Writers are readers, so I have always been drawn to books. As a writer, I think I approach reading in a different light. I see characters as people with stories and I often spend time analyzing their arch over a whole series. I see more than just the character, I see the process behind them. Recently, I’ve been doing a lot of brainstorming for some new fiction I want to work on and I was thinking about underrated characters.
I’ve been a big fan of a lot of the famous fandom’s in the Young Adult genre such as Twilight, Hunger Games…you get the picture! And I was thinking about some of my favorite characters from those series and how many of them might be considered underrated. Today, I thought I would share 10 of those underrated characters and see if you agree with me! All but one of these are obviously from books but one of these characters is from a very popular TV series instead.
10 underrated characters in the YA genre
I will try not to give any major, surprising plot lines away for you. But take this as a warning, spoilers might happen!
#1 Stiles Stilinski || Teen Wolf
Stiles Stilinski. Stiles is a main (but often underrated) character on the hit show Teen Wolf. My draw to him might have had more to do with him being played by Dylan O’Brien (all the girl’s squeal) but that is beside the point. In most of these famous YA series, there is always a slightly pathetic, “plain” character that never gets as much credit. Stiles is that character for Teen Wolf. He doesn’t have any “powers” and isn’t a creature…yet he continually walks into the danger and faces it head-on. Stiles reminds me a lot of Ron Weasley. Portrayed as a doofus at first, not as smart or strong as his counterparts…but walks into danger anyway. Stiles is powerless in many ways against the things they face in Teen Wolf, but he keeps going, with his bat. He is also extremely crafty and incredible at thinking things out. Which is one reason he is such a vital character to the show, in my opinion.
#2 Jasper Hale || Twilight Series
One thing you’ll notice is that a lot of these characters had a much bigger part in the book than the film adaptations. Jasper Hale, for instance. You find out that Jaspar can fee other people’s emotions. Most often, Jasper is portrayed/thought of as a stoic, unfriendly person who is extremely hard to get to know. Truth is, he’s utterly overwhelmed because He has to take in and feel everyone’s emotions.
Not only does he feel them, but he can also manipulate emotions. There are many instances in the series that Jasper helps keep someone calm or knows what they’re feeling and helps them. He helps Bella a lot and I’ve always found it makes him a much more personable. Once you really get into Jasper’s story and history…he is revealed to be a very complex character. He’s misunderstood and broody, but that’s what makes him an underrated character in my opinion.
#3 Mrs. Everdeen (Katniss’ Mom) || The Hunger Games Series
I know what you’re thinking. Obviously, she’s an underrated character…we don’t even know her name. I find I’m more sympathetic to her now having faced loss and watched my mom grief my dad’s death. Katniss’ mom is a grieving, broken woman who can barely care for herself. I think she’s underrated for two reasons…1. people are too hard on her in my opinion, she’s broken and depressed and 2. her lack of mothering makes Katniss stronger and more dependant. If her mother had been what Katniss really needed her to be, she might not have been strong enough to win the Hunger Games. Doesn’t that make sense? I can see the reasoning behind making Mrs. Everdeen the way Suzanne Collins did because it then explains why Katniss is the way she is. Once again, a much more complex character than you originally think- thus, underrated!
#4 Xander Carrow || Matched Trilogy
Now, I’m only one book into this trilogy. I’ve finished Matched and waiting for my copy of the audiobook of the next two. But I already consider Xander a pretty underrated character. He’s probably considered the safe choice in a typical romantic triangle but he already seems a lot less selfish than Gale and Jacob (sorry guys, always Team Edward and Team Peeta). While it’s obvious that Cassia wants to pick Ky, Xander still shows his love for Cassia even when he knows she doesn’t want him in return *swoon*. I think the way Matched is written it’s aimed of most girls to want her to pick Ky…but there’s just something safe and beautiful about Xander. I have a feeling we will see a lot more from his character in the future. Maybe I’ll update this when I finally finish the series.
#5 Dobby || Harry Potter Series
I find Dobby both underrated and extremely popular…even though that makes no sense! I would definitely say that the Dobby from the movies is seriously underrated. He has a much richer storyline in the book. Like in Goblet of Fire, Dobby is actually the one who makes sure Harry has the gilliweed that he will need to go save Ron in the lake. I don’t think a lot of people realize how beautiful Dobby’s story really is…like his eccentric love of socks is probably rooted in the symbolism of his freedom…not just a fashion choice. Am I going a little to deep here? Probably. Does it make him a much more complex character? Absolutely.10 underrated characters from the YA genre! What characters deserve more credit?? Click To Tweet
#6 Will || Divergent Series
Will. Such a devastating moment in the series. Will comes from Erudite and becomes a Dauntless in Divergent. He offers a lighthearted, funny spirit to the group of newcomers. He’s also a good example of how you can change factions but you’re still your original faction deep down. His erudite ways are shown through little things like explaining how the fear serum works and even memorizing maps for the fun of it. But I would say he’s an underrated character because his death really shapes the next two books. If you’re not really paying attention, you might not see that…but it really does flow through the rest of the books. Because of how he died and who killed him, the after-effects of his death (even though he was acting under simulation and his death had to happen) really impact Tris and everyone. Side note: I just listened to this whole book again and am listening to the second one. I forgot how good they are. Wow!
#7 Tyson || Percy Jackson and the Olympians
I have a huge soft spot in my heart for Tyson. These books might border on younger than young adult…but I actually really love the voice the does the audiobook so I highly recommend them. They’re easy listening. Anyway, you could probably describe Tyson by saying he’s special needs. Obviously, there are different reasons in the actual series because it is mythical, but it is the easiest way I can think to describe him. He’s incredibly loving and not overly smart. But he has such an impact on all the characters…it wouldn’t be the same series without him.
#8 Bill Weasley || Harry Poter Series
Oh, how I want to add my man, Ron Weasley, to this list…but I wanted to talk about more underrated characters than that. But after doing some thinking on this fandom and started thinking about Bill. Bill Weasley is lucky enough to have a character in the movies…but it is seriously lacking. Bill has a much more complex story, much like the others on this list. He is a much more vital character than you might think. Bill is strong, kind, and a very big part of the Order. He also cares about Harry, just like the rest of the family. He is one that goes to help him get to the Burrow safely in Deathly Hallows, risks his life for it.
One of my favorite parts of the series is when Bill and Molly go to see Harry during the Goblet of Fire during the time when the champions families come to wish them well. They knew he didn’t have a real family…so they took him in. I loved seeing that Bill seems to consider Harry as another little brother. Bill also brings a little happiness to the group when he marries Fleur even though times are hard, and they will soon be fighting Voldemort soon. He values family and love.
#9 Rebekah Mikaelson || The Vampire Diaries
If you’re like me, you probably have a love-hate relationship with Rebekah Mikaelson, one of the original vampires from Vampire Diaries. Now I haven’t read a lot of the book series so this is mainly based on the TV show…however it is based off books. Rebekah is incredibly misunderstood. She responds with sass, hate, and snide comments but inwardly she just longs to be included. She wants to fit in. I mean, she can be awful…really. But I think deep down she just wan
What ts to be normal and I think her harshness makes her an underrated character because most people don’t see the rest of her character.
#10 Mags || The Hunger Games Series
How can a character that has no lines, words, or real conversations have such a beautiful and complex character? Mags doesn’t speak and uses mainly gestures to communicate. In fact, Finnick is one of the few people that have any idea what she’s ever saying. But Mags is old, feeble, and brave. You find out that she actually volunteered for Annie who is a mentally unstable Victor from District 4. I would say she’s underrated because in all honesty…she’s is incredibly selfless and brave. You find out a little more about her in the book but in the end, she sacrifices herself for Katniss, Peeta, and Finnick. She never intended to walk out of that game. She knew she had to save others, her time was more limited. Mags is a hero and deserves so much more credit.
How about some honorable mentions? Dumbo- 5th Wave, Natalie Prior- Divergent, Tonks – Harry Potter (I have a whole post on underrated HP characters you can read here).
What characters do you think are underrated? Let me know in the comments! This has me so excited to do some fiction writing…stay tuned!