What is a strong protagonist?

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What is a strong protagonist?

Some time ago, I got a comment in one chapter of “My Wonderful Second Life” that baffled me a little.

I always said, and I strongly (not pun intended) believe it to be true, that the main character of my story, Lulu, is strong and brash. But this reader didn’t seem convinced and asked where was the strong protagonist that was promised.

It got me thinking… what is a strong protagonist? Is it someone who beats up everyone and anyone? Someone who provokes fights? Or something more complex than just that.

In my view, a strong female character doesn’t need to fight everyone or provoke someone when she is not happy with something. For me, she chooses her battles and fights only when she knows she can win or when there is no other option. She doesn’t mindlessly call people names or slaps someone, specially if that would cause problems. No, she knows what is important to fight for.

And for me that is the key… you don’t need to be super powerful to be strong… to me strength has many forms, some more subtle than others, but still strong. Situation and place is important and we should evaluate the situation before going full crazy, beating up other characters…

Let’s do a scenario (yes, let’s pretend for a moment!)

Imagine you are a noble lady (or a boy). In principle you wouldn’t normally talk back to the crown prince who you just met, right? Even if you wouldn’t die from it, the consequences wouldn’t be good either. Unless it is to save someone, I see no reason to go on that route. Unless again the character is the type to do so, yet I would hardly call that a strong character… a more crazy character maybe, but never strong… And don’t take me wrong, those are fun characters, to read and to write about, just not strong.

Mind you, that this comment came early on the series, before Lulu even learned to do alchemy and was still on a child’s body. Yet, I still felt it was a quite interesting question… I wanted to understand the reader’s opinion of Lulu and so I asked him/her, by pointing out what I thought a strong character was, however, unfortunately I never got back an answer.

Anyway, I continue to back up my statement that Lulu is a strong protagonist and I am sure she would approve of it!

But do you have a different opinion? Or you share the same thoughts? Tell me about it!

Have a nice day,

Mother of Odin


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