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General Media More Personality =/= Always Good For A Character


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(edited)

I always hear "He needs more personality," etc., about some characters.

...Because it worked so well for Link (The Legend Of Zelda), right?

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Samus Aran (Metroid)?

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Supreme Leader Snoke (Star Wars)?

And, of course, King Sombra?

...Lesson: Don't just give them more personality; make sure it's the right personality.

What do you think?

Edited by Antagonist
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Hmm, I never think about character's personality. I can see why that is a problem to give them too much personality.

 

To me, a character needs to grow. They need to start somewhere, and end somewhere. Not just have a personality from beginning till end.

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This reminds me how most people actually believes Kylo and Ben are two different people due to believing they have different personality(?) lol no. Like King Sombra and Darth Vader/Anakin, they're the same people. Characters goes through transition from who they were to who they become. In other words, character's growth.  Ben Solo was someone who wants to break away from his family legacy and decided to search for power by joining the dark side, in order to achieve his goals. In shorts, he was just a angsty power-hungry brat.  Ben hated his name and take on a new name Kylo Ren, because he believes that is who he is. But due to Ben still caring for the people he loves, it was holding him back and going through internal struggles. By trying to prove the galaxy he is Kylo ren, it's new ruler and at the same time, refusing to let go of the light that is holding him back. 

My point is having more than one personality is okay for an character, just as long it's not distracting or complete out of blue. It's why we have character developments. It's like saying how these characters are "more than meets the eyes"

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I don't read the comics so I'm not aware of the full extent to Sombra's differences, but I can totally understand them going to far with personality with the version they gave us at the beginning of season 9.

Usually I see too much personality being an issue for the Mary Sue Types or when people can't be decisive with what they want.

Spoiler

I have my own character who's only thing is that he's good at fighting and can't stand figures of authority. He was drafted into a fictional nation's military, and only passed training because his superior disliked him so much and was certain he'd die in the next phase which involves hunting a dragon. He actually plays a crucial role in taking it down and gets promoted, which exposes him to more higher ranking officers whom he manages to piss off and the cycle continues until he's a part of an elite unit. Haven't written much down, but there's a scene where they're supposed to have medals pinned to them directly by the king, but instead he's wrestled down and gagged by two of his friends in the next room over so he doesn't make an outburst. It's set in the world of MLP, and in an alternate version Nightmare Moon shows up and it's the one time he ever has self control, only because he's aware she could do something like turn him inside out. But that's all there is too him, and sure I'm biased since I made him up, but I think it works.

 

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Much like any form of media or literature it really depends on the writer's skill.

I recall saying long time ago saying Kratos from God of War being nothing but an angry murderer who kills everyone for his own mistakes but the recent PS4 game really made me come around to him. But the ballsiest part is them still attaching his past to him, giving him a bit more depth and wanting to keep his son from falling into the same path

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When I think of simple characters done right, I can not think of better examples than Hunter X Hunter and the Silent Hill games. Hisoka from Hunter is an absolutely malevolent, murderous psychopath with almost no backstory (at the moment), yet he's one of the most beloved characters from the series because people like a villain who just...does what he does. Silent Hill 2's James Sunderland doesn't have much of a personality, yet he's one of the most memorable video game characters of all time because he's just such a beautifully crafted Everyman we can all relate to. 

It's true that not every character needs personality, it's all about the writer's intent and whether or not what they intend works. In the example of Sombra though...I have to chime in a little something. Sombra's new incarnation in the show really doesn't have a personality, he's more or less a representation of the darkness in the world Twilight and her friends need to learn to stand up to and fight for themselves. Sombra's incarnation in the comics was, in my opinion, an example of "more personality" done right. They flesh out a backstory for him, give him a character conflict, have him learn a lesson, and emerge as a different character than what he once was. 

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I don't know what you mean by "more personality." Do you mean flamboyant? People can be obnoxious and loud. People can be quiet, and that is a personality. Would you say that Pinkie Pie has more personality than Fluttershy?

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Notice how Silmarillion Sauron is still Sauron even to the hardcore fans, but Disney Star Wars legacy characters are being rejected by (muh vocal minority that's inexplicably making SW fail) many. It's not about more character. It's about disbelief as in "I can't bring myself to believe that Sombra is the way writers depicted him after his debut". In other words: shitty writing is shitty.

 

But Goat-kun, it can be real. They totes can has such personalises. Having your hero die unspectacularly in the middle of the story due to a hidden Coxackievirus myocarditis is also something that can absolutely happen. Trust me, it won't. Ever.

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You may be misunderstanding what personality actually is. Making random sarcastic quips or comedic punchlines is not effective characterization. People, especially inexperienced writers and roleplayers, treat personality like a shopping list of likes, dislikes, flaws, and traits. Poorly characterized characters are often simply one-dimensional and forgettable because stories fail to explore any of their emotional nuances. What are their motivations and goals? How do these characters respond to conflict, and how do they resolve it? How do they develop as a character in the long term?

If Link can be sarcastic and sassy, that's fine, but if it's not reflected in how he reacts and resolves conflicts or why he developed such a trait in the first place, then it's just poor characterization that really does not go anywhere.

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What does "personality" mean in this context?

 

Is it that you get to experience more of what the person is thinking and feeling (like Other M)?

Or is it one of those "read first to know the character" situation, where you know everything about the person (you like or dislike the person before anything happens), and by the time something happens in the story, you think you know what will happen before it happens?

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  • 2 weeks later...

Personality isn't always represented through dialogue. In Doom 2016, the Doom Slayer never says a word, yet he very much has a personality which is conveyed through the way he looks at things and interacts with them. I consider him to have exactly the right amount of personality, too, and portrayed extremely well.

The opposite would probably be Flash Sentry for me. He was so generic that no matter what he did, it just fell flat in my eyes. All there was to him was 'love-interest'. They could have replaced him with the floating word 'love-interest' and nothing would have changed. He's set dressing, not a character.

Then there's the fact that a lot of 'personality' is basically handled by attaching a neon sign to a character labeling them as the funny one or the slow one, and never once moving beyond that point. A loud and obnoxious character can work, if that character's motivations and reasons for being the way he is are explored enough.

Ultimately, I think 'personality' is just far more than a character's traits, and that a lot of writers, both amateur and professional, forget about that.

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  • 1 month later...
On 5/11/2020 at 12:41 PM, Anti-Villain said:

Don't just give them more personality; make sure it's the right personality.

What do you think?

I agree. Not every character has to be broad and flamboyant. Sometimes it's the subtler ones with a quiet side that i find more interesting. If done correctly it doesn't matter what the personality type is. Do it right and it'll be obvious.

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