1. Hubardo
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    Hubardo Contributing Member Contributor

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    Are there books where the MC becomes a bad person and doesn't become good again?

    Discussion in 'Book Discussion' started by Hubardo, Sep 6, 2014.

    The idea just came to me in a caffeine high. There are themes of MCs falling from grace etc and coming of age and all that common let's show the capacity for human beings to be good despite all the blah blah. I'm wondering if there are MCs who are regular people who end up becoming murderers or rapists or something to the point that readers become really uncomfortable and find it difficult to even empathize. Not even necessarily as a result of situation, but like actually a person just becomes curious and wants to do something evil and does it. I'm sure there are narratives like this although they're probably somewhat rare, and I can't think of anything off-hand. I'm sure in the genre of crime fiction there's a lot of this but I would hate for this embrace the shadow archetype theme to be relegated to only "the criminal mind" or something. Also important is the *MC* being like this, since there are always complicated side characters like this but they're almost never at center of the main narrative because I suspect people don't want to digest the concept that we all have equal capacity for evil (because they and we generally like to prop ourselves up on the idea that we all have equal capacity for good, or however that goes).
     
  2. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Interesting question. I've only heard of the books where the MC becomes bad but later redeems him/herself, or the MC started out as bad but redeems him/herself at the end. I guess we just like that 'feel good' ending where, as you said, we're reminded that everyone, even an evil person, still has some capacity for good that just needs to be wrestled to the forefront. As much as I champion redemption, it's a unrealistic to assume that every bad person ever will suddenly do a 180 and be good if you just worked at it. There are people out there who are absolutely never going to change their ways, no matter what.
     
  3. Poet of Gore
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    Poet of Gore Member

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    check out Obama's biography when it hits the shelves
     
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  4. elynne
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    elynne Active Member

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    @lewislewis hmm--it depends on the degree of badness, I suppose. I have to admit that I stopped reading White Gold Wielder when the main character
    while wandering around in a fantasy world he'd been transported to rapes a girl basically because he doesn't believe that it's real, and then either murders a whole bunch of what seemed to be fairies or at least doesn't do anything to stop them from being murdered.
    I'm pretty sure he ends up getting redeemed, though. :p

    the main character of the Jhereg series is an assassin, for no other reason than that it turns out he's good at it and there's a lot of money to be made doing it. he even enjoys it--though what he enjoys is more the process of setting things up, and the high of having pulled it off and gotten away, rather than the actual killing itself. as the series goes on, he does seem to be... less comfortable with the idea of being an assassin (or having been; he ends up no longer having that job, for reasons that have nothing to do with him having an attack of conscience about killing people), although so far (eleven books into the series? or maybe more?) he certainly hasn't repented of it. he doesn't even really consider what he was doing to have been bad as such--it was just a job, and he did it well.
     
  5. Empty Bird
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    Empty Bird Member

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    Yes! There is!!

    I can't remember the name of it though...er...at least I was pretty sure there was...I think it was like set in a historical time period or something. Historical characters usually end up being bad, anyway. o_O
     
  6. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Speaking of historical figures, you can always get a biography about a historical figure that was bad, and stayed bad. :p
     
  7. Canopyvine
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    Canopyvine Member

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    I think the book "Perfume" by Patrick Süskind is somewhat like that.
     
  8. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I ditto the above post - Perfume is about a regular guy who's just born a little strange and goes on to become a murderer, and he's the MC and sooo fascinating. All he ever wanted was to create the world's best perfume, is all.

    Anyway, reading your post, I think of Star Wars. Anakin was supposed to be the chosen one and a talented Jedi and then becomes the infamous Darth Vadar. I suppose he does get redeemed right at the end though. I've always felt sorry for the actor who played the original Anakin because he got wiped and replaced with modern Anakin's hologram lol. It's like, "My ONLY credit and appearance in a legendary series and I get erased because the series got remade!?"
     
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  9. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    If there was any reason to go full on Sith, this guy had the perfect excuse. ;)

    "And now, fake-Vader, experience the full power of the Dark Side!" Zappity-zap-zap
     
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  10. Hubardo
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    Hubardo Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yes, but the Vader example is one in which you can understand the humanity of everything in life turning him sour so you can still empathize. Then you shake your head like, dude you can look at the bright side. We all have grief in our lives, you don't have to turn to vengeance. Once he makes that decision to go totally Evil, we're no longer interested him as a person because by our odd (good? normal? justified? evolutionary?) notion of Evil is such that an Evil Person is actually no longer a person. Once a person catches Evil you quarantine them and let them die of it, hopefully in shame and despair and hatred. That's the impression I get anyway.

    I think this conversation has the potential to get pretty philosophical if it hasn't already.
     
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  11. daemon
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    daemon Contributing Member Contributor

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    Although Breaking Bad is not a book, the protagonist Walter White is my favorite fictional character of all time, and the story arc is basically defined by his transition from ordinary guy to criminal mastermind. At first, it looks like he is just doing what he can to make money out of desperation, but it becomes clearer that he does what he does because he enjoys it and it gives him a sense of accomplishment.
     
  12. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    That's actually a pretty interesting point - it's true that Vadar is no longer the MC once he turns evil. In the original series of course he was never the MC at all to begin with.
     
  13. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    Like Caligula?

    HAHAHA! :D
     
  14. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Try Elphaba, the protagonist of Wicked. Started out as good, but became bad and stayed that way.
     
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