25 October, 2021

LitStaff Pick: Characters Who Didn't Get What They Deserved

George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series

The best example I can think of characters not getting what they deserve — for both the “good” and the “evil” characters — is George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series. Throughout the books we see bad guys getting rewarded and good guys getting their heads chopped off. While somewhat disheartening, it is this exact characteristic of the story that makes it so very compelling. If predictability were to reign, good guys would always win and bad guys would always lose, at least in fiction. A Song of Ice and Fire reads truer to life (well, as much as an epic fantasy can) in that sometimes the good guys win, and sometimes they get beaten to a bloody pulp, and the same goes for the bad guys. There is no finite justice: there is only power and who wields it at any given moment.

-Elisha Dew

3 thoughts on “LitStaff Pick: Characters Who Didn't Get What They Deserved

  1. Jason, good essay, but Moby's a sperm whale, not a killer whale, and if anyone's a bastard, it's that cold soul Ahab. (It's not for nothin' that I bought a Moby Dick sweatshirt to celebrate the whale.) I beg you to reconsider.

  2. Entertaining. I assumed the anti-whale bit about Moby Dick was meant to be parodic. My nomination for character who doesn't get what she deserves (by which I mean I think she's treated quite unfairly by the author/narrative): Mary Bennet in "Pride and Prejudice." The nerdy sister who doesn't have the other sisters' wit or beauty or social acumen, she's openly ridiculed by her family & ends up single & having to care for her tiresome & mismatched parents as they age. Every time I read the book, I pity this character.

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