How are you all surviving this new and perilous year? Assuming that you are in fact surviving, and if not I am deeply sorry for your death.
Today I am going to talk about the glue that holds stories together, the very fibers from which stories are woven: the CHARACTERS. Without characters we would have no scarves or sweaters or woolen stockings because characters are basically yarn. But also glue.
If that didn’t make sense you might want to stop reading now because it’s only going to get worse from here, folks.
As any reader has gathered, there are many different types of protagonists throughout the vast array of books that exist. This makes perfect sense, as there are many different types of people, and books should be for everyone and about everyone. Wow, I just got really deep there accidentally.
Here I have summarized a list of Ten Types of Book Characters that I have come across in my reading. These are all extremely accurate descriptions that have been approved by myself, but I must admit that some of my categorizations are slightly biased. Also these are just ten of the many. I am writing a blog post here, not an encyclopedia.
Let us begin, shall we?
1. Mysterious, rugged, and secretly sensitive
This character is usually male and reasonably attractive. Sometimes a reformed criminal or a runaway king. May come with excessive moodiness and/or tragic backstory. Can be annoying or heartbreaking depending on how well it’s done.
Examples: Four from Divergent, Sydney Carton from A Tale of Two Cities,
Aragorn from The Lord of the Rings, Daniel from The Bronze Bow
2. Spunky and sparkly
A bucketful of optimism and a lot of confidence pretty much sums up this character. They are often quirky as well, and prone to getting themselves into varying levels of trouble.
Examples: Ramona Quimby from the Ramona books, Tom Sawyer from The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Scout from To Kill a Mockingbird, Dave from Dave at Night, Kit from The Witch of Blackbird Pond
3. Awkward lemon
This character is never quite sure what they should be doing or how they should be speaking or even what species they are. This can be comical or totally heartbreaking depending on the circumstances.
Examples: Arthur Dent from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Milo from The Phantom Tollbooth, Aron from The Book of Aron, Charlie from The Perks of Being a Wallflower
4. Hot-headed hero with a heart of gold
This is basically classic hero. Will punch you in the face if you even think about hurting their friends or family. Usually starts from nothing but rises from insignificance to fame, fortune, or just feeling confident in their own skin.
Examples: Nicholas Nickleby from Nicholas Nickleby, Harry Potter from Harry Potter, Ella from Ella Enchanted, Meg Murray from A Wrinkle in Time
5. Snarky and sweet
Always prepared with a sharp wit and a shoulder to cry on. Has the uncanny ability to save the day whilst making clever remarks.
Examples: Leo Valdez from The Heroes of Olympus, Percy Jackson, The Lightning Thief, Westley from The Princess Bride
6. Often mistaken for cardboard due to excessive perfection and passiveness
This character always does the right thing and doesn’t seem to struggle with anything (unless maybe someone is trying to kill them) and therefore does not equal human. It’s cardboard, I tell you.
Examples: Oliver from Oliver Twist, Basically every Janette Oke character that ever existed
7. Mild-mannered but with a heart the size of a watermelon
This character sometimes gets confused with its blander cousin who is mentioned above, but this mistake ought not to be made. They are kind and tender and usually exceedingly brave. They may seem calm and quiet or even weak, but when faced with danger they are stouthearted and will do anything to protect their loved ones.
Examples: The Baudelaires from A Series of Unfortunate Events, Despereaux from The Tale of Despereaux, Reynie Muldoon from The Mysterious Benedict Society,
Muggles from The Gammage Cup, Jonas from The Giver
8. Actually not afraid of anything and probably at least partially invincible
This character is basically superhero and the opposite of what I want to read. Very confident and equally capable. Essentially Type #6 but with muscles and/or super abilities.
Examples: Tris, Divergent, Matthias from Redwall, Michael from Michael Vey
9. So busy not dying they forgot to bring their personality along
This character is trying to save the world. (Or possibly just save themselves) so they don’t have time to be interesting. Would make a pathetic scarf, but probably looks good wearing one.
Examples: Thomas from The Maze Runner, Eragon from Eragon, Kellen from Epitaph Road, David from Kidnapped
10. Deadly but also broken
This character is a coconut. They are tough and maybe nasty on the outside and will probably hurt you but on the inside they are a puddle. Able to take care of themselves and others while carrying excessive emotional baggage. Probably needs a hug but doesn’t know it.
Examples: Ender Wiggin from Ender’s Game, Orual from Till We Have Faces,
Gilly from The Great Gilly Hopkins, Eoywn from The Lord of the Rings, Queenie from Code Name Verity
There you have it. I submit these ramblings for your perusal and I hope that you can make some sense of them.
But now we come to the exciting bit: it is time for you to share your favorite character types with me!
Is your favorite character type one of the ones I listed here? Do you agree with my categorizations of these characters? Who are some of your favorite characters and how would you categorize them (in one of my categories or a different one)? Please tell me all the character tropes on your mind! I adore talking about characters and I would love to start a conversation about this!