Fantasy characters

Books are full of brilliant characters, fantasy more so than any other genre. But what makes a beloved fantasy character, the Gandalfs, Dembeldore’s and Percy Jackon’s etc. I think it takes a very skilled writer to make us care about a character, to make them real and make a reader engage with them. A writer who is very successful in doing this is J K Rowling. Each one of her characters, save Voldemort and a few others, have become almost like a family or friends to the legions of fans and readers. She manages to create a rich history for almost every single one of the characters in her back, whether it be tragic, happy or mysterious it is almost always complex and allows us as readers to find things in common with the character. As a result her characters are not only memorable but they feel real, as if beyond the pages they are having lives. 

Tolkien also created some very memorable characters, Bilbo Baggins and Gandalf among them. Like Rowling his world and characters have rich, detailed histories and it isn’t entirely unbelievable that they had lives before and after the books. 

So why is it that we, as readers, become so attached to these fictional characters? Why do we follow their adventures so fervently, root for them, shout at the book to encourage them? Perhaps it is because the writer has created someone we can look up to (in characters such as Percy Jackson, Harry Potter, Lyra Belacqua), or someone we find we have something in common with. Whatever it is, i think it is the mark of a terrific writer to make us care about someone who is, ultimately, words on a page. 

My own favourite literary character has to be either the Spook from Joseph Delaney’s Wardstone Chronicles (Last Apprentice in the US) or Percy Jackson. The former simply because he is a richly written character who in some ways reminds me of my grandad and the latter because i, just like the Potter book, grew up with the Jackson books and i read them when i was the same age as Percy – in some way i felt i grew up alongside him. 

And so, when i started writing my own fantasy series of books i wanted to create a cast of characters that readers would fall in love with, root for and find something in common with. I started by plotting out histories for each one, developing their families, motivations etc. As the four books unfold i will reveal more and more about the characters hopefully allowing readers to become more and more engaged with them. 

So, what is your favourite fantasy character and why? Please comment below and let’s see which one is most popular. 



About Sam Whitehouse

Sam spends most of his time in a different world to other people. If it isn’t one he’s created himself, it’s one he’s reading about. In the rare moments when this isn’t the case, Sam can either be found addicted to a sci-fi or crime show, re-watching Marvel movies, finishing up an assignment for his final year of studying Creative Writing at Sheffield Hallam University, or trying to get the dozens of ideas for stories in his head under some kind of control. Sam has lived in the same small village in Yorkshire, surrounded by countryside on all sides ever since he could remember. His childhood saw him get into plenty of scrapes climbing trees and crossing rivers and generally believing he was Indiana Jones. Sam gives credit to his Grandad for him wanting to be a writer, and his bedtime stories for keeping Sam’s imagination stoked. But credit must also go to Steven Spielberg, J K Rowling and Stephen King, who have provided plenty of inspiration over the years, too. Sam writes what he reads, and that is pretty much anything—save romance. Fantasy, thrillers, or crime: once an idea takes root, he can’t stop until the world, characters, and plot are on paper. A huge Marvel fan, Sam one day hopes to pen a screenplay for one of their movies, or direct one, or do anything at all related to one. Until then, he’ll stick to his own fantasy worlds and wait for Marvel’s phone call.

Posted on 04/15/2013, in Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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