Dec 3, 2015

Do authors have complete control over their characters after they're introduced to the public???

It's true that authors should get all the credit for the success or popularity of a character. They are the ones who create, mold and design fictional characters, who have become a part and parcel of readers' lives despite being unreal. 

But sometimes, an author's control over a certain character can be complicated. Though they are the creators, after they publish the characters to the world, sometimes, they lose the complete control over the actions and future of their character. Some authors acknowledge it, some don't, and my question for today is whether you agree with me or not, if I say that authors lose the right to have the complete control of a character's life and destiny after they're produced to the wide audience.

You might think my statement is absurd. After all, they created the characters, right? How come they don't have the full rights of their own creation??? But if you ask me, I think a character stops being the person who is ruled by the creator's decisions, after they're released to the public and held open to interpretations.

As a literature student, I fiercely support a reader's right to interpret a character in the way they want. While a writer could've intended their character to be a certain type of person, a reader can look at him/her in a whole new different perspective, and I think it's completely okay! After all, the beauty of the written word is that it might not hold the same meaning for everyone, and the same goes to fictional characters.

But I think often authors fail to acknowledge this unofficial truth. A perfect example for this is the character of Draco Malfoy. Now, potterheads, don't get defensive, I am not criticising J.K.Rowling, but I don't agree with her recent declaration that she's "unnerved" by his popularity and that "girls are misguided" to fancy him. I was super upset by these posts, as I am a huge fan of his character - he's undeniably one of my favourite characters from Harry Potter. I saw him as an antihero, a flawed, imperfect bully who was misunderstood, judged and a boy who had no choice. I liked him and that has nothing to do with the fact that "he was a bad boy who appealed to romantic girls".

Now here's the deal. Rowling might have intended to create him as a bully. She herself might have hated him. But I think she doesn't have the right to say that fans shouldn't like him. Because, she doesn't have the control over how readers interpreted her storytelling about the character.

I've seen this situation in a lot of other books as well. I think most of the time, the reason why series and characters lose fans is when their authors fail to see that readers haven't interpreted a character in the same way he/she wanted them to. Readers can love a character who the author gave no special thought, while they can totally disregard one who the author predicted would be a hit. 

Another reason why I feel like authors tend to gradually lose control over their characters after release, is that I tend to see characters as people. So when a character is created and led through some fictional journeys, sometimes they become their own person, and can hint a different destiny than what the author originally planned them to have. This is a sticky situation, but I think authors should really pay attention to this. Instances like this, can either make the character a success or a flop, depending on the creator's decision.

A perfect example for this, in my opinion, is Chaol. The whole world knows that I've lost my love for the Throne of Glass series, and while some might call me shallow as the reason is that I am upset with the direction of the romance, another main reason is that I am not at all happy with the direction of Chaol's character as well. I feel like, SJM forgot that he's his own person, when she decided to disregard his personality and characterization for the sake of the plot.

It might sound unfair, but I deeply believe that writers lose the complete authority over their characters after they're released to the audience. While they still stay the puppeteers who pull the strings, I think that they have to pull them with two things in their mind - the character's own potential destiny and the readers' opinions and wishes.

Let's discuss!!! Do you think that authors have complete control over their released characters? If so, to what extent? 

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