I always think its fun to see if I can create a character that the reader loves to hate. They must be sympathetic. They must be interesting. They must also have a need that must be met in the course of the story. But that isn’t necessarily what makes them a protagonist.
So how do you define protagonist.
The most common definition–especially for the lay person–is that the protagonist is the central character of a story. And professionals agree: According to Literarydevices.com “A protagonist is the central character or leading figure in poetry, narrative, novel or any other story.” However, then the definition goes on. Seriously its a whole page.
So lets first start with the central characters. For The Grove that’s Dayla Fisher and Jonah Leifson.
Jonah wants to save humanity from themselves. He believes waking a few bloodthirsty ancient Gods will do it. And he doesn’t care that he might have to sacrifice a few people to do it.
The Keeper of The Grove, Dayla will do anything to stop Jonah from waking the Gods. She suffers over any loss of life though she eventually comes to realize she might have to take life to stop Jonah.
So who is the protagonist?
There are a couple basic elements for a protagonist:
- The protagonist is driving the action of the story and so the narrative revolves around him/her/them.
By this definition, that means my protagonist would be Jonah as he drives the story towards its conclusion.
- The protagonist may undergo some change within the course of the story.
Uh Oh, Jonah doesn’t go through much of a transformation, he is a true believer in what he is doing, so that might mean the protagonist is Dayla.
- The events occurring in a story often viewed from the perspective of the protagonist.
Well that could be both characters. As well as three other people: Dayla’s husband Oliver Hayes, Dayla’s best friend Samantha Miller and her one time rival, now charge, Galeno DeAdams.
- A well-constructed protagonist allows the audience to relate to themselves and the other characters.
This too could be either character. Do you want to save the world with Jonah? Or stop Jonah from sacrificing people with Dayla?
So who is the protagonist?
The truth is who is the protagonist is questionable. I wrote The Grove as a thriller. So in that sense, Jonah is driving the action, while Dayla is fighting for her life, her husband, her friends and lifestyle. Most people will see Dayla as the protagonist, because she isn’t using her magic to delude people into waking three ancient Gods. She is “the good-guy.”
However ultimately who is the protagonist is up to the reader!
Do you agree or disagree? Do you have a favorite book/series in which you question who is the protagonist?
About The Grove:
Genre: Contemporary Dark Fantasy
Paperback ISBN: 9780980145908
Sitka’s Quay appears to be like every other coastal tourist town on Highway 101, but lurking below its southern grove of ancient spruce are three sleeping primordial gods. The Keeper, Dayla Fischer, must remain in control of her magical abilities or fall into sickening madness, but lives a relatively quiet life with her husband, Oliver. That is, until the delusional, but charming Jonah Leifson comes to town with a plan to awaken the Three. Soon, children begin disappearing. With powerful suggestion spells and mind reading abilities, Jonah wins over other sorcerers, meth users, the police, and eventually even her husband. Though no one believes her and she doubts her own sanity, she must stop Jonah, before he wakes the Three and brings about the end of the world.
Reviews for The Grove:
“Chaos, murder, sacrifice: it was a delicious read, and I devoured it all.” Dan Thompson, The Black Petal
“If you’re a fan of well-written, fast-paced, fantasy thrillers that trot into the neighborhood of horror, you’ll love it…” Fia Essen, Ariel
“Guizzetti’s delusional and magically gifted anti-hero is truly terrifying…” Janice Clark, Healer’s Apprentice Series