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Character Types for Fantasy Writers


1. The Protagonist Hero

This is your standard (often stereotypical) hero who fulfills a Main Character role, and they embody attributes many people aspire to like courage, a sense of honour, benevolence, kindness, etc. The character doesn't have to be perfect however, they could be a "Fallen Hero" like Thorin Oakenshield who aspires to heroic ideals, succumbs to greed, and then later redeems himself.

2. The Protagonist Anti-Hero

This is a Main Character who is not your standard hero and does not fit neatly into the standard hero role. Eg. If all of the Harry Potter books were written from the perspective of Severus Snape, then Snape would be an Anti-Hero.

3. The Antagonist (Villain)

Villains don't have to be stereotypical or humanoid. Sauron, Voldemort, Darth Vader, etc are certainly good examples, but they could also be monstrous like the dragon Smaug or any of the massive sharks from the Jaws franchise.

4. The Deuteragonist

The Deuteragonist is often called a Secondary Character. They often fulfill the role of sidekicks, squires. They're not a Main Character, but they're more of a Side Character. Eg. Ron and Hermione, Samwise, Podrick Payne, etc.

5. The Tertiary or Tritagonist

The Tritagonist is a minor character who only makes brief appearances in the plot and fulfills relatively minor roles. They're not villains, but they could be servants, friends, allies to the main character. They could even be neutral. Eg. The goblin bankers in Harry Potter, the elf Elrond in Lord of the Rings, or Barristan Selmy in Game of Thrones.

6. The Paramour or Damsel in Distress

The lover (or presumed lover) of the Main Character could be a damsel in distress character, but he/she could also be a variation of the Femme Fatale. Whatever their role in the plot they are the paramour of the MC. Eg. Ygritte in Game of Thrones, Ginny Weasley in Harry Potter, Arwen in Game of Thrones, etc.

7. The Confidant

Confidants are often best friends or mentors for the MC. They might be someone the MC feels comfortable talking to and asking questions. They could also simultaneously be Secondary Characters or Tertiary.

8. The Foil / Rival

Not the villain, but certainly a rival that the MC doesn't get along with. Their methods often differ dramatically from the MC and reveals more about the MC's sense of fair play, honour, good sportsmanship, etc. Eg. Draco Malfoy.

9. The Dynamic or Rounded Character

This character is well-rounded and ever changing. They learn things, they evolve over time. They could be the MC or a secondary character, or even a tertiary.

10. The Stereotypical Stock Character

The fool, the mentor, the sage, the wise leader, the priest, etc.

11. The Symbolic Character

This is a character who represents a specific ideal such as hope or courage, but could also be something loftier like representing a godly power. Eg. Aslan in Chronicles of Narnia.

12. The Extras / Static Characters

These are simply background characters who don't even have a name. They don't really change and don't feel any larger roles. They often don't even talk. Eg. "Red Shirts" in Star Trek, Stormtroopers in Star Wars, random orcs in Lord of the Rings, random students in Hogwarts, etc. Often they're just there to be scared and run away, or to stand there and die.




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