Dear Authors: Your Characters ROCK!

so in this video I want to talk about how character in recent decades not just for fantasy but honestly media in general has evolved substantially for the better in my opinion now what I'm talking about is the fact we seem to have evolved out of the totally righteous manly example of the best of humanity at the time protagonists into a more morally gray conflicted relatable human and understandable protagonist I was actually inspired to make this video by a recent discussion I had with fellow booktuber Elliot Brooks in a video that's going to be posted in the world hoppers channel so shameless plug here go subscribe if you want to go see us talk about Terry Goodkind and his problem with his writing protagonist personality everything but what we were discussing is the fact that in recent decades we seem to have evolved from this idea that protagonists are just the ultimate good the fantasy fulfillment and I'm talking fantasy isn't like your average person's fantasy wish fulfillment to something that's more representative of our consciousness our confliction z– and is a closer examination of who we are and this is even the most just mass-market blockbusters we see today like the MCU let's compare even superheroes and how they're depicted now versus how they were depicted back in the 40s 50s and even prior to that Captain America in his original comic books was just punching Nazis and doing the good guy justice all day it was very Indiana Jones asked and Indiana Jones another example of what I'm talking about he's someone who's the wish fulfillment for the hyper masculine man it's fun but it's not really deep it only really satisfies this brief wish fulfillment without really any deeper self-examination and if you like that that's fine I do too I love Indiana Jones but I much prefer in general what we're seeing more recently let's look at Captain America again he's someone who in the last few depictions of some major films he's been in he's left his government fought with friends questioned pretty much everything and lost his American patriotic identity his uniform has even shifted from this hyper American oh my gosh look how awesome we are reflection of who he is deep down to a basically blacked-out Road agent type look and I prefer that it's really cool but shifting away from the really cool aspect of it it's a neat evolution of character I don't think I could ever see Indiana Jones going through something remotely similar he's always just going to represent this hyper masculine punch the Nazi type person and with the most recent adaptation it had many issues but one of the few issues that stands out the most to me is it refused to adapt to modern character trends once again Indiana Jones was just this Nazi punching hyper-masculine kind of dealing with some family issues but in a way that wasn't very relatable and not very human and the CGI monkeys didn't help I also believe this kind of evolution of character morality and questioning can be seen in the evolution of how Superman is depicted on the screen as well you have Christopher Reeves adaptation which in my mind will always be the true Superman being this symbol of hope and super optimistic and polite and nice to everyone he sees he is above it all he never Stoops to the bad guys level then you have the modern Superman Henry Cavill who seems to be rather grudgingly saving people very dark doesn't seem to relate to anyone around him feels out of place it's strange and I believe that's because Superman has a very hard time as a character adapting to the modern viewing audiences expectation of what a character should be Superman and his core is supposed to be this Superman above it all perfect and wish-fulfillment to the extreme to the point where relatability is almost entirely gone trying to make this modern Superman more relatable has really crushed certain aspects of his character and well it's better in some ways it just doesn't really meld well with the image and the idea of it and moving that to the wider discussion I was talking about the beginning of this video the evolution of morality again this can be for the benefit or detriment of a character I believe it's for the benefit of someone like Captain America I think he's more interesting now than he was back in the 1940s it's a little bit to the detriment of Superman he has a hard time surviving in this more complex character world but it doesn't mean it's better I still think the previous Superman is superior over the modern one Christopher Reeves Superman forever I'm taking this time just to absolutely sure no one is saying I'm saying you're wrong for liking Indiana Jones I love Indiana Jones but he's certainly not as nuanced as the modern character expectations want many people to be now let's shift this conversation more into modern fantasy something my audience and myself and more comfortable in the word Mary Sue is thrown around all the time when it comes to sci-fi and fantasy today and that's because we as an audience seem extremely tired of seeing the overdone hyper perfect trope of the protagonist who gets the MacGuffin and fights the Dark Lord and even if these are somewhat subverted and the characters given some flaw if the character is not very label they can be mislabeled as a Mary Sue altogether and that's because we as an audience really want that relatability to me a character is much more likely to earn that label if they're always morally unquestionably in the right and they're smarter than everyone else in the room I don't care if they get captured and tortured and hurt a little bit and that's fine it makes them a little bit more human give that die hard appeal where you're actually singing get damaged but to me they can still absolutely earn that label if all the time they're just running around righteous and they're completely just the good guy we want our bad guys to have a point that's strong enough to make our protagonist and us think about the consequences of what's happening this has even gone to such an extreme that several stories now including big blockbusters like the MCU or putting out stories where it's just heroes fighting heroes it becomes just an ideological battle I am such a fan of this I think it's so much more interesting than just having a Dark Lord who wants to end things obviously this isn't meant for every story Harry Potter as the story it was needed an ultimate bad guy like Voldemort no one wanted Harry Potter to be sitting it down from across a villain and having some kind of ideological debate it's not what that was about I'm not trying to preach this for every single story what I'm saying is when it's appropriate and done right it seems to resonate with a modern audience in a way that other stories really struggle to I think the ultimate example of this can be seen the difference between Brandon Sanderson's protagonists in the fantasy genre now and tokens protagonists with in Lord of the Rings now I'm not saying Tolkien's protagonist from Mary Sue's in fact many of them did have questionable actions like Boromir but they always either real lies their fault or they just were always morally right to begin with this is a bit on a spectrum I'd say if a1 was a complete MarySue and 2/10 was a very flawed to the point of just utterly human most of Tolkien's characters to me kind of range between a three two is six none of them seem to be wholly wrong many of them made a couple of errors but if you compare that to Brandon who's writing characters like Delon are Caledon then people who really struggle with the society around them what they should do to try and be in the right and what the actual right side of things are see Caledon again and again for this example they seem to fall much more in the range of 6 to a nine much more human much more understandable and the conflict will absolutely feel like something that exists in the real world now as I pointed out in my dear authors world building video just because something's more realistic does not mean it is always better for a narrative again see Harry Potter I think Harry Potter would have suffered quite a bit if Voldemort and Harry had some kind of relatability between them in ideology and it was really just about some key differences that's not what that story needed and it's not what I'm preaching for everything I want the characters ideologies to clash when it's appropriate and I think it's becoming more and more appropriate more often especially for adult audiences that's all I'm saying now maybe an intended or unintended side effect of having these characters be more morally questionable even when they are the protagonist is a lot of the times the lines between the good and bad the light and the dark the Gondor and the Mordor becomes more and more grey there was no questioning in Lord of the Rings that Gondor was in the right Sauron was in the wrong big surprise I'm not spoiling anything the guy's name is cher but let's compare that to my personal favorite series The Wheel of Time something where the people in the light are often doing some of the most monstrous things in society there are many characters within the white cloaks who are serving the light who are using their being in the light as a power advantage and abusing those around them who don't have that power and there are many people in the dark side in the shadow that actually are extraordinarily relatable one of the Forsaken went to the shadow because he logically came to the conclusion that if the dark one was going to have an infinite number of chances eventually he'll succeed that's one of the reasons why I love that series so much there's legitimate reasoning for everyone's choices where they stand you know what characters believe and why and even the main six or seven characters stand in slightly different positions on key moral issues we even see two of our main protagonists getting a physically violent fight with each other over the treatment of prisoners I don't think Tolkien would ever bother to write a conflict where two protagonist gives each other's throats with weapons because the treatment of traitorous people as prisoners he was much more concerned about wider themes concerning magic and technology I'm not dismissing those themes their incredible his idea of the entering the age of man and the death of magic was fascinating and I loved it it's one of the reasons Lord the Rings to me is timeless but I'm much more interested from a character perspective to listen to why Caledon and Ellen are might not actually be the greatest best people as protagonists especially Dillon are a loved L&R he's the most interesting character Brandon Sanderson's ever written in my opinion I guess for this dear authors video I'm just more making observations rather than preaching a specific practice if you want to go back to more the old time of writing protagonist the Indiana Jones types the Christopher Reeves type Superman the Samwise Gamgee 's who oh my god I love Sam I'm not trying to diss him at all that's fine and it's great but I think we as a modern audience certainly crave this moral ambiguity a bit more and don't mistake that for me preaching grimdark I think a lot of people are tired of morally gray equaling just dark and horrendous now I myself am just now getting into grimdark so I'm really enjoying it and we'll explore it more in the future but I get how that burnout starts it's tiring at times all these things are interconnected and inner woven there's no right or wrong answer but it was an interesting thought that Elliott put forth in our world hoppers video and it's kind of been infesting my mind so I'm curious to see what your take on it is do you like the more complex moral questions that often our protagonists have to deal with now or do you hearken back to a time when Superman was just undeniably in the right and he needed to go punch bad old Lex Luthor in the face do you that ultimate wish fulfillment of Indiana Jones I don't know I mean I miss kind of the old style a little bit but I also really enjoy relating to modern protagonists on just a level that I find almost impossible to find in older media on a consistent basis now I'm well aware people are gonna pull from several examples of older fantasy older sci-fi what-have-you of very flawed people I am aware they definitely existed back in the day and I'm not saying this is a hundred percent the case I'm just saying it's a trend I think we are more likely now to see these incredibly flawed protagonists than we were back then I want to put that caveat in all this so I knew I was gonna get that comment where someone listed like five examples of protagonists who are in that previous Nam era who are like totally flawed and have all these moral problems I'm aware it's been a thing I'm not saying it's a hundred percent case by case all I'm saying is it seems to be more strongly emphasized now more than ever anyway guys I hope you enjoyed this video like and subscribe if you have not already hit the patreon do you want to support what I do here and let me know what you think what you crave what you want to see more of in your media do you want to see Captain America punch a Nazi or do you want to see him question the United States government I guess that's what this boils down to anyway guys have a great day peace you

41 thoughts on “Dear Authors: Your Characters ROCK!

  1. I seem to have not stated my point as clearly as a like with this video. To boil it down, I think characters tend to be getting more relatable and struggling with themselves and their place within their worlds.

    This is a trend I really enjoy. Some characters seem to be thriving with this new standards, see Captain America struggling with his patriotism. While other struggle, see Superman being grumpy and fish out of water.

    This is not 100% true all the time. There were characters all the way back to Ancient Greece that struggled with morality. But I do believe it is becoming more common even in big blockbusters type movies.

    We as an audience are now expecting to relate to all of our protagonists, and if we don’t, it often hinders our enjoyment of the media we are consuming.

    Do you like this new trend? Do you miss more wish fulfillment based heroes?

  2. Sauron is more grey than people make him out to be, that's not his real name for one; his original being Mairon, Sauron is what the elves called him and it stuck. Sauron was a corrupted Maiar/Angel/Demi-god that was obsessed with order and used Morgoth and his status as a Dark Lord to bring the world to heel under his version of order vs what he saw as disorder if he let the free peoples do as they wanted. I also don't see the Indiana Jones being the quintisential male fantasy; he definitely punched his share of Nazis but he was also a scientists and a historian that had real problems and often didn't do the manliest thing to get the job done (shooting the dude with the sword scene for example).

  3. Hmm that's a tough question personally for me it's both a bit of an out I know but let me explain. I like having the deeper relatable characters because they can be interesting fair more so most the time. However having some slightly less relatable is nice for action stuff or when I want a break from real issues.

  4. Maybe Superman was put as a flawless character but nowadays the view over what is right and what is wrong has changed and so he doesn't seem that flawless anymore even if he was intentionally made this way.

  5. If you're looking for moral greyness and complexity in Middle-earth you have to go to the First Age. You will very quickly be relieved of the notion that "Elves are always good and right". Sure by the Third Age they're all chill in their forests dispensing wisdom, but uh…not so much before.

  6. Superman is a key example in how the modern audience doesn't care as much about the simplistic hero, it kind of goes further into why people prefer Batman over him because he is relatable and not in a 'Superman is an alien and Batman is human' way but because he's flawed and singular and he's struggling to retain his moral good? The issue with his representation in the recent films is that it felt like they were trying to mould him into a character which required the audience to do the work to make him fit as well as kind of going against a lot of he already was.

    On the term of Mary Sue I think it heavily goes into people not knowing what a Mary Sue really is, someone OP without any explanation or difficulty who just gets through everything (Kvothe *cough cough*). It's fine to be OP, as long as we understand the struggle of why but mainly have human flaws. We are all messed up in some area and that's what makes us real. That plays hugely into why it was most likely that initial storytelling was quite simplistic and singular and now is more complex because we are beginning to acknowledge the complexities of human beings beyond stereotypes and wish fulfilment

    I think it could be possible to look at every story as a product of its time period and what is important to the author which can influence the themes, in our current social/economic/political and ecological climate there are so many variables and arguments that there is just so much to explore and consider. Being in such a digital age and having such accessibility to information worldwide only pushes the idea further that there will always be things to disagree on and at its heart empathy is what will be drawn out from these differing perspectives EVEN when we disagree.

  7. "Hi, i started the Breaking last time, i killed my whole family (ILENYA!!!!!!!!!), but still i'm here again to balefire castles and to save you, so swear to follow me ok?"

  8. If you want a good grey character, watch BBC's Luther, with Idris Elba. From the first of episode one, season one, you get a real good sense of Luther's immorality. It's a detective show, so I don't whether you would like it or not and I don't whether you would be able to access it in America, but if you can, watch it.

  9. It just seemed to me that you prefer what is now commonly labelled as "anti-heroes" (Batman, for example?), and it definitely feels like that has been the recent trend in fiction lately. I guess relatability is indeed a desirable quality for many people these days. That being said… man, I still love the Indiana Joneses, the Luke Skywalkers, the Supermans. I think sometimes as die-hard fans we tend to overanalyze what is simply meant to be a fun, highly consumable, highly-satisfactory book or movie experience. There are deeper books/movies that should be explored for deeper meaning and relatability while others are simply meant to be "consumed", and always looked at with a pinch of salt. There's room for both!

  10. I literally want to see Captain America punching Nazis WHILE questioning the US government.

  11. "Moral ambiguity" in character actions isn't really a complex thing, in my mind. You can think of it as a mechanism of built and released tension. When a protagonist does something wrong, it taints their character in the reader's eye (or it should). But… it's also a tool that causes the reader to connect to him or her, because we know that darkness, we empathize with pain. But when a character shows no remorse for a wrong choice, they become flat and unsympathetic. Now, this is a great tool to make the reader angry or frustrated with the character, but if it's left unresolved too long with no hope in sight the interest of the character diminishes. That's the way I see it, anyway, you build that moral tension then you release it in a satisfying way. That's a good emotional ride.

    The other problem I have is when the author makes excuses or justifications for a character making a wrong decision. It's just really cheap, and it shows the moral constitution of the writer's own mind. People feel guilt for bad personal mistakes, and if you don't you have some reevaluating to do, because you're not doing yourself any favors. Guilt is a basic biological brain pattern, but is something that modern entertainment seems to be confused with. Characters grow in relatability when they do something wrong, but that's not the end of the road. They become more relatable when they suffer because of their mistake, and they become glorious and beloved when they use that suffering as a catalyst for change and make strides toward goodness and power (Prince Zuko in Avatar is a fantastic example of this! which I would say is why he's arguably one of the best characters).

    Here's my beef with Stormlight Archive (and I hope this was intentional on Sanderson's part; I hope he knows what he's doing): At first, I couldn't quite identify what felt off about some of the characters, and I realized this is the reason. There's unresolved moral tension. Two specific examples: Dalinar's arc and Shallan and Adolin's relationship at the end of Oathbringer. (SPOILERS) In his younger days, Dalinar was genocidal, and I'm going to re-read it but I didn't feel like there was enough of a return for him. I feel like Sanderson was trying too hard to maintain seriousness in that regard. As for Shallan and Adolin, here is what completely switched me off: Adolin murdered a guy, tried to cover it up, no psychological repercussions (yet), and Shallan is just okay with it because of something she did when she was mentally unstable… In the real world, murderers are locked up (or worse), and it takes some serious psychological missteps to get yourself there. Despite being portrayed as the nice guy, there is something disturbingly wrong with Adolin (and Shallan, for that matter). Again, I hope Sanderson knows what he's doing here and has plans to tie everything up, but that's where I lost sympathy for those two. I've got Kaladin's back, I've got Dalinar's back, but I can't stand behind Shallan and Adolin after the end of Oathbringer. Sorry.

  12. I recently picked up the eye of the world. And that lead me to you. I’m now reading the great hunt, I love your videos and have inspired me to get back into fantasy! 🙂

  13. You need to read more classic fantasy. There is no way you can honestly describe classic fantasy characters like Conan, Frodo, Aragorn, Ged, Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser, Thomas Covenant, The Black Company, Paul Muadib, Pug, Rand Al'Thor or FitzChivalry, to name only a few of the best known examples, as monodimensional characters. Most of your examples come from comic books, which to be fair were originally written for children and natural matured as their readers matured – so that example doesn't count.
    You need to be more informed before making sweeping statements of this kind. If anything, characters seem to me to be becoming more superficial of late. I see a trend of characters progressing from multifaceted to increasingly grey and non-commital.

  14. I definitely love the relateability, but it is still nice to mix it up every once in a while

  15. Interested in your opinion on Lady Hawk – movie from the 80's. Don't know if it was based on a book or not.

  16. I watched raiders of the lost ark again recently. Indiana Jones isn't overly black and white. The scene where the scimitar guy starts with the sword tricks come to mind. He doesn't try to fight fairly, he just shoots him.
    Now that I'm typing this I think several of the things that make him seem grey may not have at the time. His sexual aggressiveness, for example. I guess, at the time, that was expected for the leading man James Bond, etc.

  17. Which character would you consider perfectly 10/10 relatable and human?

  18. Great video, i think you hit the nail on the head. Sanderson is coming out with some insanely relatable characters. If u mix the morally grey with the little guy beating the big guy, i think thats where you get some really great stories like mistborn.

  19. I absolutely agree and love the debates of "how far is too far to achieve the greater good". Something that stands out for me to this day is not a protagonist, but Magneto (Ian McKellen) from 2000's Xmen. He was bad (because they told us so, then showed us), but there was a point that could almost be argued as to the why he was doing it. The character really believed what he was doing would be a boon to all mutants and even to the people affected in the climax. The first time I was really interested/invested in a villainous character at all.

  20. Superman has always been a bland character to me. Literally any problem he faces can be solved by the writer simply writing "Superman solves it with his powers". Only after I saw Man of Steel did I actually grow interested in Superman's character. What if the person who represented so much to humankind was just as flawed as everyone else. This gives me hope in a way. One of my favorite parts from BvS is when Superman flies off to face Batman. You can just see the conflict written all over his face when he says "no one stays good in this world". Say anything you want about that movie, but it had its moments.

  21. Insightful stuff. I wonder how much soft power and propaganda influenced the characterisation of superheroes in the 1940s v today? 🤔 Personally I love a protagonist that might kill you rather than save you…

  22. Really interesting observations and a great discussion!
    I love both!! Nothing like a fun, wish-fulfillment story to nurse my hurts after some deep morally ambiguous story with flawed main characters 😀

  23. I just went searching for reviews of The Demon Cycle series and although it's not on this channel after my search I realize how much better this channel is than everything else. Bookwise

  24. For me, it depends on the book's intended purpose. There are some books that necessitate characters to answer and deal with moral questions whereas, in others, it's a black and white scenario. My motivation for reading the book also comes into play when deciding on which types of characters I want. More often than not, I gravitate towards characters who deal with moral questions because they're more relatable in today's setting. Nevertheless, once in a while, I enjoy those undeniably good and right characters for my books just to create more diverse mindsets and reading environments. 😀

  25. It should be noted that the works of Michael Moorcock(a very prolific Sci-Fi and Fantasy author in the 60s and 70s counter culture, and he ran with Hawkwind for a bit. Also, yes that is his real name) are not about battles between Good and Evil, but Law and Chaos(Warhammer took a lot from Moorcock, their Chaos is basically his Chaos, right down to the Chaos Star), in an eternal struggle between them and the Cosmic Balance, with the protagonists of his stories(both Fantasy and Sci-Fi stories are linked by his multiverse) being Incarnations of the Eternal Champion, an agent of the Balance.

  26. i think if you mix the concepts together, you may get a good but long piece rhat maybe rather interesting. kinda like an rpg. the good ones are very much Cap A punchin nazis, but the grey morality makes part of the read to find whom the real nazis are.

  27. The DCU could have done so much with Superman, exploring his near godlike power and trying to find his identity eventually becoming a beacon of hope in the Christopher Reeves vain. In order for him to get there he would have to make mistakes that cause him loss, have real friendships as both Clark and Superman, flirt with the darkside try imposing his will on the world and coming to the understanding of individuals frees will. Of the more modern characters that are fun to read and watch, I am really surprised you did not mention Glokta, and I would include Nine Fingers, I am also really liking John Wick and the Equilizer and for TV Lucifer.

  28. … uh. I have reservations about agreeing with this sentiment. It mostly boils down to that I think it's only a trend in typical "mainstream" stuff that becomes part of the zeitgeist (in some general sense, possibly including what is remembered/preserved through extended periods of time). As you yourself kinda noted in your comment, there have existed very varied characters for as long as there have been stories, but I'd go further and say that they have not only existed, but also been available in abundance for just as long. Fantasy as a genre more specifically becomes a bit harder to apply this framework to since it depends on how old you consider the genre to be, but if we don't go back more than a couple of hundred years, THEN I could agree with your assessment. I also wouldn't be surprised if in shorter time intervals, one could find that these minor trends regularly fluctuate.

    Incidentally, there was some famous ancient Greek person (I forget the name) who bemoaned the masses' proclivity for comedies (and I guess satyr plays) – as in ancient Greek comedy, not what we mean by comedy today – which pretty much echoes the opinion that what is considered "mainstream" is not as nuanced in general (greek tragedy rather consistently contained flawed protagonists). Which is just me saying that people don't really change all that much over the epochs, and that many perceived trends have appeared and faded away several times throughout history.

  29. Probably one of the worst descriptions of Superman as a character. You deconstructed the Superman trope, you clearly have no understanding of the character Superman. He's had several arcs, several incarnations that is insulting to just say he's a "male power fantasy that saves lives". If you're gonna show an inept understanding of the character why even bring him up. Bronze Age Superman, Golden Age Superman, New 52 Superman, Rebirth Superman, All Star Superman, American Alien Superman. All different takes on the character, with Bronze Age Superman being the most iconic, not Snyders or Golden Age. I could go on. I apologize for the rant, but If there's one thing I don't like is people who don't read Superman explain Superman to me.

  30. I like both. But I hate grimdark because everyone is equally awful. That's just depressing and boring. I think it's important to have character foils. It's hard to have, for example, Batman be the more complicated guy if he doesn't have boyscout Superman to play off of. So Superman remains interesting not by becoming more gray but because his "baseline goodness" is the standard by which other Justice League members' grayness is measured. Meanwhile, Batman still isn't as gray as a hero who kills, etc. And it's in those conflicts of different types of gray, not everyone just being the same shade of gray, that things get interesting. The more flawed characters you have, the more you need a spectrum of "gooder" and badder" characters to play off off. That is what I find exciting. It's something that makes modern books like A Song of Ice and Fire so good. There is a lot of gray, but it's also a spectrum raging from really good guys like Samwell Tarly to monsters like Ramsay Snow. The spectrum makes all the difference between grimdark and bittersweet.

  31. Elric of Melnibone. Or almost everyone in the Duneverse. Nuff said.

    (Geralt is just a bargain bin Clint eastwood.)

  32. Ugh you’re always so on point. I wish more Youtubers had such a critical thinking

  33. KOTOR 2 is another amazing example of morally grey characters despite being "aligned" with the typical light and dark sides of the force or even somewhere in between. Kreia is the perfect example of an antagonist done right, she literally makes you stop and think every time she speaks and even the former jedi council can be considered grey as they acted out of a need to preserve the force and to do that they had to cut the Exile's tie from the force which is a bit screwed up but from their point of view it was necessary.

  34. What is great about WoT is that there is Evil, evil, good, Good, Evil-good, and Good-evil.

  35. I don't think Captain America and Superman as character's don't need to be updated, the context and environment needs to be updated. the MCU Cap isn't that dramatically different from his comic book version, it's just that is his traditional "do the right thing no matter what" mentality is transplanted into a modern setting of moral ambiguity, Which not only makes him admirable but there are consequences to his rigged moral code (this was even true for the comic book version, particular during the 70's). The problem with Superman isn't that "he's outdated" it's that the context and environment for his character hasn't changed since the Richard Donner movie. If, like Cap, Superman remained himself in world that was morality complex, I guarantee people would turn around on the character.

  36. Daniel You look like blonde Chris Evans my man!

    Well we are taking about Achilles and Hector, right?
    Hector is that noble paragon while Achilles is the morally grey, selfish warrior.
    Even ancients knew of morally grey people in their literature.
    More examples:

    King David in the OT




  37. I'd be curious about your take on "Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality"

  38. I like a mixture.

    I've been thinking how sci-fi and fantasy can talk about and delve into issues that other genres can't like what does it mean to be human and where technology can take us, what is the nature of our reality, free will vs determinism and I think the characters need to fit what story your telling.

    I love fantasy but I think one TV show I loved that isn't fantasy had a mix of both of these qualities, the West Wing had competent characters who would always strive to do the right thing but sometimes they used bad methods and you could see characters struggle with what they considered moral. The characters were still incredibly optimistic and its maybe the one show about politics that is very wish fulfilment.

  39. I am conflicted on this quite a bit. It is nice to read Characters that have our flaws and importantly overcome those flaws to succeed or at least do the better thing. At the same time I don't want morally ambiguity to become the sanction norm. I feel like we dilute morals when we sanction that gray area; we send the message that you don't have to try and be a better person. Not saying that is what all authors intend, or if that is their motivation. I guess it is like everything else; all things in moderation. I love characters like Samwise. I also love Dalinar. Captain America represents the line where I get conflicted. I actually enjoy some of MCU's evolution of the Cap. Especially Winter Solider with how they handled it. You understood Cap's position, how America had changed from the Freedoms he fought for. Though I would have been actually quite happy if it didn't have Hydra as the big bad in that one, I think the story would been just as good as a split within Shield. They didn't really capture that with Civil War, and even more so in the fact that Cap just walks away, which feels like a total departure from his personality.

  40. Frodo failed. Got no redemption. Much was made about the ending of Return of the King, but the reason we see Frodo failing to live his life after that is because he's living with the guilt of giving into The Ring. He's able to smile in the end there because doesn't have to live in this world anymore. Just saying.

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