1. Hydraphantom
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    Hydraphantom Member

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    Which one of these would count as "too much" for my protagonist?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Hydraphantom, Sep 9, 2016.

    So my protagonist aren't really the most noble character in the world, but after I got my self a list of "morally wrong" action the protagonist does, while personally not a problem to myself, I start to feel that some of his action would be too much for audience to stomach. So I just want to ask which of these following action that you would find most disturbing. Mostly sorted chronologically.

    1. Preaching ultra-patriotic ideologies to general populace that's bordering on fascism.
    2. Try to assimilate multiple ethinic-minorities that's not recognised by the country.
    3. Married his two year older sister (Haven't dicide which one is better, mutually exclusive with 4)
    4. Married a 14 year old girl while in his late 30's
    5. Provoke a neighbour country to declear war on them to secure a moral highground.
    6. Try to make his son a great man and his suitable successor, the protagonist push him so far that he simply cannot handle it anymore and commit suicide.
    6. Personally ordered a religious genocide that result in 600,000+ casualties, and when faced with international criticism, try to justify it as a "heroic act of justice", and criticise THEM for NOT doing the same.
    7. Desperately try to end a devastating war, ordered a launch of WMD that result in more than 11 million casualties.

    These action are not chronologically close to each other, about 5-15 years appart. What do you guys think?
     
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  2. IituRSI
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    IituRSI Member

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    Sure, not everyone wants to read a book with protagonist they can only describe as horrible person, but I'm sure those people aren't your target audience. If your protagonist does good things too and doesn't do things for the sake of being evil, this should be fine in my opinion. I think he just makes some bad decisions which makes story interesting, not unbearable to read
     
  3. Hydraphantom
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    Hydraphantom Member

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    Thank you for your responce, I can assure you that none of these action are done for the sake of evil, and he truly believe that those are the best option. Also he does do alot of good things, but the bad things just happens to stick out in my mind. Except the religious genocide one, which the protagonist are not in a right mental state when ordering that.
     
  4. Scot
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    Scot Active Member

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    Item 4 on your list puts me off. Sex with minors = abuse / rape in the eyes of the law.

    Just checked out the age of consent in Japan -- complicated.

    What's the age of consent in your fictional country?
     
  5. Hydraphantom
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    Hydraphantom Member

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    No, no, no, not sex, just a political marriage, I was planning to have sex at 17 to match up my timeline. The age of consent is complicated, while people will generaly frown upon sex with minor, there isn't really a set AoC at that time, but since most of the world nowdays have AoC of 16-18, perhaps I should just put it at 16.
     
  6. Scot
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    Scot Active Member

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    Fair enough. In that case there isn't anything on your list that hasn't already been done in history; with the exception of #7 ... yet.
     
  7. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi @Hydraphantom ,

    While your English is a damned sight better than my Japanese, there are still some grammar issues.

    1/ Rather like Japan did prior to WWII? (1931 - Japanese invasion of Manchuria. 1932 - assassination of Inukai Tsuyoshi by fanatical navy officers)
    2/ Assimilation of ethnic minorities is usually good; I think you probably mean annihilation. Unless you mean the Nazi Germany assimilation of Austria and Czechoslavakia, with their substantial German minorities, to include them within Greater Germany?
    3/ Jamie/Circe Lanister? (And I don't see why this necessarily excludes 4/ - one could be a secret bride, or he could enact a dispensation for bigamy.
    4/ Happened all the time in Heian era Japan - no, wait, that was 30-year old women and 14-year old boys, to keep the Emperor under the control of the Shogun. But it wasn't unknown in mediaeval Europe royalty.
    5/ Like the Americans did before Pearl Harbor, with their economic restrictions, particularly on the fuel required by the Japanese Navy & Air Force. (1941)
    6/ Parents do put pressure on their kids, but only because they want the best for them.
    6 (II)/ A bit like Nazi Germany.
    7/ Like Hiroshima. (1945)

    OK, these things DO happen. Your MC is not going to win any popularity contests! But I think you need to give him some redeeming qualities, otherwise he will become a one-dimensional baddy. And then come up with plausible reasons why he did what he did.

    1/ "I love my country, sir!" An Officer and a Gentleman.
    2/ A bit trickier; but read up on Hitler's justifications.
    3/&4/ He actually loves both his brides, but his older sister is merely to cement the family claim to the throne, and he's more like an uncle to the 14-year-old. He never actually consummates either. So much fun to be had with either/both of these!
    5/ Read up on US sanctions in that era, and look at their moral outrage. There's even the suggestion that the radio intercepts that would have given the US advance warning were deliberately delayed to ensure presidential ignorance.
    6/ He's gutted that his son commits suicide, blames himself for driving him so hard. OK, this militates against his non-consummation! It also requires some time to pass between his marriage and his son being old enough to revolt against the pressure - I'd suggest minimum 15 years.
    6 (II)/ Like Hitler did, blame this religious group for disloyalty to the state; they have a higher loyalty to their god, they say.
    7/ The war isn't going well; and this will save lives on BOTH sides - a bit like the allied justification for Hiroshima.
     
  8. Hydraphantom
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    Hydraphantom Member

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    Ouch I just realized I typed double 6 haha! Anyway, thank you for your reply. Here's my explanation.
    1. He's a massive patriot and believes that only uniting the peoples under this proto-fascism that the country could be saved from destruction.
    2. The country is extremly diverse when it comes to ethnic, to the point the main ethnic are not even a majority, by assimilate some of the smaller ethnic group into the bigger, recongnised one, they can make live go much easier when it comes to language/governing.
    3&4. These two cannot exist together since the protagonist is a pious catholic and double marriage are intolerated, and it's also bad for PR.
    5. This one is a bit complicated to explain without revealing who the both party are, basically they have a land dispute. and we claimed it, the other side vetoed it, and we refuse to comply, and the otherside declear war on us believing we are still weak like few decades ago.
    6. His son was 21 year old when he commit suicide. He did show great regret and self-blaming when that happened, and it is basically the direct reason for the genocide order below.
    7. He is not in a stable mental state due to lost of his son, I cannot really justify this so I was planning to portray this as horrible as it is and portray the protagonist as the unreasonable one.
    8. Cannot really argue with this one.
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2016
  9. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    Most of these points coincide with Hitler's Third Reich.

    Point 2/ ...a country so ethnically diverse that the main ethnic group aren't a majority isn't credible. Unless you're talking about somewhere like apartheid-era South Africa, where the MOST POWERFUL ethnic group was in a massive minority.

    I don't actually see what you mean by assimilating smaller ethnic groups into bigger ones. If I'm an Afghan living in the UK, it's going to take more than a prime minister saying something, or even making a law about it, to stop me being an Afghan living in the UK. I'm not going to turn overnight into a union jack-waving Englishman.

    3&4/ Fair enough, I was only brainstorming. If he's a pious catholic, it sounds like you're setting this in Europe, or possibly South America?

    7/ Genocide because that ethnic group is bad for the country (the justification that Hitler used) just about plays. Genocide because "I'm so upset my son's committed suicide that I've just got to kill somebody" is the descent into madness.
     
  10. Hydraphantom
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    Sorry I didn't explain clear enough.
    2. Actually it is credible, think of grand duchy of lithuania. All the ethnic here are white people with very small physical difference, so eradicating their culture, banning their school and suppress their mother tougue would be a good enough way for assimilation. For example just like Russian assimilate byelorussian to the point byelorussian language almost ceased to exist.
    3&4. Yes, it's taking place in europe.
    7. The target group aren't really "their" people, they had a war with another country and annexed quite a few lands, they wish to eradicate those people and repopulate with their own people, since they have quite obvious physical difference and their religion are officially banned in protagonist's country. The Genocide was decided even before the war break out, just the death of his son make him go from "kill or convert or leave" to "no question, kill, ney, burn them all". His son was an officer and the stress of war was the last straw that driven him to suicide, so basically the MC just want to throw the blame onto an already persecuted group.
    And you are actually right about madness, protagonist's entire career is a big, big sanity slippage.
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2016
  11. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    I can't really say how much is too much until I know what the story is really about and how it ends, and what the thematic messages are. It seems that any of those morally wrong actions are acceptable in a protagonist, but it depends on where you are going with it.
     
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  12. Cave Troll
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    Cave Troll Bite the bullet, do your own thing. Contributor

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    I think I would have to agree the Mr. @Ryan Elder on this one.

    Though I have an MC in a short that is truly diabolical when it comes to dealing
    with a female that her boyfriend sleeps with behind her back. And all am going
    to say is that it was quite fitting the consequence. (Secret spoiler she doesn't kill
    the woman, it is much worse) :p
     
  13. WingDingGaster
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    Wait....this is supposed to be all one character?? That weirds me out, I'll be honest.

    One big trend I noticed in looking at these is, if you describe it from their POV, get into their head and motivations in some way, all of this, I think, will become much more palatable. Writing despicable characters that are still intriguing is absolutely doable; I actually find them interesting from a psychological perspective. If you want to try that route, you can make this into something pretty impressive, imo.
     
  14. scriveningnerd
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    scriveningnerd New Member

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    I'm sorry but any one of those seem a bit too "one dimensional", if you're only basing this Protagonist on a deplorable action or attitude. Personally, I crave more depth when reading.
     
  15. Iain Aschendale
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    Iain Aschendale Contributed Member Contributor

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    I think it's plausible to have the "main" (and/or most powerful) ethnic group not be in the majority. I don't know the figures well enough to toss them around, but I've read a number of things in the past few years that indicate that whites aren't going to be a majority for long in the USA, but the non-white groups will likely be fractured. Just for example, not using real figures:
    White/Caucasian: 43%
    Black/African American (non-Hispanic): 17%
    Hispanic: 15%
    East Asian: 8%
    South Asian (India/Pakistan): 12%
    South Asian/Arab: 3%
    Native American: 2%

    Again, I can't emphasize strongly enough that I pulled those numbers straight out of thin air and don't want to get dragged into the Debate Room, but there's plenty of room for an ethnic group to be dominant and maintain the image of "majority" when the numbers don't actually back it up.
     
  16. Safety Turtle
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    Safety Turtle Senior Member

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    I don't consider any of them "too much" and wouldn't get the way of me reading it...not because I agree with the character but because I like the idea of a protagonist not being a "good guy".
     
  17. Beloved of Assur
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    Beloved of Assur Member

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    I would say that 4 och 6 looks pretty bad to me. 4 because even if on an intellectual level I can understand that this world does things in a different way than my world does it, my mind would still be rigged towads seeing it as a marriage, and very potentially sexual relation, with a minior on an emotional level. And 6 because I can see either a consentual way to show it or a reason behind an action in the others, but the religious genocide sounds like its no practical reason for it, and thus all those deaths could well serve no greater purpose.
     
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  18. Nicola
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    Nicola Member

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    This character is a villain really, so it would help to have either a good MC or foil to fight against otherwise it's not so much a story as a downward spiral of destruction.

    But you can get away with a lot in fiction, keep entertainment as your aim and try not to depress/distress the reader. Someone has to fly in from stage left and stop some of these things.
     
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