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This week’s question:
Q: Have you ever had a character that disappointed you? One that you fell in love with and then “broke-up” with later on in either the series or stand-alone book? Tell us about him or her.
Hmmmm, this is a hard one. Typically, a character either annoys me right off the bat, or I love them forever. It’s pretty rare that I would start out a book enjoying a character and end up hating him or her.
Okay. If we are sticking just to books, I’m going to kind of have to be a little loose in my answer to this question, because I honestly can’t think of a character that I fell in love with and then “broke up” with. So let’s just stick to disappointed.
I’m going to go with Elphaba from Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire. I went into reading the book knowing the basics of the plot. I knew she was going to become the Wicked Witch, and that eventually Dorothy was going to throw a bucket of water on her and she was going to melt and die and all of Oz would rejoice. And somewhere along the way, she was going to sing “Defying Gravity.”
Okay, maybe not that last part.
But I was expecting for her to still be a sympathetic character. I was looking forward to the book putting a new spin on her story and making me really understand her, maybe even feel sorry for her. I wasn’t really expecting it to be a tragedy (this is a story about Oz, after all), so I didn’t think I’d be too broken up when she died, but I was expecting her to have a slow fall from grace. [Spoiler warning ahead]
But no, she was pretty much unlikable throughout the entire book. I understand she had a rough childhood and adolescence, but even so, she pushed away, ran away from, or downright rejected anyone who attempted to be kind to her. I couldn’t figure out what Fiyero ever saw in her to make him want to have a romantic relationship with her. And then once he’s out of the picture, she’s even more withdrawn.
The part where I knew I could never, ever feel sympathetic towards this character was when some horrible children play a prank on her young son — who she is never even slightly affectionate towards — and he spends two days clinging to a bucket at the bottom of a well, and nearly dies. And she doesn’t notice, and once they find him, she doesn’t care.
What. The. Heck.
So yeah. Sorry Elphaba. I’m kind of glad Dorothy threw that water on you. You were a pretty horrible person. I was looking forward to seeing another side of you, but every side of you kind of sucked.
And just because I can’t seem to let it go…..
As an honorable mention, and ranging outside of the world of books, I would like to give a shout-out to Chief Galen Tyrol from Battlestar Galactica. His character was awesome during the first couple seasons of the show, started a slow descent in Season 3, and was utterly decimated in Season 4. Congratulations, Ronald D. Moore, for completely ruining a sympathetic and interesting character.
Battlestar Galactica kind of had that effect on a few characters. Tyrol was just, in my opinion, the worst.
Happy Friday everyone!