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.

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9 thoughts on “MBTI in Fiction”

  1. Nice! Tony Stark is ENTJ. I knew there was a reason I liked him that didn’t have to do with justifying my nascent alcoholism.

  2. That’s neat. Thanks for sharing. I’ve occasionally mused in passing of whether one fictional character or another might be an introvert or not, but I haven’t thought of their personalities in this much detail. (Also, I know way less about MBTI than I thought…! 🙂 )

    1. I’m glad you liked it! To be honest, even after reading through all the posts, the idea of the different functions is pretty fuzzy to me. I don’t know how it’s decided that which type uses which function. So you’re not the only one confused by that.

      1. You could say the comics in many of the actions I’m using as example because there’s much more history to them. But the character in the movie isn’t really much different beyond having the appearance of a good looking younger guy, as opposed to a middle-aged one. It seems to askew perspectives immensely.

        1. I can’t comment as to the similarity to the movie version and the comic version since it’s been years and years since I’ve read comics of any stripe and I’m sure my memory of those would be colored by nostalgia. My perspective thus is purely from the movies.

          I disagree that the casting of Tom Hiddleston affects the perception of what Loki’s type is. Charming and well-liked characters don’t automatically equate one to type the character as an NF; Tony Stark is a great example of that.

          The typing of E instead of I doesn’t feel right to me. Thor is an E. Loki is not. He’s a loner, one for whom being around others represents an expenditure of energy (in the form of manipulation). Thor is invigorated when he’s with his friends, drawing energy from their interaction. Tony Stark is another E for the same reason; he’s positively crackling with energy when he’s zipping around the SHIELD helicarrier and commanding the attention of so many. When we see Loki

          Loki’s goal in Thor is to gain his father’s acceptance, which is why Odin’s denial at the climax of the movie is what causes Loki to attempt suicide by letting go and falling into the void. “I could have done it, Father.” I think the fact that he’s absolutely crushed by Odin’s refusal (“No, Loki”) demonstrates that he’s not acting objectively or strategically. He takes things personally. He feels slighted.

          The MBTI in Fiction tumblr has a great followup to why the author typed Loki as INFJ rather than INTJ here: http://mbti-in-fiction.tumblr.com/post/63187651736/out-of-curiosity-why-did-you-pick-infj-over-intj-for

          From the linked page: “Loki is hypersenstive to other people’s feelings. This is why he feels the subtle slights against him for his entire life, then he turns inward to rationalize- building up a reality in his mind in which everyone hates him. He is a troubled INFJ, so he has a hard time connecting with others, which is crucial to their emotional well-being. Instead of connecting personally to others, he attempts to rule- taking their love and admiration by force.”

          1. Oh heck no I don’t equate likable characters as NF; I meant that in the sense that people tend to look at others differently depending on their appearance, whatever their perceived type is and their actual type. I mention his looks in that if an older man were to be playing him, he might not be seen as the angry adopted kid that just wants daddy to love him.

            If Loki is an ENTJ in the films as well, it could just as easily be said that his being crushed as a result of being rejected isn’t emotional at all but knowing that while he IS smarter and more capable as a ruler, he’s never going to rule but serve under Thor the jock. The ESTJ and ENTJ’s inferior Fi usually has them negating their own emotions until something affects them directly. They’ll work tirelessly day in and day out…unless you make them work the holidays and they had plans. THEN things get nasty.

            I don’t see Loki as hypersensitive to anything- he wants to rule and uses manipulation and tricks to get there. Any human doing what he does would be out of line and order but as the god of mischief, he was born to operate that way- he just wasn’t meant to use it against his family.

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