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Completely different Kinds of Characters in a Story

Whenever you’re writing, you’ve completely different instruments and parts at your disposal—plot, construction, character, theme, and many others. You manipulate this stuff to make your work the perfect it may be, and having a great understanding of how all of those parts work means you may transfer them round with intention.

Characters are kind of like pawns. To know what to do with them, you have to know what they’re doing in your story—what goal do they serve, and what are readers going to count on from them primarily based on comparable characters from different tales?

On this article, we’re going to speak concerning the various kinds of characters in a narrative that you just’ll encounter throughout mediums (T.V., motion pictures, books, and many others.). Not solely will this make it simpler so that you can analyze the media you encounter, nevertheless it’ll assist you to extra deliberately and thoughtfully craft your personal work.

Character Roles

Let’s first discuss characters by the function they play in your story. That is the operate they serve when it comes to the story, and these phrases are used throughout genres and mediums (a protagonist known as a protagonist whether or not you’re speaking a couple of youngsters’s journey e-book or a grisly battle film).

These roles usually overlap—antagonists could begin out as deuteragonists, for instance, and in a collection like Heroes of Olympus by Rick Riordan, characters who’re protagonists in a single installment could not get as a lot on-page time as they do in one other. 


The protagonist is the primary character of your story. They’re those driving the plot and present process essentially the most change, normally. The story is about them, and the story’s principal arc will likely be tied immediately into their very own inside character arc. A narrative advised from a number of factors of view could have a number of protagonists—if that is so, every character ought to have comparable weight.

Examples: Luke Skywalker in Star Wars, Miles in Searching for Alaska by John Inexperienced


The antagonist immediately opposes the protagonist. We see this in superhero motion pictures on a regular basis: the antagonist desires to destroy the world whereas the protagonist desires to reserve it. They usually have to be defeated by the protagonist to ensure that the plot to resolve. The antagonist’s chief job is to create issues for our principal characters.

Examples: Sauron in Lord of the Rings, Logan Roy in Succession, Nurse Ratched in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey


A deuteragonist is the character who’s secondarily necessary to the protagonist. That is usually the protagonist’s closest pal and companion. Due to their proximity to and affect over the protagonist, they play an infinite function within the plot, and so they usually bear important change themselves—battle between the deuteragonist and the protagonist is a typical subplot meant to steer the protagonist towards the inside change wanted to achieve the climax.

Examples: Dr. Watson in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Sam Gamgee in Lord of the Rings

Tertiary Characters

Tertiary characters are the third most necessary characters in a narrative. These characters don’t usually see a variety of character growth, or not less than not notably difficult growth—they principally exist to flesh out the world and add texture and depth to the setting, in addition to to ship one or two items of knowledge to the primary forged. They is perhaps townspeople, henchmen, or miscellaneous council members.

Instance: Pintel and Ragetti from Pirates of the Caribbean: the Curse of the Black Pearl

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Character Archetypes of the Hero’s Journey

An ‘archetype’ is kind of just like the blueprint. An ‘archetypal mom,’ for instance, can be the image of a mom—not essentially the proper mom, however the excellent instance of a mom. In The Hero’s Journey, Joseph Campbell outlines eight main character archetypes which pop up in fiction.

The Hero

The hero is normally the protagonist. That is the character who has to battle their inside struggles to beat the antagonist and save the day in the long run—the reader usually roots for them and desires them to win. They are typically aligned with ethical good.

Examples: Marvel’s Captain America, Percy Jackson from The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

The Mentor

This character exists to supply recommendation and steerage to the hero. They don’t normally have a lot of an arc unto themselves, as an alternative serving as a plot machine—they present up when the hero wants a key piece of knowledge to assist them on their inside journey. This character tends to be older, however that’s not essentially a rule.

Examples: Yoda from Star Wars, Gandalf from The Lord of the Rings

The Ally

The ally is the hero’s proper hand man. That is normally the deuteragonist—this particular person desires to assist the primary character obtain their objectives, and their pursuits are tightly aligned with the hero’s. In the event that they change into misaligned, that is the supply of monumental battle, because the ally and hero are likely to rely upon each other.

Instance: Nick Carroway from The Nice Gatsby

The Herald

The herald isn’t at all times a personality—this is usually a particular person, nevertheless it may be an object, like a message. The herald’s goal is to herald, or sign, an upcoming change for the hero. This sometimes occurs at the beginning of the story—a personality’s residing their common life till the herald calls them to journey.

Examples: the letter from Hogwarts in Harry Potter, the summons from Fiona’s mother and father in Shrek 2

The Trickster

The Trickster is there for comedian aid. Generally that is additionally the protagonist’s greatest pal (you see this so much in buddy-cop motion pictures), since having a sidekick who tags alongside to make wisecracks is a straightforward method to maintain the temper mild. They could additionally present emotional assist or serve another operate, however this character is the one you consider as ‘the humorous one.’

Examples: Donkey from Shrek, Jaskier from The Witcher 

The Shapeshifter

Whereas a lot of the principal characters bear change in some kind or trend, the shapeshifter’s change is completely different—they cross the road between ally and enemy. Somebody who begins out as an ally and is later discovered to at all times have been an enemy is an instance—so is a redeemed villain who at all times had a coronary heart of gold.

Examples: Zuko from Avatar: The Final Airbender, Rhea Jarrell in Succession

The Guardian

The guardian, also called the edge, is a personality who stands between the hero and his vacation spot. They warn the character concerning the hazard forward, both explicitly within the type of a verbal warning, or implicitly by their harmful nature. The hero has to defeat, outsmart, or in any other case work across the guardian to proceed with the search.

Examples: Cerberus from The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan, The Minotaur from The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

The Shadow

The shadow character is the antagonist, or the antagonistic pressure. That is the menace which looms over the story and which finally have to be defeated by the hero. Additionally they symbolize an reverse world view from that of our protagonist—normally this appears to be like like a morally good protagonist who represents evil.

Examples: Darth Vader from Star Wars, Gollum from The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkein

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Character Tropes by Style

Character archetypes, as you may see by the examples listed above, span over many genres and mediums. Inside particular genres, although, these archetypes take the form of character tropes.

Tropes are generally used parts inside a narrative—they’re constructing blocks to which a reader will immediately assign that means primarily based on their earlier interactions with that trope.

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Character Tropes in Sci/Fi Fantasy

The Wizard

The Wizard normally acts as a mentor determine. They are typically older (typically centuries previous or immortal), and so they usually have some supernatural talents which give them transcendental data which they will impart to the protagonist. Additionally they are typically loners and reside in seclusion.

Instance: Gandalf from The Lord of the Rings

The Chosen One

The Chosen One is a trope the place the primary character is actually destined for the plot. They’re the one one who can, for some plot-provided cause, save the day. The Chosen One will usually grapple with this monumental duty, and their resolution to tackle that duty or abandon it should make up their inside arc.

Instance: Harry Potter

The Reluctant Hero

The Reluctant Hero is one who doesn’t wish to save the day. They wish to go about their common lives, however finally, the plot calls for that they tackle the function of the hero.

Instance: Shrek

The Darkish Lord

The Darkish Lord is a really {powerful} wizard, sorcerer, or magician-type character who additionally normally serves because the story’s antagonist. They have a tendency to symbolize evil, and so they are likely to have an omnipotent aura about them—Darkish Lords usually have armies, henchmen, and so forth which should even be reckoned with throughout the quest.

Instance: Voldemort

Character Tropes in Romance

Secret Billionaire

The Secret Billionaire is aware of that they’re a billionaire, however their love curiosity and the story’s secondary characters don’t. Which means that the love curiosity falls in love with them purely for his or her character and never for his or her cash, which is what the Secret Billionaire is used to, and which is why the Secret Billionaire will resist the publicity of their wealth so laborious.


The girl-next-door is just a little naive, pleasant, and useful. They’re not supermodel stunning or insanely gifted in any specific regard—their strengths come from their down-to-earth goodness, endurance, and sensibility. These are frequent protagonists in romance novels, since they operate as nice self-inserts for readers.


The beginner trope, also called the virgin trope, is the place we now have a personality (most frequently a younger girl) who is totally new to the world of romance, intercourse, and relationship generally. When dealt with poorly, we get characters like Anna from Fifty Shades, whose naivety feels nearly supernatural in nature and who’s regularly infantilized for the aim of fetishization.

Character Tropes in Horror/Thriller

The Scholar

The scholar character is the one who does a ton of analysis—they is perhaps a professor, lab assistant, or physician—and gives the protagonist with this info at some key level within the story. In a supernatural horror, this info is perhaps lore concerning the entity haunting the forged. In a sensible thriller, it is perhaps a detective or police pressure sharing what they know with the protagonist.

The Beginner Sleuth

The novice sleuth, generally the protagonist, has no background in fixing crime. They’re usually an on a regular basis one who turns into pressured to research the thriller themselves when correct authorities aren’t an choice, both as a result of they refuse to tackle the case or show incompetent.

The Lonely Monster

The lonely monster is normally the antagonist. This character, because the title implies, lives alone, and if that loneliness is highlighted by the story, it would give them a sympathetic edge. This is perhaps a ghost kicking round an previous asylum, a monster hiding out in an deserted warehouse—they nonetheless usually have to be defeated by the heroes, however they may not really feel nice about it.

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