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View Diary: Sci-Fi Fantasy Club: Which Ugly SF/Fantasy Ducklings became Literary Swans? (140 comments)

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  •  "good" characters (Dune, LOTR, Star Wars) (7+ / 0-)

    I'm struggling with the concept of a good character, in part because of the three examples I gave.

    All three have a large set of distinct, iconic characters. So in a sense, they're huge successes. Baron Harkonnen means something. Boba Fett does too. And you can argue if movie Boromir is better than book Boromir. (I'm not touching the Faramir question.)

    On the one hand, I don't generally consider any of those three works to have good characterization. And yet, compared to all the novels whose characters muddle into one another, even books with "better" characterization, they're more meaningful characters to more people.

    •  Iconic characters have their powers, and flexible (5+ / 0-)

      characters, with doubt and development, have other ways of interesting us. Iconic heroes and villains give shape to an epic plot. But similar sharp edges are found in minor characters in novels - for instance, both Austen and Dickens give their heroes and heroines complex inner life, a breath of humanity, while their minor characters are more flat and predictable, working as steady cogs to advance the plot.

      You've got me thinking - I suspect there's more to it than that. Dune, LOTR and Star Wars are surprisingly effective at getting us to care about characters who aren't all convincingly human. Oh, yeah, you just said that.

      "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

      by Brecht on Sun Sep 29, 2013 at 10:19:04 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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