Poll: In Fiction, are you more interested in the mundane characters or the fantastical ones?

To put the question another way, in any fictional universe with fantastic elements, are you more interested in the basically bog standard human beings reaction to those fantastic elements, or do tend to care more about the characters that are significantly different from normal people?

For an example, in Star Wars media do you identify with the Han Solo sort of character or do you enjoy the Obi-Wan/Luke types? For me, I've always found myself much more interested in the Jedi characters than anyone else, I always find myself quickly getting bored with most of the other characters except maybe the Droids the rare times they feature in prominence, and I'm not exactly sure why and it's what prompted this thread. Maybe it's because their Force Powers allow for some further deviation from reality, or maybe it's because they tend to have a pretty philosophical mindset, constantly worrying about what their feelings and actions will lead to, especially if it will lead to the Dark Side. As a result I almost always pick up books, shows, games, whatever that star Jedi over anyone else.

How about you guys? Do you typically enjoy the fantastic or the mundane characters more or do you not have a particular preference?

Bit of both.

I'm interested in characters with Obi-Wan's capabilities and Han Solo's personality. The deeply flawed but still decent everymen but with some interesting tricks up their sleeves.

In short, pretty much the Harry Dresdens of the world.

I'm a huge fan of the underdogs, so I probably lean a lot more towards the mundane characters. Especially if they're a comic relief.

Sadly they're usually the characters that end up getting a lot less screen time as well.

I enjoy characters that are well written, so either. However, that's kind of cheating your question, isn't it? So, I'll give it my best shot.

I like Luke. I've always liked Luke. Luke Skywalker blew Han Solo out of the water for me in the movies when I was little because he was the hero. Plus he had a lightsaber.

However, I find that I am actually more often than not drawn to the side characters, be they special or not. The Wedges of the stories. Those characters who are there in support roles for the main characters. They can have special powers, like Hinata, Tenten, Temari, or they can just be a random soldier who is lucky enough to not only get picked for the final battle, but survives, like Wedge or even a pilot in Gundam Seed: Destiny. I kid you not. When they're attacking the space station, a random pilot flies in with them. I figured he'd be toast within a minute, but he makes it. He fights his way through the station, firing his gun and tossing grenades alongside the heroes, stops the doomsday weapon, and makes it all the way back to his mech and out of the station completely alive, and without taking off his helmet. Screw the emotional wreck teenage heroes. I want to know his story.
So yeah, those are the types of characters that I'm drawn to I guess. The ones carrying the rest of the world while the main characters get all the attention.

Me, I identify with Salacious Crumb. There's something about the little guy.

Usually, though, I'm all about the mundane characters. I prefer Wolverine to Spider-Man. I prefer Han to Obi-Wan. Strider to Gandalf.

I generally like both, but their character arcs are most important.

For example in the Honorverse I adore and identify most with Honor Harrington, but at the same time I adore Rafael "Rafe" Cardones, Prescott "Scotty" Tremain, Horace Harkness, and the like. While Honor is rather special(genetically altered for high gravity worlds, and a bit psychic), it's her personality I adore most. I also love Nimitz, because as a treecat he's cute, small, non-intimidating, smart as any human person, and if you threaten the people he cares about he'll kill you dead!

I find interesting characters interesting.
You can have an archmage of the fucking universe that does jack shit... not fucking interesting, plain old hummie Jones that pulls magic temples/traps/artifact/cultures from every bush... very fucking interesting.

Mundane. They have to put more effort into beating the opposition.

KyuubiNoKitsune-Hime:
I generally like both, but their character arcs are most important.

For example in the Honorverse I adore and identify most with Honor Harrington, but at the same time I adore Rafael "Rafe" Cardones, Prescott "Scotty" Tremain, Horace Harkness, and the like. While Honor is rather special(genetically altered for high gravity worlds, and a bit psychic), it's her personality I adore most. I also love Nimitz, because as a treecat he's cute, small, non-intimidating, smart as any human person, and if you threaten the people he cares about he'll kill you dead!

Also, what she said. All great characters. I especially liked the Graysons. Started as technological underdogs, and last I read, on par with the Star Kingdom.
Oh, but not the whole Nimitz thing. Kinda. I picture him as larger than the average house cat, mainly because of the official art of him. And a bit intimidating.

Queen Michael:
Me, I identify with Salacious Crumb. There's something about the little guy.

Usually, though, I'm all about the mundane characters. I prefer Wolverine to Spider-Man. I prefer Han to Obi-Wan. Strider to Gandalf.

Wait, since when is the muscle-bound, immortal guy with metal skeleton and retractable claws "mundane"? :P

As for the OP, I usually prefer fantastic characters, but mostly because I have a lot of fun figuring out powers and guessing how they will use them in the future. Of course you can have a similar deal with mundane characters as well, especially if they go up against fantastical ones, and it's fun to watch them use their own faculties to the fullest, but with fantastic characters there is always a little bit more support for the suspension of disbelief to help things go smoother. For example, Harry Dresden falling three stories and getting back afterwards to run a marathon is okay, because he is magic. Karrin Murphy doing the same is bad writing.

I am the biggest super fan of normal people in normal situations in otherwise extraordinary settings. For your star wars example, I'd even be a little turned off by the Han Solo types because even they are a bit fantastic. Give me some fucking Kolto merchant trading in the Chiss Ascendancy though and I am THERE.

I know this is a pretty silly opinion, but hey, the truth is the truth. I guess I just typically prefer the more realistic stuff in the first place.

GabeZhul:

Queen Michael:
Me, I identify with Salacious Crumb. There's something about the little guy.

Usually, though, I'm all about the mundane characters. I prefer Wolverine to Spider-Man. I prefer Han to Obi-Wan. Strider to Gandalf.

Wait, since when is the muscle-bound, immortal guy with metal skeleton and retractable claws "mundane"? :P

Heheh, well, muscle-bound guys are real, his claws are really just veyr fine knives, and the skeleton is an added thing, like wearing a kevlar vest. Immortality-wise, well, eat your vegetables every day and who kmows?

It sort of depends on the character(s) in question, but for the most part, I'm way more interested in the regular humans, or the underdogs in general.

I was far more interested in the regular people in the "Star Wars" universe than I was in any Jedi, because it just seemed really lame that "some people are randomly born with mitichlorians that give them super powers, so they're better".

I started reading the "Way of Shadows" books, which I should theoretically LOVE, since I love medieval assassin books. But it turns out they aren't Assassins, they get to be super-duper ultra assassins because they were born with powers. Lame.

In the X-Men universe, I wouldn't say I'm necessarily on their side, but I sympathize a lot with humanity (plus I think the whole "Mutants are a metaphor for gay people" thing is ridiculous, but that's another discussion).

There are exceptions, though. I do like Geralt of Rivia, from "The Witcher" games, even though he has powers and is 'better' than everyone else. But he got them going through a process that kills most people who try it, so he could try and help humanity, and his reward is that most people treat him like a leper.

It's the secondary characters that always interest me the most.

Typically these are mundane (Lando Calrissian in SW, or General Klytus in Flash Gordon), though there are exceptions (Balder in the Marvel-Thor mythos).

Might explain why I always prefer playing support-classes. ;)

Why would I follow the story of mundane characters when I already live amongst them?

But in the end, it's not what the characters are like, it's what you do with them sometimes.

Depends on how they're written. Mundane folks aren't always a bad reader avatar and they don't have to be boring but I lean towards the fantastical. I mean, people acting insane are always fun to tackle, especially when its an act disguising a far more sinister side.

The mundane amongst the fantastic always resonates with me.

Sam Vimes is a good one from the Discworld series. In a world that rests upon four elephants atop a giant space turtle he is a copper whose staff consists of a vampire, a werewolf, a 'dwarf', a troll and a malodorous kleptomaniac who can only be loosely described as human because there was no better alternative.

It sorta depends, as there's characters in both category that I like, but I think overall I prefer the mundane. Whether it's a a mundane character put into a fantastical setting or a fantastical character put into a mundane setting, I'm always interested in how a normal person would react to fantastical elements rather than vise versa.

Honestly the fantastical ones. Because those are the ones that the story is usually about. I've had this conversation a dozen times at my local GW about the merits of a 40k movie with either Guardsmen or Space Marines as the stars. And I'm usually the only one who picks Space Marines and my argument is always the same.

A fantastical story requires fantastical heroes/villains. If your options are average Joes with fear and frailties and weak backs and the need to piss and eat every few hours, and sleep and fuck or literal giant vampire/werewolf/ghost/crusaders/Mongolians/Imperialist Romans with giant weapons twice the size of a man and an overwhelming need to fly around on jump packs and smack things with axes and spears and maces and shoot things with rabid-fire rocket launchers and the antagonists are similar giant possessed blood crazed berserkers, plague vectors or literal sound-junkie-rapist...

Then I know which I would choose as the better spectacle, thus the more interesting story.

Its the same reason no one has ever done a Batman story as a Janitor at Gotham-U who never meets Batman, sees Batman, meets a villain and has a bunion on his left foot. Its a waste of the setting.

Give me Batman, give me Blood Angels and Space Wolves. There are plenty of stories of average people being average and boring do boring average things.

Silentpony:
Honestly the fantastical ones. Because those are the ones that the story is usually about. I've had this conversation a dozen times at my local GW about the merits of a 40k movie with either Guardsmen or Space Marines as the stars. And I'm usually the only one who picks Space Marines and my argument is always the same.

A fantastical story requires fantastical heroes/villains. If your options are average Joes with fear and frailties and weak backs and the need to piss and eat every few hours, and sleep and fuck or literal giant vampire/werewolf/ghost/crusaders/Mongolians/Imperialist Romans with giant weapons twice the size of a man and an overwhelming need to fly around on jump packs and smack things with axes and spears and maces and shoot things with rabid-fire rocket launchers and the antagonists are similar giant possessed blood crazed berserkers, plague vectors or literal sound-junkie-rapist...

Then I know which I would choose as the better spectacle, thus the more interesting story.

Its the same reason no one has ever done a Batman story as a Janitor at Gotham-U who never meets Batman, sees Batman, meets a villain and has a bunion on his left foot. Its a waste of the setting.

Give me Batman, give me Blood Angels and Space Wolves. There are plenty of stories of average people being average and boring do boring average things.

That story has been made about kids who supposedly saw Batman and tell stories about what it was like and they all feature completely different versions of Batman and no one believes each other, it was good, I don't remember the name of the movie though.

For me, it doesn't come down to how "magical" the characters in question are. What matters is how they are written.

If they're written badly, I won't care about them, fantastical or not.

Philosophically minded people are fantastical? I mean socrates was a weirdo who was put to death for being annoying, but come on! Fantastical?

OT: Either? I suppose I like real people a bit better, but you can find them in a lot of settings. From the Illiad and Dragon Age, to historical novels like Samarkand.

As a writer, I enjoy both. A little of the fantasy and a little ho-hum together are the best.

Example: It tickles me pink to imagine a dark lord of all chaos, leader of at least three circles of hell, being a console peasant who often gets stuck in traffic and is allergic to peanuts.

 

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