Suffice it to say, knowing my MBTI type has proven to be more than a little useful, and I still love the test and reading about it. Now sometimes I like to think of characters in terms of the test. I mean, have you seen these pictures:
**If you're interested in these charts, check out the MBTI in Young Adult Fiction chart I made for Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead! Or the MBTI in Young Adult Fiction chart I made for Divergent by Veronica Roth!
One of my favorite things is to look at these charts and wonder whether they've categorized the characters correctly. I feel like this test is a good way to check whether you know enough about a character - do you have a good idea of what type that person fits but aren't 100% certain (because no one acts like her type 100% of the time)? After all, just because you're one type doesn't mean that you embody characteristics of only that personality. Everyone's multi-faceted. Even looking at some of these types -- I'm an INFP (occasional INFJ) and according to these charts, I'm Luke / Frodo / Luna. Wouldn't you say that all three come across in different ways? If you're curious about what type you are, you can look through this chart or take this test.
Anyway, maybe one day I'll actually make a chart full of predictions for my favorite series, but for now I'll just sort according to popular characters. (Beware of spoilers if you have not the series in question!)
**Bella Swan as ISFP/J or The Artist or Protector (series: Twilight).
-Bella is definitely introverted and likes spending time with a smaller crowd. She's "S" or sensing because she focuses on her immediate reality - i.e. the way Edward looks, smells, feels - to the point where Edward decides to use this against her by advocating celibacy. She's not thinking about future possibilities (as an N would) so much as how to be with Edward. Her decisions point to her "feeling," F, nature since she values personal consideration over more "rational" things, i.e. risking her life to be with Edward, saving Renesmee though she and the baby could die. What I can't decide is whether she's P or J, or maybe in between the two. She's definitely impulsive, which the events in New Moon prove, but Breaking Dawn reveals her as willing to do anything for Renesmee and a "shield," a protector in the way of ISFJs. Thoughts, anyone?
**Edward Cullen as INTJ or The Strategist (series: Twilight).
-Like Bella, Edward is an introvert. I've marked him as an N because of his ability to keep up with his vegetarian lifestyle, and because he sees the "bigger picture" and avoids Bella when he knows of a potential future in which he either kills her or she becomes a vampire with him. He's a T because he's able to follow through with that plan, despite liking Bella and human blood, and only breaks down when jealousy, something he's unfamiliar with since he's so logic-oriented, intervenes. He's a J, because have you read Midnight Sun? Boy is judging everyone and likes to have a set course for the day. Part of his efforts in Eclipse include ways to convince Bella to marry him. He's also the one who everyone turns to for the plan against the Volturi. Strategist/INTJ, hmm?
**Katniss Everdeen as ISTJ or The Guardian (series: The Hunger Games).
-Katniss is definitely an introvert and I'd say she's also an S, focusing on her immediate reality and senses as a hunter and provider for the family. She does not focus on the future with regard to the berry scene, but instead on how to get her and Peeta out of there alive. She has a very logic-oriented, practical, sensible mindset when it comes to the games and her PoV. Though her decision to volunteer for her sister may be viewed as one pointing toward her feeling nature, I'd think of it more like this: Katniss sees it as her duty to protect Prim; it is only logical that she volunteer in place of her sister. And she's definitely a J because she's constantly planning out where to get food, where to get water, etc. during the games and beyond. Thus she is the guardian of her family and in a sense, the guardian of the fragile society that is born after the rebellion.
**Peeta Mellark as INFP or the Idealist (series: The Hunger Games).
-Not sure about whether Peeta's an introvert or extrovert; I think introvert only because he doesn't seem to surround himself with people. I marked him as an N because he sees the bigger picture around the games - that the other tributes are not the real enemy; the Capitol is and he doesn't want to lose his humanity by killing the others. I also chose F because a lot of Peeta's reactions in regard to Katniss seem to indicate he makes decisions according to feeling. He remembers Katniss from when she was much younger; he sees the potential in her even as they play the Games. If that doesn't point toward idealism and thinking of future possibilities for Katniss and the Capitol, well think of how he manipulates the Capitol crowd in Catching Fire before the Quarter Quell (playing off their feelings - something he would value) and think of the present he gives to Katniss. Peeta also seems more like a P than J to me because he likes to keep his options open and mostly follows the plans that Katniss comes up with. (I can also see Peeta as an ENFP or the Inspirer, especially the way he gets the Capitol people to sort of realize their barbarianism.)
**Gale Hawthorne as INFP or the Idealist (series: The Hunger Games).
-Whaaat? Peeta and Gale are the same personality type? I don't know - this one was the hardest for me. I think he's introverted, but I can't be certain simply because we don't get to know a lot about him. He works with coal and talks to his co-workers (and the same during the rebellion), but spends his free time hunting with Katniss and alone (I assume?). Unlike Katniss, in Catching Fire, Gale sees the "bigger picture" of the mockingjay and the revolts in other districts and chooses to act based on future possibilities than the immediate reality. Katniss refers to him as a "fire," right? This is his "feeling" nature showing in his passion and determination to overthrow the Capitol. He knows to save and take care of Katniss's family while she's away too. Between a P and a J, I chose the P because I thought Gale was more of an idealist than a counselor (INFJ). He also does not see the immediate consequences of his actions, hence why he was involved with that sad affair in Mockingjay and did not think it would affect Katniss. Plus what he did in Catching Fire that got him punished strikes me as a P and impulsive maneuver. (Like with Peeta, however, I could also see him as ENFP or the Inspirer, especially given his talk about the dissatisfaction in the mines.)
If you agree with me that they're both Idealists or Inspirers or just similar in personality type, makes sense that there was a love triangle then, eh?
**Beatrice Prior as INTP/J or the Philosopher or the Strategist (series: Divergent).
-Having grown up in Abnegation, Tris seems uncomfortable with a lot of public displays and more introverted. I marked her as N because of her ability to see the bigger picture across the series (particularly re: that cliffhanger in Insurgent) and because her comments on human nature point toward an abstract way of thinking. She seems more logical oriented than feeling oriented, focusing on the duty and honor she owes to her parents and what they would have her do rather than the crippling grief and love for everything they have done for her. Her actions in Insurgent seem to contradict these claims, but her decisions also fell in line with her internal set of logic as Katniss's did. Plus, is she a counselor (INFJ) or a strategist (INTJ)? To me, it seems more likely that she's an INTJ, and reading her actions in that light makes sense especially given her drier, more practical point of view. It's tempting to mark her as a P because of her last minute choice to join Dauntless, but I'd read that as Tris already knowing that she would but feeling guilty that she would not fulfill familial duty and join Abnegation. The idea that she is a P is also somewhat negated by the fact that she experiences initial turmoil over having so many options for factions; if she was a P, she would like to have more options for the future. Yet she also seems impulsive like a P and her being a philosopher fits her comments on human nature, so I'd say she's somewhere between a P and J. Also, her friends refer to her Erudite nature as justification for consulting her on plans of action, but they're likely sensing and reacting to the strategist in her.
**Tobias/Four Eaton as ISFJ or the Defender (series: Divergent).
-It's tempting to mark Four as an INFJ simply because he is Tris's counselor in Divergent, but I don't think that's actually his type. He is definitely an introvert, and I would put him as an "S" instead of an "N" because Tris makes some comment about how he is constantly aware of his surroundings. He is rooted in the world around him, watching the cameras and focusing on the present. In Free Four, you learn that he decides to stay in Dauntless because of Tris. This is a decision entirely motivated by feeling; is it practical for him to stay in a faction whose principles he is starting to dislike? No, but he sees the potential in her ("F"). This is like his decision to join Dauntless, entirely motivated by his past and his immediate reality (SF). When he also takes control over his father in Insurgent, it is a calculated move, a plan to regain the respect of his peers, hence me marking him as J. Plus he also seems to judge a lot of the initiates and has a very tense, almost paranoid focus on having everything set. He seems to dislike impulsive moves, though the series also forces him into those situations. One of his worries with regard to Tris in Allegiant is protecting her, which also fits with his defender role.
**Rose Hathaway as ESFP or the Performer (series: Vampire Academy).
-Rose seems like an extrovert, one of the bolder YA heroines and who, at least in the first book, does not oppose being with large groups of people. I've marked her as S because Guardian training seems to focus on making sure that dhampirs are well aware of their surroundings and in tune with their senses, lest Strigoi sneak up on them. Some of the plot twists also include other people showing Rose what the bigger picture is re: reform in the Moroi world and her own personal decisions and future. The plot of Blood Promise hinges on a very personal decision made by Rose that seems very feeling oriented. Plus Rose comes across as being very passionate, very fierce in the way of personal consideration ("F") as opposed to someone with a drier, more practical oriented mind. She's also known for being impulsive, again a hallmark of Ps.
**Dimitri Belikov as ISFJ or the Defender (series: Vampire Academy).
-Dimitri likes to read Western novels in his alone time and is more introverted. I marked him as "S" again because of Guardian training / being constantly alert and in the present, though he seems to see the bigger picture more than Rose does. Any thoughts on that? Is that more a result of his maturity and age than his personality type? I see him more as Defender than Counselor (INFJ). As for me marking him as an F - one of the first things Rose senses about Dimitri is the guilt he stills feels re: the Zeklos family, and the scene in which she guesses this also reveals how his decisions hinge a lot on personal feeling and consideration. His dutiful and stoic attitude also points to his nature as a defender of the Moroi society. As a J, Dimitri likes having plans and is the one who points out to Rose, whose impulsiveness he doesn't seem to share, how their relationship would change his entire set of priorities and his plan in the face of attack.
(Side note: is it a coincidence that people tend to say that both Four and Dimitri are of the strong and silent type? I think not ;D).
**Sydney Sage as ISTJ or the Examiner (series: Bloodlines).
-No question about Sydney being an introvert (or a J). She's also highly detail oriented (S) and focused on her immediate reality and projects. Her practical, logical T oriented way of thinking is what allows her to analyze and examine each scene with a rational eye and understand the future in the way that I've been saying Ns do as well. Her ST nature is what makes her seem slightly socially awkward -- because she's so detailed and logical in a way that I imagine not as many people her age are. She's also very "J" because she's very goal-oriented, likes having plans and staying organized in her attempts to follow through with all her tasks.
**Adrian Ivashkov as INFP or the Idealist (series: Bloodlines).
-INFPs are alternately known as "Healers" in the Keirsey Temperament sorter, so it seems like the two most infamous spirit users, Adrian and Lissa, both have INFP personality types. Plus INFPs are also known as the "starving artist" types, which seems to fit Adrian and his personality type as shown in The Fiery Heart. Anyway, when you first meet Adrian, it seems like he's this famous, extroverted party boy, but Bloodlines shows how often he spends time alone, hence me marking him as introverted. Another thing you learn about Adrian is that he has an abstract way of thinking and sometimes falls into spells caused by spirit, which point toward his "N" or intuition oriented view of the world. Even when he's not smoking or drinking to dull the spirit, he sees people in abstract ways, like Sydney with her molten eyes and how he then sees all of her and her beauty. He's often known for his passion and extreme shows of feeling, and decides to stay with Rose and Sydney and help with some of the more dangerous schemes despite the scandals and probably because of his feeling nature. He's impulsive, adaptable, flexible, very "P" oriented.
Something I think is interesting to think about re: Adrian and Lissa being INFPs (if you agree with me) is that Adrian is a HUGE fan favorite across the blogosphere, winning the YA Crush Tournament, while Lissa is sometimes pushed to the side. I don't know that I've seen Lissa's strength in leadership and prevailing against spirit's darkness as recognized as Adrian's bravery and sexiness. Is this something pointing toward how we view male and female characters? Does this personality type "look" better on a male?
Wow, am I wrong about the introverted/extroverted part or are there a lot fewer popular extrovert characters? I mean I know it's a stereotype that a lot of writers are INFPs and create characters similar to them but still. Also, I was going to sort more characters, but since this post is already pretty long, best stop now, no?
(PS - what would you say if I started mentioning MBTI in my reviews? When talking about romantic interests & the protagonist?)