Brendan is, in reality, a fairly stock character; young, ambitious boy who has been sheltered his entire life.
The animation in Kells is what really sets it apart; it is a prime example of the beauty that can be accomplished through a minimalist style.
At times he reasons with his neighbors in calm tones and other times he thunders at his nephew with rage driven by pure compassion.
A prime example is the character design.  All of the monks in the abbey are basically geometric shapes.
As seen in the article main photo, the same geometric styles are utilized in the forest and in the dream sequences. Of course, in doing so, he puts himself in grave danger only to be rescued by a magical being.
One is almost completely round, emphasizing his fatness; another is squared at the shoulders and has no neck to speak of, implying a hunched back.

Horned black figures carrying gigantic swords, they speak mostly in growls and are actually terrifying. It follows young Brendan, the future abbot of Kells, as he works to complete a book which will enlighten mankind and hopefully save his home from an attacking Viking army.
The abbot himself is incredibly tall and thin with gradually sloping shoulders and a bald head.
By not seeing the enemy, or at least depicting them as something less than human, the threat is made more real, more immediate. During Brendan’s climactic encounter with an ancient monster, complex patterns emerge from simple geometric shapes making the battle into something else entirely, an intricate dance on a quest for knowledge.
While gathering supplies to make ink he finds Aisling, a fairy with knowledge about the forest that is vital to his mission.
But where a real fairy tale would have something simpler driving the hero’s actions, a princess perhaps, Kells, has a book.

The film has the same older aesthetic that I spoke of, but still utilizes computer animation to tell Brendan’s story. Voiced by the amazing Brendan Gleeson, he has chosen long ago to protect his followers by building a massive wall around Kells and not allowing anybody to leave.
The film sells the conviction of its story, something that other movies based on faith have a hard time doing.
I really felt that all characters involved truly believed that what they were doing was right.

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