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Character Inconsistencies for the sake of Plot

 
Character Inconsistencies for the Sake of the Plot

The Matter:

I read a
doesn't matter which, and I can't remember
Star Wars novel once wherein a primary villain character was particularly insightful into the motivations of the other characters, and always to his benefit.

However, toward the climactic portion of the story, this same character completely failed to read another character accurately, to his detriment; it was upon this failure that the hero was able to be victorious.

It irked me. It still does, and it's been about ten years since I read it.

For Discussion:

1) While reading the story, I certainly appreciated how the author used the villain's insight in order to explain/illuminate the motivations of other characters and to direct the story toward greater dramatic tension. It seemed a useful and effective tool.

2) It annoyed me and seemed so contrived that the villain could so "conveniently" make such a mistake at such a critical moment and allow the hero his 'win.' It struck me as such an obvious manipulation by the author in order to create the ending that he wanted that it totally broke my suspension of disbelief and I finished the story feeling a bit of disgust and disappointment.

3) It occurred to me today, that it would have probably been all right with me if the author had - perhaps early in the middle third of the story included or at least referenced some similar failure by the villain. Even better would have been to do so in such a way that increased the dramatic tension of the tale - instead of it always being the villain's perfect read on people forwarding the story for the villain's sake, then his failure making it possible for the good guys to win.

4) Please do not include any reference to the vagaries of dice-rolling in this discussion. This is not a gaming matter, just a creative one.

5) I look forward to your insights and discussions. Thank you and may all your creative endeavors be blessed.

CnC

I would have to agree, that's obnoxious. Poor writing ruins most content for me (i'm not allowed to watch tv around the wifey because of this).

In a way it's excusable because everyone is flawed on some level and makes mistakes, but as you said, it totally doesn't add up if when they make that one mistake it's at a terribly critical moment.

While this might be an acceptable cinematic technique for children's books, it's certainly nor meant for anyone of a sophisticated reading level.

A better option (imo) that sprinkling smaller failures in (as this makes the defeat of the villain predictable) would be to elude to a weakness (foreshadowing) that seems unrelated but later results in his downfall. This way the defeat seems unexpected but doesn't sideswipe the reader.

Quote:
Originally Posted by World of L_Tiene View Post
I would have to agree, that's obnoxious. Poor writing ruins most content for me (i'm not allowed to watch tv around the wifey because of this).
LOL!

Quote:
Originally Posted by World of L_Tiene View Post
In a way it's excusable because everyone is flawed on some level and makes mistakes, but as you said, it totally doesn't add up if when they make that one mistake it's at a terribly critical moment.

While this might be an acceptable cinematic technique for children's books, it's certainly nor meant for anyone of a sophisticated reading level.

A better option (imo) that sprinkling smaller failures in (as this makes the defeat of the villain predictable) would be to elude to a weakness (foreshadowing) that seems unrelated but later results in his downfall. This way the defeat seems unexpected but doesn't sideswipe the reader.
Yes, that would be another way to do it. Thanks.

Was the Villain's Insight Power a manifestation of the Force or other similar, mystical power? Or was it just years and years of training his empathy/political/military knowledges? In the later case, I agree that a long winning streak followed by a dramatic failure at the worst moment is quite upsetting for the reader, unless the hero took great length to mesmerize the villain with some extraordinary Xanatos Gambit.

In the first case though, there are a few ways to beat the Insight power. Perhaps the villain has a weakness to some substance that blurr hs insight power: sugar, salt, Kryptonite, alcohol, the eggs of a rare birds flying only in the sky of Kashyyyk...
Or perhaps his insight power doesn't work against lesser beings (Ewoks, Philip J. Fry, etc), giving such a character his moment of glory - or if the character is really that dumb, this can be part of the Xanatos Gambit.
Or perhaps the hero, throughough the adventure, develop his own obfuscating power...

It was never explicitly explained why the villain seemed to be able to read other people's motivations like a book. It was not even implied; that's why I considered it a clever writer's tool. I took it to be a result of the villain's experience with people.

The hero never developed his abilities in this way; again, the clash of abilities here was never explicit in the story, nor even referred to in the story; it just happened.

On the contrary, the hero had been somewhat helpless and hapless during the tale, so for him to get such a lucky break was doubly infuriating.

Well if its Revenge of the Sith when Obi-Won and Anikin are fighting Count Duku on the separatist star ship then you would know that they were purposefully tripping over each other in order to trick Duku. Which leads to the inconstancy that you spoke about. How could Duku be beaten by such tactics if hes so good at reading people?

In order to answer this question we have to look back at Attack of the Clones, Duku never understood until too late why the Jedi thought that they could beat him when they showed up at the execution of Obi-Won, Anikin, and Amadala. Duku only realizes his folly after Yoda showed up with his 5 million clones.

So in conclusion Duku has only been able to read the emotions the people are feeling at the time of the encounter and make educated guesses off of them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dauphinous View Post
It kinda sounds like the writer was enamored with the villain and only made him lose because he had to.
This, possibly, or that he just had trouble separating the knowledge from the character, which is actually terrible writing, and I'd consider that appalling from someone writing a star wars novel as they are getting paid and I know writers on MW that wouldn't ruin a story like that

*smacks hand to forehead* It just occurred to me: those Star Wars books have to be somewhat consistent with one another right? So what if the ending had already been prescribed by another author? And this author had to make his story end at that point regardless of what he did within his own tale?
Help me, Star Wars fans; what do you think?

I couldn't say because I don't know, but it's likely they may have been executive meddling. :/

If that's the case though, there is still no excuse. Shoulda edited to make it work better. What is that, an extra three pages to make the story not bite?

I of no mind to forgive here. These people are supposed to be pros




 

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