“Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.” — Marcus Aurelius
I like this quote a lot, because it reminds me of something that I’ve been finding MUCH MORE in life.
To sum up this post in a word: things aren’t always what they appear to be.
I like books, movies, and TV shows that make me think that there is one character who is bad–say, the villain–and you come to hate the character through the entire piece. When you get to the end, you find out that his “villainy” is all just a matter of perspective.
Take, for example, the classic character Severus Snape. Any Harry Potter fan will know exactly what it was like to hate the character from The Philosopher’s Stone all the way until nearly the end of The Deathly Hallows. And then, at the end of the book, you find out that the character is a complete hero in a very, very good disguise.
Or take Dr. Doom of Marvel Comics. He is the nemesis of the Fantastic Four, and one of the greatest villains of comic book history. However, in one story arc, Reed Richards is shown a future where Dr. Doom rules the world, and that future is peaceful, beautiful, and perfect. The reason Dr. Doom is such a megalomaniacal bastard–at least in that run–is because he wants to make the world a better place.
Sometimes, there are characters who are bad only because of your perspective, but changing your way of looking at things will change the way you see the characters.
I LOVE characters that are like that! You develop such a strong hatred for them all the way until you find another truth behind the character, something that shows you what’s really going on. It totally shifts your perspective, and all of a sudden you think, “Is he/she really the bad guy?”
For me, a writer who can do that is a writer I can respect. I want to try to do that in my own writing, and I plan on doing so in Book 2 or 3 of The Last Bucelarii. I want to make you hate a character so much that you look forward to his death, and only once you find out the truth will you begin to question what you thought to be true.
Perspective is everything!