Final Week For The Mermaid and The Unicorn Round up and The Problem with Uber Powerful Characters (Finally)

23 Sep

 Enter to win the GC, not to mention the ebook is on sale this week. I’ll announce the winners next week.

Joanne Guidoccio

Sandra’s Book Club

Jazzy Book Reviews

Enchanting Reviews

Eye-Rolling Demigod’s Reviews

Superman needs kryptonite. Captain Marvel needs to be sent hitherto unknown so she’s not around to solve all the problems in End Game. When you’re fighting the boss, he’s a beast. When you unlock him as a playable character, it’s like you unlocked a different skin with weird stats but is not at all like the boss that took you forever to beat.

For me, making a super powerful character and not using them sparingly is like throwing time travel into my fiction. It can be done well, but I need limits. If I can travel back in time again and again, I can fix my mistakes. One of the things I had to learn when I played Prince of Persia: Sands of Time, was that if I ‘died’ I could hit the rewind button if I had enough sand. I could only go back so far, and sometimes you’re rewinding yourself just to watch yourself succumb to the same bad jump or injury.

I’m not saying it’s always hard; when I played FFIX Captain Beatrice was uber-powerful, and honestly you knew you were in for it when she was the boss, because even if you win the battle the cut scene is her knocking all surviving party members to 1 hp and in the story you lose. One of the best parts was when she joined Steiner and they toned her back, so that there was still a challenge in the game. She was treated like a bonus character, and we really only got to use her for like ten minutes out of a 20ish hour game. Sparingly, this worked.

When I watched Rings of Power, it’s like the showrunners forgot that Middle Earth was saved by the most unlikely of creatures, hobbits. There are powerful elves and heroes of men; wizards and dwarves. If you were to rate them physically, the mightiest of hobbits is probably up there with the weakest of men. A small detail in Return of the King is when Aragorn charges at the Black Gate, Merry and Pippin are the first to run after him, and are quickly overtaken by the other soldiers, and hey they’re little they got short legs what did we expect.

I think a big case being made is that the contemporary heroine’s journey is so much different then the hero’s, and it’s not always a good thing. You can read up on Joseph Campbell’s work, and you’ll see that it’s very familiar because it’s used in the original Star Wars and often used in Disney’s newer films.

You can watch videos discussing it, but in a nutshell, with the heroine’s journey, it’s not that the heroine needs to go on a journey. She’s already awesome and is being held back, usually by the dubious ‘patriarchy’ and needs to break free and show them who’s boss.

Thing is, this isn’t really a heroic arc so much as a tragic one. Don’t believe me? It’s the same with Anakin Skywalker.

Born a slave, he was rescued because of his miraculous abilities. From a young age, he was able to do more than anyone else. He was almost not trained because the council worried they couldn’t control him. He grew up fearful, angry and resentful, and was silently being groomed by the powers of darkness who saw his potential.

The duel of the fates in Episode 1 was a battle in which Maul was defeated and still won. Qui-Gon was the only one who could have raised Anakin properly, as a father he never had and he could have guided him and protected him. Obi-Wan did the best he could, and I’m not downplaying his skills or his character. He was Anakin’s brother, and brothers aren’t the same dynamic as a father/son one. I’m not saying brothers aren’t important, but without reading into any more lore or backstory, Qui-Gon was going to train Anakin whether or not he had permission. Obi-Wan is probably my favourite character in the series, and he was probably fine to train Anakin in the ways of the Jedi, but he wasn’t ready to take a hurting person and do what needed to be done.

Read what I said again two paragraphs ago. Anakin is only free because of his powers. He’s better than anyone else in terms of pod racing or flying or building, and he knows. The council accuses him, as a child, of being fearful. What child wouldn’t be nervous in his situation? The people who are kind to him are manipulating him. Obi-Wan is his brother to whom he aspires to be, not his protector who doesn’t care if they’re bestest buddies that day. Fathers discipline, brothers squabble.

It’s a tragedy of the highest order, and I think a lot of villains who stay with us have motivations that stay with us because we can relate to them. A character who thinks they are being held back, not given either the acknowledgement or the love that they think they deserve, and feels that they’re always in the right?  

But Leia, the Jedi Council was corrupt. And what if someone does want to write about their corrupt society?

I’m going to classify myself as a Casual-Plus Star Wars fan. I don’t watch Clone Wars but I have played Lego Star Wars that involves the characters, usually as a third or when I was watching kids. I buy graphic novels and other stuff for kids who like it come Christmas or Birthdays. I haven’t read any of the EU which got nuked when Disney bought the franchise, but I’ve seen bits and pieces of it. More over though, I listen to people talk about popular culture and trends because that helps me as a writer.

I’m not saying you can’t write about a corrupt society, but most people who hate their evil king or whatever still tend to love their land, their people, etc. You can love your country and criticize your government at the same time.

This is getting long enough. I’m not saying you can’t have powerful characters. I’m saying that if you decide to deck out your characters in cool attributes and not really think about the story or the theme, it’s probably going to suffer. If your character can easily defeat a dragon, the dragon is no longer a threat. You’ll need to magic up something they can’t handle, and in my experience, it’s a lot easier to give someone limits in the first place than to have a convoluted reason as to why Earth’s Greatest Champion is unavailable to use the thing they used during last week’s episode.

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