Sunday, March 8, 2015

They Are And Always Shall Be Your Favorite Type

Aaaaand I'm back! So guess what? I got my edits back for Esprit de la Rose. In the words of the "Mandarin" from Iron Man 3, "Well first I panicked, but then I handled it."

Last week, I gave a brief example to show the difference between Sensing and iNtuitive types. This week, since this is the first time we'll be talking about a 'T' type, I thought I would explain the difference between Thinkers and Feelers.

Contrary to popular belief, Thinking and Feeling does NOT refer to the manner in which decisions are made- not entirely, anyway. If that were true, it would imply that Feelers ONLY act when their emotions are involved, and Thinkers are ALWAYS logical. This is not true.

I believe that everyone is completely capable of making decisions based on logic or on emotion. However, the way Thinkers and Feelers portray that decision is different. Thinkers often attempt to justify their decisions through logic, while Feelers often try to justify their decisions through morality. For example, in the 2009 Star Trek movie, Spock justifies his decisions to maroon Kirk on the grounds that Kirk was being disruptive and insubordinate, when in actuality, Spock just didn't want to listen to him (an emotional reason). In Disney's Tangled, Rapunzel tries to justify her decision to leave the tower through emotion ("I've been on this incredible journey and I've seen and learned so much! ...I think he likes me...") even though she made the decision after realizing that the only way she would ever see the lights would be to go herself, so she went (a logical thought process, if not exactly a logical decision).

However, yes, Thinkers do tend to base their decisions around logic, even if they only utilize that logic after the fact. And Feelers do tend to base their decisions around emotion, again, even if it is after the fact.

And now without further ado... let's dive into the fascinating world of ESTJs and ISTJs!

Star trek : Turtlenotes on Etsy

ESTJ- The Guardian

"I ask only for the strength to defend my people!" -Boromir, The Fellowship of the Ring (film)
ESTJs are realistic, outgoing, and decisive leaders. They hold justice in high regard, and are willing to do just about anything to gain it. They desire order and structure amongst their peers and their subordinates, with very little tolerance for inefficiency, laziness, and messiness. They are both reliable and loyal, and often quite brave. However, they sometimes become critical and insensitive of those who don't live up to their standards. Despite this, they are often socially popular because of their pleasantly boisterous personalities.

ISTJ- The Inspector

"Alas, not me, lord! Look not to me for healing. I am a shieldmaiden and my hand is ungentle." -Eowyn, The Return of the King
(Yes, I'm reading Lord of the Rings again, why do you ask?)

 ISTJs are duty-bound, honor-driven fighters... even if that fighting happens within their minds or through their words. Like their extroverted counterparts, they value justice, order, and structure. Unlike ESTJs, ISTJs prefer not to be leaders. They are usually perfectly content to play "Best Supporting Actor/Actress" as long as their discoveries and accomplishments are properly considered. They are serious and loyal individuals with few friends, but they fervently cherish the ones they have. Like ESTJs, ISTJs can be critical and insensitive, sometimes to the point of cruelty- both accidental and purposeful.

ESTJ Fictional Characters

Boromir (The Lord of the Rings), Arthur Pendragon (BBC Merlin), Eugene Fitzherbert/Flynn Rider (Disney's Tangled), Thor Odinson (Marvel Comic and Cinematic Universe), Killian Jones (ABC's Once Upon a Time), Sirius Black (Harry Potter), Peter Pevensie (The Chronicles of Narnia), Irene Adler (BBC Sherlock), Eragon (The Inheritance Cycle) Kelsier (The Mistborn Trilogy) Edward Rochester (Jane Eyre), Galinda/Glinda (Wicked: The Broadway Musical)

ISTJ Fictional Characters

Eowyn (The Lord of the Rings), Spock (Star Trek 2009, Star Trek TOS), Severus Snape (Harry Potter), Hermione Granger (Harry Potter), Pepper Potts (Marvel Cinematic Universe), Edmund Pevensie (The Chronicles of Narnia), Reyna (Heroes of Olympus), Gamora (Marvel Cinematic Universe), Obi-Wan Kenobi (Star Wars), Fernand (The Count of Monte Cristo), Sebastian (Disney's The Little Mermaid)

What This Means in Fiction

There are three interesting aspects of the fictional characters who fit into these types that fascinate me.

1. There seems to be a character trait that these fictional characters share that, during my research, I NEVER found any mention of in "real life" ESTJ and ISTJ types. It's aggression. In all of the articles and infographics I read, I never ONCE found any mention of aggression being a common trait. And yet, in the fictional characters, nearly all of the ones I found have some form of it. What is interesting is that it really only seems to be true aggression in the Introverted characters, while the Extroverted characters use it more as persona, a defense mechanism. Here's an example of what I mean...

If you look at the list of ESTJs I have compiled, every single one (except for perhaps Eragon and Peter) has a mask of bluntness, harshness, and/or devil-may-care-ness that they use in public situations. Think of Boromir constantly bringing up and semi-bragging about Gondor during the Council of Elrond. Think of Arthur drawling "Ohhh, don't run away!" mockingly to Merlin after Merlin attempts to walk away from a fight. Think of "You can't tell anyone about this, okay. It could ruin my whole reputation" from Eugene after a brief moment of sincerity. Think of Thor's brashness and loudness which would imply that he is nothing more than an oaf with a hammer, and yet he is so hurt by Loki's betrayal. Shall I go on? Fictional ESTJs tend to have a "mask" of aggression to hide the vulnerability they feel inside.

Fictional ISTJs, on the other hand, seem to often truly be aggressive. Outwardly, they appear controlled, serene, and unflappable, but if you push the right buttons, they blow into a completely unforeseen explosion of aggression. Think of Eowyn appearing so distant and cold at first, and then we see her frantically pacing the Houses of Healing, desperate to return to the war. Think of Spock when Kirk's life is threatened, or, better yet, Pon Farr. Think of Snape completely losing it after realizing that Sirius Black, the alleged betrayer of Lily Potter, had escaped Hogwarts in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Think of nerdy, talkative, and caring Hermione turning rather ruthless when it comes to bullies like Rita Skeeter or Draco Malfoy. Fictional ISTJs tend to house a deep-rooted anger that will burst if targeted.

I'm not entirely sure why this is. Again, none of my resources said ANYTHING about aggression in ESTJs or ISTJs. So why does it appear in fiction? I have a few ideas, but I would love to hear your thoughts on this strange phenomenon!

I think it might be because conflict makes stories interesting. Anger and aggression in a character stays interesting to a reader far longer than peace and passiveness. Assertiveness also tends to drive plots forward. Pixar's Brave did not have much of a plot, but it had an extremely assertive heroine that kept the movie going. However, people also love softies... as long as the "softie" part of the character isn't annoying or obvious. Showing a blunt, commanding, and insensitive ESTJ get pressed into admitting that Merlin is the bravest person he's ever met, or that he desperately loves an ordinary and plain governess makes the character lovable, giving the audience a chance to go "awww".

ISTJs are different. Instead of aggression being a mask, they hide their aggression beneath a mask of solemnity. However, I think the writers create characters who do this for the same reason writers give ESTJs a soft side. It's paradoxical, and it keeps the reader fascinated, while also making the character relate-able. Showing a calm, seemingly emotionless, composed ISTJ sassing the Witch King before destroying him, or his deep remorse at the betrayal of his family and Aslan lets the audience know that no matter how robotic the character might seem, he is deeply and forever human.

And that was only the first interesting thing about these characters! XD These next two are shorter, so bear with me.

2. ESTJs and ISTJs often house the characters that have extremely fanatic and passionate fan bases! Boromir, a character who is, comparably, not in Lord of the Rings very long, who attempts to steal the Ring, and who starts off rather obnoxiously in the Council of Elrond has some of the most die-hard, extreme fans in the Lord of the Rings fandom. I don't blame them. I'm a huge Boromir fan. I actually find myself getting angry when people talk trash about him. Why? I have no idea. He is certainly a well-done character. I sympathize with him without resorting to pity, and I love him without denying his faults. This same sort of fan loyalty has happened with Irene Adler, Edward Rochester, and others! The same goes for the ISTJs. When Star Trek TOS first aired, people were completely enthralled by Spock... and it wasn't just because of the fact that he was really the first main character of a story to be an alien. People simply loved him.

Again, I'm not sure why people love these characters so much. They just do, I suppose. I love the characters in these types, and I can't exactly explain why,

3. You love them or you hate them. This sort of goes along with the above paragraph, but these characters seem to invoke the most audience-emotion... for both ways. I personally LOVE Edmund. I confess, I'm not much of a Narnia fan, but Edmund has never failed to grab my attention. To me, he seemed like the only truly relate-able character in the series. However, I have met people who vehemently hate Edmund. When I try to get them to give me reasons for their hatred, they can't come up with anything, but they simply hate him. This same bizarre paradox of extreme love/extreme hate applies to Snape, Glinda, Sirius, and, believe it or not, Pepper Potts. I don't understand it so I shall not try to explain. I just thought I would point it out.

Have I Ever Written an ESTJ or an ISTJ?

Why yes! The illustrious Miss Ember of Ember Flame is very much an ESTJ. She's very fun to write, but I much prefer her as an ally like she is in Hail Frost then I do a hero like she is in Ember Flame. Being an ally, a bossy little firework to the plot, suits her much better than being a hero. Don't get me wrong, I loved writing her in Ember Flame, but I'm enjoying her spark and attitude much more now that I don't have to worry about giving her a super deep character arc. Her arc in Hail Frost mostly consists of taking a bit more responsibility, and becoming an older sister. Easy and fun.

Common Cliches

As mentioned (very extensively) above, these types are prone to different versions of aggression. However, I am reluctant to define this as a "cliche". Cliches make stories weaker, and I am struggling to think of an example where the aggression in an ESTJ or an ISTJ made the story weaker. Actually, I would suggest attempting to find the soft side of an ESTJ and the aggressive side of an ISTJ, and then find a way to show it in your story. You'll have to be careful though. Too subtle, and it won't be "eye-catching" enough. Overdone and it will lose the emotional punch to the audience.

Ember is very headstrong, unrelenting, and forceful. She can also be a bit of a bully, has difficulty trusting others, and is extremely insensitive. This is not, entirely, a mask. She is truly like this. However, she loves very easily. People find their way into her heart without her even wanting them to. She doesn't trust them, but she loves them. This is her soft side.

I've never written an ISTJ, but I think it might help to drop hints at the aggression beneath the surface. A slight frown when the villain mocks her friend, a quirk of an eyebrow when his ideas are callously disregarded. Dropping hints will help make the aggression, once it blows, more believable.


Romantically, ESTJs and ISTJs probably need someone who is orderly and structured, though it might be good for them to have someone a bit more laid-back to tone them down. Think of Uhura simultaneously understanding Spock and respecting him, but also pushing him to open up a bit more because she knows it will be good for him. Think of Gwen steadfastly encouraging and pushing Arthur to be the good king she knows he can be, instead of the prat prince he used to be.

Friends and allies. ESTJs and ISTJs NEED people to disagree with them. They NEED conflict, but they need it to come from someone who is "on the same side". Think of Aragorn and Boromir, how they rounded each other out. Think of Hermione and Harry, both natural leaders but with sometimes conflicting views. Arthur and Merlin. Glinda and Elphaba. Gamora and Peter Quill. Sirius and Remus. And, naturally, Spock and Kirk. The list goes on and on.

ESTJs and ISTJs would probably dislike/oppose people who either lack justice, or don't value justice. Obi-Wan and Anakin. Killian Jones and Peter Pan.

Closing Tidbits

These types have the capability of being either the most-loved/most-hated (Hey! Any emotion in the reader is better than no emotion!) character in your story, or the most unrealistic and inhuman. Pour some effort into the character, find out their secrets, and force those secrets to come to light. Who knows? The character just might get an extreme fan base.


Are you writing an ESTJ and/or an ISTJ? What do you think about them? What do you think about my aggression theory? I'd love to hear your comments!

Also, which character do you prefer, Han Solo or Gandalf? This will help me determine which types to do next. I'm voting Han!

Thanks for reading! :)


  1. Han Solo!!
    Edmund is my favorite character from Narnia too!!! Love your analysis on the characters.
    Ruth Newton

    1. Thanks! Ohh, I hope more people vote Han! I'm super excited about his type. ^_^

  2. "Well first I panicked, but then I handled it."
    Never have a read anything more accurate. I got my story back too, and I've got quite a bit of work ahead of me!

    The aggression thing is interesting. I certainly don't see a problem with giving ESTJ or ISTJ's aggression as one of their character traits, but it is easy to fall in the trap of making characters aggressive at times- even if it's not in line with their character- due to plot needs. Not that people in real life don't "act out of character" at times or snap into anger, but in the context of a novel it doesn't always make logical sense.

    EDMUND IS AWESOME. I'm a Narnia fan, and while my favorite book of the series is The Horse and his Boy (which has very little of the Pevensies), my favorite character from the other books is Edmund by far. He has the most character growth and- I don't know. I just love him :)

    And I'm voting for Han. Of course :D

    1. Good luck with your edits! I have a lot of work to do on mine, but I'm excited about the changes. :)

      That's an excellent point concerning plot needs! I hadn't thought about that. You're completely right, though. There's a quote by someone that says "The difference between reality and fiction is that fiction has to make sense". I feel like this applies quite well to the aggression/plot problem. ;)

      I love The Horse and His Boy! I can't decide if that one is my favorite, or if The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is my favorite. Decisions, decisions. :D

  3. Now I know exactly why I relate to certain fictional characters. I am ISTJ. :)

    1. Awesome! I'm almost an ISTJ. I'm officially an INTJ, but my S and N were very close. :)

    2. Same here. I've come out of the quiz things more S than N, though.

  4. This. This post is awesome - mostly because I'm writing an ISTJ right this very minute! (Or editing one, actually).

    I love your "first I panicked, then I handled it" quote. :) So true.

    I love Edmund! And Boromir! And Spock! And Eugene! Apparently, I'm an I/ESTJ fan. :)

    And I am definitely voting for Han. I love Gandalf, but Han is up there on my favorite-characters-ever list - pretty close to the top.

    1. I hope this post helped! I was thinking about you while I wrote it! :D

      Yay! It looks like I'll be doing Han's type next. That is going to be AWESOME! XD

  5. I was rather looking forward to this post because, according to the MBI, I am ISTJ.
    I think ISTJ's definitely try to appear more controlled, though they can explode into anger quickly. Maybe they want order and justice so much, that if things are not going that way, they feel like they need to make it go that way, in real life and fiction. Stories need to have conflict to go forward, and what conflict can you have if the characters are hiding any anger inside? They have to do something to drive the plot forward and that is probably where the aggression comes from. Though you are right, it needs to be hinted at before so it isn't completely out of the blue.
    As for writing an ISTJ, I have sort of written one. Elise, from that Future Homeschool Authors story I entered, was one. I guess she doesn't really count because I have barely done any of her story.
    I also thought of Maria Hill as an ISTJ and I of course vote Han! These posts are really helpful, keep writing!

    Gloria Newton

    1. Oh, Maria Hill is a good one! She's definitely an ISTJ.

      Very good points! I definitely agree with your comment about ISTJ anger stemming from a need for order and justice. Correct me if I'm wrong, since you are an ISTJ, but it seems to me that anger for an ISTJ tends to almost always come from a serious issue. I have never heard of an ISTJ that grew angry over a petty jealousy or a meaningless disagreement. It seems to me that the anger usually comes when someone's rights or honor is attacked. I'm thinking of Spock growing furious when Kirk implies that Spock never loved his mother, or Gamora attacking Quill when he tried to kiss her. What do you think? :)

      Thanks for your comment! I can't wait to write about Han's type! ^_^

    2. Hmmmm. I think that sounds right. I remember that I could get *achem* pretty angry over petty things. Though, looking back, those things were usually related to some kind of unfairness, but, yeah, an ISTJ's really aggressive side usually comes out over the major issues.
      Yay Han! I'm guessing he's an ESTP.

      Gloria Newton. :)

    3. Pretty close! I think Han is an ENTP, but he certainly acts a good bit like an ESTP. I can't wait to share the blog post about him!

      ISTJs are really cool. They were completely fascinating to learn about. ^_^

  6. Interesting how you label them as 'your favourite type''s true! Order and justice- Javert, Edmund, Eowyn!

    Also interesting your notes on anger. I go for the paradox theory: the strong leader has to have an angry facade, and then a soft moment- show a little insecurity; the cold calculator needs to reach the breaking point and lose it- show a little disorder. It is a good way to make them human.

    Looks like I'm in the minority voting Gandalf. Ah well, Han's type will be fun.

    1. Javert is most certainly an ISTJ! (Seriously, what other type could focus on years and years of hunting down a guy for stealing a loaf of bread and maybe some junk from a priest lol?) I hadn't thought about him. Excellent point!

      It was a tough choice between Gandalf and Han for me, but I just had to say Han. We'll get to Gandalf soon enough! :D

  7. Wow, this is a great article. I really appreciate how you match up well known literary characters. I am a huge Edmund fan, he is my favorite of the Pevensies and I feel that I am always defending him. Thanks for your article, and I am looking forward to reading Hail Frost and getting to know your characters better.

    1. Thanks! I always feel like I'm defending Edmund as well. Poor fella. :(

  8. I love your MBTI posts. XNTJs are some of the most fun characters to write. I'm INFP through and through, but I've always wanted to be ENTJ. And Gandalf definitely! My sister and I can't wait for Hail Frost to come out. She asks me about it probably once a week.

    1. Thank you so much! ENTJs are super cool, but hey, INFPs are totally great! I had a lot of fun writing the blog post about them.

      I'm hoping to publish Hail Frost in the summer. Thank you for reading it! ^_^