Portal:Fictional characters

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Introduction

A character (sometimes known as a fictional character) is a person or other being in a narrative (such as a novel, play, television series, film, or video game). The character may be entirely fictional or based on a real-life person, in which case the distinction of a "fictional" versus "real" character may be made. Derived from the ancient Greek word χαρακτήρ, the English word dates from the Restoration, although it became widely used after its appearance in Tom Jones in 1749. From this, the sense of "a part played by an actor" developed. Character, particularly when enacted by an actor in the theatre or cinema, involves "the illusion of being a human person." In literature, characters guide readers through their stories, helping them to understand plots and ponder themes. Since the end of the 18th century, the phrase "in character" has been used to describe an effective impersonation by an actor. Since the 19th century, the art of creating characters, as practiced by actors or writers, has been called characterisation.

A character who stands as a representative of a particular class or group of people is known as a type. Types include both stock characters and those that are more fully individualised. The characters in Henrik Ibsen's Hedda Gabler (1891) and August Strindberg's Miss Julie (1888), for example, are representative of specific positions in the social relations of class and gender, such that the conflicts between the characters reveal ideological conflicts.

Featured film character

Captain Jack Sparrow is a fictional character and the protagonist of the Pirates of the Caribbean film series created by screenwriters Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio; portrayed by Johnny Depp. He is first introduced in the film Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003). He later appears in the sequels Dead Man's Chest (2006), At World's End (2007), and On Stranger Tides (2011). Jack Sparrow was originally conceived as a supporting character. He was brought to life by Depp, who based his characterization on The Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards and cartoon character Pepé Le Pew. The series Pirates of the Caribbean was inspired by a Disney theme park ride, and when the ride was revamped in 2006, the character of Jack Sparrow was added to it. He also headlines The Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow attraction at Disney's Hollywood Studios. Sparrow is also the subject of a children's book series, Pirates of the Caribbean: Jack Sparrow, which chronicles his teenage years, and he has also appeared in several video games.

In the context of the films, Sparrow is one of the Brethren Court, the Pirate Lords of the Seven Seas. He can be treacherous and survives mostly by using wit and negotiation rather than weapons or force, preferring to flee most dangerous situations and fight only when necessary. Sparrow is introduced seeking to regain his ship, the Black Pearl, from his mutinous first mate, Hector Barbossa, and later attempts to escape his blood debt to the legendary Davy Jones while battling the East India Trading Company. (read more...)

Featured television character

Bartholomew JoJo "Bart" Simpson is a fictional main character in the animated television series The Simpsons and part of the eponymous family. He is voiced by actress Nancy Cartwright and first appeared on television in The Tracey Ullman Show short "Good Night" on April 19, 1987. Bart was created and designed by cartoonist Matt Groening while he was waiting in the lobby of James L. Brooks' office. Groening had been called to pitch a series of shorts based on Life in Hell but instead decided to create a new set of characters. While the rest of the characters were named after Groening's family members, Bart's name was an anagram of the word brat. After appearing on The Tracey Ullman Show for three years, the Simpson family received their own series on Fox, which debuted December 17, 1989.

At ten years old, Bart is the eldest child and only son of Homer and Marge, and the brother of Lisa and Maggie. Bart's most prominent character traits are his mischievousness, rebelliousness and disrespect for authority. He has appeared in other media relating to The Simpsons, including video games, The Simpsons Movie, The Simpsons Ride, commercials, and comic books; he has also inspired an entire line of merchandise.

In casting, Nancy Cartwright originally planned to audition for the role of Lisa, while Yeardley Smith tried out for Bart. Smith's voice was too high for a boy, so she was given the role of Lisa. Cartwright found that Lisa was not interesting at the time, so instead auditioned for Bart, which she thought was a better role. Hallmarks of the character include his chalkboard gags in the opening sequence; his prank calls to Moe the bartender; and his catchphrases "Eat my shorts", "¡Ay, caramba!", and "Don't have a cow, man!"

During the first two seasons of The Simpsons (1989–1991), Bart was the show's breakout character and "Bartmania" ensued. Bart Simpson T-shirts sporting various slogans and catchphrases became popular, selling at a rate of a million per day at their peak. The song "Do the Bartman" became a number one charting single and the seventh best-selling song of 1991 in the United Kingdom. Bart's rebellious attitude and pride at underachieving caused many parents and educators to cast him as a bad role model for children. A T-shirt reading "I'm Bart Simpson. Who the hell are you?" was banned in several public schools. Around the third season, the series started to focus more on the family as a group, although Bart remains one of the most prominent characters on the series. Time named Bart one of the 100 most important people of the 20th century, and he was named "entertainer of the year" in 1990 by Entertainment Weekly. Nancy Cartwright has won several awards for voicing Bart, including a Primetime Emmy Award in 1992 and an Annie Award in 1995. In 2000, Bart, along with the rest of his family, was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. (read more...)

Featured literature character

Nancy Drew is a fictional young amateur detective in various mystery series for all ages. She was created by Edward Stratemeyer, founder of the Stratemeyer Syndicate book packaging firm. The character first appeared in 1930. The books have been ghostwritten by a number of authors and are published under the collective pseudonym Carolyn Keene.

Over the decades the character has evolved in response to changes in American culture and tastes. The books were extensively revised, beginning in 1959, largely to eliminate racist stereotypes, with arguable success. Many scholars agree that in the revision process, the heroine's original, outspoken character was toned down and made more docile, conventional, and demure. In the 1980s a new series was created, the Nancy Drew Files, which featured an older and more professional Nancy as well as romantic plots. In 2004 the original Nancy Drew Mystery Stories series, begun in 1930, was ended and a new series, Girl Detective, was launched, with an updated version of the character who drives a hybrid electric vehicle and uses a cell phone. Illustrations of the character have also evolved over time, from portrayals of a fearless, active young woman to a fearful or passive one.

Through all these changes, the character has proved continuously popular worldwide: at least 80 million copies of the books have been sold, and the books have been translated into over 45 languages. Nancy Drew has featured in five films, two television shows, and a number of popular computer games; she also appears in a variety of merchandise sold over the world.

A cultural icon, Nancy Drew has been cited as a formative influence by a number of prominent women, from Supreme Court Justices Sandra Day O'Connor and Sonia Sotomayor to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former First Lady Laura Bush. Feminist literary critics have analyzed the character's enduring appeal, arguing variously that Nancy Drew is a mythic hero, an expression of wish fulfillment, or an embodiment of contradictory ideas about femininity. (read more...)

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Featured video game character

Arbiter is a fictional ceremonial, religious, and political rank bestowed upon alien Covenant Elites in the Halo science fiction universe. In the 2004 video game Halo 2, the rank is given to a disgraced commander as a way to atone for his failures. Although the Arbiter is intended to die serving the Covenant leadership, the High Prophets, he survives his missions and the Prophets' subsequent betrayal of his kind. When he learns that the Prophets' plans would doom all sentient life in the galaxy to extinction, the Arbiter allies with the Covenant's enemies—humanity—and stops the ringworld Halo from being activated. The Arbiter is a playable character in Halo 2 and its 2007 sequel Halo 3; a different Arbiter appears in the 2009 real-time strategy game Halo Wars, which takes place 20 years before the events of the main trilogy.

The appearance of the Arbiter in Halo 2 and the change in perspective from the main human protagonist Master Chief to a former enemy was a plot twist Halo developer Bungie kept highly secret. The character's name was changed from "Dervish" after concerns that the name reinforced a perceived United States versus Islam allegory in the game's plot. Award-winning actor Keith David lends his voice to the character in Halo 2 and 3, while David Sobolov voices the Arbiter of Halo Wars.

The Arbiter has appeared in three series of action figures and other collectibles and marketing in addition to appearances in the games. Bungie intended the sudden point of view switch to a member of the Covenant as a plot twist that no one would have seen coming, but the character in particular and the humanization of the Covenant in general was not evenly received by critics and fans. Computer and Video Games derided the Arbiter's missions as "crap bits" in Halo 2. Conversely, IGN lamented the loss of the Arbiter's story in Halo 3 and missed the added dimension the character provided to the story. (read more...)

Featured comics character

Dr. Barbara "Babs" Gordon is a fictional character appearing in comic books published by DC Comics and in related media, created by Gardner Fox and Carmine Infantino. From 1966 to 1988, she was the superheroine Batgirl; since 1989 she has been known as Oracle. Introduced as the librarian daughter of Commissioner James Gordon, Barbara Gordon made her first comic book appearance in a story published in Detective Comics #359 titled "The Million Dollar Debut of Batgirl" (cover date: January 1967).

As Batgirl, Barbara Gordon has been described as one of the most popular characters to appear during the Silver Age of Comic Books and is also regarded as a pop culture icon due to her appearances in the Batman television series of the late 1960s and continued media exposure. The Barbara Gordon version of Batgirl has been adapted into various media relating to the Batman franchise, including merchandise, television, and animation. (In fact, the Barbara Gordon Batgirl has been a featured character in every Batman cartoon series ever made.) During the early 1970s, the character was also used as an advocate for women's rights

Following the editorial retirement of the character's Batgirl persona in 1988, Alan Moore's graphic novel Batman: The Killing Joke depicts the Joker shooting Barbara through the spinal cord in her civilian identity and leaving her a paraplegic. Although Barbara would no longer resume her role as Batgirl in subsequent stories, editor Kim Yale and writer John Ostrander soon established the character as a computer expert and information broker code-named Oracle, providing intelligence and computer hacking services to assist other superheroes. The character first appeared as Oracle in Suicide Squad #23 (January 1989).

In addition to becoming a member of the Justice League of America, Oracle headlined the comic book series Birds of Prey (from 1996 to present) as the leader of a team of female crimefighters who went on global espionage missions. The series depicted Oracle as a great intellect uninhibited by her paralysis, skilled in the martial art of eskrima. Oracle has been adapted into other media, such as the live-action Birds of Prey television series, animation, video games, and merchandise. (read more...)

Featured list

This is a list of characters of Konami's action-adventure games Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow and Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow, part of Konami's Castlevania video game series. The games take place in 2035 and 2036 respectively, and each game deals with the effects that the death of Dracula, the primary antagonist of the Castlevania series, has had on the world. Aria of Sorrow features the coming of a prophecy that Dracula's reincarnation will inherit all of his powers, and the paths of the game's characters are led to Dracula's castle by this event. Dawn of Sorrow takes place one year later, with the antagonists seeking to revive the dark lord when he did not surface in Aria of Sorrow.

The primary playable character and protagonist of the two games is Soma Cruz, a reclusive transfer student who has a mysterious power connected with Dracula's death. The major supporting characters include Mina Hakuba, Soma's close childhood friend and the miko of the Hakuba shrine; Genya Arikado, a withdrawn and enigmatic government agent specializing in supernatural events; Julius Belmont, the latest member of the Belmont clan featured in the series; Yoko Belnades, an energetic and forward witch in the service of the Roman Catholic Church; and Hammer, a member of the United States Military with aspirations of becoming a vendor of military material. In Aria of Sorrow, the antagonist is Graham Jones, a deranged missionary who believes himself to be the reincarnation of Lord Dracula and seeks to inherit his powers. In Dawn of Sorrow, the antagonists are Celia Fortner, Dmitrii Blinov, and Dario Bossi, members of a cult who wish to create a new dark lord in Dracula's absence.

In Aria of Sorrow, the character designs were done by Ayami Kojima as part of producer Koji Igarashi's desire to take a "different route" with the series in Aria of Sorrow. In Dawn of Sorrow, however, Ayami Kojima was not part of the production team, and the characters were recast in an anime style, which was heavily criticized by several video game publications. Despite this, the characters were the subject of praise from many video game publications. Although many reviewers derided the stereotypical roles that the characters fell into, other reviewers noted that the new plot Aria of Sorrow and Dawn of Sorrow featured provided a better context for these characters. The storyline of the two games also received praise, and was compared to the plot of the widely acclaimed Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. (read more...)

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