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A few weeks ago I fielded the idea of a post on my favorite fictional INTJs to my Twitter followers and received an enthusiastic response. Unfortunately, I had an inordinately difficult time coming up with ten fictional INTJs I actually liked. Fictional INTJs tend to fall into one of three categories: stereotypes, villains, or Mr. Darcy, and there’s a lot of overlap between the first two. So I had to reevaluate my criteria for this list and own up to the fact that I don’t often like people of my own type–at least not in the world of books and film.
Ultimately I decided that I would choose the ten fictional INTJs I find the most interesting or compelling and leave it at that. The result is a list (in no particular order) that consists of five villains, four psycho and/or sociopaths, a few good guys (thank goodness), precisely zero Mr. Darcys, and [hopefully] no stereotypes.
FYI: I delve into the Myers-Briggs functions in this post. If you’re unfamiliar with this second layer of Myers-Briggs theory, you can read about it here.
1. Alice Morgan, Luther
I included Luther’s greatest adversary/ally/possible love interest in my list of favorite female villains. She’s a murderous sociopath who loves mind games, the Road Runner, and, of course, our favorite intrepid detective. Alice is brilliant, seductive, unpredictable, and, terrifying, and–above all–very interesting. Any psychologist would have a field day trying to understand her.
2. John Smith, The Man in the High Castle
A few months ago I binge-watched the first season of The Man in the High Castle and was fascinated by the subtle complexity of Obergruppenfürer John Smith, a cunning Nazi official whose internal conflict is just beginning to reveal itself by the end of the season. By all accounts he is firmly rooted in party ideals, but as the show progresses, we find out that his deceased brother was disabled, something that clearly causes him deep pain. Then his beloved son is diagnosed with a degenerative disease that, under Nazi law, can only be “treated” with termination. We don’t yet know how this is going to play out, but I have a feeling Smith’s character development is only going to grow more interesting in season two. I like how the show writers are churning up that Fi function and putting it at the fore of Smith’s story.
3, Hannibal Lecter, Hannibal
Despite my aversion to horror and gore, I watched all three seasons of Hannibal because the acting is just incredible. At the helm is Mads Mikkelsen as the psychopathic, cannibalistic, crazy-pants psychotherapist who develops a fascination with the damaged empath, Will Graham. The twisted friendship that ensues reveals the Fi that seems to be the Achilles heel of so many INTJs. And psychopath or not, you have to love a Renaissance man.
4. Bedelia du Maurier, Hannibal
Bedelia is another Hannibal favorite and was also on my list of favorite female villains. In addition to having the greatest name ever, she’s mysterious and difficult to figure out. Is she a victim or a perpetrator? Is she complicit in Hannibal’s crimes or merely a pawn in his game? Her ability to survive and adapt to the warped emotional landscape of Hannibal’s world right up until her gruesome ending is fascinating and a little bit admirable, even if she is not. She also has incredible style. Just sayin’.
5. Edna Mode, The Incredibles
If “fabulosity” were in the dictionary, its definition would be Edna Mode. A fashion designer for superheroes, she’s a classic INTJ–with flair. Edna prepares for every eventuality. (A fireproof, bulletproof super suit for the Incredibles’ toddler seems like a no-brainer.) She’s big on action, but not so much on emotional displays. (When Helen–Elastigirl–cries on her shoulder about her husband’s return to superhero work, Edna tells her to stop the pity party and go do something about it.) Edna might just be more incredible than the Incredibles.
6. Severus Snape, Harry Potter
There’s debate about whether Snape is a thinker or feeler because of how much his emotions influence his behavior. There’s also debate about whether he’s an INTJ or an ISTJ because of his longstanding devotion to Harry’s mother. It is my opinion that Snape is an unhealthy INTJ. Unhealthy INTJs are far more influenced by their emotions (that tertiary Fi raising its ugly head). It’s also entirely possible for an unhealthy INTJ to hang onto a person or emotion from the past for a long time.10 of the Greatest Fictional #INTJ Characters in Books + FilmClick To Tweet
Snape’s effectiveness as a spy and his ability to play both sides come from the partnership of his dominant Ni and inferior Se functions, which enable him to absorb raw data from his surroundings and distill it into usable intelligence. His auxiliary Te helps keep all that emotion under the hood–essential when trying to appear coldblooded and uncaring to Voldemort and his gang. Snape is a complicated character and one of my favorites in all of fiction.
7. Sherlock Holmes, Sherlock
Bloggers have typed Sherlock as an INTJ, INTP, ISTP, and so on. Technically he displays too many disparate functions to sort into any single type, but if forced to choose, I think INTJ fits him best, if not perfectly. He displays the same Ni/Se capabilities that Snape does, but amplified. He absorbs information from crime scenes and almost unconsciously pieces it all together into a logical narrative. He’s also incredibly entertaining and his relationship with ISFJ John Watson is fascinating in large part because of how different they are.
8. Gandalf, The Hobbit
I recently polled my Twitter followers about whether they think Gandalf is an INTJ or INFJ. INFJ won by a very slight margin (one vote), but I have to type him as an INTJ. His pragmatism favors INTJ, but isn’t enough to convince me on its own. Ultimately it’s his bluntness that convinces me he has auxiliary Te. Gandalf is by far my favorite INTJ in all of fiction. He’s the epitome of emotional health in this type–wise, humorous, and caring, but willing to do what is necessary to save Middle-earth, even when it means putting his friends at risk.
9. Spock, Star Trek
I am specifically referring to Leonard Nimoy’s portrayal; the new Spock is an ISTJ. In many ways, Spock epitomizes the stereotype of the unfeeling INTJ, but the more you watch the show, the more it becomes clear that Spock feels quite deeply. He just has a tendency to keep his emotions private. Spock is loyal, sarcastic, and wise–a perfect counterpoint to Kirk’s brash leadership.
10. Khan, Star Trek: Into Darkness
Khan, the villain portrayed by Benedict Cumberbatch in the latest Trek flick, is intelligent, efficient, cold, and brutal–at least to the crew of the Enterprise. What makes him so interesting is the motivation behind his destructive actions. He simply wants to free his crew–his family. Khan is a great example of how Fi can profoundly influence an INTJ’s behavior.
See my favorite characters of other types: