So here we are on day three of Armchair BEA. I hope everyone who got involved in the Twitter party last night had fun, I certainly did and am looking forward to joining in on today’s (not least because it’s actually at a decent hour in my time zone!). So today we’re talking characters! I have to say when it comes to books, I’m far more of a plot driven book girl than a character driven one, the characters have to be done really well for them to hold my interest in a character driven book. But I do love my characters, and like everyone (or at least I think everyone) I have certain types of character I like.
In male characters, I definitely have a particular type of personality that I gravitate towards, and if you read my blog on a regular basis, you will know exactly what that is. I like my male characters to have a snarky, sarcastic sense of humour. That isn’t to say I don’t like male characters without that particular brand of humour, but I definitely gravitate towards sarcastic guys more, because my own sense of humour is quite sarcastic, so I can relate. Take Percy Jackson for example, I connected with him instantly because his sense of humour is so similar to my own. Humour is also why I love Skulduggery Pleasant so much, because he has such a wonderfully unique sense of humour. I also like guys who have a penchant for getting into a whole lot of trouble (again Percy fits this brilliantly, in fact Percy Jackson is pretty much my ideal male character), are brave and loyal, maybe even have a little bit of a hero complex (not too much though, that can get annoying sometimes). They don’t always have to be smart, I mean we’ll take Percy as an example of this again, when it comes to certain things, like fighting, Percy can be smart, but when it comes to others things he can be extremely dense, which is part of his charm. There’s something to be said for the highly intelligent make character as well, for example Artemis Fowl is a child genius and whilst I wouldn’t say he fits all of the tropes I’m usually looking for in a male character, I love him. Skulduggery too is incredibly smart, so when it comes to intelligence levels, I guess I don’t really have a type in guys, which is strange because I love clever girls (and no it’s not a guys are hot so they don’t have to be attractive thing, it’s just that my favourite male characters tend to be based on their sense of humour rather than their intelligence).
For female characters, I find that the ones I like the most are strong females, they don’t necessarily have to be physically strong though, they could be mentally strong, or emotionally strong, I just like girls that know their own minds and aren’t afraid to stand up for what they believe in. It’s not that all female characters have to be amazing fighters, they don’t, but I like a girl who is independent, will fight for what she believes in and preferably doesn’t spend all her time fawning over a guy. Of course my favourite female character is Hermione Granger (as a general character trope, I love bookworms, as a reader, it’s great to see female characters in books reading), who basically embodies all the things I love in female characters, she’s smart, determined, sticks up for what she knows is right, doesn’t have to rely on guys to get things done (in fact Harry and Ron would have died without her), not to mention is a pretty damn awesome witch. I know the strong female trope may have been overdone in young adult fiction recently, but I don’t see anything wrong with that, I think these girls who are smart, strong, independent, brave, powerful women are an excellent example to girls that we can be whoever we want to be, and like I said, there are so many different types of strong women, you don’t just get the physically strong ones, you get the mentally strong and emotionally strong women too.
I also love a good villian. I think a good villian can make or break a story, because yes you’ve got to be able to connect with the main characters, but if you don’t find the villian scary, then you’re never going to be able to empathise with the main characters in the fear that they feel towards that villian or hate the villian as much as is usually required. A good villian isn’t always necessarily obviously evil though, take Dolores Umbridge for example, we all hate her, she very passive aggressively antagonistic, but not the most obvious villian (if just take on appearance). I like my villains to be fascinating and maybe even slightly strange, like Bellatrix Lestrange from Harry Potter (yes I know I’m using Harry Potter a lot in this and I don’t care). There’s something about a slightly weird villian that I automatically love/hate (because these are villains we’re talking about here). Count Olaf from A Series of Unfortunate events is another one of those slightly odd, eccentric villains, but this works very effectively for him as he manages to fool various adults with his disguises. There are then of course those villains that are simply scary, and quite obviously so, like Voldemort from Harry Potter, but the great thing about all these different types of villian is that a good writer can make you scared of any of them, even someone like Umbridge in Harry Potter, who seems so innocent to start off with.
I do love reformed villians as well, like Artemis Fowl who after attempting to steal gold from the fairies in the first book ends up using his skills for good and we end up rooting for him, even though he’s a criminal mastermind (or even because he’s a criminal mastermind). Or the HIVE books, where the kids and staff at HIVE are all criminal masterminds or criminal masterminds in training, but they’re actually kind of the good guys because there are even worse criminals out there. Aren’t villians the best?
So there’s my two cents for today, I know I’ve kind of talked more about character characteristics than favourite characters, but I’ve given you a couple of examples of some of my favourite characters that show the tropes I like. What tropes do you like in characters? Are there any types of characters that you are tired of seeing? Any that you want to see more of? Any characters that you particularly love or hate? Let me know!
I will see (well I say see, I won’t actually see, but you get the idea), all of you who are going to be at the Twitter party later. I think this one’s going to be even more fun than last night’s!