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Books with the fall/corruption arc?

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by Darkfantasy, Jan 10, 2020.

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  1. Darkfantasy

    Darkfantasy Sage

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    So I've just started fleshing out the idea for my story and my main character is going to follow the fall or corruption arc (so start of fairly good and slowly change into a villain).

    I've been trying to look for fantasy book or series that achieve this well because I've never really read a book that does one of these arcs accept for Wuthering Heights. Would be grateful for any suggestions. Thank you.
     
  2. The Dark One

    The Dark One Maester

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    Darth Vader?

    Apart from that, can't think of anything off the top of my head... If you want a guy who's just plain bad from the start but everyone loves him (including the reader) you could try the Flashman books for a bit of insight.

    Not fantasy though - historical fiction.
     
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  3. Prince of Spires

    Prince of Spires Troubadour

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    The Darth Vader origin story of films 1-3 is indeed a big one (though I thought they were badly done). I think the recent film about the Joker is another one (though I haven't seen it, I've heard good things about it).

    I can't think of any books where the main character falls and stays down. I did read an interesting blog post about it recently: Transform a Hero Into a Villain in Seven Steps.

    I think the key (for me) is that the character should make a lot of small and reasonable steps that each take him further towards his fall. This is (one of the places at least) where Star Wars went wrong with Anakin. He goes from struggling with the dark side to accepting it to murdering little children in one scene or so. That makes for a (for me) very unsatisfying fall.
     
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  4. Darkfantasy

    Darkfantasy Sage

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    Well, she starts off a good person in general, but the cracks are there, just very small. Surrounded by the right people she may have not gone downwards. I don't know if I can bring myself to watch those movies about Vader, heard too much negativity and it would forever scar me. lol

    What about books or series where the main character turns it back around? They come good again in the end? I just really wanted to read something to get a feel for how to go about it. I've read articles but it's not the same as seeing it put into practice.
     
  5. The only thing that I can think of off the top of my head is Macbeth. I'm sure that I have read others but I can't remember what they are at the moment.
     
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  6. pmmg

    pmmg Auror

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    Count of Monte Cristo and Sweeny Todd might be two. LOTR has several characters who do this, including the hobbit himself who is becoming more a slave to the ring. I have a book like this that can be found on Amazon :). I think Crime and Punishment also fits this bill.
     
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  7. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    Maybe Abercrombie’s Best Served Cold. Not that any character transforms into a traditional villain but no one escapes with their moral character intact.
     
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  8. R.H. Smith

    R.H. Smith Minstrel

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    In visual terms, if you watched Game of Thrones you could literally see Daenarys transformation from the wanting to do good - to doing good by being evil sort of thing. Some people say they didn't see the arc, but i find that hard to believe. Anywayz, that's one arc you can use for inspiration. Hope this helps!
     
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  9. Samantha England

    Samantha England Scribe

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    Haven't read any fantasy stories that have a 'hero to villain" character arc, but I can offer advice concerning "evil" D&D campaigns and why they're difficult to do. This is because a really good evil campaign isn't a murderous hack-n-slash, it's leading the players along a series of events, encounters, and choices that, by the end, they are revealed to have been the evil. They have to logic themselves into the position of the villain, and yet they don't believe themselves to be the villain. They will have made choices that to them seem absolutely reasonable but to the rest of that particular part of the world those decisions are "evil" or even up the scale of "horrific". Actually, now that I think about it, Doctor Doom from Marvel Comics (read Books of Doom, in particular) is a compelling and dynamic villain who never sees himself as the villain. Ever. Not really a hero to begin with, but his thought process makes a fantastic read all on its own.

    (Ignore the big bad in my main fantasy series though, he's just a spiteful God of Death and Darkness lashing out at his siblings at the unreasonable high price of the destruction of the mortal realm ;) )
     
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  10. Prince of Spires

    Prince of Spires Troubadour

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    This does require there to be an objective definition of good and evil though. If all the choices are "good" at the time and they have unforeseen consequences that turn out to be "evil" then I'd argue that the character is still good, just also tragic. It's only when you make evil choices that you can be deemed evil.

    Only when you have an outside, objective definition of good and evil can you say that these characters are evil. Otherwise, if evil is in the eye of the beholder then most people are both good and evil, depending on the side of the fence you're on.

    Simple example. A band of adventurers fights an orc army invading a country. Sounds pretty good, right? But from the perspective of the orcs, there is this evil band of adventurers murdering them left and right.
     
  11. Samantha England

    Samantha England Scribe

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    I can wholeheartedly agree with this and your example is really nice! Personally, though, I usually go for the more greyscale "depends on which side of the fence you're on" kind of evil, or at least that what I'm running for with a dark-fantasy story of mine. People have ambitions and so more often than not have an ulterior motive, which is a rather sad mindset for people in this world, particularly the main character. It doesn't mean that I don't like the classic good vs evil saga, but it is hard to nuance it.
     
  12. Darkfantasy

    Darkfantasy Sage

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    "depends on which side of the fence you're on"

    Definitely! Since this is what closely resembles life.
     
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