MBTI in Fiction

I came across this Tumblr page while looking up an (unrelated) book title and when I had a spare moment, I read through a few of the posts. Needless to say, I was hooked and have since read all of the author’s posts. In a continuation of my interest in using the MBTI as a tool to discuss fantasy and character archetypes and as a stopgap since I haven’t had time to write my MMO class psychology post yet, I invite you to take a look at the author’s analysis.

Here are a few of my personal favorites:

I like Loki’s analysis because, aside from the fact that I just flat out love Loki (especially after watching Thor: the Dark World last night), I like how it disproves a trend I’ve noticed is distressingly common among typing discussions. Many typing discussions seem to equate all villainous and/or clever, intelligent characters with T, while heroes and other “good guys” end up as F. I think this description of Loki shows a different side of what F can be. Despite the warm, feel-good description offered by Keirsey when he called the NFs the Idealists, a villain can be NF and can be very, very dangerous as a result.

I like Snape and Luna’s typing for a similar reason. Almost every chart I’ve seen places Snape as a T and Luna as an F. Snape is cold, distant and calculating, while Luna is dreamy and a little scattered. But we actually see that it’s Snape who is acting for emotional reasons (seriously, the dude does everything he does because of his feelings) and Luna is very focused on her own ideas, pursuing them regardless of how it makes others feel about her. Luna makes an excellent comparison to Loki and Snape too as a counter-example to “nice people are F and mean people are T.”

Type isn’t meant to be an indicator of what you do, but why you do it. You can be a hero or a villain with any of the types. You can be brilliant or naive with any type. With Loki, we see a very villainous “this makes me feel this way and so I shall act” personality that goes counter to the common perception of what F is supposed to be. The fact that he’s clever doesn’t make him a T, because T doesn’t equal cleverness. T equals objectivity. A T says “regardless of how I feel, this is what is best.” If Loki was T, he’d be more likely to recognize Thor’s personal growth and be able to accept him as a good king. “I may hate my brother, but logically, he’s a good choice.” Instead, Loki feels that he should be king, regardless of the fact that his track record isn’t very good at any of his attempts at ruling thus far. Thus, he’s F and his cleverness and intelligence having nothing to do with it.

Finally, I also like the author’s usage of each of the Hogwarts houses are a further distinction. In this usage, the Hogwarts houses represent your aspirations and desires rather than your type. Again, you can be heroic or villainous with any goal. Rowling may not have created many heroic Slytherins (even Snape and Slughorn are right on the border) but Sam Winchester and Tony Stark certainly qualify. Tony in particular is a great example of how House represents what he desires; he might have the clever  wit and brilliant genius that would make him Ravenclaw but satisfying his curiosity isn’t his true desire. The things that drive Tony Stark are ambition and the desire for achievements and legacy, which are very Slytherin goals.

This is also why I like the Joker’s analysis. It might seem like he’d be a Slytherin, but when you think about his stated goal, it really seems to have more to do with satisfying his morbid curiosity (watch the world burn, can I push this city into insanity) which makes him Ravenclaw. Thus, we see that not all ambition is malevolent and not all curiosity is benign.