It made me realise that there is so much scope to add color to characterization. Joe Abercrombie did some interesting things in his series, particularly with his crippled Inquisitor-type character. In this case the extra dimension was the pain and physical impairment that the character had to continually deal with (JA also altered the prose between character sections to give them a distinct feel. Nicely done.).
We take it for granted in modern society that 'pain free' is normal. You don't need to go back more than one or two generations to find people who just carried on with chronic pain, toothache . . .whatever. My mother was like that. She would just shrug her shoulders and say 'It will work itself out, eventually.'
Yet despite this - and that fact that almost all fantasy is set in medieval/historical settings - pain and discomfort are rarely mentioned.
You don't want to go too far and overwhelm the reader with an in-your-face setting that is just too grim to enjoy, but little touches can go a long way to make characters distinct for the reader.
Outcasts and aliens - people on the outside of society are always fun as well. This immediately adds conflict, both internal and external.
This all just goes to prove how damn sadistic authors are. So far I have made my potential characters insane, then given them chronic pain and introduced them to Albert Camus. At least I haven't broken their hearts - yet. MuahahahahaHAHA!!
So what other interesting elements of characterization have you explored? How have you tortured your poor characters lately?