Goodies Versus Baddies: Protagonists Versus Antagonists In Children’s Books

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‘If there’s one thing every story needs, it’s conflict. And while conflict takes many forms, some of literature’s most beloved stories involve conflict in the classic form of the protagonist and antagonist.

Without the white whale, Moby Dick is just a book about a guy who goes sailing and comes home. If there were no Voldemort, Harry Potter would simply follow the title character through seven boring years of school. Without Sauron and the Ring, the Fellowship would have just been an odd sight-seeing group touring Middle-earth.

And as enjoyable as that may have been for them, it wouldn’t have made a very good story for the rest of us! That’s why it’s so important to have some kind of conflict — and furthermore, to have real people be involved in some way.’


  • The main character
  • The hero or the good guy/girl
  • Has the problem that needs to be solved


  • The main character’s enemy
  • The villain or the bad guy/girl
  • Stands in the way of the protagonist solving the problem

In my book, ‘Rory Gumboots’, Rory Gumboots ( a hedgehog), is the main protagonist who wants to save his home in Noddinghead Nook from developers with their monster machines (antagonist)

Horace Hare and Fernando Fox are tricksters who try to stop Rory Gumboots and his friends from solving the problem so they are antagonists.

Horace Hare and Fernando Fox hiding behind a tree listening to Rory and his friends.

In my book, ‘Frances Darwin Investigates’, Frances Darwin is the protagonist who tries to stop the two antagonists, Charlie and Johnny from dog-napping dogs in the local area.

Dog-nappers, Charlie and Johnny

By having both protagonists and antagonists in your story you create conflict which makes for an interesting plot and helps move your story along.

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