Sarcasm in the Face of Danger

One of my favorite things, whether in books or movies, is when a character is in a serious or dangerous situation and they say something so perfectly sarcastic that it momentarily dissolves the stress of the moment. I love dry comedy and I love banter between characters, but I love those things even more when they come in contrast to the scene they exist in.

It’s why enjoyed The Martian and The Blacktongue Thief. It’s why I love the crews in Six of Crows and Firefly. A display of will and wit that a character uses to protect themselves from the gravity of their situation and their desperation to survive. A show of the bond between multiple characters when they can’t help but bicker at inappropriate times.

This sort of humor certainly has a time and a place. I still enjoy stories that are blatantly goofy or suspenseful without a break. But a lot of stories I adore and continue to go back to mix sarcasm with dangerous situations.

Do you prefer your main characters sarcastic or serious?