The Librarians is one of my favorite TV shows. What could be better than a team of bookworms saving the world from runaway magic? Sure it’s campy and can’t be taken too seriously, but isn’t that part of the appeal?
Typing fictional characters is one of my favorite things to do in blog posts. I’d started writing this one for last week, but when I realized how many of the Librarians characters are Sensing types I thought it’d be a great follow-up to my “Myths About Sensing Types” post. One of the more pervasive myths about Sensors is that they’re neither intelligent nor imaginative. Since all the main characters in this show except Flynn are Sensors, The Librarians provides a perfect example to the contrary.
Please note: I type using cognitive functions, which are the basis of Myers-Briggs theory. If you’re not familiar with this concept or want a refresher, check out this articles: The Simplest Guide To Myers-Briggs Functions Ever
Eve Baird: ESTJ
Eve is the easiest character to type, partly because she’s such a stereotypical example of the type nicknamed “Supervisor” or “Guardian.” ESTJs are known for their blunt demeanor, no-nonsense attitudes, and ability to keep things moving forward. They also care about keeping the world running as it should be, a trait Eve devotes to keeping the Library safe and magical artifacts out of the wrong hands.
ESTJs lead with a judging function called Extroverted Thinking/Effectiveness. That means Eve’s preferred mental process involves measuring and managing impersonal criteria when making decisions. There are examples of this in literally every episode.
The “co-pilot” mental process for ESTJs is Introverted Sensing/Memory. SJ types filter everything they learn through the lens of their own memories and experiences. In early episodes this frustrates the Librarians who Eve is guarding, since she tries to work with them way she did her counter-terrorism team. It’s also worth noting that Introverted Sensing is a sharp contrast to how an ENTP like Flynn thinks. In fact, a real-life ENTP wrote that from their perspective ESTJs are “insanely tied to personal experience and expert opinion.”
That’s not to say ESTJs are inflexible. Once given enough information to work with, they’re quick to adapt their actions to match the situation. Anything else would be inefficient. This is partly due to the fact that they prioritize effectiveness, and partly due to their tertiary Extroverted Intuition. This function isn’t all that well developed in an ESTJ, but they do use it.
Flynn Carsen: ENTP
While Flynn isn’t as stereotypically an ENTP as a character like Tony Stark, there’s no question that he leads with Extroverted Intuition. Also called “Exploration,” this mental process is all about novelty, experimentation, and pattern-finding. NP types are known for having an endless variety of interests, often becoming experts in several fields if they can concentrate on each long enough (they’re also notoriously distractable).
I suppose some might argue that Flyn is an introvert since he spends a lot of time alone, but he’s not happy when introverting. He needs to be out doing and learning something in the outer world, whether or not that involves being social. And he’s not so much concerned with experience (which would be more of an SP thing). He needs to mess with everything and see what happens. That’s an NP trait.
As an ENTP, Flynn’s co-pilot and tertiary functions are Introverted Thinking/Accuracy and Extroverted Feeling/Harmony. That Introverted Thinking side is where he goes when he is preoccupied with the inside of his own mind, and it’s concerned with processing all the incoming data Flynn gathers so it makes sense to him. It’s much more subjective and personal than the Thinking process that Eve leads with. (This is actually one reason I don’t think he’s an ENFP — if he was, he’d share the same Thinking and Feeling functions as Eve and we just don’t see that in how they interact.)
Each type also has an inferior function, which is underdeveloped and often shows up when they’re stressed. For an ENTP, this is Introverted Sensing. That shows up in ENTPs, including Flynn, as a tendency to become withdrawn and obsessive when they’re overwhelmed or otherwise stressed out. The most obvious example with Flynn’s character is that he literally leaves the Library without telling anyone where he’s going if things start going wrong so he can try to handle things on his own.
Cassandra Cillian: ISFJ
Cassandra is a harder character to type. I think the problem is that people tend to assume intelligent women are NT types, especially if they have an interest in science. So if you’re typing by functions you look at Cassandra’s character and see Extroverted Feeling, Introverted Thinking, Extroverted Intuition, and Introverted Sensing, then assume she’s an ENTP or INTP type.
However, I really don’t think her preferred function is Intuition or Thinking. She uses those four functions, sure, but in a different order. ISFJ lead with Introverted Sensing and have Extroverted Feeling as their co-pilot. That makes their tertiary function Introverted Thinking and puts Extroverted Intuition as the inferior function.
Cassandra’s synesthesia might look to the audience as if she’s putting patterns together (which is associated with Intuition), but it’s explained in the show by saying she links all five senses to her memory. People might also think she’s an Intuitive because of her affinity for magic, but as I argued when typing certain Jedi as Sensors, just because something seems mystical or abstract to us doesn’t mean it isn’t concrete reality for the character. I love the description someone on PersonalityCafe used, saying Cassandra is “An incredibly intelligent, data-accessing ISFJ.” Like Eve, Cassandra relies on personal experience and knowledge accumulated from expert sources as her favorite method of learning.
Extroverted Feeling/Harmony makes decisions based on what is going to meet the needs of as many people as possible. She’s the Librarian who checks in with the people around her and is most concerned with maintaining Harmony in relationships. She’s not ruled by people-pleasing, though, and balances this side well with her tertiary Introverted Thinking. We do also see inferior Extroverted Intuition show up in her fear of the unknown (current season) and her reluctance to push herself to explore all her abilities (first season).
Ezekiel Jones: ESTP
I confess I have a soft-spot for roguish ESTP characters (particularly White Collar criminals). The’re just so terribly clever and charming. One thing I find fascinating about Ezekiel Jones is that he was first invited to interview at the Library as a young teenager. Granted the Library does some pretty odd things at times, but the fact that he was in the same batch of potential Librarians as Flynn tells you there’s something pretty special about how Ezekiel’s mind works.
Anyway, on with the actual typing. Extroverted Sensing/Sensation types can be thought of as having “real-time kinetic” skills. They often have wonderful coordination and can dive right into the action of the moment. Perfect for a world-class thief (please note: SPs should not take this as career-change advice 😉 )
ESTPs back their Se up with Introverted Thinking (just like Flynn’s ENTP type). Logical, impersonal decision making is key to both Thinking processes, but for TP types the only person it has to make sense to is them (unlike TJ types, which rely more on outer-world data). Ezekiel doesn’t seem to care what anyone else thinks of him and he lets criticism that’s meant to hit some kind of an emotional trigger roll right off him (Thinking types can often do that with criticism, unless someone is questioning their competence).
As for Ezekiel’s tertiary Extroverted Feeling side, I suspect we’re all thinking of that one episode where they were all trapped in a video game. I’m getting choked up just thinking about it. He’s so deeply connected to his fellow Librarians that he kept sacrificing himself over and over to save them. And more recently when we met his mother, we see that he’s definitely got a Harmony-seeking side to his personality.
An ESTP’s inferior function is Introverted Intuition. Unknown futures and unexpected changes can trigger stress reactions in this type, which usually leads to them feeling confused inside and inaccurately interpreting their perceptions of things. We glimpse this part of Ezekiel’s personality a few times, but in true ESTP fashion he quickly bounces back to his usual personality (ESxP types are among the fastest to recover from stress reactions).
Jacob Stone: ISFP
Jake is perhaps the hardest character to type. He’s a curious blend of action hero cowboy and art-geek intellectual, which means he’s not going to fit any of the stereotypes and we can’t be lazy with typing.
I’m going to assume no one will argue the introversion preference with me. He’s pretty good with the external world, but it’s clear his preference is for the internal world of thoughts and ideas. Not sure there’s any other way he could have been content living his external life working in his father’s business while keeping his true passions a secret from nearly everyone else.
So, as an introverted type Jake leads with an introverted mental process. And I’m going to say that it’s Introverted Feeling/Authenticity. It would be pretty easy to mistake him for a Thinker, but this quote from the MBTI Manual sheds some light on exactly what the distinction really is:
“A person may rely primarily on Thinking (T) to decide impersonally on the basis of logical consequences, or a person may rely primarily on Feeling (F) to decide primarily on the basis of personal or social values.” (quoted in “Are Feelers More Emotional Than Thinkers?“)
Jake makes all his decisions based on a deeply personal, internal sense of what’s right and what’s wrong. Pretty sure this is why Cassandra’s betrayal in the first couple episodes hit him so deeply. It wasn’t a knee-jerk stress reaction for him to push her away. It was a well-thought out decision based on what he’d observed and what his personal values said. You’ll also notice throughout the series that there’s no budging him once he’s convinced something is right.
Extroverted Sensing is pretty obvious as his co-pilot process. People who use this process as their first or second function tend to be really good with physical activity and have quick reaction times in the world around them. (Interestingly, neuroscientist Dario Nardi found that SP brains function similarly to that of a tennis player hopping back and forth, always ready for their opponent’s next move.) Couple that with tertiary Introverted Intuition and you have an explanation for why Jake’s brain can process external information so quickly as well as connect it into patterns to solve problems. That makes him a fantastic Librarian as well as five of the world’s foremost art historians.
I love Jenkins. Remember how I said in last week’s post that ISxJ types have a wicked sense of humor? He’s a perfect example. One of the great things about his character is that his “crotchetyness” isn’t just there to make us laugh — I’m pretty sure he’s amusing himself as well. His sarcasm has been finely honed over centuries and he makes use of it at every opportunity.
ISTJs lead with Introverted Sensing/Memory as their dominant mental process. As I said earlier, SJ types filter everything they learn through the lens of their own memories and experiences. Jenkins has a lot of memories to do that with and he has some kind of experience to apply to just about every situation. He’s also had plenty of time to settle into the “this is how it’s always been done so that’s how we should do it now” attitude that’s often associated with SJ types, especially the introverted ones.
Jenkins’ co-pilot process is Extroverted Thinking/Effectiveness. He is straight-forward, no-nonsense, and focused on communicating a logical decision as efficiently as possible. This trait rarely puts him in conflict with Eve (who shares this Thinking function), but the others aren’t always quite sure what to make of him. I think it’s telling that his strongest connection with any of the Librarians is with Cassandra, who shares a primary function with Jenkins as an ISFJ.
Being such a mature example of his personality type, it’s little surprise to find that Jenkins has integrated his tertiary side pretty well. For an ISTJ, that’s Introverted Feeling/Authenticity. We see it in Jenkin’s strong commitment to do what he believes is right for the Library and according to his own personal code. He makes values-based decisions almost as easily as he makes logic-based ones. There’s a great example of this in the current season in the decisions we learn he made regarding Nichole Noon, but I don’t want to spoil it if you’re not caught-up so that’s all I’ll say.
Are any of my readers fans of The Librarians? I’d love to hear your takes on these characters. Share your thoughts in the comments below!