In fact, I think we tend to ignore the characters in favor of the lessons we are trying to learn. But they were real people, just like we are. James and John had tempers and nicknames to match, Joseph was an annoying little brother, and the man born blind had parents who were shocked when he could see. If we could see them as real people, it just makes the Bible even more amazing.
Yes, it's the greatest of books, but it is also a book. A story.