Jun 11, 2015

Do you see the person or the characterization?

I've always been a great fan of books with wonderful characters who have a lot of depth. To me, characters are sometimes more important than the plot because I prefer to love - or at least like- the characters with whom I am going to spend my whole reading journey with.

Since I am currently developing my first story's characters, I was looking through all my favourite characters and pondered on what I love about them so that I might get some inspiration for my own creations.

As I was analyzing them, I came to a shocking realization.

I wouldn't exactly like some of my favourite characters as a person!

So that made me wonder, when you read a book, and read about the characters, do you see them as a person and judge them or do you admire their characterization?

To make it easier, let me break this into some examples. Here are some of my favourite characters, whom I doubt I would actually like as a person.

1.Victor Vale from Vicious

Victor is a perfect antihero. He has all villainy qualities, does evil things, has this intimidating aura around him, his ideas are cruel and twisted yet he has this teeny weeny mushy side I adored. 
What I really loved about his character is that he doesn't make any excuses for what he does, and how ambitious, and goal oriented he was.

But would I want to be his partner in crime?
Not at all.

2.The Darkling from Shadow and Bone

The dark, mysterious, and swoonworthy villain of Shadow and Bone is an awesome character! It's hard not to fall in love with him, and for a moment, actually root for the evil guy.

But would I want to be stranded with him in a dark alley?
Certainly not.

Well, to be fair, maybe I should stop talking about hot villains, Because no matter how hard we try, they are our weak points, and we all do have a huge soft spot for a twisted evil bad guy with a tiny vulnerable side.

So let's talk about some of the lesser mortals, who can also be taken as examples for this situation.

3. Cadence from We Were Liars

Cadence was weak, flawed, sometimes selfish and sometimes a pain.
Long story short, I didn't like her as a person. At all.

But I love her characterization. I love how beautifully the author has created a flawed and imperfect teenager who was in an inner conflict most of the time during the course of the book. She was a perfectly imperfect main character.

4.Ruby from Lock and Key

It's so amusing that I don't like any of Sarah Dessen's heroines as a person. And Ruby is the best example for that theory. She was a bitch most of the time, even to the people who reached out to her and wanted to help her. Even by the end of the book, where she changed a lot and learned to appreciate the things around her, I couldn't make myself like Ruby.

But I loved her characterization. Her character is complex. Her closed off attitude was influenced by how she got abandoned by a lot of people in her life. Abuse and neglect made her into the bitter, bratty, annoying and ungrateful person she was in the book, and the way Sarah Dessen has dealt with her characterization is just beautiful.

Now that I made myself clear with a few examples, let me ask you, what do you see in a character? The personality or the characterization?

I personally, think I look at the characterization. Whether that character is good or bad, whether I'd like them if they existed in real life or not, doesn't matter to me at all. When I read about the characters, I see the depth and development in their creation. Not their qualities and attitude,

But that's just me!

How about you?
Do you see the person or the characterization?
Do you have any favourite characters whom you might not like as a person?
Feel free to leave a comment!

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