What Is A Relatable & Memorable Character?

Back when I first started my blog, one of the first I did focused on particular character types, both on heroes and heroines. And while they weren't the best, they did leave me interested in the different personalities many come across in stories. One of those character examples I mentioned was Rey from the Star Wars sequel trilogy. Because, for one, she was at the time kind of popular, and also, I kind of liked her. At least, I thought she would be a great character, once The Last Jedi came out and expanded on the questions that involved her. Unfortunately, that wasn't the case, and though it had come near to greatness, it didn't go any further than that. So with the way things are when it comes to certain characters, whether it be male characters, female characters, races, etc, or any other such as the infamous Mary Sue/Gary Stu's, creating one that is both compelling and iconic is a big challenge.

One problem that some have with certain characters, like the Mary Sue or Gary Stu, is that there is no or hardly a moment of vulnerability in the stories they're part of. I won't go into this as much, since I did a post on this before, but without struggles in a story, the character would bring little for the audience to care about or latch onto. Obvious examples include: having to get out of a situation with little injury or consequence, or overcoming a certain challenge with barely any training. But that hasn't always been the case for every character written. Some have gone on to be very iconic, despite their cliche background, and others were left to be slowly forgotten.

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Thus, it really depends on several factors: the time, culture and audience the story is shown to the world.
In the case of books like Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter, their protagonists could be considered Gary Stu's to a certain extent. However, it didn't leave a bad impression as others in recent years. While the obvious reason is of course poor writing, the other factor can be the ideas out there now involve little risk, or no effort in finding any charm and reliability in familiar tropes or stereotypes.

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But the biggest cause, which I've touched on before, sadly comes from places of what were once good intentions. 
Maybe there still is in some places, but as far as myself and others have seen, it's changed drastically for the worst. And that not only brings disappointment, but also a feeling that I've wasted my time.
Like I said, I really wanted to like Rey, and even Rose (except for Holdo, who grinded on my nerves in the first few minutes of her appearance). But instead of being written as characters you understand, not just care about, and, if they actually existed, you would want to hang out with, they just exist because: why not? Or, cause it's demanded by an idea unaware of what real characters are.
And that means accepting both the good and the bad our world has to offer, in our surroundings and in people. Turning our heroes into godlike entities who get they want, and show off their powers which defeats the villains without a scratch isn't relatable or memorable. It's just the wish fulfillment fantasy without any substance. Or anything special, try as one might to tell us they are.
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And yes, I agree they are some popular characters who are probably overrated, though opinion differs on either. 
But if push comes to shove, I would much rather go and read or watch a story that has interesting characters in one I've heard before, than one that is an interesting story but uninteresting characters (although it's highly unlikely to happen, I hope.) 
While a great premise could be creative and so out there with concepts, it's nothing without a familiar face(s) to guide us through the strange worlds a writer imagines. There's a reason why there are few stories with an alien or creature as the main character. 
Then when there is, it's ones that we recognize and who live among us. As for what this new year will bring with stories in all mediums, I am, as usual, skeptical and a bit of a cynic.
But at the same time, I do have a glimmer of hope, that the best will come and is out there.
So one day, years from now, we'll remember great characters like the ones from the previous generations long after we've moved on.
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                                                    Note: That's the movie Aang; the animated one is better!

So those are my thoughts on what a relatable and memorable character is. 
Write yours in the comments below, and don't forget to share/follow for more every Wednesday!
Also, Happy New Year and best wishes for 2019!

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