One of the most frequent ways to make characters stand out in fiction or myth is to give them a staggering, amazingly powerful ability. Something that mere talent doesn't give you. Something miraculous, larger than the largest life, unique and insurmountable:
Like a dude that can part an entire sea!
Or a dude that can burn the world with fire from every appendage of his, and fight a giant serpent dragon!
Or a girl that can make the earth itself be her weapon…
…that stays undefeated and awesome well into her old age!
A dude that does some kata mumbo jumbo with his guns that probably defies physics everywhere:
Or a spirit princess that becomes a devil after her kin has been eradicated, and commits genocide in revenge to forge a death-reversal cursed jewel out of their souls:
There's a lot more (add yours in the comments!), and they're all awesome when in truth, if you think about it, they shouldn't be. They're overpowered, almost invicible in their talents, and they should be ‘mary sues’ in that they can't fail.
But they aren't.
Although they are unlikely to be defeated, are ridiculously powerful, they don't break the story they are in. They are overpowered, but they are not perfect. They are loved by some but hated by others, and still others are indifferent to them.
And most importantly, they are flawed in ways that are important. These ways may not make them weaker, but they make them imperfect, force them to struggle with something in spite of their powers or abilities, and require them to still evolve and develop through the story. Each character I've referenced with the images has at least one significant issue they struggle with: from self-doubt and family issues to blindness, to a desire to fit in with their loved ones, to struggling with fate, to struggling with pain and staggering loss.
They are individuals that have to problem-solve. Their power(s) won't resolve the problem, no matter how immense. They, the character, will need to do that. And in that sense, all the power of the universe is useless, equalizing them with the average person that is watching the movie, reading the comic, or binging the series.
Because they need to problem-solve, they don't break the story. Because they have a very valid, convincingly serious risk of failure or destruction (however that translates in the story), the stakes are high and resonate with the audience. The setting they are in can hold, because they too have to work within it, and their powers only provide a scale or dimension in which the story can expand and develop. Because we can identify with the struggle, we can be immersed and connect with the character even though we'll never be able to cause an earthquake with our mind or fly or command the elements.
Do you have an overpowered character? If so, how do you handle them?
Don’t forget you can now advertise on DrunkDuck for just $2 in whichever ad spot you like! The money goes straight into running the site. Want to know more? Click this link here! Or, if you want to help us keep the lights on you can sponsor us on Patreon. Every bit helps us!
Special thanks to our patrons!!
Justnopoint - Banes - RMccool - Abt_Nihil - Gunwallace - PaulEberhardt - Emma_Clare - FunctionCreep - SinJinsoku - Smkinoshita - jerrie - Chickfighter - Andreas_Helixfinger - Tantz_Aerine - Genejoke - Davey Do - Gullas - Roma - NanoCritters - Teh Andeh - Peipei - Digital_Genesis - Hushicho - Palouka - cheeko - Paneltastic - L.C.Stein - dpat57 - Bravo1102 - The Jagged - LoliGen - OrcGirl - Miss Judged - Fallopiancrusader - arborcides - ChipperChartreuse - Mogtrost - InkyMoondrop - Jgib99 - Hirokari - Orgivemedeath Ind - Mks Monsters - GregJ
Tantz_Aerine at 12:00AM, April 22, 2023
©2011 WOWIO, Inc. All Rights Reserved Mastodon