Quiet Character Appreciation Day

"Mantis" | Art by Lighane. Used with permission.
Quiet characters are often overlooked. The bold, adventurous characters carry most of the drama, captivating audiences with their flashy fighting styles and quirky personalities. Meanwhile, the unassuming characters play support roles at best and are negatively stereotyped at worst. When a well-represented quiet character comes along, I get excited because I’m one of the quiet ones, too. Here are seven favourites who have inspired me.

1. Spock – Star Trek

Although he is half-human, Spock chose to follow the Vulcan lifestyle of logic and restraint. He’s so controlled that it’s easy to forget he’s actually the strongest person on the Enterprise. Although some characters don’t trust Spock due to his lack of emotion, he works hard to maintain his quiet nature. On the rare occasions when he loses—or is forced out of—control, it’s clear why he does so. I admire Spock’s wisdom and scientific skill, but mostly I respect his commitment to self-control, even though he could influence others through force instead of logic.

2. Lie Ren – RWBY

Upon first acquaintance, it’s easy to overlook Ren in favour of his extremely outgoing friend, Nora Valkyrie. Ren may not attempt Nora’s crazy stunts—like riding a Grimm monster through the forest—but no one can question his skills as a warrior. He fights with the calm finesse of a trained ninja, but his steady nature is his best contribution to his team. Even during the rockiest of times, Ren is a reassurance to his friends; that’s a skill that I strive to have. And, of course, who besides Ren will make the pancakes?

3. Edwin Jarvis – Agent Carter

When Edwin Jarvis begins helping Peggy Carter, he has some trouble keeping up. His genteel existence is suddenly interrupted by exploding buildings, interrogations, and a host of other adventures. Still, after their mission is complete and he has returned to his quiet life, Jarvis asks Peggy if he can help with her next assignment, saying, “I am profoundly and exhaustively bored.” Jarvis reminds me that enjoying a comfortable routine doesn’t make you weak or incapable of adventures. His support is invaluable to Peggy and at the end of season two, she tells him, “You may be the strongest of us all.”

4. Mikazuki – Katsugeki Touken Ranbu

Mikazuki doesn’t get ruffled by much. He’s the most experienced of the manifested sword warriors, and perhaps it’s his experience that enables him to keep such a calm perspective on life. Younger warriors sometimes find Mikazuki’s quiet demeanor frustrating, but when Mikazuki joins the final battle in Katsugeki Touken Ranbu, he provides reassurance in the middle of a desperate situation. Looking around at the battle, Mikazuki tells the others, “This is quite the chaotic mess. But this isn’t the end yet”—before helping them decimate the enemy forces. In my own life, I’m often the opposite of Mikazuki—I’m quiet like him, but I get frustrated over the “little things.” Mikazuki encourages me to keep things in perspective and reminds me that, as I gain more experience in life, I’ll learn to be less disturbed by—or at least more willing to face head on—the challenges that come my way.

5. Rory Williams – Doctor Who

Rory wants the simple life—to help people by working as a nurse and to marry his childhood sweetheart. Then his fiancé runs away with the Doctor and they both drag Rory along on a myriad of adventures. Although Rory protests the crazy situations they all get into, he thrives in the midst of them and distinguishes himself as a man who will do anything to protect his family—including guarding his fiancé for 2,000 years as the Last Centurion. I love that Rory isn’t afraid to be the voice of reason, but he also learns to live his life and love his family no matter where he finds himself.

6. Newt Scamander – Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Newt isn’t afraid to travel from England to America just to release a rescued thunderbird, but he keeps to himself and is definitely more comfortable with animals than people. Still, that doesn’t stop him from making friends with a No-Maj or trying to help an abused young wizard. The care Newt shows for animals and people alike, even in dire situations, is remarkable to me. Despite his tendency to be a “loner,” Newt displays a great capacity for self-sacrifice when he risks his life to save New York, a city he doesn’t even belong to.

7. Mantis – Guardians of the Galaxy

All of the Guardians are heavy hitters—with fists, weapons, or both—except for Mantis. As an empath, Mantis works in more subtle ways, such as stunning an enemy or trying to understand the people she meets. Her innocence and empathy are vital to her teammates, who all wrestle with past trauma and inner demons in the midst of their heroism. Although facing a villain like Ego takes courage, I believe Mantis is even more courageous for her empathy. In the midst of a harsh and pain-filled galaxy, she has the courage to share her friends’ emotional burdens instead of hiding in her own world.

These characters demonstrate that all people are multi-faceted and one personality type isn’t more important than another. I get frustrated when people stereotype me as timid, but I’m susceptible to the same pitfall when I expect my outgoing friends to take the “adventurous” route in every situation. I’m thankful for fandoms that remind me to treat people as the complex beings they are and to give them permission to be themselves—whatever that looks like on a given day. And I’m thankful for the quiet characters, each awesome in their own right.

Who would you add to this list?

Caitlin Eha

Caitlin Eha

Contributing Writer at Area of Effect magazine
A published writer and aspiring novelist, Caitlin can usually be found with her head in the clouds and her heart in a faraway land. When she isn’t devouring a new favourite book or feverishly writing one of her own, she enjoys archery, cosplaying, jewelry making, and time with her Lord.
Caitlin Eha

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