Dear Authors, Where Are The Introverts? | Tea Time Talk

tea time talk

Welcome back to another Tea Time Talk! It’s been a while, huh? So grab your tea/coffee/drink of your choice, sit back and enjoy.

Today I wanted to talk about some of my favorite things, which are protagonists and introverts. In particular, introverted protagonists. These seems to be a rare type of character, especially in YA fantasy. It’s true, you do see a few of them in contemporary, such as Cath from Fangirl, but in a contemporary setting, introverts make sense.

However, when thrown into a brand new world full magic and mythical creatures, we always see protagonists who are ready to go on an adventure and can easily bond with new people around them. So, what would happen when you chuck an introvert (who probably much rather stay home reading) into a world like this?

I’ve got no idea what would happen in a situation like that, and authors don’t seem to know either, because withdrawn and introverted protagonists just don’t seem to exist. Now let’s think about why that is.

Is it because they’d make boring characters?

Are introverts more difficult to write than their extroverted counterparts?

Or are they afraid their protagonist would appear weak?

On the contrary, I don’t believe it would be any of those. A protagonist with these characteristics would be far from boring to read. It would create such a relatable character for so many people out there in a setting where characters may not always be relatable (fantasy/fiction).

Now, while I have little experience in terms of writing introverted vs. extroverted characters, it doesn’t seem like they’d be any harder to write. I’ve always found that introverts truly know who they are as a person, and having a well fleshed out protagonist could easily eliminate the issue of difficulty.

In a general sense, society always generalizes introverts into being weak, shy, and stoic humans. In reality this is so far from the truth that it’s almost funny. In no way is someone who is more reserved weak, they simply enjoy spending time by themselves. I would absolutely love to read a story about someone saving the world, while not losing touch of their introverted side.

By no means am I saying that extroverted protagonists are bad, I’d just like to highlight that fact that they make up the majority of protagonists, especially in fantasy. Introversion is not extroversion, but it is also not weak, and that needs to be shown in the books that we read.



39 thoughts on “Dear Authors, Where Are The Introverts? | Tea Time Talk

  1. I feel there is a general lack of representation of true introverts in books in general, but you are so right in saying that it’s mostly Fantasy. I never really thought about it that specifically, I just always felt like I hadn’t quite found that one character that really represented myself. Although Cath came really close, she was still not all there.
    Have you ever read Quiet by Susan Cain? It’s such a great non-fiction book on introverts and extroverts.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Not being able to find that one character that you feel like represents you is kind of what inspired this post! The closet I’ve ever found is Rory Gilmore, but she’s a TV character.
      I haven’t read Quiet, but you’ve definitely caught my interest with it, thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s an interesting point you bring up, especially outside of the contemporary genre.

    When it comes to fantasy, an introvert would make for a bit of a duller story depending on the approach the author takes. I would argue that Kestrel from The Winner’s Crime is more of an introvert and so she uses her brain to tackle the issues she faces. Not her muscles. I would also say that Katniss is an introvert as well and part of her journey is to expand that when she becomes the face of the rebellion.

    So I get what you are saying, they are few and far between and it would be awesome to see more!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I really love Lirael, Garth Nix’s protagonist in the book of the same name. In addition to being very much an introvert, she spends a lot of her time in an extensive and occasionally magical library – so she is one of my favourite characters! Another of Nix’s protagonists, Clariel, could also be called an introvert but is much more aggressively so.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I haven’t read any of Garth Nix’s books, but they sure do sound good! I’m glad to hear about Lirael and her apparently awesome library! It’s nice to see that she leans towards introversion because I know plenty of protagonists that are bookworms, but still very extroverted such as Celaena Sardothien.


  4. Bilbo Baggins. The story that set the bar for fantasy starred THE introvert. The entire start of the story hinges on his reserved, introverted nature. Most of the books I’ve read and loved have not starred extroverts, but I’m such a character person that if I don’t connect in the first chapter the book is over for me. I’m reeeeeeaaaaaalllly good at finding characters to connect to. The industry thinks my identity is niche, so, you know, kinda have to be. Anyway. Maybe I could recommend some books if you told me what you’re into? =]

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m such a character person as well, but since I lean on both extroversion and introversion, I can easily relate (majority of the times)! I love finding that MC that you just can perfectly connect to, it’s basically a magical feeling. J.R.R Tolkien really was a master of fantasy to create one of the most epic stories, and a heart warming introvert protagonist, wasn’t he?


      1. Connecting to a character in a book feels about the same as in real life when you’re just figuring out you’ve got a ton in common with this new person and now you know you’re gonna be friends. It’s the best. And Tolkien was great. He managed to make a story that kids across decades could relate to. That shit is magic.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. As an introvert myself I went ‘YESSSSS’ as I read your title haha. I need more introverted characters that I can relate to. And an introverted character that would rather stay home and read in a fantasy novel? Yes please, that would be so entertaining. ‘We need to save the world’ ‘Okay but just one more page’

    Liked by 1 person

  6. There’s a consensus that Katniss, Harry Potter, Arya Stark, Frodo Baggins, Magnus Damora (from the Falling Kingdoms series), and Penryn (the Penryn and the End of Days series) are all introverts and those are just a few off the top of my head. The vast majority of writers are introverts so one would think it follows that they would tend to write introverts. (Or perhaps it’s a kind of wish fulfillment? A slightly higher percentage of the population is extraverted and education/work tends to present that as normative or “best.” Perhaps we all just subconsciously want to fit in?)

    On a personal note, most people don’t believe I’m an extravert just because I can’t stand shallow or stupid people (which means I’m by myself often). I’m also not stereotypically scared to be alone. In truth, I was devastated when the psychological profile came back last year because I generally consider introverts far more intelligent and I wanted to be one so bad.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I totally agree about authors wanting to write a character that would potentially match their own introversion tendencies! Of course that’s probably the character I would subconsciously write myself. I haven’t really heard of someone having of deep desire to be an introvert simply because society likes to treat them as “outcasts” so thank you for sharing that! I’m also the same way as you around shallow people, and while I love the company of others (and of course sometimes still hate being alone) I’ve never been AFRAID of being alone. I just love looking at how introversion/extraversion varies so much from person to person.


  7. I saw the title and immediately pondered if my characters could fit the bill. Alas I’m still no one as a writer, but since I’m introverted myself, I tend to be drawn to characters who have that quality, and I write them accordingly.

    Katniss from HG could possible be one? And Tris’s from Divergent keeping with the YA genre. There’s a book by Robin Mckinkey called Deerskin where the protagonist has definite introvert qualities. Hmmm now I want to scour my bookshelf and see if I can come up with a list!

    Liked by 1 person

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