Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Orphaned Protagonists

Have you ever stopped to think about how many main characters are orphaned in young adult/middle grade books? And if they're not orphaned, one of the parental units is "removed" from the action?

Harry Potter Series- parents killed by evil wizard
A Great and Terrible Beauty Series- mom murdered by Circe
Twilight Series- Rene lives in Florida, which is so removed from the action in Forks
Evermore- parents died in a car wreck
Life As We Knew It- parents divorced, Dad flits in and out
The Golden Compass Series- the main character was brought up by scholars at Jordan College
Percy Jackson & The Olympians Series- his Dad is a Greek God and lives in the ocean, removed from his day to day life
The Alchemist- the Immortal Secrets of Nicholas Flamel Series- the twins have parents, they're just workaholics, so they're removed from the action

My fellow aspiring writers (you're out there even though you don't know about my blog), have I just unlocked the secret to a compelling YA protagonist?


  1. Most YA themes deal in some way with a coming of age, becoming masters of their own world. Parents are a shield. They are guardians that can step in at any moment and protect and shelter the hero. If you remove the crutches the hero must walk on her own. And that is a much more dramatic story.

  2. Thanks for visiting Shane. And yes you are most definitely correct. Happy Writing!