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What's so funny about being a good guy?

Discussion in 'Fanfic Discussion' started by Celestin, Nov 20, 2010.

  1. Celestin

    Celestin The Cursed Child

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    My little rant about what bothers me with fanfiction and not only with it for some time.

    We all love dark reinterpretation of characters (one especially) in HP fanfiction, this forum name is enough proof, but lastly I'm tired of them. Dark, semi-dark (whatever that means), independent who has a "backbone" (meaning doesn't have any problems with killing using dark magic, because apparently there is no true dark magic) you name it. Sometimes I feel like more than a half HP fics are about dark Harry and maybe you can't have competent Harry without him becoming more or less dark.

    What I'd like to see is more decent fics doing a reverse. Creating "light" Harry, who is trying to do good even if it's not the easiest thing to do (and it's almost never is). And I don't mean martyr Harry either, like canon Harry was. I want Harry who makes this decision on his own, not when his friend's life is in a danger. The one who may fight Death Eaters, but at the same time is trying to reach the one who are not yet too far in the dark. One who understand that you can't make the world a better place with just fighting evil, but you also need to create good on your own. But then, I think most people reading something like that would be like "why is he so stupid? he should just kill DE and be done with it."

    I see the same problem with too much dark fic from other fandoms - like Naruto and especially when someone is trying to write intelligent Naruto. It's like stupid Naruto can forgive people of village for their own stupidity, but smart Naruto can't be so forgiving. He needs to start hate village, become more dark and vicious to them.

    Another example you can plainly see in comics books where there was a time when 'dark' was a synonym with 'deep character'. And when we have truly good character like Superman most people say "he is too perfect, because he doesn't have enough dark in him" or just laugh that "he is the big blue Boy Scout".

    So I wonder - why people have so much aversion to a truly good guys? Why when they see one, they tend to ridicule him, instead of taking as example?
     
  2. Rehio

    Rehio First Year ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

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    I'm always looking for a "light" Harry, actually. Dark Harry is fun and all, but I can't say I agree with what drives the character most of the time. I like the heroes, not the anti-heroes.

    There's just always so much wankery over "He's not good, he's just a stupid sheep, the good guys are really just too stupid to see what's real."

    Someday I'd like to read a story where "Light" magic is just as fucking powerful as "Dark" magic.
     
  3. Phantom of the Library

    Phantom of the Library Unspeakable

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    I think it mainly has to do with the fact that people are generally assholes. We want Harry to just kill Death Eaters because we would just kill Death Eaters. We wouldn't try to stun them, or save them from their own choices; we would AK the motherfucker and be done with it.

    Because of this it's harder for us to sympathize with a truly benevolent character. We just can't imagine being so forgiving and kind to everyone. Thus, when people write fanfiction, they write how they themselves would react to the situation and label it more 'real'.

    That being said, I also would like to see some more Light!Harry stories, and I find it more interesting than Dark!Harry.

    Edit:

    What I'd really like to see is a Harry somewhat modeled after Michael Carpenter from Dresden Files. Someone who truly stands as a force of good, who thinks that simply killing your enemies isn't enough to win a war. Admittedly, it doesn't seem like it could easily work in a HP setting, but I still think it would make an interesting character. We've read a million stories where Harry questions his beliefs every other chapter, it would be nice to have one where he's completely unbending with his principles.
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2010
  4. EinStern

    EinStern Seventh Year

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    Because frankly, good guys are not very common compared to bad guys, and in fiction (including fanfiction) the reason a character is "a good guy" is painfully often either completely contrived or nonexistent.

    Exceptions exist, though. Say, Emiya Shirou from Fate/stay Night. I like that character, even though he takes being a nice guy to throughly suicidally stupid extremes (not counting any late-game interactions with Shinji).

    Also, what PotL said. It's simply easier to sympathize with a dark character than it is to sympathize with a light character. A good guy is an ideal, something which one rarely encounters or understands in the real world.
     
  5. Red Aviary

    Red Aviary Hogdorinclawpuff ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

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    There seems to be a "good is dumb" misconception with those types of characters, paired with maybe "lawful stupid."

    Which is a shame, because I think the best characters are the good guys who aren't afraid to cut loose once in a while. Like, say, Dresden. The guy who'll shovel the sidewalk for his elderly neighbors in a blizzard, and who'll also commit righteous genocide on a race of bloodsucking monsters if he has to.
     
  6. Trig

    Trig Auror

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    A Light!Harry doesn't exactly need to be benevolent in my opinion, an unwillingness to kill someone would be enough most of the time. There's no need for him to be like Dumbledore, trying to redeem as many persons as possible.

    I personally would prefer to read about Harry trying to take care of the root of the problem: The segregation of Slytherin(s). Preventing someone else from picking up after Voldemort's death and so on. I think this could be interesting to read, Harry representing the moral middle ground and arguing for/against both sides at once.

    There've been a couple of fics that attempted something similar, but all of them failed to meet my expectations iirc.
     
  7. Harvest King

    Harvest King Third Year

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    I disagree. I'd like to see a story where Harry is just like Dumbledore in that respect. I just think it would be interesting to see. This is one of the few situations in which Harry could pull it off since magic essentially allows him to end a duel by capturing them just as easily as killing them.

    Dumbledore does so quite easily with the most skilled death eaters. He takes them all out as if they were nothing more than an irritation. I'm not advocating elevating Harry to Dumbledore's level, but there is a lot to be said for making Harry a very creative wizard. I actually had a plot bunny for such a story, but I'm afraid I'd never finish it if I started it. I hate to be that author because I hate reading stories with authors like that.
     
  8. Juggler

    Juggler Death Eater DLP Supporter

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    Off the top of my head, the only good sort of Harry I can think of is the one from Path of Decision. But even then, he still used underhanded tactics and some dark spells (I think).

    Good is really just a perception; the only thing seperating them, truly, is that the good side in Harry Potter doesn't use lethal and/or torturous spells (excluding crazy-ass Moody), wheras the bad side will use fear tactics and the like to gain power over the majority.

    A situation where this is reversed is shown in one of the old fics (can't remember title; I think it was Shezza's work) where Harry and his cohorts were shown as terrorists and fighting from their Azkaban base. Another one is the oneshot that Joe pumped into the WbA a month or so ago, where a scarred terrorist Harry bombed a meeting of Voldemort's. In these situations, the oppressed are shown as the bad guys, and the majority are always considered the good guys.

    I like to see good guy Harry, but I don't like to see a weak Harry who always loses. I have yet to see a good Harry who is good at dueling, or even has a strength of character greater than that of rocks. It doesn't help that canon made Harry win nearly everything through chance and other peopple's schemes.
     
  9. Provis

    Provis Second Year

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    To begin, I have no real problem with a light Harry; however, last I checked, wars weren't fought with pillows. In war, you need some way to effectively gain an advantage over an enemy, and throwing someone in a prison that they will simply break out of is not a good option.


    In my (most likely flawed) opinion, for a light Harry to be viable in a head-to-head fight he would have to be substantially more capable than his opponents. This is an issue due to the fact that in canon one's ability with magic appears to be primarily determined by knowledge and experience.


    With the pursuit of 'battle knowledge/experience' you also have the issue of finding 'light' motivations, as seeking out ways to defeat your foes in a life or death struggle isn't exactly the most peaceful hobby, and could very reasonably lead to the 'dark side'.


    This all leads to Harry needing to out think, out plot, and otherwise be more clever than his opponents if he wants to make an impact. A protagonist that appears realistically clever requires an author that is at least reasonably clever themselves... and those are in short supply.


    I just think that there are very few authors that could write a good light Harry without giving him ridiculous superpowers (which then make the story ridiculous); with few authors comes few stories. Take that how you will.
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2010
  10. Ayreon

    Ayreon Unspeakable DLP Supporter

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    Most stories (and even canon to a certain extent) stack the deck in favor of a kill-all-death-eaters-solution.

    First of all, they're depicted as evil and not just the enemy most of the time, with them killing and torturing civilians for fun - often even if it doesn't make any sense to do that.
    That means you can easily argue that everyone who joins such a plainly evil organizations must be evil too and deserves nothing better. No well-intentioned extremists or deceived idealists here.

    Secondly, badboy-Harry (almost) never kills someone innocent and has to deal with the consequences of that. We almost never see people being put under the Imperius Curse to to work as canon-fodder for the Death Eaters. In that scenario, you shouldn't just kill everyone on the enemy side, because you don't know if they're actually doing it willingly.
    That would be an occasion for some real drama after his first kills - it being just some poor single mother of five under the Imperius.

    Third, no one ever surrenders. Or if they do, then it's fake because they anticipate being released immediately after the arrest because of some corruption scheme.
    This is an old trick in movies when the audience really wants to see the bad guys die, but the hero needs an excuse to kill them.
    No matter how futile the situation, they'll try some underhanded trick to kill the hero, so that he has no choice but to kill them in 'self-defense'.

    If you take these elements out or soften them a bit, you can make a good case for a Harry who takes the Death Eaters down alive and then supports giving them fair trials.
    (Although Azkaban is not an appropriate punishment for all but the most evil of people.)
     
  11. Harvest King

    Harvest King Third Year

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    In most cases, I'd say you would be correct in your assumption that experience is important. However, this concept seems mostly fanon in origin. Albus Dumbledore had little to no battle experience when he decided to finally stop screwing around and deal with his old friend who was a dark lord with plenty of experience in battle and the elder wand. It ended up being a duel the likes of which had never been seen before, and Dumbledore kicked his ass.

    With magic, battle experience seems to have very little to do with it if you have enough skill with magic. The same is true with Voldemort who easily overpowers multiple opponents. Hell, even in DH where his curses weren't affecting people at the end he was able to hold off multiple powerful wizards while counterattacking without so much as gaining a scratch on his person.
     
  12. Randeemy

    Randeemy Headmaster DLP Supporter

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    I dont think anyone here would really disagree with the op. But how many stories are there where 'light Harry' isnt just an annoying little bitch and I really dont believe that Independent Harry = happy to go round killing anyone who gets in his way. I certainly dont much care for fics where Harry just starts killing people. But I also dont like reading a goody goody Harry who never learns from mistakes, uses the same shitty spells and doesn't broaden himself in the world of magic.
     
  13. Republic

    Republic The Snow Queen ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

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    I agree with what has been said about HP from those above.
    On the Naruto part however, it is not as noticeable as it is in HP. Admittedly, the majority is like that, but there is a big number that isn't. 95% of those fics is crap too.
    However, I have saved various fics which I think are good. All in all, the Naruto fanfiction community has a slightly lighter tone than the HP one.

    Light Lord Potter ftw.

     
  14. Ayreon

    Ayreon Unspeakable DLP Supporter

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    You don't have to throw the baby out with the bathwater.
    We're more thinking of an actual successor to Dumbledore, not wuss-Harry who goes into angst-mode for 5 chapters after killing Bellatrix because he's now killed someone and 'doesn't that make him the same?'.
     
  15. Tomatta

    Tomatta Seventh Year

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    Someone crucio this mother fucker.
     
  16. Provis

    Provis Second Year

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    Certainly innate skill is a factor; however, to develop that skill you still need knowledge/experience. In terms of experience, I didn't specifically mean battle experience, though that is an aspect. With Dumbledore taking on Grindelwald you have to take into account that Dumbledore was a prodigy and about fifty years old. Voldemort is also around seventy at the end, and like Dumbledore, had devoted his life to learning about magic. Harry in most stories will be in his teens...
     
  17. wordhammer

    wordhammer Supreme Mugwump DLP Supporter

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    I think you're mixing your canon and fanon, there.

    For one, the Death Eaters did use the Imperius to fill out their ranks- Stan Shunpike was one of the pursuers in the Battle of Seven Harrys. Many of the 'evil' Death Eaters show reluctance and remorse for their actions, even the Malfoys and Wormtail. The truly un-saveable villains appear to be Voldemort, Bellatrix and Greyback.

    HK and Provis have the right of it, in that Harry would need to truly out-class the Death Eaters as Dumbledore did, in order to motivate them to consider a change in allegiance. Even if you think Dumbledore was a right bastard in how he handled Harry, you have to acknowledge that he sought to give people a chance to see how the 'good guys' do it and make their own decisions. Maybe he should have been a better teacher, reinforcing his philosophy by telling them what he was doing, instead of just being that way.

    Another thought- people often refer to this as a war, but it doesn't quite feel like one. Except when everyone lets loose at the end, the process of it seems more like competing political movements. Wizarding culture isn't defined by location but by population, so the battlegrounds are in the hearts and minds of the magical people. Killing anyone who disagrees misses the point. Voldemort recogized this initially in his return, because he targeted very specific individuals that could affect public opinion. At some point he lost his way, and the totalitarianism schtick became the big plan. This was not a path to victory for him- even if Harry lost and no one could kill him, the government he established would always be plagued by insurrection.

    Harry's victory (if you can call it one) was in maintaining a pristine reputation with those who knew him personally. Everyone could tell he was victim of a smear campaign. If Harry had 'gone Dark', the whole thing would have probably fallen apart.

    That's my frustration with the Dark!Harry stories- he invariably sees immediate benefit to choosing the Dark path, and gets support and allies from everywhere because 'he's taking it seriously', without losing an inch of ground with the moral people who followed Dumbledore (unless they were already betraying him). Why would anyone want to ally with a punk kid who kills respected adults and steals from their houses, works to cause chaos and destabilize everything, threatening his followers with a 'my way or get out' attitude?

    One more thing: Mad-Eye Moody didn't kill his opponents either. That's why he has so many wounds. Barty Crouch Sr. granted the Aurors permission to use the Unforgivables during the first rise of Voldemort, but that didn't help them defeat him or his followers.
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2010
  18. Hashasheen

    Hashasheen Half-Blood Prince

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    Somebody, somewhere needs to write this. Harry could learn a lot from ol' Michael.
     
  19. Harvest King

    Harvest King Third Year

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    Age isn't a factor. Dumbledore was doing things with a wand that the NEWT proctor had never seen before, and the NEWTs are like college levels. Grendelwald starting fighting way before he was that old and no one else was able to defeat him even though they had been practicing magic much longer.

    Voldemort was far from 70 when the war started, and he spent several years as a spirit doing nothing but chilling. I doubt he was still experimenting while waging a war either. This seems to indicate that they gained enough magical knowledge to roll over most wizards before they even finished school or shortly thereafter. I doubt Dumbledore's studies in Alchemy helped his wand magic much, and I'm betting that was a pretty long and intensive project he was working on. I'm just saying it isn't unreasonable for someone to be that powerful as a teenager.

    If anything, Harry's generation is filled with unskilled wizards. Hell, James, Sirius, Remus, Lily, and Snape accomplished more magically than would be realistic for anything anyone in Harry's year could do. Let's not even talk about things people like Tom and Albus were doing while at school.

    Edit: Just to clarify, the way JKR meant NEWTs to be is the height of education. She has said so in interviews. Anything more would be like post graduate study or in the case of law enforcement learning to make a case, stealth and tracking, etc. She just does a piss poor job of showing this in canon.
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2010
  20. Swimdraconian

    Swimdraconian Denarii Host DLP Supporter

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    The flip side of this being that Harry's generation didn't have a brewing war to drive them towards success; they were the generation that came from peace and were obviously, fat and sassy with it. Don't entirely discredit Harry's generation - there's a large difference between how the Marauders' gen was raised and how Harry's generation was raised.
     
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