Archetype. It means an original pattern of which all other similar persons, objects, or concepts are derived, copied, modeled, or emulated.
Basically, archetypes come from the basic personality types that make up all people. And we take those strong personality types to create our larger-than-life characters. I think, the more thought and planning one puts into developing a fictional character, by weaving in a few realistic traits, the more three dimensional of a character ends up coming alive on the pages.
These are our Frodo’s, our Aslan’s, Harry’s, Peter Pan’s and I can go on. Those characters that stick with us, are unforgettable and so realistic that readers talk and think about them as if they were real people, indeed.
Today, I’ll go over some of the archetypes that are most popular. These are ones that have resonated most over the past generations of literature.
The Ego Types
Inward, or self, centered. I think of the BODY when I consider these types.
1. The Innocent
The free-spirited, wants to be happy and is often a little naive. They are your romantics, dreamers, mystics.
Places we’ve seen Innocents:
Pippen from LOTR, the Unicorn from The Last Unicorn, Snow White, Dory.
2. The Orphan/Regular Guy or Gal
The one who desires to belong, most down to earth, emphatic, realistic, the good friend or neighbor.
Places we’ve seen the Orphan:
Ron, from Harry Potter, Merry from LOTR, Simba from The Lion King. (But he’s also a hero)
3. The Hero
Competent, courageous, also known as a warrior, rescuer, superhero. Often also considered the Chosen One. They can be arrogant, over-determined, and apathetic when trying to attain their goals.
They will keep going and find a way to get what they want.
Places we’ve seen the Hero:
Frodo from LOTR, Harry from Harry Potter, Neo from The Matrix, Atreyu from The Neverending Story,
4. The Caregiver
Protector and caregiver of others, generous, altruistic, helper. Can become a martyr and can also be easily exploited. They can also easily exploit others.
Places we’ve seen the Caregiver:
Cinderella’s step-mother, Hagrid from HP, Obi Wan from Star Wars, Charlotte from Charlotte’s Web.
The Soul Types
The innermost being. I think of the HEART when I consider these types.
5. The Explorer
They need and seek out freedom. The seeker, wanderer, individualist or pilgrim. Because they can’t settle down they can become misfits, tend to be aimless and feel emptiness though they fear becoming trapped.
Places we’ve seen Explorers:
Indiana Jones, Captain Kirk from Star Trek, Ariel from The Little Mermaid, Belle from Beauty and the Beast,
6. The Rebel (Guard your hearts)
The rule breaker, the revolutionary, wild man, misfit, outlaw and iconoclast. Often driven by revenge or revolution. Can be prone to crossing over to the dark side.
Places we’ve seen the Rebel/Outlaw:
Katniss from The Hunger Games, the Wolverine, Batman, Hermoine from HP (despite her desire to follow the rules, she fights against the treatment of house elves and mudbloods and organizes Dumbledor’s Army.) Captain Sparrow and Robin Hood.
7. The Lover
People-person, out-ward directed, passion, gratitude, commitment and loyal friend. But they are also afraid of being left out, of being alone and will transform themselves to be whatever others need them to be.
Places we’ve seen Lovers:
Luna from Harry Potter, Sam from LOTR, Lucy from Narnia, Anna from Frozen
8. The Creator
Whatever they imagine, they will find a way for it to be done. The artist, inventor, dreamer.
Sometimes their greatest fear is being mediocre to the point they’ll never accomplish anything because it isn’t good enough.
Places we’ve seen Creators:
Wednesday Addams from the Addams Family, Doc from Back to the Future, Tony Stark from Iron Man, the Dwarves from LOTR.
The Self Types
Thinking and dreaming. I think of the MIND when I consider these types.
9. The Jester
Joyful, playful, frivolous, trickster, practical joker. The comic relief character.
Places we’ve seen the Jester:
Weasley twins from Harry Potter, Merry and Pippen from LOTR, Beetlejuice, the Genie from Aladdin.
10. The Sage
They will seek out the truth, they are the philosopher, the thinking, detective, teacher, planner.
Sometimes they get so caught up in their studies that they never act.
Places we’ve seen the Sage:
Of course, Gandalf from LOTR, Spock from Star Trek, but also the Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland, and Haymitch (despite being a drunk) from The Hunger Games.
11. The Magician
The one who makes things happen. Also known as the visionary, the healer, shaman, catalyst and inventor. Their problem is that they usually want to use their power for their own purposes.
They can be manipulative.
Places we see the Magician:
King Haggard from The Last Unicorn, Sarumon from LOTR, Snape from Harry Potter, and Gandalf from LOTR.
12. The Ruler
They desire control and power. They are leaders, aristocrats, the person who manages the rest of the gang.
Places we’ve seen Rulers:
Aragorn from LOTR, President Snow from Hunger Games, The Red Queen from Alice in Wonderland, Darth Vadar from Star Wars.
Not all ruler characters are the bad guy, but a lot of them are.
Thank You and a Parting Gift…
I hope this was helpful in breaking down Archetypes for you. I tried to keep something very complex and fascinating as simple as possible for you.
Thanks for stopping by. This is my first post on Celthric, and I hope to return soon with more posts. I hope you’ll visit my Story World website and have a look around, get to know me a little better. I write both Fantasy and Romance.
You can also follow me on Facebook at J. R. Castle Fantasy Author. I often post book specials and other fun stuff.