When I started really fleshing out my characters for The Hidden King, Áed, of course, was my first priority. Being the main character meant he had to be compelling, and he needed to have his own agenda, habits, strengths, flaws. He needed a personality.
Then, as I considered my nearly finished manuscript, and contemplated all of my descriptions of Áed—his actions, his motivations, his thought processes, his relationships—I decided to have a little fun.
Áed was going to take a Myers-Briggs test.
The Myers-Briggs test is a personality test developed by Isabel Briggs-Myers and her mother, Katherine Cook Briggs, and it categorizes people along 4 spectrums: introverted or extraverted, intuitive or observant, thinking or feeling, and judging or prospecting. The website 16 Personalities, which bases its categorizations off of the survey responses of thousands of participants, added a 5th spectrum: assertive or turbulent. Then, in response to a bucket-load of questions, it places the test-taker on a scale in each category.
These test results classified Áed as an ‘Advocate’ type (16 Personalities bases its types off of the Myers-Briggs results), and offered this description: “Seeing through dishonesty and disingenuous motives, Advocates step past manipulation and sales tactics and into a more honest discussion.”
Huh! They nailed that one! Áed sure didn’t fall for anyone's tricks.
I kept reading. “Advocates,” the results went on to say, “don’t just see the way things ought to be, they act on those insights... Advocates have strong beliefs and take the actions that they do not because they are trying to advance themselves, but because they are trying to advance an idea that they truly believe will make the world a better place.” Wow!—like how Áed took action to do right by the Maze? I was enjoying this, so I kept reading.
Consider the way Áed took Ronan out of the Maze in the belief that the White City would give them a better life, even though Ronan didn’t want to leave: “When Advocates come to believe that something is important, they pursue that goal with a conviction and energy that can catch even their friends and loved ones off guard. Advocates will rock the boat if they have to, something not everyone likes to see”.
Áed and Ninian had a wonderful relationship, though Áed wasn’t actively outgoing… I wonder if the personality test predicted that—oh, look! “Advocates will take the time necessary to find someone they truly connect with – once they’ve found that someone, their relationships will reach a level of depth and sincerity that most people can only dream of.”
What about Áed’s relationship with Ronan, where concern for Ronan came first even in the face of incredible pain? “People with the Advocate personality type are unflinching in their devotion to their children, willing to grin and bear any burden without hesitation.”
Áed was kind to Judoc even after he certainly didn’t need to be, and he immediately pegged Éamon and Elisedd (not to mention some gamblers): “[Advocates] are warm, friendly, caring and insightful, seeing past façades and the obvious to understand others’ thoughts and emotions.”
I’d created a character who had the complexity of a real person, and his character was fully developed. Áed 's unique heritage makes him insightful and intuitive. He has a natural idealism and devotion to what is right, even in the face of extraordinary adversity.
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