Call me a typical ‘arty-farty’ literature student, but there’s nothing greater in a novel or film than the presence of a jolly good character. Lately I’ve been thinking about such matters (must be why I’ve not posted for yonks!) and I have come up with a list of -what I believe- are the top traits that seem to exist in an array of characters across many a genre.
#1 The one who always knows what to do
I recently saw the latest Star Trek film (call me a nerd all you like, I really enjoyed it!) but what I found particularly endearing about it was how a number of the characters seemed to always know exactly how to solve a crisis. This was, of course, pretty useful when they seemed to always be ten seconds away from certain death and/or heading straight into Earth. Perhaps this trait is especially appealing to me because of the many day-to-day crises I seem to befall. I suppose what I’m trying to say is that everyone could use a Spoc in their life, at least from time to time.
#2 The sarcastic one
Not only does this trait apply in the fictional realm, but a friendship circle simply isn’t complete without that sarcastic friend who’s always equipped with the quips! Although they say that sarcasm is the lowest form of wit, I would argue that, for me, Chandler Bing and his sarcastic witticisms pretty much make the classic TV show ‘Friends’.
#3 The eccentric
This is a fairly open-ended trait but I’m mainly referring to characters, particularly in novels, who have a voice that is notably distinctive and peculiar. Inspired by the character of Holden Caulfield in the infamous ‘The Catcher in the Rye’, this trait is mostly apparent through the narrator’s voice in the novel- the nonstop peculiarities of it, which, for me, almost completely made the novel.
#4 The loveable ‘dummy’
Perhaps it’s my motherly nature (pah!) or our ‘collective’ instincts as humans, but it seems as though the innocent, often slightly dim, characters seem to acquire most of our affection, (or at least, it’s slightly more painful if they happen to get killed!). Who knows, maybe there’s a tiny bit of ‘Forest Gump’ or ‘Baldrick’ in all of us!
#5 The gloriously funny one
The technique of ‘comic relief’ is almost a necessity in successful stories- they provide, as their title suggests, relief for a reader or audience who are otherwise immersed in an intense, or ‘full-on’, scene. Nevertheless, I would say that a character capable of creating such humour is certainly an admirable one.
‘Nobody tosses a dwarf!’
A childhood typically involves many tortures; whether it’s being forced to wear your mother’s choice of sickly civvies, enduring endless hours in maths class or, in my case, being made to watch football.
Like most children, I was a whippersnapper perplexed by the world. Large numbers and large humans (a.k.a. the ‘grown ups’) mused me to no end. A fundamental confusion that apparently also spread to the Football pitch.
This is because, in my childish silliness, I believed that the players who kicked a ball on the TV were, in fact, robots.
In my mind they were mechanical beings designed only with the ability to repel and attract a spherical object at the amusement of an entire crowd of cheering adults.
Perhaps this minor absence of sense stemmed from the precision of the players; they always seemed to be so accurate and never appeared tired or without fuel.
Although it can be said that I’m not the birdbrain that I once was with regards to this sport, I wouldn’t go as far as to say I understand it entirely.
I mean, grown men in a field kicking around a ball for millions of pounds? I think I’d sooner understand quantum physics!
So, like many people this time of year I have been given the invaluable gift of illness and consequential bed-locked torture.
It’s the sort of cold that when anything touches you it feels like daggers shooting through your skin.
My head feels like someone is filing it with sandpaper.
It’s probably for the best that I leave it at that and refrain from sharing any similes of my sinuses, however!
But of course, being bound to a mattress all day does lead to some inevitable mindful pondering.
For example, I was just thinking about freedom and safety, and which of the two is more important.
But which is it?
If only my immune system could have concocted such strength in the face of my enemies!