Character Types: The Herald

kp_video_theherald“Aren’t these videos supposed to be posted on the 1st of this month?” you ask. “Isn’t this rather late for the next Character Types video to go up?”

It’s a good question.

And one that we’re going to be mum on.


In the last video in this series, Daniel vowed that he wasn’t going to pretend to be stupid anymore.

So in this video he’s coming back in full suit attire and with (presumably) the brains to match it as we tackle what the Herald character type is, and how to portray it effectively in fiction.

Previous Stereotypes:

The Comic Relief

The Mentor

The Damsel in Distress

The Parents

The Henchman

Profile photo of Josiah DeGraaf
Josiah DeGraaf is a high school English teacher and literature nerd who fell in love with stories when he was young and hasn’t fallen out of love ever since.
He writes because he’s fascinated by human motivations. What causes otherwise-good people to make really terrible decisions in their lives? Why do some people have the strength to withstand temptation when others don’t? How do people respond to periods of intense suffering? What does it mean to be a hero?
These questions drive him as a reader, and they drive him as a writer as well as he takes normal people, puts them in crazy situations (did he mention he writes fantasy?), and then forces them to make difficult choices with their lives.
Someday, Josiah hopes to write fantasy novels with worlds as imaginative as Brandon Sanderson’s, characters as complex as Orson Scott Card’s, character arcs as dynamic as Jane Austen’s, themes as deep as Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s, and stories as entertaining as Wayne Thomas Batson’s. In the meantime, you can find him writing articles here or short stories at his website (link below) as he works toward achieving these goals.
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  1. Ha! He does look like he eats cheese doodles.
    Um, heralds. You know, I don’t think it’s totally wrong for a messenger to just come in and die, but it’s certainly best to milk the most out of them you can.

    • Heh; yeah, it’s definitely a narrow tightrope to walk. Tried to present both sides in the video, but I wonder if some of it has to do with context and what works better for a specific story than which is better in general.

  2. The screenshots for the slider of each video are absolutely priceless… XD

    I would actually tend to agree with both of you. The herald doesn’t HAVE to be fully fleshed out, but I would say make it as unique as you can without being distracting. For instance, Eothain and Freya from the film of The Two Towers. How many heralds do you find that are children? Not many. So it’s an essential stereotype, but see if you can put a spin on it.

    Great work as always guys— I’m not sure which makes me laugh harder, the old Daniel or the new Daniel. XD

    • Yeah, I have a lot of fun deciding which screenshot from the video will be the best for the slider!
      That’s a good middle path to walk. Giving a little bit of characterization can go a long way.

  3. Lol. You guys always make me laugh so hard. XD
    As far as the herald stereotype goes, I think it depends on the story you are writing. Like Kate said, the herald character should be as unique and non-stereotype-y as possible so as to make the herald characters themselves memorable. I think it would be preferable for the herald to have a back story and whatnot, but I don’t think it’s always necessary, especially when the herald plays a small role in the story.
    Thanks for another great video series!!

    • Yeah, role in the story is huge. Few people will notice or complain about a flat character if they’re only around for a couple pages. But if that character is around for half the book… well, that’s when we begin to run into problems. =P

  4. Great thoughts as always! Keep up the great work, y’all!

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