I told placebetween, who does not watch Doctor Who but remains endlessly fascinated by its fandom wank, about how ( minor spoiler for 7x05 and also my usual cheery attitude towards Eleven as a character.Collapse )
Anyway, both of those things sort of lead me to this, which springs from Doctor Who musings but is in no way limited to Doctor Who or DW fandom.
SO the big srs discussion question I pose to you all is: what makes a good character? Is it a combination of narrative and development or is it something at the core of the character, the basic idea and traits? Can a good character be a good character but be poorly written, or does being poorly written automatically mean they can't be? Can a good character be trapped in a poor narrative and/or poorly developed and still be a good character?
And I guess the flipside of that is: can a character that is well-developed and/or have a good narrative and still be a "bad" (as in, objectively poorly constructed, not "bad" as in "evil" or unlikable) character?
I ask because to me, I guess, having a good narrative/being well-developed/otherwise "well written" is what makes a "good character" -- but I think other people must not feel the same, because I often see people claim someone as a great character in spite of a poor narrative, poor development, whatever. I'm thinking specifically of Amy Pond here, but it's not just Amy -- Martha gets this a lot as well ("I love Martha, she's amazing, even though the writers didn't do her justice"), and I'm sure it applies to other characters and other fandoms. (Glee springs to mind, given how much Glee fans seem to hate Glee, but I don't watch so I can't pick out specific examples.)
It's not even getting into the argument of whether or not Amy or Martha (for example) are poorly developed/trapped in poor narratives, because what sticks out to me is when I see someone say both at once; they define the narrative and/or development as bad but also go on to describe the character as great in spite of this. It's also I think something different from people having a favourite character, because that's sort of a more personal thing and I can imagine latching onto a character and then not particularly liking what happens with them but retaining that fondness anyway.
I don't think there's a right answer here but I am curious what people think.