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Two different protagonists?

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by cak85, Jul 19, 2020.

  1. cak85

    cak85 Minstrel

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    In my current WiP I am planning on planning two protagonists who could both be considered antagonists to each other and also each other's respective cultures. Basically they both want the same thing - to learn and gain more of the magical power in the world.

    However they end up having very different beliefs about how power should be wielded and who should wield power.

    Is there something where I should have a clear antagonist?
     
  2. Ruru

    Ruru Troubadour

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    I think this sort of thing comes down to reader preferences. Me personally, no, I don’t think you need a clear antagonist in the traditional sense.

    Your two main characters each have an antagonist (each other), so you still have a means to drive their respective story lines forward. IMO there is no need to have a typical villain. Your idea leaves room for much moral and ethical thinking on the part of the reader, which gets the reader super involved in the story.

    Not everyone will think that, but that’s my view.
     
  3. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    How does it end? Does one vanquish the other? Do they both simply get what they want?
     
  4. cak85

    cak85 Minstrel

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    Basically they are both young magic users. In my world magic is kind of mysterious and often misunderstood. This is because a lot the knowledge behind how magic works has been since a collapse of an ancient culture. (I know its a commonly used trope fantasy but I really find that trope interesting). Anyways, they both go on a journey to understand how magic works. Sometimes their paths intertwine but most of the story their paths are pretty separate.

    One character is a purist and only wants magic to happen in a certain way that feels safe to him.

    The other character is more of a visionary and she is open to using magic in a variety of different ways.

    At first they get along because they both want to learn and discover the same thing but eventually they break paths because neither of them are willing to compromise.

    The story ends when they both found their separate Orders and agree to keep their distance from each other. I imagine their relationship being very similar to Magneto and Professor X.
     
  5. CeruleanSpade

    CeruleanSpade Acolyte

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    Magneto and Professor X started out as friends working towards the same goals in the same way, though. It was only later tin that relationship hat their differences caused them to become enemies. The drama there was that very close friends broke away from each other. If these guys are on entirely separate journeys, then how are their differences going to have a chance to play off of each other? How are they friends? If the plot here is specifically about how their differing world views play off of each other, then why are you not having them spend more time together?
     
  6. S J Lee

    S J Lee Sage

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    Don't worry about the "trope" - it's fine, as long as you do it well. Have some little spin of your own - EG, all magic users slowly have their souls sucked out by the demon that provides magic etc ... some unique flavour of your own. And know WHY the magic died.....
    in Tolkien, it seems to be with the departure of the elves etc
    In GRRM, it seems to come and go in phases of the climate.... though which causes which is an interesting Q
    You do not need to explain to the readers. Just have your own answer. Figuring it out can be what keeps a reader interested

    Two protagonists - no worries if they both have a clear purpose in the story.

    EG two successful chefs / restaurant owners.

    One is self taught and rough and ready. Grew up in a restaurant, and that is it. keeps falling behind the times as regards new laws and rules
    vs
    The other has fancy training.... BUT has some unrealistic notions, and has college debt... how will they end up?

    If you have two wizards and they quarrel, you could even kill one off and keep the reader guessing...?

    Read the Illiad if you haven't already.... two protagonists, Achilles and Agamemmon. Their hatred for each other gets lots of their own Greeks killed .. yet they are on the same side. Both sort of villains-yet-heroes at the same time....
     
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2020
  7. S J Lee

    S J Lee Sage

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    I agree that you don't really need a villain any more.... eg, look at recent Disney movies.



    first 20 seconds... the writers are laughing about the fact that villains are not needed - their characters barely remember what one is any more

    protagonist vs inner self / temptation to whatever is fine if done right?
     
  8. Sunny dewbae

    Sunny dewbae Dreamer

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    i do not think that you necessarily did a clear antagonist. However I think it will important that you highlight the strengthens and flaws in each of their views. For example the purist belief in magic being used in a particular way may limit innovation, however it also limits abuses. This conversation happens in Marvel civil war. On one hand superheros do a lot of good however their goo attentions can also cause tragedy. Tony stark actions have saved many people however, in his quest to protect he creates Ultron who goes on to kill scours. You could also add another character the severs an antagonist to both. A character that is a visionary but their vision leads to authoritarian rule. Or the a characters who is a purist believe in the strict rules however breaks them by abusing dark or evil magic in efforts to build a better world. This character can help drive the wedge between the two mages and after that character goes bad they have to team up to defeat them.
     
  9. cak85

    cak85 Minstrel

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    Thanks! You have all given me a lot of "food for thought."

    Here is a little context, so I hope it helps!
    In my world, there was an ancient civilization known as the Bridge Builders. They used the Flow (my version of magic) in the world to create architectural marvels and massive and intricate bridges that connected canyons, and large areas. They also built underground civilizations too. Part of the reason why they are referred to as The Bridge Builders is because they how they view and use the Flow. They look at the Flow as a means to an end. Point 'a' always leads to point 'b' kind of thinking. There is very little room for interpretation.

    Eventually the bridge builders come in contact with an even more ancient race of semi-hominids called the Karuvians. The Karuvians are long lived and more bestial than human. They also have access to the Flow. They view the Flow as a Spiral. Point 'a' doesn't always lead to point 'b' as there are infinite amount of chances. This means that their

    The Karuvians help the Bridge Builders at first. The Bridge Builders begin to not just build intricate structures but begin to completely reshape the landscape - creating massive canyons, ravines, swaths of desert. Basically they turned a pretty habitable environment into badlands. The Karuvians don't like this and make the decision to completely destroy the Bridge Builders and all their creations. After doing this many of the Karuvians suffer intense guilt and decide to retreat in small family groups to various parts of the world. The Karuvians do not gather in large groups for fear that their use of the Flow may destroy an entire civilization again.

    Now enter my 2 protagonists:

    Character A is being formally trained in the use of the Flow. She is part of the Sacred Order of the Most Magnificent Bridge. She is a questioner by nature and does not like the dogmatic training.

    Character B is not formally trained in the Flow but only later realizes that he can access it. Character B comes from more of a profit based background. His father is head of a small trading group that has established trades routes across the various nations/regions.

    Both characters end up at in ancient underground city built by the Bridge Builders with the help of the Karuvians. They end up becoming friends because they both want to learn more about the history and the culture. Adventure than ensues in this ancient city. Eventually they learn that the Bridge Builders were completely wiped out by the Karuvians.

    Character A wants to use both the Spiral and the Bridge, as she sees them both as a means to generate power and knowledge.

    Character B wants to keep the knowledge of the Spiral a secret because of how much damage it is has caused.

    Eventually the two of them part ways. I have not figured that out yet. I am thinking either a fight or one of them escapes.

    Character A sets up her own order that is based on combining both the Spiral and the Bridge

    Character B sets up his own order that wants to maintain the purity of the Flow.
     
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