What makes a character deep?

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bartholen:

Let's make the reverse and drop Gandalf in New York City. Depending on where he'd be in the plot of LOTR, first he'd likely try to communicate with anyone he knows. He'd try to figure out where he is and how to return to Middle-Earth. But he probably wouldn't be too much in a hurry to turn down an evening at a jazz bar, or seeing the sights.

How does that even work? Surely that's the sign of a shallow character. People may like to assume that they could legitimately survive in, say, 2nd Century Rome. But you know, we wouldn't. We'd die. And that's Earth, our own history. Beyond maybe the most hardcore of historical re-enactment types, no ... we'd be utterly lost, we would barely be able to communicate, we'd insult the wrong people, and we'd probably starve pr get the shit kicked out of us by approaching a reasonably dressed person and their bodyguards smacking you in the face with their torch... and then starve.

So unless you want to write a story about Gandalf getting hit by a bus and ending up in the morgue instead of going te to toe with a balrog (there were multiples, not 'the', a) ... I literally can't imagine Gandalf in NYC.

To make that even more plain to see ... how many homeless schizophrenia sufferers do you end up seeing on the street? And they at least have the benefit of experiencing our world in full. Gandalf is that and with no other contextual knowledge.

He's a roadside pancake waiting to happen. Either that or he'll end up with 5 holes in him as soon as he unsheathes his blade after the police accost him. You get people being shot in the U.S. because they won't cross their legs, while lying on their belly, while being ordered to crawl 20 feet across the ground (seriously, how does anybody expect to be able to do that if you're even partly disabled?), all while some fucking arsehole with a rifle is threatening to gun them down... and getting off without any charge.

They'll fucking shoot a crazy man flashing a sword at them.

Because that's our world. That's what happens in it.

I give Gandalf about 20 minutes... precisely because we know for a fact none ofthat happens in his world.

Environment is everything ... if a character is so shallow you can see them just doing stuff outside everything that has instructed them to be as they are, then they're not a very well thought out character.

The fact that applies to us in this world should inform that. People with traumatic childhoods carry that for the rest of their lives even when their socioeconomic situations change. I could grow up in the same suburb as another persn living in today's world, and not truly be able to put myself in their shoes.

This is why writers have to research people before writing characters that might reflect them. The whole basis of 'positive representation' is when someone goes out of their way to perhaps channel the living experiences of minority groups that have very specific, and alien events that happen to them due to that social perception of being a said minority.

I cannot just transport those characters elsewhere, or imagine them, outside the context of their environment ... because their environment is everything to shaping their experiences. That is the definition of deep characters. That you literally cannot imagine them being and feeling as they do in any other environment than the one they experience.

MrCalavera:

Silentpony:
I've never seen any character as deep. But then again I dont see people as deep either.
People aren't that complicated, and it seems that a lot of what people think of as "deep" is just non sequitur personality traits clashing with others.
Ozy from watchmen. Hes a complete genius, and a complete idiot. Wow, how deep.
No, that's just bad writing.

He still manages to finish his plan, while explaining it to the heroes, so that alone puts him above most comic book villains.

And the extreme measures are kinda justified(from Ozymandias' POV), because he didn't have other, less violent means, like, let's say a magical glove that makes anything possible with a snap of a finger.

But his plan was undone even before he explained. Rorschach already gave his journal to the press before the confrontation, because he knew he would die, and he knew Ozy's plan needed to be told. Everything Ozy does is undone. He looses.

Silentpony:

MrCalavera:

Silentpony:
I've never seen any character as deep. But then again I dont see people as deep either.
People aren't that complicated, and it seems that a lot of what people think of as "deep" is just non sequitur personality traits clashing with others.
Ozy from watchmen. Hes a complete genius, and a complete idiot. Wow, how deep.
No, that's just bad writing.

He still manages to finish his plan, while explaining it to the heroes, so that alone puts him above most comic book villains.

And the extreme measures are kinda justified(from Ozymandias' POV), because he didn't have other, less violent means, like, let's say a magical glove that makes anything possible with a snap of a finger.

But his plan was undone even before he explained. Rorschach already gave his journal to the press before the confrontation, because he knew he would die, and he knew Ozy's plan needed to be told. Everything Ozy does is undone. He looses.

Oh no you don't- you can't just blindly keep saying the same thing while utterly ignoring a well articulated counterpoint just because it didn't suit you. Here, I'll repost it here to save you the trouble of finding it:

evilthecat:

Silentpony:
But failed to think one of his fellow crime-fighters would keep a journal, and would give that journal to the press. Remember Watchmen ends with the implication that tomorrow everything gets undone, the Cold War is back on, Ozy is exposed and Dr. Manhattan is free.

When is that implied?

Again, the implication here is rather barefacedly addressed through the conversation between Ozymandias and Manhattan. Adrian, in his only moment of weakness or doubt, asks John whether he did the right thing in the end, to which John replies that nothing ever ends, before teleporting away and leaving Adrian alone and unsettled. It's a great character moment because it reveals Adrian's flaw, that he was so fixated on that moment and preventing that disaster that he never looked ahead of it. He never fully understood the weight he was taking on, or the full implications for what he might also be responsible for in the future, by virtue of taking responsibility now.

But this isn't just a character flaw, it's also a metanarrative critique. Stories are written to have an ending, which means normally in order to make that ending satisfying everything is tied up and resolved, with no loose elements. The only reason to leave anything outstanding is to bait or tease a sequel. Watchmen's resolution is left intentionally open in accordance with the themes of the previous conversation, the story ends but it isn't resolved, the consequences are unknown and unforeseen.

We have no idea what the implications of Rorschach's journal will be. Heck, we don't know when it will even be discovered because we don't actually see anyone reading it. Rorschach never had all the information when he was writing his journal and true to form he sent it to an extreme right wing tabloid with little integrity. I mean, if you were to speculate on everything we know, the chances are Rorschach's journal would be declared a hoax, but perhaps enough people would believe to sow doubt. The journal is an intentional unresolved loose end intended to illustrate the explicit theme of doubt and unpredictability which has already come up several times in the story.

It's not bad writing. Bad writing would be writing a story with no themes, no ideas and nothing to say. Having characters who are perfectly consistent and "realistic" is often the opposite of good writing. Part of fiction is that characters can be "heightened" versions of real people.

Besides, Ozymandias being unable to predict Rorschach's actions. Gee, I wonder if that was foreshadowed in any way. Perhaps if one of them was literally named after and wore a mask based on a projection test in which a person ascribes meaning based on one's own personality characteristics onto an otherwise meaningless image, that would be an explicit enough hint..

Silentpony:

MrCalavera:

Silentpony:
I've never seen any character as deep. But then again I dont see people as deep either.
People aren't that complicated, and it seems that a lot of what people think of as "deep" is just non sequitur personality traits clashing with others.
Ozy from watchmen. Hes a complete genius, and a complete idiot. Wow, how deep.
No, that's just bad writing.

He still manages to finish his plan, while explaining it to the heroes, so that alone puts him above most comic book villains.

And the extreme measures are kinda justified(from Ozymandias' POV), because he didn't have other, less violent means, like, let's say a magical glove that makes anything possible with a snap of a finger.

But his plan was undone even before he explained. Rorschach already gave his journal to the press before the confrontation, because he knew he would die, and he knew Ozy's plan needed to be told. Everything Ozy does is undone. He looses.

Okay, three things here:

Ozymandias' plan was to kill few million people, and frame Manhattan for it, so both sides of the Iron Curtain would blame the doc. Both of these things happened. Now whether that'll bring lasting peace is what he hoped for, and time will tell.

Was there a sequel to Alan Moore's Watchmen, where we see Ozzy's plan failing? Because all we've seen in the original is Rorschach's journal landing in the loony bin, of some local rag gazette. If the contents somehow land in an article, there's the problem of credibility, since the alleged author(widely known as a violent, crazy hobo) is dead.

And finally, i never claimed Ozymandias' plan is without faults, just that it still succeeds, as opposed to most elaborate comic book villain conspiracies.

Before I say anything, Is the Sniper from the movie Phone Booth a deep character?

Squilookle:
SNIP

I ignored it because it was mindless nonsense, not worth considering. What, Rorschach is himself a Rorschach test and no one can predict him?! Ludicrous. He's a man in a mask. He's no more an unpredictable, self-interpreting Rorschach test than Batman is an actual bat.
To imply that the man who out-thought God himself would run afoul of the first day Psy 101 joke test? Absurd. Simply absurd.

Rorschach eats. He poops. He sleeps. He walks. He breathes. He bleeds. and I predicted all of that, without once taking the test. And the fact Rorschach was caught by the police in a trap Ozy set for him shows he's predicable. Ozy knows him. He can predict him to the individual movement he makes in a room. Knowing he'll walk back and forth for a valuable minute, rather than check to see if the Monarch is dead.
Ozy should have known about the journals he keeps, known he'd give them to the press, conspiracy or not, and would have already bought every single newspaper in the world to make sure the journal never sees ink. Because, not to belabor it, but he out-thought a God, who can be everywhere in all time, ever, at the same time. And its bad writing that he didn't.
Hell I remember hearing that Alan Moore himself doesn't think Watchmen was well written, and especially hates the movie.

Silentpony:

Ozy should have known about the journals he keeps, known he'd give them to the press, conspiracy or not, and would have already bought every single newspaper in the world to make sure the journal never sees ink. Because, not to belabor it, but he out-thought a God, who can be everywhere in all time, ever, at the same time. And its bad writing that he didn't.

Dr. Manhattan is not a deity. The story quite pointedly shows at several points that despite his great power, he is not all-seeing or all-powerful, and is still subject to some very human limitations. Recall his surprise and how unsettled he gets when learning that Moloch has cancer; recall how he changes his sense of perspective on human life as the result of a conversation with Silk Spectre. He is not omniscient, omnipotent, or omnipresent. Recall how he does not save the woman in Vietnam from the Comedian; this is the writer illustrating to us that there are behavioural restrictions to how he will/can act, even when something is within his physical power.

Ozymandias outsmarted him at one point, because he is exceptionally intuitive. That doesn't somehow mean he is able to predict every action everybody would take. The graphic novel never suggests that to be the case, and it doesn't make any sense as an extrapolation.

This turned into Watchmen debate suddenly :P

Silvanus:

Silentpony:

Ozy should have known about the journals he keeps, known he'd give them to the press, conspiracy or not, and would have already bought every single newspaper in the world to make sure the journal never sees ink. Because, not to belabor it, but he out-thought a God, who can be everywhere in all time, ever, at the same time. And its bad writing that he didn't.

Dr. Manhattan is not a deity. The story quite pointedly shows at several points that despite his great power, he is not all-seeing or all-powerful, and is still subject to some very human limitations. Recall his surprise and how unsettled he gets when learning that Moloch has cancer; recall how he changes his sense of perspective on human life as the result of a conversation with Silk Spectre. He is not omniscient, omnipotent, or omnipresent. Recall how he does not save the woman in Vietnam from the Comedian; this is the writer illustrating to us that there are behavioural restrictions to how he will/can act, even when something is within his physical power.

Ozymandias outsmarted him at one point, because he is exceptionally intuitive. That doesn't somehow mean he is able to predict every action everybody would take. The graphic novel never suggests that to be the case, and it doesn't make any sense as an extrapolation.

Moloch's cancer was because of Ozy. He was running the long game, purposefully clouding Manhattan's sight with partials so that he couldn't see the future. Remember when Rorschach went to him to predict the future and he couldn't. It wasn't that it wasn't within his powers, its that he was being blocked. By Ozy. Who had orchestrated the entire thing. Every single person who got cancer got cancer specifically because Ozy exposed them to a specific type and amount of radiation to frame Manhattan, all the while preventing Manhattan from seeing the future.
and in Vietnam Comedian makes is clear Manhattan could save the woman, and still does have that power, he just doesn't care. He could have stopped the glass, the bullet, the gun, and still could go back in time to prevent it, and simply didn't care enough to. Manhattan could have stopped Comedian, but chose not to.
Ozy did out-think a God, and the first step was to let the God think he was still a God.

and yes Ozy did predict people's exact movements, down to the second. He showed that with Rorschach, Manhattan, Owl, Comedian and Spectre. Every single one of them did exactly what Ozy predicted, down to the heartbeat, except for, badly written it was, a major glaring plot-whole with Rorschach

Silentpony:

Moloch's cancer was because of Ozy. He was running the long game, purposefully clouding Manhattan's sight with partials so that he couldn't see the future. Remember when Rorschach went to him to predict the future and he couldn't. It wasn't that it wasn't within his powers, its that he was being blocked. By Ozy. Who had orchestrated the entire thing. Every single person who got cancer got cancer specifically because Ozy exposed them to a specific type and amount of radiation to frame Manhattan, all the while preventing Manhattan from seeing the future.

I'm well aware of that. It still serves as an illustration that Dr. Manhattan is not omniscient. He's never presented as such.

Silentpony:

and in Vietnam Comedian makes is clear Manhattan could save the woman, and still does have that power, he just doesn't care. He could have stopped the glass, the bullet, the gun, and still could go back in time to prevent it, and simply didn't care enough to. Manhattan could have stopped Comedian, but chose not to.
Ozy did out-think a God, and the first step was to let the God think he was still a God.

Hence, behavioural restrictions, as I said. Another illustration of how limited he is.

Silentpony:

and yes Ozy did predict people's exact movements, down to the second. He showed that with Rorschach, Manhattan, Owl, Comedian and Spectre. Every single one of them did exactly what Ozy predicted, down to the heartbeat, except for, badly written it was, a major glaring plot-whole with Rorschach

That's combat. Would you believe that Mr. Miyagi is able to predict exactly what everybody is doing when they're at home, just because he can predict a fly's movements fast enough to catch it with chopsticks?

MrCalavera:
Was there a sequel to Alan Moore's Watchmen...

No, and hopefully there never will be.

More people need to learn the value of leaving stories be, rather than choosing a lazy payday with work of diminishing returns. In that sense, Alan Moore has outstanding artistic integrity.

Samtemdo8:
This turned into Watchmen debate suddenly :P

:/

Drathnoxis:

Samtemdo8:
This turned into Watchmen debate suddenly :P

:/

No one even answered my question regarding the Sniper from Phone Booth :(

Samtemdo8:

No one even answered my question regarding the Sniper from Phone Booth :(

I haven't seen Phone Booth. I suppose the real question is why they're doing it? Does it make sense? Is everyone else a purposeful idiot to artificially inflate the horror and tension of a sniper and a guy in a phonebooth?

The argument of a deep character isn't necessarily the narrative dump of their lives. Rather do they feel utterly at one (or utterly juxtaposed) to the environments and situations that arise in it?

If not then no.

Addendum_Forthcoming:

Samtemdo8:

No one even answered my question regarding the Sniper from Phone Booth :(

I haven't seen Phone Booth. I suppose the real question is why they're doing it? Does it make sense? Is everyone else a purposeful idiot to artificially inflate the horror and tension of a sniper and a guy in a phonebooth?

Oh you must see this movie if you want to nearly shit your pants.

Basically the Sniper is not your mere sociopathic killer. He targets people he deems to be "crooked" and the case of our protagonist in the Phone Booth, he did some crooked things, particularly between 2 women in his life.

Samtemdo8:

Oh you must see this movie if you want to nearly shit your pants.

Basically the Sniper is not your mere sociopathic killer. He targets people he deems to be "crooked" and the case of our protagonist in the Phone Booth, he did some crooked things, particularly between 2 women in his life.

Oh, well .. if it's clever I'll watch it sometime. Maybe tonight if I can't sleep.

Addendum_Forthcoming:

Samtemdo8:

Oh you must see this movie if you want to nearly shit your pants.

Basically the Sniper is not your mere sociopathic killer. He targets people he deems to be "crooked" and the case of our protagonist in the Phone Booth, he did some crooked things, particularly between 2 women in his life.

Oh, well .. if it's clever I'll watch it sometime. Maybe tonight if I can't sleep.

Brace yourself for a Nostalgia trip though because the movie does indeed SCREAMS the Early 2000s.

The Post 9/11 look and imagry of movies is at its strongest here.

Agema:

No, and hopefully there never will be.

More people need to learn the value of leaving stories be, rather than choosing a lazy payday with work of diminishing returns. In that sense, Alan Moore has outstanding artistic integrity.

I'm sorry to tell you that DC published a prequel series entitled 'Before Watchmen' in 2012, primarily focusing on each member individually, and also published a sequel crossover with other DC properties (Superman et al) in 2017, called 'Doomsday Clock'.

There is no sequel with Alan Moore or Dave Gibbons on board, though.

Samtemdo8:
Before I say anything, Is the Sniper from the movie Phone Booth a deep character?

He's a mysterious one, and so much that it's difficult to call him "deep". All we know about him, that he's smart enough to do what he did, and that he can shoot, and has some sort of wicked moral code, that only he understands... or he doesn't. And maybe he's just a psycho that likes to torture people he doesn't like. Not enough info.

MrCalavera:

Samtemdo8:
Before I say anything, Is the Sniper from the movie Phone Booth a deep character?

He's a mysterious one, and so much that it's difficult to call him "deep". All we know about him, that he's smart enough to do what he did, and that he can shoot, and has some sort of wicked moral code, that only he understands... or he doesn't. And maybe he's just a psycho that likes to torture people he doesn't like. Not enough info.

And hopefully he remains a mystery and no studio is gonna make a sequel to this movie.

Samtemdo8:

MrCalavera:

Samtemdo8:
Before I say anything, Is the Sniper from the movie Phone Booth a deep character?

He's a mysterious one, and so much that it's difficult to call him "deep". All we know about him, that he's smart enough to do what he did, and that he can shoot, and has some sort of wicked moral code, that only he understands... or he doesn't. And maybe he's just a psycho that likes to torture people he doesn't like. Not enough info.

And hopefully he remains a mystery and no studio is gonna make a sequel to this movie.

Nah it'll be a prequel about his origins, obviously.

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