Behind the Scenes: My Ideological Struggles with Graenas

Hello dear readers! I’m back with another real-world post peeking behinds the scenes at the creative process for writing the main story on this blog. I will note that today’s post may get a tiny bit spoiler-ish, as I might have to talk about choices I know my characters will face in the future. The good news is, while I know what choices they will have to choose between, I don’t really know what choices they will make. But at any rate, if you don’t even want to know that much about what’s yet to come, you might want to skip this post.

At some point last week, as I got thinking about Graenas, his story, and even his relationship with Urizenya, I started getting a troubled feeling. To put it succinctly, Graenas is not exactly a nice guy. He’s selfish. He’s learned to get what he wants through manipulation and often has little problems with that. And while he wants to resist (for now, at least) the complete evil that being a true champion of Auril would involve, he also makes a lot of excuses for the things he does.

Now, I have no intention of rewriting Graenas to make him the model citizen and goodness and sunshine. I think his flawed nature can and will make him an interesting character. But I also find myself wondering if I’m doing enough to make it clear that he really is a deeply flawed character. I mean, it’s one thing if Graenas makes excuses for his less ethical choices, but I don’t want to be making those same excuses or endorsing them.

In some ways, I’m glad I chose to narrate the this main story entry from Urizenya’s point of view. That way, when Graenas started making excuses for doing Auril’s bidding, Urizenya was able to express her concern about just how far Graenas might take those excuses and just what he’s willing to use them to justify. That hopefully helped to cast doubt on Graenas’s “innate goodness.”

In some ways, I think I need to use Urizenya’s point of view — and possibly Danny’s own comments (so glad Deb plays him as such a straight shooter) — to make sure that Graenas’s questionable behavior is seen as exactly that. Questionable.  I may end up doing quite a number of story installments from Urizenya’s point of view to help with that.

Of course, that brings up problems of its own. Urizenya needs a life, personality, and purpose beyond just attempting to mitigate her brother’s bad behavior. The last thing I want is a codependent Druid whose life is consumed by saving her brother. That’s one reason I’m actually glad I wrote the short story where she met Aurora, as it gives her more personality and something that’s all about her. And I trust Joe will work that and more into the overall campaign, which means it will show up in the main story at some point.

I also want to think about what happens as his story continues. Specifically, if Graenas eventually manages to get free of Auril’s influence, I need and want to take care that it doesn’t appear that any seedy shit he did before that point is magically forgotten and everything thinks he’s a great guy. There still has to be consequences, such as justified mistrust of those he swindled, manipulated, and otherwise hurt. And there has to be a sincere realization, acknowledgement, and remorse for what he’s done.

I still think Graenas is a great character and I think he offers great story-telling potential. But I still need to think about how I want to write that story so that it relays messages I’m comfortable with in the end. That may become and interesting journey in its own right.

 

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