Top Ten Tuesday: Traits I Like in Characters (Sorted by Character Class/Type)

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by  The Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s topic is “Traits I Like in Characters,” but I decided to get a little more specific, because honestly, there are a LOT of traits that I like in characters.

And a couple of years ago I realized that there are specific trait + character class combinations that I like more than others. And traits that I usually find annoying in one class I love in another. For example–thieves (rogues) and sarcasm? Been there done that. But sarcasm in, say…a medic type of character? Much more interesting.

So these are some of my favourite traits for specific character classes/types.

 


🔪 Rogues 🔪

 

Pirate Captains (or any leader figures, really):

1. Courteousness

I have a **thing** with people–er, characters–who have power and status and aren’t good, per se, but are sticklers about manners and respecting personal boundaries.

Just because you rob innocents out in the sea and commit a murder or two or a dozen every now and then, doesn’t mean you have to be rude about it.

 

2. Casual, Confident Confidence

This is actually a trait I’m meh about in assassins and thieves. But give me a feathered hat, a parrot, and a show of authority and POOF, magic happens, I guess.

These characters are capable and dangerous–cross them and they’ll run you through with a knife without a hitch in their moral compass–and everyone knows it, including themselves. But the confidence isn’t a forced act they have to put on. It’s like a second skin for them, and they know exactly when to dial it down and when to blast it in full-force. That awareness and control is a sexy, sexy thing.

 

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Favourite Example(s):

– Isabela (aka my video game wife) from Dragon Age 2

 

Assassins:

1. Kindness and Empathy

Because I’m a contrarian. And I fall hard for kindness in any type of character.

But genuine kindness in someone whose job is anything but kind–someone who deals out cold, calculated death on a regular basis–is something that’s especially attractive and fascinating to me. The fact that they’re able to retain their humanity when there’s so much blood on their hands is nothing short of incredible.

 

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Favourite Example(s):

FitzChivalry (Realm of the Elderings series by Robin Hobb)
Girton (The Blood of Assassins series by R.J. Barker)

 

2. Spiritual

Nothing hotter than an assassin who debates religious philosophy with you and says a nice prayer for your passing after they stick a knife between your ribs, eh?

(I’m 100% serious here)

 

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Favourite Example(s):

Thane Krios (Mass Effect 2 & 3)

 


🔮 Magic Users 🔮

 

Witches and Wizards:

1. Sarcastic

This is how I always want my sarcasm. Served with a big bowl of fireballs.

See, being a spellcaster is hard life, folks. You’re the easiest target in battle. You’re more often than not shoved into the role of a sidekick (when you’re not being burned at the stake, that is). And who gets most of the credit and glory at the end of the day? Yeah. The guy with the pointy stick.

So a wizardy or witchy type of character with a sarcastic, I’ve-had-enough-of-this-shit attitude is…cathartic? Satisfying? Something along those lines.

 

2. Brassy with Low Tolerance for Idiots

See above? I especially love female witches/wizards who are like this, because we can never have enough loud, outspoken women in fiction.

 

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Favourite example(s):

– Joan Clayton (Penny Dreadful)

 

Seers/Prophets:

3. Childlike Wonder

I look at seerhood in most stories as more of a curse than a gift. And as with assassins, I think it’d be incredibly difficult to retain your humanity (or sanity) in this particular line of work. So, to me, a seer who possesses a kind of bright-eyed innocence, even with the weight of millions and millions of lives bearing down on them, is someone to be treasured.

 

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Favourite example(s):

Quinn (The Tarot Sequence series by K.D. Edwards)

 


⚔️ Warrior/Fighter ⚔️

1. Shy/Introverted

This isn’t a character I come across all too often, and I’d love to see that remedied. Because people who enjoy charging into the thick of a fight, blades and guns drawn, don’t necessarily have to be extroverts. They may be anxious about socializing and quiet in a crowded room, which is perfectly fine and should be more normalized, in my opinion.

 


🤷 Normal People 🤷

 

Public Servants:

1. Unwavering Moral Conviction

Listen, I love vigilantes and anti-heroes as much as the next person. Characters who “break bad” because they believe society is rigged, and flirting with the dark side is the only way to achieve justice in the long run. They make for fantastic stories.

But I love the flip side of it even more: public servants who stay within the limits of the law because they believe, with every ounce of their being, that you can’t right wrongs with more wrongs. These characters never waver in their convictions, even when those around them–people they love and trust–are choosing to discard the law and societal order for personal gain. Or if they do waver, if they end up going through moments of crisis, they come out on the other side even stronger.

I may not always agree with them, but I find these characters admirable regardless.

 

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Psycho-Pass

Favourite Example(s):

Akane Tsunemori (Psycho-Pass)
Mulagesh (The City of Blades by Robert Bennett Jackson)

 

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Sooooo, if there are any cocky pirate captains and good-hearted assassins reading this…*cough* My DMs are open

37 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: Traits I Like in Characters (Sorted by Character Class/Type)

  1. Jess @ Jessticulates says:

    I love your twist on this week’s topic! Ugh I love Mulaghesh so much. Also witches with a low tolerance for idiots are also my favourite thing, and I know exactly what you mean about courteousness – that’s the main reason Hannibal Lecter works so well for me. He’s absolutely terrifying, but he’s just so polite about it that I can’t help being fascinated by him.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kathy @ Pages Below the Vaulted Sky says:

      I’m replying to this a decade late, but thank you Jess!!! Hannibal Lector–mainly Mads Mikkelson’s version of him–is one of my favourite characters for that very reason. It’s utterly fascinating how rudeness is the worst crime to someone who can’t feel empathy or remorse.

      Like

  2. Sophie @ Me and Ink says:

    I absolutely love how you have separated them into class and trait because I completely agree that you prefer different traits in different characters!! 😊

    I absolutely loved this post and love so many of the characters you have mentioned!!
    I love characters who are evil but have manners– it is kind of a weird combination as they are almost opposite but I think it is great and so fun to read about (I’m not sure fun is the right word but I’m going with it 😂)

    Also in the boneless mercies there is a character who is a contract killer and believes in religion. She isn’t the main character but I thought I would let you know.

    Now you’ve mentioned it I so what a character who is a shy introverted fighter– that would be amazing!! 😍 I need that character!!

    Great post and as always I loved reading it!! ❤

    Like

  3. Realms of My Mind says:

    I love this write-up! I, too, am a sucker for courteous, confident pirates. Really, anybody who has the confidence to know they can wreck you, but isn’t arrogant or bragging about it, gets an automatic +5 from me.

    Like

  4. Margaret @ Weird Zeal says:

    Omg I love a sarcastic witch or wizard. So much fun and so satisfying 😀 And I’d love to see more of those shy warrior types! I love it when a character is quiet and everyone thinks they’re being all strong and silent but really they’re just shy 😂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. El says:

    Oh, now I reeeaally want to read Robin Hobb’s series! That’s such a cool character trait / job combination! Also, yes too sarcastic wizards and witches (although you can get me with sarcasm every time no matter who or what)
    And courteous leaders and thieves who have their own rules and manners and stick to them are the best!! Loved this post, Kathy!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kathy @ Pages Below the Vaulted Sky says:

      I feel like I say this to people every other week, but you SO have to read Robin Hobb, El!!! She is amazing at taking your typical fantasy archetypes–princesses, pirates, assassins–and giving them traits that you wouldn’t normally think to find in those character types. And they genuinely all feel like actual people. It’s incredible and I’m 80% sure it’s black magic. 😀

      Like

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