You ever read a story and the character does something that seems out of place? Maybe the noble hero flat out killed someone for insulting him. Perhaps the villain laid waste to an entire town and left the school alone even though he swore every man, woman, and child would die. There are various reasons this can happen, but it can really throw a reader off. These abrupt and isolated changes of moral alignment can break a book if done at the major climax. This is why an author has to always remember the essence of a character and their experiences.
Though it can always go down the drain if the reader has a different perspective and mindset for the hero. For example, I once got into a debate with someone over Spider-Man. He maintained that it was ridiculous for Spidey to avoid killing his enemies because dead villains are no longer a threat. At least outside of comics, but you know what he means. My argument was that it simply wasn’t in Spider-Man’s nature to willingly kill his enemy and doing so would break his established character. If he did then he would have to show grief or something to build a bridge to a new personality or to get back to the old one with a new scar. So, you see how a reader can demand an abrupt change of moral alignment because it makes sense for their perception.
This week I’m going to talk about three areas that a sudden change irks me: violence, romantic relationships, and loyalty. So I’m trying really hard not to dive into these areas right now.
What do people think about this topic? Can you think of any books, movies, or shows where a character breaks their own moral code with no hesitation or consequences?