Last week I wrote a post in which I said I wasn’t a fan of terrible things happening to characters I love. I suppose that sounds like a bit of a silly thing. Of course I don’t like it when bad things happen to a beloved character. Duh. But what I meant specifically is I’m dismayed when it’s something truly horrific and it only happens because the script says it needs to.
Crappy things often need to happen to main characters (and also not-so-main characters sometimes). That’s part of the hero’s journey. I’m all for seeing characters overcome adversity in order to grow and create a good story. But in my mind growth means a continuation of the same basic character. The change is a natural progression, based on the external (or sometimes internal) pressures and events they experience.
What I’m less fond of is when it doesn’t feel like a natural growth. Sometimes it feels like the creators decide a character should fundamentally change in a rather drastic way. And what’s the easiest way to make a great big change in a character’s personality? Why, have them experience something awful. Something so awful it’s scarring to their very being. Continue reading