There’s been a lot of talk about strong characters lately, and I’ve been seeing some confusion about the word character. It has multiple meanings depending on how it’s used, and while I’m not the most qualified person to talk about this, I definitely feel like it’s time.
Character can mean an individual in a work of art. You can have characters in plays, books, paintings, etc.
Character can also mean a trait of a person. For instance to have strong character means that you have a strong morals, or you’re not afraid to do the right thing versus the easy thing.
You can also have a strong character in a book. This would be a character who has been defined so well that the reader knows exactly how they should behave. Strong characters make choices that impact their lives and the lives around them. Strong characters do things.
And here’s where things get screwy, you can have a strong character with weak character. I know, that line there looks a little crazy, but it’s true. Example: Wormtail.
Wormtail is the quintessential strong character with weak character. We know Wormtail, we know what he is capable of, and he makes choices that impact the world around him. His choice to frame Sirius has a major impact on the books, and Sirius’ life. That’s how he is a strong character.
But Wormtail has weak character. He’s not very good with right and wrong, and many of his choices are about doing what’s easy rather than what’s right. His moral compass doesn’t exactly point north, if you get my drift.
So yeah, try not to confuse the two. And internet, I wouldn’t mind if we could stop arguing about Bella Swan and whether she’s a strong character or has strong character. I don't have anything against those books, I'm just tired of people arguing over them. Thoughts?