Today is another in our Round Robin series, and this month’s topic is pretty deep: “There is a precipice each character stands on–one side is too good to be true, the other side too evil to exist. What makes a character too good to believe? How evil can a main character become before they are irredeemable?”
What an interesting subject. This topic made me think about which “goodies” and “baddies” I’ve loved in fiction, and why. I write contemporary romance, and so my stories have to have some basis in reality, with characters you would meet every day. My characters need to reflect all the grey areas there are in human life, and my heroes and heroines should never be too good to be true. In any case, who could really love a person with no flaws? Wouldn’t they be a bit intimidating? The heroes and heroines in my romances aren’t perfect. They have flaws that make them both more loveable and more believable as people.
I’ve tried hard to think of a character I’ve come across in books or films who was thoroughly “good,” and to be honest, I’ve struggled. Most writers know that a character who is wholly “good” can be a bit hard to relate to. The only character like this who comes to my mind is Pollyanna, and her name has become synonymous with being sickeningly optimistic. I really couldn’t get on with this book when I read it, and that’s because the main character saw the good in everything. Really, did she never even moan one little bit? She is a character I found too good to be true, but I can’t think of any others.
All great heroes or heroines have some flaw written into them by their creators. Even Harry Potter goes through a phase where he thinks he’s “the special one” and gets on his friends’ nerves. Sherlock Holmes is impatient and unfeeling, and a drug addict; Luke Skywalker is impulsive; Dr Who (as played by Peter Capaldi) is oblivious to people’s feelings. The failings in our heroes enable us to empathise with them and make us more likely to root for them.
When it comes to the heroes’ or heroines’ counterparts, though, sometimes black is black and there isn’t a shred of grey to relieve the evil. To be honest, I don’t mind this at all! Think of the villains who are the opposite of the “good” characters I’ve listed:
Harry Potter has Voldemort – evil through and through.
Sherlock Holmes has Moriarty – ditto. (I loved the Moriarty character in the BBC’s Sherlock series. What a chilling baddie!)
Dr Who has the Daleks – the most evil monsters in the universe.
Luke Skywalker has Darth Vader. In the original Star Wars, Darth Vader was pure evil. I seem to remember (and Star Wars fans will put me right if I’m wrong!) that the prequels showed a reason for Darth Vader turning bad, and his early years gave the audience a reason to feel more sympathy for him. I actually liked Darth Vader when he was totally evil. Sometimes there’s nothing wrong with being a pantomime villain!
I’ve enjoyed this topic. Thanks to Rhobin Courtirght again for organising another interesting Round Robin.
How about you? Can you think of any heroes or heroines who are totally “good,” with no flaws to make them believable? And do you like villains who are totally evil, or do you think they should have at least some good quality to redeem them?
If you have any comments at all, I’d love to hear from you!
And if you’d like to read what the other authors in the Round Robin are saying on this topic, please click the links below.
Skye Taylor http://www.skye-writer.com/
Beverley Bateman http://beverleybateman.blogspot.ca/
Judith Copek http://lynx-sis.blogspot.com/
Marci Baun http://www.marcibaun.com/
Connie Vines http://connievines.blogspot.com/
Rachael Kosinski http://rachaelkosinski.weebly.com/
Fiona McGier http://www.fionamcgier.com/
Rhobin Courtright http://www.rhobinleecourtright.com/