Reading books allows you to discover a variety of characters who might reflect an experience you’ve been through. Fantasy stories are full of interesting characters that offer an insight into who we are as people. Fantasy is my favourite genre and it’s introduced me to a range of complex heroes, villains and everything in between. There’s so much to appreciate about fantasy, which is why I’m listing four complex characters that are worth reading about.
Aragorn from Lord of the Rings
“A time may come soon,” said he, “when none will return. Then there will be need of valour without renown, for none shall remember the deeds that are done in the last defence of your homes. Yet the deeds will not be less valiant because they are unpraised.”
Forever immortalised by the Lord of the Rings film series and Viggo Mortensen, Aragon was one of the first fantasy characters I was introduced to. The character fits the traditional hero trope, as he was born to be king and defeat the ultimate evil. But Aragon is far from one dimensional. The road to accepting his role was long and full of twists.
Aragon displayed a lot of self-doubt on his journey to becoming king. He doubted himself when leading the Fellowship and blamed a lot of the misfortune on his decision making. Even the strongest of us aren’t immune to self-doubt, which is why Aragorn is a relatable character.
Geralt of Rivia from The Witcher
“Lesser, greater, middling, it’s all the same. Proportions are negotiated, boundaries blurred. I’m not a pious hermit, I haven’t done only good in my life. But if I’m to choose between one evil and another, then I prefer not to choose at all.”
A symbol of Polish culture, The Witcher series deals with themes of racism, acceptance, family and politics. All of the motifs are channelled through Geralt of Rivia, a monster hunter who finds himself drawn into plots and intrigues of the world, no matter how much he tries to avoid them. What makes Geralt so interesting is his perspective and how he tries to follow his own path. Although he kills monsters, he sees many humans as monsters. It’s a poignant commentary on the state of how certain governments are run.
Not everyone is born into a loving family, but Geralt was able to make one for himself. The interactions with his adoptive daughter Ciri and lover Yennefer show a caring man that hides behind a gruff exterior.
Jaime Lannister from A Song of Ice and Fire
“Most have been forgotten. Most deserve to be forgotten. The heroes will always be remembered. The best. The best and the worst. And a few who were a bit of both.”
Jaime Lannister is one of my favourite characters of all time because of how complicated he is. Introduced as amoral and arrogant, Jaime is revealed to be someone with many layers. Having killed his king to save thousands, Jaime was branded the Kingslayer and looked down upon by the people of Westeros. This made him disillusioned with the idea of being a knight and what honour stood for.
In his quest to protect his family, Jaime committed terrible acts in the name of love. Through meeting Brienne of Tarth, Jaime began a path to redemption that saw him try and reclaim his honour. All of these conflicting traits make Jaime a wonderful mess of a human trying to make a life for himself.
Falcio Val Mond from The Greatcoats
“Fine, I thought. Let it be just as Heryn said. Let them tell stories of Falcio the fool; of Falcio, who like a child, believed that the world can change just because you want it to.”
I’ve raved about The Greatcoats series plenty of times and I’m going to do it again. Falcio Val Mond is one of the most compelling characters I’ve ever read. As leader of The Greatcoats, Falcio was dedicated to fulfilling the dream of his dead king. He was determined to bring justice to his homeland of Tristia. His idealism is a defining character trait, much to the annoyance of his friends and enemies.
Falcio fought for the memory of his dead wife, to the point that he couldn’t let go of her memory. This left him angry and bitter at the world. He wanted to take his frustrations out on the nobility of Tristia, fighting against a broken system. Falcio’s arrogance mixed with his idealism made for an epic story. The tragedy in his life was juxtaposed by the camaraderie shared with his friends Brasti and Kest. If you’ve not read The Greatcoats series yet then I urge you to pick the books up.
Who are some of your favourite fantasy characters?