Call this a tribute to all my favorite characters–I was thinking back on all my favorites and I noticed that my very favorite characters all tried and failed at some point, but kept on trying. Their victories were by no means constant, and their successes were not always total.
So here is my tribute to Horatio Hornblower, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Martin the Warrior, the Doctor (though this sounds much more like Eight than like Eleven), Frodo Baggins, Samwise Gamgee, Charles Wallace Murray, Meg Murray, Sydney Cotton, and all my other favorite characters.
They all pity me. I can tell.
I’ve got all the scars and bruises and broken bones I earned by my trouble, I skirt the edge of madness, and sometimes I seem to be invisible.
Sometimes, they ask me why I’m like this.
“It couldn’t be helped,” I say.
After all, if I told them the full truth, they wouldn’t stop to listen.
Sometimes, when you reach out to touch the stars, you fall and fall hard. Not all your leaps of faith will be successes.
Of course, since they pity me, they’d never see the truth. The truth is this: I tried. I did my best and sometimes it just wasn’t enough. Reduced to this shell of a man as I am in their eyes, they would only see the futility of the struggle. Never its nobility.
The very core of the truth, condensed and concentrated, is that I do not regret one moment.
I do not grudge one bruise, one scar; not the shattered bones or the bleeding knuckles or broken skin. If I had my live to live all over, I’d do it all again. I’d risk it all. I’d step out without knowing if I had a safety net. I’d run farther and fight harder without knowing if I’d win or not. I would seize every chance, take every risk in hope.
I have lived more fully than any of them. The path of least resistance is not one that is by any means enviable. It’s safe, certainly—but it is not satisfying. Not to me, in any case.
I would not give up one second of this. I do not regret one moment of this.
Recently, WriteFury and I were talking about Type Four in the Character Profiles series which she is currently working on. Basically, Type Four is the fun guys who are always smiling, really fun to be around.
But, while we were talking, I identified a Type Five.
And since she wasn’t familiar with most of the characters I classed as part of the type, she asked me to write this post. So here goes!
These characters are defined mainly by their sheer complexity. They appear to share traits with both Type One and Type Two, and are almost always extremely intelligent.
They tend to also be perceived as quirky or eccentric, and can be much more emotional than Type Ones, or borderline-sociopathic. Their senses of humor vary between sarcastic, wry, witty, or they may not have an apparent sense of humor. Another trait that they share with Type Ones is situational humor–they may make a wry quip about the mess they’re in.
This may be due to the fact that they’ve had bad things happen to them in the past, and it’s their coping mechanism.
They may be quiet or talk a lot, but you will never get more information out of them than they intend to give you.
They’re very clever, and often pretend to be stupid or use their eccentricity to hide just how dangerous they truly are from their enemies, and sometimes their friends. They’re many-layered, using different “facets” of their personalities as a smoke screen, and often extremely private.
And last but not least, they tend to be extremely dedicated to one or more of the other characters, to the point that they would die for them–but not on the other character’s terms or on their enemies’ terms. Only on their own terms. They will risk everything they hold dear for that one special person. They are also the most likely to do things for the good of other characters without their consent or even knowledge, which makes them more than a little frightening.
This type, along with Type One, is the most likely to punish themselves over things that may or may not have been their fault, in ways that are subtle and not easy for others to notice, whereas Type Two may do dramatic or drastic things (such as attempting suicide, in extreme cases) and Type Four falls into a deep depression.
These are also the hardest characters (along with Type One) to kill. They simply can’t give up, and refuse to die. (Sometimes literally. *gives the Doctor a meaningful look*)
Type Five characters have a strong moral code, often in lieu of following their emotions, because they (sometimes) fear that emotions will lead them in the wrong direction. They tend to be logical, but will sometimes choose non-logical options, especially as they tend to be extremely loyal to their friends–and sometimes not merely their friends, but to their cause.
When a Type Five is a villain, they may still have this strong moral code, but in a corrupted form (I present Count Dooku for your inspection.)
Also, sometimes the line between a Type One and a Type Five may be so blurred that it’s difficult to tell where they should be classed–but if there’s any doubt, your character is probably complex enough to be a Type Five. (Case in point: Horatio Hornblower, who shares most of the traits on the list, only he doesn’t use different layers of his personality to maintain his privacy in quite the same way as most Type Fives.)
Here’s the list of common traits:
Strong-willed or stubborn
Does not trust him/herself to do the right thing much of the time
Planning ahead and/or last minute planning/split-second decisions
Dubious or dangerous history (VERY common!)
Extreme empathy bouncing to near-sociopathy (or one or the other)
Sarcasm/finds things that no one else gets ironic or funny
Self-hate (to an extent)/possible masochism (what? It’s true.)
Uses appearances to make others underestimate them
May make subtle into an art form (see above)
Can be unscrupulous or ruthless
Rigid moral code (especially the ones who don’t trust “feelings”)
Now for some examples!
Baker Street’s resident not-a-psychopath,-Anderson, Sherlock Holmes is most definitely a Type Five, wherever he is portrayed. Brilliant and often unfeeling, and holding a soft spot for Watson, Lestrade, Molly Hooper (in the BBC series) and Mrs. Hudson, Sherlock is among the most complex of literary characters. A rare hero, in that he doesn’t hesitate to pull a gun on the bad guys, Sherlock may be “on the side of the angels,” but if you mistake him for one of them, that will be the last mistake you ever make. Sherlock holds himself unflinchingly to his own code, knowing that if he ever steps over the line, that will make him no different from his worst enemies, and he is willing to sacrifice himself for both John (The Reichenbach Fall) and Mary (His Last Vow)–in one case, a physical death (though, again with the planning ahead, that didn’t actually happen) and in the other the death of his good name.
Rigid moral code? Absolutely. Obi-Wan’s code is probably the one thing that defines him most as a character. Take the loyalty and boost it by five hundred percent. Situational humor? Definitely.
While Obi-Wan is less extreme than most of the others on the list, he is absolutely entirely in the details. Subtlety is his other defining trait; sometimes he’s even so subtle that it meshes right into the other related item, using his appearance to fool others into underestimating him.
Obi-Wan is not above using Anakin’s attachment to him to manipulate Anakin for the sake of the greater good (Deception et al.) It would be safe to say that he’d do the same for and to Anakin for Anakin’s sake.
Obi-Wan’s least-Type-Five/most-Type-One characteristic is his extreme selflessness, but again, he’s certainly complex enough to warrant a spot on this list. Extremely empathetic and deeply passionate, Obi-Wan still does not trust his own emotions to guide him, relying on logic and intuition instead. He holds himself to a much higher standard than he does others and is somewhat disillusioned, but his honesty and kindness are strongly endearing. (The reason there are Obi-Wan haters in the world, in my opinion, is because Obi-Wan is so subtle at times that he even fools his fans!)
Another BBC favorite!
Merlin, also known as Emrys (which is, in case you were wondering, the Welsh equivalent of “Ambrose” and means “immortal”), is the protagonist of the BBC show of the same name (rather than having Arthur take the reins, as usual.) Merlin is, like many BBC characters, a very complex character, and might almost have been classed as Type Two or Type Three, except for his darker side. He is friendly, charming, a bit of a dork, and just generally the type of guy you want to have backing you up, but on the flip side he has an inner darkness that, fed by his magic tutor, the dragon Kilgarrah, SPOILERS eventually indirectly leads to the fall of Camelot. END SPOILERS However, under the guidance of mentor Gaius, he builds strong, lasting friendships with Arthur, Gwen, the knights, and fellow servants.
Merlin is brilliant with magic, but he doesn’t act like it. He’s sometimes clumsy but at other times he can be graceful. It’s mainly his ability to fool everyone (including Arthur–again, for Arthur’s own good and at the cost of wanting to tell him desperately about his secret) around him into underestimating him that has him here on this list.
Shut up, you’re adorable.
That is the Tenth Doctor, just to avoid confusion among non-Whovians. 😛
Anyway, the Doctor is the very definition of complex. With thirteen different incarnations, all played by different actors and each with different personalities, he sort of has to be. While all the different personalities tend to revolve around a theme and all involve some version of a few basic traits, each version of the Doctor is still entirely unique. And he tends to use his apparent clumsiness (recurring theme here) into fooling people that he’s stupid or doesn’t know what he’s doing. He’s got some pretty toxic guilt over something that I gather is still a spoiler (?!), and definitely does not trust himself.
While he is in an age group comparable to Yoda, it just feels as if he’s been much farther than Yoda has ever traveled and seen more messed-up stuff. While Yoda does the funny-old-guy routine, the Doctor takes a route that is a bit more logical, in my mind; that long lifespan has only gone to make him much more complex, and he’s probably the most experienced person in any field that you’re ever going to find.
He also tends to find jokes in things no one else gets, is brilliant to the extent that it’s possible that he’s the most intelligent of any person on this list, is on par with Steve Rogers at thinking on his feet, has phenomenal situational awareness (um, that has nothing to do with the list, more to do with him being good at split-second tactics), and is both extremely compassionate and utterly unfeeling at times.
And I can’t even begin to list how many times he’s done things for his companions that they would never have allowed him to do, if they knew what he was planning.
Gandalf the Gray, Frodo Baggins, Aragorn, Faramir
Boromir is a Type Two and Merry and Pippin are Type Four. What about the others?
Well, Sam Gamgee might be a type one, but Frodo is a Type Five. Almost everyone underestimates him, and rather than a hidden darkness, he has a hidden majesty–as does Aragorn. Faramir is conflicted (though not in quite the same way as he is in the movies). And Gandalf… well, when you’ve been around for about three thousand years, you’d expect a character to be a bit complex!
Now for my own characters!
Winter and Tairya
Winter has a personality somewhat similar to Merlin’s or the Doctor’s, except without the clumsiness, he is a bit more grim, and people underestimate him more because they don’t know him. However, he also has a sense of humor, is very loyal, especially to his mentor and friends among the Rangers, and has a kinder side that is rarely seen, except by his apprentice Elian. He is the bodyguard of the Princess and sworn to protect her.
Tairya, the woman Winter is sworn to guard, is probably the only villain on this list. Less blatant than most villains and completely without remorse, mercy, or compassion, Tairya is a Type Four gone horribly wrong. She is the archetype of everything any Type Four could slip into becoming. However, she does have a slightly lighter side; a soft spot for her husband and child–but this turns her even more sour when Winter, in an attempt to fulfill his oath in some way despite his failure to save her, kidnaps (or rescues) her son.
Winter and Tairya both appear in my unfinished novelLoyalties and are among my most complex characters ever.
More in the vein of Master Kenobi than any other character on this list, Connor’s personality is somewhat similar to that of a type two. He’s mild, clever, funny, and a good friend. However, under his mild, kind exterior, hidden so deep that even Connor himself is not aware of it, he has a secret:
Connor is a trained assassin, part of a failed conditioning experiment by a ruthless businessman, and his perceived colorblindness is psychosomatic–in rebelling against the conditioning, he effectively “made himself” colorblind. While he appears to fold to any situation, when he takes a stand it’s quite clear that he’s got some steel in his backbone, probably inherited from ancestors who fought in the American War for Independence. Connor stars in my unfinished novel Colorblind.
Wait… mild-mannered reporter living in a superhero world… Never mind. Connor’s only real “superpower” is the ability to see in the ultraviolet spectrum… which is pretty useless in a fight.
Nothing to see here, DC Comics.
If there’s another character who I missed who you think should be on this list, please tell me about them! I’d love to meet them. 🙂
Next up is my very first submission for my Intro to Creative Writing Class. Enjoy!
You sit in the living room, bent over your books
Fingers meshed in your ruffled, too-long hair.
The light of a fire coaxed from small twists
Of newspaper, dead leaves, twigs, and pinecones
Stolen away from distant worlds
Of woods and rock and earth and water,
Creeks flowing to rivers and thus to oceans
Far from home, that fire blazes
In an old soup pot set on a trivet
To keep its heat from the scarred, stained carpet.
Lightning blasts and thunder crashes
Outside our humble window.
You look up at me and smile.
Thunder booms. I squeak.
You wrap the faded afghan around my shoulders,
We two pilgrims in a world unknown.
Your pale wings protect me
Cast around me to keep a world at bay for now,
Okay, so that was the final version. But the original poem had more lines and I just had to choose the best section. Here’s the full poem! Be forewarned, it’s much longer.
Pale wings are spread above where I sleep
As if I don’t remember at any other time
Except when I dream, but
It would be so easy to forget.
I still remember.
It hurts and yet comforts me.
You sit in the living room, bent over your books Fingers meshed in your ruffled, too-long hair. The light of a fire coaxed from small twists Of newspaper, dead leaves, twigs, and pinecones Stolen away from distant worlds Of woods and rock and earth and water, Creeks flowing to rivers and thus to oceans Far from home, that fire blazes In an old soup pot set on a trivet To keep its heat from the scarred, stained carpet. Lightning blasts and thunder crashes Outside our humble window. You look up at me and smile. “Wakeful again?” Thunder booms. I squeak. “Come here.” You wrap the faded afghan around my shoulders, We two pilgrims in a world unknown. Your pale wings protect me Cast around me to keep a world at bay for now, Safe.
Now, I am cold.
Rain beats the window
Are you living or do you lie dead
Beneath the ground or on your battlefield
Among the many others faceless, slain?
Or are you dying, even?
Would I go to you, if I could?
I don’t know.
Your elfin face did not change.
You are the one who never grew up.
You are so far from me.
You knew the secret of flight
And still hover over me
Like some shadow out of the past.
You still are not there, but
I am enshrouded in your pale shelter of wings.
Okay, explanation time!
I was thinking of Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin/Vader when I wrote this. I’ve always been curious about how Vader thought about Obi-Wan, if ever he thought about Obi-Wan at all, and what Obi-Wan and Anakin’s earliest days were like. That’s the inspiration that led to this poem. Hopefully you all enjoyed it! Thanks for reading, and God Bless!
Wow, it’s been forever since I posted any Star Wars stuff on here. Here, have a flash fiction.
Summary: A brief meditation on how history repeats itself. Warning: Dark, with visions of the past and future. Enjoy!
“He is… the Chosen One. Train him.” Qui-Gon reached up, stroking Obi-Wan’s cheek. Obi-Wan felt his skin burn under the touch, bubbling, blistering, crackling, curling up and away. This could not have hurt more if Qui-Gon had had only recriminations to offer.
For the first time in his life, Obi-Wan Kenobi understood Xanatos.
The death of a father—it hurt. It should scar.
There was no way to respond to this. There was nothing that could ever compare to this.
He understood Xanatos. He hated it. It burned like poison on his tongue. And he was just as guilty as Xanatos ever was, his hands stained with the blood of his father’s killer. No different from Xanatos.
He could not forgive Xanatos, he wouldn’t. He couldn’t forgive himself.
This was the moment when Obi-Wan Kenobi fell from grace.
The charred remains fell away, and he looked forward, through the ashes of the veil.
Around him the Temple burned. Bodies were heaped, scattered in a macabre vignette, like wilted, twisted flowers. He looked into the venomous eyes of—someone—friend, student, brother—I have failed you, I have failed you—I loved you!—and knew that this was what he was. The one who would plunge the galaxy into the dark with all the best of intentions.
Logically he knew that this wasn’t quite true, but the passion overwhelmed him, swamped him, overturned and drowned him.
And then, he was walking away, into shadow, guiding the small hands that might offer redemption—back to Tattoine, then, Master Kenobi?—and he knew what he had to do.
Every once in a while, I set aside time to just go have lunch with my characters. Sometimes it’s originals, like Gervaise, Alex, and Ben. Sometimes, it’s my fanfiction pals–the Doctor, John Watson, Horatio, Will Treaty. Just sitting down with them every once in a while helps me stay sane and keep up.
Today, which will make Rosalie happy, we were rehearsing a scene from “Attack of the Clones”–the AU version–and we were laughing in between takes, trying to figure out a less ridiculous title for it. Unfortunately, in that scene, Obi-Wan gets force-pushed against a wall, and we kept having to do takes, because Dooku was suspiciously absent and Casceny was doubling for him, in between hiding from the Doctor.
Casceny is a time traveler, but not a Time Lord. A brash, loud, boastful little goose with a heart of gold.
And she was hamming it up.
So here Obi-Wan was, still uncomfortable because of the wirework we were having to do (this AU is taking some severe hashing-out to get it to work, I can tell you now), still in harness in between every take. And after that, we go get lunch. I had cheddar grilled cheese, Obi-Wan (who tends to be um… sort of… adventurous I guess? That’s not the right word for it, but whatever) put swiss and asiago on his. Don’t ask me why. Of course he couldn’t do something normal with his grilled cheese.
He flinched as he sat down, and I (naturally) asked him what was wrong.
“The wires aren’t strung correctly,” Obi-Wan said. “I keep getting slammed into the wall. That’s why I’m flopping down after every take. It’s not poor acting. It’s me getting a little stunned after hitting the wall over and over and getting the breath knocked out of me. Kysherin really has taken a dislike to me these past few months.”
“She needs restraining,” I grumbled into my iced tea. “How does kryptonite sound?” Obi-Wan chuckled.
“Better and better all the time.”
“How do you feel about this AU?” I asked bluntly. With Obi-Wan it was no good beating about the bush. He’d take you at your word and answer you in kind. Obi-Wan looked pensive for a long moment.
“It’s frighteningly in character for me,” he said at last. “In that situation, that is exactly who I’d be and what I’d do. I don’t think I would be broken, mentally–I’d still have my wits if not my memory, but even with no voice to act as conscience, I’d still be horrified at what I’d done. Candidly, I’m a little bit frightened that I can be so naive and think better of people than they deserve and be so blind to evil, so inclined to mercy when I should be on my guard instead. On the other hand, if I was given the choice to change that? Never. I never would.”
“You didn’t like the Rako Hardeen fiasco,” I remarked, guessing at what he was getting at. He normally plays along willingly, no matter how dark the AU, remaining a strong refuge for the rest of us who get tired, irritable, frustrated or ready to throw the entire thing in the trash, but he doesn’t seem to enjoy it. Obi-Wan shook his head.
“I don’t like to play parts,” he said. “I start to lose myself in the role. It’s scary, for lack of a better word–yourself and this other character who is not quite you. Or, in the case of Hardeen–entirely not you, but you’re in his skin and you have to act the way he would.”
“There’s a spectrum,” I remark. “Your character is not entirely consistent even through the length of one story. You’re always learning, changing, evolving, and your traits exist on a spectrum. There’s a wide variety of ways I could write your character and it would still read as you. The tricky part is finding the sweet spot for what I’m trying to do.”
“Yes, that’s it exactly,” Obi-Wan replied. “I guess you could say I don’t like my own spectrum.” His eyes twinkled as he glanced down into his water glass.
“It wreaks havoc, though, with the way I’m having to write this AU. You’re changing constantly and it’s hard to keep that in line when I have to write it in blocs according to function.” Obi-Wan laughed.
“I suppose we’re writing all the parts with Dooku this week, then.”
“Are you ready to move forward with the story?” I asked. Obi-Wan gave me a droll look.
Okay, so I was thinking about science fiction this morning (trying to decide what the best way to fix my doodle of the Doctor that looked nothing like the Doctor) and I got around to the topic of changelings.
Like this one:
Cato Parasitti is a bounty hunter, a Clawdite from the Star Wars mythos. She appeared in Star Wars: The Clone Wars Season Two. And this is her “real” appearance.
I don’t know about you, but I see a problem here.
If a shapeshifter doesn’t have any problem maintaining a disguise, who’s to say what their true form really is? If all forms feel alike to them, then what’s their “real” form?
On the other hand, some species of shapeshifter appear to be uncomfortable while outside of their “true” form, anything from a sort of out-of-body feeling to discomfort to actual pain. Maintaining their appearance when they’re outside their own forms is difficult for them, and thus they tend to revert whenever they can.
But what about the first type, the ones who have no problem maintaining any appearance and thus don’t actually have a default one?
“True” form is, in their case, probably a cultural thing.
For instance, you might have a society of shape-changers who maintain different forms to denote their status or caste (if they have equivalents.) Shapeshifters who have a certain preferred form, just as humans have favorite brands of clothing. Perhaps you don’t have actual clothing and certain forms are seen as similar to the nudity taboo and you don’t use those in public. Temporary shifts being part of everyday conversations and used to convey ideas and concepts which don’t have the words in English….
There is so much possibility there.
In other news, the fact that we like people like us is not the reason why the viewpoint characters in sci-fi are nearly always human.
It’s also because the viewpoint character HAS to be as clueless and ignorant as the audience, otherwise nothing would ever get explained and we’d miss out on all that awesome theory.
I took off my glasses and set them on my desk, rubbing the bridge of my nose. The chair in which I should have been sitting, working on my latest novel, lay demolished in a pile of splinters on the floor, and the culprit stood beside me, looking sheepish.
“Eight,” I groaned, “is such destruction even possible?” The Doctor (one of a few incarnations who’d invited themselves in and occasionally popped in, necessitating that we number them and breaking the first law of time–fortunately with impunity, unless the effects on me prove detrimental to the universe at large,) scuffed his shoes along the floor, looking like a guilty child.
“Theoretically…” he began. I held up a hand.
“Don’t say it.” I sighed. It has only been two weeks, and already this incarnation of the Doctor had managed to break a picture frame, the ugly vase which no one knew where it came from and which was rumored to be cursed (curses are no match for a ditzy Time Lord), a watering can, the horrific statue that has been traumatizing the children ever since Bruck Chun painted that terrible clown face on it, and the fireplace that had once belonged to Madame du Pompadour, which should not have been in my mind palace but for some reason it was, and the resident Time Lords had not had a chance to explain why before one of them broke it.
To be fair about that last one, he had actually fallen into the fireplace, and there was a fire lit. I nearly had a heart attack.
And to be fair to him, I think he’s not really neglectful or careless, more he simply forgets that human things are not made to the standard the ones he tried to smash as a child were.
Just then, Bruck Chun came rushing in in a fury. “All right, own up. Who did it? Who broke my statue?” he demanded angrily, giving us both the Sith eyes. I would kick him out of the mind palace, except I can’t. He’s a recurring villain for one of my latest Star Wars stories.
Slowly, the Doctor raised his hand. “That would be me.” Bruck eyed him coldly.
“And who are you supposed to be?”
“I’m the Doctor.” Bruck shook his head.
“Can’t be. That’s the spiky-haired skinny guy.” I facepalmed. The Doctor grinned widely.
“That’s me in my personal future,” he explained cheerfully. Bruck just looked annoyed.
“Well, you broke the statue,” he growled and swung at the Doctor. It has been a long time since I’d seen someone so humiliated in under thirty seconds, and it ended with the Doctor, using that literally inhuman strength deliberately for once, hurling Bruck bodily out the door.
As we headed outside to play in the newly-fallen snow, he leaned over conspiratorially, “Do you think it’ll stick?” I shook my head.
“He’s an idiot.” The Doctor grinned mischievously.
“Might have to up my game. Next time he’ll expect the Force-opaque effect.” We shared a private giggle and spent the next hour throwing snowballs at each other and sledding down the hill on the backs of our coats.
Welcome back to this Brooklyn Project special on Writing Anger!
In the previous post, I explained why anger (and other emotions) is important to your novel and the different tendencies of character types in anger. In this post, I will give specific examples, explain how backstory can influence a character’s emotions, and give some advice and handy tools for writing it into your novels.
Anger tends to vary drastically within types as well as within genders. Take Obi-Wan Kenobi and the Doctor, for example. I have them both classed as Type Fives because they’re both extremely complex characters who use a lot of misdirection and subtlety (as a side note, I watched part of David Tennant playing Hamlet and I’d have to say, Hamlet is Type Five as well.) Obi-Wan and the Doctor are both a bit more emotional than the stereotypical Type Five (Sherlock Holmes, for instance), but they have tendencies towards different emotions. Obi-Wan, while he’s a generally optimistic person with a mostly-happy childhood, is also a realist (see? really complex!) and slides toward sadness as an adult (as a child, he had a very quick temper), and I’d imagine that of all the Star Wars characters he’s probably the one hiding the fact that he has to take antidepressants. Obi-Wan has a tendency to switch topics without warning (non sequitur to the Rest Of The World), but has come to manage that in his adult life so he acts more like an INFJ than an INTJ (which I’m pretty sure he is.) The Doctor is much more bipolar. He sometimes has dramatic mood swings, jumps from idea to idea without consistency and gets depressed when he loses Rose in his tenth incarnation. (The Ninth and Twelfth Doctors were both much more focused, while Eleven just seems a bit aimless and underdeveloped to me.)
As a child, Obi-Wan was under a lot of stress much of the time–his teachers had high expectations, he routinely exceeded them, which in turn made his teachers set their standards for him even higher. No one ever particularly told him that he was clever, which certainly helped him to become the humble character we all love, but it didn’t do much to help him cope with his workload–being observant, he knew that most of his age-mates weren’t working this hard. Either he didn’t know the reason, or he simply rationalized it that he was stupid, because he was working so much harder than everyone else. Because he was stressed, he tended to flare up in anger when bullied, which made people perceive him as an angry person when he really was a compassionate and thoughtful one under a lot of stress. (He was probably also dealing with depression, but it went unnoticed because he didn’t fit the stereotype.) This was dramatically exacerbated when he came closer to the cut-off date for apprenticeship. It was a self-fueling cycle that pushed him down, but fortunately Yoda observed what was going on, realized that he was caught in a cycle and they weren’t seeing his true self, and used the fact that he’d recently gotten into a fight with another Jedi hopeful to get him out of the Temple and away from the cycle. (“The Rising Force” by Dave Wolverton. What makes me think he was dealing with depression? The hopeless way he responded to being taken away from the Temple and his difficulty in finding the will to fight back when attacked on the transport. I may be wrong about depression, but that seems to fit the facts.)
As an adult, Obi-Wan was not as likely to flare up, even when provoked. It took a major provocation (oftentimes aimed at his loved ones rather than himself) to get him angry. While he was outwardly a model of serenity, he was really a visionary, passionate and idealistic, and had an innate ability to read other people and respond to them in a disarming way. (Oh, sorry, did I say Obi-Wan was INTJ? It’s really hard to tell if that big letter is a T or an F, especially with him.) Obi-Wan was both a traditionalist and a reformer, and given enough time he might have been able to get the entire Jedi Order back on track. Obi-Wan always had a sarcastic and often dark sense of humor with a love of wordplay and a cutting wit that he used as a smokescreen to hide any internal trepidation. However, his sarcasm was more often a part of his humor than of his anger.
As an adult, Obi-Wan responded to anger in one of two ways. One was a sudden burst of anger (in response to sudden provocation), followed quickly by calm, rational thought, and the other was a cold, distant, controlled and calculated wrath that was completely terrifying, even if you were not the target of it at the time. Obi-Wan was not an angry person, however. His anger was aroused and then when it was over, it was completely gone.
The Doctor, while he had a similar upbringing (taught at an academy with little to no familial contact after his induction), was always more of a rebel. While Obi-Wan had an intuitive understanding of the world and the people around him, the Doctor, while brilliant, would often find himself confronted by situations and things he didn’t understand. The Doctor never particularly cared about other people’s opinions and was often more sassy than sarcastic. Sarcasm was not often a part of his anger, either. The Doctor didn’t often have those rapid flare-ups of temper as an adult–his anger was a constant, a perpetual and constantly controlled presence and as such it was always tightly controlled. When openly angry, the Doctor’s anger was similar to Obi-Wan’s calculated cold fury. He would often be verbally cutting (though not sarcastic,) whittling people down (often to tears) with words. His word choice, posture, and expression would all become menacing. For me, the most effective thing about David Tennant’s performance as the Doctor was the way he could play a character who is sweet, charming, frankly adorable and a little bit ditzy but who is at the same time an intensely driven individual, with an ever-present and deep-rooted anger–especially the way Tennant is able to jump so quickly between the two.
There was another image I was going to use, but it’s the most terrifying expression you are ever likely to see, so I’m going to refrain. This blog is mostly G-rated, after all.
Their angry expressions vary, too: Obi-Wan presses his lips together tightly, the Doctor tends to display his teeth (which is slightly unnerving in its own right–Ten’s teeth are sort of angled-in, which prompted him to comment “That’s weird” immediately after his regeneration.) Obi-Wan’s anger is all in the way he looks calculatedly at people, while the Doctor’s anger is all in the eyes and mouth–eyebrows draw together, lips curl back, and his nose wrinkles a little. The Doctor looms over people, while Obi-Wan tenses up in his core and has to remind himself to breathe. That last one could be more because Obi-Wan’s training was a little more martial in style, so he’s preparing to leap into action at any second. The Doctor’s anger intimidates, while Obi-Wan prepares to fight.
(Bottom line, fangirls: The Doctor is scary. He does have a fluffy side but he also has quite the dark side. Do not occasion David Tennant giving you The Eyebrow… if he did it to me I’d probably burst into tears.)
Let’s talk about Steve Rogers, a typical Type One. Steve doesn’t get angry often, but when he does, you do not want to get on his bad side. Captain America: The Winter Soldier has several prime examples. In the first fifteen or so minutes of the movie, he tells Fury off for not giving him the whole story about the opening mission. Rather than verbally attacking Fury or using sarcasm, though, he lets Fury know he’s angry and then tells him why in plain language that’s not calculated to make Fury angry in turn. As a result, we find out how much Fury really respects Steve–in response to Steve’s accusation, he shows us that he values Steve’s respect by showing Steve SHIELD’s latest top-secret project: Project Insight. You wouldn’t think that Fury would let something like Steve’s respect be that important to him, but it is.
The other notable anger we see Steve display in The Winter Soldier is his anger following the shock of discovering that his best friend is still alive and has been brainwashed into a Soviet superweapon. “Would you have compartmentalized that too?” he asks Fury, the most biting his language to Fury has gotten thus far. He’s being a little bit irrational, which is not really typical for Steve at all. I think that in the scene on the bridge when Sam Wilson says “He’s the kind you stop,” Steve is still angry about it but keeps himself from lashing out viciously at Sam because it is not Sam’s fault.
You can’t really see it on his face when Steve is angry because his angry look is more “calculating” than “angry.” You have to listen to him to know he’s angry. Also, Steve’s sarcasm is rarely connected with his anger–it’s more self-deprecating. We generally only see him use sarcasm when he’s angry with himself or trying to work with people, and then he uses his sarcasm the same way–to defuse the situation through self-deprecating humor. It’s very rare for us to see Steve use anything but plain language–which would seem to be a fairly common trait for Type Ones. They can get technical, but most of the time they whittle things down to the barest meaning they can.
Bucky Barnes is different from most Type Twos. He’s brave, funny, active, adventurous, and a people person. Cool factor was harder to figure out, but he’s the Winter Soldier. However, he isn’t as much of a planner as Steve is and as a result we never see him planning anything in particular. Rather than acting or taking the initiative, we see him reacting (which is probably because his supposed death is the “Mirror Moment” of The First Avenger–the moment the main character goes from reacting to initiating the action.) Bucky is more of what I’d call a mature Type Two–a Type Two who is aware of their own character flaws and dark side, making it more of a character strength for him than a weakness. He’s less existential than Type Ones or Fives though, so he doesn’t deal with such deep self-hate as, for instance, the Doctor, Obi-Wan, or Steve.
When Bucky gets angry, it’s normally because someone has attacked Steve (verbally or physically.) I’d imagine that when someone badmouths Steve, Bucky attacks them personally with his words and tears them down completely. He is quietly angry about the injustice of people constantly taking it out on Steve, but doesn’t quite know what to do about it (because he’s more based in social norms than a Type Five like Sherlock, who would not be held back in going after the wrongdoers simply because it wasn’t “okay.”)
Wow. This post turned out long. I’ll have to split it into three, rather than two as I had planned… Stay tuned for the final installment of this series!
Last night some people from the Intergalactic Press came over and we were having dinner at the time.
The Doctor was eating in a hurry, focused entirely on getting back to the lab (from whence he’d been dragged by Pepper Potts, who had pulled Tony out at the same time). And Obi-Wan’s manners are impeccable, but he sometimes reads at the table.
Mistress El’ye went out to stall the journalists, but it wasn’t enough. She tried to text Darcy, but Darcy’s phone had been summarily destroyed when it fell in the tub (which is part of what the Doctor had been doing in the lab.) We didn’t learn this, however, until later, when the whole fiasco was over.
Mistress El’ye lead the press in… into a scene of chaos.
Dibbuns were having a food fight in the corner, Arden was just trying to get a cup of coffee before heading out but had already spilled it twice onto the Doctor’s coat, because Camicazi was having a sword fight with Archie Kennedy and kept jostling Arden. Cerasi had apparently gotten fed up with Merida trying to play the guitar (Merida is horrible, but keeps on battering away at it with that same Scottish stubbornness that keeps the Doctor in the lab day after day, trying to figure out a substitute for gluten) and was launching peas at her with a slingshot. Rassilon had made an appearance, but had been repelled with celery, pancakes, and bouillon-filled water pistols, and Moriarty got the same treatment. We let the Master sit with us for once, but he was building an intricate diagram out of squished white bread (which I kept demolishing on the sly by tossing bread rolls at it.) Sherlock was using John’s arm as a place to set his tea cup.
All in all, a typical Selay’uu dinnertime.
Into this mess marched a group of journalists, researching rumors for the penny dreadfuls. And stopped, aghast.
Almost instantly, a plucky and present-minded young photographer had his camera up and snapped a photo.
Obi-Wan and the Doctor both froze, an identical horrified look on both their faces. Obi-Wan had just bitten into a cookie, and the Doctor sat with his spoon halfway into his mouth. It was practically comical, except the circumstances weren’t.
I had to agree to an interview. That part wasn’t so awesome, except fortunately I was wearing black, so the spilled coffee (Arden takes it black, with no sugar or cream) wouldn’t show.
But I bribed the photographer for a copy of the picture. It now hangs, framed in glory, on my wall.
He said he couldn’t have published it, anyways, because it looked like Anakin was making a very rude gesture in the background.
(I know for sure he wasn’t, because he was next to Obi-Wan, he was just making the Whole World Right Here gesture, it just looks like he was being obscene, he really wasn’t. But Obi-Wan gave him a mild scolding anyway.)
Jack Harkness was laughing uproariously as Madame Jocasta peremptorily ejected us from the Archives. Gwaine could barely stand upright, and Gawain stared at the character with whom he only shared a name in horrified disgust. Obi-Wan was trying to shush us all, with limited success, and Siri was determined to make things even more insane. The Doctor went and sulked in a shadowy corner.
“That was one awesome party!” Jack declared. “We should have brought drinks with us, though.” I stared at him, shuddering with horror. Perish the thought.
“Jack, please,” Obi-Wan snapped in frustration. “There are minors present.”
“Well, since we forgot all the majors,” Jack said and collapsed with laughter over his own joke. I slapped him across the back of the head with a convenient book. He overbalanced and fell flat on his nose. I waved the book at him half-heartedly.
“It serves you right for wrecking her office,” Obi-Wan observed, picking up Gervaise, who had somehow gone all loopy on thin air and was talking to people who no one else could see.
“But peppers are good, Natasha,” Gervaise said to no one. Obi-Wan hoisted him up.
“I’m taking him to the infirmary. The rest of you–” he gave us a warning look. “Behave.”
“I hate you all,” the Doctor muttered, looking as if he was about to cry. I ran across and hugged him.
“Don’t give me the puppy eyes, please! You know it leaves me a total wreck,” I whispered. He sighed, making a Herculean effort to regain his self-control.
“Let’s prank Jack until he’s cross-eyed,” I suggested softly. Merlin winked at me. I could feel the Doctor smiling into my hair.
The Great Prank War–the Prank War to end all Prank Wars–was on.