If you’re a reader, an avid TV-watcher or a dedicated movie buff, it’s likely that you’ve heard the term “comfort character” before. What makes a comfort character a comfort character is that it’s someone that a person feels bonded to or relates to. These are the characters that offer respite from life, give us something to root for, make us believe in something and let us live vicariously through them when our own lives get a little rough. These are the types of characters you’d want as your best friend, your mentor or someone that you know could make you laugh. These characters, though fictional, carry with them the power to inspire and turn a rough day into a good one.
Here is a list of some of my favorite comfort characters. These are some of the people who can make me laugh, cry and feel at home.
Donna Sheridan (played by Meryl Streep) from “Mamma Mia!” is a character you can’t help but love. She’s loud, spontaneous and knows how to have a good time. But more than just that, she’s hardworking and fights for what she wants. She established herself as a strong, independent woman living in a “rich man’s world.” She knows that she doesn’t need a man to make her happy. Donna is also a mother that exudes love and care. She makes the best type of friend and the most wonderful kind of mother.
“New Girl” is one of my all-time favorite TV shows, and Winston is a character I know would always have my back. His love for pranks and his cat sometimes distract from his wisdom and sage advice, but in lots of ways, he feels like the glue that holds their group of friends together. He’s level-headed and thinks things through most times. He cares about the peace within the house, and his love for his friends runs deep. Winston is also just plain funny. His character is always able to make me laugh out loud.
Although while reading “The Hunger Games” for the first time I was Team Gale (a choice I now regret), Peeta always had a way of making me smile to myself. In a hard, dangerous and scary world, he is someone who is genuinely good and filled with compassion for others. He did not have an easy journey, but through everything, there still seemed to be love in his heart. He is so much stronger than he often gets credit for. I also feel like he’s an important part of Katniss’ own character growth—pushing her to be a better version of herself.
Mia Thermopolis is the princess that we all deserve. In “The Princess Diaries,” we watch her transform, both physically and mentally, from a normal American, teenage girl into a princess fit to rule. Her struggles with crushes and best friends are relatable to a tee, but the added layer of being in line for the throne definitely complicates things even more. And although new to this whole princess thing, she embodies the grace, kindness and gentleness that is attributed to that title. She doesn’t fail to bring some of her own spunk to Genovia with her, though.
These characters have shown me beauty, friendship, strength and fun. They’ve made me feel seen and cared for at times when reality was too much. Connecting to a character feels real in the best possible way.