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  1. #1
    Writing... Tamske's Avatar
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    Default I_FP and the Fantasy genre

    Let's talk about heroes/heroines in the fantasy genre.

    It seems to me that most of the main characters in fantasy are either ISFPs or INFPs. Why?

    I guess most fantasy world favour Feelers. Especially if magic is emotion-based, like in Harry Potter (you need hate to kill,...)

    But why Introvert? Why Perceiving?

    Do you know counterexamples? Do they exist? I'd like to read about an ENTP (...) fantasy hero for a change!
    Got questions? Ask an ENTP!
    I'm female. I just can't draw women

  2. #2
    Blah Orangey's Avatar
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    My (preliminary and terrible) theory is that fantasy stories are not usually deep, psychological studies of one (or a couple) of people; instead, they are usually operatic, involve many characters and storylines, and have little time or space to develop characters in a great amount of detail.

    Now, how does this explain the preponderance of IxFP main characters, you may ask? Well, even though there isn't a lot of room for full character development in many fantasy narrative formulas, the main character still needs to be dynamic and not static (meaning, the hero needs to be the one who changes in the story, or grows, as opposed to side characters who can afford to stay the same throughout.) I want to argue that an easy way to make the characters "dynamic" is to make them IxFP, because that is basically a function of their personality, to change and grow. It is a part of their core personality motive (at least INFPs), so if you stick in a character like that, you won't have to work to hard to show that kind of changing and growing tendency.

    But I don't know...I just thought of this two seconds ago, so it's mostly off-the-cuff BS.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member sofmarhof's Avatar
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    I say this as someone who read fantasy in high school so don't take this the wrong way, but I think the popularity of introverted fantasy heroes might have something to do with many fantasy readers being socially outcast high schoolers... seeing a noble loner makes them feel good about themselves.

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    Uniqueorn William K's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sofmarhof View Post
    I say this as someone who read fantasy in high school so don't take this the wrong way, but I think the popularity of introverted fantasy heroes might have something to do with many fantasy readers being socially outcast high schoolers... seeing a noble loner makes them feel good about themselves.
    Yeah. From the idealistic INFP viewpoint, there is something stirring about seeing an underdog/unknown rising up and becoming a (reluctant) hero. Not that all fantasy novels are this way, but it's a common theme
    4w5, Fi>Ne>Ti>Si>Ni>Fe>Te>Se, sp > so > sx

    appreciates being appreciated, conflicted over conflicts, afraid of being afraid, bad at being bad, predictably unpredictable, consistently inconsistent, remarkably unremarkable...

    I may not agree with what you are feeling, but I will defend to death your right to have a good cry over it

    The whole problem with the world is that fools & fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts. ~ Bertrand Russell

  5. #5
    Courage is immortality Valiant's Avatar
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    I know one counterexample, at least. The Wheel of Time, my absolute favorite.
    It is very innovative, and while related to the rest of the Fantasy genre, it is quite different even in sentiment.

    It has a main protagonist, Rand al'Thor. He's hard to type, but I identify more with him than with the ENTJ type. If he'd be subject to a type, he would be an INTJ with social skills, ability to improvise and emotional warmth.
    He becomes less and less idealistic, sacrificing much for the greater good. At last using entire nations and peoples as pawns in the battle against true evil.
    A nice input in this whole thing is that he also feels a strong contempt against nobility, especially oppressors, and he imposes laws to protect the people. Quite cool...
    I'm not going to spoil too much...

    The book also has other protagonists, and you also get to read first-hand as some of the main antagonists, which is cool.
    The writer of the book, James Oliver Rigney (under the alias Robert Jordan) is a definite INTJ, again with a more mature outlook on emotion than what is generally the stereotype, or what I can see on this forum from people acting the type(or hiding mental illnesses).


    Now, there are two other male protagonists.
    One, Perrin Aybara, is a definite ISTP. Goodnatured, big, strong. Can communicate with wolves.

    The other one, Mat Cauthon, is an ExTP. Hard to say if he's S or N. In the story, it says that he has the ability to read, but that he hadn't read an entire book in his life.
    He undergoes some personality changes in a couple of steps, and I think he becomes more ENTP than ESTP after a few books. Very adventurous. A gambler, drinker and later a great general (however unexpected that might seem).


    Those three are ta'veren, a name for people in this fantasy universe who instead of being guided by fate shapes it around themselves. Like a knot in a weave.

    There are a few non-ta'veren characters as well that the books revolve around... Some of them can be quite hard to type as they are all strong, strong characters out of the ordinary with a great versatility. They're all women who can "channel", except one called Min Farshaw.

    Nynaeve al'Meara - ESFJ (really aggressive though)
    Egwene al'Vere - (e?)NTJ
    Aviendha - ENTJ (Fire on two legs)
    Elayne Trakand - ENFJ
    Min Farshaw - ENTP?




    As a greatly balanced INTJ, Rigney has written one hell of a story, portraying the events from a great many angles.
    The best books I have read, to be quite honest. Those who do not like the Wheel of Time series are nine out of ten times people who haven't the patience to sit down and read fourteen plus brick-thick books with an advanced language.
    The books are appealing to intelligent readers as well as casual pleasure readers who don't prefer to think much or read between the lines.
    They certainly provide much pleasure to read just straight off, but things happening in the first books are definitely worth taking into account in the tenth book when trying to figure out what is going to happen.
    You can also notice people lying, betraying, conspiring and all sorts of things all through the books without it ever being plainly evident until much later, if you didn't remember some vague detail from a few books back.
    I'd say that James Oliver Rigney was a damn genius for writing those amazing pieces of literature.

    The books both values idealism and emotion as something good, at the same time as it is something hindering in the fight against the shadow.
    It's not INFP or ISFP fantasy by any measure. It's NTJ fantasy!

    Mightier than the tread of marching armies is the power of an idea whose time has come

  6. #6
    Blah Orangey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sofmarhof View Post
    I say this as someone who read fantasy in high school so don't take this the wrong way, but I think the popularity of introverted fantasy heroes might have something to do with many fantasy readers being socially outcast high schoolers... seeing a noble loner makes them feel good about themselves.
    Quote Originally Posted by William K View Post
    Yeah. From the idealistic INFP viewpoint, there is something stirring about seeing an underdog/unknown rising up and becoming a (reluctant) hero. Not that all fantasy novels are this way, but it's a common theme
    So you guys are saying that fantasy writers pander to their audience in this regard?
    Artes, Scientia, Veritasiness

  7. #7
    Freshman Member simulatedworld's Avatar
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    Fantasy favors Fi, not Fe.

    The running theme that works very well for fantasy/fiction in general is that if you do what you know in your heart is right then things will always work out for you.

    This works especially well with the ISFP model's secondary Se, where "just doing what feels right in the moment" is glorified and always rewarded. (See Luke Skywalker, Harry Potter, etc.)

    Fantasy does not tend to glorify Fe as much because doing something for any reason other than "knowing in your heart that it's right" doesn't really fit with the Fi-themed moral scheme characteristic of so much fantasy/fiction.
    If you could be anything you want, I bet you'd be disappointed--am I right?

  8. #8
    Uniqueorn William K's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by YourLocalJesus View Post
    The writer of the book, James Oliver Rigney (under the alias Robert Jordan) is a definite INTJ
    He was, not is. Sad loss...
    4w5, Fi>Ne>Ti>Si>Ni>Fe>Te>Se, sp > so > sx

    appreciates being appreciated, conflicted over conflicts, afraid of being afraid, bad at being bad, predictably unpredictable, consistently inconsistent, remarkably unremarkable...

    I may not agree with what you are feeling, but I will defend to death your right to have a good cry over it

    The whole problem with the world is that fools & fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts. ~ Bertrand Russell

  9. #9
    Uniqueorn William K's Avatar
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    I think it might be a bit overgeneralizing to try and lump the whole fantasy genre. After all, to me it's just a setting for the story, and there are plenty of different takes on it.
    4w5, Fi>Ne>Ti>Si>Ni>Fe>Te>Se, sp > so > sx

    appreciates being appreciated, conflicted over conflicts, afraid of being afraid, bad at being bad, predictably unpredictable, consistently inconsistent, remarkably unremarkable...

    I may not agree with what you are feeling, but I will defend to death your right to have a good cry over it

    The whole problem with the world is that fools & fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts. ~ Bertrand Russell

  10. #10
    Blah Orangey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by simulatedworld View Post
    Fantasy favors Fi, not Fe.

    The running theme that works very well for fantasy/fiction in general is that if you do what you know in your heart is right then things will always work out for you.

    This works especially well with the ISFP model's secondary Se, where "just doing what feels right in the moment" is glorified and always rewarded. (See Luke Skywalker, Harry Potter, etc.)

    Fantasy does not tend to glorify Fe as much because doing something for any reason other than "knowing in your heart that it's right" doesn't really fit with the Fi-themed moral scheme characteristic of so much fantasy/fiction.
    Yeah, but this doesn't explain why there is a connection in the first place between fantasy and Fi-based narrative schema. All you've explained here is what is.
    Artes, Scientia, Veritasiness

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