In writing, not many people know these terms. I will make a better post on character archetypes soon. I chose to do research on this. We often hear terms of antagonists or protagonists.
So, what are these agonists?
Protagonist: This is normally the hero or heroine of a story. You see this in everything you watch or read. They have their belief systems in place or a set of goals, they believe that’s for the good of all mankind or supernatural creatures. These are your right-fighters and seem morally superior to others. Frodo or Harry Potter are great examples of protagonists.
Antagonist: This is normally the villain of a story, show, or movie. They are there to stop the protagonist from excelling in their goals. They believe what they are doing is right. Normally these characters have a huge ego, narcissist, psychotic, or various other terms they call these characters. They will do whatever is necessary to stop the protagonist. Examples are: Lord Voldemort, the devil, Sauron, or the headless horseman. Even Negan is considered an antagonist.
Now… I need to add more that many writers are unaware of.
Contagonist/Deuteragonst: These are different words but they have the same meaning. Some argue that these characters can either be a friend to the protagonist or they could be a friend to an antagonist. Most of the time, they are normally friends to the hero/heroine or protagonist. This character is out for themselves. They may switch from side to side, so they can find out who offers the best deal. They can stop either the protagonist or the antagonist from achieving their goals. These are your best poker players. They are normally mentally sound, even when you think they aren’t. I’m working on my series and I have a ton of these in hiding. These are the most dangerous characters to create because you never know which side they are on. This is where many readers throw a book. These characters are charming, attractive, funny and they usually make a reader fall in love with them. When they fall, they do it rather well and not with grace. These characters make you hate them. But they always return and try to do the right thing. If you can pull this character off, you will elicit many emotions from the reader. Prepare to receive hate mails for these type of characters. Examples are: Professor Snape, Gemma from Sons of Anarchy, Gollum
Triagonist: These characters are the third member of a protagonist’s life/existence. These can be the underdog, if you want to look at them that way. They are the characters that normally pick up the pieces from what the antagonist and contagonist/deuteragonist left behind. They are normally the unsung heroes or heroines of a story. They don’t want the attention but they have a pure soul. They normally say something that rallies the protagonist or something a reader can relate to. I love these characters. I have a few of these in my series, too. Examples of these are: Sam the Brave/Wise, Hermoine, Ron Weasley, Hagrid, and Professor Snape could be here, too.
I can’t say who is what in my series because it would blow many plots for me. You have to find the underdog in your series. Make that character become the heart of your series. It doesn’t always have to be the good guy/gal or protagonist.
There is another term that needs to be discussed: Anti-hero/heroine. They don’t want to be the hero/heroine of a story. But because of certain situations, they have to become the hero/heroine. These are usually your characters who have a checkered past or they simply don’t want to save everyone. They do what they do because they have to. I have a couple of these in my series as well. They aren’t a pure character and their morality is often questionable. These characters often make a reader furious. These characters will get around to doing the right thing but not on a reader or viewer’s time-table.