Monday, May 10, 2010

What is it about them that you like?

I remember when I was a kid, I used to fall in love with a book by falling in love with the character first. If I didn't like the character, then the chances of me liking the story was practically nothing. So, what is it about these characters that the reader likes?

Here are some characters that I absolutely adore (and not just from novels) and why I think they make good characters.

The Bad Boy
Okay, this was a toss up between two. As you can see, I'm a sucker for dark, brooding boys that have a bit of bite.
Damon Salvatore
Okay, I admit it, I haven't read the L J Smith Vampire Diaries (yet). But, I've seen every episode and I absolutely adore the character of Damon, and the actor who plays him.

From the get go, Damon was clearly the evil brother. But he kept hanging around, always looking out for his younger brother, Stephan (even if he didn't want anyone to see that). A character with his own motives, the main reason why I totally love him, apart from his killer looks, is that he doesn't play around... he always says what he's thinking, and he has a tragic story which allows the reader/viewer to sympathise with him.

 Who can't say they didn't love Buffy's bad boy. For a character that was supposed to be killed off after three episodes, he ended up lasting till the end of Buffy and then coming back to do a couple of seasons on Angel.

A character that spends most of his time trying to kill the slayer, but ends up in a twisted relationship with her.

The Character You Love to Hate
Severus Snap
What is it about Snape that Readers just love? He was the one character throughout the Harry Potter Series that had readers guessing about what he was going to do. One thing the readers were always certain with was that Snape was always going to be around to make life a living hell for the hero.

Readers love characters like Snape because they create a bit of conflict for the main character and they are characters that would be sorely missed if they were no longer a part of the story. Lets face it, what where would Harry be if there wasn't a teacher who always seemed out to get him?

Simon Cowell Well, technically not a character, but he's one of the only reasons I keep tuning in to American Idol (hey, I'm not even American and I couldn't even stand Australian Idol). His blunt and honest (even sometimes hilarious) comments may appear harsh and get a lot of boos from the crowd... a lot, but this Idol judge is one of the reasons why people keep tuning in each week.

The Underdog
Harry Potter
Who can forget about the little orphan, raised by evil relatives who made him sleep under the stairs, who was destined to save the wizarding world from the greatest, evil wizard ever to exist? Harry Potter was definitely an underdog. He started with nothing, and it was only with the help of his friends and a bit of courage that helped him overcome the obstacles he met along the series.

Readers absolutely loved Harry because he was just a regular kid who became an exceptional wizard. It is easy to relate to Harry, and even when he learns that he's a wizard and is learning neat tricks that come in handy when battling evil wizards he's still going through things that everyone can identify with (school, relationships, self-discovery).

Comic Relief Sidekick
I just absolutely love the adorable sidekick of the angry green ogre. Besides the fact that he's voiced by funny-man Eddie Murphy, Donkey is honest and caring, and most of the times he doesn't really think about what he's saying.

I don't know about others, but I adore characters that sets up some of the humour and also plays a role in breaking some of the tension in the story. A story that's been building up... up... up... until the reader is sitting on the edge of the seats is all well and good, but if it's tense all the way through then the reader will feel exhausted by the end. That's when the loveable sidekick comes in... the only downside with such characters is that if someone is needed to get hurt or kidnapped, then they're usually the first ones in line. But, I'm sure the hero will save them in the end.

These are only a few of the memorable characters that are out there. So, what sorts of characters do you love to read about? As writers, do you find yourself making subliminal notes as to what works and what doesn't in characters (or is that one just me)?


Hannah said...

OMG, I love Damon!! The actor was on Lost and I didn't like him all that much but now that he's on Vampire Diaries...*swoon*

I love Spike but I wanted Angel more.

I like smart alleck guys. If they don't have a little whip in there vocab, I lose interest fast. As my Sam tells me, I love jerks.

Lydia Kang said...

Nice post! I love the sidekicks, underdogs and the villains that may be on your side but you don't know it yet (Snape). Totally gets me involved in the book!

Kerri Cuev said...

Ok you have the best post today :)
How can you not when Damon is the top picture! He is the best character. I crack up at his facial expressions and demeanor. I admit to not being a big fan of the books though. Show is way better!

Deb Salisbury, Magic Seeker and Mantua-Maker said...

I do catch myself taking notes, especially on what doesn't work. When it works, I forget to take notes! Le sigh.

I love complicated characters, where the more you read, the more layers of personality peep through.

Anonymous said...

I like the cliche "strong, silent type" that causes a bit of angst in the protagonist but he's right there when she needs him the most.

Victoria Dixon said...

For me, a character has to be either extraordinarily heroic, intelligent or funny. If they are any of those, I fall for 'em every time. ;D

kanishk said...

I love Spike but I wanted Angel more.
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