Archetype – Wise Youngun

Please recall that these are not objective or universally acclaimed archetypes for fiction. They’re just my own, the way they turn out in my head. So don’t use me as research for your creative writing paper! 🙂

The wise youngun is distinct from the wise child. The wise child is kind of creepy, sometimes; they turn up, say cryptic things that turn out to be true later, and then toddle off again. The wise youngun is a member of the party (the questing party or the group of characters) who is perhaps the youngest, but not necessarily a child. He’s probably the least complicated character in the group, the one who goes through the least changes.

Everybody discounts him a little most of the time, or takes him for granted. He’s quiet, he’s got depths, he’s shy, and he’s loyal to the leader of the group. He’s the one the leader turns to for relief when the rest of the group is fighting. He’s the one who speaks up quietly and unexpectedly with the solution when everyone is stumped. He’s the one who provides comic relief sometimes, who lives in the background, who glues the group together even though they don’t know it. Sometimes he’s the moral compass, but not always.

Examples in fiction, let’s see. Ianto in Torchwood. Xander in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Various companions of Doctor Who, notably K-9. Molly from the Last Unicorn by Peter Beagle. Fiver in Watership Down. And so on.

There’s one in the piece I’m working on now. Cool. 🙂

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