I've been doing a bit of gaming and a lot of reading lately and got to thinking. When authors write about the characters in their books do they consciously make an attempt to create compelling characters or is it generally something that just happens. Did R.A. Salvatore have a great story to tell or did he start with a cast of great characters, building the story around them? Not that it really matters, I suppose, a good book is a good book but, characters and their development are what generally drive the story. So, how does an author create compelling characters? I know that not many people read this other than me but what are your opinions? What are the characters that make a great story? Some of my favorites are as follows in no particular order:
Jarlaxle Baenre -
The charismatic leader of a band of rogues who has always got a trick or ten up his sleeve just demands attention. When Salvatore brought to light an entire trilogy co-starred by Jarlaxle I was a happy reader indeed.
Knight and later, Lord serving the Frankish Emperor Charlemagne Roland's combination of unbreakable loyalty to his lord, fierce adherence to the knightly code, and often reckless battlefield antics make Charlemagne's Champion one compelling character.
Jander Sunstar -
The main character in Vampire of the Mists is a truly tragic figure A character who enjoys life and the pleasures of it locked in the "life" of undeath and forced to feed on the living.
The simple, brutish half-orc had so many great one-liners that it was impossible to not love this character. There was no secret agendas with Vrock, he was easy to gauge - eat, drink, bash heads!
Gandalf The Grey -
My first real encounter with wizards in fantasy literature was with Tolkien's character. The wizened and mysterious magic user, for all his power, never had all the answers. He showed that he was human on many levels, mixing in just enough mischief to keep things interesting for those around him.
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