrificial and kind, gentle people, Such as Sam Gamgee, Aragorn, Captain America, Black Panther, etc.

    Characters I love to hate include villains that do not necessarily get a redemption arc and are definitely evil. Scar from The Lion King, The White Witch, Saruman, you get the idea. I also do like villains who are redeemed, or who are morally grey, as long as poetic justice is involved in some way or another. I don’t like characters like Loki who never get their comeuppance and never have to beg forgiveness for their crimes. Ask me about Loki anytime and I’ll gladly give you a rant.

    My least favourite trope of all time is the angsty bad boy. “Bad boys” can be done well, but 90 % of YA novels don’t.

    Anyway, some rambling thoughts for you to consider 🙂

    Ceud mile failte

    Sarah Inkdragon

    Ooh, good choices! To be honest, I like the MC(blanking on his name rn XD) from A Silent Voice better, but I relate to him a bit more as well. 😉 Shoko is also a grand character, however.


    It is truly a fascinating topic, isn’t it? I find it rather amusing that despite the fact nearly everyone likes a rogue-ish type character to some extent(at least, many people I’ve met), it’s incredibly hard to find any one even similar to well-written. (I can’t even think of one as I write this, save for maybe Aragorn in the beginning of Lotr when the hobbits first meet him, though I don’t know if you could properly call him a rogue – he is a ranger, after all. Oh, and I suppose characters like the Winter Soldier and Han Solo. Those are both very popular and decently well written, in my opinion. Not great, by any means, but not bad. Compare that to the near innumerable amount of bad rogue characters there are, and they’re a gem. XD)

    Strong female characters and I… have a grudge. I have nothing against a good female character(such as Sophie from Howl’s Moving Castle – one of my favorite female MCs of all time), but I rarely find them and the plethora of bad female characters out there nearly 100% guarantees that I am less likely to enjoy a novel if it has a female MC. Take the new Disney+ show that just aired, The Mandalorian. I’m thoroughly convinced that if the MC would have been a girl(spoilers, woops), it would have likely ruined the show for me even though I was looking forward to it very much. A good strong female character is a rarity, but I’ll stand with you on liking characters that prove a point or illustrate something much more than a character being strong simply for the sake of being strong. Such as Eowyn – another of my favorite characters of all time. Nearly every “good” character I’ve ever read and truly connected too on some level has been part of some greater theme, and nearly every bad character I’ve ever read has been a misinterpretation of a theme or the ignorance of theme as a whole.

    (Also, book-Merry is amazing and I love him. XD) I’ll 100% agree, the “bad boys” trope is very annoying and very poorly done typically. There are exceptions, such as like I mentioned above Han Solo(who is still one of my favorite characters, even though he has his faults as a character), but they’re rare and far between. I’ve come to the point that I’m convinced that YA Fiction just can’t pull off a good “rogue-ish” character, whether female or male, at this point. 😉

    EDIT: Saw the Loki part and had to comment on it lol.

    I’ll agree, Loki has nearly an absurd amount of flaws as a character. I’ll admit I do like his character, but I think I like it more due to the amount of potential it had. At his base, he had a good potential to be a grand character, but that got thrown away for MarvelTM and fanservice. 😐

    "A hard heart is no infallible protection against a soft head."

    - C. S. Lewis



    This sounds like a fun topic 😀

    I think characters one can personally relate to do not necessarily correspond to characters one find interesting, but I’ll just share my thoughts on this.

    Characters I love

    I love a good redemption arc, so I love characters that get redeemed and enjoy character development such as Edmund Pevensie from Chronicles of Narnia. I also like characters that struggle to do good in spite of the tragedies and obstacles they face like Vimes from Pratchett’s Discworld and Dr. Tenma from Monster because they are very inspiring.

    Another way to make me love a character is to simply make them charming and fun to be around and interact with. Much of the appeal about the Avengers, for example, lies in watching the characters bounce off one another. While I have never liked the superhero genre, I could appreciate the characters’ dynamics and thus care about them to some extent.

    Characters I love to hate

    This usually applies to my favourite villains 😛 I enjoy villains that are terrifying and entertaining in their villainy such as Azula from ATLA and Dio from JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure (their sheer glee whenever they attack or plan against the heroes is infectious and makes the comeuppance very satisfying). My personal belief is that it is better to have a fun “pure evil” villain than a boring “sympathetic” villain which are so banal nowadays since everyone’s trying to be “edgy” and “morally grey”.

    I also love villains which have interesting motivations. For example, Kira Yoshikage (also from JoJo’s) is a serial killer that collects women’s hands but otherwise lives a very average and mundane existence and only wishes to have a peaceful and quiet life. Since JoJo’s is an action/adventure, this simple and very human motivation is a fascinating contrast to the more grandiose villain motivations found in the genre.

    Characters I hate

    Hoo boy. This is going to be a long and non-exhaustive list. In no particular order, characters I hate include:

    – audience surrogate/everyman/blank slate characters (e.g. every MC in transported to another world stories). When writers try to create a character everyone can relate to, this more often than not creates a character that is boring.
    – characters with 21st century psychology/morality even though nothing about their setting/background should explain this (e.g. character being anti-slavery for some weird reason even though the whole society she grew up in is pro-slavery, a royal/noble character thinking that he is “no different” from his servants).
    – not like other boys/girls stories (unless done very well like Hiccup from HTTYD). I guess all this comes down to my preference for characters that are in harmony with/a product of their world.
    – characters with no vulnerability and thus relatability (e.g. every action movie hero ever, Strong Female Character TM).
    – characters included for “diversity” or “representation” aka characters which readers are obligated to like because of that one trait (Amaya from The Dragon Prince is a fearsome army commander… and is deaf and communicates through sign language. I am all for having disabled characters in fiction but the show treats her deafness more as a cute quirk than something that would realistically impede her ability to react and give commands to her soldiers in the heat of battle. Nothing in the story would really change if she wasn’t deaf and she so far does not suffer any real consequences due to her handicap, which does not acknowledge the struggles faced by actual deaf people).
    – characters that can do no wrong / characters which the writer half-heartedly tries to give flaws but are otherwise perfect (Percy Jackson’s fatal flaw being his “loyalty” comes to mind).
    – boring “sympathetic” villains with unoriginal motivations and/or backstories not anymore tragic than anyone else’s in the setting. Also applies to “bad boys”, I guess.

    K.M. Small


    Wow, okay, this is an epic topic. I’ve enjoyed reading everyone’s answers so far 😀

    Characters I Love

    Basically any character that is virtuous despite extreme hardship or attempting to be virtuous even if they fail a lot. I’m thinking of Bonnie Silver, Elam (Oracles of Fire), Kaladin (Stormlight Archives), Parvin Blackwater (A Time to Rise), Samwise, and Aurora from So Sang the Dawn. None of these characters are perfect, but they have a general striving to do good and be good despite circumstances that could turn them into the most evil villain in the world. I personally find that really inspiring.

    Then there are characters that I simply see myself in. Those would be most of the characters mentioned above, though because I’m constantly changing, sometimes those characters are on this list and sometimes they’re not. Usually when I meet a character like this I feel like I’ve found a good friend. Someone who struggles in ways similar to myself but also rises above those struggles and drives me to do the same.

    I also realized that while I was thinking about this question, I kept thinking about my own characters. But since I haven’t published any books yet, I sadly can’t use them as examples 😛

    Lastly, I like fun or sarcastic characters that have an interesting backstory or some strange paradox about them. Like Jayfeather and Crowfeather. They’re inspiration for a lot of my characters xD

    Characters I Love to Hate

    Anyone who is like Skelley Chase from the Out of Time series. Basically, any villain who is just so cool or smart that they would be an epic hero if they weren’t so darn misguided.

    Characters I Hate

    Um… almost every single YA heroine (and as a result, both of the super hot heroes who make her 100x more annoying). Tris is an example. And Gale. And all the characters from Maze Runner. I think they’re all supposed to be The Normal Guy/Girl (TM) and I can’t understand how that’s supposed to make them likable. In a sense, characters like this are people who I would absolutely not want to hang around with in real life.

    "Beauty will save the world." - Dostoevsky

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