Who is the most influential fictional character to you? | Teen Ink

Who is the most influential fictional character to you?

January 27, 2022
By winter275 SILVER, Seoul, Other
winter275 SILVER, Seoul, Other
7 articles 2 photos 0 comments

Harvey Specter is a senior partner lawyer in the American television series Suits. His character resembles the quintessential corporate alpha male: He is portrayed as unbelievably hard-working, always knowing the right thing to say in any given situation, and nearly incapable of failure; about as close to perfect as humanly possible. But perhaps what gives him his larger-than-life appeal, which is what has mesmerized me since the first time I saw Harvey on screen, is his overbearing conceit and self confidence. Now, what makes his confidence so impactful is that it is backed up by his achievements and work ethic. Without the support, he would probably just come across as annoying and pathetic. It’s this would-be theory that ten folds his impact.


Harvey is easily the driving force of the whole show. Everything kind of revolves around him. He has this whirlwind of influence that sends the other characters into orbit. The influence Harvey has on his fellow cast members is maybe what increases the influence he has on viewers. Influence is a very big part of success to modern societal standards. And because nearly everyone wants to be successful, myself included, Harvey becomes a role-model, a lion who’s traits seem attainable due to the realistic and relatable setting of the show, yet just out of reach for your average joe.

The realistic aspect of Suits increases my desire to attain the characters’ successes, because if I’m watching a sci-fi movie, for instance, any successes that the characters achieve might seem impressive if they’re difficult things to achieve to the standards of that particular universe. But those standards are probably much different to the standards we have in our own world, and as a result the sci-fi successes would seem irrelevant to me. Even if such a character did earn my respect, to the point where I want to be like them, the character would need to have some kind of Earthly qualities that I can relate to; or else I wouldn’t have gone this far in the first place, in terms of my thinking.

Another reason Harvey became my role-model is that he closely reflects the person I want to be, which is a solid person with a balanced life, and everything in check: He is widely respected, wealthy, in-shape, and astoundingly good at what he does. Virtually every decent person has an image in their head of the person they want to be, unless the person achieved all of their most ambitious goals, which is, I’m sure you will agree, not very common at all. I’ve met very few people who meet my standard of success and are also my age. And then I saw Suits upon my mom’s recommendation, and it was then that the living breathing embodiment of who I want to be revealed itself before my very eyes. I was awestruck. My peripheral vision narrowed, and my eyes were glued to my monitor. To be frank, I didn’t know that Harvey was the type of person I aspired to be until I saw him. In other words, he made me realize who I want to be.


There are some other fictional characters that had profound impacts on me other than Harvey Specter, and they include Roland of Gilead from The Dark Tower books, Koh Hansu from Pachinko, and Atticus Finch from To Kill A Mockingbird. And as it turns out, there is a trend in the characters that influence me, and the ones I listed above all share certain characteristics. For example, Roland is extremely skilled at what he does and is also incredibly wise, able to think fast on his feet and wiggle out of even the nastiest predicaments. But what really impacts me about Roland is that he attributes his skills and quick-witted nature to his years and years of appropriate training, and to his mentor. This conveyed to me that such skills can be learned and practiced, and do not have to be innate. This mindset has crawled to nearly every facet of my life, and is a principle I live by to this day. Roland of Gilead gave a whole new meaning to the sayings about having an “open mindset.”


Koh Hansu is a crook. Let’s get that out of the way, first and foremost. He is a Yakuza (Japanese mafia) boss who is a very bad man and used to doing very bad things. However, there are things that can be learned from even the most antagonistic of folks, and especially Koh Hansu, as he could not have gotten his level of status and wealth without at least a few tricks up his sleeve. I admire his elegance, apparent in both his behavior, speech, and attire. I respect his influence and knack for getting what he wants. But there is one principle of his that I’m sure will resonate and stick with me until the end of my days, and it’s that he prioritizes the safety and wellbeing of the people that are most dear to him above all else. Koh Hansu does absolutely everything in his power (which certainly isn’t in shortage) to care for and support those in his inner circles. Interestingly, this trait is also present in Harvey Specter.


I do a lot of thinking and self-analysis. I ponder on my actions and the things I’ve said, some of which go back months and years, and then think about practical ways I can overcome my shortcomings. I’ll talk to a trusted adult about such matters, because their inputs often evoke new ideas and perspectives to my problems. Quick-wittedness, decision-making, and fast thinking were the traits that I wanted to improve the most, despite them not being things I particularly struggle with. These are also the traits that I most admire in Harvey, Koh Hansu, and Roland. However, I couldn’t quite get to their level, no matter how I tried (this was a few months ago; I’m making much better progress now, getting closer and closer to the best version of myself). But even though I’m improving, I am still not where I’d like to be.


After lots of thinking, discussing, and some research, I made several revelations that can be backed up by both intuition and science. According to research, teens cannot possibly make decisions as well as adults because teens make decisions emotionally with the amygdala, whereas adults make decisions with the rational part of the brain, the prefrontal cortex. Now, of course, a wise teenager will beat an unwise adult anyday, but adults have a tendency to know better due to biological reasons. Therefore, we teenagers ought to listen to what adults tell us and at least consider the ideas they are trying to communicate. They’ve experienced everything we’re currently going through; they have made mistakes that they regret. Adult advice is a goldmine for teenagers! If we can find trends concerning regrets, then that gives us the opportunity to not make those same mistakes and to reduce the number of regrets we will have as adults. Plus, we will learn from both our own mistakes and the mistakes of past teenagers. I smell a recipe for

What have I learned from all this? Fictional characters can literally change your life. If a
character is well written enough to resonate with you, then he will bring out the ideas and
principles you never knew you had. He will help you shape who you want to be and give you the inspiration and motivation to chase your best self. Sometimes, such characters might lead you to other ideas, like that teenagers should listen to adults. I’m at the stage in life where I should build my character from the ground up: learn as much as I can, establish my values and principles, and tidy myself up before going out into the world.

The author's comments:

In this piece, I explore the influence that certain fictional characters have had on me, and how they built on my pre-existing values. This essay is my attempt to capture and compile my deepest thoughts and ideas into one coherent work, and I hope my experiences and realizations will serve as good advice to my fellow teens around the globe. 

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