Yo everyone! I'm (finally) back with another Myers-Briggs post!
Since I've made you wait this long... let's just jump right into it, shall we? Are you ready? Well then, welcome to the world of ENTP and INTP!
ENTP- The Visionary
"Hey Ferb! I know what we're gonna do today!" -Phineas from Disney Channel's Phineas and Ferb. From like, every episode ever.
ENTPs are notoriously creative and curious problem-solvers. They see the word "impossible" as a personal challenge. They are quick to question the status quo, difficult to contain within set boundaries, and often pay little to no attention to the rules. One of my sources said that ENTPs not only think outside the box, they "trample the box underneath the heavy weight of their unconventional ideas". Unlike many of their Extroverted counterparts, ENTPs are typically fine with spending time alone with only their crazy ideas to keep them company, but they also enjoy sharing their ideas with others. ENTPs despise being controlled and are often unwilling to listen to any criticism.
INTP- The Thinker
"Why do you fear the past? You are Isildur's heir, not Isildur himself. You are not bound to his fate." "The same blood flow through my veins. The same weakness." -Arwen and Aragorn from Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (film)
Like the ENTP, INTPs are incredibly creative and ingenious. Unlike the ENTP though, INTPs don't often use their intelligence in an attempt to "stick it to the man". They simply love to think. INTPs are perfectly content to spend hours upon hours thinking of increasingly crazy solutions to problems they are not even emotionally invested in, just for the fun of it. INTPs are often considered one of the most intellectual of the Myers-Briggs type because they are usually very smart AND very creative. However, INTPs are so incredibly open-minded, they often second-guess themselves and their ideas. They have a difficult time settling on an idea long enough to implement it. They often have a low self-esteem and dislike socializing.
ENTP Fictional Characters
Phineas Flynn (Disney's Phineas and Ferb), Han Solo (Star Wars), Haymitch Abernathy (The Hunger Games Trilogy), Anakin Skywalker (Star Wars 1-3), Captain Jack Sparrow (Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean series), The 10th Doctor (BBC Doctor Who), Albus Dumbledore (Harry Potter), Tony Stark/Iron Man (Marvel Comic and Cinematic Universe), Merry Brandybuck (Lord of the Rings trilogy)
INTP Fictional Characters
Aragorn (Lord of the Rings trilogy) Nico di Angelo (Percy Jackson and Heroes of Olympus series), Kristoff (Disney's Frozen), Megara (Disney's Hercules), Mycroft Holmes (BBC Sherlock), Ferb Fletcher (Disney's Phineas and Ferb) Jane Foster (Marvel Comic and Cinematic Universe), Marlin (Disney/Pixar's Finding Nemo), Maurice (Disney's Beauty and the Beast), Faramir (Lord of the Rings film trilogy)
What This Means In Fiction
Have you noticed a trend yet? I have, though I admit, it's not as obvious a trend as some of the fictional trends for other types.
ENTPs and INTPs are loners. In real life, they are often seen as different, and they do enjoy spending time alone with their thoughts, but in fiction, they are often portrayed as being completely out of sync with the rest of the world around them. This isn't demeaning to these types, on the contrary, they are often portrayed as being "above" the normal characters in the story- often due, in part, to their intellect, but also because most of them have a tortured backstory. Think of Han Solo, The 10th Doctor, and Dumbledore- all three are incredibly intelligent and charismatic, and yet, no one can ever really touch them. No one really knows them. As their stories progress, you learn more of why they are loners. It's a tortured backstory for all three of them. Also as their stories progress, certainly in the case of Han and the 10th Doctor and arguably for Dumbledore, they let down their guards and allow someone else to enter their world (Leia, Rose/Donna, and arguably Harry).
INTPs are portrayed as loners as well, but usually a different sort of loner than the ENTP. INTPs often are simply misunderstood geniuses. They become loners because of their "round peg in square hole"-ness. In real life, INTPs are often quirky individuals, but not usually to the extent as portrayed in film and literature. Think of Ferb. The show's been going on for, what, four seasons now, and Ferb is still inexplicably strange. Think of Mycroft, Sherlock's elder brother who is arguably stranger than Sherlock himself. Think of Maurice, who, just because he was a bit eccentric, gets accused of being mentally unstable.
INTPs often are given the tortured backstory as well. Some people might disagree with my typing Aragorn as an INTP, but I think it fits. He's intelligent and intuitive, he's quiet, he's a bit of an oddball (we just don't tend to notice because he's so epic, but he really is kinda weird), he's, in the films, indecisive about whether he ought to be King of Gondor because he feels irrationally guilty over the failure of Isildur. He's clever and quick to think of solutions to problems. I think it fits.
This is the only real trend I can find in ENTP and INTP fictional characters, and it certainly doesn't hold true for all of the characters of this type. Sometimes, they are fun, quirky, and inventive, just like their real life counterparts. Phineas if probably the most ENTP to ever ENTP, and he is completely lacking in tortured backstory. Jane Foster is completely okay with being a geeky, socially awkward, and somewhat shy INTP without having an epic destiny placed upon her shoulders.
All in all, I believe that any character can be given a tortured backstory. But if you give it to one of these types, they will likely become a loner in response to the pain. Whether that is interesting or cliche, I will leave to your discretion. It really depends on the story and character.
Have I Ever Written An ENTP or an INTP?
Two words. Hail. Frost. (so much aaaaangst!)
The tortured backstory is a common literary tool. I think it is a useful technique... under certain circumstances. If you give a character an emotionally scarring backstory just for the heck of it, I think it then enters the realm of cliche. But if the backstory builds the character, if the backstory has an effect on the current story or character arc, if the backstory is properly dealt with, then I think it can be useful. Hail has a pretty bad backstory, yes, but most of it was bad because of his poor choices. In Ember Flame, he had to learn to let go of his self-pity and self-loathing. Most of his arc in Hail Frost consists of his defying the expectations of those around him. I don't have him relapse into a "woe is me, I'm a terrible person" thought pattern because he already dealt with it. I thought it would be more interesting to show Hail pushing through the skepticism and criticism of those around him. Does he prove them wrong or right?... Well, I guess you'll find out once I finish editing the book. >:)
But to use more concrete examples, there would be no Harry Potter without the Harry Potter backstory. The entire seven-book plot revolves around the bizarre occurrences on the night Harry's parents died. The lack of guidance and parents in Harry's life also made him a far more independent and defiant character than he otherwise would have been, while also giving him a maturity necessary to make a story about an 11 year old believable.
Megara would have no motivation or character arc if the tragedy involving her loser boyfriend hadn't happened. Unlike lots of LOTR fans, I am not upset with the changes made to Faramir's character in the films. Faramir, in the films, acts psychologically as a victim of child favoritism would. He is desperate to prove himself to his father while trying to fill an impossible gap left opened by Boromir. I love his quiet maturity in the books, but I also love his growing confidence in the movies. I think it added a lot to an otherwise rather boring part of the story.
If the backstory adds to the story, use it. If it doesn't, drop it. This goes for any type, but is especially vital for ENTP and INTP. Loner characters with a compelling backstory and emotional arc are fascinating, loner characters who are completely jaded and hate life for no good reason are obnoxious. Use the backstory wisely.
Okay, funny story time! I'm an INTJ. I've not done a post on this type yet, but suffice these three words to explain: Evil Villain Mastermind. I'm not sure whether to be proud or annoyed. Anyway, I always research the best and worst romantic relationships for each type because I find that helpful in casting story characters. So far, INTJ has been on EVERY SINGLE list for the types I covered... in the "absolutely would NOT work category". But I was researching ENTP romantic relationships, and lo and behold, it said the best type for them was the INTJ! I was like, yay! Someone likes us! XD
In all seriousness though, ENTPs would romantically need someone who appreciates creativity and rebellion. They would need someone who would not attempt to control them, but who would attempt to bring their crazy ideas to life with perhaps some logic and rationality. Thus, INTJ and ISTJ are optimal romantic partners for the ENTP.
INTPs would need someone who would respect their ideas and give them plenty of space. They would need someone who would encourage them to come out of their shell, but who wouldn't push them to share "feelings". INTJs, ENTPs, ISTJs, and other INTPs would probably be best.
When it comes to friendships, ENTPs and INTPs would likely need extremely dedicated and probably rather quirky friends. Think of the misfit crew of Phineas and Ferb. Think of the bizarre passel of pirates who serve under Captain Jack Sparrow. Even the Fellowship was filled with rather strange and different people.
ENTPs and INTPs hate people who attempt to control them, or, heaven forbid, demean their ideas. They would likely want to stay away from most Feeling types, since Feelers would not understand their devil-may-care restless curiosity. They would probably want to avoid ESTJs and ENTJs- these types like to insist upon organization and also like to take control of every situation.
I don't know if you could tell or not, but these two types are some of my ABSOLUTE favorites in literature and in real life. (And, okay yeah, maybe it has something to do with the fact that I'm really happy at least ONE type is totally cool with dating an INTJ). There's something extremely infatuating about people who pursue their passions, particularly intellectual passions, without giving a single care as to what the rest of the world thinks of their oddities or quirkiness. Honestly, I wish more writers would take the time to simply write an ENTP or an INTP without the added backstory- they are so incredibly fascinating on their own!
Are you an ENTP or an INTP? What do you think about ENTPs and INTPs? Do you think they're better as loner characters, or should writers tap into their creative energy a bit more? Feel free to comment your thoughts below, I'd love to read them!
Hmm... I just finished reading Prisoner of Azkaban aloud to my cousins. Soo... Harry or Ron? I'm voting Harry! (Sorry, Ron...)