CharacterisationCharacters and More Characters Have you ever encountered a literary character who seems so real that he or she might just jump right off the page and into your living room? What made that character so special? Was it the details the author included about his or her personality and actions? Was it the words you 'heard' the character speak? In this lesson, we're going to focus on literary characters and learn about how authors bring them to life. Let's think about what characters are and the kinds of characters we encounter in fiction. Charactersare the players in a story, the people (or animals or other non-human creatures or objects) who act and are acted upon. They drive the story's plot, but they also allow readers to meet and reflect on many different types of people with many different types of personalities and problems. As readers of novels and watchers of films we identify with and follow the characters throughout the narrative and are invested in them and their stories. Classifying Characters We can classify characters in several ways. Major characters vs. minor characters: Major charactersare central to a story; they take a leading role in the story's primary events. These characters are complex, and they develop throughout the story. Minor characters, on the other hand, support the major characters throughout the story's action, but they are not as highly developed. They can come and go or can be a mainstay but are often less important and are less developed than major characters. In J.K. Rowling's Harry Potterseries, for instance, Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, and Ron Weasley are major characters while Luna Lovegood, Neville Longbottom, and Seamus Finnigan are minor characters. Protagonists vs. antagonists.A protagonistis a story's central character who faces a major conflict that must be solved before the story's end. The protagonist is often the character we spend the most time with and follow throughout the story. We often wish for the protagonist to succeed in overcoming the conflicts that oppose him or her. This doesn’t necessarily make this character the ‘good guy’ it simply makes them the major character within the literary work. An antagonistopposes the protagonist and serves as an obstacle that the protagonist must overcome to resolve their conflict. The antagonist doesn’t necessarily have to be a ‘bad guy’ and can oppose the protagonist in many ways and for many reasons. The antagonist can take the form of a physical obstacle, an internal/emotional/mental obstacle, a company, an idea, a system or person. In J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, Frodo Baggins is a protagonist, while his main antagonists are, Lord Sauron, the One Ring and his internal struggle with temptation and fear. However, in the Japanese anime series Death NoteLight Yagami is the mass murdering protagonist and his antagonist L is an international private detective trying to solve the string of murders.