May 29, 2013 by Alice in Readerland
“Do you prefer a story with a main character who is:
A) A weak or normal character who becomes strong. (Such as Lena from Delirium and Cassia from Matched.)
B) A “secretly” strong character who realizes her strength. (Such as Tris from Divergent or Sam from Gone.)
C) A strong character who becomes even stronger. (Such as Katniss from The Hunger Games or Katsa from Graceling.)
…And why do you prefer that type of character?”
Great question, Rachel! Besides answering the question myself, the fabulous bloggers Kate from WhY.A.not Reviews, Lisa from Lisa Likes Books, and Sunny from Blue Sky Bookshelf, also gave their opinion in this post!
HERE’S WHAT I HAVE TO SAY:
I find this question very interesting because characters and character growth are so important to me in a story; even if a plotline isn’t all that fascinating I’ll still mark a book high if I loved the characters and their development. While I have loved characters in all 3 of the categories, I think my ideal main character is A) with a bit of B). I think there’s something so refreshing about a character who is just your normal, average person, yet grows stronger to conquer what stands in their way and does such extraordinary things. I think it’s great because we see a part of ourselves reflected in the character in the beginning, and then when the character grows, we get to see what we have the potential of being. That being said, I think all these characters have to be a bit of B) in being “secretly strong” because all of us have the potential inside of us and we build on what we already have.
Such a tough question! I would probably pick C, A strong character who becomes even stronger, à la Katniss. I have found that it is easier for me to root for a heroine even more when they already begin strong. I’ll use Katniss as an example again because really, she’s the strongest heroine I have ever read. She already has to be strong, fighting to keep her family alive in the bleakest times, and then BAM! she finds herself fighting for her life now and has to pull herself up by her boot straps again (a phrase that my mother loves to use). Even though I like A and B, but for me, authors have to be careful because their journeys can be a tad more irritating in their narratives. I feel like when I’m introduced to a main character in the category C, I instantly pump my fist and think: She is going to kick some butt. Or as Mushu from Mulan would say, “Let’s go kick some hunny buns!” I hope that wasn’t too rambly, but long story short is that I’m pro-C because those characters are more likely to get my attention and support.
I love characters in all these categories but I have a soft spot for characters who fall into the first option: A) A weak or normal character who becomes strong.
There’s something incredibly exciting about seeing a character who is naturally cautious, unsure and sometimes a little scared finding their own strength. I find it fantastically heroic watching a character overcome their own limitations and fears and defeat the evil in their lives. One example is in Harry Potter when Neville Longbottom faces down the enemy with his head held high and his wand at the ready, it’s one of my favourite moments in the series.
B) A “secretly” strong character who realizes her strength.
This is such a difficult question to answer, because obviously strong characters are likable however they get to be that way.
In general I love it when characters are “secretly” strong. I like to think everyone is strong, just in some cases it hasn’t been realized yet. Even Katniss Everdeen had a time in her life* where she had to pull something from within to become the strong person she was through the Hunger Games.
*When her father died and she had to become the head of the household. I like to think she was pretty much “normal” before that.
I guess putting it like that almost meshes all types of strength together. Quite right, too. There’s so much grey area when it comes to strength. I’ll take any type of strong character, because honestly, they’re all awesome.
I also strongly believe that a single character can be any type of strong depending on which part of their story you walk in at. Are their struggles just beginning or have they been at it for a while? It makes a difference.
Thanks so much Kate, Lisa, and Sunny! I loved reading your answers, you all made such great points! Be sure to check out their blogs!
Which type of main character do you prefer out of the choices, A), B), or C), and why? Make sure to let us know in the comments!