Saturday, September 1, 2007

My Favorite Character Type

There are several important characters to every novel: the protagonist, the antagonist, the supporting characters that introduce elements of romance, background information, or "color"...but my favorite character in any book is the one you don't know how to take.

The Snapes and Gollums of the literary world slink onto the scene and instantly steal it, leaving us disturbed, fascinated, and intrigued. Are they evil? Maybe. They certainly aren't candidates for sainthood but even so, we long to attribute good motivations to their actions. We want to believe that under the smarmy, furtive exterior beats the heart of a reluctant hero. We want to believe that they can be redeemed.

I think this is the most complicated type of character to explore and perhaps the most difficult to write well. There's an art to keeping a reader both hopeful and doubtful at the same time. I don't think any author has done it better than Rowling with Snape and Tolkien with Gollum. You are, of course, welcome to disagree (keeping in mind that this is, after all, MY blog). =)




2 comments:

  1. Haven't read Harry Potter yet (*ducks*) but I totally agree about Gollum.

    I loved how you sort of feared and despised him in the Hobbit and then as Frodo learned more information about him, you started to feel compassion and some hope that he could be saved even though you never fully trusted him...you wanted to.

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  2. I never thought of it that way. Youre not alone Mayberry. =D Im sure once I read Harry Potter too, He will be my favorite character too.

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