July 17, 2018, 02:52:06 PM

Author Topic: Most satisfying character arcs you’ve read?  (Read 1400 times)

Offline Peat

Re: Most satisfying character arcs you’ve read?
« Reply #15 on: June 08, 2018, 11:49:06 AM »

I suspect Raistlin and Pug would have been on this list once, but it is too long since I have read them, although @Peat has just made me want to visit Midkemia again.  ;)

While I'm on my Midkemia kick, I've got to add Erik von Darkmoor and Roo Avery - particularly Roo. The basics of Roo never changes - greedy, opportunistic, damaged, risk tasking and somewhat selfish with narrow loyalties - he goes through a lot of lessons about what matters and becomes a far better version of them as a result.

Offline Bradley Darewood

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Re: Most satisfying character arcs you’ve read?
« Reply #16 on: June 08, 2018, 10:41:52 PM »

I suspect Raistlin and Pug would have been on this list once, but it is too long since I have read them, although @Peat has just made me want to visit Midkemia again.  ;)

While I'm on my Midkemia kick, I've got to add Erik von Darkmoor and Roo Avery - particularly Roo. The basics of Roo never changes - greedy, opportunistic, damaged, risk tasking and somewhat selfish with narrow loyalties - he goes through a lot of lessons about what matters and becomes a far better version of them as a result.

Now I want to read this...

Offline Lady Ty

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Re: Most satisfying character arcs you’ve read?
« Reply #17 on: June 10, 2018, 03:10:12 AM »


I considered Vimes (and Weatherwax too) but both felt like they shifted because of Pratchett's idea of them shifted, more than a planned arc in response to events. I might be wrong.


@Peat, this has been churning around in my mind as a very interesting point and would like to run this past you, although prefer not to start a new thread. I don't think you are either right or wrong, because isn't this a bit like a chicken and an egg? 

There is no set rule that says a character has to be fully planned from start to finish. Again of course there are the meticulous planners, who probably will, and the pantsers who are less likely to plan in detail. With the huge scope of Discworld, main ongoing characters are always going to change because of events, just as in real life.

I don't think TP planned every subject he would address in the whole series from the start, it grew like an amazing monster because of the response to the first few. Then as he added later books his main characters would inevitably improve or diminish in response, so he developed them accordingly.  I agree with your point that Nightwatch, for example, was probably a deliberate vehicle to build on Vimes character, but even other books would contribute.  Maybe Jingo would still affect his older character reactions in Monstrous Regiment?

Who can second guess the wonderful mind of TP, somehow I see him as a basic planner but being an absolutely brilliant pantser as he wrote, chuckling and chortling away as he went along, then suddenly changing a script in the middle, just because he saw a new avenue to run away on, or thought of a new scene that would fit.  Just my imagination of course, and a way to soften the emptiness of his loss.

Maybe he did choose particular events to shape his characters, but does that really matter or diminish the way the arc is developed or completed?

Agree with you re Magrat, I also found her likeable but unsatisfying,although maybe her rather vague ordinariness was what was important and I am missing the point.
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Offline Peat

Re: Most satisfying character arcs you’ve read?
« Reply #18 on: June 11, 2018, 11:07:18 AM »


I considered Vimes (and Weatherwax too) but both felt like they shifted because of Pratchett's idea of them shifted, more than a planned arc in response to events. I might be wrong.


@Peat, this has been churning around in my mind as a very interesting point and would like to run this past you, although prefer not to start a new thread. I don't think you are either right or wrong, because isn't this a bit like a chicken and an egg? 

There is no set rule that says a character has to be fully planned from start to finish. Again of course there are the meticulous planners, who probably will, and the pantsers who are less likely to plan in detail. With the huge scope of Discworld, main ongoing characters are always going to change because of events, just as in real life.

I don't think TP planned every subject he would address in the whole series from the start, it grew like an amazing monster because of the response to the first few. Then as he added later books his main characters would inevitably improve or diminish in response, so he developed them accordingly.  I agree with your point that Nightwatch, for example, was probably a deliberate vehicle to build on Vimes character, but even other books would contribute.  Maybe Jingo would still affect his older character reactions in Monstrous Regiment?

Who can second guess the wonderful mind of TP, somehow I see him as a basic planner but being an absolutely brilliant pantser as he wrote, chuckling and chortling away as he went along, then suddenly changing a script in the middle, just because he saw a new avenue to run away on, or thought of a new scene that would fit.  Just my imagination of course, and a way to soften the emptiness of his loss.

Maybe he did choose particular events to shape his characters, but does that really matter or diminish the way the arc is developed or completed?

Agree with you re Magrat, I also found her likeable but unsatisfying,although maybe her rather vague ordinariness was what was important and I am missing the point.

*scratches beard* I'm still struggling to express what I mean here, but here goes -

For some characters, the characters don't change because of stuff that happened in the book, but because the author's idea of them changed so in between books the character changes for no given reason. It's not about whether they planned a change, or they did stuff to the character and they changed I guess - it's about whether they gave reasons for the character to change, or whether they basically just waved the retcon wand with no explanation. Does that make sense?

I think Pratchett waved the retcon wand over Discworld a lot and that hit a lot of character arcs - as you say, it grew like an amazing monster. I don't feel like Vimes has a meaningful arc from Guards! Guards! as I think Pratchett waved the wand there.

However, now you mention it, there does seem to be an arc from Jingo certainly - the older Vimes would never have hesitated the way he did at points in Jingo.

As for Magrat - I just always found she grated a little, but her flaws resemble some of mine a bit too closely for comfort. And certainly, I think having this very ordinary young woman in the company of two iron willed titans was very much the point in some cases - and watching her grow her own iron will was a lot of fun.

Offline Peat

Re: Most satisfying character arcs you’ve read?
« Reply #19 on: June 11, 2018, 01:25:07 PM »
While Lady Ty is making me think, Cheery Littlebottom from Discworld.

Starts as just another misfit in a job they're ill suited for, trying to express a personality the world has little use for. But bit by bit, we get to watch Cheery grow into job and personality perfectly. Also a great straight man for comedy purposes.


I suspect Raistlin and Pug would have been on this list once, but it is too long since I have read them, although @Peat has just made me want to visit Midkemia again.  ;)

While I'm on my Midkemia kick, I've got to add Erik von Darkmoor and Roo Avery - particularly Roo. The basics of Roo never changes - greedy, opportunistic, damaged, risk tasking and somewhat selfish with narrow loyalties - he goes through a lot of lessons about what matters and becomes a far better version of them as a result.

Now I want to read this...

Feist is a frustrating author in terms of introducing ideas and never really finishing them - and I think that's the case with Roo - but at the same time, he attempts a lot of ideas that trad fantasy tends to ignore. Well worth a gander but caveat emptor.

Offline Bender

Re: Most satisfying character arcs you’ve read?
« Reply #20 on: June 15, 2018, 11:29:36 PM »
Moist von Lipwig - Terry Pratchett

FitzChivalry Farseer - Robin Hobb

Sigrud je Harkvaldsson - Robert Jackson Bennett

Druss and Jon Shannow - David Gemmell

Atticus O'Sullivan - Kevin Hearne

Croaker - Glen Cook

Mat Cauthon - Robert Jordan


And there was this steampunk quadrology about a pirate captain, I can't remember.







Offline Elfy

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Re: Most satisfying character arcs you’ve read?
« Reply #21 on: June 16, 2018, 03:43:27 AM »
Moist von Lipwig - Terry Pratchett

FitzChivalry Farseer - Robin Hobb

Sigrud je Harkvaldsson - Robert Jackson Bennett

Druss and Jon Shannow - David Gemmell

Atticus O'Sullivan - Kevin Hearne

Croaker - Glen Cook

Mat Cauthon - Robert Jordan


And there was this steampunk quadrology about a pirate captain, I can't remember.
I belive you're thinking about Darian Frey from Chris Wooding's Tales of the Ketty Jay series.

Offline Bender

Re: Most satisfying character arcs you’ve read?
« Reply #22 on: June 16, 2018, 12:22:12 PM »
I belive you're thinking about Darian Frey from Chris Wooding's Tales of the Ketty Jay series.

Nail on the head. Thanks.

Offline Elfy

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Re: Most satisfying character arcs you’ve read?
« Reply #23 on: June 17, 2018, 02:29:00 AM »
I belive you're thinking about Darian Frey from Chris Wooding's Tales of the Ketty Jay series.

Nail on the head. Thanks.
Np. That was a great series. I also think Crake from the same series had a pretty decent character arc, as did Malvery, in fact pretty much the entire crew, even Slag the cat.

Offline Bender

Re: Most satisfying character arcs you’ve read?
« Reply #24 on: June 20, 2018, 12:01:01 AM »
I belive you're thinking about Darian Frey from Chris Wooding's Tales of the Ketty Jay series.

Nail on the head. Thanks.
Np. That was a great series. I also think Crake from the same series had a pretty decent character arc, as did Malvery, in fact pretty much the entire crew, even Slag the cat.

I've always had a soft corner for Jez. I found her arc to be a bit tragic, but somehow fitting.

Offline Yora

Re: Most satisfying character arcs you’ve read?
« Reply #25 on: June 22, 2018, 08:41:43 PM »
The best character arc I didn'r read, but it was Zuko in Avatar. That's one really damn great character that changes so dramatically while simultaneously staying consistent from start to finish. He's so well conflicted that he can jump around between extremes and still remain true to character while doing it.

Imagine that emo guy from the new Star Wars, but done really, really well.  :P

Offline tebakutis

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Re: Most satisfying character arcs you’ve read?
« Reply #26 on: June 22, 2018, 10:57:46 PM »
The best character arc I didn'r read, but it was Zuko in Avatar. That's one really damn great character that changes so dramatically while simultaneously staying consistent from start to finish. He's so well conflicted that he can jump around between extremes and still remain true to character while doing it.

Imagine that emo guy from the new Star Wars, but done really, really well.  :P

Agreed! Zuko's arc is wonderful.

Offline Neveesandeh

Re: Most satisfying character arcs you’ve read?
« Reply #27 on: June 24, 2018, 02:14:35 PM »
The best character arc I didn'r read, but it was Zuko in Avatar. That's one really damn great character that changes so dramatically while simultaneously staying consistent from start to finish. He's so well conflicted that he can jump around between extremes and still remain true to character while doing it.

Imagine that emo guy from the new Star Wars, but done really, really well.  :P

I've been meaning to watch Avatar for a while. So far I've only seen LoK. I know that one's pretty divisive, but overall I really liked it. Especially the third series.

Offline Mark Lawrence

Re: Most satisfying character arcs you’ve read?
« Reply #28 on: June 26, 2018, 04:48:51 PM »
Jorg Ancrath in the Broken Empire trilogy without a shadow of a doubt.

Hooray  :D

Not sure who I would choose. Robin Hobb's Fitz has a long and entertaining book life, not sure if I would call it satisfying.

Some great unfinished arcs in A Song of Ice and Fire. Jaime and Tyrion, but also maybe Aria and Sansa.

Offline NedMarcus

Re: Most satisfying character arcs you’ve read?
« Reply #29 on: June 27, 2018, 12:44:18 AM »

Not sure who I would choose. Robin Hobb's Fitz has a long and entertaining book life, not sure if I would call it satisfying.


I loved these stories, but I'm not sure Fitz's character arc was satisfying either.