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

Jabba the Hutt is a fictional character in George Lucas's space opera film saga Star Wars. Designed to be a large, slug-like alien, his appearance has been described by film critic Roger Ebert as a crossing between a toad and the Cheshire Cat.

Jabba is mentioned in the first film, A New Hope (1977), where he was referred to as a ruthless gangster who had a bounty on Han Solo, who owed him money for dumping an illegal cargo. When the film was re-released in 1997, Jabba was included in a scene that had been cut out of the original, where he had been developed by computer-generated imagery. Jabba subsequently appeared in the third film, Return of the Jedi (1983), where he was depicted using a complex animatronic puppet. He served as a minor antagonist throughout the initial series, where he was shown abusing his many cohorts, putting a bounty on Solo's head, attempting to kill Luke Skywalker, and enslaving Princess Leia Organa, who eventually kills him. In the prequel film, The Phantom Menace, Jabba features in a cameo at the start of the Boonta Eve Classic pod race.

Jabba's role in Star Wars is primarily antagonistic. He is a 600-year-old Hutt crime lord and gangster who employs a retinue of criminals, bounty hunters, smugglers, assassins, and bodyguards to operate his criminal empire. In his palace on the desert planet Tatooine he keeps a host of entertainers at his disposal: slaves, droids, and alien creatures. Jabba has a grim sense of humour, an insatiable appetite and affinities for gambling, slave girls and torture.

The character was incorporated into the Star Wars merchandising campaign that corresponded with the theatrical release of Return of the Jedi. Besides the films, Jabba the Hutt is featured in Star Wars literature and is sometimes referenced by his full name, Jabba Desilijic Tiure. Jabba the Hutt's image has since played an influential role in popular culture, particularly in the United States. The name is used as a satirical literary device and a political caricature to underscore negative qualities such as suffering from the disease morbid obesity and corruption. (read more...)

Featured television character

Professor Bernard Quatermass is a fictional character, originally created by the writer Nigel Kneale for BBC Television. Quatermass appeared in three influential BBC science fiction serials of the 1950s, and returned in a final serial for Thames Television in 1979. A remake of the first serial appeared on BBC Four in 2005.

The character also appeared in films, on the radio and in print over a fifty-year period. Kneale picked the character's unusual surname from a London telephone directory, while the first name was in honour of the astronomer Bernard Lovell. Quatermass is an intelligent and highly moral British scientist, who continually finds himself confronting sinister alien forces that threaten to destroy humanity. In the initial three serials he is a pioneer of the British space programme, heading up the British Experimental Rocket Group.

The character of Quatermass has been described by BBC News Online as Britain's first television hero, and by The Independent newspaper as "A brilliantly conceived and finely crafted creation... [He] remained a modern 'Mr Standfast', the one fixed point in an increasingly dreadful and ever-shifting universe." In 2005, an article in The Daily Telegraph suggested that "You can see a line running through him and many other British heroes. He shares elements with both Sherlock Holmes and Ellen McArthur." (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

Anarky is a fictional character appearing in books published by DC Comics. Co-created by Alan Grant and Norm Breyfogle, he first appeared in Detective Comics #608 (November 1989), as an adversary of Batman. Introduced as Lonnie Machin, a child prodigy with knowledge of radical philosophy and driven to overthrow governments to improve social conditions, stories revolving around Anarky often focus on political and philosophical themes. The character, who is named after the philosophy of anarchism, primarily espouses anti-statism. Multiple social issues have been addressed whenever the character has appeared in print, including environmentalism, antimilitarism, economic exploitation, and political corruption. Inspired by multiple sources, early stories featuring the character often included homages to political and philosophical books, and referenced anarchist philosophers and theorists. The inspiration for the creation of the character and its early development was based in Grant's personal interest in anti-authoritarian philosophy and politics. However, when Grant himself transitioned to the philosophy of Neo-Tech, he shifted the focus of Anarky from a vehicle for socialist and populist philosophy, to rationalist, atheist, and free market-based thought.

Originally intended to only be used in the debut story in which he appeared, Grant decided to continue using Anarky as a sporadically recurring character throughout the early 90s, following positive reception by readers and Dennis O'Neil. The character experienced a brief surge in media exposure during the late '90s, beginning when Norm Breyfogle convinced Grant to produce a limited series based on the character. The 1997 spin-off series, Anarky, was received with positive reviews and sales, and later declared by Grant to be among his "career highlights". Batman: Anarky, a trade paperback collection of stories featuring the character, soon followed. This popular acclaim culminated, however, in a financially and critically unsuccessful ongoing solo series. The 1999 Anarky series, in which even Grant has expressed his distaste, was quickly canceled after eight issues, but not before sparking a minor controversy by suggesting Anarky was the biological son of the Joker.

Following the cancellation of the Anarky series, and Grant's departure from DC Comics, Anarky experienced a prolonged period of absence from DC publications, despite professional and fan interest in his return. This period of obscurity lasted approximately ten years, with three brief interruptions for minor cameo appearances in 2000, 2001, and 2005. In December 2008, Anarky reappeared in an issue of Robin authored by Fabian Nicieza, with the intention of ending this period of obscurity. The storyline drastically altered the character's presentation, prompting a series of responses by Nicieza to concerned readers. The character has since become a recurring character in issues of Red Robin, authored by Nicieza. (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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