Types Of Characters In Fiction You Need To Know

 Incorporating a diverse range of characters is one of the best ways to create a captivating fictional book. You’ve probably seen some cliche characters in every literary scenario, from the super-strong hero to the devoted timid servant.

But does every story have these characters? Is it important to include all kinds of characters? What exactly is their role? 

We are here to answer all these questions, and break down the anatomy of characters you will traditionally find in a fictional book.

Types of Characters


The Protagonist, also known as an agonist, is the lead character of the story around which the whole plot revolves. 

It is a misconception that the protagonist is always the hero of the story. 90% of the time we observe the protagonists are good characters yet they can be virtuous or evil or neutral. 

We can further classify protagonists into –


When we say the word ‘hero’, it is the classic character that comes to our mind. The lead character is lauded for their dauntlessness, idealism, ethics, and achievements. 

Example – Harry Potter, Batman, Moana, etc.

Who doesn’t love Merida from Brave? Img src :movies.disney.com


It is not the villain. Anti-hero refers to the protagonist who lacks the traditional heroic qualities of courage, strength, etc. They don’t have any evil intentions but do commit unethical acts. 

Example – Deadpool, Severus Snape 

Villain Protagonist

As mentioned earlier, the protagonist can be evil. So they are villains, and more or less the story revolves around them. You can consider it as the plot from the point of view of the villain.

Example – Maleficent from the movie Maleficent, Megamind

Yes, this supervillain is the protagonist!


The antagonist is anti-agonist or anti-protagonist. The antagonist is the opposing force for the protagonist. It causes obstacles and creates challenges that keep the plot moving. 

Just like the protagonist, the antagonist can be evil or good, although it is observed that antagonists are most of the times evil. They are the classic villains of the plots. 

The protagonist and the antagonist are complementary to each other.

Example – Lord Voldermort from Harry Potter, Darth Vader from Star Wars

It is not essential that the antagonist is a physical character, it is an opposing ‘force’. Therefore, if you are watching a movie that depicts catastrophic incidents or reading such a book, then the antagonist in such a realm would be a wave of the tsunami or a volcanic eruption. In the Jurassic Park series, the antagonist is the giant T-rex.

If you change the point of views, it won’t take longer to comprehend and interchangeably see antagonist as the protagonist.

The antagonist becomes the protagonist. Img src: variety.com

For example, if we take the story of Sleeping Beauty, when told from the POV of Princess Aurora, she is the protagonist, the evil witch Maleficent is the antagonist.

Whereas, when the story is retold from the POV of Maleficent, she is the protagonist and the Kingdom is the antagonist.


In easy terms, they are the sidekicks of the protagonist. You can consider them as the secondary protagonists as they are seen just as close to the protagonists, and are usually their companions. 

Although they are ‘secondary’, they are just as important as the protagonists. 

Example- Ron and Hermione from Harry Potter, Hiro’s friends in Big Hero 6

Hiro is the protagonist and his friends serve as the deuterogonist. Img src: vox.com

Foil Character

Foil characters stand out in terms of opposing beliefs and fundamentals of the protagonist. They are not necessarily evil but are sometimes highly unlikeable as they contrast the protagonist. 

Why are foil characters important?

The indifference between both the foil character and the protagonists helps highlight some of the protagonist’s qualities.

Example – Draco Malfoy from Harry Potter

Two opposite characters, both of which can be the protagonists, can also be considered as foils.

Example – Woody and Buzz from Toy Story

Can we all agree we don’t like Malfoy at all?!

Tertiary Characters

The side characters are seen only for a few minutes or a few lines. Usually, they don’t contribute to the plot but sometimes play a key role.

For example, in an adventure story, we come across a particular character who might drop a hint, and then we never see them again throughout the whole story.

Examples- Mr. Ray in Finding Nemo

You remember this guy from Frozen, right?

Some Other Character Types We Encounter –

Love Interest – usually one of the leading characters in a romantic plot, but could be part of any genre. 

Eg: Beauty and the Beast

The Confidant – Acts as a mentor, and characters usually confide in him

Eg: Dumbledore from Harry Potter, Qui-Gon from Star Wars

Based on Character Development

Interestingly, it can be inferred that the character development of these characters can be dynamic or static. Let us learn a little more about it.

Dynamic Characters

As the name suggests ‘dynamic’ which means constantly changing or progressing, the personality traits of these characters alter throughout the plot. 

The characters don’t always undergo a positive evolution, they may devolve too. They can go from weak to strong, good to evil, and vice versa. 

It is traditionally the protagonist who displays a notable character development, however, anyone from the plot can evolve or devolve.

Example- Anakin Skywalker from Star Wars, Megamind from Megamind

The ultimate character development – from angry beast to soft beast.

Static Characters

Contrary to the dynamic characters, these characters don’t change. If they are good, they remain good. If they are evil, they remain evil. We can see uniform personalities in the foil characters. 

But we do observe a special case of static protagonist i.e. Sherlock Holmes. 

Example – Cinderella’s evil sisters, Harry Potter’s aunt and uncle.

Evil then, evil now! Img src: pinterest.com

Archetypes vs Stock Characters

There are two other characterization terms that are often confused —  Archetypes and Stock characters. They both represent a specific set of familiar, cliche, and relatable traits. 

There is lesser scope for predictability as archetypes act as an umbrella for broader classification. They lead important roles in the plot and are dynamic. 

Examples -The orphaned child, the sage, the rebel, etc. 

These characters have certain inbuilt traits, yet their narratives can take any turn in the near story.

Img src: dailycal.org

Whereas, stock characters are more predictable, specified, and stereotypical. They are a part of the secondary or tertiary characters and are static. 

Examples – The evil twin, the shy nerd, the mean girl, etc.

Their personality remains static throughout the whole plot, and their predictability makes the story boring. 

Want to Learn More About Writing?

Tips on writing by Ruskin Bond

It can be quite difficult to pen-down your thoughts and ideas in an engaging style. Writing is a skill that is honed with knowledge and practice. 

Knowledge of writing stylesformatting, literary devices, characters, genres, etc. is essential to create a compelling article or story. And the more you write, the better you grasp the skills

From reading books to writing and publishing them, all the tips and tricks are simplified by the Podium Blog. Check out the Creative Writing Blog to nourish the inner writer in you.

And when you get exhausted from writing, pick a book from this catalog and start reading. From Lewis Carroll to J.K.Rowling, we have a list for everything.

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