Something I’ve always liked in stories is seeing a character go from a state of weakness to become much more than anyone could have imagined. This is something I see more often in female characters, but it’s usually done to demonstrate how much a character changes.I really good case of this is found in George RR Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire books. You know the TV show Game of Thrones? That series.
My favorite character in those books and in the TV show is the last survivor of the deposed royal family, Daenerys Targaryen. She’s just a teenager when she’s first introduced, a young woman being
sold betrothed to a warlord so her brother can raise an army. She’s regularly beaten by her brother and has become timid and often frightened. Her interactions with the Dothraki show her more of the world, both in how hard things can be and in how much joy can be had. And, even though she may lose nearly everything by the end of the first book, Daenerys discovers a determined will inside herself, something that compels her to try and take the Iron Throne for herself.
(I think this is what the end of the series is going to look like.)
At first, Dany just wants to go home, back to the island where she was born. She was happy there, enough where she often asks her brother, “Why can’t we just go home?” Honestly, she starts out a bit naive, but sweet.
By the time book two comes around, Khaleesi Daenerys I, Mother of Dragons, wants the Iron Throne, the seat of power to a kingdom that is hers by lineage, but she has never seen. Her followers often have a fanatical devotion to her, which isn’t a surprise since there are three dragons in the world and she’s their mother. She offers mercy, but gives harsh punishment to her enemies, even calling for agonizing torture to those who break her laws.
I think of this because I was editing a chapter of Mind & Machine where Kathryn Angel starts the chapter curious and trying to help her friend, Commander, feel better. Halfway through the chapter, Kathryn starts tapping into her telepathy and sees just how much Commander still obsesses over her. By the close of the chapter, Kathryn is giving orders and deciding the exact course of action.
My thought is, if I can make people latch on to my characters the way audiences latch on to George Martin’s characters, I’ll be doing something right.