When Heroes Can’t Save Themselves: Death and Loss in Infinity War

Even if you haven’t yet seen Avengers: Infinity War you’ve probably picked up on the vibe that not everything ends happy. Well before the film’s release there were charts out detailing which characters were safe, which ones in danger, and which ones we definitely expected to die. Even my cousin, who’s outside the MCU Fandom, wanted to see it because she had to find out who lived and who died.

Warning: Mild Spoilers Follow For Avengers: Infinity War

When Heroes Can't Save Themselves: Death and Loss in Infinity War | marissabaker.wordpress.comWhile the film has been well received overall, some are describing the deaths that do happen (and in some cases the whole movie) as pointless because we “know” pretty much how this is going to go. Coulson and Loki have already come back from death scenes in the MCU. It’s something we expect from the genre. And some of the characters that died at the end have sequel movies that are filming right now. We assume they won’t stay dead, and so might conclude that their deaths don’t matter.

It’s also been quite a shock to see earth’s and the galaxy’s mightiest heroes lose such an important battle. This isn’t the end of the story, since a sequel film is coming in May 2018, but the only one who gets a happy ending in this film is Thanos. This isn’t just the Empire scattered the rebellion and Han Solo is frozen in carbonite. This is Darth Vader got exactly what he wanted and retired to Mustafar to spend the rest of his life watching lava bubble.

Second Warning: Major Spoilers Follow For Avengers: Infinity War

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Fictional MBTI — Thor (ESTP)

With Thor: Ragnarok now out, it seemed like a good time for another Fictional MBTI post. Especially since Ragnarok is so good. Who would have thought a film about the destruction of Asgard and fall of the gods (that’s not a spoiler — it’s Norse mythology) could be so light-hearted and fun?

I’ve been typing Thor as an ESTP since the first film came out, which I think is pretty much the standard typing for him (please note: I’m only typing the MCU version of Thor, not his character in the comics). But that’s no reason not to give him his own blog post. I usually use David Kiersey’s nicknames for the personality types, but for Thor the ESTP nickname “Adventurer” seems more appropriate than “Promoter.”Fictional MBTI - Thor (ESTP) | marissabaker.wordpress.com

A Man of Action

Fictional MBTI - Thor (ESTP) | marissabaker.wordpress.comESTP types lead with a mental process called Extroverted Sensing (Se). Fittingly, this is the most visible aspect of Thor’s character in the films. SP types are doers. They thrive on taking action in the real world and they’re good at it. Really good. In fact, I’d venture a guess that most action heroes in fiction are SP types, especially STP types. It’s not that they can’t pause for reflection or plan ahead. It’s that they don’t really see the need since things usually work out so well for them.

ESTPs have a reputation for being thrill-seekers, and it’s not hard to see why. Their dominant Se seeks variety and physical stimulation. They like to take risks, yet they are so aware of their physical surroundings and their limits that they are probably the smartest physical risk-takers around. They have a natural awareness for what their body can or can’t do, paired with quick reflexes, and an ability to keep their wits in a crisis.” — Susan Storm, Understanding ESTP Sensing

This side of Thor’s character is at the forefront in the new film as well as his past appearances. In Ragnarok’s opening scene, he even comments that fighting against overwhelming odds without a real plan seems to always work out for him. And not only does it work out, he’s clearly enjoying himself. He thrives on challenge and risk-taking. Read more

Idealist Villains: When NF Types Turn Evil

A few weeks ago I observed something curious in one of the personality type groups I frequent on Facebook. One member started a discussion about what kind of villain different personality types would be and there were a few types they didn’t even list. Their assumption was that most Feeling types wouldn’t become villains and especially not NF or FP types.

Rather than bask in the knowledge that we’re the lest villainous type a surprisingly high number of NFs jumped into the comments to defend our ability to turn evil. Most of their comments went something like this: “Well, I wouldn’t personally be a villain, but I could be because *insert reasons.* And on top of that, *insert fictional or real name* is a villain of my type.” I laughed at the number of INFJs who reminded people that Hitler was an INFJ while at the same time reassuring people they don’t feel Hitler-ish tendencies themselves.Idealist Villains: When NF Types Turn Evil | marissabaker.wordpress.com

Who Gets To Be The Villain?

I dare say when most people think about villains, they think of a detached mastermind. There’s a ridiculously high percentage of NT type villains (and correspondingly few NT heroes; it’s even harder to find heroic INTJs in fiction than it is to find NF villains). In real life, of course, people of any personality type can lean more towards the best version or the worst version of their type. No one personality type is inherently “better” than any other. However, society does stereotype certain characteristics associated with types as better or worse.

Prioritizing other’s safety over your own, a characteristic most commonly associated with FJ types, is often seen as a heroic trait. Hence, we see characters like Captain America with an ISFJ personality type. But what if you have an ISFJ character who decides only a certain group of people (or even just one person) is more valuable and it’s their duty to protect them? Suddenly the heroic trait doesn’t seem so safe any more. Especially when you consider the prime example of a villainous ISFJ is Norman Bates from Psycho. Read more

Fictional MBTI – Loki (INFJ)

My first Fictional MBTI post was about Loki, and though it wasn’t the most complete or polished post it quickly became the most active in terms of comments. Even now, over a year and a half later, people are still posting new insights and observations on Loki’s character. And when the latest comments are more in-depth than the original post, it’s time for an update.

Quick note: my typing for Loki is wholly based on the Marvel Cinematic Universe, not on the comics or on Norse mythology. Loki is a controversial figure to type (as those 40 commends on the last post can attest), and his instability further complicates things. Also, I suspect Tom Hiddleston is an NF type, which would color his depiction of Loki.Fictional MBTI - Loki (INFJ) | marissabaker.wordpress.com

INFJ Overview

The letters “INFJ” stand for Introvert, iNtuitive, Feeling and Judging. This means INFJs lead with a function called Introverted Intuition (called “Perspectives” in the Personality Hacker system). Introverted Intuition is a perceiving function that takes in and processes information, and is particularly interested in things that can’t be directly experienced. Intuition is great at pattern recognition and extrapolating future possibilities, and I’ve never seen anyone argue Loki is not an Intuitive. Read more

Fictional MBTI — Loki

Update: Click here for a newer post about Loki with a more complete type analysis.

Over the past couple weeks, without even looking for them, I’ve stumbled upon two blogs talking about Myers-Briggs types for fictional characters. One is a Tumbler called MBTI in Fiction. The other is a blog titled A Little Bit of Personality, with a series of posts analyzing heroic archetypes.

I’ve been intrigued by the characters each of these writers choose to type as INFJs. Neither of these writer’s are INFJs themselves (the writer from “MBTI in Fiction” is an ENTJ and the writer of “A Little Bit of Personality” is an ENTP), and it’s interesting to see who non-INFJs think are INFJs. I don’t always agree with them, but it’s interesting.

Loki

Fictional INFJs -- Loki. marissabaker.wordpress.comThis was the first post I saw from MBTI in Fiction. My initial reaction was, “There’s no way Loki and I have the same personality type.” But I agree that he’s an introvert, and I don’t think he’s logical or grounded enough to be either an S or a T type, so that leaves us with INFJ or INFP. (Some people type him as an INTJ Mastermind, but he seems to rely on Extroverted Feeling more than Extroverted Thinking as a function).

Both INFJs and INFPs feel everything very deeply and trust their intuition. However, INFPs tend to keep their emotions to themselves, though feelings will inform all their actions. Outwardly, they appear “receptive and non-judgmental.” INFJs prefer to approach the world through Introverted Intuition (Ni), followed by Extroverted Feeling (Fe). They are the rarest type, often question their sanity,  rely strongly on their intuitions about people, and tend to talk about their feelings. Dr. A.J. Drenth’s profile includes this descriptions, which I think sounds a lot like Loki (as played by Tom Hiddleston in The Avengers):

INFJs are far less serious inwardly than they may appear outwardly. Their inner world is well described as playful, imaginative, colorful, mischievous, and daring. Characterized by Perceiving rather than Judging, it is far less controlled and regulated than that of INFPs. INFJs love playing with ideas, perspectives, theories, images, symbols, and metaphors.

Another reason I’ve been won-over to typing Loki as an INFJ is because of the description of INFJ villains on A Little Bit of Personality’s page. It really does sound like Loki, and the last line hits a little too close to home for me to brush this analysis off as written by someone who just doesn’t understand INFJs.

When turned to villainy, the INFJ is *creepy*! There isn’t really any other word for it. Dark Paladins are the best of manipulators because they are incredibly intuitive about people and can apply their mild-manneredness to going under the radar as long as they need to, manipulating others who would never suspect them. Because they are so good at this and *know* it, pure-hearted INFJ’s often wonder if they are secretly evil and manipulative at heart, like one day they’ll wake up and realize they were bad all along.

Future Posts?

I was planning on covering several characters, but after I started writing Loki I decided one would be enough for a single post. Maybe I’ll write more at some other time, if anyone is interested. Are there any characters you’ve been thinking are INFJs? Would you be interested in me typing non-INFJ characters?

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