The AmWritingFantasy Podcast: Episode 151 – Good Characters doing Bad things
Play • 40 min

A Game of Thrones has inspired characters who contain such strong good qualities, like honor or justice, that it can lead to his or her death. 

And writing classes teach developing characters with strengths and weaknesses to make them well rounded. A heroine can be a skilled warrior AND too self assured. 

This makes a more complex character, one that is beyond two dimensions, but what about a good character that just loses it and takes the first punch?

In this episode of the Am Writing Fantasy podcast, Autumn and Jesper discuss the Evil Within.

The episode is inspired by this blog post:

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Read the full transcript below.

(Please note that it's automatically generated and while the AI is super cool, it isn't perfect. There may be misspellings or incorrect words on occasion).

Narrator (2s):
You're listening to The Am. Writing Fantasy Podcast in today's publishing landscape, you can reach fans all over the world. Query letters are a thing of the past. You don't even need a literary agent. There is nothing standing in the way of making a living from writing. Join two best selling authors who have self published more than 20 books between them now on to the show with your hosts, Autumn Birt and Jesper Schmidt.

Jesper (30s):
Hello, I'm Jesper

Autumn (32s):
And I'm, Autumn.

Jesper (33s):
This is episode 155 of the Am Writing Fantasy podcast. And when studying the craft of writing, we learn about creating characters who are well-rounded, who have weaknesses and strengths. But what happens when characters unleased the evil within?

Autumn (55s):
I like this topic because, well, I do like gray and nuanced characters. I like fillings with good traits and I like heroes with not always the best of traits. I think it makes them more relatable. So this is going to be a fun podcast to explore the dark side of your heroes.

Jesper (1m 14s):
Yeah. Yeah. Autumn wrote a blog post quite a while back for the AmWritingFantasy a block. So that's sort of the starting point for this conversation. I guess you could call it at least that's what inspired us to dive into the pool of evil to The

Autumn (1m 34s):
It's good. It's the good evil pool, right? So it should be kind of, I don't know if it's shallow early, deep in a couple areas, but we'll figure it out.

Jesper (1m 42s):
Yeah, yeah. That's yeah, that'll be interesting. We'll see where it takes us.

Autumn (1m 47s):
So how are things over in Denmark?

Jesper (1m 51s):
Well, not much as chains, to be honest since last week, you know, I'm still just preparing for the referee instructor class and practicing presentations. And I had a meeting the other day with, with my mentor. And so, yeah, I still have not gotten back to writing at all.

Autumn (2m 11s):
Well, I think you have enough going on that. That seems fair. Plus, it's giving me time to read book two so that I'll be ready to help plot book three. So take your time. You're good. Fine.

Jesper (2m 25s):
Good. Don't worry about it.

Autumn (2m 27s):
You deserve the break?

Jesper (2m 30s):
Yeah. Well, something funny. I wanted to mention, you know, how in the master mailing list, because that we have available for sale on I'm Am Writing Fantasy dot com total block there. If somebody wants to check that out, but, but you know, in that course, how we talk about how you can possibly segment your email list?

Autumn (2m 52s):
Yes. I remember that. Yeah.

Jesper (2m 55s):
Okay. Yeah. So our insurance company should really learn a bit about this segmentation of email lists. Yeah.

Autumn (3m 3s):

Jesper (3m 5s):
The letter from the, or an email rather, from the insurance company yesterday, and then I logged in to read what this message was about? Because I was not expecting any message. So I was like, okay. And then I read that email from them and they just wanted to let me know that in some cases they have not treated cases concerning pregnant, pregnant women in the proper way. And they want to let me know that this would change going forward. Okay. That was exactly my thing of like, okay, I'm not a woman. I don't think I'm pregnant. At least I don't, I don't believe so.

Jesper (3m 48s):
So I was just thinking maybe you should learn a bit about segmenting your email list, at least at least segment between men and women. I think that should not be too difficult.

Autumn (3m 59s):
Well, maybe they thought, you know, in case you wanted to let your wife know that, you know, the car and send the message to her. I agree. They should have been able to figure that one out.

Jesper (4m 10s):
Yeah. I mean, may, maybe there's something about it that they thought like they wanted to inform people, you know, in general, like a general information that we are sorry that we have. I mean, I fully understand the message, nothing wrong with the message there. Right. It's good that if they had discovered that they have been doing something wrong and they recognize it and they would want to correct it, I'm all for that very good, good information. Right. But couldn't you just like maybe put an announcement on your website or on your blog or something to say, like, I just, I don't know. Maybe it's just me, but I don't understand why they're sending out emails to males, letting them know about pregnant women and how they, how they handle cases for pregnant women.

Jesper (4m 50s):
I don't quite understand.

Autumn (4m 52s):
I didn't understand either. They took the least, they did the,

Jesper (4m 58s):
Yeah, yeah. Maybe it was the intern who was at work that day. And it was like, who am I supposed to send it to? I don't know. Send it to everybody. Okay.

Autumn (5m 7s):
I can do that. I don't know how to segment. Oh, there you go. Well, you know, I guess it's better to be over informative, less informative. Maybe they just never had thought about putting a gender question in their information.

Jesper (5m 25s):
Well, they have like a, what is that called in English? I don't know. Dennis Deniz is like, you have a, it's not a social security number, but you have like a number, you know, what is it called, named you don't you have like in the U S like a number in the official systems for you yourself, you know,

Autumn (5m 49s):
Their social security number.

Jesper (5m 51s):
Is it that in your yeah, but, okay. But anyway, they do have that number, a numbers ending on equal numbers is women and unequal numbers are men. So it's not that difficult to work out.

Autumn (6m 6s):
Yeah. And it's not like that over here. It's pretty random.

Jesper (6m 10s):
I couldn't imagine. Yes. Why am I not surprised

Autumn (6m 14s):
You threw something at the wall? It seems to be working at least it hasn't collapsed in weight yet, so we're good.

Jesper (6m 21s):
Well, okay. I'm not going to comment on that.

Autumn (6m 25s):
That's what I covered. Comment on the U S government. Please

Jesper (6m 29s):
Know, that's what I was thinking.

Autumn (6m 31s):
This is not a political podcast.

Jesper (6m 34s):
No, just let it fly. Let it fly. Didn't hear anything. So, but how I think so on your end,

Autumn (6m 42s):
Pretty good. Just a lots going on doing a little bit of actually be doing a little bit of a seasonal job and just rearranging life and we're going to be moving. And we have some extended family worries with mental health and old age. So that's, you know, weighing on us and, but the good news is at least I've had some gotten to create some really awesome book covers recently. And I'm on like the last chapter for magic unleash. So I'm just moving it up and got to check some of the weird character traits that we came up with, especially dialect. So once I finished that off to the editor, so I'm really excited and I can't wait to delve into the second book, which is being dark gods.

Autumn (7m 28s):
And then we have to figure out the plotting for the final book and the name. We still only one, we have a name, so we

Jesper (7m 34s):
Have no name for us.

Autumn (7m 36s):
So we have to name it and we have to come up with the plot. So that's all going good. So, you know, there's, there's bright lights here and there and mid the murkiness life chaotic. Eventually I keep saying this, eventually my life will settle down, but yeah, we can hope I have hope.

Jesper (7m 55s):
I hope it's a good note to end on

Narrator (8m 0s):
A week on the internet with The Am Writing Fantasy Podcast.

Jesper (8m 6s):
So just a couple of thank yous to share here today. First of all, Pamela Payne joined us on Patrion. So thank you so much for your support, Pamela. Yes. And we also have moose beard. That's actually the name that it goes by on Patrion, but it must be at rejoined us as well. So thank you for that. We really appreciate it.

Autumn (8m 33s):
Yes. I enjoyed the conversations with moose beard. I know I've talked to him a couple of times in the past, so I'm excited. He came back to us after a little hiatus and it's wonderful to meet you, Pamela. Thank you so much for your support on Patrion and we're well, glad to have you. And it's my responsibility to send you the book cover bookmark that comes with joining. Yeah. Book covers. Sorry. I've got book covers on the brain, but bookmark and it we'll do that tomorrow or Thursday. I promise. So if it's late, it's my fault. I'm sorry.

Jesper (9m 7s):
Yeah, it happens. But if you haven't checked out patron yet and all the different rewards that we do offer to support us over there, please follow the links in the show notes. And Joel also just to reiterate a patron is the only source of funding we have for this podcast. And to be very honest, we are not Sealy seeing nearly as much support as we would like there. So please go and check it out.

Autumn (9m 32s):
We appreciate it. If you do support us, thank you so much.

Narrator (9m 38s):
And onto today's topic.

Jesper (9m 41s):
I actually re-read the block post the evil within this morning, Autumn. And you started out by talking about using arsenic to poison loved ones and neighbors and stuff like that. So when I started reading, oh, you almost scared me from this, from this.

Autumn (9m 58s):
Did I tell you I was into poisons that it was an article? I think an Atlas Obscura that got me thinking about this topic. And it started with talking about when arsenic was banned and how prevalent it had been used to kind of take care of some members of the family or neighbors or how many people actually poisoned people with arsenic. And I was thinking not all of these people were bad people. They were people who had LA you know, they might've had kids. They had people they loved in their lives. There was just for some reason, one person or hopefully one, we're not talking about serial killers, just someone they wanted to get rid of.

Autumn (10m 43s):
And they would use this readily available poison. That was just, you could just buy it at the corner store. And there was very little repercussions from getting as much of it as you wanted. And the symptoms are pretty benign. You could mistake it for a lot of different illnesses. And so a lot of people seem to have been off over the centuries.

Jesper (11m 6s):
It sounds so horrible. It's just like, I'm just imagining like everybody going to the corner stores and buying an awesome Nick for everybody. They don't like,

Autumn (11m 15s):
Oh, it's like others that, oh, there's a play. What is it T in our snake or T old lace in our sticks, something like that to you, an old lace. I can't remember the actual title, but it was sort of the same thing as like someone invites you over to T bury the hatchet between you and yeah, they're going to bury something. Maybe not a hatchet. Be careful when you're invited for social calls in the 18th century, I guess in 17th century, not the best time. So I thought that was,

Jesper (11m 48s):
It's easy to get your hands on. Did he say anything about that in that article

Autumn (11m 53s):
Regulated? I mean, this was before regulations and things like that. You could, I mean, at the time you can get Bella, Donna, there was a whole bunch of stuff that pharmaceutical that were used as like an, a pocket pocket potluck carry. There we go. So you could just pick this up. It was used to poison rats in LA, you know, other critters vermin around the house, not necessarily your neighbor, but it was

Jesper (12m 16s):
Readily from many different things, including, I mean, there was a time where it was on a wallpaper. It was used very well. The first wallpapers were almost coated in our Snick. So we just didn't understand. We kind of knew what was poisons, but when we realized how badly it was poisonous, except for the people who were using it to kill off people like guess, oh my God. Yeah. Just imagine that somebody worked it out then this like, Hey, got to tell you a secret. If you don't like that guy, take this bottle, put it in his tea. He just see how bad it is. And then, and then all of a sudden, everybody knows. And isn't like, where did this all start it. Every time you go to a cheap nowadays, you have to be scared.

Autumn (12m 59s):
That's horrible. Yeah. But anyway, this is a podcast about arsenic and how to, how it was once historically prevalent way of getting rid of people you no longer wanted in your life. Oh, a numeric. But about those people who were probably, you know, good people, maybe they went to church, they were had led good lives, but something made them do something very evil. And it started making me think about even our characters, especially often fantasy, you know, people talk about superficial or cardboard characters. And I started thinking about, well, how often do we really explore the depths or the evil within our heroes?

Autumn (13m 43s):
Instead of just having, you know, you, we do these lists of traits of, you know, they like blue. They hate their little sister because she wants, stole their favorite toy or something. We make up these stories that go with our characters. But often we don't include like a truly bad character flaw, or even when it comes to just doing a bad action, maybe they just lose their temper. And that was one of the places I really started is what happens if your character, this good person just fricking has a bad day. They've been hiking. They've been struggling, especially if they're not the hero.

Autumn (14m 24s):
Maybe they're the side character or a sidekick. And they're just a point of view character. And they've gone through all of this quest for their bestie best friend. And they've stood by and they've been hurt wounded. They're sick, they're tired, they're muddy. What did they just snap and just yell or hit or punch, or just go down to the Tavern. And they don't mean to take it out on somebody else, but they're not going to go hit their best friend. And they end up in a brawl. I'm thinking, this is, this is a character trait. That's kind of interesting. Why aren't we exploring more of the evil within our good heroes,

Jesper (14m 60s):
But it humanizes to protect the nest, right? I mean, having them sometimes make mistakes or just not being the perfect hero. It, it humanizes to me, I think it makes the character more believable and more likable. In fact, I mean, not, not likable because they do a bad thing, but more likable because you can relate to it. You know, you know that that from yourself, you, you can get, you sometimes get angry and you do or say things you regret because you were too, too angry. So having a protectiveness that sometimes end up in that situation as well, I think it's actually a good thing.

Jesper (15m 41s):
Maybe sometimes as writers, we are too concerned about having the character, always being the likable person that does all the right things. And so on. Maybe, maybe we think too much about it and maybe we just need to dial it down a notch and make them more human. Yeah.

Autumn (15m 59s):
I think that's such a good way of putting it. I mean, it's, we do relate as a, we've all had those moments where, you know, if we, if you, there were new repercussions, how many times would you just like to go ahead and hit your boss or just, just act out and actually say what is on your mind? But we hold ourselves back. But the fun thing about fantasy is, or any fiction is that we can actually explore what happens if you don't or what is that straw that will break you or break your character and make them act out. And would that be the interesting, usually we have the dark night of the soul and it's based on the character being stubborn and refusing to admit something.

Autumn (16m 41s):
But what if it comes out that they just don't want to admit that they're wrong about something? What if they do something stupid or horrible or they act out and do something that's wrong and they have to come to a reckoning about their own actions. That's also a very powerful dark night of the soul. And we don't explore that that much and fantasy, it's usually a consequence that happens to them. But what if they're the cause of it?

Jesper (17m 6s):
Yeah, that's a good point. And I think as well, it, it's not only about the relationship between us as writers towards the reader, but it's also between the characters themselves. You know, that, well, sometimes even having a character who is just like the completely unlike unlikeable or unrealistic love interest, our way, you know, like this is never going to happen. And then in some way, on one way or the other, it ends up happening anyway, between the two characters, like I saw, I saw on good, you know, they have this list, Topia stuff, different kind of things, and listed together.

Jesper (17m 54s):
And there is a list called couches, hate each other, then fall in love. And there's 263 books in that list. So it's kind of a thing.

Autumn (18m 4s):
It is kind of a thing, oh, they often I've seen it in real life too. That sometimes people who aren't getting along is because they are too similar and maybe their traits that they need to accept about themselves. And once they do, they can bond, but there's a lot of learning maybe self-learning before you become, can actually get along with this person, who's sort of like your psychological twin. So that is also a good way of, of looking at it is yeah. The characters who should get along, but end up not, but end up then falling in love. That's a fun twist.

Jesper (18m 44s):
Yeah. It's a, co-talk basically you're talking about there, right? I mean, it's, the coats are realizing maybe something, I think it's more powerful when they realize something within themselves, you know, they realize their own floor and then they figure out how to conquer that floor. And because of that, then they get to fall in love or something like that. I mean, I think that works really well.

Autumn (19m 9s):
Definitely. And the other thing that I thought about with this is, you know, what if your Good Characters are actually the ones who act first? Cause that's another thing we often see. It's the main heroes, the Good Characters are the ones who are reacting to the antagonist, to the villain. So they're always good ones. They're the ones trying to solve the problems. But you know, if you have a nuanced villain and he's, or she is trying to do stuff in the best of their interests, but it's just rubbing your heroes the wrong way. What happens if they actually are the ones who attack first? What are the ones who go in?

Autumn (19m 49s):
Cause you know, they go attack the guards or they go attack a village. They do something that's more hostile, even though they're doing it out of the good, what they see their good interest. But that doesn't mean they're always necessarily going to act good. And that's, I mean, it's a theme I explored in my first trilogy, the one of the last scenes in the last book. Well, the beginning of the chaos of the last book comes because the heroes go to save someone who's been kidnapped, you know, but they're being held hostage kind of cruelly, but the person is still alive and they go to rescue them and they're just so angry.

Autumn (20m 29s):
They act out violently, they destroy some beautiful temple, this wonderful thing that this has been sacred for centuries. They end up destroying it. And then the bad guys, well the quote unquote, bad guys really have a reason to go and attack the heroes because now they're pissed off too. So something that maybe could have been dialed back with some talking like, Hey, you stole, you know, you kidnapped our friend. We want him back.

Jesper (20m 57s):
Can you please get him back? Oh, okay. My mistake, I'm sorry.

Autumn (21m 8s):
Maybe they didn't have to go into a full world scale war, but it does because they act out really aggressively. They overreact to something that they shouldn't have. And because of that, they technically hit first. They are the ones who started the whole war. I mean, if you look back in the history books, they always say, the Victor is the one who writes them. But if you looked back, I think they would be like, well, we should probably shouldn't have gone and done that. But that's sort of the difference. I mean, that's a fun topic to explore. If you have a good character with bad traits, are they still good?

Autumn (21m 48s):
And I've thought about that. And to me, my answer is a good character can do bad things. They just regret it later. They realize their actions were wrong. A villain will do good things and they'll do bad things, but they'll justify the bad. They will have a reason. They did it. And they're like, it's fine that I killed a hundred people because they were going to just get in the way. And they were stopping progress. Well, they're just testifying.

Jesper (22m 18s):
I killed a hundred thousand to save 10 million or something like that. That will be their way of thinking.

Autumn (22m 23s):
Exactly. And that's, to me, that's evil, they're justifying it, but a good character will be like, I hurt one person. You know, I acted out violently, you know, other people maybe died or I destroyed this thing and I shouldn't have done it and I am wrong. And again, that can lead into a very powerful dark night of the soul going, what is wrong with me? Why did I follow the same path as this other person? You know, why, why did I become slightly evil? I shouldn't have done that. How can I stop myself from doing that again? That's a huge turning point in a character art in the novel, in a story. So that's fine. Why we should see that more in fantasy in any literature.

Jesper (23m 6s):
Yeah. Speaking about starting wars because of it. Not that long ago. No. Maybe I dunno. Maybe it's actually a couple of years ago. I'm not sure, but I watched the show. Troy. I think it was on Netflix. Have you watched Troy?

Autumn (23m 24s):
Yeah. It's been a while ago. Is there so many different versions? There are a few toys, but I did not. I've watched two or three. I, I said I love history, so yeah. I've, I've done a lot on Troy.

Jesper (23m 36s):
Yeah. I think this one was a TV series. It was not the one where Brad Pitt please. Achilles dad was one of my most, I just absolutely love that. He's so freaking cool in that. But, but I think this one was a different show, but the point I wanted to make was that the Trojan prince Paris is he Smith. And by the beautiful Helen who is married to manna, Laos and Paris is actually as a, as a character. He's a bit of a coward, you know, when he's loved to Helen then sparks the entire Trojan war and at least to the death of a lot of people.

Jesper (24m 18s):
But Yeah, but, but in the context and the context of evil within, you know, Paris doesn't really care or perhaps he does care, I don't know, but he definitely does put his own wants and desires above everything else. So that the evil within basically, you know, it can take many forms in this case because he is a coward. He's not the one causing direct pain onto others, but he takes actions with them, which then has the consequences that causes the war and all the pain and all the people who are soldiers who die and so on and so on. Right. So it can take many forms. And I think, I think it's important to look at it in a bit of a broader perspective as well.

Autumn (25m 1s):
Yes, I agree. That's it. It's true. Cause I mean, you can always take just something like selfishness or cowardliness and yeah, let it have, let it maybe be kind of bubbling underneath the surface, but then to manifest in a way that could be the inciting incident like Helen being kidnapped. I mean, it sets off the whole chain of events. They could have negotiated that out. I don't know what Helen's view of that was, it is a relatively silent in the history of the world where she played a part of this. And if you wanted to go even in the first place, but it's all, it is an interesting topic to say, you know, these, these character falls can be in the hero and they can be the ones that really start the chaos of the book.

Autumn (25m 49s):
It doesn't have to just be because there's a villain who's causing horrible things. I mean, truly the Greeks are not villains in, you know, with, in the Trojan war, they're going to rescue Helen, but it becomes this whole greater, you know, you can get into the socioeconomic issues going on and who wants to rule over everything, but really they're just coming to rescue Helen because she's, there is, and it's a love story. It's a love story. And it, you know, again, we're we see it from the Greeks point of view, but we can also often watch it from the Trojan point of view in modern day shows. So really there's no horrible party in there except for maybe at the end when the Greeks are throwing babies off the walls of Troy and completely flattening the city, that's pretty rough.

Autumn (26m 36s):
But I just recently read an article about things on those natures and I was just thinking, wow, I ha I'm. I had forgotten that in the Trojan

Jesper (26m 53s):
War. That that was a scene in the, in the ed. Wow. Yeah. Hmm. I think I just mentally skipped that part. Yeah. But I do have a question here that I'm curious what you think about. Okay. Yeah, of course. Of course. Otherwise there's no fun in recording podcasts. If I can surprise you with something, Nobody, this is more like a reflection because speaking of the evil within, I'm just wondering, do you think that you can take this concept like too far, you know, can you end up actually disrupting your entire story and destroying everything because you're taking it too far?

Jesper (27m 37s):
Or, or what do you think about that?

Autumn (27m 40s):
I think so, but I think it depends on then what genre you're writing. So if you're gonna write Nobel bright, your evil within your Good Characters, should there should be something and it can be deep. It could be one, you know, something that is a true evil trait that causes maybe a whole war, but they're going to regret it and they're going to grow from it and they're going to heal and it's going to end up leading to maybe not the glowing future they wanted, but it would be a positive change. If you're writing dark fantasy, it could be what destroys the character or causes the chaos or moves it into like a dystopian dark fantasy. That's really kind of, it would definitely be very, more psychological as well as physical, which could be a very interesting and aspect, almost like a thriller.

Autumn (28m 27s):
And then of course, if you want to transform either your hero or a sidekick or point of view, character to a villain, this is a great way. Let them, you know, it doesn't have to be either people use things like alcoholism or they want to they're power hungry or they're corrupted by a magic gem. But what if it's just a trait that gets out of control, maybe they're a little self-centered or they're cowardly and they're trying to cover it up. And so they end up making the wrong choices, which leads to more wrong choices, which leads to greater evil and people die. This one Netflix series, the hundred is a very interesting example because one of the, the hero and the hero in of all like the entire series Clark, I think was her name.

Autumn (29m 9s):
Yeah. She was known as like this killed hundreds and thousands of people and her actions were enough to almost just keep all of humanity from progressing into the next, I don't know what you would call it. Realm or state of being because of her actions. And she is a basically left behind. It was like, you either go forward without her or you don't go forward at all. And you're lost as a whole society or culture race. So that was fast. You still like Clark, you still think she's a great character. She did these things because she was trying to save people that she loved and her friends.

Autumn (29m 51s):
But I did think at some point there were times I didn't relate to her because I'm like she could have chosen a better way. She's especially towards the end where she's doing it all in the name of her daughter. And I'm just like, oh my, yeah,

Jesper (30m 3s):
It gets a bit too much.

Autumn (30m 4s):
Yeah. It's like stop the maternal thing. There's another side to her character. That was much better earlier on. So yeah, it could go too far, but again, it depends. You need to sit back and think about the genre you're writing for and the tone you want for your novel and that's gonna make it, you know, if you go too far, one way, you're writing a completely different genre.

Jesper (30m 28s):
Yeah. I think there's a good point around what character we're dealing with here as well. Because if it is the protectionist, I do think you need to be a bit careful because if you go too far, all the likeability will go out the window where you just mentioned clock there in the end, in the latest seasons of that show, she started to really annoy me. I liked her in the beginning, but at some point it was just like, oh, it's too much now. But if you take well Paris, for instance, we just in Troy, you know, he's not a very likable character actually, but I don't think it's too bad there because there are different characters.

Jesper (31m 9s):
That's, it's more like there isn't like a one protagonist in most of those shows. It's more like the, all the characters together that tells the story. So, so in that sense, I feel like it works. But if you take, for example, did you watch the walking dead?

Autumn (31m 27s):
No, I did. And I don't do zombie movies or shows.

Jesper (31m 30s):
Okay. No. Okay. But Andrea is a character in the walking dead, and I think she's a great example here because she is not the protagonist in that TV show, but in the comic books, she is a beloved character. I'm not read the comics myself, but as far as I understand, she became like a second mother for their main protectiveness son. And basic, she ends up marrying the protagonist later on in the comic books. As far as I understand I could be wrong, but that's how I understood it. But actually in the TV series, what they did here was that they had her as part of one of the earlier seasons.

Jesper (32m 13s):
And then they ha they had her basically abandoned the rest of the group, abandoned the protagonist because she sort of got very, I don't know, fascinated or whatever you want to call it with the show's main villain called the governor. And so, so she just sort of went to him and stayed with him. And people just started hating this character, you know, when she sort of just the protectionist and just went for this and he's the governor, he's like a real, like, insane fuck. He's crazy. And she goes in and basically stays with him and is like, okay, then she's out the window.

Jesper (32m 55s):
Right? Forget about her. Nobody likes her anymore. So this is an example of a character who in the comic books were quite liked. And then, because you made her do some things within the show. I don't think that those things happen in, in the comic books, but in the show they made her do some things that were just like, you couldn't forgive it or ticket it. Take Jamie Lannister in game of Thrones when he pushes the breath, out of the window, in the beginning of the show. Right. Even, and they do like 2 million things throughout the Cummings after following seasons, they're they, they do so many things to try to redeem him and make him a good character and show.

Jesper (33m 41s):
But at least for me, the fact that he pushed a kid out a window that never left me no matter what he did after that, it was just like, yeah, but you, you push the kid out of the window. It's just not okay. No matter what else you do for the rest of your life, it's not okay. Right. So I do think there's something about, you need to be mindful of how far you take this evil within thing and how far you drive, because some things you cannot come back from.

Autumn (34m 9s):
Yeah. That's so true. I agree that there's a difference between losing your temper or taking the first punch or even starting a conflict versus, you know, killing an innocent or wounding a child or these other things that are just, yeah, you do those. And it's going to hang over their heads the entire time. And there are some things that are completely unforgivable. I, like I said, I think even Clark, there's a few things in the hundred that I just, you know, they, they called her, there was a blood Raina, or that was the other character. But just like you do something that is so bad, that it is, it becomes your title, that you are a tainted by it and it will follow you everywhere and you might be good, but you're never going to be as good.

Autumn (34m 56s):
You're never going to hit those high, high points. You're never going to be untarnished and that might work for your story. It might show a great character, but again, if you are writing noble bright, you've got to have people who want that pureness, or at least something a little bit higher where it's like, wow, your, your, your friend or your counselor really did some bad things, but you stayed clean. You stayed out of it, or you at least told them not to go do that. That's sort of who you want as your main character, but another once in dystopian or dark fantasy that might work great for your main character to have that kind of an arc where it's just like, they want to, you know, earn their place back. But they know they're never going to get quite as far or as high and accepting that, that they're going to have to live with this, with this taint in their soul for the rest of their life is, is also a very nuanced thing.

Autumn (35m 49s):
And then probably a very powerful story to write, but you to make sure you're setting up your entire story for that kind of level of impact and not just, you know, write your way into a corner and then go, oh crap. That's not what I wanted to do with my character. That would be bad.

Jesper (36m 8s):
Yeah. But also that the thing that happens or the consequence or the action that the character took was something that is, is forgivable. As long as the character is really, you know, regretting it and showing their regret and trying to make it better. But it has to be something that is forgivable because otherwise you cannot come back from it. And for some reason, hurting an animal is just like, nobody forgives it. You know, if the character in the first scene of the story kicks a dog or cat or something, that's it, nobody will forgive it. I mean, you can have stories where the main character kill somebody, and that is forgivable for whatever reason that, you know, if killing another person is, is apparently okay on the some circumstances.

Jesper (36m 54s):
Of course, not every circumstance, but readers can forgive stories where they're protecting this, kill somebody. But if they protect the kicks, a dog or cat, no way, it will never be forgiven.

Autumn (37m 7s):
You think game of Thrones? No, it'll never be forgiven. But do you think game of Thrones would have been different with Jamie if he had ever showed true guilt and apology to even brand, just to actually have felt hard out, sorry, because think he did, at least in the show, I didn't finish reading all the books, but in the show he never seemed to be apologetic. He again just said I did it because I wanted to save Searcy because I had to do it for my sister. He always justified it. He never said, I'm sorry. He never, you never felt he was sorry for it. And I think that is part of why we see that tarnishment to his character.

Jesper (37m 46s):
Yeah. I think you're right there. I think if bran had died from the fall, then it wouldn't have mattered if he had regretted it or shown regret. And I don't think there would be any coming back from that, but because Fran did not die. And if you had shown Jamie Lannister really being saddened about it and it really it's weighing on him and he he's regretting it. And then maybe, maybe you could pull him back from that. And maybe people would w would sort of forgive him after a while. Yeah. But I think it's only because brands survive to fall. Otherwise it would have been, it doesn't matter how much it probably, most people would feel like almost readers.

Jesper (38m 28s):
And on this case where we're talking about a TV show, so viewers in this case, but probably most people would just be like, yeah, it's good. That you're feeling that bad. You deserve it. You know? So it's not about forgiving any more. It's more like, yeah, you deserve that. So it becomes something else. All of a sudden.

Autumn (38m 47s):
Yes. I agree. So, yeah. So I think that's a good conclusion that there are, there are some things that you can't pull a character fully back from, which could work for, depending on your genre. But if you're writing certain types of fantasy, if you want your character to emerge scape, you know, scratched, but pretty much, you know, okay, there's probably a few things you should avoid, but otherwise exploring those evil intentions that evil within is, is a really interesting way of progressing a story and showing a character arc and showing a character change that is much more dramatic than some of the minor like, oh, you're mildly irritating and you have a stutter that I can't stand.

Autumn (39m 27s):
You know, that's, that's so minor compared to the, the, what we're talking about, these traits that we're talking about here.

Jesper (39m 35s):
All right. That's very good. So we will be back next Monday and this time for a critical reading episode where we will be discussing Jade City by Fonda Lee, which is the one we've been reading over this past month. So see you then.

Narrator (39m 50s):
If you like what you just heard, there's a few things you can do to SUPPORT THE AM WRITING FANTASY PODCAST. Please tell a fellow author about the show and visit us at Apple podcast and leave a rating and review. You can also join Autumn and Jesper on For as little as a dollar a month, you'll get awesome rewards and keep The Am Writing Fantasy Podcast going. Stay safe out there and see you next Monday.

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