Am I the only one sick of these all too sweet MarySues?
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How do you define "Mary Sue"? To me, a Mary Sue is a character that sucks the life out of a story by forcing it to be focused on her. All of the characters' personalities change to fit her character developement. She often has unbelievable powers, romance with a main character, and a very tragic past. Why does she do this? Because she's the author's version of herself, living out the author's fantasies.
12/29/2005 #1
Nimble and Quick
I think the official definition isn't so much the lack of life in the story (I very much agree with you on that) but the perfection and the overshadowing and dwarfing of the canon characters. Any 'Sue author would argue that her character isn't a version of herself; I don't think we really need include that because all characters are, in the end, derivatives of ourselves. My personal definition would be any character that ends up with a fairy tale ending or a Joan of Arc ending because, inevitably, the author chooses one and all the other traits ensue. The fandom has become too fast and loose with the Mary Sue label. Many original female characters don't quite fit either of our definitions or any of the "textbook" ones and are merely obnoxious.
12/30/2005 #2
I define a Mary-Sue as any female OC who takes away from the real characters. When I read a fanfic, I want to be reading about Aragorn or Gimli or whoever, and not some girl of the writer's invention.
12/31/2005 #3
One dinfintion of a MS (and one I think I'm agreeing more with) is when the author has thought "Wouldn't it be cool if....." I think most traits of a MS start off like this.
1/2/2006 . Edited 1/2/2006 #4
There's a difference between the annoying "Mary-Sues" -how did they get that name? - and an OC from our world. I once got soooooo mad because someone called one of my OCs, an elf, for crying out loud, a "Mary-Sue". GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR. I think that a girl - or a boy - from our earth could be the main character of a story set in ME without it getting too annoying. If you keep the canon characters from LotR the way they're supposed to be, and don't mess with the Fellowship too much, it is possible to write a good story with a "Mary-Sue" as you put it. Let's just take out the tragic background and romance. It's more fun to write without it.
1/2/2006 #5
Amen! I have a character, whom one of my friends has described as being slightly Sueish, mind you this was before I knew what a Sue was. My character could exist in the fandom which im writing in. Shes not prefect, she does have a tragic past, but she doesnt wangst about it, she has speical powers but they tend to be more a problem, than a solution. OCs arent all bad, just dont make them sickenly perfect, after all who in real life is? Bronwe IMSGSET and Sue Squad member
1/3/2006 #6
Navaer Lalaith
j-mercuryuk, you're missing a word there. It should be: "Wouldn't it be cool if _I_..." Because the biggest difference between OC's and Mary Sues is that Mary Sues are their authors and therefore lack a personality and control the world around them, and OC's are their own characters and dwell in the world realistically.
1/3/2006 #7
ok, if the author is using herself as a character, AKA putting herself in the situation and realistically thinking "What would I do if.....?" and not controlling the world, but making the character subject to everything and every power in it as all the other characters, it just might work. If she develops the character enough, it is plausible
1/4/2006 #8
[q] j-mercuryuk, you're missing a word there. It should be: "Wouldn't it be cool if _I_..." [/q] *tips hat respectfully in Navaer's direction*
1/5/2006 #9
Quill and Saber
I would define a Mary-Sue as a character that breaks the natural laws of the world, i.e. flying, magical powers, figures that would be a biological impossibility etc. If they manage to stay within the laws of physics, biology, and chemistry while staying within the realm of canon (Note: I did NOT specify book- or movie-canon) it should probably not be a Sue. [q]I define a Mary-Sue as any female OC who takes away from the real characters.[/q] I would disagree with part of this definition because Tolkien did not give us many female characters in the stories. I actually sometimes wonder whether the elves made a practice of female infanticide because there are so few females in their population. Therefore, we, as authors, have to fill in the gender gap in order to make the world believeable. The part about "taking away from the real characters" is valid, but people wonder what life was like for the "average Jane" in Gondor, the Shire, etc. Therefore, we write their stories.
1/26/2006 #10
The Battling Bard
I think there're aren't many elleths mentioned in Tolkien because none of them did great deeds of daring. I read in one of the HoME that for the most part elleths aren't very daring and like staying at home, or soemthing along those lines.
1/27/2006 #11
Quill and Saber
Yeah, but have you noticed that in the genealogies there are so few females? I mean, the ratio between male and female children of the elven "greats" is very skewed to the left.
1/28/2006 #12
The Battling Bard
Good point, it's very annoying. The only decent female in Tolkien is Haleth.
1/29/2006 #13
What about Idril Celebrindal and Luthien? Do they count as decent females? Not to mention Rian and Arwen
1/30/2006 #14
Quill and Saber
Well, it seems to me that if we put them through a MS litmus test, they'd test positive for Sue-ness. Haleth ROCKS! As does Morwen; Eowyn is okay.
1/31/2006 #15
Yemi Hikari
A Mary Sue is a charactor that is obviously a glorified self image of the author, who for the most parts wants to be ohh so perfect in real life but is not. They also take the romance issue overboard. Another thing is, most Mary Sue works are uncannon or based soley on the movie. They also tend to go over board with the diffrence between reality and fantasy.
2/19/2006 #16
Hermione Vader
I agree with Runa Quill. Luthien and Arwen are definitely Sues since they're beautiful and graceful but tough, and they'd die for the person they love.
2/21/2006 #17
What do you call a guy who is a mary-sue? A Jack-Mark? I have never seen an actuall guy mary-sue yet, but I was wondering what it would the guy would be called.
7/10/2006 #18
Estelle Nimmire
That is a good question. Though, I doubt we will ever find an answer to that since, as Quill said, Tolkien gave us mostly male characters. And on that point... I don't believe that Tolkien gave us very many female characters because in that time period the world was still very sexist. Women were supposed to stay at home, raise children, cook, etc. during Tolkien's lifetime. So, maybe Tolkien decided that that was the mentality of the elves, etc. You don't hear anything of dwarf women, and Gimli explains that (in the extended edition) to Eowyn. NEWayz! Back on the original topic. Mary-sues are very annoying when it comes to a good story that they just happen to show up in the middle of. It just is not natural for some random person to show up in the middle of the story and fall madly in love with Aragorn, and he falls in love with her. Arwen is supposed to be Aragorn's Lover! For Crap's sake!! *BIG breath* Thank you for your time... *runs away into hiding to "ride out the storm"*
7/23/2006 #19
Estelle Nimmire
*Comes out of hiding for a brief announcement.* I think a better name, actually, for male MS would be "Jack Bob". *wink* If you don't like it, then don't use it. I was just being weird, since I am exhausted from a long weekend. Thank you again. *Runs back into hiding*
7/23/2006 #20
Quill and Saber
Male versions of the Mary Sue are not so popular in this fanfiction genre. They are, however, more popular in other genres. I've heard them called both "Gary Stus" and "Marty Stus," so I guess it would be one of those. Oh, and by the way, did you know that the story that was first considered a Mary-Sue was a StarTrek fanfiction, starring a sixteen-year-old impossibility named Mary-Sue? That's where it comes from.
7/24/2006 . Edited 7/24/2006 #21
A Mary-Sue is a female OC that is created by a writer, who tries so hard to create a character that people will love, care and feel sorry for, that it gets the complete opposite effect. She has to have a miserable life. Orphaned or at least motherless, battered, r*** and bullied. Yet, she has to be incredible intelligent, wise and talanted. Despite any chance of doing any schoolwork. She have to be absolutly stunning. So beautiful that everyone falls in love with her and birds sings her awake in the morning. She have to be more gorgeous than all the other people of the world combined. Everything bad that happens to her is because of other peoples obsession/envy of her total perfection. She must be very determined and stubborn. And she must always be right. This is very important! But most of all she has to be kind. So goodhearted that she have an aura of gold around her. That´s why she sparkles so much. The ultimate Mary-Sue is an incredible beautiful girl. She have to be 16 years old. That is a perfect age. The ultimate Mary-Sue have not only lost one or both of her parents, but also at least one, two or three brothers. She must be a witness to their gruesome murders, or in the car when it was crashing, holding her youngest brother until he dies. Point is; she must suffer. Loads. The ultimate Mary-Sue dont get murdered because the murderers cant kill such a beautiful girl, or her family gets killed because the killer wants her for himself. And she has to get very mistreated after her familys death. She often tells us this in a very vulnerable moment. Or she doesnt talk about it herself. The story is told by a second person, just when some characters needs to know that they treated her completely unfair and there is a reason for her to be the way she is. The best moment for it is when she is unconcious or seriously hurt after rescuing all the maincharacters. Often, she is referred to as "the young girl" or "that poor girl", and everyone must feel completly horrible after they have been told about her secret and analyse her until we get rabies. The same ultimate secret is repeated thoughout the story, incase anyone missed that we must feel very sorry for her. If she dies or not remains to be seen. Popular deaths is sacrificing herself. Or die in childbed, after having a daughter. Or a boy and a girl and only the girl survives. The pity must go on. The most important thing is that the whole world must know about this. And mourn her for the rest of their lifes. Or the writers love her to much to kill her, even though everyone else is holding their thumbs.
1/17/2007 #22
All-Knowing Alien 2
A MarySue is traditionally beautiful (of course), has a tragic past (wouldn't be complete without one), has one or more familiars (because everyone has an escaped Siberian tiger as a pet) and is shockingly unpopular at school (because no one likes the beautiful girl who does her homework). She gets into Middle Earth either by suicide, an "accident", by wishing she were somewhere else or by somehow entering a gateway while drooling over Leggy in one of the LoTR movies. She *has* to end up in Rivendell. More daring Suethors might put her in Lothlorien or Mirkwood, or - for the extra angst on the side - Mordor. There is no doubt that she will somehow influence the Fellowship, either by joining them or by saving one (or more) lives. She might even take the place of Arwen (or, more accurately, Glorfindel) in FoTR where she saves Frodo and brings him to Rivendell. Or, she might steal Eowyn's part of killing the Witch King. She may be the 'Ice Queen', because no one understands her, and instead of shaving her head and joining a nunnery, she becomes haughty and beautiful, scorning all males (i.e. Boromir) and secretly lusting over Legolas, although she has sworn off love. She is always impervious to the will of the Ring. (Personally, I think it is because Sues are a far worse evil than the One Ring could ever be). I have not yet read a Sue-fic where the Sue actually takes up the task of Ringbearer instead of Frodo, but I'm sure there's at least [i]one[/i] . She will throw about [i]real [/i] tragedies casually. For example, issues like r*** will be dealt with as if it were just a plot enhancer. The author, having no personal experience with it, will describe the psychological effects inaccurately. Most RapeVictim!Sues will either turn to their love interest for support (and here this means more sex - which is a rather common comfort technique for Sue fics) or Self Injury - another nasty topic. She may die, most commonly in battles, and even more so when sacrificing herself for an (up till then) oblivious love interest. She will, however, have time to deliver a death speech that will stir peoples' hearts, and make the love interest aware of how much in love with her he is, and how he regrets not telling her sooner. Usually she dies while attempting to say "I love you", or even while kissing the love interest. Most Suethors then bring her back to life, in the most inconceivable of ways. I've heard one about a fairy godmother. GaryStus are the male counterparts of MarySues. I haven't seen many, but I think they are as bad as MarySues. As a side note; how come most Suefics are in the LoTR universe? I'm speaking from personal experience here, so my knowledge might be somewhat limited. What other Sues have you come across?
10/11/2007 #23
[q]What other Sues have you come across? [/q] Harry Potter ones, you've got a lot of them too. Some lost twin sister of Harry or something. I don't really have 'one' Mary Sue. It depends on the story if she is, but mostly she's beautiful, smart, has some weird past.. All that tragic stuff that she has to 'deal with'. [q]She *has* to end up in Rivendell. More daring Suethors might put her in Lothlorien or Mirkwood, or - for the extra angst on the side - Mordor. There is no doubt that she will somehow influence the Fellowship, either by joining them or by saving one (or more) lives. [/q] I don't see what's wrong with ending up in one of the Elf/Hobbit places? I mean, if the girl falls into ME or lives there, it has to start [i]somewhere [/i]. I also don't see a problem if she influences the Fellowship, if this is done correctly and the author doesn't change the maincharacters so much that they bend to the OC's will and she somehow ends up being the hero in the War. Saving lives can be well written too, as long as she doesn't win the entire war by herself without having one single scratch. When one can fight, he or she can save someone, I don't see the big deal about that. Of course she/he has to learn to fight and she/he shouldn't be a pro in it from the beginning, 'Beating Aragorn on her first try' or something. I think that the best way to discribe a Sue is calling her perfect, she kills the Witch King, makes everyone fall in love with her because of her wit and looks. But on the other hand, I think that people start yelling 'Mary Sue!' too fast. An OC doesn't have to be a Sue, if the writer knows what he's doing. But a lot of people see a teenage girl who ends up in ME and already start calling her a Mary Sue...
12/24/2007 . Edited 12/24/2007 #24
Oh hell no, I hate those. Long lost twin sister, my a**.... I can't stand reading something like that. And I see your point. Nothing wrong in falling in the Shire. I'm setting my OC in the Shire. I'm not so sure who she should be paired up with and I don't care. So far, none of my readers have accused any of my OCs as a MS because I don't like focusing all the attention of them. It's stressful and I get writer's block. >=( Definitely not something I'd enjoy. But I understand what you're saying. She can't be oh-so-perfect without having half the readers throwing up in a corner. She shouldn't kill the Witch King, considering Eowyn does it anyway, and if a character falls in love with her, their character personalities shouldn't be altered. I've been writing a Fruits Basket fanfic with only several OCs. I've done my best to have all characters created by the author to maintain their original personalities. Changing them would only upset the readers that know the truth based off the the author herself. I don't like drawing attention to only my OC, but if I do--like with my POTC fanfic-- it's only for a transition into the following chapter. The story line resumes with only a few minor changes; it all leads to the development of the character. ~~ And holy s***, I can't believe I typed all that. So that's my opinion. Add on to it if you like. ^_^
1/2/2008 #25
Isn't it true that all Sues are amazingly perfect and graceful, with talents the projecting author has never acquired and probably never WILL acquire? Swordsmanship good enough to let them beat on people like Eowyn, etc.? Terrific balance and sure footedness, unless there's a chance to trip into "Leggy's" waiting arms? Not to mention the hots for anyone in the book who was even remotely palatable in the movies? Frankly, I do not want to offend anyone, but Aragorn didn't seem too handsome from Tolkien's descriptions, which makes me think that anyone who calls him hot must A) Never have read the books or B) read the books after they saw the movies and never bothered to think about the looks of the chaacters beyond seeing "Frodo" and thinking "Elijah Woods in a wig kneeling down so he looks 4 foot tall." Not seeing that the Hobbits are all anywhere from 1 1/2 foot to 3 foot tall, are generally fat and rosy cheeked with Frodo being no exception, although all four of our favorite Hobbits slim up more than a bit. I write, and all of my characters, male or female, are made up of several facets of me. They all have flaws. Some of them more serious than anything I have actually done, like having a past history of alcoholism or a penchant for murdering people. Ergo, the perfection of Sues makes me SICK!!!
1/30/2008 #26
Hello Anyone There
Gota agree with you. Perfection is the most annoying trait of MS's. Erm can anyone tell me what HoME is? I'm sure it's something I should know, a book o something but I don't recognise it.
2/14/2008 #27
HoME stands for History of Middle earth, which are books compiled by Christopher Tolkien from notes JRR Tolkien had written over his life, there are 12 volumes and they are invaluable for a deeper insight into Middle earth. Some, like Book of Lost tales,I and II are written in a very archaic style, but when I wanted to read more of the fall of Gondolin, which is not covered in the Silmarillion in depth, I found it fascinating. I use them as text books more than novels.
2/14/2008 #28
Maple Maiden

Alot of excellent points have already been made as to what would be considered a "Mary Sue" and I feel that category has broadened, in my mind at least, from just being a perfect girl who everyone loves. Hundreds of litmus tests later on wether or not a female character is a "Sue" or not it seems that there was a shift in that there are more characters who are emerging that have a dark and tragic past, for example "My parents abused me and then were killed in a tragic car accident, Then my uncle took me in and he abused me as well and then OD'd on crack, and all my friends hate me...and Oh, I just got my period just now" Honestly, When I read a story where that is basically the opening paragraph as well as a description of the main characters clothes bought at Hot Topic naturally and her love for Evanescance I do long for the cluess sparkly mary sue who is all rainbows and puppies.

I think at times that the "witch hunt" for Sue's can get out of hand, that an original female character is automatically considered a sue unless proven otherwise, and I write an OFC and while, thankfully, no one has ever referred to her as a sue its always something I am weary of.

Though the biggest breaking point, personally, is when a sue, usually a modern teenager sent to middle earth can act like an abseloute little twit, acting miserable and mouthing off to everyone she meets...and still Legolas/Aragorn/Boromir...mainly Legolas, will fall in love with her, even though she acts like has the breeding of a common sewer rat.

4/9/2008 #29

Wow, that last bit was harsh... But true. Angst is fun, but too much is just like too much sugar. You start running around in circles giggling maniacally until you fall down in a coma. ;)

4/9/2008 #30
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