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Let’s Talk Bookish: What Makes You Like A Character?

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme hosted by Rukky @Eternity Books and Dani @ Literary Lion where we discuss certain topics, share our opinions, and spread the love by visiting each other’s posts. Join in on this meme by writing your own discussion each Friday based on the topic, and share your link using the inLinkz that will be available on Dani’s blog each Friday.

This is week’s question is ‘What makes you like characters?’ suggested by Rachel @ A Bookworm’s Paradise. Prompts: Are there any physical qualities you look for in a character? What personalities tend to draw you to characters? Are there any archetypes you prefer, are you always falling for the villain?

I don’t think there are any physical qualities that make me like a character. I think it’s because character’s looks aren’t usually described in a huge amount of detail, so I can’t really visualise it in a way that matters. However, I guess it does influence the likelihood of me liking a character, if we’re considering the relatability of a character, which I talk about later.

For me, I like characters who I would want to be like. You might argue that this character would be a Mary Sue because who wouldn’t want to be perfect? However, that’s not what I mean. Whilst I do like characters who are ‘good people,’ I’m not saying that I only like flawless characters, but more characters that have desirable traits. For example, I like characters who are funny, tough and brave. A character that can fight and protect themselves and others – whether that’s physically, or with their intellect – is also very likeable for me. It’s very satisfying when a character is able to persevere against the odds and stand firm in their decisions.

I guess it’s hard to like a character when they are too perfect because even if you want to be like them, it feels too unachievable. These characters also don’t seem realistic. They can even make the book boring because there’s no real struggle for the character, and therefore little tension and excitement. Therefore, a character needs to be a mix of relatable and admirable. Whilst I do like characters who I can admire and aspire to be like, when a character feels similar to me, I tend to connect to the character easier and like them more.

How a character is written is also really important in influencing whether I like them. For example, I want to be able to understand their motivation and reasoning behind their decisions. It can be hard to like a character if we know too little about them, and when they are difficult to understand. Although we can still know the thoughts of a character, when a story is told from third person perspective, I prefer reading books written in first person, and like the characters more because it feels more engaging. First person generally makes it harder to not sympathise and relate with the character because they are telling the story from their perspective and able to present things in a way that’s favourable to them.

Linking to the importance of not having a Mary Sue character, a character also needs to be fleshed out enough to be liked. Characters that seem too stereotypical makes them less believable, so I tend not to like them as much. It’s the little details, occasional flashbacks and narrative voice (if in first person) that make a character come to life.

As for whether I fall for the villain, I would say that this doesn’t usually happen, but I do sometimes feel sorry for them because they have had a difficult past that led to them doing bad things, or they are also in a difficult situation. Whilst I don’t really fall for the villain, I do like characters who do semi-bad things but decides to help the main character in the end.

I might have ended up repeating myself a little bit, but I hope you see what I mean. What do you think? Which characters are you frequently drawn to?

2 thoughts on “Let’s Talk Bookish: What Makes You Like A Character?”

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