mardypants: Diddy and Bjork arrange a fizzy mountain duet. (hopelessly lost in translation)
[personal profile] mardypants
Long time coming, but here's a definite #2: Incompetence.

See, I was noticing a lot of the lists included competence as a kink. Which is all well and good as far as it goes, which... isn't very far if you think about it. Kind of half the point of a good plot is to throw something -- many things -- at the main characters that they weren't expecting or the least bit prepared for. Watch them flail around and start to figure things out after a while. Take chances, make mistakes, get messy or possibly killed -- I'm not particular as long as it's interesting and engaging in some way, what happens to them. And what can be more engaging than to see a character out of their element, totally confused, and then get to watch them go about piecing together some kind of sense out of the situation? Or watching them make understandable mistakes -- the kind you make when you're running on too little information or experience or resources or whatever -- and then have to deal with the fallout.

I wonder if maybe a lot of the people who like competence are thinking back bitterly on all those times when fictional characters made mistakes that seemed really stupid or obvious, or creators that try to equate ineptitude -- terminal klutziness, or perhaps a benign and unchanging state of ignorance or apathy, or how about a total disregard for school/books/advice from others/common sense? -- with likeability in a character. Or relatability, I dunno.

What I do know is that I tend to relate best to characters that are, whether they want to or not, learning, trying to absorb and adapt, trying to decide what to keep and discard. Characters that can and do fail, sometimes spectacularly, sometimes hurting themselves and other people, but the consequences always catch up sooner or later and they're going to have to figure out how to deal with them (or run far, far away).

Example: Taran Wanderer, especially the Free Commots section, where he learned how very much he would never learn about smithing, weaving, and pottery. (I'll try and think of some other appropos ones later.)
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March 2012

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