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10 Most Popular Shrek Characters Ranked Worst To Best

Fairytale romances have been dominated by Disney cartoons for the longest time: There's the handsome prince, the beautiful princess, and of course, the happily-ever-after at the end of the road. But in 2001, a movie named "Shrek" upended every familiar trope in the genre in the most hilarious manner, showing audiences that there is more than one way to get your happily-ever-after.

"Shrek" tells the story of Shrek, a grumpy ogre, who lives in a swamp. One day Shrek's lonely but peaceful life is invaded by fairytale creatures of every kind. In order to get his life under control again, Shrek sets off on a quest to rescue beauteous princess Fiona with the help of his fast-talking donkey friend named ... Donkey. Enemies are defeated, friendships are forged, and love wins, as Shrek falls for Fiona himself.

The success of the first movie kicked off an entire franchise of "Shrek" films and related media. With each new adventure, more characters were added to the series. Some of those characters are loved by fans, while there are certain characters that fans love to hate. So, let us take a look at 10 such characters from the world of "Shrek" that have made their place in the hearts of audiences worldwide, from most hateful to most lovable. 

Lord Farquaad

The first "Shrek" movie was much more than a simple action-adventure rom-com. It was an astute meditation on how society's negative perception of a person's outer appearance can affect their self-esteem, and stop them from finding true happiness because they don't think they deserve it. The opposite of this theme rings true for the film's villain, Lord Farquaad.

Farquaad is the king of Duloc, a tiny man with a giant ego, who believes he deserves everything in life due to his royal status. Farquaad is a hilariously evil villain, the kind who enjoys torturing the Gingerbread man, and prefers to send Shrek into danger to rescue his wife-to-be Fiona instead of taking on the responsibility himself. 

There is very little to love about Farquaad, from his vainglorious affectations to his cowardly impulses. Farquaad is meant to represent the polar opposite of Shrek: He's a person who puts his own needs in front of others', which ultimately leads him to losing everything he holds dear. 

Prince Charming

At first glance, when Prince Charming is first introduced in 2004's "Shrek 2," he appears to be the polar opposite of Lord Farquaad. Destined to rescue and marry Fiona, Charming appears strong and courageous when he single-handedly invades the tower in which Fiona is trapped, only to discover he's too late since Shrek had already rescued and married Fiona.

This news shows Charming's real nature as an entitled and privileged brat, who cannot bear to have his life's dream of marrying Fiona and becoming the king trashed. Charming turns to the help of his mother, the Fairy Godmother, to arrange matters in such a way as to remove Shrek from Fiona's life and trick her into marrying him instead.

When that scheme does not work, Charming tries to rally a number of fairytale villains to join him in overthrowing Fiona's kingdom and establish their own rule. Charming's increasingly desperate attempts to find his own happily ever after at the expense of others take him from a comical side villain to a truly formidable threat, until Shrek shows him what it means to be the hero of a story, even if you don't look like one.    

Fairy Godmother

While Farquaad and Charming are dangerous in their own way, their machinations pale in comparison to the Machiavellian schemings of Charming's mother, the Fairy Godmother. At first she appears to be as wise and helpful as any other similar character from Disney cartoons. She's a kind-hearted and powerful lady, who only wants to help the main characters find true love.

But it soon becomes clear that Fairy Godmother is playing her own long game, one which ends with her son as the new king at Fiona's side. To make it happen, Fairy Godmother weaves an intricate web of lies and deception designed to drive a wedge between Shrek and Fiona and set the stage for Charming to slide in and take Shrek's place in Fiona's heart. 

While affecting a charming and sympathetic façade most of the time, there is something deeply cruel about the way Fairy Godmother goes about fulfilling her plans. Her markedly cynical views on true love as something that can be manufactured artificially and enabled by falsehoods runs counter to the main theme of the "Shrek" franchise of love coming from a place of genuine care and self-sacrifice.


By the time the franchise's fourth movie, 2010's "Shrek Forever After," was released, the series had outgrown its humble origins to become a pop culture phenomenon. This led the creators of the movie to expand the world of Shrek and his friends to include even more characters from classic fairytales, like the film's main villain Rumpelstiltskin.

The character stays true to his roots in the original stories by using magical deals for his nefarious purposes. Rumpelstiltskin offers Shrek a contract to have a day of no responsibilities as a carefree bachelor once again, while secretly rigging the contract to make it so Shrek had never been born, which allows Rumpelstiltskin to become the new king of Fiona's kingdom of Far Far Away. 

The character of Rumpelstiltskin follows the classic and most despicable villain trope of cornering a character at their lowest point and taking advantage of their vulnerability to screw them over. Unlike previous villains Shrek and his friends faced before, Rumpelstiltskin actually succeeds in winning the day. He only loses in the end because he fails to take into account just how deeply Shrek loves Fiona. It's a love that no amount of alternate timelines can nullify. 

Gingerbread Man

While the themes of love and acceptance explored in the "Shrek" franchise have often been praised by critics, what makes the series really stand out is the satirical take on famous fairytale characters. These characters were given a twist, and modernized with a strong comedic edge. One of the best examples of this is the Gingerbread Man, who has been a part of "Shrek" since the first movie.

Known affectionately as "Gingy," this version of the Gingerbread Man is successful in running away from the home of the muffin man, who created him. Since then, Gingy has been able to live the life of a free-spirited adventurer despite his diminutive size. Gingy is also a loyal friend, since he can often be seen helping Shrek and his allies fight against the main villain in each installment of the series. 

While Gingy is generally reliable in times of stress, he is also a prankster and likes to throw parties in Shrek's house when he is away. It's revealed in the television short "Shrek the Halls" that Gingy has had a major beef with Santa ever since jolly old Saint Nick ate his girlfriend. Despite running away from home at a young age, Gingy is shown to be on good terms with his father the Muffin Man, who hooks him up with a skyscraper-sized version of a Gingerbread Man in record time. 


One of the biggest surprises the "Shrek" films have pulled off with regards to the whole "don't judge a book by its cover" theme is with respect to the character of the giant Dragon, who is named Dragon. The creature shows up in the first "Shrek" as a minor antagonist charged with guarding the tower, where Fiona is locked in against interlopers.

After Donkey distracts Dragon while Shrek rescues Fiona, it is revealed that the giant beast is actually a female, who yearns to find love just as much as anyone else. Dragon becomes smitten with Donkey, who is initially alarmed at her advances. But by the end of the movie, Donkey and Dragon become an unlikely pairing that aid Shrek in rescuing Fiona from Lord Farquaad.

Later movies see Dragon and Donkey enter into a relationship, which results in absolutely adorable dragon/donkey hybrid children. Dragon continues to be both a loving wife to Donkey and a supportive and loyal friend to Shrek and Fiona.  


She's the helpless princess turned badass warrior princess. She's Shrek's better half, who changes his life and shows him the meaning of love. Really, Princess Fiona is the one who kicks off the entire "Shrek" franchise in the first place, and she is a major reason why the movie proves so subversive when it comes to fairytale romances. 

When Shrek rescues Fiona from the tower where she had been locked away in from a young age, Fiona is all set to follow the rules of tradition by marrying Farquaad and becoming his queen. But as Fiona and Shrek are thrown together, she begins to realize she feels something far more compelling for the strange ogre than what she feels for Farquaad. 

A childhood curse eventually transforms Fiona into an ogre, which upends her traditional "happily ever after" romance but also sets her free to find true happiness by marrying Shrek. With each new installment the franchise, Fiona has continued to be a strong and loving presence. She has become a model for a strong fairytale princess, who can save the day on her own without needing anyone to ride in to her rescue. 

Puss in Boots

One of the biggest highlights of the original "Shrek" is the excellent chemistry between Shrek and Donkey as unlikely friends, who bicker and banter through their adventures together. It can be a tricky thing to mess with such natural chemistry with the introduction of a third amigo into the group, but that is the risk the creators took with the introduction of Puss in Boots.

The fancifully-shod feline first shows up in the sequel to "Shrek" as a mercenary for hire, who has a notorious reputation for being able to take down ogres. This prompts Fiona's father to hire Puss to take down Shrek. The plan does not work, and instead Shrek and Donkey become allies with the small-but-wily cat, who proves to be an unexpectedly loyal friend. 

Puss became such a welcome addition to the "Shrek" mythology that he managed to get his own spinoff movie complete with a backstory and love interest. It is strange to consider that a talking cat in a cartoon fairytale series is the closest thing we have gotten to a continuation of the popular "Zorro" movies starring Antonio Banderas, but in the world of "Shrek," anything is possible.


If Shrek is the guiding light of his franchise, Donkey is the lodestar keeping the series on the right path as an adventure-comedy saga. Donkey is the guy who makes things happen, which starts early on when he convinces Shrek to take up Farquaad's offer of rescuing Princess Fiona in order to get the rights back to his swamp. 

Ever since then, Donkey has remained a loyal wingman to Shrek, even when the latter is irritable, grumpy, and ungrateful for the attention. By the end of the first movie, Shrek is forced to admit Donkey is the truest friend he's ever had. With each new installment in the series, Donkey remains front and center as Shrek's second-in-command, and he also becomes a surprising family man after he gets together with Dragon.

Donkey makes full use of his voice actor Eddie Murphy's genius sense of comic timing to give one of the most energetic performances in the history of animation. No matter how much he gets on Shrek's nerves, it is impossible to imagine Shrek and Fiona living their lives without Donkey and the cheerful chaos he manages to bring to every situation.  


We finally arrive at the most lovable of all the "Shrek" characters, who happens to be one of the most unlikely and most compelling fairytale protagonists around. Shrek is the grumpy ogre from a smelly swamp, who marries a princess and becomes a popular hero among the masses (both on and off-screen). These are not goals that Shrek has ever personally dreamed of accomplishing, and so he has to be led kicking and screaming down the path of true love and heroism with the help of his friends. 

Crippled by a traumatic childhood which involved his own parents trying to eat him, Shrek understandably develops a deeply cynical attitude towards a world that only sees him as a monster. But then he meets Fiona, and feels the stirrings of something akin to hope for the first time in his life. After marrying Fiona, Shrek realizes that the love he feels for her will never allow him to go back to his old life of hiding away from the world in his swamp. 

With each new installment in the franchise, Shrek has proven that despite his scary appearance, he is one of the most heroic characters in fairytale land, who can generally be counted upon to do the brave and noble thing ... while also slipping in a fart joke here and there. He may not be the dashing hero that fans of the fairytale genre thought they wanted, but Shrek has proven himself to be the hero audiences need again and again.