Archetypes

The 7 Essential Archetype Roles for your story

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Every story needs characters of some sort to tell the tale. The following 7 character roles are the essential roles in any story.

Cast Role Function Examples from Buffy
The Protagonist Main Main character
  • Defeat “evil”
  • Hero
Buffy Summers
Buffy.summers
The info source Main side-kick 1
  • Challenge protagonist
  • Brains
  • Find information
  • Be the rational voice
Willow
WillowRosenberg
The Gut-instinct Main side-kick 2
  • Support protagonist
  • comical relief
  • Be impulsive
  • Voice emotion
Xander
xander
The antagonist Main Opposition
  • oppose protagonist
  • represent the “evil”
    Final boss
The first (evil)
first_evil_buffy
The mentor Support Guidance
  • Provide advice
  • Provide guidance
  • Supervise protagonist
Giles
giles
The cynic Support Sanity-check
  • Unaligned
  • Keep protagonist ego in check
  • Objective view
Spike
SPIKE
Threshold Guardian Support Side-kick to Antagonist
  • test protagonist readiness
  • oppose protagonist
Caleb
Caleb01

 

Besides the essentials, the world still needs a little filling with a variety of characters. Variety provides the contrast you need to bring your characters to life in full glory. Here are several common types.

Role Traits Examples
The Gentle Giant soft strength
  • Physically super strong
  • Mentally (mildly) retarded
Hagrid (Harry Potter)
hagrid
The mother nurturing
  • provide warmth
  • often into cooking
  • provide meals
  • provide beds
Molly Weasly (HP)
molly_weasly
Joyce Summers (Buffy)
Raised by wolves naive power
  • new to the world
  • a superpower of some sort
  • no human basic knowledge
Castiel (Supernatural)
Anya (Buffy)
anya buffy
The Genius see what others can’t
  • Genius
  • Quirky
Sherlock
sherlock3
The Shadow contrast the hero
  • the opposite of the hero
  • competition
  • show what the hero could be like if a different path was taken.
Faith (Buffy)
Faithstake
The innocent something to protect
  • helpless
  • in need of protection
  • sweet of character
  • pure
Dawn (Buffy)
dawn2l
The chewtoy bad luck at every turn
  • sweet character
  • hopeful
  • victim
Neville (HP)
NevilleYR1
Faux enemy shape-shifter
  • self-sacrificing
  • double agent
  • unknown good alignment
Snape (HP)
snape
The weird girl possibly insane
  • unique perspective on life
  • quirky
Luna (HP)
Luna_Lovegood