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Literature / 45 Master Characters
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45 Master Characters: Mythic Models for Creating Original Characters by Victoria Schmidt offers heroic and villainous sub-types of 8 female and 8 male archetypes, along with 4 Friend archetypes, 6 Rival archetypes, and 3 Symbol archetypes. The author connects each of the main archetypes to a figure from Greek or Egyptian myth, and describes in depth the characteristics of that archetype: what they care about, what they fear, what motivates them, and how other characters see them. She then shows how to tweak the character, take it a bit too far, and craft a villainous version.


Compare with The Complete Writer's Guide to Heroes & Heroines.

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Heroes Overview

The nine Hero archetypes are as follows:

  • Apollo: The Businessman
    • A logical, focused team player who is good at planning and enjoys performing his duties (unemployment is death to him) but poor at dealing with chaotic forces (including emotions and relationships).
  • Ares: The Protector
    • A physically oriented warrior who revels in competition and risk, defends his kin, and fears nothing anyone can do to him - except losing the ability to fully use his body (paralysis would be death to him).
  • Dionysus: The Woman's Man
    • A fun-loving, sensual man who can't relate to masculine pastimes but revels in the company of women, who helps the women around him to find their courage and realize their own worth - although the Dionysus himself often feels flawed and may never find the perfect woman he seeks.
  • Hades: The Recluse
    • A sensitive introvert with a rich inner life, a dreamer and philosopher who shies from people (conformity is death to him); he might yearn for love or companionship but is at a loss as to how to get it.
  • Hephestus: The Inventor
    • A brilliant genius who has the greatest inventions that he uses to support the people of the world. His brilliant mind brings forth the greatest ideas on how to get the job done but always wants to keep focus (loss of creativity would be death to him).
  • Hermes: The Fool
    • A playful, carefree soul who enjoys his freedom and doesn't worry about consequences; he won't deliberately hurt others, but neither will he let himself be tied down to a relationship (and prison would be death to him).
  • Osiris: The Male Messiah
  • Poseidon: The Artist
    • A creative but emotionally volatile man who takes any criticism poorly (rejection is death to him); his behavior and reactions are not easily predicted, and even he may fear that he will harm those he loves.
  • Zeus: The King
    • A powerful leader, even a bit of a control freak (loss of power is death to him), who demands obedience, provides for his family, and rises to any challenge, but sees emotions as weaknesses.

Their villainous versions are as follows:



    Apollo the Businessman 

    Ares the Protector 
  • Dante from Devil May Cry practically makes fighting into an art form. In fact, Devil May Cry encourages you not just to fight demons, but to do it in style.
  • Harry Dresden from The Dresden Files, though he fights with magic rather than weapons.
  • Alucard from Hellsing, though he definitely has Gladiator qualities as well, given how brutal and sadistic he is in battle. And he's not exactly sportsman-like in a battle. But on the other hand, he is loyal to the Hellsing Organization and its master, Sir Integra.
  • Yuri Lowell from Tales of Vesperia is the game's main protagonist, and a heroic example of a Blood Knight, as expressed by his dialogue when starting and finishing a battle.

    Dionysus the Woman's Man 
  • Casanova was said to be this way - not using women for his own needs at the expense of theirs, but rather caring for them as individuals and helping them to achieve a greater sense of self-worth. Unfortunately, Casanova got stuck with such a Don Juan reputation that we even use his name for The Casanova trope.
  • Jaune Arc from RWBY lacks confidence in himself, and starts off as a lousy Huntsman (and still is somewhat lacking in comparison to his peers). The first two people he befriends are Ruby and Pyrrha, due to his unassuming, friendly personality.

    Hades the Recluse 
  • Batman, while a philanthropist as Bruce Wayne, tends to operate along. He'll occasionally let Robin or Batgirl help him out on his missions, but he tends to fly solo. In addition he does have hints of The Businessman.
  • Calvin in Calvin and Hobbes: The Series is an unusual example - rich imagination and eventual manipulative tendencies fits this quite well.

    Hephestus the Inventor 
  • Tadashi Hamada and his brother, Hiro are this and The Male Messiah. Tadashi developed Baymax with the sincere hope that the healthcare companion would help people all over the world. He is dedicated to helping others no matter what the cost is to him, a statement undeniably proven when he makes the ultimate sacrifice in an attempt to protect his teacher. His brother, Hiro, picks up where he left off throughout the movie.
  • Seth Brundle in The Fly (1986) is a combination of this and The Recluse (having been working and living alone for at least six years). The shy, dorky scientist is unable to program his potentially world-changing telepods to teleport living beings until he falls in love and realizes the nature of "the flesh". Due to a subsequent Tragic Mistake on his part that slowly mutates him into a human-insect hybrid creature, his character arc ends with him fully becoming The Mad Scientist — desperate to find a way to retain his fading humanity and driven by the selfish instincts of an insect, the climax has him attempt to fuse himself with his lover and her unborn child.

    Hermes the Fool 

    Osiris the Male Messiah 
  • Jellal Fernandes from Fairy Tail, as of the Grand Magic Games, he formed the Crime Sorcière to eliminate all dark guilds.
  • Mytho from Princess Tutu always is willing to sacrifice himself to save others, even after he lost his heart to seal the monster Raven away.

    Poseidon the Artist 

    Zeus the King 
  • Makarov Dreyar from Fairy Tail is a benevolent leader of the Fairy Tail guild and helps them strive for the greater good. He has shades of the Male Messiah


    Apollo the Traitor 
  • Mewtwo from Pokémon has an underlying resentment towards humans, but Depending on the Writer he is mixed with either The Gladiator (in the games) or The Punisher (in the movies).

    Ares the Gladiator 
  • When unrestrained, the Winter Knight's Mantle from The Dresden Files turns its bearer into this; a bloodthirsty, hypermasculine Control Freak who (ab)uses people without compunction.

    Dionysus the Seducer 
  • Gaston in Beauty and the Beast constantly goes after the main protagonist, Belle, despite her constant rejection of him. He doubles as The Gladiator.
  • Bacchus Groh (whose name even corresponds with Dionysus) from Fairy Tail, who isn't really a villain, but in the Grand Magic Games, he does steal Cana's top after beating her in a drinking competition, and wager with Elfman that if he should beat him, he gets to spend a night with Elfman's sisters.
  • Makoto Itou from School Days was widely hated by many anime fans for constantly sleeping around with so many other women.

    Hades the Warlock 

    Hephestus the Mad Scientist 
  • Shou Tucker from Fullmetal Alchemist is an infamous example. He combines his own young daughter, Nina, and her pet dog into a chimera, condemning them to a Fate Worse than Death.
  • Albert Wesker from Resident Evil creates all sorts of mutant monsters from numerous biological viruses.
  • Dr. Robotnick/Eggman from Sonic the Hedgehog has turned small woodland creatures into robots, and in Sonic Unleashed, he even split the planet open so he could harvest Dark Gia energy!

    Hermes the Derelict 
  • Arsene Lupin the Third, from Lupin III: A criminal because he cannot belong to the daily tedium. His need for freedom, risk, and women consumes his attention.

    Osiris the Punisher 
  • Light Yagami from Death Note wants to make the world a paradise with no criminals. He hopes to kill every criminal on earth, but is willing to kill any police officer hunting him down to achieve that goal.
  • Judge Claude Frollo from The Hunchback of Notre Dame feels a strong need to punish all evildoers in the world, with no regards for whether or not he might be becoming one. Just like Light Yagami.
  • Adam Taurus from RWBY is driven by a hatred of humanity, wanting to punish them for what they did to him, and also wants to punish Blake Belladonna for leaving him, meaning he could also qualify as The Abuser.

    Poseidon the Abuser 
  • Big Hero 6:
    • Hiro Hamada temporarily becomes this when Yokai/Robert Callaghan dismisses the death of his brother as being Tadashi's] fault for trying to save him. He then attempts to use Baymax, a robot created by Tadashi to be a healthcare companion, to kill Yokai, however, [both his team and Baymax bring him back to his senses before he could do it.
    • Yokai/Robert Callaghan, the Big Bad, fits the description to a T: He's seeking revenge on Alistair Krei for his role in his daughter's perceived death and so consumed by his grief that he doesn't care about bystanders that might be hurt in the process. He also doubles as The Shadow as well.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist:
    • Scar before his Heel–Face Turn fits the description to a T: A brutal, ruthless Serial Killer in a Roaring Rampage of Revenge against the State Alchemists that annihilated his people. He's so consumed by his rage that he doesn't care about the consequences of his actions or bystanders that might be hurt in the process; after his Heel–Face Turn he has developed into The Protector.
    • Roy Mustang temporarily becomes this when he encounters Envy, who killed his best friend Hughes. He has burned them to the point of being reduced to their true form, then stamps them under his boot and prepares to charbroil them one last time. However, he ultimately averts Jumping Off the Slippery Slope thanks to his allies.

    Zeus the Dictator 

Comparing the Gender Roles

Examples of stories or series that play one type off another, so we can see how they interact:

    Anime and Manga 
  • Fullmetal Alchemist: Scar develops from an Abuser into a Protector.
  • Princess Mononoke: Ashitaka is a fine example of The Male Messiah archetype. He ends up changing the lives of many characters in the story, most importantly the life of his Love Interest San. Through their interactions, she is changed from a Gorgon into an Amazon (see the Master Heroines article for more information on these two archetypes).

    Video Games 
  • Sonic the Hedgehog
    • Shadow the Hedgehog's (a Recluse) encounter with Amy Rose (a Maiden) in Sonic Adventure 2 completely changes his mind about the worth of humanity and reminds him of the true promise he made with his friend Maria (another archetypal Maiden).
    • While he is most definitely a Fool, Sonic also has a bit of The Male Messiah archetype within him. While he does not necessarily develop, everyone he meets is forever affected by interaction with him. Notable examples are Tails and Amy Rose, both whom develop into heroes in their own right after being influenced by the blue blur.

Heroines Overview

The eight Heroine archetypes are as follows:

Their villainous versions are as follows:

  • Aphrodite: The Femme Fatale
    • A cold, apathetic woman who uses sex to get what she wants from men.
  • Artemis: The Gorgon
    • A vengeful woman who can easily go into a rage when she feels threatened.
  • Athena: The Backstabber
    • This woman would do anything to get to the top, even if it meant ruining the lives or careers of others.
  • Demeter: The Overcontrolling Mother
    • A woman who butts into her children's lives. Her need to be needed is taken to extremes; she might even kidnap her children if they tried to leave her.
  • Hera: The Scorned Woman
    • She doesn't take betrayal well and demands respect from all. If she finds her man has dumped her she will make life a nightmare for him and whoever he has dumped her for.
  • Hestia: The Betrayer
  • Isis: The Destroyer
  • Persephone: The Troubled Teen
    • A selfish girl who likes to indulge herself in parties, drugs, and/or sex; should she get in a pinch she expects her family or friends to bail her out and clean up the mess she leaves behind.



    Aphrodite the Seductive Muse 
  • All of the copies of Cylon Number Six in Battlestar Galactica (2003), but especially "Chip!Six"/"Head!Six", who appears in Gaius Baltar's subconscious in a red dress and seduces him into doing things.
  • Veronica Quaife in The Fly (1986) is a snarky, smart, and beautiful journalist whose blossoming relationship with Seth Brundle (The Inventor/The Recluse) ends up giving him the "Eureka!" Moment he needs to figure out how to program his telepods to transport living beings. Unfortunately, her obnoxious editor and ex-lover's attempts to meddle with their relationship leads to Seth making a Tragic Mistake that leads to him becoming The Mad Scientist.
  • Guinevere from Merlin (2008) who is considered sensible and down-to-earth as well as romantically desirable by the narrative. In the first season (before she became a Love Interest) she was very much The Nurturer, and she retains traits of this throughout the show.
  • Xiao Qiao from Red Cliff and Romance of the Three Kingdoms. By distracting the enemy general with her charms, she delays a battle long enough for her side to gain an advantage.
  • Minako Aino and Michiru Kaioh from Sailor Moon. Minako in the manga is a Hot-Blooded badass tomboy who enjoys sticking it to boys, thus counts as The Amazon.

    Artemis the Amazon 
  • Erza Scarlet from Fairy Tail (has a bit of Seductive Muse as well, especially if her Seduction Armor is any indication, and due to her leadership skills, may also qualify as The Matriarch and her kindness leaves some of The Nurturer.)
  • Pyrrha Nikos of RWBY. Her absolute selflessness and motherly personality also makes her The Nurturer.
  • Makoto Kino (whose personality also fits The Nurturer) and Haruka Tenoh from Sailor Moon. In the manga, Minako also has traits of The Amazon (athleticism, competitive nature, combat capability, etc.)
  • Gretchen Richter in 1632. Despite being on the good guys side, her Knight Templar instincts make her almost a textbook example of the villainous version of this as described in the book.
  • Judith from Tales of Vesperia is about as much of a Blood Knight as Yuri is. Her flirtacious nature can also help her qualify as a Seductive Muse.

    Athena the Father's Daughter 
  • Elanor Lamb in BioShock 2 who is very loyal to her Big Daddy.
  • Cana Alberona from Fairy Tail had a hard time convincing Gildarts that she was actually his daughter, but eventually he finds a way to reach out to him.
  • Integra Fairbrooks Windgates Hellsing from Hellsing plays this straight in the 2001 anime, but not completely in the manga. Integra's not trying to prove anything to anyone there and connects rather well with Seras Victoria, looking up the Queen for orders if anyone. She's a mix of Persephone (when she was young), bit of Athena, Hera (her attitude towards her family and her role as leader of Hellsing certainly seems this way) and Demeter (towards Seras Victoria and the younger knight generation).
  • Garland from Maddigan's Quest. Totally a Daddy's Girl, considers herself the leader of the circus after his demise, and constantly butts heads with Yves, who she believes is coming onto her mother and trying to take control of the circus.
  • Ziva David in NCIS: Not literally as she does not get along with her biological father, though her mentor, Gibbs, is a Parental Substitute. She prefers to associate with men not so much romantically but as a fellow wolf in the pack and strives successfully to be as badass as any of them.
  • Belle from Once Upon a Time whose most important relationships are with the men in her life, and who respects them whilst simultaneously trying to get independence from them.

    Demeter the Nurturer 
  • The titular heroine from Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH and her animated equivalent Mrs. Brisby from The Secret of NIMH. By any name, she's a devoted mother who spends the entire story overcoming her own timid nature to protect her endangered children.
  • Sunset Shimmer also begins to take on this role after her Heel–Face Turn. With each passing film, more of her identity is defined by her drive to aid and protect others, particularly her closest friends.
  • Snow White from Once Upon a Time certainly has something of The Artemis in her, but is mainly characterized by her role as mother to Emma and her nurturing tendencies toward others.
  • Generator (Jade Sinclair) at the Super Hero School Whateley Academy in the Whateley Universe. She even sees her future life as a helper to her friend Tennyo, or as a superpowered baby sitter protecting the children of other superheroes (and her own children, if she ever becomes capable of having children).
  • Makoto Kino from Sailor Moon has the action-oriented nature of The Amazon, and the association with flora, but she is also the "mom" of the Senshi and likes to take care of her friends.

    Hera the Matriarch 
  • Ruby Rose from RWBY. She is one of the strongest fighters, supports everyone on her team, and keeps tabs on allies. Despite being the youngest and having No Social Skills, she manages to lead her team.

     Hestia the Mystic 
  • Phoebe from Friends is listed in the book.
  • Blake Belladonna from RWBY is this and The Female Messiah, due to her adherence to her values and self-imposed mission to fix the White Fang. She becomes a self-destructive version of The Female Messiah mid-Volume 2.

    Isis the Female Messiah 
  • Iji, if pacifistic.
  • Emma Swan from Once Upon a Time, The Chosen One who is destined to break the spell over Storybrooke, but who finds it difficult to form personal attachments.

    Persephone the Maiden 
  • Chibiusa from Sailor Moon. Similarly, Usagi can fall into this when she's not The Female Messiah, as she easily opens up to outcasts and loners, sometimes to her detriment.
  • Amy Rose from the Sonic series, who actually is a more developed version of this archetype since she has changed from a frequent victim into an independent Action Girl who can manage to hold her own against enemies.


    Aphrodite the Femme Fatale 

    Artemis the Gorgon 
  • Zorin Blitz from Hellsing completely Mind Rapes Seras Victoria and horribly mutilates her and murders Pip Bernadotte and his entire platoon.

    Athena the Backstabber 
  • Croix Meridies from Little Witch Academia, who seeks to unlock the Grand Triskelion in order to become the greatest witch by any means necessary.
  • Queen Regina from Once Upon a Time what with her thirst for power and the desire to make everyone miserable, with a dash of The Gorgon considering her core motivation is revenge.

    Demeter the Overcontrolling Mother 

    Hera the Scorned Woman 
  • Vriska of Homestuck, especially in her 'relationship' with Tavros.
  • Zira from The Lion King II: Simba's Pride is a tyranical ruler of her pride of lions, and is also incredibly vengeful, making her a combination of this and The Gorgon.
  • After being The Mystic for the first two series of Merlin (2008), Morgana becomes this. Interestingly, she is not "scorned" in the sense that a man has ditched her, but that she feels betrayed and embittered by all of Camelot.

    Hestia the Betrayer 
  • Jacqueline in Once Upon a Time, a Gender Flipped Jack the Giant Killer who tricks said giant into revealing the location of the beanstalk and the treasure so that she can steal his belongings and kill his family.

    Isis the Destroyer 
  • Meredy from Fairy Tail, who was ready to kill Gray because he had indirectly hurt her mother figure, Ultear.
  • Demona from Gargoyles who has fully embraced her own belief-system that all humans are evil and stops at nothing to commit mass genocide against them.
  • Iji becomes this if she is too violent.
  • Cinder Fall from RWBY was the mastermind behind the destruction of Beacon Academy.

    Persephone the Troubled Teen 
  • Sara from the Sonic the Hedgehog: The Movie fits a lot of the qualifications of this archetype, but she can't really be classified as evil or totally selfish. She's just a bit spoiled and careless, and does show concern for a few of the other characters in this OVA.

Comparing the Gender Roles

    A. Roughly the same thing regardless of gender 
  • The Protector and Amazon are both physically oriented warriors who love competition.
  • The Dionysus and Aphrodite are both strongly identified with sexuality.
  • The Fool and Maiden are both carefree souls.
  • The Abuser and Gorgon are both vengeful.

    B. Rough counterparts who still amount to the same general idea 
  • The book differentiates between the male and female versions of the Messiah by saying the male Messiah preaches the way of love, while the female messiah is the way love itself.

    C. Those who don't seem to pair off 

Examples of stories or series that play one type off another, so we can see how they interact:

    Anime and Manga 
  • Black Lagoon: The series contains both versions of Athena. Balalaika, a former Soviet soldier turned ruthless Mafiya queen, is loyal to her comrades, but otherwise fits the Backstabber archetype perfectly. One of her victims is Yukio Washimine, a Yakuza Princess who takes over her murdered father's criminal organization; poor Yukio tries to be The Father's Daughter, but fails, with tragic results.
  • Fairy Tail: Minerva starts off as The Gorgon and later some of The Backstabber until Erza, when Minerva was vulnerable and defenseless halfway through the Tartaros arc, convinced her that she still has people caring about her, and come the Alverez Empire arc and the Sabertooth Spinoff manga, she becomes The Amazon.
  • Princess Mononoke: San is gradually changed from a Gorgon (the villainous version of the Artemis archetype) into an Amazon (the heroic version) by the male Messiah Ashitaka, whose selflessness and love cause this transformation.
  • Princess Tutu: Maiden and Messiah Duck's ideals and actions affect the entire main cast. She manages to set in motion the character development of Rue, Fakir, and Mytho through everything she does to regain Mytho's heart and change fate.

    Video Games 
  • The Legend of Zelda: Princess Zelda, a Female Messiah, is often the motivator of Link, a Male Messiah. While he carries out actions to bring change, Zelda is usually the driving force behind him.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog
    • Blaze the Cat (an Amazon) learns about warmth and friendship from Sonic The Hedgehog (a Fool). His playful, easy-going nature melts her icy facade.
    • Amy Rose and Sonic The Hedgehog act very similarly due to their archetypes (the Maiden and the Fool, respectively) being male-female counterparts.
    • Princess Elise is a good example of the Nurturer archetype. Her concern for her country is powerful, as she is willing to give herself over to Eggman to protect them. Her entire identity seem to be her roles as a princess and as the seal of Iblis; she definitely has a lot of responsibility on her shoulders and is without time to think of herself. Upon meeting Sonic, who is of the Fool archetype, Elise is able to let go a bit and have fun. He teaches her the value of truly smiling and being free of worry. As Elise herself puts it, he makes her feel less like a princess on a pedestal and more like a person.

    Western Animation 
  • Gravity Falls: This series pits two Persephones against each other. Mabel Pines, a Genki Girl and Friend to All Living Things, is The Maiden. Her rival Pacifica Northwest, a Rich Alpha Bitch, is The Troubled Pre-Teen, at least until her Heel–Face Turn in season 2.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: Princess Celestia, a Female Messiah, almost never deals with world-threatening villains directly. She rather directs her student Twilight Sparkle, a Father's Daughter, into action such as in the pilot where Celestia tricks Twilight into leaving her isolated life and make friends who help her defeat Nightmare Moon.

Support Overview

The Friend archetypes are those characters who are generally supportive, but may (for good or bad reasons) do things to hinder the Hero.

  • Magi
    • An advisor much wiser and more experienced than the Hero, but who may be hard to win over as a potential source of information or help. Also may mislead or manipulate the Hero as a form of "teaching."
  • Mentor
    • "Closer in level" to the Hero, and, when a positive character, far more likely to go all-out in helping him. When negative, may be competitive or controlling, and even jealous.
  • Best Friend
    • The Hero's confidant, always ready to lend a hand - but may hold the Hero back out of fear for his safety or fear for the loss of their close friendship.
  • Lover
    • A "secure base" and a shoulder to cry on, and the character the Hero should be closest to by the end of the story. Need not be a mate per se; may be a child or a pet.

The Rival archetypes are those characters who mostly hinder the Hero, without necessarily meaning him ill; a Rival is not a Villain, but may be a form of Antagonist.

  • Joker
    • Uses verbal humor and practical jokes to keep everything on a comedic rather than dramatic level, which may prevent people from getting down to discussing important issues. Craves attention and may lie or mislead others for the fun of it.
  • Jester
    • Well-intentioned but clumsy, or otherwise capable of causing physical havoc without meaning to ("What does this button do?"). Most times the Hero can't even bring himself to scold the character.
  • Nemesis
    • Consciously tries to mess things up for the Hero - a true rivalry here - yet when things really get bad might even lend a hand to get things back to normal. Would not enjoy life nearly as much if the Hero weren't around to spar with.
  • Investigator
    • Asks questions, demands details, and generally slows things down and saps the Hero's patience. Has little understanding of "acceptable risk" and doesn't want the Hero to make decisions based on limited data, even in a time crunch.
  • Pessimist
    • Points out everything wrong with the Hero's plan, and everything that could possibly go wrong, completely undermining the Hero's confidence. Doesn't believe anything will ever work, so never gives anything a try. Is a natural Devil's Advocate.
  • Psychic
    • At her best, uses predictions to guide the Hero (thus almost a type of Magi); usually, however, she withholds information and masks the truth, and may seek to be acknowledged for her unique powers. Needn't be a real psychic; can be, for example, a psychologist or behavioral analyst who can predict what people are going to do next.

The Symbol archetypes represent what the Hero was, is, and hopes to become. These qualities can overlap with other support characters; a Best Friend might also be the Lost Soul clinging to old influences (e.g., still a gang member), a Mentor might also be the Double and everything the Hero wants to be. A Lover who is also the Double is likely a Morality Pet (I think).

  • Shadow
    • Represents the character flaws that the Hero is trying to overcome. The Hero prefers to avoid this character - doesn't like being forced to think about his negative side.
  • Lost Soul
    • Represents what the Hero used to be, what he does not want to fall back to. May be a longtime friend who remains tied to old influences.
  • Double
    • Represents what the Hero wants to be, the person he is trying to become. A role model, but not the same function as the Magi or Mentor.


Character Examples

  • The Magi: See Trickster Mentor.
  • The Mentor: Compare with Mentor Archetype.
  • The Best Friend:
    • Spike from My Little Pony Friendshipis Magic
    • Both Hobbes and the MTM from Calvin and Hobbes: The Series
    • Happy (for Natsu) from Fairy Tail
    • Ivan Vorpatril cousin of Miles Vorkosigan. Lazy and reluctant, seemingly a useless courtier, but is always there for Miles.
    • Toki Zha and Dea-Htuhok Kho in Albedo: Erma Felna EDF for the titular heroine, though Dea appears earlier in the story, but chronologically speaking Toki goes first. In both cases, they help Erma as much as they can, in Dea's case, to deal with all the chaos regarding the Ekosiaki crisis and in Toki's case. she's mostly helps her to smile when Erma needs a good laugh.
  • The Lover:
    • The book mentions Toto from The Wizard of Oz as Dorothy's Lover - the character she's closest to, the one she'd drop everything for in a heartbeat.

  • The Joker: See The Imp.
  • The Jester: See The Klutz.
  • The Nemesis: See the Arch-Enemy
  • The Investigator: See the Obstructive Bureaucrat
  • The Pessimist:
    • Near as I can tell, while The Pessimist probably counts as The Eeyore, not all Eeyores are playing the role of The Pessimist. Consider Puddleglum, who keeps reeling off the potential negative consequences of the party's actions, not to mention how their actions are going to be fruitless, yet continues to work just as hard as the rest and plays a crucial role in securing a positive ending.
    • Might also be referring to Commander Contrarian?
    • A positive example of a pessimist would be the Devil's Advocate.

  • The Shadow:
    • Dostojevsky put at least one of these into every novel. It's also called the Doppelgänger. They commit the crimes the heroes only want/dream of, or are just professional villains compared to them. And they usually bite the dust at the end.
    • Agatha Prenderghast from ParaNorman. She and Norman are both discriminated against by the townspeople because of having the ability to speak to the dead. But whereas Norman seeks to save them and learns to value the people who care about him, Agatha sought to make them suffer and completely forgot about the people who loved her in the process.
  • The Lost Soul:
    • Almost every movie about a man trying to leave a gang (or the Mafia) has some version of this.
    • Suzaku from Code Geass fits into this one, as well as being a direct rival to Lelouch. Lelouch at one point had a certain amount of belief in Britannia as a child, but lost it when his mother was murdered and his father, the Emperor not only did nothing about it, he basically told him to go to hell, right before exiling him to Japan. Suzaku, seven years after their last encounter, has become convinced there is something in Britannia worth his effort to try to change it from the inside. As a bonus, he is indeed an old friend of Lelouch's, which makes their present-day relationship...complicated to say the least.
  • The Double:

Examples of stories or series in which these characters interact with the Hero or Heroine in a way that strongly showcases their role:

    Comic Books 
  • Spider-Man
    • Magi: Madame Web, a psychic who takes an interest in manipulating Spider-Man to her own ends. Uncle Ben is also a constant source of inspiration, but being dead, never gets involved.
    • Mentor: Robbie Robertson, Captain Stacy, and/or the Ultimate version of Ben Urich, who act as father figures to Peter and help guide him on his journalism career.
    • Best Friend: Harry Osborne. Holds Peter back because of his family's connections.
  • Joker: Flash Thompson, bully with a heart of gold.
  • Jester: Betty Brant, original love-interest and co-worker whose good-natured stupidity and unwillingness to actually talk about any problems tended to make her the epicenter of disaster.
  • Nemesis: Felicia Hardy/Black Cat, a thief with a heart of gold who is only interested in playing cat and mouse games with Spider-man.
  • Investigator: Aunt May, whose constant fretting is a source of frustration for Peter.
  • Pessimist: JJ Jameson, who constantly criticizes every single thing Peter does in both identities.
  • Psychic: Ezekiel Simms, who gives Peter vital warning about his latest enemies, but fails to mention that they were his enemies, not Peter's.
  • Lost Soul: Flash Thompson becomes this after high school. He remains stuck in a rut while Peter's life changes.

  • Harry Potter
    • Magi: Dumbledore fits this perfectly. He becomes a bit of a mentor as well during HBP, but become the Magi again when he dies.
    • Mentor
  • Lover
  • Joker
  • Jester
  • Neville is an interesting subversion: his friends forgive him for his general klutziness, but some of the teachers give him a hard time. It all changes when he takes some levels in Badass.
  • Nemesis
    • Draco Malfoy is a textbook example, down to the sparring.
  • Harry is this to an extent for Snape. Snape protects his hide fearlessly book after book. And yet - he hates his guts. (He has his reasons...)
  • Investigator
  • Pessimist
  • Psychic
    • Trelawney is a weird play on this one. She isn't aware of the trueness of her prophecies, nor to their effect on Harry, but she presumes to be in possession of great psychic powers that could benefit him.
    • Firenze is more of a classic example, of the often withholding information variation.
  • Shadow
  • Interestingly, Snape's main shadow is Peter Pettigrew, as he is his own Foil. Snape is a brave man whose undying love for Lily caused his remorse, and caused his Heel–Face Turn, leading to his role as a spy for the Order in the lines of the death eaters. Pettigrew is cowardly man, who backstabbed Lily and James from within his position as their secret keeper and order member, and then joined the Death Eaters.
  • Lost Soul
  • Double

    Video Games 
  • Final Fantasy X
    • Magi: Auron serves this role for the viewpoint protagonist, Tidus. He offers advice and is a wise character, but never goes into depth (as Tidus puts it, "You can always count on Auron to complicate things.") and is somewhat distant.
    • Mentor
      • Wakka somewhat serves this role, as he acts like a sort of "big brother" character when Tidus first meets him.
      • Likewise, Lulu acts as Yuna's mentor, acting as a mature older sibling would.
    • Lover: Yuna becomes this for Tidus. At the beginning of the game, she's the only one that believes he is from Zanarkand and his relationship with her is the most prominent out of the entire party.
  • Final Fantasy X-2
    • Best Friend: Rikku shares this sort of relationship with Yuna, the protagonist. Out of all the members of the Gullwings, Yuna seems to trust her the most.
  • Double: Tidus is Yuna's Double. She acts very much like him in this game and seems to have modeled some of her ideals and lifestyle after his own.

    Western Animation 
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic
    • Magi: Princess Celestia (who is also a Female Messiah) often tricks or encourages Twilight to accomplish her goals of protecting Equestria.
  • Shadow: The Great and Powerful Trixie who takes Twilight's pride in her magic skills and takes it Up to Eleven.
  • Joker: Discord, after being The Derelict in his first couple of appearances, turns to the side of good thanks to Fluttershy. However, he still retains his mischievous traits and doesn't reveal crucial information until after the hard work is done.
  • Double: Star Swirl made many achievements in magic and created a friendship with Scorpan which turned the reluctant invader into an ally of Equestria. As a student of magic and as a leader of companions, Twilight Sparkle looks up to him.
  • Lost Soul: Moondancer, an old friend of Twilight's in Canterlot who shared Twilight's love of books and lack of interest in socializing. Twilight has come out of her shell quite a bit since then, while Moondancer pulled further away, to the point of barely acknowledging other ponies at all.

45 Master Characters: Mythic Models for Creating Original Characters by Victoria Lynn Schmidt; published by Writer's Digest Books (, 2007.
  • ISBN-10: 1-58297-069-6
  • ISBN-13: 978-1-58297-069-1

Alternative Title(s): Master Characters


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