1. LastMindToSanity

    LastMindToSanity Contributor Contributor

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    Brother and Sister Villain and Hero?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by LastMindToSanity, Sep 8, 2018.

    So, I've got these two characters, Harry and Martha. Harry's a villain, Martha's a hero, and they're totally okay with each other. Before I ask my main question, I'm gonna talk about their relationship, just to add more context.

    Harry and Martha aren't actually siblings, they just refer to each other as their sibling (Harry disowned his old family, and Martha never knew hers). You see, they don't really ideologically oppose each other. The problem is that, in Harry's pursuit of his goals, he hurts people. He acknowledges this and accepts that this means that some of the people that come after him have a good reason to, Martha included. Even though they oppose each other, among the named characters, they're the only ones that can understand each other (they've both been shunned from either society, or the people around them for most of their lives). Given this, despite their mutual attempts to do things that will either directly or indirectly harm the other, Harry knows that Martha is the only person he knows that could understand him, and Martha also acknowledges that Harry is the same for her.

    The thing is, they try to kill each other. It's the last interaction they have, because one of them does kill the other. Okay, more context. Harry's kind of depressed, because his attempts to achieve his goals keep getting thwarted, so he basically tells Martha that this last attempt is his last try; if he can't do it this time, he'll stop trying. After saying this, he asks Martha to kill him if she wins. She agrees. Furthermore, they both know that, if Martha were to live, she'd just keep getting in his way; so she has to die if Harry's ever to achieve his goal. So, basically, before the fight, they agree that the winner kills the loser. Without major spoilers, one of them wins and one of them dies. Ah, right, they're both still totally care about each other like family, and their conversation before this fight is a bittersweet emotional kind, where they don't want to see each other go, but both acknowledge that it's inevitable. I really do think this works for their characters, so I have no problem with the logic behind their agreement.

    My question is: What're you're thoughts on this? Is this compelling? Do enemies that oppose each other, despite caring about each other, seem too contradictory? Should I maybe have them both care about the same neutral character instead, sort of give them a degree of separation that would be a bit more believable/relatable for more people?

    Quick Side Note: When typing this thread, I found out that this website apparently doesn't consider "relatable" to be a word, but "meme," "lollygag," and even "reaction channels aren't that bad" are acceptable things to say. Crazy.
     
  2. MusingWordsmith

    MusingWordsmith Shenanigan Master Contributor

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    I think this could work! I'd say they should have had a chance to really become good solid friends before the ideological differences started to push them apart. I do find this compelling though, and I'd be interested to read how it worked out.
     
  3. Siberian

    Siberian Member

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    I think the idea is definitely intriguing but without knowing the context of their goals and how they actually oppose each other as a reader it would be hard to believe. The problem is you say they don't have any real differences when it comes to their beliefs and ways of thinking yet somehow there's a problem that they do oppose each other on and are willing to kill each other. I guess I need to know more about the issue revolving around the conflict.

    The other thing that bugs me is that I have a brother whom I'm very close to and realistically speaking it would take a large issue or strong opposing beliefs on my part to want to hurt him at all. So, how can they both still care about each other like family, not have clashing ideologies, and yet acknowledge that the other one just isn't gonna work if they stay alive?
     
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  4. MusingWordsmith

    MusingWordsmith Shenanigan Master Contributor

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    Okay Siberian made me re-think so let me come back and give a more fleshed out opinion.

    Disclaimer: I am planning to write a book with a similar situation. At the moment I'm leaning more towards blood brothers, and its a superhero type one so one would be a supervillain and the other a superhero. Now my plan is that one turns to crime to support the other, and the other turns to hero work for the same reason. But they become mortal enemies as hero/villain, while their brotherly bond remains strong. And then the secrets come out and things fall apart.

    But yeah, if they don't have different ideologies, I don't see why Martha wouldn't help him instead of hinder him? Maybe Harry's depression makes him spiral out of control, Martha tried to pull him back , but he crosses a line. After that Martha could 'give up' on him. Maybe not entirely, but enough to say 'unless he show signs of wanting to change, all I can do is hold to my principles.' And it could be too that Harry just pulls 'suicide via Martha.' I.E. deliberately looses so he can just be put out of his misery and this way he won't cause Martha any more pain.
     
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  5. Siberian

    Siberian Member

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    I think you're on the right track for your last post @MusingWordsmith but this seems like an easy excuse for how to get rid of this character. It sounds like the bond between them is almost unbreakable so if they did truly love each other like family why would Martha not do her best to help him? When we are so full of pain that death seems to be the only option that's when we need those who do love us to step in and give us the love we feel we've been lacking. After all Martha "is the only person he knows that could understand him, and Martha also acknowledges that Harry is the same for her" so for her to just let him die or to put him out of his misery when they understand each other the best would make me feel betrayed as a reader because they claim to be one thing but their actions clearly argue they aren't.
     
  6. rinnika

    rinnika Member

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    I love this concept! :love:
    The fallout after the death of the other character would be interesting as well, but I think I would prefer it to be an accident as opposed to agreed. I'm with @Siberian on this one; their actions wouldn't match up to their words and I wouldn't enjoy it as a reader. Perhaps if they had some sort of promise that even if the other should die, the one who lives on must continue doing so and doing the best they can whilst keeping their sibling's memory alive - it would allow the aftermath to develop.

    Or perhaps Harry does try that 'suicide by sister' method but Martha doesn't allow it to happen. I would expect her to be angry and highly protective over him, perhaps more so than before. It would definitely add something to the outcome if one of them died in an accident afterwards.
    If it was Martha to die after forcing Harry to continue living, he may feel as if he has a purpose or duty to continue Martha's memory. A depressed character really needs a purpose, so if you can facilitate that in some way, it'd add some sweetness to the bitterness of one of them dying.

    I love the concept though - I would absolutely buy this book :agreed:
     
  7. LastMindToSanity

    LastMindToSanity Contributor Contributor

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    Okay, I've tried twice now (I didn't post either), but I don't think I can justify Martha killing Harry. She doesn't have any reason to. "Suicide via sister" has been mentioned twice now, and I suppose that's kind of accurate, but he doesn't just let himself die. He'll only want to die if he can't win this time, as this is his biggest attempt, and his last resort.

    I like the idea that Martha doesn't let him, kind of forces him to live. I mean, she doesn't want him to die, he's probably the closest thing she has to family she'll ever have (Aside from two other characters that appear later in the story, but they'll never be able to understand Martha like Harry does.). I don't want it him to die accidentally, because Martha has a bit of a history with accidentally killing people (A coupled named characters, and a bunch of background characters.), so that would be a reversion to an issue that she's solved (Yes, sorry, I know that wasn't included in the original post; however, it doesn't really affect this relationship so I didn't include it.).

    So, if I accept that Martha wouldn't actively try to kill Harry (Which I do), as well as the fact that having an accidental death would be hurtful to Martha's character arc, then I think that if Harry were to die, it would be suicide after Martha lets him live. I'm... apprehensive about writing this, though. It's not even that I'm worried about upsetting people by having a character kill themself (Side Note: apparently, "themself" isn't an accepted word on this site. What?), it's that I really don't want the story to go down that dark path in the endgame. I'm one of those people that would much rather see all of the heroes (Well, the ones that are still alive) get their happy ending. I love the euphoric-happy ending.

    So, I think I found out what I'm gonna do for this. They're gonna meet for this fight. Harry's gonna ask her to kill him if she wins. Martha won't respond, leaving her answer ambiguous to Harry (but, at this point, the readers should be able to guess that Martha won't kill him.). After the fight, if Harry wins, he kills Martha because, if he doesn't, she'll just keep stopping him from achieving his goals. If Martha wins, however, she'll convince him to let her help him find what he's looking for, and then she'll move on the resolve the plot of the story with her allies.

    Thanks for the feedback!
     
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  8. Stormsong07

    Stormsong07 Contributor Contributor

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    This makes me think of the plot of Wicked (the musical). First off, if you've never heard of it, it's Wizard of Oz as told from the perspective of the Wicked Witch. In it, Glinda and Elphaba (the real name of the witch) become friends through being college roommates. As they grow and move past college, Elphaba basically realizes that the Wizard isn't all that great after all, and vows to go against him. Glinda is more into being accepted and liked, and so stays on the Wizard's side. Unfortunately, despite trying to help, Elphaba messes things up and causes pain to her friends, making her look 'wicked' in their eyes. Fast forward to the fight with Dorothy and getting melted...(there's more to it, but I don't want to spoil anything). Anyway, the point is, Glinda and Elphaba were never really 'enemies'...just friends who chose different sides for different reasons. It worked in the musical, and I think it will work for you too. There's actually a really amazing song between Glinda and Elphaba where they talk about their friendship and how they have changed each other. It's called "For Good" and it's worth looking up, might give you some ideas for your character's relationship. It's the farewell song between the friends just before the Dorothy scene.
     

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