Thursday, 19 February 2009

Character Changes

I've half written a few blog rants in the past couple of days, the focus of them being my annoyance and frustration at character changes in books. Long running series' where characters have been well developed to a certain point, suddenly being very different people, saying or doing things that don't gel with the personality we've been shown.

Now, I don't mind certain changes, or big changes if they're done right, with reason and explanation. But I've read a few books semi-recently where this hasn't been the case. Where the way the characters are now written, makes no sense. There isn't a real explanation of why things have changed, and that's what's so frustrating.

I fully admit that I over analyze character relationships (friendships as well as romantic involvements) and characters in general. But there are certain things that can't be ignored. If something is built carefully by the author, with subtle signs, then theoretically it's going somewhere right? Why turn it on it's head and do something totally different. It doesn't make sense.

And when characters are in certain relationships that appear certain and stable, relationships that are meant to last, the protagonist falls for somebody else for no apparent reason. The original relationship was fine, nothing was going wrong, but now there is someone else and they are suddenly 'the one'. Something then happens, the new relationship falls apart, protagonist wants to go back to the old boyfriend cause he's the one. But he's no longer available, or stays away for some 'noble' reason. So despite being 'in love' with him, days later she's falling in love with a third guy. Why?!

Another thing I hate is when characters are suddenly turned on their heads. New books come out, set several months after the previous one, and everything is different. They've gone from being very grounded, settled characters with obvious goals and ambitions in life, to something almost unrecognizable. They're caring about things that never mattered before in their lives, doing things that don't fit the characters built so well in the previous books.

Now don't get me wrong, I know that change happens and sometimes big changes happen fast. But, there is a limit to what's believable. When people are grounded and happy with who they are and what they're doing, they don't become totally different people within months without some serious incident. Without that trigger, there isn't reason for such change. Characters I loved before are now different people, people I don't think I'd like all that much even if they were brand new characters I was reading about.

I can't help wondering why these changes happen. Do these few authors just not care like they used to? Or do they honestly believe that the changes made are realistic and that readers will just go with them because they're there?

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