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Who would you say has been the most famous fictional character of the past two centuries?

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I would name the most popular Harry Potter for his contribution to the New Age fantasy and being a majestic story for both children and adults. While doing so I would name Batman as the one who, despite being made a mass culture and twisted by inapproprite people from time to time, remains a beacon of order, justice, and upright, humane moral values.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

Well, it's Dracula out of this list who has been around for longest, and he has been legend for even longer. We could say the Frankenstein monster would give him a bit of a run for his money having been around as a fictional character for longer, though not as legend.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

captaon nemo, captain Ahab, perry Rhodan,Flash Gorfon, Cthulhu, etc the list is way too short

-8 ( +1 / -9 )

Chotto matte .. No Tooth Fairy nor Easter Bunny ???

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Mickey Mouse Santa Claus

From the list, I'd have to go with Other although Dracula is up there.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Who's been the most consistently famous, with worldwide acclaim, and been around for at least two centuries?

Dracula, no doubt about it.

Sherlock Holmes doesn't have worldwide acclaim, I don't think, despite been consistently famous in the West and been around for the time period described by the question.

I think Superman and Batman have the best chances of being great challengers. Harry Potter isn't really remembered for his character, but the world his character is in. Harry Potter land is still pretty awesome though. Most of the world have seen at least one James Bond film, but I don't think he's been consistently famous. Tarzan has the same problem, but worse.

Everyone else on this list aren't that famous.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Don't like to think about it, but Mickey Mouse should be listed too I think. And Hello Kitty. Not my favourites - just being realistic.

Also, Dracula is somewhat based on a real historical figure, Vlad the Impaler who in more recent times has resurrected as Vlad the Shirtless.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Warning: references to religious entities are not tolerated on this site.

Moderator: Because you can't prove it one way or the other. All others on the list are proven to be fictional.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I voted for Sherlock Holmes, as Santa is not fictional.

19 ( +22 / -3 )

Sherlock Holmes sure has staying power. But I voted for Superman. Even here in Japan, everyone knows about him.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I'm surprised Sherlock Holmes and Dracula are leading. I know nothing about Sherlock Holmes of the most part. Are we speaking of native english speakers or worldwide? If worldwide, Harry Potter. I think known by kids in countries all over the world. Can't say the same from Sherlock and Dracula I'm guessing. Same for James Bond. Hercule Poirot?? Who? I'm guessing someone British made this list.

-15 ( +1 / -16 )

I thought all of them, other than Harry Potter, were real.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

"Hercule Poirot?? Who?"

A character created by the biggest selling writer in history with sales of at least 2,000,000,000 books in many languages.

Maybe not number one, but I'd say he's pretty well-known.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Sherlock Holmes. Father Christmas is real. I know, I've met him.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

I voted Santa because I hope his legacy and the spirit of giving are more popular than having some fictitious night-crawler suck the blood from your neck.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Jimizo, guessing you're British and middle age. I googled the name and know the guy to see him but have certainly never watched the shows, read the books... I think you'd be hard pressed to find anyone over 40 out of the UK who would claim he is popular.

-11 ( +1 / -12 )

Santa Claus, while not my favorite amongst the choices, is hands down the most well known of these characters. Any kid, world-wide, knows Santa Claus. Exposure to the rest would be limited. I'm not saying it's good or bad, but Santa wins.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

"I think you'd be hard pressed to find anyone over 40 out of the UK who would claim he is popular."

So why were her books translated into 103 languages? Did UK people buy up all 2,000,000,000 books sold in languages like Tagalog, Swahili and Korean?

I wonder if this explains why the New York Times had its first and only front page obituary of a fictional character when Christie killed him off.

As I said, not the most famous, but I'd argue he's the most famous fictional detective after....Sherlock Holmes.

You may not be that familiar with these characters, but the numbers say very, very many are.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

Jimizo, when were the books published? Clearly you're a fan and I've touched a nerve for pointing out that nope, not popular for everyone, everywhere. Not sure why you're getting so upset and defensive. Like I said, I'm guessing British, middle age (older?) and white.

-11 ( +1 / -12 )


No, not a fan. I've read one Agatha Christie book and watched maybe two films. Not upset either. Yes, I'm white, middle-aged British. Most of Christie's readers were not white British. The question didn't ask for popularity among particular age group.

I just don't get why you said "who??" after Poirot. You seem to have a bee in your bonnet about this list being Brit-centric ;)

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Santa Claus-not my choice but the right answer. Every year without fail Christmas commercialism mass produces his image. None of the other characters have consistently been touted year in and year out on the same scale. Some fall in and out of vogue-but Santa in all his manifestations is like an ever present dictator in the popular imagination of children and manufacturers looking for that year end sales boost.

None of the other characters are even close....Again Santa would not be my choice-but there you have it.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

@tmarie, as a non Brit I would say Poirot is also fairly popular in continental Europe, commonwealth nations and perhaps/probably most Francophone African countries too. By popular I mean we know who he is and have either watched a movie/series or read a book about him. Have to say I would be gobsmacked if a westerner told me he/she has NEVER heard the name ( the snob in me would probably think he/she is an ignoramus). Probably not the same audience as Bond, Potter, superman etc though.

Am actually (agreeably) surprised that Tarzan is up there! I sort of thought only blokes in their 40s or over had heard of him! Homer Simpson and Spiderman would have made my list.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

After watching George Hamilton's Love at First Bite portrayal on dvd I voted for Dracula.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I personally voted for Superman for obvious world-wide fame and recognition. HOWEVER, strictly in the realm of (American) English literature, Santa Clause appears to be BY FAR the most mentioned fictional character over the last two hundred years. (Source: Google Books Ngram)


0 ( +0 / -0 )

Frankenstein's monster is instantly recognisable the world over, especially in his Universal Monsters guise. I agree with Poirot... how can anyone deny that Agatha Christie's little Belgian detective has worldwide recognition? Sherlock Holmes, yes. Tarzan... again, yes, as he has no doubt spawned many imitations across the globe. Godzilla... he and Kong are surely known across the world?

There are so many characters known across the globe.

I would take issue with Santa... as Father Christmas is older and was world famous before he was replaced by the Coke swigging American fake hahaha

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Fairy tale characters as they have been longer around than any on this list

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I would say hands down it's Santa. Everyone in the world knows him. But, PSandoz has a point ;-)

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Fictional, the key word. Sherlock. I think... although it's said he's quietly now retired in the Bri'ish countryside.

0 ( +0 / -0 )


tmarie who? Now Poirot I have heard of!

1 ( +3 / -2 )

I wanted to vote for Dracula, but the poll was for "fictional" characters...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Why isnt Reno Raines, AKA Vince Black, on the list? hes the long haired hero from the hit 90s TV series Renegade. he could go toe to toe with all those names in a fight to the death! an outlaw, a bounty hunter..... a RENEGADE

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

Over two centuries, it has to be Santa Claus for me. Seems logical.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

There are no candidates on the list. The most famous fictional character of the past two centuries I would say is IRON MAN. IRON SUITS, which Tony Stark wears, are really ideal in terms of utilizing advantages of it in medical situation, rescue, etc. I think the actual IRON SUIT itself might be difficult, but in terms of muscle gear, it's technologically possible. I don't think it needs to adopt flying system or weapon system, however, AI technology like Janice, which administrate an operations of IRON SUIT or other chores, needs to be adopted. If such suit or gear are actully developed that will change the world.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Nothing personal here, just an observation, interesting that there are no Asian characters on the list. I wonder if you asked a Chinese, Korean, or Japanese person the same question, but with adding Asian characters, what the answer would be.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Well, it's Dracula out of this list who has been around for longest,

That's incorrect I'm afraid. The first Dracula book by Sax Romer appeared in 1912; the first Holmes book by Conan Doyle was 1886.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

That's incorrect I'm afraid. The first Dracula book by Sax Romer appeared in 1912; the first Holmes book by Conan Doyle was 1886.

Actually the first book was by Bram Stoker, and while Holmes may still be "older" it's pretty close. However the legend of Dracula goes back even farther to the 1400's or so to Vlad the Impaler I do believe.

Dracula is an 1897 Gothic horror novel by Irish author Bram Stoker, famous for introducing the character of the vampire Count Dracula.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Jesus ? even though he had real origins, everything thats attributed to him is quite a fairytale... God is even more so..

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Nothing personal here, just an observation, interesting that there are no Asian characters on the list. I wonder if you asked a Chinese, Korean, or Japanese person the same question, but with adding Asian characters, what the answer would be.

Fu-Manchu is Asian. So was Charlie Chan and Mr. Moto, and it would have been fun to vote for them. But the question is culturally biased. The literary character most famed in those three countries is probably 孫悟空 (Sun Wukong, the monkey king), from Xi You Ji (A Journey to the West).

0 ( +0 / -0 )


I believe both Charlie Chan and Mr Moto were created by American authors and that Chan was a detective based in Hawaii. I'm not sure where Mr Moto was based, despite his Japanese surname. In any case, I doubt either of them would be well known in Asia. I voted for Santa.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Brainiac, in John P. Marquand's novels, Mr. Moto was based mostly in China. In the films, where he was played by Hungarian actor Peter Lorre, he was all over the place.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Wait... Was Santa on the list at the time the poll was made? I didn't see him when I voted. Shoot. Aw well.

0 ( +0 / -0 )


1 ( +1 / -0 )


Moderator: If you post this again, you will suspended from the discussion board. Jesus is not a character of the past two centuries which are the parameters of this question.

1 ( +1 / -0 )


Moderator: You can have 24 hours off from posting.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Santa Claus and Sherlock Holmes, without a doubt. Although whether Santa Claus is really a "fictional character" like the others on the list is debatable. As far as I know there have never been any books written about Santa except for children's books and he was not invented like the other characters, who come from fictional stories, novels, movies and comic books. Dracula is an enduring character, but I think only to fans of the horror genre, and comic book superheroes are well, a dime a dozen. I doubt if anyone will be reading Harry Potter books a hundred years from now, By the way, although Dracula is (very) loosely based on a real character, he was pretty much unknown until the 1897 novel of the same name and the movies, which appeared much later. Sherlock Holmes appeared 10 years earlier. There were many other fictional characters who were very popular for a time, but most of them are forgotten now.

In more recent years there have been some very popular fictional characters from Japan - Godzilla, Hello Kitty!, Pikachu, but they have not been around all that long. I know of no other Asian characters that enjoyed worldwide popularity. In fact except for Santa Clause all the choices on that list come from England or the USA.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

as Santa is not fictional. yes very true he lives in the North pole, rides around on a reindeer pulling & flying sleigh. delivers billions of presents in one day every year. Mans a friggin LEGEND!!

0 ( +2 / -2 )


Moderator: Still haven't learned anything yet, I see. You can have another 24 hours off.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Darth Vader didn't make the list? Probably not the most famous, but should have made this list at least. I'm sure he'd be in the top five.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Gandalf and more also never made the list.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

What about God?

Moderator: God cannot be proven to be fictional. Also, the question's parameters are the past two centuries.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

tmarie, Christie's Poirot books have been in continuous publication since the first one in 1920. The books and stories have been translated into over 40 languages. There have been numerous films, television, and radio productions made of the stories.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Santa Claus is not fictional! lol

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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