Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Capital Letters

One of the more amusing concepts I like to play with when I write is the difference between what you could call the ‘capital letter’ version of something and the ordinary one. If we take evil, for example, it isn’t much fun. It is, frankly, unpleasant. Proper Evil, on the other hand, merely knows that it is very cool indeed to wear black and twirl your moustaches.

Or take heroism, which possibly has more depth to it even if you don’t get to do as many pits with spikes in jokes. As we all apparently know (because people tell me that we all know it) Sam is the real hero of The Lord of the Rings even though he does the least traditionally Heroic stuff. Exploring that gap can make for great comedy, as well as some touching moments as your characters realise that all the Heroic stuff they were doing wasn’t the
point.

It’s not just a comic fantasy thing. Gritty modern fantasy plays around with the idea of unheroic heroes, while villains who are just ordinary people on the other side are a staple of practically everything. It has the potential for great fun all round, as well as the opportunity to breathe new life into old stereotypes.

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