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  1. Ashecroft
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    Ashecroft New Member

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    Your thoughts on: Antagonists that change sides

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Ashecroft, Sep 8, 2011.

    This has been something I've been considering for my novel down the line, where one of my major antagonists, after being beaten in battle, pledges her loyalty to the lead character, and she does believe that despite joining him, she'll never be trusted or respected for all the harm she's done.

    Now, as for yourselves, what are your views on the idea of antagonists (major or minor) that change their ways and try to join the protagonists, not to betray them later, but to truly try and fix the damage they've caused however they can?
     
  2. Summer
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    It could work as long as it isn't out of character. There has to be traits/reasons in line that make it believable for her to switch. It could be as simple as some sort of honor code and over time she realizes that she may have been a "bad guy" as she gets to see the other characters thoughts and feelings or more complicated and have to do with her personality/past.
     
  3. Quezacotl
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    Quezacotl Contributing Member

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    The whole idea of antagonists yielding and becoming allies to the hero makes me cringe. The character who changes loyalties after being defeated has never interested me, they come across as weak, poor leaders who should have ducked out long ago. In the case of a soldier, it's quite ridiculous they would switch with their family at stake. Though, I'm with Summer, give the character traits that give her a plausible reason to switch. Perhaps introduce her as a puppet commander and have her surrender to the hero immediately. It's not the most anticlimatic ending, but it leaves room for some drama and plot development.

    Off Topic: I can't help but think of Suidoken now.
     
  4. Ashecroft
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    Ashecroft New Member

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    Well, with the character I have in mind its that she was pretty much forced into being an antagonist, afraid of what her master would do to her if she disobeyed him (since she was bought from slavers). While being trained by her master, she has the suggestion put into her mind that if she disobeys him in any way, she'll die (possibly through the use of a rune somewhere on her skin, probably over her heart). Which, could turn out was a lie from the beginning.

    And yes, Quezacotl, I do myself dislike the idea of an incredibly evil villain just changing sides. For me, however, I'm hoping to make this character one of "She did as she was told out of fear for her own life." one. As for exactly when she'd change sides (or just how), I haven't quite decided yet.
     
  5. Lothgar
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    Lothgar Contributing Member

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    From my personal real life experience, a person who demonstrates their lack of dedication and resolve by abandoning their loyalties once, is subject to do so again. If they abandon their "side" to join yours, they cannot be trusted to NOT abandon/betray you and your side at some later point. They have already demonstrated their willingness to do so once and could do so again.

    If they truly wish to fix the damage they caused, they don't need your help. They can do so on their own and pursue their own path to salvation and redemption.
     
  6. Protar
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    Protar Active Member

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    I'm planning a character like this and I think It's fairly justified. That's the important thing: Make it make sense. Such side switches can be interesting pieces of character development but they should be realistic.
     
  7. Pythonforger
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    Pythonforger Carrier of Insanity

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    Fear is a pretty hard shackle to break, but if the protag proves to her that he is more powerful than her previous master, or if he manages to gain her trust and promises that no harm wil come to her, it just might work.
     
  8. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Every character, like every person, is different. The question is, can you, the writer, make the writer believe?

    But keep in mind the responses you have seen here. That is what you can expect in the way of reactions from your other characters. Some will do their best to keep an open mind, some will never trust the character no matter what. Few, if any, will accept the change in attitude without reservation.
     
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  9. AmyHolt
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    AmyHolt Contributing Member

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    Amen.

    I love the idea that the other characters in the story will all respond differently to the switch in loyalities. That would make it seem much more real.

    Spoiler Alert - Fablehaven has a character who switches sides, Vanessa. It's done nicely.
     
  10. Ashecroft
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    Ashecroft New Member

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    I'll take it all into consideration. As, the point of the battle between the lead character and that particular antagonist happens far enough into the story (so far in fact, I probably shouldn't be really thinking of it now, but she's introduced early-ish). And of course, there are the factors of which characters would react most to it. Some would be highly against it, some might think of it as "We can use her for our fight!", and some who would give her a single chance to show she's serious.

    As of yet in the story, she's shown as being the world's strongest human mage. Since she hasn't yet physically appeared in the story, I have time to really delve into her character personality. I have her powers and her design finalized, it's her general personality I have to fine tune until I'm happy with ^^;

    And yeah, I can see there are a lot of different reactions from people. Not everyone will like it. I'll just have to work hard at making it as real / believable as possible.

    Thanks :)
     
  11. TerraIncognita
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    TerraIncognita Aggressively Nice Person Contributor

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    This is an interesting thread and an interesting thought.

    It would really depend on the character and why he/she switched sides. If it was out of fear I would find them to be weak and useless. If it was out of a change of heart I could maybe see that but I'd still be inclined to find them weak. When an antagonist or even protagonist can't stand for what they believe in it bothers me to no end.

    Since you've said she was basically coerced into it that would make more sense and seem more plausible. I agree with Cogito that it's good to bear in mind the other character's reactions. Personally I would be highly suspicious they were trying to work an agenda. I like to try to give people the benefit of the doubt but self preservation definitely has sway over that with me.

    Do your best to make it believable. Definitely keep in mind how others would react. I'm sure there would be some dissent over something of that nature. Quite possibly a lot of questioning how intelligent the protagonist is or his leadership skills.
     
  12. colorthemap
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    colorthemap Contributing Member

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    Yeah and Fire Emblem.


    But I however like the idea of a commander switching sides. But I recommend you make them seem 1 sided and boring then expand so the character as well as the switch has more impact.
     

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