1. John Calligan

    John Calligan Contributor Contributor

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    Ice Cold Protagonists

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by John Calligan, Aug 27, 2018.

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    Can anyone recommend some novels with protagonists you might describe as being "Ice Cold"?

    Bonus points for non-action adventure
    Bonus points for romance
    Bonus points for the character being truly sympathetic
    Bonus points for stories where the character arc doesn't have to do with "thawing"

    Also, what does "Ice Cold" mean to you? I think it is a combination of moral superiority, aloofness, and anger. Put that way, it doesn't sound attractive, but if someone is right and they are angry that they have to be right, it's understandable.

    But maybe that isn't the best definition. What do you think it is? Who has the look? Is it always edgy or can it be lovable?
     
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  2. Bone2pick

    Bone2pick Assertive Neophyte Contributor

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    Much of the fiction I read features ice cold protagonist, but I suspect you wouldn't enjoy any of it. It's all action adventure—with an emphasis on action. If a film example would interest you then I'd like to submit Dr. Grant from Jurassic Park.



    He's brilliant, accomplished, aloof, cantankerous, and exceptionally motivated. I wouldn't describe him as lovable, but he's worthy of love. In my book that's good enough.
     
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  3. John Calligan

    John Calligan Contributor Contributor

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    I love action adventure, and it is full of ice cold characters, but action/adventure is also known for stale, cardboard relationships and romances that end with a kiss and break up before the second book. I'm hoping to find examples of this arch-typical character in other genres, like romance or legal drama or something.

    Jurassic Park is awesome though, so good point.
     
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  4. animagus_kitty

    animagus_kitty Senior Member

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    Sherrilyn Kenyon (https://www.sherrilynkenyon.com/) is one of my favorite authors, and a lot of her protags fit your bill. She writes paranormal romance/erotica (don't let your kids read it, but it's not THAT much fun, either).
    Her League novels, especially Born of Ice, feature really well-written characters who don't particularly like people, or talking about their feelings, or much of anything, really.

    Having said that, I can't honestly guarantee she's a paragon of good writing, but she's at least enjoyable if you're looking for what she's offering.
     
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  5. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    I feel like a lot of the characters in Brian McLellan's Powder Mage series are pretty cold, at least on the surface. Also Gil from Richard K Morgan's The Steel Remains, although possibly he's more burned-out than ice-cold. Possibly Kaz Brekker from Leigh Bardugo's Six of Crows series? He softens at the very end, and there's enough backstory to make him more tortured-into-numbness than intrinsically ice-cold, but he certainly does a lot of cold stuff. Might also be worthwhile looking at The First Law books by Joe Abercrombie?

    These are all fantasy - I don't read enough contemporary thrillers to have suggestions there.
     
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  6. Arae

    Arae New Member

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    Gone With the Wind has Scarlett O'Hara; it's historical romance, and the novel does not ever include the "thawing" arc. She's more arrogant than outright cold in the earlier chapters, but becomes colder and colder over time, due to the circumstances that she finds herself in. It's not a short read at all, which I've found that to be the main reason that someone might not be willing to try it, but if you haven't already read it or watched the movie in school, it's one that I'd recommend.

    Also, if you're willing to check out a video game, Nier: Automata has both 2B and A2--and each definitely have sympathetic backstories, though 2B does become a bit warmer throughout the game.

    To me, a character who could be considered "Ice Cold" refers more to their expression of emotions rather than the emotions themselves; the character might, for one reason or another, be hesitant or outright scared to express their emotions to others. 2B, at least to me, exemplifies that trait, though Scarlett and A2 would fit more into your interpretation of it.
     
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  7. jannert

    jannert Retired Mod Supporter Contributor

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    I agree that Scarlett didn't have much to recommend her as a nice person—would you go to her for help if you were in trouble?—and she was effectively manipulative in getting her own way—at least in the short term. However, I don't think she was cold, in the sense that she did get quite emotional about lots of things. Her main flaw was her extreme self-centredness, and her unshakeable conviction that she was always right about everything. (However, her refusal to ever give in was also one of her strengths and made her a survivor.) She felt that she didn't fit in with most groups (and she was right) and she didn't actually care about the same things other people seemed to (and she was right about that as well) but she was very emotional, and didn't shy away from experiencing emotion or showing it either.

    The strength of that book lies at the end, where Scarlett finally realises that she has been wrong about many things. Wrong about Melanie's unbreakable strength, although Scarlett had actually seen her as contemptibly weak for most of the story. She'd been wrong about Ashley Wilkes as well, whom she had loved passionately for so long, but who had never actually returned her love, not even in his own head. His refusal to accept her advances had nothing to do with honour, as she had preferred to believe. He'd been physically attracted to Scarlett, but he really had loved Melanie instead. All along.

    And she'd been so wrong about Rhett as well. She'd not understood that he'd been the 'right' man for her all along, until the moment when he decides she's gone too far, and he no longer loves her. Rhett has had a few revelations of his own, hasn't he? "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn."

    These errors were hard for Scarlett to absorb, because they meant she'd been living in a fantasy world for a long long time. However, even though we know it won't work—Rhett's love really has been exhausted and won't come back—she is characteristically determined to keep going, and determined to get him back again. "Tomorrow is another day." In essence, she hasn't really changed, and doesn't understand how she made these mistakes. She accepts they were mistakes, but there is no reason to believe she won't continue to make similar ones. Instead of allowing Rhett to go his own way, as he now wants to ...no, she's determined to get him back—against his will. If she really had changed, she would simply let him go, mourn the loss, and resolve to live a less self-centred life in future. But that's not what she does, is it?
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2018
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  8. Alan Aspie

    Alan Aspie Banned Contributor

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    I'll take very Finnish attitude:

    Being ice cold can mean many things:

    1. Not having emotions.
    2. Pushing emotions away because that is the way to perform as needed.
    3. Saving emotions and feelings to those, that are in your inner social circles and to whom you trust.

    Books:

    1. Books about psychopaths, sociopaths or some SJW:s or other political and ideological agitators and propagandists of different types of totalitarianism.... People who have replaced feelings and emotions with they personal needs and agendas and use other people as if humans were their fuel.

    Maybe Vetinari in Discworld series as a partial exception.

    2. Books about Simo Häyhä, veterinaries (they must kill animals they love), men and women with duty... P.G Wodehouses "Jeeves" -books & character.

    3. "The Unknown Kimi Raikkonen" by Kari Hotakainen.
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2018
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  9. Partridge

    Partridge Senior Member

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    Patrick Bateman, American Psycho. Say no more.
     
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  10. T_L_K

    T_L_K Senior Member

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    Dangerous Liaisons' Marquise de Merteuil is ice cold to me.
     
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  11. QueenOfPlants

    QueenOfPlants Active Member

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    Vetinari! Of course!
    Why didn't I think of him?
    If he doesn't fit the definition of "ice cold", then who does?
     
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