10 Fictional Characters Who Are Only Children

by - July 13, 2020


Only children are unfortunately riddled with negative stereotypes: lonely, spoiled, self-centered, weird, and severely lacking of social skills. 

What most people don't know, and what researchers have found based on the latest studies, is that only children are just as social as kids with siblings and enjoy the same number of close friendships.

Only Children: Fact vs. Fiction

Some of these misconceptions are often reinforced by media: movies or books with characters who are only children made to be portrayed as the stereotypical spoiled and bossy brat. 

But to the delight of only children and only-child parents, there are a significant number of only children in fiction who are well-adjusted and good examples of what a "normal" only child is in real life.

Here are our top 10 picks of fictional characters who are only children:

1. Riley from Inside Out

The movie Inside Out follows the story of a tween girl named Riley. I'm sure many of you have watched it more than twice (I know I did!).

Aside from the fact that she's an only child who is loving, kind, and caring, the depiction of Riley helps children to understand their feelings and emotions better as they transition from being a child to a teenager. 

I love how the movie focuses on the happy parts of being a triangle family. It helps reassure OAD parents like us that through our loving kindness, support, and good parenting, our onlies will be fine no matter what.

2. Hermione Granger from Harry Potter

The Harry Potter series doesn't shy away from single-child characters: There's Harry Potter himself,  his father James Potter, his cousin Dudley Dursley, his good friends Neville Longbottom and Luna Lovegood, and his archenemy Draco Malfoy (and even Lord Voldemort!).

But one only-child character from the franchise that stood out among the rest is Hermione Granger.

She is what Dr. Kevin Leman in his book The New Birth Order Book describes as the perfect fit for the typical only child: fiercely independent, mature for her age, a voracious reader, and a perfectionist. 

Hermione has also stood as a good example for many young girls. Her intelligence, wit, bravery, and kind heart are virtues that bolster the self-confidence in girls, who are otherwise taught by society to keep a feminine and meek stance at all times.

Hermione (and even Emma Watson, the actress herself) is a modern-day hero for all of the young women in society, both only children and children with siblings alike.

3. Christopher Robin from Winnie the Pooh

Winnie the Pooh's creator, A.A. Milne, had an only child named Christopher Robin Milne. Incidentally, his son was the basis for the character Christopher Robin in A.A. Milne's beloved children's classic book.

The highly social, cheerful, adventurous, and imaginative youngster in the Winnie the Pooh books, cartoons, and movies is proof that only children are just the same as most kids with siblings.

His character also portrays him as a child who is much mature and wiser for his age, a trait shared by many only children.

4. Moana from Moana

The title character of Disney's Moana is not your average Disney princess.

Moana, being an only child, is groomed to be Motunui's next chief—a prestigious title and one that is lauded by many modern feminists, as the position is traditionally given to a male heir.

Headstrong, brave, yet compassionate and respectful, Moana is among the strongest female characters in Disney-Pixar history.

As such, she sets a good example for only children in particular, as Moana exudes an aura of strength, level-headedness, and integrity despite the pressures of being the sole heir of a whole tribe (and island!).

5. Linda from Rio

Linda Gunderson is Blu's human companion in the movie Rio. Linda found the Blue Macaw hatchling when she was a young girl, and she took him in and cared for Blu for 15 years, and more.

Linda is an only child, who is like Hermione Granger in a sense that she is also a voracious reader, a bit of a perfectionist, and highly intelligent.

Soft-spoken, motherly, and gentle, Linda is portrayed as a positive role model for only children. Although a little socially awkward, Linda's compassion towards animals (birds specifically) is admirable.

6. Charlie from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Roald Dahl's Charlie Bucket from his book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is an inspiration for many children—who wouldn't love to have a golden ticket to take a tour in a big chocolate factory?

Charlie, as you can see, stands in contrast with the rest of the golden-ticket children: he is kind, selfless, courageous, and honest.

What makes him more special is that he is an only child! He is definitely far from the stereotyped characteristics of only children.

7. Mavis from Hotel Transylvania

The only child of Count Dracula, Mavis is portrayed as a feisty, headstrong, and independent teenager.

However, she is far from being a spoiled brat; pampered, yes, but she adores her overprotective father still.

She is shown to have a gentler side, especially when she falls in love with Jonathan, a human.

After becoming a mother to an only child (Dennis) in the second movie, Mavis seemed to take after her father's overprotective nature.

Overall, Mavis is a picture of a pampered yet well-adjusted only child, with such a big heart to love and accept someone who isn't of her own kind.

8. Hiccup from How to Train Your Dragon

Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III, the only son of Valka, is a young Chief of the Hooligan Tribe.

Depicted as a scrawny and awkward teenager in the first movie, Hiccup does his best to prove himself as a Viking (and a chief of a tribe at that!), often causing him to do reckless things.

One of these reckless pursuits, however, led him to befriend Toothless, a dragon whom he trains.

Like Moana, he doesn't use his prestigious title to get his way. He does his best to overcome his insecurities for being a poor fighter. However, he is not without flaws.

Hiccup is seen to be prone to overconfidence and arrogance once he started to prove himself as a better fighter.

Despite all that, his relationship with Toothless is a testament that he has a deep sense of compassion and that he has his heart in the right place.

9. Belle from Beauty and the Beast

Disney princesses are mostly only children with widowed fathers. There's Cinderella, Snow White, and Ariel, to name a few. But one princess stands out from the rest, and that's Belle.

In the latest live-action film of Beauty and the Beast, Belle's character is played by Emma Watson, a role only befitting to her off-camera personality: they are both bookworms, intelligent, loving, caring, and fiercely brave.

Despite claims of having Stockholm syndrome, Belle is by far one of the strongest Disney princesses to date, lauding intelligence and compassion over outside beauty, and underscoring the importance of being educated instead of settling for archaic female roles.

10. Dustin from Stranger Things

Our favorite toothless cutie from Stranger Things is far from the stereotyped socially awkward only child.

Dustin is possibly the most intelligent of his group of friends and has a natural flair for leadership. An only child of a single mother, Dustin is portrayed as a young boy who is mature for his age, and even seems to relate better with older peers (or substitute mother, like Steve Harrington).

We love just how the friendship of the four boys are in the TV series, with each of them embodying contrasting personalities yet still having a strong sibling-like bond with one another.


There are, of course, many other fictional only children both in literature and in film.

Who are your other favorite fictional only children? Share it in the comments section below!

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