Javert is such a stellar and powerful character in Les Miserables that he has his very own trope.
He's the skilled, dogged, unwavering locomotive of a chaser that in the name of the law, the church, the state, the cause pursues and persecutes the hero of a story, and does so with sincere belief that the hero is in the wrong. Of course in reality, the hero is the one with the moral high ground, but it takes the Javert character an entire hero's journey of his own to understand it.
And then, once the Javert character hits that point where he/she understands that they'd been wrong the whole time, serving a master they would morally condemn, and have been pursuing the person they should be protecting or admiring or helping, comes the crossroad.
The Javert character CANNOT just stop what he/she is doing and be done with it, go home. The makeup of the character is such that they will need to act upon the realisation, because that's what they do: they pursue and eliminate what they sincerely believe is evil (or condemnable in any case).
They need to act, and there's two ways they can take:
1. They eliminate the easiest of the evil hurdles the hero is facing and that they can deal with- themselves. Like the trope's namesake, they commit suicide in some way and take themselves out of the game that way, effecting punishment upon themselves but ultimately leaving the hero to deal with the big bad.
2. They join up the hero's cause (however hard that might be to accomplish) and they work to eliminate the big bad themselves, make up for the damage by reconstruction and advocacy, generall help anyway they can to mend and further the hero's mission as a way of repentance- the St. Paul effect, if you will.
And there could also be a third way, where they choose ‘all of the above’… and off themselves AFTER they have corrected what they could in the best of their capacity.
Any of those options can be powerful in the story, so much so that the Javert character might highjack the spotlight and the audience's affections (who doesn't love the penitent reformee?). And it definitely adds drama and depth in the story.
The question is, which should you pick, as in what will be more realistic for your Javert to do? What will sound valid and powerful as opposed to melodramatic and overblown?
That's what I'll discuss next time :)
Have you had Javert characters in your webcomics?
Tantz_Aerine at 12:00AM, May 26, 2018
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