You’ve read about them. We’ve read about them. If you’re an author, you’ve definitely written them. Who are they? Well that’s one secret we’ll never tell. XOXO Gossip Girl.
Moving on from Gossip Girl references . . . We’re talking about those archetypes and stock characters that pop up time and time again, yet you don’t mind seeing them repeatedly in their slightly altered versions because you enjoy them every time.
There are heroes and villains that take the main stage in every book, but the characters that really steal the show? Let’s explore some of our favourites.
The Bad Boy
Bad boys, bad boys, whatcha gonna do, whatcha gonna do when they come for you?
Smirk. They’re going to smirk when they come for them.
The bad boy is a guilty pleasure, to be sure. He never fails to show up from the wrong side of the tracks with cheesy lines about how the main character can’t fall in love with him, and yet we secretly rejoice every scene he rides in on his motorcycle. The bad boy has some variation of the following elements: one tried and true leather jacket, incessantly mussed dark hair, an endless supply of smirks, muscles that are always thrumming in his chiselled jaw, and a heavy dose of possessiveness that we as readers often ignore (refer back to statement about him being a guilty pleasure).
Our Favourite Bad Boy: Genuinely any bad boy that Jennifer Armentrout (aka J Lynn) writes. She has an unmatched talent for writing this type of character. She does it often, yet every time it’s unique enough that you still drool over them.
There is one prerequisite when crafting the sidekick – they must be unfailingly funny. They deliver slapstick, comic-relief jokes (often at the expense of the main character) that are usually said during moments of near-death experiences (timing is everything). The best part is, they don’t die. You are free to love and cherish them as a character without having to worry about reading their untimely demise. Hopefully we didn’t just jinx that trope. Please knock on the wooden surface nearest you.
Our Favourite Sidekick: Gemma from I Wanted You to Know by Laura Pearson. She’s the perfect example of a supportive friend who also reminds the main character that it’s okay to have fun sometimes. Not to mention she supplies playlists. You always need a friend that makes you playlists.
They know everything that’s going on around them, especially when the main character expressly doesn’t want such a thing. They have distinguished features and a staple trench coat that they can button and unbutton in pure sophistication every time they drop statements of wisdom to their young grasshopper. That, or when they make crime-boss deals. Either way, the boss always knows things that would be more than helpful for the main character to know, but they feel no need to clue them in. Unlike the sidekick, you can usually count on the boss dying at some point.
Our Favourite Boss: Dumbledore from J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. Truly a classic boss, Albus Dumbledore legitimately knows everything and only lets Harry in on about, oh, nothing. He tells the chosen one absolutely nothing. Many things could’ve been avoided, yet we still love the robe wearing, half-moon spectacled man.
The Prim and Proper Thief
Do they steal things? All the time. Is it a Robin Hood type of situation? Maybe, but that pocket watch of theirs is most definitely someone else’s family heirloom. And yet, their charming smile and polite way of speaking make us set aside our morals just so that we can read more passages of them smooth-talking their way out of tricky situations. Because if they’re well-mannered, what’s the harm in them being more than a little sticky-fingered?
Our Favourite Refined Thief: Liesel from The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. We realize that she doesn’t fit the description exactly, but she steals books as she learns to read. What’s classier than that? Honorary mention to Kaz Brekkar from Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo. He doesn’t just steal. He pulls off heists, all with his trusty, gentlemanly cane!
It’s always good to have at least one person who doesn’t make rash decisions that result in easily avoided situations (here’s to looking at all the main characters who’ve ever ignored the conscience character in their story). These are probably the most ignored characters. While the advice they offer is often sound, there wouldn’t be much of an interesting story if their guidance was heeded. Although, it would put less strain on our hearts if they were listened to at least half the time. All we’re asking for is once per book.
Our Favourite Conscience: Clarence from The Greatest Gift (you might know the movie version better, It’s a Wonderful Life). He would make Jiminy Cricket proud, as he offers the level-headedness that George Bailey desperately needs, even if it is rather unconventional at times.
As always, thank you for reading and be sure to tweet us @AgoraBooksLDN with your favourite types of characters!