Do you sometimes feel like you’ve seen that character before? Do you get déja-vù constantly while reading certain books?? Well, your problems are over! I present to you the Unofficial Catalog of Stereotypical Characters, along with some books where they show up. Maybe you have seen this character before – find out below!
This post will be continuously completed and expanded. (and is full of sarcasm!)
“Badass” Damsel in Distress: This one is an evolution to the Damsel in Distress. She is allegedly badass, maybe has combat training or so, but really can’t deal with anything without her male love interest.
Best Friend With No Personal Life: This character solely exists with the purpose of listening to the main character’s complaints, helping in whatever way they can, giving words of wisdom and never caring for their own life and needs. Bonus points if they literally die for the hero/heroine.
Brooding Male Love Interest: The guy with a serious case of bad mood, temper, he’s always brooding and being rude, but really, he’s just misunderstood. He’s actually a really nice person (somehow) just waiting for the right protagonist to see through his rough exterior right into his melted butter heart. 99% of the time dark haired.
Examples: Jace (The Mortal Instruments), Christian Grey (Fifty Shades of Grey), Four (Divergent), Rafe (The Remnant Chronicles), Wolf (Flame in the Mist), Valek (Study), Mr. Darcy (Pride and Prejudice)
Child Wise Beyond Years: This child is wiser than all adults combined and constantly proves how silly adults can be. Bonus points if they come up with at least one question full of innocence and truth, like “But if they love each other, why don’t they just get together?”
Clueless Amateur Detective: This character has no police training, but is convinced they can singlehandedly solve the VERY DANGEROUS MYSTERY. They normally do, by getting themselves trapped with the killer and being rescued in the last second, after getting a full confession, of course. Allegedly a smart character, but keeps making silly decisions.
Clumsy Relatable Girl: The protagonist who is SO relatable… she is clumsy, not popular at all, has brown hair and looks totally bland… except on TV, of course, where she is gorgeous and flawless. Oh, she’s bland and untalented but she’s SPECIAL. Also known as Plain Jane.
Damsel in Distress: She’s young, pretty and in trouble. Will give the hero a great reason to act heroic – but of course, she must fall in love with him afterwards. Duh.
Example: All Fairy Tale Princesses, Buttercup (The Princess Bride)
Doomed Woman: She is beautiful and does bad things. Maybe she was good when she was younger and something caused her to act evil, or maybe she’s always been kind of evil. In any case, she must die. No redeeming chance for her.
Generic Nazi-like Villain: The evil villain whose views on the world are basically full of ideas of race or blood superiority and purity. Usually an older white guy.
Manic Pixie Dream Girl: she is SO QUIRKY, and oh so special and a little crazy, but just enough to spice up the life of the male main character who is in love with her. She is there to teach him how to love, and not really much else. Bonus points if there is a petty crime involved!
Got the idea from A Pretty Lil Blog
Nagging Wife/Girlfriend: She just doesn’t get it! All she cares about is the unimportant stuff, like paying bills, taking care of parents, making sure the children have a decent life, and does not seem to acknowledge the “brilliant” (a.k.a. mediocre and probably cheating, or a psychopath, or both) man she has. If it’s a wife, will probably will be murdered at some point.
Examples: Lots of Agatha Christie’s murder victims, Mildred (Fahrenheit 451)
Nice and Hot Neighbor With Secret Crush: He is sweet and nice, very polite, handsome and seemingly perfect! Also, he’s been friends with the protagonist forever and has been secretly in love all this time! Bonus points if he is the third part of a triangle, together with Brooding Male Love Interest and Clumsy Relatable Girl.
Not-Paying-Attention-At-All Parents: These parents sure love their children, and sure they care about them, just not quite enough to notice anything while they’re gone in adventures nearly dying a bunch of times, going through heavy drama at school, fighting demons, etc.
Orphan Protagonist: Well, this solves the problem above. If there are no parents, they can’t possibly be negligent. Book is probably named after said orphan.
Overly Optimistic Young Woman: This is a chick-lit staple. She’s nice, friendly, quirky and overly optimistic about her future, although things aren’t going too well at the moment. Some powerful guy will fall in love with her. She’s somewhere between 20 and 35, white and possibly has brown hair. Might also be a Clumsy Relatable Girl.
Powerful and Evil Wizard: They’re evil because they’re evil. Probably immortal, but don’t worry, not really immortal – there’s probably a Unqualified Hero somewhere who the prophecy says will kill them.
Rich Hot Guy With Lots of Free Time: Sure this guy is busy, super powerful, unimaginably rich while maintaining a really sexy figure, but he definitely has all the time in the world to spend with Overly Optimistic Young Woman. Bonus points if he spends lots of money on her.
Sexy Smart Woman Who Follows The Hero Around: she’s smart, gorgeous, sexy and totally into the guy who’s the actual protagonist. She probably has more knowledge than him on the mystery they’re trying to solve, but will gladly let him get all the credit. They met 5min ago but she totally trusts him.
Stuck Up Successful Business Woman Who Needs to Learn to Enjoy Life: and who’s best to teach that than a reckless, unrealistically Type B love interest?
Thief Who’s Actually a Good Person: The thieving might be out of necessity or just for fun, but don’t be fooled like the non-main characters: they’re actually good people and have a heart of gold. Probably an Orphan Protagonist as well.
Tomboy: The girl who Is Not Like Others and behaves like a boy, is very special because of that. She rarely has any girls as friends and may dress as a boy throughout the book. A fantasy novel’s favorite.
Examples: Arya Stark (A Song of Ice and Fire), Alanna (Song of the Lionness), Mariko (Flame in the Mist), Scout (To Kill a Mockingbird), Lyra (His Dark Materials), Cora (The Essex Serpent), Jo (Little Women), Eowyn (Lord of the Rings)
Unqualified Hero: The average boy/girl who is considered the hero although they need help 24/7 and there’s way more qualified characters to be the actual heroes. Bonus points if there is some prophecy.
Wise Old Man With a Beard: He’s old, he’s wise, he’s got a beard. Probably speaks in enigmas and riddles, doesn’t like to disclose full information. Will train the hero and give moral support, but never help too much when the actual fighting begins.
Women in Refrigerators: Here we have the love interest, daughter or mother of the main character (a guy, obviously), a pretty and young girl who is put in danger, hurt or killed for the sole reason of giving the main character some depth, making him suffer for her suffering, and thus giving him courage to do what’s right. This very practical trope also provides excuses as to why the guy might be a jerk, claiming he’s just misunderstood.
Examples: Gwen (The Amazing Spider Man), Tysha (Tyrion Lannister’s love interest) (A Song of Ice and Fire), Usher’s Wife (The Arthur Books/The Warlord Chronicles), Daniela (Dark Matter), Arwen (The Lord of the Rings), Rose (How to Stop Time)