Fairytale Protagonists: The Ones You Haven’t Heard Of


You’ve heard of Cinderella and her pumpkin carriage. Read of Snow White and her seven companions. Or followed Little Red Riding Hood through wolf-infested forests. But, do you know any obscure fairytale protagonists? In today’s blog, we’ll share some unknown folk stories. Plus, what goes into creating these narratives. 

What is a Fairytale?

Also known as myths and legends, the fairytale is folklore that takes the form of a short story. Such narratives often include mythical creatures such as: dwarfs, dragons, eleven, fairies, giants, gnomes, goblins, mermaids, talking animals, trolls, unicorns, or witch. What’s more, they feature magic or enchantments. 

Occurring in both oral and literary form, many modern fairytales have evolved from centuries-old stories. Ones which appeared, in variation, in multiple cultures around the world. 

The Seven Basic Plots

In fact, all stories can be distilled down to seven basic plots

  1. Overcoming the Monster. The protagonist sets out to defeat an antagonistic force (often evil) which threatens the protagonist and/or protagonist’s homeland. Ex: Beowulf. 
  2. Rags to Riches. A classic fairytale structure. The poor protagonist acquires power, wealth, and/or a mate, loses it all and gains it back, growing as a person as a result. Ex: Aladdin. 
  3. The Quest. The protagonist and companions set out to acquire an important object or to get to a location. Subsequently, they face temptations and other obstacles along the way. Ex: The Lightning Thief. 
  4. Voyage and Return. The protagonist goes to a strange land. Then they overcome the threats it poses or learn important lessons unique to that location. Thus, they return with experience. Ex: Alice in Wonderland. 
  5. Comedy. Light and humorous character with a happy or cheerful ending; a dramatic work in which the central motif is the triumph over adverse circumstance, resulting in a successful or happy conclusion. Comedy refers to a pattern where the conflict becomes more and more confusing, but is at last made plain in a single clarifying event. Ex: Twelfth Night.
  6. Tragedy. The protagonist is a hero with a major character flaw or great mistake which is ultimately their undoing. Their unfortunate end evokes pity at their folly and the fall of a fundamentally good character. Ex: Macbeth.
  7. Rebirth. An event forces the main character to change their ways and often become a better individual. Ex: Groundhog’s Day. 

The Ones You Haven’t Heard Of

Think you know all the fairytales there are to know? Check out this list of obscure stories.

About the Author

Lydia B.

Lydia B.

Lydia B. is a Marketing Coordinator and Music Club Coach for Gooroo Clubs. Don't let after-school be an afterthought - join Gooroo's online platform centred around hands-on project-based learning!