Who Is The Most Over Powered Character In Books?
Posted on 19th of December, 2018


1. Something from the Nightside by Simon R. Green. Something from the Nightside, and indeed all of the books in the series like Agents of Lights and Darkness, Hex and the City, Hell to Pay, A Hard Day's Knight etc. features a protagonist like this. His name is John Taylor and has access to a number of abilities that make him very overpowered. His primary ability is to find things, which is a lot more useful than what you may think. For example, he can "find" the weak points of any opponent he faces and "find" shortcuts to anywhere he needs to go. Since he has werewolf blood, it is also almost impossible to kill him as he would simply regenerate. There are a couple of other things, but overall this character is just a total bad-ass.

2. Storm Front by Jim Butcher. Storm Front is the first book in The Dresden Files series and it was followed by a whole bunch of sequels. The protagonist is named Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden and he is not just a powerful wizard, but also a detective. Harry has access to a number of powerful spells like fire and wind along with lightning, ice and cold. To be fair, Harry doesn't start out as all powerful, but over the course of the fifteen or so books he has escaped death more times than what I can count.

3. The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien. I would argue that Gandalf is the most powerful (and overpowered) character in The Lord of the Rings series. He is not just a very powerful wizard, but also able to use his scheming tactics to persuade those around him to do what he needs them to do. One thing that a lot of people who have watched the movies do not realize is that Gandalf is not just a mere mortal, but actually an angelic being of great power. This would explain why he isn't just incredibly long-lived, but also managed to come back from the dead even more powerful than before.
It surprises me that authors still fall into this trap of creating characters who are too overpowered. As a reader, I enjoy characters that are a little flawed and could get hurt or in serious trouble if they are not careful. Without that sense of danger, then there is very little suspense and the stories tend to become boring. Not to say that all books that feature powerful protagonists are boring, but if you know that the hero is just going to stroll away from every encounter without a scratch, there's not much to keep you reading.

I don't read a lot of fantasy, so thankfully I tend to not see so many over powered wizard characters and whatnot, but it is something that crops up in science fiction too. Just take a look at the Andrew Wiggins character from the Ender's Game books by Orson Scott Card. When another boy teases him, Wiggins beat him up so badly that the boy dies from his injuries. When he is enrolled in battle school, he dominates all the other students even with the school leaders trying to do everything to stack the odds against him. Eventually he goes on to single handedly win a war thanks to his superior intellect. Oh, and did I mention that he accomplished all of this at the age of ten? Yeah, if that isn't overpowered, then I don't know what is.
Characters who are vastly overpowered seem to me to be more of a fantasy thing compared to other genres. More specifically, I'm talking about wizards and other magic users. These are the people in fantasy literature that can seemingly defeat armies on their own and move mountains by just using the power of their minds. While this is undeniably cool, it also makes it hard to relate to them as characters or become invested in their stories. To give you a good example, there is Milamber or "Pug of Crydee" as he was initially known from the Riftwar books by Raymond E. Feist. Here we have a character who basically starts out as an orphan that was abandoned by the side of the road and ended up becoming an apprentice to a great magician. I don't want to venture into any spoilers, but Milamber goes on to accomplish incredible feats of magic that makes him far more powerful than any of the other characters in the books. It also causes the author to resort to the laziest of overpowered character cliches by making his loved ones his weakness. Meaning that because his enemies are not really able to harm him, they kill those close to Milamber, which in my opinion is a cheap way of milking emotion from readers for a character that is too overpowered. The author generally does a good job of not shying away from killing important characters, which keeps readers on their toes, but Milamber is never in any real danger of dying.

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