Storytelling Element - The Charmer

This is a character that has fallen somewhat out of favor in the last couple decades, at least partially because of the changing public opinion concerning how women should be treated by men. That's a theory, but I think it's a solid one, and good enough to be going on with for now.

The Charmer is the ladies' man, the fellow who glides through life with style, the guy who has money to burn and more admirers than he knows what to do with. In more recent incarnations, this character is also depicted as insensitive, self-absorbed, and often not very pleasant once one gets past the gilded manners and flirtations greetings.

James Bond is a Charmer. So is Prince Henry from Ever After, and Captain James T. Kirk of 1960's Star Trek fame. These are men who assume, simply because they exist, people (especially female people) must like them. And it's always a surprise to them when people don't like them, no matter how often it happens (take a look at the James Kirk of the Star Trek reboot for reference).

There aren't many character types that are exclusive to a single gender, and this isn't one of them. While the Charmer archetype might seem exclusively masculine, there is a female translation of this character that is the equally irresistible "too pretty to dislike." Like her male counterpart, this archetype was more popular in older works; the beautiful, tragically single, and likely rich girl being relentlessly pursued by a dozen suitors she's not interested in because she's too cool for that. Think characters like Lucy Westenra (from Dracula), Penelope (the wife of Odysseus), and Emma (titular character from the Jane Austen book).

More modern iterations of the Too Pretty archetype incorporate more of the flirtation aspects of the Charmer archetype, in addition to the associated shallowness of character and egocentric attitude, like Sharpe from High School Musical, or Regina from Mean Girls. The girl who's popular because she's rich/pretty but has a nasty personality and thinks she deserves the affections of any boy that looks her way.

I have a personal preference for the older translation of both the Charmer and Too Pretty character types. With appropriate character development, the unintentional attraction of interest from other parties can make for excellent drama and humor in almost any situation.

This character is usually a secondary one in modern literature, but can be easily made the main character with a sufficiently strong-willed support cast. I'd love to see someone make good use of a Charmer as a foil for the Rebel, instead of making the Rebel the Charmer as well.

I look forward to seeing what you come up with!

#Character #Elements

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